Title: The Domino Effect
Summary: An expenses paid trip to Miami to help
Skinner with a seminar doesn't turn out as planned.
Rating: PG 13
Category: MT, MSR, M/S/Sk friendship
Disclaimer: Just for fun. Not for profit. No
copyright infringement intended.
Archives: Probably, but please ask
Feedback: Sure. Waddles52@insightbb.com
Thanks: To Lisa, beta extraordinaire. She helped me
shape, form, polish and get this fic ready for human
consumption. Love ya!
Notes: This fic will be presented in several parts;
however, it is not a WIP! It is finished and in the
capable hands of my beta. I will hopefully post
every other day until its completion.
Scully stood on the balcony of the luxury hotel. The
morning sun shining brightly, she took a deep breath
of warm, salty sea air and let the sun's warmth bathe
her face. It felt wonderful after another night of
"Oh, Mulder," she sighed, thinking about the last few
hellish days. This trip had showed such promise,
Several days earlier, the Hoover Building-
Hands planted on hips, Mulder sighed discontentedly
even though a steady stream of warm sunlight poured
through the office window. He felt a strange pang of
homesickness for his real office, the basement den he
shared with Scully. This one was nice but it wasn't
what he was used to, not a place he felt at home.
The sun was giving him a headache.
"Mulder, I just faxed the last report to Skinner's
office," Scully reported as she entered their
temporary quarters, which resembled a made over broom
closet more than an office. "Now what?"
Mulder shrugged. "I just tried to get down to the
basement. No go. I talked to one of the
exterminators and they said that it would be at least
a week before we could get back in our office."
"It takes that long to get rid of a spider
"Evidently, they're being very thorough. According
to them, it's a major infestation," Mulder sighed,
throwing his pencil down on his desk. "This
absolutely sucks. I can't get to the files, my
computer or even my Rolodex to look up some phone
numbers I need. I even have two packs of seeds down
there which are probably toxic by now."
"I'll treat you to some fresh ones during lunch. I
guess we've learned to be a bit more cautious when
bringing evidence to our office," Scully stated.
"Thank you for taking part of the blame on this one,
Scully, but it's all on me. I brought the sample in
and let it sit."
"I knew it was there. I should have taken it
upstairs and put it in a proper container."
"Well, at this point, it's all water under the bridge
anyway. I guess we could take an early lunch," he
suggested, grabbing his jacket from the back of his
"Mulder, it's only 9:30," Scully protested.
"All right. Brunch?"
A knock on the door startled them both. Kimberly, AD
Skinner's assistant, stuck her head in,
"Agents, I'm sorry to bother you, but since you don't
have a phone yet, AD Skinner sent me to get you.
He'd like to see you right away."
Scully reached resignedly for her jacket. "Thank
you, Kimberly. Tell him we'll be right there."
Kimberly nodded. "I'll tell him you're on your way,
then." She closed the door quietly behind her.
"He's probably going to rake us over the coals for
causing the mess in the basement." Mulder held the
door open for Scully, then shut it, leaving their
quaint, new cubbyhole behind. "Just let me handle
it. Don't say a word. Just nod and let me take all
of the blame."
"Mulder . . ."
As soon as they reached Skinner's office, Kimberly
sent them in.
"Agents, have a seat," he offered.
Mulder and Scully took their usual seats and prepared
to be blasted for the spider infestation and anything
else that had gone wrong in the FBI that particular
"Agents, I want to thank you for sending in the paper
work on your last case so promptly. If I'm not
mistaken, you don't have anything current."
"That's correct, sir," Mulder answered cautiously,
flashing a look at Scully.
"Good. As you probably know, I'm scheduled to
conduct a workshop at a joint federal-state law
enforcement convention in Miami, Florida in five
Mulder and Scully nodded yes.
"I have conducted this workshop in the past, but it
has been several years. Truthfully, agents, I could
use your help. There have been changes in some laws
and procedures in the past five years, and I find
that some additional research is needed. At this
time, my plate is full until the evening before the
conference is scheduled to begin. I could use some
help with the research and modernizing the
presentation. I would also like to utilize your
expertise at the conference itself."
The two agents passed surprised looks between
"I'd make it worth your while. I've managed to
secure single rooms for each of you at the conference
site, and there should be ample time for sightseeing,
or whatever you wish to do once the workshop is over.
Of course, your expenses will be paid, and I think I
can even wrangle a couple of extra days off if you're
"Since we're pretty limited right now, what with the
basement being off-limits, I think I can speak for
both of us and offer our assistance," Mulder
"We'd be glad to help, sir," Scully added.
"Wonderful. You'll need a larger space to work.
Kimberly will get you all set up and I'll be down
later to see if you have any questions."
The agents settled into their comfortable temporary
quarters. They had all of the files open in front of
them, looking over the information.
"This is going to be a lot of work," Mulder groaned.
"Just think, though, sunny Florida in the middle of
one of the worst DC winters on record. It will be
worth it," Scully reminded him.
"You going to bring your swimsuit? The real skimpy
one?" Mulder asked hopefully.
"You going to bring yours? The red Speedos?" Scully
"Of course. I never leave home without them."
Mulder tried to hide the big grin on his face at the
thought of Scully in a swimsuit.
"I certainly hope so."
"Mulder," Scully laughed. "Let's get to work on
these updates. We can talk about our wardrobe
"Is that a promise?"
"Mulder . . ."
"Okay, okay. I'm working."
After three days and nights of hard work, Skinner
gave his approval and the agents sent everything to
Kimberly to be printed. The plan was to have
everything delivered to the conference center before
their flight left for Florida the next morning. That
would give them a full day and a half before the
start of the conference to organize the slides,
videos, articles and worksheets.
Skinner gave it his seal of approval and thanked them
once again, promising to meet with them as soon as he
Scully was in love. The hotel was exceptional. Her
room and all the surroundings were much more than she
had dared hope for. It had been 22 degrees and
snowing when they left DC, and here in Miami it was
72 with all of the sunshine she could possibly want.
Mulder was having similar feelings as he eyed the
heated pool from his room. He noticed that the hotel
restaurant held the biggest seafood buffet he'd ever
seen, and what was this? A mini-bar! He looked it
over and grabbed a beer. This all expenses paid
thing was great. He settled down on the nice,
comfortable bed and turned on the TV. Might as well
get comfortable while he waited for the conference
materials to be delivered.
"You know, Scully," Mulder said as he placed the last
slide in the carousel. "This is moving a lot faster
than I figured."
"Yeah," Scully agreed. "We'll probably be able to
finish up in another hour easily."
"Yep. Nice of the hotel to let us have the
conference room early. The only thing left to do is
to make sure Skinner's lecture notes are in order."
"We can do that in the morning. His flight won't get
in until late afternoon," Scully suggested.
"I was thinking the same thing. How would you like
to visit that seafood buffet in the hotel restaurant
"Well, I'm not really in the mood for seafood, but I
suppose I could get something else."
"I'm sure they have a wide variety of menu items.
You don't have to get the buffet."
"Sure, Mulder. It will be wonderful to go to a nice
restaurant instead of heading for the drive-thru of
the closest burger joint. Now, the sooner we get
finished here, the quicker we can enjoy our dinner,"
Mulder loved to see her smile. He hoped to see a lot
more of it on this assignment. He checked over the
slides one more time, then began to put the videos in
order, salivating over what he might find on the
Scully couldn't help but laugh as Mulder made his way
back to their table, carefully balancing his heaping,
full plates from the buffet. "Good grief, Mulder.
That's enough for a small army!" she exclaimed as he
sat down and tried to decide what to eat first.
"Nah, Scully, I'm just getting warmed up." With a
gleeful look on his face, he stabbed a fried shrimp
and stuffed it in his mouth.
She continued to be amused as Mulder cleaned his
plate, exclaiming his praise after every delicious
"Scully, these are the best crab cakes I believe I've
ever had. You've got to try one." He turned his
plate around so that she could easily reach one.
"Just a bite, Mulder," she decided, and scooped up a
small bit. She swallowed it and made a face. "I
don't much care for the taste. Must be the
Mulder looked at her in disbelief. "I'm going back
"Fine. Eat your fill. I think I'll just stick with
my Caesar salad."
"Be right back." Mulder grinned like a child at
Christmas and took off for another load.
Scully shook her head, making a mental note to stop
at the gift shop on the way back for antacids.
After dinner, the partners took a walk around the
hotel, inspecting all of the amenities, then decided
to work on the lecture notes before turning in for
the night. Mulder knocked on the door to Scully's
room after he finished a quick shower.
Scully held the door open for him and watched as he
padded barefoot across the floor and headed straight
for the mini-bar. He looked relaxed and comfortable
in his sweats and t-shirt. After rummaging around,
he came up with a soft drink and popped the top.
"Mulder, they're charging five dollars a can for
those!" she exclaimed.
"So?" he shrugged.
"Don't you think you might be pushing the expenses
paid thing a little bit?"
"Whatever," she sighed, rubbing her stomach.
Mulder noticed her discomfort. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing really. My stomach just feels a little
"I'm fine. Full, but fine," he patted his stomach
contentedly, plopping into a chair. "So, where are
the notes? What do you want me to do?"
"Uh, drink your soda. I'll be right back." She
quickly made her way to the bathroom, slamming the
door behind her.
Mulder heard the faucet come on and thought he heard
Scully being sick. He wasn't sure if he should offer
to help or just leave her alone for the time being.
He settled on the latter, but decided if she wasn't
out in a few minutes he'd check on her. He was just
about ready to get up and go to the bathroom door
when Scully came out looking extremely shaky and
"Are you all right?" he asked, concern in his voice.
"Not exactly. I think it was the crab cake," she
moaned, wrapping her arms around her stomach.
"But, you only had one teensy, little bite."
"I know but . . ." she abruptly turned around.
"Definitely the crab cake," she muttered as she dove
back into the bathroom.
"Well, shit. Why did she have to get sick? She
really seemed to be enjoying herself," he muttered,
staring after her.
He stationed himself by the bathroom door, ready to
offer aid or comfort as soon as she came out. It was
then that he began to notice an uncomfortable feeling
in his own stomach. "I just ate too much," he told
himself. "It couldn't be the crab cakes. Could it?"
End Part 1
The Domino Effect, Part 2/?
Headers and disclaimer in Part 1.
Mulder helped his partner into bed and gently pulled
the covers over her. "Better?" He gently sat down
Scully nodded weakly, then took a deep breath.
"Mulder, go back to your room. I think I'll be okay
now. I'm just a little tired." He took her hand and
gently rubbed her fingers, his eyes showing his
"Uh-uh, I'm going to stay with you for a while just
in case you need anything."
"I just want to sleep."
"Fine, then sleep. I'll be right here." He squeezed
her fingers gently and reluctantly let go, although
he made no move to stand. She looked too pale for
Scully could tell that she wouldn't convince him to
leave. She looked at him fondly, noting that he
looked rather pale himself. "Mulder, you okay?"
"Just a little concerned about you."
"I'm okay," she answered sleepily, as she felt her
eyes closing, shutting out his worried expression.
Mulder went back to the chair he'd occupied earlier
and sat down, feeling an uncomfortable twinge in his
midsection. His stomach was definitely upset and he
knew it was only a matter of time before he would be
tossing his dinner too. Every time he thought of the
crab cakes, his nausea increased.
He eventually fell into an uneasy sleep. He heard
Scully get up again, but couldn't muster the strength
to get up and check on her.
Scully got back into bed, grateful that there was
nothing but dry heaves this time. She was surprised
that Mulder hadn't even stirred. Well, just as well.
All she needed was some sleep, and he looked a bit
She had been dozing for only a few minutes when the
unmistakable sounds of Mulder in the throes being
sick awakened her. Scully's stomach gave a little
flip then settled. Well, that pretty much confirmed
what she suspected. She sighed. They both had food
After a few minutes, Mulder staggered from the
bathroom and reclaimed his chair. He was only there
a few minutes before leaping up and bolting for the
"This is going to be a very long night," Scully
groaned as she pushed the covers back.
Mulder refused to lie down beside her at first, as
she suggested so she could keep an eye on him.
Sometime around 3 AM he ordered her to scoot over and
then fell into bed beside her. He had vomited
thirteen times and she was concerned that he was
dehydrated. "Mulder, if I get up and bring it here,
would you try to drink a little water?"
He shook his head no, then shivered when Scully
reached over to feel his forehead. "Yes, Scully, I
have a fever," he moaned weakly. "How are you
"I feel like death warmed over, but even at that I
think I'm in much better shape than you."
"Be thankful you only took a small bite," he groaned
as his stomach began to cramp again.
"Mulder, I need to get you to a hospital."
"No! Too sick to go to the hospital." He sat back
up on the side of the bed, clutching his stomach,
panting with exertion and pain. His hand flew to his
mouth as he gagged and took off for the bathroom
Scully forced herself out of bed, leaning against the
wall as a wave of dizziness hit her. If she felt
this badly, Mulder must be near death. She forced
herself to move to the bathroom, only to be met by
Mulder, leaning heavily on the doorjamb.
"Back to bed," he ordered, breathing hard, scarcely
able to support his legs.
"Let me call 911." Her arms tried to support him.
"Bed," he choked out, moving around her and
collapsing onto it, face down.
"If you're not better in an hour, I'm calling for an
ambulance," she threatened.
"If I'm not better in an hour I'll be dead. Sleep."
Scully crawled back into bed, and began rubbing his
heaving back in small circles. Worry gnawed at her,
but soon sleep claimed them both. Although she was
awakened almost every hour when Mulder lurched off
the bed for another round of vomiting or dry heaves,
she had to agree with his argument that he wasn't
vomiting as much as he had been. She decided not to
call for an ambulance. Yet.
The next time Scully awakened she heard loud, banging
sounds. She quickly checked on Mulder, but he was
still beside her, terribly pale, but sleeping
soundly. Puzzled, she checked the alarm clock. 9:30
AM. At least they had finally gotten a little sleep.
The banging started again, and it finally dawned on
her that someone was at the door.
Groaning, she pushed herself out of bed and staggered
to the door. She looked through the peephole and was
surprised to see Skinner. She hastily opened the
Skinner took in her disheveled appearance. He looked
past Scully and was taken aback when he spied Mulder
sprawled in her bed. "Agent Scully, what the hell is
going on here?"
"Sir?' she questioned, confused.
"What is Agent Mulder doing in your bed, or should I
even ask?" he fumed.
"Oh, sir! It's not what you think!" Scully
exclaimed, swaying as her knees began to tremble.
Skinner's glare morphed to one of concern in less
than a second.
"Scully, are you all right?" Skinner reached out to
He looked her over more carefully. Observing her
pale appearance, he realized that she was ill. He
also noted that Mulder hadn't moved an inch since he
had entered the room. "Scully?"
"Sick. Both of us. Food poisoning," she whispered
as her knees gave way.
Skinner scooped her up and deposited her on the bed
next to Mulder. He moved around to Mulder's side and
pulled the covers back. His breathing was very
shallow, and as Skinner checked his pulse he found it
much too fast for his liking. He shook his agent's
shoulders and got no response.
"Scully, how long has he been like this?"
"Mmm, not sure. He's been very sick. Last time he
woke up was maybe six. Not sure. What's wrong?"
She blinked her eyes, obviously having trouble
"Wanted to call 911."
"I'm calling them now. You're probably both
dehydrated as hell. Lie back and rest. I'll see to
Scully found that she didn't have much choice, as her
body refused to do what she wanted it to. "Tell them
to hurry, sir."
End part 2
The Domino Effect-Part 3
Headers and disclaimers in Part 1
Skinner walked briskly into the ER treatment room
that held Dana Scully. "I just came from Mulder's
room. He's awake, Scully."
"Thank God." Though still pale, Scully looked much
better than she had a few hours earlier. She'd had
some fluids and a little more sleep since they'd
"You were both dehydrated, Mulder much more severely
than you," Skinner explained.
"He vomited at least twenty times. I lost count
sometime after five this morning. I should have
gotten him to the hospital sooner." Guilt was
written all over her tired face, and tears threatened
to fall when she dwelled too much on the state her
partner was in.
"You were both terribly ill. I doubt that either of
you was thinking straight."
"I knew he was bad but . . ."
"Scully! That's enough! Stop beating yourself up
over this. You did the best you could. Just be
thankful that I was able to get an earlier flight."
"How is he?" Scully asked wearily.
"Very weak, but the vomiting seems to have stopped.
They want to keep him on IV fluids for another six
hours at least and keep him under observation. If he
does all right and his blood work is normal, he may
be released later," Skinner reported.
"I expected them to admit him."
"I thought they would admit both of you, but the
doctor said that you can leave as soon as you finish
"Good. That will give me some time to rest before
Mulder gets back."
"You're still too weak to take care of yourself,
Scully," Skinner pointed out.
"Well, someone will have to keep an eye on him. You
know how he is."
"I plan on taking care of both of you."
"But sir, you need to prepare for the conference,"
"I can look over my notes while you're resting, and
the hotel will provide a nurse if necessary," Skinner
"Well, they should. It's the hotel's fault we're in
this mess. How many others are ill?"
"Amazingly, only two. Only one pan of crab cakes was
involved, and I've been told that Agent Mulder ate
the majority of those."
Scully smiled ruefully, recalling his overfull plate
and the look of boyish devilment as he tore into them
with gusto. "Yeah, he said they were the best he'd
The IV pump began to beep, signaling that it was
empty. "I'll get the nurse and see what we can do
about getting you out of here."
"Thank you. I'd like to see Mulder before we leave."
"All right, but you'll need to make it a brief
visit," Skinner cautioned. "He needs plenty of rest.
He's really wasted after the night he had."
Skinner pushed Scully's wheelchair into Mulder's
treatment room. He'd been moved onto a hospital bed
and was receiving oxygen through a nasal cannula.
The nurse was in the process of removing the IV line
from his right arm, leaving the one in his left arm
in place. He still looked extremely ill, and Skinner
seriously wondered if he would be well enough to be
Mulder slowly turned his head in their direction.
"Scully? You okay?" He tried to reach out his hand
for her but found that he was too weak. Instead,
Scully took hold of his hand, rubbing along his thumb
in a comforting gesture,
"I'm better, Mulder. They're letting me go."
"She's going to the hotel to rest. They've arranged
to let us have a three bedroom suite, so I'll be able
to keep an eye on the two of you a little easier,"
"I can take care of Scully, sir," Mulder said weakly.
"Yeah?" Skinner questioned. "And who's going to take
care of you?"
"I'll be fine, sir," he insisted.
"Get some rest, Mulder," the AD advised. "I'll be
back in a few hours to see how you're doing."
"I can't believe they released you, Mulder. You're
as weak as a kitten," Skinner observed as he held on
to his agent in an effort to keep him from falling to
the floor of the elevator.
Mulder grunted, concentrating on his next breath for
the moment. He was able to speak in a few seconds.
"No more vomiting, blood work improved, no reason to
keep me, sir," Mulder gasped, holding onto the hand-
rail for dear life. "No beds available."
The elevator stopped at their floor. "Come on.
We're just a few doors down."
"I can make it."
Skinner and Mulder lurched through the door startling
Scully who was resting on the couch. She jumped up
and Skinner deposited Mulder where she had been lying
Her partner immediately groaned, pulling his legs up
to his stomach. "What's wrong?" Scully asked,
sitting back down beside him.
"Stomach muscles hurt!" Mulder exclaimed. His eyes
were squeezed shut against the wave of pain that
assaulted him. He felt Scully's steadying hands on
his back and collapsed into her touch.
"That's normal after all of the vomiting you did.
I'm very surprised they discharged you."
"No beds," he managed to get out.
"What are his discharge instructions?" Scully
questioned, turning to Skinner, her hands still
rubbing soothing circles onto Mulder's stiff back.
"Basically the same as yours. Rest, small amounts of
fluids every half hour, return to the ER immediately
if symptoms return," Skinner read from the paper
before he showed it to Scully.
Mulder dozed off while they were talking. "They
should have admitted him," she sighed angrily,
gathering up the blanket that she'd been wrapped in a
few minutes earlier, gently spreading it over him.
"You're preaching to the choir, Agent Scully. We'll
just have to do the best we can. You need to get
into bed and rest yourself. I'll wake him up in
about half an hour and make sure he drinks a few sips
of water. Then I'll get him to bed."
"I can lie on the recliner and keep an eye on him if
you need to go over your notes."
"I fully intend to go over my notes while I'm waiting
to wake him up. Now, do you need any help getting to
"Uh, no, sir. Please wake me if you need any help."
"I'll keep that in mind, Agent Scully. Now, please
lie down in your room before you lose what little
strength you've gained back," Skinner insisted
"I'm going now, sir."
Mulder awakened shortly before Skinner had planned to
rouse him. "Thirsty," he rasped hoarsely.
"I'm going to fix some ice chips and pour a few sips
of water over them. You can chew or suck on the ice
after you drink the water." Skinner made his way to
the counter where the ice bucket was kept. "Do you
need any help sitting up?" He opened the small
refrigerator and took out a bottle of water.
"Nah, I'm up. Oh, shit!" he exclaimed, grabbing his
stomach. "Muscles really hurt."
Skinner handed him the glass of ice and water.
"Would you like for me to call the hospital and see
if it's all right for you to take some Tylenol?"
"No, I'll be okay." He drank the water quickly.
"Good water. Thanks."
"You can have some more in another half hour. Let's
get you on your feet and into bed."
Skinner helped Mulder to his bed. It had been
terribly painful for the younger man to move. His
strained stomach muscles barely allowed him to
straighten up, and each step had been agony. He knew
that Mulder didn't want to make a fuss, but this was
one time when he could not abide by his wishes.
Grabbing the phone from its place on the end table,
Skinner called the front desk and asked of there was
a doctor on call. He was more than a little worried.
Half an hour later, Skinner had just delivered a
small amount of water to each agent when he heard a
soft knock on the door. He hurried to answer it and
was greeted by a lovely, young Hispanic woman
carrying the traditional, black doctor's bag.
"Hello, I'm Dr. Shelly Lamas, the physician on call."
"Yes, Dr. Lamas. Thanks for coming. Please come in.
I'm Walter Skinner. I believe we spoke earlier."
"Yes. You said your friend was in quite a bit of
pain?" she questioned.
"He's in a world of hurt right now. He's one of the
food poisoning victims. I think he vomited so much
that his stomach muscles are unbelievably sore."
"I see. May I examine him?"
"Right this way." Skinner brought her to Mulder's
room. "Mulder, this is Dr. Lamas. I called her to
see if she could prescribe something for the pain
Mulder wearily nodded his acceptance, which gave
Skinner some concern. Normally, Mulder tried to keep
a safe distance away from doctors. The fact that he
gave in so easily led him to believe that the pain
must be excruciating.
"Dr. Lamas, I'll leave you to your examination. I'll
be in the living area if you need me."
Ten minutes later Dr. Lamas exited Mulder's room,
closing the door softly behind her. Skinner motioned
her to have a seat on the couch.
"I gave him an injection of Demerol and Phenergan so
he should sleep for a while. Quite frankly, Mr.
Skinner, I have trouble understanding why he was
discharged from the hospital."
"You're not the only one puzzled by that decision.
The hospital claims there were no available beds,"
Skinner explained, biting down his annoyance at that
"I see. They must have given him enough IV fluids to
bring his blood work up to a borderline acceptable
reading. He is very weak."
"I know, but is he doing all right for the time
"Yes, his condition is satisfactory, but barely. It
will take him several days to get over this. He's
asking about his partner, Miss Scully. I'd like to
examine her also."
"I'll see if she's awake." Skinner rapped lightly on
Scully's door then stuck his head in. After a few
seconds he motioned for the doctor to join him. "She
has some questions about Mulder also. She's a
qualified doctor in her own right, and more often
than not sees to her partner's medical care."
"I'll speak to her and see you again when I'm
finished." After a few minutes she was back with
Skinner. "Miss Scully is recovering nicely. I think
it would be safe for her to go on a clear, liquid
diet. Why don't you call the kitchen and have them
send up some broth, jello and tea? She's in much
better condition than her poor partner."
"She only had a small bite of the tainted food,"
"Lucky for her. I think she should be able to sit up
when she feels like it, but she should be careful not
to push herself."
"Now, that's easier said than done," Skinner grinned.
"I understand. I'm going to leave some pre-loaded
syringes with Demerol and Phenergan for Mr. Mulder.
Miss Scully, er, Doctor Scully assures me that she
can administer the injections when he awakens."
"Yes, I'm sure she can," Skinner agreed.
"Continue to give Mr. Mulder small amounts of water
when he awakens. Rest is a very important factor in
his recovery right now along with re-hydration. If
he doesn't experience any more vomiting, you may want
to start him on a clear, liquid diet at lunch
"All right. The hotel is sending a private duty
nurse to stay with him tomorrow while I'm at the
conference. I'll be sure to tell her."
"I would like to examine Mr. Mulder again in the
morning, so I'll either speak to her or leave written
orders. Any questions?"
"No, Dr. Lamas, I think you've covered everything.
Thank you for coming so quickly."
"Not a problem, Mr. Skinner. I live here at the
hotel. Please do not hesitate to call if you need me
during the night. I can be here in minutes," the
doctor stated, shaking his hand as she turned to
"I'll keep that in mind," Skinner agreed, walking her
to the door.
Mulder awakened as soon as the painkillers began to
wear off. He was surprised to see Scully sitting in
a chair near the foot of the bed.
"Scully? How are you?" He tried to sit up but
quickly abandoned that idea when his stomach muscles
protested. "Damn it! Hurts like hell!"
"I can't imagine, Mulder. I'm a little sore myself,
but you must be suffering unbelievably."
"I'll be okay as long as you're better. You are
looking much better, by the way." That thought alone
comforted him despite his pain.
"Why, thank you, Mulder," she smiled, getting up to
sit beside him on the bed. "I even had a little
broth and jello a few hours ago." She took his left
hand in hers.
"I think I'll have to pass on that." He made a face
indicating his displeasure at the mention of food.
"Unfortunately, you're right. The doctor says maybe
you can try some broth for lunch. In the meantime,
have some water." She offered a glass of ice chips
with a little water to him. He started to sit up but
Scully pushed him back. "Let me hold the glass for
Mulder didn't protest as he began to sip the water
through a straw that Scully had thoughtfully placed
there earlier. He kept sipping until only ice was
"Sorry, Mulder, not right now. You can have the ice,
though. Do you think you can manage the glass?"
"I think so."
She gave it to him and he grabbed a few ice chips and
popped them into his mouth.
"How's the pain?"
"Let's talk about somethin' else," Mulder winced as
he crushed the ice chips in his mouth.
"That bad, huh?"
"The doctor left another dose of Demerol and
Phenergan. Would you like for me to inject it?"
"Later. Tell me about this mornin', when Skinner
found us. I don't remember."
"Actually, there isn't much to tell, but he did jump
to the wrong conclusion when he saw you in my bed,"
"Yes, really. He went crazy for about ten seconds,
then when I nearly passed out and you didn't move, he
finally figured out that we were both extremely ill
and hadn't been doing the horizontal mambo."
"So, he went a little ballistic, huh?" The thought
that scene conjured up tickled him, but he didn't
"You could say that."
"Damn! I always miss the good stuff. Urgh!"
"Mulder, you okay?"
"Mm, yeah, just a stomach cramp. They hit every now
and then. It'll pass. Just remove my head from my
body and that should cure the problem," he assured
her, handing the glass back. She ruffled his hair
"I'm going to get your pain medication. I'll give
you that injection, then you can rest," Scully
decided, getting up from her comfy place beside
"Me too?" she questioned.
"You need to rest too."
"I will as soon as I give you the injection."
Mulder patted the bed beside him. "Plenty of room
"You must be delirious," Scully commented.
"To risk your life over Skinner's reaction, you're
either delirious, crazy, or both!"
"Well, it was worth a try."
"Oookaaay, I'll be right back with that injection."
When she returned she asked, "Which hip did the
doctor use earlier?"
"You know this has to go in your hip. I'm just
trying to keep one side from getting too sore, but if
you don't care . . ."
"All right, all right. The doctor put it in the left
"Thank you. Can you roll onto your left side by
"Yeah, ow! Does hurt though. You trying to get into
my sweats, Agent Scully?" She grinned evilly as she
squirted air bubbles from the syringe. "Be gentle
Scully pulled down the waistband of his sweats and
swabbed the skin with an alcohol pad, injected him,
then swabbed the area again. "There you go." She
stifled a giggle that formed when she realized the
vulnerability of his current position. After
mentally admiring his nice ass, she pulled the
waistband back up and patted his bottom.
"Ooh, Scully, I'll give you five minutes to stop," he
"In your dreams, Mulder. Skinner's getting ready to
turn in. He asked me to leave your door open, so
give a shout if you need anything."
"All right, if I must. You're going to rest too,
"Yes, I am. I've only been up for around fifteen
minutes and I'm already done in," she sighed wearily.
Mulder took her right hand in his and stroked her
thumb. His eyes took on a serious gaze. "Scully,
I'm really sorry about this."
"For what? The food poisoning?"
He nodded yes.
"And how was that your fault?"
"You wouldn't have eaten any of the crab cake if I
"I don't seem to recall being tied down, or having it
forced down my throat. You couldn't have known. Put
the blame where it belongs. The kitchen was the
guilty party on this one."
"'Kay." He looked down and watched his fingers as
they moved across her palm, sighing.
"Mulder, I mean it. This was not your fault. They
are looking into the crab meat, lobster, or the eggs
used to make the batter."
"Ugh, thanks for that picture," he moaned.
"Sorry. Still queasy?"
"Mulder, the Phenergan should help that, but if it
doesn't, let us know," Scully instructed.
"I will. Indian Guide's honor," he promised, weakly
making the sign.
"You're still slightly dehydrated and your body can't
take too much of that. It could eventually cause a
systemic organ shutdown, coma, or even death. It's
nothing to fool around with, Mulder, so please let us
know if you start vomiting again," she pleaded.
"Good." She leaned down and kissed his forehead and
ruffled his hair. "Get some sleep."
"I'm heading for bed right now," she said, reaching
for the door. She took another lingering look at him
and satisfied that he was indeed resting, she made
her way to her room.
Later, Skinner was awakened from a fitful sleep when
he heard a dull thump in the room next to him. It
took a few seconds to process it, but when he did he
leapt out of bed and shot across the room. "Mulder!"
End Part 3
The Domino Effect-Part 4
Headers and disclaimers in part 1
Skinner rushed into Mulder's room to find him on the
floor beside his bed, trying to push himself up and
cursing under his breath. He knelt beside him.
"Mulder, you okay?"
"Um, think so."
"Let me help you up," Skinner offered, taking his
"'Kay," he agreed, groaning loudly when his stomach
muscles began to protest.
The AD helped him up and sat him on the side of the
bed. "What were you doing trying to get up, anyway?"
he inquired, looking Mulder over for any obvious
"Bathroom. Guess I'm weaker than I thought."
"It appears that way. Let me help you, all right?"
"That might be a good idea," Mulder admitted,
Skinner helped him up, holding onto him until they
reached the bathroom door.
"I can take it from here," Mulder assured him.
"Sorry, Mulder, but there are too many sharp edges
for you to hit your head on. I'm going in with you."
"Suit yourself," Mulder shrugged.
Skinner stuck to him like glue until he had Mulder
safely back to the side of the bed. "How about some
"Not now," Mulder answered, turning even paler.
"What's the matter?"
Skinner hastily pulled a wastebasket in front of
Mulder who was suddenly seized with dry heaves. By
the time he finished retching, Scully was at his
side. "Better?" she asked, pushing back a stubborn
lock of hair back from his forehead.
"Yeah, just weak from walking. I'll be okay. Just
need to rest."
"You do need to drink something, though. Do you
think you can keep it down now?"
"Let me rest, then I'll try."
"Scully, should I call the doctor?" Skinner looked
"No, not yet. I think Mulder's right. The exertion
of walking to and from the bathroom probably caused
this. Let's let him rest a bit and then see if he
can keep some water down."
"Just need to lie down for a few minutes," Mulder
"All right, I'll stay with you for a few minutes,"
"Thanks," Mulder groaned again loudly as he lay back,
grabbing his stomach. "That does hurt."
"I'm sorry. You'll start to feel better whenever you
feel like getting up and moving around more."
"I'm afraid that might be awhile."
"It will probably be a few days before you're up and
around very much, but don't get discouraged. You've
been quite ill. Just give it some time," Scully
"I'm going to get some cold water for both of you
while I'm up," Skinner decided.
"Thank you." Scully watched him leave before turning
her attention back to her partner.
Skinner went to the mini-bar where he could be heard
preparing their drinks.
"Can't even take a piss by myself," Mulder grumped.
"Well, the good news is that you feel the need to
urinate. That means you're not dehydrated like
before. You may even feel like sitting up a little
bit by this afternoon, but in the meantime don't feel
bad about needing help."
"I hope you're right," he sighed. "I hate being
"I know. I feel the same way. I was really looking
forward to spending some time in the sun."
"Maybe we still can in a few days. You're getting
better a lot faster than I am. If you feel okay,
don't stay inside because of me."
"Mulder, it will be another day or two before I feel
like doing any sunbathing, and I don't mind staying
inside with you, really."
"Thanks, Scully." He haphazardly patted her arm.
"Agents, I have your water," Skinner announced as he
stepped back into the room. "Drink up."
Scully took both glasses and put one on the
nightstand. "Mulder, don't try to get up. Let me
hold this for you while you take a few sips."
"Too tired to sit up anyway," he agreed.
Scully held the glass while he took two sips.
"That's it?" she asked.
"For right now. Need to sleep."
"All right, I'm going to put it on the nightstand.
Be sure to drink more when you're ready."
"I will. Thanks Scully, Skinner. Sorry, I woke
"That's okay. Give a shout if you need to get up
again," Skinner directed.
"Scully, let's get out of here and let him rest.
Don't forget your water."
Mulder's eyes were already closed as Scully and
Skinner quietly left the room. Once they were in the
living area, Scully took a seat in the armchair and
began to sip her water.
"How do you think he's doing, Scully? Should we be
concerned about his continued weakness?"
"Well, I'd feel better if he seemed to be gaining his
strength back, but we have to remember how ill he was
just twenty-four hours ago. It's going to take some
time. We have to be careful not to rush him."
"I'm just not used to seeing him like this. I'm
afraid I'm not a very good nurse."
"You're doing just fine, sir," Scully encouraged.
"You're doing all you can. You need to get back to
sleep. You have a busy day today."
"Yes, I do and you need to get some more rest too."
"I'm afraid you're right. I am pretty tired."
"The nurse should be here by 8:30 and Dr. Lamas wants
to examine you two again. She will leave orders for
the nurse. I'll try to be up by 6:30 or 7:00 to
check on you two and get ready for the day."
"Sounds like a plan," Scully agreed wearily, getting
up slowly from the chair. "I'll see you in a few
When Dr. Lamas arrived at 8:00 AM, Skinner greeted
her and filled her in on her two patients. She
examined Scully first and was pleased with her
progress. She even gave her the okay for a switch to
a bland diet.
Mulder was sleeping restlessly when she entered his
room, followed by an anxious Scully. Scully sat on
the side of his bed and gently shook his left
"Mulder, Dr. Lamas is here and she wants to examine
"Morning already?" he asked, rubbing his eyes.
"Yes, you slept like a log after you drank the water.
You need to drink a little more when Dr. Lamas is
"I'll try," he promised. "Morning, Dr. Lamas."
"Good morning to you too, Mr. Mulder. How are you
Scully gave him a look that let him know he needed to
tell the truth. He groaned inwardly.
"Honestly, I don't feel all that great," Mulder
ground out. He was shocked at how exhausted he
sounded even to himself.
"Well, let's see what's going on, shall we?"
The doctor opened her bag, taking out her stethoscope
and an aural thermometer. She put the thermometer in
Mulder's right ear, a concerned expression on her
face as she studied the read out when she removed it.
"100.4," she announced. "That's up a little from
last night. Okay, I'd like to listen to your heart
and lungs. Dr. Scully, could you help him sit up
Scully helped him to a sitting position. The pain it
caused was evident in the way his face tensed up.
"Stomach muscles not any better?" The doctor slid
the cold bell of the stethoscope under his t-shirt.
"Not that I can tell," Mulder answered, wincing at
The doctor took her time listening to his heart and
lungs and then took his pulse. Scully continued to
hold him up and rubbed his back in a reassuring
"Well?" Mulder asked, the examination exhausting him
further. He just wanted to be left alone.
"I'm afraid I don't see a lot of improvement yet, so
it's going to take some time. I'd like to draw some
blood and send it to a lab. I want to check your
electrolytes and your white blood count."
Scully had been listening to every word. "Do you
suspect a secondary infection?"
"I want to rule that out. In the meantime, continue
on water only until lunchtime, and then you can try
some broth and jello. Continue the bed rest. I'm
going to give you another injection of Demerol and
Phenergan and I'll leave the bottles with
instructions for the nurse to inject you every four
hours if needed. Any questions?"
"How long do you think I'll have to stay in bed?"
Mulder asked in a tiny voice that worried Scully.
"If you don't have a problem keeping the broth and
jello down, I'm hoping that you can begin to sit up
for short periods this evening. To tell the truth,
Mr. Mulder, it will probably be at least a week,
maybe more, before you completely regain your
strength," Dr. Lamas smiled confidently as she packed
up her bag.
"Damn! That long?"
"Yes, I'm afraid so. I wouldn't recommend traveling
for at least a week either. If you push it, you'll
just have a relapse and end up in the hospital for
several days at the very least."
"Listen to her, Mulder," Scully emphasized, helping
him lie down again.
"All right, Scully, I promise not to push it." He
settled back slowly on the pillows while Scully made
him comfortable, enjoying her care despite his
exhausted state. He blew out a weary breath.
"I'm glad you want to cooperate, Mr. Mulder. I can
see that we're tiring you. Let me get that blood
drawn and give you the injection. After that, I want
you to drink some water, then rest."
A few minutes later Dr. Lamas and Scully left
Mulder's room. Skinner was in the living room going
over his notes. "How's he doing?" he queried as
Scully took a seat on the couch next to him.
"I'm a bit concerned," the doctor stated. "I'm
leaving directions for the nurse to take his
temperature hourly and I'll also leave some Tylenol
suppositories in the event it goes over 101. I drew
some blood that I will send to a lab as soon as I
leave here. I'll get back to you as soon as I get
"What about his pain?" Skinner asked.
"It is still quite intense. I'm leaving enough
medication so that the nurse can inject him
throughout the day, as he needs it. I'll be back to
check on him around 6PM. Dr. Scully, I'll write all
of the directions for the nurse, but don't hesitate
to call me if you think his condition warrants it."
"I will. Thank you."
"Dr. Scully, you need to take care of yourself too.
You are doing quite well, but you must not push
yourself. I know you're concerned about him, but
please let the nurse attend to Mr. Mulder."
"She's right, Scully. Don't wear yourself out trying
to take care of Mulder," Skinner ordered, sternly.
"I don't intend to wear myself out, but I would like
to check on him from time to time," she huffed.
"We're not asking you to ignore him. Just let the
nurse do her job," Skinner said gently, realizing
that he'd been too harsh before.
"I'll be back at around 6:00 then," Dr. Lamas said as
she walked to the refrigerator.
The nurse had been there for two hours and had
already threatened to quit twice. Scully decided
that it might be time for a prolonged visit to
Mulder's bedside. She found a new tube of Chap Stick
and fixed some ice water. After taking a deep
breath, she entered Mulder's room.
"Thank goodness it's you, Scully," Mulder enthused as
he breathed a sigh of relief. "Where's Nurse
"The last time I saw Mrs. Waters, she was eying the
wet bar, trying to decide if it was too early to have
a stiff drink. She's already threatened to quit.
What do you have to say for yourself?"
"I'm sorry, but I just don't feel like having that
damned thermometer jammed into my ear every hour on
the freaking hour."
"I saw a nice, big rectal thermometer in her bag. I
wouldn't push my luck, Mulder," Scully chuckled.
"Too late. I've already been threatened with her
devices of torture."
"Why does that not surprise me? I have a new tube of
Chap Stick here and I thought you might be able to
"Thanks, Scully. My lips are really cracked."
"A side effect of dehydration. So, are you feeling
"Honestly, no. Is that iced water?"
"Yes, just for you." Scully handed him the frosty
"You're going to spoil me if you aren't careful." He
gave her a half smile and took a sip. "Mm, good and
"Maybe you need a little TLC."
"What did you have in mind?" Mulder asked, waggling
"Mulder . . ."
"What I had in mind was helping you get washed up and
into some clean clothes. You've been wearing the
same thing for a day and a half and I just thought it
might make you feel a little better."
"I can't take a shower?"
"Not as weak as you are."
"I guess I'll have to settle for what I can get. A
bed bath sounds great," Mulder stated. Actually he
was glad he didn't have to take a shower. There was
no way he'd be able to stand up long enough to
actually get clean and toweled off.
"I'll get Mrs. Waters to fix some water, then I'll
try to find something comfortable for you to wear in
"I think I have another pair of sweats and some
shorts in my bag. I should have a couple of t-shirts
"All right. Let me get Mrs. Waters started on the
water and I'll be right back."
After helping Mulder with part of his bath, Scully
waited patiently outside his door while he finished
up and changed clothes. When he indicated he was
decent again, she went back into his room. "Better?"
"Well, cleaner anyway. Thanks, Scully."
"You're welcome. Now, you need to drink some more
water and rest a little more. It will be time for
Mrs. Waters to take your temperature again pretty
"Oh, joy. Couldn't you take it and give her the
"Nope. I think one of us needs to stay on her good
side. She was giving me the evil eye while I was
helping you, so I think I'd better go back to my room
like a good little patient and rest a bit too."
"I'm sorry, Scully," he sighed. "Don't wear yourself
out over me."
"I'm not, Mulder. I'm feeling much better now," she
assured him. "But I do get a little tired from time
to time, so I'm going to take the doctor's advice and
sleep for a while."
"Will you eat lunch with me, such as it is?"
"I had already planned on it," she smiled, ruffling
his now clean hair.
"Great. You know where to find me," he grinned back.
"Finally, a little smile. You must be feeling
better," Scully said happily as she headed for the
door. "See ya, later."
As soon as Scully left, Mulder lay back on the
pillows and closed his eyes. He wished he did feel
better. He decided not to tell his partner about the
pains he'd been having in his back from time to time.
They didn't last long, and they weren't totally
unbearable. Maybe he'd strained another muscle. He
made himself as comfortable as possible and tried to
ignore all of the aches and pains that were
assaulting his body. Another hour and Scully would
be back for lunch. Just being with her would make
him feel better. He could make it until then.
End Part 4
The Domino Effect-Part 5
Headers and Disclaimers in Part 1
Scully followed Mrs. Waters into Mulder's room. The
nurse put their lunch tray on the nightstand with a
"Thank you, Mrs. Waters. I think we can manage from
here. Why don't you have your lunch now and I'll let
you know when we're finished."
"I just need to take Mr. Mulder's temperature, then
I'll leave you two alone."
Scully gave Mulder a classic look, one that told him
he'd better cooperate or else. He nodded a reluctant
yes and the nurse moved in, gently putting the
thermometer in Mulder's right ear. "100.9," she
"Mulder, it's going the wrong way," Scully pointed
out, concern lacing her voice.
He just shrugged as Mrs. Waters left them alone.
"Do you feel like eating?"
"Don't push yourself," she cautioned, noting how
miserable and unwell he looked.
Mulder managed a few sips of chicken broth and a few
spoonfuls of jello. He put the bowls back on the
tray and concentrated on his ginger ale.
"Maybe you'll feel like eating more at dinner,"
Scully tried to encourage him.
"Is the pain bad right now?"
"I'm okay. Eat. Don't worry about me," he answered,
taking a sip of his ginger ale.
"I'll have to admit that I'm getting tired of soup,"
"At least yours has noodles and vegetables in it and
you even got crackers. Maybe you'll get the go ahead
to return to a regular diet later."
"I probably will. My stomach feels okay now,
although I'm still a little weak."
"Ow!" Mulder put his ginger ale on the nightstand
and lay down suddenly, curling up in a ball and
clutching his stomach.
"Mulder, what's wrong?"
"Another stomach cramp," he gasped.
"This one must be a doozy," she observed, moving
closer to rub his back.
Mulder shook his head and hopped off the bed as fast
as he could, which wasn't very fast in his condition.
"Be right back," he managed to blurt as he stumbled
into the bathroom.
"Can I do anything to help?' Scully asked anxiously
through the door.
"No, I'm okay. Be out in a minute."
When Mulder came out a few minutes later, he was
paler than ever and was perspiring heavily by the
time he made it back to the bed. Just to be on the
safe side she moved the trash can over within his
reach. Not a moment too soon as Mulder proceeded to
lose what little lunch he'd managed to get down. It
was also the exact moment that Mrs. Waters decided to
check on them.
"I see lunch was a rousing success," she commented
"Mrs. Waters, could you get us a wet washcloth
please?" Scully asked sweetly.
"Can't get a break," Mulder gasped between heaves.
"If it's not one end, it's the other."
By the time the nurse returned, Mulder was sprawled
out exhausted on the bed. Scully gently wiped his
face and turned to the nurse. She didn't like the
way this was going at all. "I'm going to call Dr.
Lamas. Mulder, I'll be right back."
By the time she returned, Scully noticed that the
wastebasket had been cleaned and placed next to
Mulder whose stomach was in the process of trying to
empty itself again. To her surprise, the nurse was
sitting beside him, rubbing his back in slow circles
and speaking to him softly.
When he was finished, Mulder flipped limply over on
his back, clutching at his stomach. "Scully, if I
ever go near a seafood buffet again, shoot me!"
"Somehow, I don't think that will be necessary. Dr.
Lamas ordered a one-time increase in your pain and
anti-nausea medicine. She doubled it, so it should
make you very sleepy. When you awaken, she wants you
to have some Gatorade."
"No, I hate that stuff!" he exclaimed, his breath
coming in short pants as the pain claimed him once
"She's worried that you'll become dehydrated again
and a sports drink will replace the electrolytes more
readily than plain water," Scully explained. "And
you really need the calories. You're loosing weight
and you don't have it to spare."
Scully handed the nurse the hypodermic syringe and a
couple of alcohol wipes. After she had injected him,
Mrs. Waters produced a thermometer out of her pocket.
"I know you don't like this, but I need to check it
again and then I'll let you get some sleep.
Mulder scowled but nodded yes and she popped the
thermometer in his ear, frowning when she saw the
"What is it?" Scully was instantly by her side,
peering over her shoulder.
"I just can't catch a break can I?" Mulder moaned,
grabbing his ailing stomach. "Damned stomach
"I'll get the Tylenol Dr. Lamas left," Mrs. Waters
said. "I'll be right back."
Scully sat down beside her partner and resumed
rubbing his back until he began to fidget under her
ministrations. "Do you need to get up again?"
"No, it's going away."
"Mulder, all of the medications you are receiving
should make you feel a little better."
Mrs. Waters returned with the Tylenol.
"I'm going to rinse out this washcloth while Mrs.
Waters gives you the Tylenol. I'll be right back."
"What? You don't want to witness my total
humiliation?" Scully ran her fingers through his
hair. He was a miserable sight.
"Mulder, I'm going to ignore that because I know you
aren't feeling well."
By the time Scully returned with the washcloth and a
bowl of cool water, the nurse had mercifully
completed her task and left the room.
"Scully, I'm sorry. I feel like hell and I shouldn't
take it out on you or Mrs. Waters," Mulder
apologized, looking close to tears.
"It's okay, I know. Apology accepted." Scully wrung
the excess water from the washcloth and began to
bathe his face. "You know, Mulder, I think we may
have misjudged Mrs. Waters."
"I know. She was very nice to me while I was trying
to throw up my toenails. I'll say something nice to
her later. Could you pull the blanket up, please?"
"Sorry, but we need to cool you off," she answered as
she ran the washcloth down his arms.
"But I'm freezing."
"Don't worry. As soon as the Tylenol starts to work,
you'll be very warm."
"Promises, promises," he yawned, leaning into her
"Just relax and let the medications work. You'll
feel a lot better soon."
"Glad you think so. Damn, I'm so cold!"
Scully continued to bathe him until he relaxed enough
to fall asleep. She noticed that Mrs. Waters had
left the thermometer on the nightstand so she grabbed
it and carefully took Mulder's temperature. He
didn't stir. She looked at the readout and was
pleased that it was down to 101.5.
She headed back to the living area, surprised to see
Mrs. Waters talking to Skinner.
"Agent Scully, how are you doing?"
"I'm feeling much better, sir."
"Mrs. Waters tells me that Agent Mulder is still
feeling pretty rough."
"Yes, sir, I think that would be an adequate
description." Scully dropped wearily into the
armchair that had become her favorite. "We suspect
he may be developing a secondary infection."
"And if he is?"
"He may have to go back to the hospital for a course
of IV antibiotics."
Skinner looked at his watch. "Lunch break is almost
over. We should be winding up by 5 PM. I'll try to
get back before Dr. Lamas comes. In the meantime,
get some rest, Scully. I have a feeling we may be in
for a long night."
Dr. Lamas arrived promptly at 6:OO. "Dr. Scully,
you're looking much better."
"Thank you. I'm feeling a lot better too. I'm
almost back to full strength." Scully motioned for
her to come inside and shut the door after she
"No problem with the bland diet?"
"Wonderful! I think it would be safe for you to
return to a regular diet tomorrow. Try to avoid
anything greasy or spicy, though."
Scully smiled as she thought of her normal diet on
the road. It was usually either greasy or spicy,
depending on what Mulder was in the mood for. How
she wished her partner felt like eating something
"How is Mr. Mulder?"
"His temperature has been up and down all afternoon,"
Mrs. Waters reported.
"Any more vomiting?"
"No, but he has refused to drink even water. It's
all here in my notes." The nurse handed over a very
detailed report of Mulder's ongoing misery.
"Oh, not good. His electrolytes were borderline and
his white cell count was slightly elevated, but that
isn't unusual in light of the staphylocccus aureus."
"So, they've determined the type of food poisoning?"
"Yes, they think it was in the eggs used to make the
batter for the crab cakes. Neither the food handlers
nor the crab meat was contaminated."
"I see. Do you think it's possible he might also be
dealing with a secondary infection?"
"I don't know, Dr. Scully. It's quite possible that
Mr. Mulder might still be fighting the primary
infection. He did ingest quite a large portion. In
light of the severity of the initial onset, I'm
sticking with that diagnosis for now. Let's give him
another twenty-four hours. If there's been no
improvement by tomorrow evening, I'll suggest that he
be admitted to the hospital."
"All right," Scully agreed, worry niggling at her.
"That's on the condition that he can get some fluids
to stay down. Otherwise, I'll send him tonight."
Scully allowed herself a small smile. "He hates
hospitals. Maybe the threat of hospitalization will
convince him to drink something."
"Did they deliver the Gatorade?"
"Yes, they brought it about an hour ago," Mrs. Waters
"Good. I'm going to examine him now. Dr. Scully,
why don't you stand by with that drink? Mrs. Waters,
you may go now. We'll need you again tomorrow if
that fits in with your schedule," Dr. Lamas hinted.
"Yes, I can do that. Same time?"
Dr. Lamas looked to Scully for confirmation and she
"We'll see you in the morning then."
Mrs. Waters gathered her things. As she opened the
door, Skinner exited the elevator. She greeted him
and held the door open.
Skinner closed the door behind him. "Sorry I'm late.
There were quite a few questions. Even though the
two of you did an excellent job of preparing
everything, I could have used your help. How is
Agent Mulder? Is he any better?"
"No, I'm afraid not," Scully sighed. "Why don't I
fill you in while Dr. Lamas examines him?"
Skinner pulled his tie off with a flourish and sank
onto the sofa. "Sure."
Dr. Lamas disappeared inside Mulder's room.
"Would you like something to drink, sir?" Scully
opened the refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of
"No, thanks. I'm good. Why isn't he getting any
"We're not sure. Either the primary infection hasn't
run its course, or he's developing a secondary
"But, you're almost over it," Skinner pointed out.
"Fortunately, I'm almost back to normal, but much
more of the toxin entered Mulder's system."
"I see. Should we be concerned?" Skinner asked,
"At this point, I'm not sure. I'll have to admit
that I've never seen Mulder this ill, other than when
he battled that virus in Alaska. He's getting very
discouraged because he usually bounces right back."
Scully put the sports drink on the counter and joined
Skinner on the couch.
"Has he been cooperating?"
"For the most part, yes. He's refusing to drink
anything right now, though. He's had quite a bit of
abdominal pain and I think he's so afraid he'll start
vomiting again, that he'd rather not even try. Dr.
Lamas is more or less going to threaten him with IV's
and hospitalization. If that doesn't persuade him,
"I see." Skinner propped his feet up on the coffee
Scully sighed, rising from her seat. "I'm going to
take this in to Mulder now. Wish me luck."
"If you need me as an added threat, just give a
"I'll keep that in mind," she replied as she strode
across the room and knocked on Mulder's door, then
entered. "How's it going?"
"I think I've persuaded Mr. Mulder to at least try
the Gatorade. I've given him another shot of Demerol
along with some Phenergan, so the nausea shouldn't be
"Great. Here you go, Mulder. I've seen you drink
fruit punch before," Scully reminded him as she sat
on the side of his bed, handing him the bottle of red
"That doesn't mean I liked it."
"Just pretend that you do."
"Why don't you get some of that down while I talk to
Dr. Scully and Mr. Skinner outside? I'll be back to
check on you before I leave," she promised.
Mulder saluted her with the bottle, pulled the top,
drank a sip and made a face.
End Part 5
The Domino Effect-Part 6
Headers and Disclaimers in Part 1
"Dr. Lamas, I want your honest opinion," Skinner
voiced after they were all seated. "Have you seen
any improvement whatsoever?"
"Mr. Skinner, I can honestly say that I haven't seen
any improvement. In fact, his condition is slightly
worse than 24 hours ago."
"I'll have to admit that Agent Scully and I are very
concerned. Agent Mulder usually bounces right back
from any illness or injury he experiences. He's been
so ill that he hasn't even turned on the TV in his
room. That TV is always on, even when he sleeps.
That just isn't normal for Mulder. I think you can
see why we are so anxious."
"I understand, Mr. Skinner. I'm at the point where
I'll have to see some improvement in the next twenty-
four hours or I will insist that he be hospitalized."
"What can we do in the meantime?" Scully queried.
"You're doing all you can. Continue to encourage him
to drink, and administer Tylenol for the fever. I
think tonight could be the turning point.
Staphylococcus aureus generally lasts from 24 to 48
hours so we should see some improvement by morning.
Please remember that it will take several days for
Mr. Mulder to gain enough strength to even sit for
short periods of time. He must not push it or he
will suffer a relapse."
"Thank you, Dr. Lamas, for all you've done. We'll
continue with what we've been doing and hope for the
"That's all I ask. I've arranged for the nurse to
return tomorrow. Dr. Scully, if you feel up to it
you may start taking short walks or sit outside in a
"I had planned to start moving around a bit more
tomorrow," Scully reported, wishing Mulder could join
her in the sunshine. The fact that he hadn't yet
exhibited his usual stir craziness was testament to
how ill he was.
Dr. Lamas rose from her seat. "Listen to your body,
Dr. Scully. Don't push yourself, either. If your
body feels tired or weak, then by all means rest.
It's fine to help with your partner's care, but
please let Mrs. Waters do most of the work."
"I'll keep that in mind. Sir, if you don't need me
for anything, I'd like to sit with Mulder for a
"Sure, Scully," he smiled.
"Are you finished discussing my lack of progress?"
Mulder was propped up on several pillows, eying his
bottle of Gatorade with distaste.
"Don't flatter yourself. Who says you were the topic
of the entire conversation?"
Mulder rolled his eyes, sighed, and took another
short sip of the sports drink. "Nasty!"
Scully sat beside him and pulled his hands up so she
could see the bottle. "I see you've managed to get
down some of the Gatorade at least."
"Down being the operative word, as in, will it stay
Scully pulled him into a hug, and rubbed her hands
over his back. He still felt far too warm. "Have
"As far as my stomach goes, I've lost all faith," he
She hugged him tighter. "Come on. Don't get
"Sorry, but I'm just not good at being sick."
Mulder handed her the bottle of Gatorade. "No more."
"Well, you got almost a third of it down. That
"Could I go back to water or ginger ale, please?" he
"You can have water or ginger ale for the time being,
but you need to drink some more Gatorade later. You
heard what the doctor said and what she threatened."
"Okay, I'll try." He slid down in the bed while
Scully removed a few pillows. "Why am I so tired?
All I've done for almost 48 hours is lie in bed."
"I know," she said sympathetically. "Dr. Lamas
thinks tonight could be the turning point. The
average case of food poisoning of this type generally
lasts for 24 to 48 hours. If you can fight off that
fever, I think you'll start to see a great
"I'm trying." Frustration was evident in his voice.
"Gotta get up."
"I'll get Skinner."
"Can't you help me?"
"Mulder, if you start to fall there's no way I could
hold you up. Besides, do you really want me to stand
by while you do your business?"
"Uh, no, and I don't particularly care for Skinner to
"Until you gain some strength back someone will have
to be with you. You don't want to add a concussion
to your list of woes do you?"
"No, I think I'll pass on that."
"Good decision. I'll get Skinner."
"Agent Mulder, we've got to stop meeting like this,"
Skinner teased as he entered his agent's room.
"Couldn't agree more, sir." Scully helped him swing
his legs over until he was sitting on the side of the
Skinner reached for Mulder's elbow. "Ready to go?"
"As soon as the room stops spinning." Mulder
blanched as he waited for his equilibrium to return.
Scully's face began to show concern. "Will you be
able to make it? I can find the urinal you brought
home from the hospital."
"Got to go or start swimming, and I may need to sit
for a while, if you get my drift, in which case the
urinal would be useless."
"Agent Scully, why don't you order us something to
eat while I stay with Mulder?"
"Yes, sir. Mulder, would you like anything?"
"No. Just want to use the bathroom and go back to
"I'll order some jello and maybe you'll feel like
eating it later."
"Mulder, you ready?" Skinner reached for his elbow
"Let's do it."
Skinner helped him stand and everything was fine
until he tried to straighten up. He groaned loudly
and clutched his stomach.
"Those muscles still bothering you?"
"Worse than before."
"Do you need to rest another minute or two?"
Mulder shook his head no. "Unless you want to clean
up a huge mess, we'd better get going now."
Skinner grimaced with empathy and tightened his grip
on Mulder as they quickened their pace.
Scully was gone when they came out of the bathroom.
"Make sure Scully rests." Skinner held on tightly to
Mulder's elbow, as his strength seemed to be
flagging. "Don't want her to have a relapse," he
"I agree. One sick agent is more than enough."
"Tired," he groaned as he collapsed in a heap on the
Skinner helped him get as comfortable as possible and
arranged the pillows. "Get some rest. I'm sure
Scully will be back later."
"Dinner should be here soon," Scully announced as
Skinner entered the living room.
"Great. I'm so hungry I could eat a horse. Mulder's
tucked safely into bed. I could tell that he was
very tired. He tends to speak in shortened
"I've noticed that too. I ordered some jello. Maybe
I can convince him to give it a try when he wakes."
Skinner sat down on the couch propping his feet up on
the coffee table, a favorite position. "What do you
have planned for tomorrow, Agent Scully?
"I haven't really made any plans. I thought I'd play
it by ear. I don't want to go far from Mulder. Do
you need my help, sir?"
"No, I want you to take the day to rest and relax and
get your strength back. If you're up to it, perhaps
you could help a little on the last day of the
conference. We'll see how you feel after you're up
and about tomorrow."
"I'd be glad to help."
"I don't want to hear that you've spent the entire
day taking care of Mulder. Go outside and take a
short walk along the beach, or sit on the balcony and
watch the pleasure boats on the ocean. Mrs. Waters
is being paid to watch over him."
"I would like to spend some time with him. He
relates better to someone he knows."
"I understand, Agent Scully. I just don't want you
wearing yourself out."
Scully raised her right hand as if taking an oath.
"I promise I won't."
Scully and Skinner chatted amiably until their dinner
arrived. Scully found the jello and put it in the
refrigerator, then settled down to eat her own meal.
After dinner, they watched TV and talked about the
conference and the seminar Skinner was conducting. A
full stomach and comfortable surroundings soon
relaxed Scully to the point that she dozed off in her
Skinner gently shook her shoulders. "Scully, I think
it's time to call it a night."
"I'm sorry, sir. I must have nodded off."
"That's all right. Do you need any help getting to
"No, I'm fine." She stretched and yawned. "I guess
I was more tired than I thought."
"Then you definitely need to get to bed." Skinner
offered his hand and she took it.
Just as he pulled her up, they heard a pitiful moan
from Mulder's room, then a very weak, "Scully."
It took the two of them just seconds to reach
Mulder's side, dreading what they might find. He was
curled in a fetal position, shivering. "Freezing.
Hurts all over," he gasped. "Help me . . .please?"
End Part 6
The Domino Effect Part 7
Headers and disclaimers in Part 1
Scully was shocked and increasingly worried that her
partner seemed to have gotten so much worse in a
short period of time. She was immediately at his
side, feeling his forehead. "You're burning up! I
need to take your temperature. Do you think you can
hold the thermometer under your tongue?"
Mulder shook his head no. He was sweaty and
exhausted, his eyes wanting to close.
"All right. Hang in there while I get my
thermometer." As she rushed to her room, she wished
that she had brought the larger aural thermometer on
this trip, but she really hadn't expected to need
more than a few basic first-aid items. She quickly
found it, and returned to Mulder's room to find him
in the same position, curled up in a ball and shaking
with chills. A wave of sympathy washed over her when
she thought that her normally strong partner had been
reduced to this poor, pitiful creature.
"I'll need to put this under your arm," Scully
explained, pulling his t-shirt up. "It will take a
little bit longer, but will have the same result."
She positioned the thermometer and sat beside him on
the bed to wait for the results, he hand gently
moving up and down his spine in a soothing motion.
"I need another blanket," he demanded through
"We need to keep you cooled down, Mulder. I'm sorry,
but an extra blanket wouldn't be a good idea right
"Oh, you haven't seen my mean side yet," she teased
as she ruffled his hair.
"Don't think I want to."
The thermometer finally beeped and Scully removed it,
pulling Mulder's shirt down. She turned to show the
readout to Skinner, reminding him to add a degree.
He whistled when he saw it.
"How high?" Mulder convulsed with chills.
"103.6. Sir, could you get a Tylenol out of the
refrigerator, then bring a bowl of tepid water and
some towels?" Scully asked as she began to tug
Mulder's t-shirt up.
"Scully, not in front of the boss." Mulder continued
to shiver. Scully chuckled as she pulled the t-shirt
over his head. His arms immediately folded around
himself as the chills shook him harder.
"Well, at least you still have your sense of humor."
"I'll be right back." Skinner left in search of the
items Scully needed.
"Mulder, besides aching all over, do you hurt any one
place more than another?" Scully had snapped into
full doctor mode.
"My back started hurting pretty bad about an hour
"Can you show me where?"
Mulder pointed out the area below his ribs on his
"Any burning or discomfort when urinating?"
"Yeah, but it wasn't too bad." Scully's skeptical
brow rose slightly.
"Any other new symptoms?"
"No, now can I have my shirt back?"
"We need to bring that fever down. I know it's
uncomfortable, but it is necessary."
"Come on, Scully. I'm freezing here."
She had to smile at his persistence. That was one of
the things that made him so endearing to her. Funny
that she had been thinking of those little things so
Skinner interrupted her thoughts when he put the bowl
of water on the nightstand and handed her the Tylenol
"I'm going to need a rubber glove. I should have
several in my medical kit. It's lying on my bed."
Skinner nodded and left.
"Scully, do you have to put the suppository in?"
Mulder asked his face flushed from fever and
"It's either me or Skinner. Take your pick."
"All right, Skinner's not getting anywhere near my
ass," he conceded, pushing his boxers and sweats
down. "Don't get too excited."
Scully shot him a look that warned him not to push
his luck. Mulder cringed even through his chills at
the thought that his ass was now vulnerably displayed
for all to see.
Skinner arrived with the rubber glove and handed it
to Scully. She snapped it on quickly, reflecting her
years of experience with that maneuver. "Ready,
"I guess." Mulder hoped that Skinner wouldn't stick
around for this little epic.
Skinner did have the decency to look the other way as
Scully quickly completed the procedure and discarded
the glove. "Let's get you turned over on your back,"
she suggested, helping him pull up his sweats.
When Mulder was once again facing her, he began to
have another violent chill. "What's wrong with me
now?" Weariness was evident in his voice.
"I suspect a urinary tract infection. It's a common
complication of food poisoning and dehydration."
"How are you going to treat it?"
"I'll have to check with Dr. Lamas. She may want to
admit you to the hospital."
"No! Absolutely not!" Despite his weariness, Mulder
was able to make his wishes well known.
"Don't get all bent out of shape, Mulder. It's not a
certainty," Skinner reminded him.
Scully dipped a hand towel in the bowl of water and
squeezed out the excess. As she began to bathe
Mulder's face she turned to her supervisor. "Sir,
could you call Dr. Lamas and see if she could examine
Mulder right now?" He's developed some new symptoms
and in light of the temperature rise I think he needs
to be evaluated immediately."
"I'm on it, Agent Scully. I'll return as soon as I
can to help you."
"Thanks." She continued to bathe Mulder's face and
"Shh, just lie back and let me do this. You'll start
to feel better soon. Just try and relax."
"Normally, I'd love you bathing me, running your
hands up and down my body, but I need to get warm."
He didn't mention that that was high on his list of
fantasies, minus the potential hypothermia.
"As soon as your fever drops you'll warm up. I
promise." She smiled ruefully, sponging his arms and
chest again. She was secretly enjoying the physical
contact, but would have wished for better
circumstances. She knew Mulder despised being ill.
Skinner returned with the news that Dr. Lamas would
be there in around ten minutes. "What do you want me
"You can refresh the towels as I hand then to you."
"All right. I think I can handle that."
For the next ten minutes they worked between them to
bring Mulder's temperature down. He was shaking like
a leaf and getting quite testy at their
ministrations. Scully felt mean for having to put
him through this distress, but it was important to
keep it going. She could tell that her boss was
concerned too. There was a knock and Skinner left to
answer the door.
"That must be Dr. Lamas. Let's take your temp again
while she's making her way in here, partner."
"Still cold," Mulder complained as Scully put the
thermometer back under his arm.
""What's going on, Mr. Mulder?" the doctor asked as
she breezed into the room, coming over to sit by him
on the bed.
"They're trying to freeze me to death. Help."
Scully rolled her eyes as she removed the thermometer
from under her partner's arm. She looked at the
read-out and handed it to the doctor.
"That's down 6/10ths of a degree in the last 10
"Mr. Mulder, I understand you've developed some new
"Yeah," he answered dejectedly.
Scully took over for him. "He's developed pain and
burning with urination and some back pain."
"I'd like to examine you more thoroughly and ask you
some questions. Would you like your friends to stay,
or should I ask them to leave?"
"They might as well stay. It'll save you the trouble
of explaining it twice." His embarrassment was
complete now, anyway.
When she finally finished her examination, Dr. Lamas
once again sat beside Mulder on the side of the bed.
"Well, we have two options. The first one is the one
that I prefer, and that is to admit you to the
hospital. With a course of IV antibiotics and
fluids, I think we can have you back on your feet in
a few days."
The look on Mulder's face expressed his displeasure
with that option.
"The other option would require taking blood and
urine samples and sending them off for analysis. In
the meantime, we can treat the symptoms and start you
on broad spectrum antibiotics."
Mulder didn't comment for a few seconds then asked a
question. "Which option will get me well the
"Hospitalization," they all answered in unison.
"Okay, Doc. Make the arrangements," he sighed.
"You're making the best decision, Mr. Mulder," the
doctor assured him, patting his hand.
"Do you think they'll let me have a blanket?" he
"I'm not making any promises," she chuckled and
grinned up at Scully who had a similar smirk on her
face. "If you'll excuse me I'll call the hospital
and set things in motion." She got up from her
position beside Mulder. "I'll be back in a few
minutes with the details."
As soon as she left, Scully began gathering the
things that Mulder might need for the next few days.
"Let's see about getting you dressed." Skinner began
looking around for his agent's socks and shoes while
Scully laid out some clean clothes and Mulder's carry
on flight bag.
"Could someone find my coat?" Mulder continued to
shiver, hugging his arms to his chest.
Between the two of them, they quickly had Mulder
dressed and wearing shoes by the time Dr. Lamas
retuned. "I've made arrangements to have you
admitted to a different hospital. I think you will
find that they have a very knowledgeable and caring
staff. I talked to the hotel management and there
will be a car waiting for you. Someone should be
coming with a wheelchair any time."
"Wheelchair?" Mulder looked horrified. "I don't
"You weren't expecting to walk?"
"Actually, I was." His face remained impassive,
cluing Scully in to the panic and helplessness he
"Take the wheelchair, Mulder," Skinner ordered. "I
don't particularly feel like catching you when you
"He's right, Mulder." Scully sat on the bed beside
him and rubbed his back. "Listen to him."
"Scully, you weren't planning on accompanying us were
you?" Skinner inquired.
"Well, yes, I was."
"I'll get him admitted and stay with him until he's
"But . . ."
Mulder noted that Scully was about to start an
argument with Skinner and stopped her in mid-
sentence. As much as he wanted her company, he was
concerned that she too had been sick and needed to
rest after the past few rough days of that, and
looking after him. He wasn't a good patient at the
best of times, and besides, this whole thing was his
fault. "Listen to him, Scully. You still need to
rest. I'll be in good hands with Skinner."
"All right, but I intend to be there first thing in
the morning to see how you're doing." She gave him a
resigned, sad smile, taking his hand and squeezing
"We'll discuss that when I return," Skinner decided.
"No, sir. There will be no discussion. I believe I
was going to take one more day to do as I liked in
order to get my legs back under me, and that is the
way I intend to spend it."
Skinner remained silent for a minute, thinking it
over. "All right. I can see that arguing with you
would be futile."
Mulder nodded his affirmation as he continued to
shiver. He squeezed Scully's hand back, giving her
the best smile he could manage. His bravery was all
for her benefit.
Scully smiled back, hiding the fact that she was
secretly frightened to see him so ill. She would
miss not being by his side, being there to hold his
hand as she so often did at his hospital bedside. It
didn't feel right that he would be going without her.
It almost broke her heart and despite his strong
reassuring smile that he would be okay with this, she
knew he had to be dying inside.
The doorbell rang, signaling the arrival of the
Mulder took a deep breath while continuing to shiver,
as Skinner helped him into the chair. His eyes
unbearably sad, a myriad of unspoken emotions passed
between Scully and him as they looked at each other.
Mulder waved a weak good-bye and was gone, leaving
Scully to say a silent prayer for his recovery.
End Part 7
The Domino Effect-Part 8
Headers and disclaimers in part 1
The trip to the hospital was very hard on Mulder.
Every time his body was racked with chills, his
stomach muscles complained mightily. By the time the
car pulled up to the emergency entrance, he was on
the verge of losing consciousness. The transfer from
the car to the gurney didn't even pull him from his
stupor. Skinner looked on, growing more worried by
The attendants took him straight to an examining
room, while Skinner was left to deal with the
admitting process. The AD fervently wished Scully
could have been there in his place. Mulder coped so
much better when she was with him at times like this.
By the time the AD was allowed into the examining
room, Mulder's clothes had been replaced with a
hospital gown, an IV had been inserted and he was
hooked up to the standard monitoring equipment. He
looked dreadful and it didn't take a doctor to note
that his heart monitor was reading a rather worrying
"Well, Agent Mulder. Here we are again."
"Where's Scully?" Mulder asked weakly. "Need her."
He seemed to be having a little difficulty breathing
and his lucidity appeared to be failing too.
"She's coming in the morning, Mulder. She needs to
get a good night's sleep," Skinner explained gently.
"What happened? How did I get here? You're sure
Scully's not hurt?"
"She's fine, Mulder. You've both been ill. Don't
you remember?" Skinner was a bit taken aback at his
agent's confused condition.
"Um, not sure. Feel sick though. So cold," he
shivered. "Can I have a blanket?"
Skinner looked to the nurse who was writing in
Mulder's chart. "Mr. Mulder, remember I told you
that you have a very high fever? We need to cool you
down, not warm you up."
"I'll just get it myself," he decided, attempting to
"Easy, Mulder!" Skinner warned, gently pushing him
back. He noted with alarm that Mulder's monitor was
starting to sound most unhappy at the exertion he was
creating by his movements.
"Mr. Mulder, you need to stay in bed or else we'll
have to use restraints. Do you understand?"
"Uh-huh, but I'm so cold." He sounded almost like a
little boy as he tried to curl up into a tight ball.
"We're trying to make you more comfortable, Mr.
Mulder. I just put some nice medicine in your IV.
It should start to make you feel better pretty soon."
"Just want to get warm," he mumbled as he dozed off.
"The doctor ordered a sedative," the nurse explained.
"His temp is close to 105. We're going to give him a
tepid bath now and try to keep him as comfortable as
possible while they get his room ready upstairs."
The doctor breezed into the room. "I'm Doctor
Kensington." He offered his hand to Skinner
"Walter Skinner. I'm Agent Mulder's supervisor,"
Skinner informed him as they shook hands.
"We're going to get some lab work done here in the ER
and then we'll be sending him upstairs as soon as
they're ready for him."
"Any idea what we might be dealing with?"
"Dr. Lamas suspects a kidney infection, and my
preliminary exam agrees with that. We're going to
insert a catheter, get a urine sample and take some
blood for a complete work-up. After we get the
results we'll know a little more about how to treat
"He's pretty sick right now. We're going to work on
getting his temperature down quite aggressively too.
Will you be staying with him?"
"For a few hours at least."
The doctor gave Skinner a knowing look and shuffled
his feet as he spoke again quietly. "He'll need
someone with him until his fever is more manageable,
otherwise we'll have to put him in restraints. From
what Dr. Lamas indicated, the hotel will be picking
up the tab on this, so I could call in a private duty
nurse if you like."
"No, I'd rather stay. He needs someone he knows."
"As you wish."
Skinner crossed his arms over his chest. "Exactly
how sick is he? I mean will he recover quickly once
you find the correct treatment, or will this be a
long, involved recuperation?"
"Mr. Skinner, right now he's in serious condition.
His recovery will depend on a lot of factors, but
let's hope for the best right now."
"Which would be?"
"That he'll be up and around in a few days. Plan on
a minimum 48-hour hospitalization. Now, if you'll
excuse me, I'll get his orders written and see about
getting him upstairs. Dr. Lamas did request a deluxe
private room, so you should be fairly comfortable."
"Thank you, Doctor."
As he left, the nurse prepared to insert the
catheter. He grinned to himself. He knew that
Mulder would really hate that. He wished for the
umpteenth time that Scully was there in his place.
No prizes for guessing whom Mulder would rather have
holding his hand about now.
"I guess you'll want me to leave?" Skinner
questioned, hoping that she would say yes.
"No, it's all right. You can stay. He might feel a
little more comfortable with a friend here."
Skinner grimaced as she inserted the tube. Mulder
stirred and whispered, "Scully, wait until I feel
better," then dozed off again.
That gave Skinner some food for thought. He grinned
widely, sheepishly looking anywhere but at his agent,
and wondered how much was in the office pool at this
The nurse busied herself with recording the supplies
used and keeping an eye on the monitors. "Who's
"She's his partner at the F.B.I. and probably the
best friend he has."
"Sounds like it might be a little more intimate than
that," the nurse grinned. She winked and her whole
face lit up. Skinner grinned back.
"For right now, that's still a matter of
"Someone should be here soon to take him to his room.
Because of his high temperature, Dr. Kensington has
requested that I remain here until the transfer. My
name is Karen Bower," she said offering her hand.
"Walter Skinner," he answered as he shook her hand.
"How long have you two worked together?"
"Around 6 and a half years, give or take a month or
"Working for the F.B.I. must be a very exciting job."
"It has its moments, but it's also a lot of paper
work, continuing education and management headaches."
"Sounds very similar to nursing," she grinned.
"Are you in a supervisory position also?"
"Yes, I am. So, what brings you to Miami, Mr.
"If you'll call me Karen."
"Well, Karen, it's one of those continuing education
opportunities I was referring to. Agents Mulder and
Scully were here to assist me and were felled by food
poisoning. While Agent Scully is recovering nicely,
Agent Mulder has been quite ill."
"Walter, let me assure you that Mr. Mulder will
receive the best of care here."
"If everyone is as nice as you, Agent Mulder might
actually behave himself."
She gave him a knowing smile. "Well, I happen to
think we have an excellent staff."
Mulder moaned. "Can someone turn up the heat? Damn
it to hell! Don't tell me I forgot to pay that bill
"He's really out of it," Skinner chuckled.
"Poor thing," Karen sympathized as she began running
a basin of lukewarm water. "Well, Mr. Mulder, let's
see if we can make you feel a little better."
Skinner was quickly at her side. "Here, let me carry
that for you."
"Thank you. Let me get his temp again before I start
bathing him." After a few seconds she looked at the
readout on the aural thermometer. "105.2. He's hot
as a firecracker. They'll probably put him on a
cooling blanket upstairs."
She began to gently bathe Mulder's face. When she
finished there, she untied his gown and folded it
down around his waist, baring his upper torso. She
carefully bathed his chest and arms while he
continued to shiver violently, muttering
unintelligibly all the while.
"Are you sure you couldn't at least give him a
sheet?" Skinner felt sorry for his agent and wanted
him to be comfortable.
"Walter, I wish I could, but his temperature is
dangerously high. He could go into febrile
convulsions, lapse into a coma, or suffer permanent
"Stop! Too cold!" Mulder complained loudly, trying
to push her hand away.
"Mulder, calm down." Skinner moved closer to the
gurney. "She's only trying to help."
"Stop it now! I'm freezing my balls off!"
"Mulder, I know you're uncomfortable, but if you
don't cooperate they will put you in restraints."
"Where's Scully? She'll give me a blanket."
"Mulder, remember Scully has been ill too. She's
resting at the hotel," Skinner urgently explained
again as Karen continued to bathe a restless Mulder.
"She's sick? Got to go to her." He made an effort
to rise and Skinner held him down with one large hand
on his chest.
"Mulder, she's feeling much better. She'll be here
to stay with you in the morning."
"Skinner, what's wrong with me? Why do I feel so
sick?" Tears began to form in his eyes and he
angrily wiped them away. Karen grabbed both of his
"Mr. Mulder, you have a high fever. You've had food
poisoning and you just don't seem to be getting any
better, but if you'll let us help you, we'll have you
up and about in no time," Karen assured him.
"'Kay. Stomach hurts."
"Are you about to vomit?"
"Don't know," he moaned. "Maybe."
Karen grabbed an emesis bowl just in time as Mulder
brought up mostly bile from his tortured stomach.
"Sorry," he gasped, collapsing back onto the gurney.
"That's all right, Mr. Mulder. Dr. Kensington left
orders for some Phenergan if you needed it. I've got
it right here in my pocket. I'm going to put it in
your IV and it should start helping in a few
"Hate being sick. Hate being cold. Need Scully."
Mulder was panting with exhaustion, his monitor
echoing his distress.
"Mr. Mulder, don't you want to be feeling better when
she arrives? She sounds like a wonderful person."
"She is. I love her. Gotta tell her."
Skinner grinned from ear to ear. Yes, he would
definitely need to put in a call to Kimberly about
the status of the inter-office pool.
"Well, if you want to tell her, let's work on
bringing your temp down," Karen smiled.
"'Kay. What do I need to do?" Mulder asked, trying
to concentrate despite the drugs and high fever.
"You just lie there and think happy thoughts about
Scully. Let us do all of the work, okay?"
"Scully's the love of my life. So beautiful. Can't
live without her." Mulder's last words were slurred
as the drugs took over and he slid into an uneasy
"Do you think he'll remember any of this?" Skinner
"I doubt it. Poor guy. He's really got it bad for
this Scully. I'd like to meet her. She sounds
"She'll be here bright and early, giving orders and
protecting him like a mother bear with her cub.
She's an MD in addition to being a field agent."
"Wow, really? Sounds like she has the same feelings
Skinner pushed his glasses up on his nose. It was
all he could do not to grin like an idiot. "Yes, I
would say the feeling is mutual. Say, if you have
some time to spare, why don't you come up to Mulder's
room after your shift is over and I'll make the
introductions all around. Then we could stop for a
cup of coffee before I have to go back to the
"Why, Walter, I'd love to." She flashed him a
beguiling smile. Skinner grinned back.
Their conversation was interrupted as two people from
patient transport arrived to take Mulder to his room.
Karen busied herself getting him ready and recording
his chart notes. As Skinner followed Mulder out of
the room, she handed him a piece of paper, folded in
half. He quickly looked at it. It contained her
name, address and phone number.
"Thanks," he smiled shyly. "I'll see you later?"
"Count on it. All right, let's get this poor patient
to his room so he can get more comfortable," the
nurse ordered. "Come on, Walter, I'll accompany you
End Part 8
The Domino Effect-Part 9
Headers and Disclaimers in part 1
After arriving in Mulder's room, Skinner called
Scully to fill her in on her partner's condition and
to ask her to notify the seminar participants that
there would be a two-hour delay in the start time.
That would give him enough time to meet Karen for a
cup of coffee and get back to the hotel for a quick
He turned his attention back to Mulder who was
protesting the use of the cooling blanket, among
other things. Mulder wasn't too happy with life in
general at the moment, and was loudly making his
demands known. He wanted the damned Foley out, along
with the oxygen he was receiving by nasal cannula.
He had already told them in no uncertain terms where
they could put the cooling blanket, and he was
threatening to remove his IV.
"Mulder, calm down!" Skinner ordered.
"Why isn't Scully here? You told me she would be
"I just talked to her. She'll be here after she gets
some sleep," Skinner explained. "You've got to calm
down or they will be forced to put you in restraints.
Scully won't be happy is she gets here and sees you
"She'll be pissed at me. Don't want that." He
panted, eyes seeming unable to focus.
"Good. All you need to do is relax and let these
people do their jobs."
"All I want is a damned blanket. Is that too much to
"Mr. Mulder, I'm Nita Ricardo. I'm going to be
taking care of you until 7AM. I have a deal to make
"Deal?" Mulder asked warily.
"Yes, Mr. Mulder. When your temperature drops to
100, I'll get you a nice, warm blanket."
"Promise?" he asked pitifully.
"Yes, I promise. I'll take it right out of the
warmer and bring it to you. Deal?"
"Yeah, deal. I'm tired."
"I'll bet you are. I need to get your vitals and get
you set up with the cooling blanket. Dr. Kensington
said you could have some more medicine to help you
sleep, so I'm going to put that in your IV now."
"Okay," Mulder agreed, closing his eyes and
"Hang in there, Mulder," Skinner said as he stood by,
wanting to help but not really knowing what to do.
"Trying." He wrapped his arms around his chest in an
attempt to stop the chills. "Let me sleep."
"You go ahead, Mr. Mulder. I'll only wake you up of
something important comes up," Nita assured him.
"Good. Leave me alone," he sighed as he dozed off.
"I'm sorry, Ms. Ricardo. I think he's been sick for
so long that he's lost what little patience he had,"
Skinner said apologetically.
"The high fever is making him cranky. It's okay.
I've seen worse."
"Will you really give him a blanket?"
"Sure, if he still wants it. By the time his fever
breaks, I'm afraid the last thing he will want is a
"Well, whatever works. His temp is still way up
there," she informed him "105.2." She whistled as
she considered that, shaking her dark head.
"What can I do?"
"For right now, just keep him from pulling anything
out if he gets restless."
"Okay, I'll try."
"I'll be checking in every 15 minutes or so, but
please feel free to call me if you're concerned or
have any questions."
"You can pull the couch out to make a bed. I'll
bring you some linens when I come back."
"I hadn't planned on sleeping."
"Well, you never know. If Mr. Mulder's fever breaks,
you might get a chance to catch a few winks," the
"I'll keep that in mind. Thank you again," Skinner
"See you in 15 minutes then," the nurse said as she
exited, closing the door softly behind her.
The AD stood beside Mulder's bed and observed him as
he slept. He appeared to be resting comfortably for
the time being. Once again he was forced to wonder
why this one man never seemed to catch a break. It
appeared that almost his entire life had consisted of
dealing with one crisis after the other. Scully
seemed to be the one bright spot in his miserable
His mind began to think about Mulder and Scully's
relationship. The big question was what kind of
relationship did they have? They had become friends
almost immediately. Everyone knew that the bond of
friendship was so strong between them that it was
rare to think of one without the other.
Many had speculated, sometimes rather crudely, that
they had long ago gone beyond friendship and had
become lovers. Skinner wasn't sure they had taken
that step yet, but from what he'd observed lately, if
the two friends weren't lovers yet, they weren't far
That brought about another question. As their
immediate supervisor, what should he do? Should he
take them aside one by one and advise them to watch
No, he couldn't see himself doing that. He had to
admit to himself that he was all in favor of their
relationship. Even as they grew closer, their work
was still top-notch. No complaints in that category.
Skinner turned away from the sick man, determined to
do the same thing with their burgeoning relationship.
Yes, he decided, the best course of action would be
to just turn his back and ignore the whole thing. He
wouldn't become involved unless forced into it by
some unforeseen problem in the future.
He settled down on the recliner beside Mulder's bed
hoping that his agent would have a smooth course in
getting over this illness so that he and Scully could
have some quality time to concentrate on their
personal relationship. Skinner began to think of
ways to give them the time they needed. He was so
deep in thought that he was startled when nurse Nita
Ricardo came back in, bringing the linens for the
"Sorry, Mr. Skinner," she grinned, putting the linens
on the sofa. "How's Mr. Mulder?"
"He's been sleeping peacefully." Thank God, he
thought to himself.
"Great! That's what he needs more than anything
right now. I'm just going to take his temperature
again, then I'll leave you alone for another 15
"No, problem, Ms. Ricardo. I was just sitting and
"I imagine your line of work gives you plenty to
think about," the nurse ventured.
"You have no idea," Skinner sighed.
"All right. All finished. A little better. His
temp's down to 104. If he keeps this up I may have
to come up with that blanket," she laughed.
"Well, let's hope you do."
"See you in 15," she promised and was out the door.
"Come on, Mulder. Keep up the good work," Skinner
Mulder moaned and rolled awkwardly onto his left
side, facing Skinner. "You say something?" he asked
sleepily, opening one eye.
"Yeah, your temperature is down a little. Good
"Still cold," he muttered closing his eye.
"Go back to sleep, Mulder."
Skinner didn't get an answer as Mulder began to snore
Nurse Ricardo was back right on schedule carrying a
small bag of IV solution with an orange sticker on
it. "The infectious disease doctor that was
consulted suggested an additional antibiotic, so I'm
going to hang it and take Mr. Mulder's temp again.
Is everything still going okay?"
"Yes, he was awake for a few seconds, but went right
back to sleep."
"All right. I'll make a note of that. His temp is
now down to 103.4."
"That's good news."
"Yes, it is. He's beginning to perspire so I'm going
to get a washcloth and wipe off his face. You might
want to wipe him down from time to time. Try to keep
him as comfortable as possible."
"Okay, I will."
"Good," she agreed, going into the bathroom and
coming out with a basin of water, a washcloth and
towel. "I'm just going to wash his face right now,
but if he becomes really uncomfortable, you can pull
his gown down and wipe his chest and back."
"All right," Skinner agreed hesitantly.
"You'll do fine," the nurse grinned, patting him on
the back. "I'll be back in 15 minutes. Call me if
you need me."
Skinner stood beside Mulder's bed, observing him. In
what seemed like no time, the younger man was covered
in a sheen of perspiration. The AD wrung out the
washcloth and wiped Mulder's face. He moaned in
response and tried to shift his position, only to be
stopped by his painful muscles. His gowm was
drenched in sweat.
Skinner decided that he needed to untie Mulder's gown
and at least make an attempt to make the sick agent
feel a little more comfortable. He bathed him
gently, gingerly dabbing at his fevered skin, glad
that no one was present to see his awkward
He finished rinsing out the washcloth and turned back
to dry Mulder's back and chest. He was startled to
find Mulder watching him.
"Having fun?" Mulder asked sleepily.
"Are you?" Skinner countered as he began to dry him
"How are you feeling?" Skinner asked as he retied
"Your temperature is coming down quite well," Skinner
"Don't know what's worse, freezing or sweating,"
Mulder sighed. "Still tired."
"Go back to sleep. You need the rest to heal"
"Why don't you go back to the hotel, sir?"
"Can't, Mulder. I promised Scully I'd stay with you
until she gets here at 7:00."
"I won't hold you to that."
"No?" he chuckled. "You might not, but Scully will."
"Sorry sir, you're right," Mulder grinned as he wiped
a rivulet of sweat from his forehead.
Skinner leaned over with the cloth and wiped Mulder's
face again. "Better?"
"Try to get some more sleep, Mulder."
"You too, sir."
"I will after the nurse checks your temperature
again," Skinner assured him.
Mulder nodded his understanding and closed his eyes.
As Skinner rinsed the washcloth, he noticed that
Mulder's gown was already soaked through and wondered
what he should do about it. Fortunately the nurse
came in for a temperature check just then.
"How's he doing?"
"As you predicted, now he's hot."
"Actually that's good. Let me get his temp and then
I'll take off that wet gown and cover him with a
sheet. There's no sense in getting him another gown
until his temperature stabilizes."
She inserted the thermometer in his ear and looked at
the readout as she ejected the cover.
"It's still coming down. 102.5," she announced.
"I'll be right back with that sheet."
Nurse Ricardo returned with the sheet, and then
spread it over her patient, before tucking it in at
the foot of the bed. As she was loosening the ties
of his gown, Mulder opened his eyes.
"Well, hello, Mr. Mulder. I'm just trying to make
you more comfortable." She finished untying the
gown, pulling it down and unsnapping the sleeve over
his IV. With one swift yank, the wet garment was
"I think we'll just leave that off for a while."
"Okay," Mulder said uncertainly. "Thirsty."
"I'll bet you are," the nurse smiled as she poured a
cup of water. "Let me get a straw for you and we'll
be all set. Just take a few sips. If that stays
down okay, you can have some more."
She held the water while Mulder sipped greedily.
After two long sips he stopped. "That was good."
"Well, let's wait a few minutes before you try any
Mulder nodded his agreement.
"Are you still feeling cold?"
"No, I'm feeling rather warm now."
"That's good news, Mr. Mulder. That's because your
temperature is going down."
"Can I go home now?" Skinner suppressed a grin at
the pleading in his sick agent's voice.
"Oh, I don't think you're anyway near ready for that
just yet. Let's give it a couple of days at least,"
the nurse smiled.
"All right. You can have two more sips, then you can
have as many ice chips as you want."
"Uh-huh. You need to take it easy on your poor
"Listen to her, Mulder," Skinner advised. "You don't
want to strain those stomach muscles any more."
"What's wrong with your stomach muscles, Mr. Mulder?"
The nurse gave him a thoughtful look.
"Sore from too much vomiting," Mulder supplied as he
finished his last sip of water. "Thanks."
"You're welcome," the nurse answered, looking into
the water pitcher. "Looks like you could use some
"If you'll give me directions, I'll be glad to go and
fill the pitcher," skinner volunteered.
"Right next to the nurse's station. You can't miss
it," she answered, handing him the pitcher.
When Skinner returned, the nurse was waiting for hi
at the door.
"Mr. Mulder has gone back to sleep. He expressed
some concern that you were missing out on your sleep.
He said something about a seminar that you had to
lead. I promised him I would try to talk you into
catching a few winks."
"Thank you, Ms. Ricardo, but I'd rather keep an eye
on him for a while longer. I feel kind of
responsible for him right now with his partner also
recovering from food poisoning. She would normally
be here in my place. She is much better at dealing
with a sick Mulder than I am."
"He knew you'd say that," she laughed. "Since his
temperature is going down, I won't be back for
another half hour unless you need me. I pulled the
sofa bed out and put a sheet, pillow and blanket on
for you. I'm afraid Mr. Mulder won't rest well
unless you try to get some sleep too."
"You're probably right. I'll lie down, but I won't
promise that I'll sleep."
"Suit yourself, Mr. Skinner. Is there anything I can
do for either of you before I leave?"
"No, I think we're set. Thank you for being so
"It's just part of my job. See you in around 30
Skinner put the pitcher on the tray table and pushed
it where Mulder could reach it easily. His charge
was sleeping soundly, so he took off his glasses and
collapsed on the bed, rubbing his tired eyes. He was
asleep within minutes.
Both men slept through the nurse's next visit. After
taking her patient's temperature she pulled down the
sheet to his waist, gently wiping the perspiration
from his upper body, checked his IV, adjusted the
bedclothes and left quietly.
Sometime later, the AD was awakened by Mulder's
groans. He quickly put his glasses on and made his
way to his agent's bedside. He observed the heavy
perspiration coating the man's body. The sheet had
been kicked aside, exposing Mulder's nude body to the
cooler air. Skinner pulled up the sheet then grabbed
the wet washcloth and began to wipe his face.
Mulder opened his eyes.
"How're you doing, Mulder?"
"Okay," he answered weakly.
"I don't believe that for a minute."
"Can't get anything past you."
"That's right. So, how are you feeling?"
"Back hurts," Mulder gasped, gripping the side rail
so tightly that his knuckles turned white. "Hurts
"Okay, hang in there while I get the nurse."
The older man reached over to push the call button
requesting pain medication for his charge. In a few
minutes the nurse arrived.
"So, what's going on here?"
"Mulder woke up with considerable pain in his back,"
"When did this start, Mr. Mulder?"
"About 10 minutes ago, I think. It's getting worse.
Please! Give me a shot! Knock me out! Shoot me!
Just make it stop!" he pleaded, writhing under the
sheet. His face was screwed up in agony. Skinner
looked on, alarmed by this new turn of events.
"Okay, I will, but I need to ask you some questions
first. Is it hurting on one side or both?"
"Right side. Oh, shit! It hurts so bad!"
"All right, Mr. Mulder. I've got some pain
medication for you. I'm going to put it in your IV.
It should work pretty fast. Here you go." The nurse
slowly injected the painkiller into one of the IV
"Oh, shit! Gonna be sick!" he exclaimed and
proceeded to expel the little bit of water he'd
managed to get down earlier all over his chest.
Nurse Ricardo fumbled for the emesis bowl stored in
the nightstand. By the time she got it under
Mulder's chin, he was having dry heaves. When the
retching stopped, Mulder collapsed onto his pillow,
exhausted, chest heaving. "Sorry about that," he
apologized once he got his breath back. "Unnh!"
"Another pain. Bad!"
The nurse turned up the oxygen flow up a notch. "I
know this sounds impossible, Mr. Mulder, but try to
relax. I'm going to get someone to clean you up and
change your bed while I put in a page to the on-call
physician. I'll be right back as soon as I get
through to him. Let me take your temp before I go,
When she finished she shook her head. "It's 103."
Skinner looked surprised while Mulder appeared
oblivious to the whole thing, able to concentrate
only on the pain tearing through his back.
"I'll be right back."
By the time she returned, Mulder had been cleaned up
and his bedclothes changed. "The doctor should be
here in a few minutes. Did the medication help any,
"Not much," he answered through gritted teeth. "Call
Scully. Need to talk to her."
"I was just getting ready to do that, Mulder,
Skinner told him, dreading the phone call.
"That won't be necessary," a familiar voice said from
End Part 9
The Domino Effect-Part 10
Headers and disclaimers in Part 1
Skinner swung around, surprised to see Scully. "What
are you doing here?"
"I can't explain it, but I just knew that I should be
here. Guess that feeling was accurate." She quickly
made her way to Mulder's bedside. "What's going on,
"Back hurts really bad."
"When did this start?"
"About 15 minutes ago."
"Any other symptoms?"
"Vomiting, temp's back up," the nurse answered. "The
doctor on call should be here any minute."
"Scully, what's wrong with me?" Mulder gasped, trying
to fight the pain. Even the drugs in his system
weren't enough to disguise the fear that shone
through his eyes.
"I'm not sure, Mulder, but we're going to find out."
She turned around to face the nurse. "Have you given
him anything for pain?" Her fingers were running
through Mulder's sweat soaked hair, soothing him.
"How long ago?"
"About five minutes, Scully," Skinner supplied.
"Hello," a voice greeted from the doorway. "I'm Dr.
"Come in, doctor," Nita invited.
Seeing how crowded the room was getting, Skinner made
a decision. "I'm going to wait outside."
"All right, sir. I'll fill you in when we know
something." Scully didn't bother to look at him, so
intent was she in trying to soothe her partner's
Skinner left the room and leaned against the wall.
To say that he was concerned would be an
understatement. "How much more can he take?" he
wondered, hoping that for once it would turn out to
be something minor.
Who was he kidding? Mulder and minor complications
didn't go hand-in-hand. He just hoped that they
could figure out the problem, treat it and get the
poor man back on his feet as soon as possible. His
thoughts were interrupted by a gentle touch on his
"Yes, Scully? Do you have any idea what's wrong with
"Well, he has all of the symptoms of a kidney stone."
"That would explain the pain."
"Yes, it would. The doctor is scheduling him for
some diagnostic procedures ASAP. We should know more
"And what do we do in the meantime?"
"The doctor has ordered some additional pain
medication which will hopefully give him some
"And if it does turn out to be a kidney stone?"
"Depending on its size and location, it will either
pass or some sort of intervention will be scheduled."
"Intervention as in surgery?" Skinner shuddered at
the thought of Mulder having to go through a major
operation as ill as he already was.
"Probably not. The most often used procedure is to
break them up and let the smaller pieces pass."
"Good. I'd hate for him to undergo surgery in
addition to all he's already been through."
"Remember that this is still a preliminary diagnosis.
We won't know anything definite until the test
results are back. Why don't you go back to the hotel
and try to get a few hours of sleep, sir? I intend
to stay here with him."
"I think I'll stick around for a few more hours. I'm
meeting someone for coffee at around 7," he
explained. "And this night is pretty well shot
"All right, sir."
"I think I'll go downstairs for some coffee. Could I
bring you anything?"
"Some hot tea would be nice."
"All right, one hot tea it is, then. I'll be back
soon. Don't hesitate to page me if you need me."
"I think we have everything under control for the
moment. I'm going to sit with Mulder, then."
As she turned to go back in the room Skinner caught
her hand. "Scully, I meant what I said earlier. You
won't be helping Mulder any of you make yourself sick
again. He's worried about you as it is."
"I'm fine, sir," Scully assured him.
"I'll have to trust you on that then, Scully."
"Yes, sir. You will."
Scully went back to Mulder's room. The nurse was
injecting the additional pain medication as she
arrived back at his bedside.
"We'll let you know as soon as we hear about those
tests, Mr. Mulder."
He nodded his understanding while she deposited the
used syringe and needle in the sharps container on
her way out.
"Well, Mulder, I must say that you're keeping things
interesting on this trip." Scully smiled down at him
reaching for his right hand.
"Never a dull moment. You okay?" He squeezed her
hand. "And how did you know I needed you so badly?"
"For the last time, I'm fine and I just had a very
strong feeling that I needed to come to the hospital.
I really can't explain it."
"And they call me Spooky," he tried to laugh but it
brought on another spasm of pain. "I just worry
about you," he managed to get out.
"Well, stop worrying about me and concentrate on
yourself. Is the additional medication helping?"
"No, just made me woozy."
"Perhaps it will make you sleepy enough to get some
"Scully, what's wrong with me? This is something
more than the food poisoning isn't it?"
"Yes, it is, but we're not 100% sure what the problem
is yet. We'll know more after the tests."
"What kind of tests?"
"An ultra sound and X-rays with some dye injected.
You already have an IV, so it won't hurt." She
reassured him when he winced.
"Couldn't hurt any more than this." He tensed up as
another pain tore through him.
"Just try to relax, Mulder."
"I'm glad you're here," Mulder intoned softly,
rubbing his thumb across her knuckles. "I missed
"Mulder, it's only been a couple of hours since we
saw each other." Scully couldn't help but smile.
"Doesn't matter. Even five minutes away from you is
too long. I love you Scully."
For once, Scully found herself at a loss for words.
She had heard his declaration of love previously, and
like this time he had been under the influence of
some pretty heavy drugs. She stroked his cheek with
the backs of her fingers, her eyes not leaving his.
"Get some sleep, Mulder. I promise you that we will
discuss this at length when you're better."
"Okay, but can you just tell me if I have any reason
to hope that you return my feelings?"
"Yes, there is hope, Mulder. Now, close you eyes and
Mulder visibly relaxed, a huge grin on his face. The
medication seemed to be helping.
Suddenly, Mulder's body stiffened and though Scully
didn't think it possible, he turned even paler.
"Scully, help!" he croaked.
"Mulder, what is it?"
Scully reached over and pushed the call button. "I
need some help in here!"
Mulder was sitting up straight in bed, trying to keep
from screaming in agony. Perspiration began dripping
from his forehead, evidence of the intense pain and
his effort to hold it in.
"Mulder, talk to me. You're scaring me," Scully
pleaded, holding onto his arms.
At that point, Mulder could no longer hold it in. He
groaned loudly and then began keening out loud with
the intensity of the pain.
Two nurses burst through the door. "What happened?"
Nurse Ricardo demanded.
"Another intense spasm," Scully explained. "It must
"Mr. Mulder, can you tell me where it hurts?" the
other nurse questioned while Nita adjusted the oxygen
"Back, right side! Arrrgh! Help me, please!" he
He continued to sit up straight in bed, his left hand
gripping the bed railing and his right squeezing
Scully's hand. Scully put her free arm around him
trying to comfort him, but he was past hearing her
soothing words. The pain was his entire world at
Scully's vision blurred as tears began to fill her
eyes. "Call the doctor and get his ass up here!
End Part 10
The Domino Effect Part 11
Headers and Disclaimers in Part 1
Nurse Ricardo set about getting Mulder's vitals while
the other nurse ran toward the door to track down the
doctor. She almost collided with Skinner as he came
barreling through the door. He moved aside to let
the nurse pass, holding the hot beverages over his
head. "What the hell is going on?" his booming voice
"AD Skinner, I didn't see you come in," Scully looked
ashen with stress. "He's in excruciating pain. He
might be trying to pass that stone."
"That's a good thing, right?"
"Not if it's too large to pass."
Mulder continued to cry out as each new spasm hit
with increasing intensity. The pain came in waves,
each one seeming worse than the last. Nurse Ricardo
tried to get his attention.
"Mr. Mulder, the doctor should be here soon. Until
he gets here, I want you to listen to me and try to
do what I say."
Her patient was still unable to answer due to the
intense pain. His eyes were red and streaming with
"I want you to take a deep breath and hold it."
"Can't . . .hurts too . . .much!" he gasped.
Scully continued to rub his back. "Listen to her,
Mulder. It will help. I promise."
"Can't! Gonna be sick!"
The nurse scrambled to get a basin for him.
Between the retching and the pain, Mulder felt that
he was near death, and was praying for a quick end to
his misery. "Damn those crab cakes!" As soon as the
thought of the seafood buffet came to mind, his body
went into new paroxysms of pain and gagging.
The doctor walked in to near chaos. After hearing
the details, he ordered a different pain medication
and told the nurses to get him ready for transport.
"I want that IVP now!" he shouted and grabbed the
phone to make his wishes known to radiology. "Hang
in there, Mr. Mulder, we're going to get to the
bottom of this.
"Can't take much more of this!" he gasped. "Just
"I don't think we need to get that drastic," Dr.
Southard grinned, patting him on the back. "Just try
to slow your breathing down."
"Easy for you to say," he groaned then managed to
take a deep breath.
"Good, keep slowing it down, Mr. Mulder. They should
be ready for us downstairs. Let's just take his bed.
I think that will be easier all around."
The nurse started unhooking equipment while the
doctor unplugged the bed. "Nita, let's take a drug
box with us."
"I'll get that right now."
In just a few minutes they managed to get Mulder to
lie back down and continue to slow his breathing
rate. When Nita returned with the drug box and
someone from patient transport, Mulder was on his way
After the IVP, Mulder finally managed to doze off
thanks to a creative drug cocktail that combined some
strong painkillers and sedatives. Scully and Skinner
sat silently by his bedside, waiting for the doctor's
report. Fortunately, the doctor didn't keep them
"Hello," the doctor greeted them. "I'd rather Mr.
Mulder be in on our conversation, but he needs to
sleep. He's pretty worn out after that last bout of
pain. I see on his chart that you are listed as his
medical surrogate and next-of-kin, Miss Scully?"
"Then I won't beat around the bush. Mr. Mulder does
have a kidney stone. It has probably been forming
for quite a while and the dehydration from his
illness exacerbated the condition, sort of a domino
"What treatment are you considering?" Scully
"We'll use lithotripsy and if that doesn't do the
trick we'll do a percutaneous nephrolithotomy."
"How soon can you get him scheduled?"
"We were lucky, Miss Scully. We can get him in at 8
"That is fast."
"Forgive me, but my medical knowledge is rather
limited. Just what does this procedure do?" Skinner
"To make a long story short, it uses sound waves to
break the stone into smaller pieces, which should
then pass without any further trouble other than a
little pain, which should be far less intense than
what he has been experiencing."
"He's had more than his share of pain these past few
hours," Skinner stated.
"I agree and we will do everything in our power to
keep him comfortable."
"And what is the other procedure you mentioned?"
"It involves a tiny incision in the back. Once we're
in, we use an instrument called a nethroscope to
locate and remove the stone. I really don't
anticipate having to do that procedure. While the
stone is fairly large, the lithotripsy should be able
to break it up."
"All right, Dr. Southard. I assume I'll need to sign
the standard permission forms?" Scully was anxious
to get everything in order so that there would be no
"Yes, I'll have the nurse bring them in after they're
"So, do you think this kidney stone might be the
cause of all the complications he's endured?"
Skinner questioned. He had taken on his 'official
stance', standing tall with his arms crossed over his
"Well, it has certainly been a contributing factor."
"What kind of recuperation are we talking about?"
Skinner continued to question him, very much like he
would interrogate a suspect.
"He'll be quite sore from the lithotripsy for a short
time, but that should be a piece of cake compared to
the pain he's been suffering lately. He's still
quite weak from the food poisoning, so I'd guess that
he'll need to take it easy for at least two weeks."
Skinner and Scully exchanged glances, each of them
thinking that it would be difficult to keep him down
once he started feeling better.
"If you don't have any further questions, I'll see
you after the procedure."
"Thank you, doctor," Skinner said, shaking his hand.
After the doctor left, Skinner stood beside Scully,
looking at Mulder who seemed to be sleeping
comfortably for the time being. "Scully, I think I'm
going to postpone the seminar until noon so that I
can be here with you."
"I don't think that will be necessary, sir. It's a
pretty simple procedure and Mulder should sleep for a
while after it's over. I'll be able to rest while
"I know that, but I'd feel better if I was here."
"Why don't we compromise? I'll call you if I think
you need to come back."
He thought it over for a few seconds and reluctantly
agreed. "I do expect you to call if there are any
complications. Do I make my self clear?"
They went back to their vigil. After almost an hour,
Mulder began to stir, his body becoming more restless
and fidgety as he came to. Scully immediately left
her chair to stand beside his bed, her hand
automatically taking his.
"Mulder, can you hear me?"
"How's the pain?"
"Don't ask," he groaned, feeling soft fingers
stroking his sweaty brow. "Nice," he thought.
"Mulder, you have a kidney stone. You're going to
undergo a procedure in a few hours that should
eliminate the intense pain."
"Surgery?" His eyes widened at the prospect.
"No, but you will be under anesthesia."
"Okay, as long as it works, don't care." he agreed
then shifted in the bed, unable to get comfortable.
"Scully, it hurts bad." Her fingers tightened their
grip and he squeezed back.
"I know, Mulder. It has been described as one of the
most painful conditions known to man."
"Tell them they're right. How did this happen? Why
"Evidently, the stone had been forming for quite some
time. The severe dehydration you experienced didn't
help matters and the stone finally lodged high in
your right ureter. The doctor described it as a kind
of domino effect."
"Lucky me," he sighed. "Oh, shit! It's starting
again!" His body tried to curl itself into a tiny
ball while the fresh pain pushed tears down his face.
Scully's heart went out to him, reminding her how she
hated seeing him in agony. It had happened far too
"Mulder, listen to me. Take a deep breath and let it
out slowly. Just like before. Can you do that?"
He did and groaned with the pain as he let his breath
"Do it again and try to focus on something pleasant."
He complied, shakily. "I'm trying but it isn't
helping. Can I get some more pain medication?
"Let me see what the doctor ordered. I've got to go
to the nurse's station to look at your chart. Try to
hang on and I'll be back as quickly as I can."
"Okay, but hurry!"
Scully really looked undecided. She knew that her
best bet would be to get the nurse to page the doctor
again to attempt to find a combination of painkillers
that would be effective, yet she wanted to stay with
her partner and try to talk him through the pain.
Either way, she hated to leave him when he needed
Skinner rose from his chair to stand beside Scully.
"Go and see what the doctor ordered. I'll try to
"Thank you. I'll be back as soon as I can."
Skinner took Mulder's left hand. "Squeeze my hand if
it helps, as hard as you like."
"Don't want to hurt you."
"I'll take my chances."
"Unngh! Sorry to be such a wimp," he gasped. "Worst
pain ever. Shit!"
"You're not a wimp, Mulder. You're in excruciating
pain so cry, scream, curse, do whatever helps. I
won't think any less of you. Besides, after a tour
in 'Nam I'm pretty hard to shock."
"Don't want Scully to see me like this, but I can't
help it." Tears started to flow freely down his
Skinner reached for a cool washcloth and gently wiped
them away. "Don't fight it, Mulder. It's okay. You
don't have to prove anything to me."
"Oh, shit!" He squeezed Skinner's hand until he
thought it would break. "Where's Scully? Shouldn't
she be back by now?"
"She'll be back as soon as she finds out what the
doctor ordered. Try to stay calm."
"Trying, but it hurts so damned bad! Feeling sick
again," he groaned, panic rising in his voice.
Skinner held the basin while Mulder tried to vomit
without success. "It's all right, Mulder. Just hang
in there. You'll be feeling much better in just a
few hours if you can just hang on."
The retching finally stopped and Skinner wiped
Mulder's face with the washcloth once again. He sank
back onto the pillows, his face a deathly shade of
pale, and his chest heaving with exertion.
"Trying to hang on," Mulder cried, his voice almost a
Skinner continued to wipe the tears away as Mulder
cried silently, trying to work his way through the
pain. Skinner felt so helpless, wishing he could do
more to quell the terrible pain afflicting his agent.
After a few minutes, Scully returned, with nurse
Ricardo in tow, who was carrying a small bag of IV
Skinner moved out of the way as Scully took her place
beside Mulder. "Sorry it took so long, Mulder, but
we had to speak to the doctor and then wait for the
pharmacy to deliver the new medication. You're going
to receive a continuous dose of pain medication until
your procedure. Hopefully, you'll get some relief,"
Scully explained as the nurse added the bag to the
ones already hanging on the pole.
"This is some pretty strong medicine, Mr. Mulder and
I'm also going to add a little something to help you
sleep. The doctor wants to keep you pretty much out
of it until your procedure."
"Sounds good to me," Mulder breathed wearily. "Never
had to handle this kind of pain before. Sorry."
"Mr. Mulder, you are experiencing some of the worst
pain imaginable and you have handled it like a
trooper. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Now, I
need to get your vitals and your temp and then I'll
leave you alone."
"S'ok, you're not botherin' me," he assured her, his
voice slurred from the added medication.
She finished her duties and showed Scully that the
reading on the Thermoscan was 103.2. Scully frowned,
shaking her head.
"What'd I do now?" Mulder wailed morosely, showing
his sad, puppy-dog eyes.
"Nothing, Mulder. It's just that your temperature
isn't going down any longer."
"But, I'm trying," he protested, blinking his eyes as
he tried to fight off the medication and fresh tears.
"I know, Mulder. Don't worry about it right now.
Just try to rest."
"Does the medication seem to be working?" the nurse
"Mmmm, yeah, think it is. Scully, there are two of
you," Mulder answered as he started to drift off to
End Part 11
The Domino Effect-Part 12
Headers and disclaimers in part 1
"I'll leave you all alone now. Perhaps Mr. Mulder
can get some rest." The nurse took one last look at
the IV bags and turned to leave.
"Let's hope that he can stay asleep for a while.
Thank you, Nurse Ricardo." Scully looked up from her
place beside Mulder.
"Please, call me Nita. After all we've been through
this morning, I feel like we're old friends." The
nurse gave her a big smile.
"I understand," Scully smiled back. "I'm Dana."
"And, I'm Walter," Skinner supplied.
"You know, I don't usually do this, but I'm going to
stick around after my shift to see how this turns out
for Mulder. I feel like I have a vested interest in
the poor guy now."
"Oh, Nita, thank you, but you don't have to do that.
I know you must be tired. Mulder has really kept you
on your toes during this shift," Scully protested.
"I can rest while I'm waiting. For some reason, I
feel compelled to see this through."
"Then, we would appreciate your company," Skinner
Scully looked at her boss, a questioning look on her
"Yes, agent Scully, I've decided to stay here until
the procedure is over. I just can't leave here not
knowing how he's doing. He's been through more than
anyone should have to suffer in the last few days.
I'm getting ready to call the hotel so they can
contact the participants."
"Yes, sir, we appreciate it."
"Why don't you two try to get some rest now? They
will probably come to get him around 7:15, so you
still have about two hours to take a little nap."
"Thank you, Nita. We will." Skinner assured her.
"All right, then. I'll be in and out checking on
him. Please let me know if you need anything."
Nita left and Scully pulled her chair a little closer
to Mulder's bedside. Inwardly she hoped that her
partner's abused body didn't pull its usual stunt of
shrugging off medication that would normally keep two
small elephants down for a week. She sent up a
silent prayer that he could have some respite this
time, but she knew his system all too well not to
feel anxious about it.
"Scully, why don't you lie down until time for the
"I'd rather stay close by his side, sir. He's so
heavily sedated that I want to keep an eye on his
breathing," Scully explained, wishing she could
simply have the pleasure of watching him breathe when
his health wasn't in jeopardy.
"All right. I understand. I'd just be wasting my
breath if I tried to talk you out of it."
"You're right about that, sir."
"You know, I think it would be proper if we used
first names in this situation," Skinner proposed.
"All right, Walter," Scully agreed, rotating her
stiff neck a little. She was still pretty fatigued
and hadn't had much real sleep for worrying about
"I'm going to go out and make that phone call. If
Mulder wakes up, tell him that he'd better get his
butt in gear and get over this because I'm going to
insist that both of you take some of that comp time
you've built up. I have a time-share in a condo in
Destin. It's available next week and the following
week. I'd like for the two of you to use that time
to recuperate from this and rest up, maybe even have
a little fun."
Scully looked rather surprised. "Um, I'll talk to
Mulder about it when he's feeling better. He might
prefer to make different plans for himself."
"Trust me on this one, Dana, anywhere would be fine
with him as long as you're there. I shouldn't be
gone longer than ten minutes or so." He left
quickly, a huge grin on his face.
Scully shook her head to clear it. What had just
happened here? It almost sounded like Skinner was
trying his hand at matchmaking. Now, that just
couldn't be. Could it?
Mulder stirred restlessly in his sleep and started to
mumble as he tried to pull the oxygen cannula from
his nose. Scully grabbed his hand to stop his
flailing actions. He continued to mumble as he
squeezed her hand gently.
"Love you, Scully," Mulder voiced clearly.
Scully realized that she was staring straight into
his open eyes, dull with fever and pain. She
dismissed his words as fevered ramblings until he
squeezed her hand again.
"Scully, love you. Love me back?" he pleaded, his
words trailing off as he slipped back into his drug-
"Now, that's strange." Mulder was under the
influence of a lot of drugs, but she had a feeling
that those words had come straight from his heart.
Could he have discussed his feeling with Skinner?
That didn't seem likely, but Skinner's offer of the
condo to both of them was a rather confusing
coincidence. "Something's going on here," she
decided. "Mulder, I can't wait until you're feeling
better, because I sure have a lot of questions."
She realized that she was still holding Mulder's hand
and made a move to remove it. Instead, she boldly
decided to wait for Skinner to return, just to gage
She didn't have long to wait. When Skinner came back
in she was holding his hand lovingly against her left
cheek. Mulder was oblivious to her action, but it
wasn't lost on Skinner.
"Any change, Dana?" he asked, trying to erase the
shit-eating grin from his face, but wasn't entirely
"No, Walter. He's still sleeping," she smiled back
"Best thing for him. Are you sure you don't want to
"Yes, I'm sure. I'm quite comfortable here."
"I think that's good for him too," Skinner commented
on her open affection for her partner.
"Well, that pretty much confirmed it," she thought.
"Those two had definitely been talking." She sighed.
"I wonder when Mulder will finally get up the nerve
to talk to me?"
Skinner left for his coffee date with a promise to
meet her in the waiting room. Shortly after the
shift change, Nita came in wearing street clothes and
carrying two cups of coffee. She offered one cup to
Scully. "I got this from the vendor downstairs.
It's freshly brewed and is usually pretty decent. I
didn't know how you liked it, so I brought plenty of
everything. She reached into her pocket and pulled
out packets of creamer, sugar and sweetener.
"Thank you, Nita."
"I see that Walter already had a coffee date," the
nurse commented as Scully went about fixing her
"It seems that way. Mulder's ER nurse, I think,"
Scully answered, blowing across the very hot coffee.
She inhaled the aroma deeply and realized that for
the first time in days, her stomach actually felt
normal. "Poor Mulder," she sighed as she thought of
the living hell he was still enduring. "I wish he
felt well enough to enjoy this coffee."
"He will soon," Nita comforted her. "How long have
you two been together?"
"We've been partners for almost seven years."
"Oh, I didn't mean at work. I meant how long as a
"Nita, we're not a couple, yet," Scully was surprised
when she emphasized that last word.
"Well, what's keeping you?"
"It's . . . complicated," Scully hedged.
"How complicated can it be? He loves you and you
adore him. You're made for each other."
"I expect when Mulder starts to feel better we'll be
having a long talk about the whole thing."
"Well, let's hope you do more than talk," Nita
giggled as Scully blushed.
There was a knock on the door and soon the room was
taken over by a crew of people getting Mulder ready
to go to pre-op.
Scully and Nita met Karen Bower and Skinner in the
surgical waiting room. The female agent had to admit
that having all of those people with her helped the
time to pass. It seemed like it was almost no time
at all before she was sitting beside Mulder in the
recovery room, holding his hand again, relieved that
he was now hopefully on the mend.
The recovery room nurse said that he had been awake
briefly, but should start coming around a little more
any time. She was right. In less than five minutes
Mulder moaned loudly and opened his eyes.
"Right here, Mulder. How are you feeling? Is the
pain any better?" She squeezed his fingers to let
him know she was there for him.
"Um, yeah. Pain's better. Still feel like crap
"You still have a urinary tract infection, but that
should start to clear up pretty quickly with the
antibiotics you're on. The lithotripsy broke the
kidney stone into lots of little pieces. You may
still feel a sharp pain from time to time as one of
the larger pieces passes, but I think you might even
be allowed to get up and try to walk tonight."
"Too tired," he sighed, rubbing her fingers.
"That will get better. You need to concentrate on
getting your strength back. Skinner is insisting
that we use our comp time and he wants us to spend it
at his time-share condo in Destin."
"Us . . .together?" Mulder had a shocked look on his
"Yes, us. I was a little shocked myself when he
"I like the idea though. Oh!"
"What is it?" Concern replaced the light-hearted
talk as his face twisted into a grimace.
"Um, one of those sharp pains you were talking
Scully reached over and pushed a control attached to
a cord wrapped around the side rail. "This is
attached to a pump. Whenever the pain gets really
bad, just push the button."
Mulder shifted his eyes to look at the control and
then looked back to Scully. "Okay. Tired, but we
have to talk later."
"I agree. You rest now. I'll be here when you wake
up again." He leaned into her hand as she stroked
his face and brushed the hair from his eyes.
"Good, love you." He smiled sleepily and then
drifted back to sleep.
"I love you too," Scully whispered in his ear,
feeling her eyes tearing up unexpectedly. She didn't
really want to leave him, but got up to visit the
waiting room and report on his condition.
End Part 12
The Domino Effect Part 13
Headers and disclaimers in Part 1
The crowd said their goodbyes and went their separate
ways. The nurses went home to sleep and Skinner went
back to the hotel to shower and get ready for the
seminar. Once again, Scully found herself alone by
Mulder's side. He was sleeping comfortably at last.
She contented herself with having the simple pleasure
of watching his chest rise and fall and knowing that
he was over the worst. His face reflected a much
more peaceful look, in contrast to the painful
episodes he'd had before the procedure. The storm
had come and now the waters were calm again. She
Poor Mulder, he'd been through seven kinds of hell
the past few days and Scully was happy that he was
finally getting some relief. She hated to see him in
such pain, this time feeling particularly helpless to
ease his suffering. When he was in pain, she
realized with some clarity, so was she.
A nurse had been in a few minutes earlier and had
announced that he had begun to pass pieces of the
stone. His last vitals check had revealed that his
temperature had dropped to 100. Things were looking
In response to his fever breaking, Mulder had begun
to perspire heavily. Scully began to bathe his face
with a cool washcloth, smoothing his damp hair off
his forehead in gentle movements so she didn't wake
him. He'd been so uncomfortable the last few days
that she would do anything within her power to keep
him from suffering now. She carefully untied his
gown, folding it down in order to bathe his chest.
She treated herself to a few seconds of just looking
at him like this, chiding herself the next for
enjoying the view too much. She started sponging
him, barely touching.
"Umm, feels good," Mulder sighed.
Scully jumped back, startled. "How long have you
"Not long, just since you untied my gown." He gave
her a dopey leer that resembled his usual self,
giving Scully the immediate impression that this
scenario was ranked fairly high on his list of
"Feeling any better?"
"Actually, I think I do, but my back is really sore.
Goes well with my stomach muscles."
"That's from the lithotripsy. Push the button on the
pump if you need pain medication."
"I'm okay, just happy to see you. How about you?
You feeling okay?" His long fingers stretched out to
meet hers, stilling the hand that was sponging him
off. She hoped she wasn't quivering too much as he
gazed intensely at her. His eyes were full of
meaning, despite the drugs coursing through his
system. Her throat was suddenly very dry.
"Uh-huh." She began to bathe his chest again,
seamlessly reclaiming his hand in the one that wasn't
sponging his pectorals, squeezing his fingers in
reassurance as she did. "I feel pretty good now.
Just give yourself a few days and you'll be feeling
much better too." She could feel herself starting to
feel very warm now and hoped that he wouldn't mistake
that flushed look for lingering illness.
"I've been pretty out of it, huh?" His fingers were
absently stroking her palm as his eyes momentarily
left hers and flickered to the movements of the
washcloth over his skin before shifting back to her
face. Scully smothered her sharp intake of breath
with a chuckle.
"Yes, you've had a rough time of it, especially the
last eighteen hours or so."
"Don't remember much."
"It's probably just as well." She patted him dry and
pulled his gown up and re-tied it. "There, that
should help for a while." And a cold shower for me,
she thought unbidden.
"Thanks. When do I get to go home?" Mulder grimaced
as he shifted in bed.
"Maybe in 48 hours or so if you continue to do well,
and home is a relative word right now."
"I don't understand."
She smiled. Compusure regained. Just. "First,
you'll need to rest at the hotel for a day or two,
and then Skinner has offered us the use of his condo
in Destin for the next two weeks."
He nodded, a look of delight passing over his
features as he processed the implications of that.
"Yeah, I vaguely remember you mentioning that in the
Scully noticed a look of pain on his face and noted
that he pushed the button to release a dose of pain
medication from the pump.
"We'll talk about it later. You need to rest for a
"Will you be here?"
"Of course, Mulder."
"Don't wear yourself out. Remember you've been sick
"There's a fold-out bed right over there. I'll lie
down if I feel I need to." She gave him her best
smile, absently rubbing his fingers as she held them.
"Need to sleep now," he yawned.
"You go right ahead."
Mulder smiled and closed his eyes.
When he woke again Scully was sitting patiently by
his side. They were connected as one by the clasp of
their hands, unspoken comfort that filled his heart
with warmth he'd rarely had the joy of knowing.
"Still here, huh?"
"Where else would I be?"
"Lots of other places would be nicer," he suggested,
his hand slipping from hers to cup her cheek,
smoothing his thumb over her jaw, his eyes sparkling
with indefinable emotion when she didn't pull away as
"But you wouldn't be there."
"Thanks, Scully." He reached for her hand again and
gave it a gentle squeeze.
She squeezed back, grinning, her own eyes shiny with
emotion. "They brought some water in while you were
sleeping. Would you like to try a sip or two?"
"I guess so. Fair warning, though, if I puke again
I'm giving up taking anything by mouth."
Scully chuckled. "Something tells me that you won't
need to get that drastic. Think positively. This is
going to stay down."
She held the cup while he took a quick sip of the
ice, cold water.
"Oh, that was nice," he sighed.
"One more. Let's not push our luck."
Mulder took a longer sip then relaxed back onto his
pillow. "More later?" Scully ruffled his hair and
she placed the cup back on the nightstand.
"Let's wait at least fifteen minutes then you can
have two more sips. If you keep this down you'll
probably get some broth and jello for dinner."
"I hate to admit this, but that actually sounds
good," he grinned.
"What sounds good to me is hearing those words come
from your mouth."
"I am feeling better, except for, ow!"
"Another of those sharp pains. It's easing off now."
"You're sure?" Scully reached for the pain
Mulder caught her hand. "I'm sure. No pain meds
right now, okay?"
"All right, Mulder, but there's no need for you to be
in pain. You've had enough of that already." She
hoped that good sense would over ride his stoic
tendencies. He nodded, closing his eyes.
The day shift nurse came in and his eyes sprang open
again with apprehension, especially after she spotted
the large instrument tray she was holding. "Hello,
Mr. Mulder. I see you're finally awake. I was
beginning to think you were trying to avoid me."
"Depends on what you need to do," he answered warily.
"Just the usual, Mr. Mulder. I need to take you
temperature, get your pulse and BP, check your IV and
get a urine specimen. All you have to do is lie
"Not at this time."
He visibly relaxed.
"You've had a pretty rough time over the past 12
hours Mr. Mulder. We're not going to cause you any
pain unless it's unavoidable. Let me get your temp
first." She smiled as she finished and ejected the
sanitary cover into the trashcan. "Still coming
down. You're at 99.8. Now, let's get the rest."
His BP and pulse were both within normal range. The
nurse changed out the urine collection bag after she
secured the urine sample, and noted that several
pieces of the kidney stone had passed.
"When do I get rid of this?" He pointed to the new
"You'll have to ask your doctor about that."
"Oh, I intend to. Ow!"
"Another sharp pain?" Scully inquired anxiously,
moving in close to him.
"Uh, yeah, um, a little sharper than the others."
Mulder began to pale as the pain continued.
Scully took his hand and urged him to squeeze as hard
as he needed. Then she reached over with her free
hand and pushed the button for his pain medication.
Mulder didn't comment as he concentrated on blocking
out the latest painful assault on his body. His
breathing was coming in fast little gasps.
The nurse and Scully stood by ready to help in any
way possible when she felt him suddenly relax.
"Phew! That was intense," he announced, his voice a
"Is the pain completely gone?" the nurse questioned.
"Seems to be. How many more of those things do I
have to pass?"
"Mr. Mulder, I honestly don't know. The only comfort
I can provide is that most of the pieces are small
enough that you're not even feeling them as they pass
"Well, that's something I guess. Could I have
another sip of water please?"
"Sure." Scully reached for the pitcher and began to
pour water into a cup.
"Oh, that reminds me!" the nurse interjected. "I'll
be back in a minute to post an input/output sheet.
You'll need to write down everything that you drink
and how much. We'll take care of recording your
output until the catheter is removed."
"I'll be sure to record everything that he drinks."
Scully promised as she held the cup for Mulder.
"Thank you. I'll be right back with that sheet."
Mulder finished drinking and shifted in bed, turning
to face Scully. "Ohhh! Big mistake!"
"Pretty sore, huh?"
"Yeah, but it was worth the pain just to see you more
She gave him a rueful smile has she perched on the
side of the bed. "I honestly don't know why you
would make the effort right now. I'm pale as a
ghost. I didn't put on any make up and these jeans
are not my top of the line wardrobe."
"Scully, you're a beautiful woman whatever you're
wearing and as far as I'm concerned, you don't need
any make-up. As for your pallor, perhaps we can work
on that while we're in Destin. I'm sure I'm a little
pale too." Scully was pleased to see his boyish
"You're right. You're not your usual golden self,"
she laughed. "You mean you actually intend to take
Skinner up on his offer?"
"Only if you promise to be there too." Mulder's
eyelids began to grow heavy.
"I wouldn't miss it for the world."
"Gotta sleep, Scully. Maybe I can stay awake longer
the next time. Wanna talk to you." He took both her
hands into his own, intertwining their fingers.
Scully leaned in and kissed him on his forehead, her
head pressed against his for a long, silent moment.
It was their special communication. No words needed.
Finally she sat back, observing his exhausted but
delighted face. A small nod, a sleepy grin and he
lay back. "Sleep, Mulder."
"Umm, nice," he mumbled as he drifted off, his
fingers slipping from hers almost immediately as
sleep claimed him.
End Part 13
The Domino Effect Part 14
Headers and disclaimers in Part 1
The first thing that Mulder noticed when he woke
again was Scully, holding his large hand between her
two smaller ones. She was holding them next to her
right cheek while she dozed with her head propped on
the side of his bed. She was so beautiful that she
took his breath away. The thin strip of sunlight
coming in between the closed drapes hit her hair in
such a way that it appeared to be on fire.
He decided to lie quietly and watch her as she slept.
She was so wonderful in every way, that he counted
himself a lucky man just to have this brief
The air-conditioning unit kicked on softly. Mulder
observed the dust motes stirred up by the moving air
as they swirled about Scully's head. He suddenly
felt the urge to sneeze, no doubt from the dust set
into motion by the air conditioner.
He tried to stop it. He'd done it before in the
middle of important meetings, boring meetings,
stakeouts, you name it. He was usually successful.
This time it was most important that he stop that
sneeze. Despite the fact that he knew it would cause
a dizzying, excruciating, all encompassing,
unbearable pain across his stomach muscles and back,
that wasn't his main concern. No, Scully was
sleeping and he would do anything to insure that she
would stay that way.
He brought his free hand up to his nose just in time
to stop the explosion. Ah! Success! Just as he
pulled his hand away the dust swirled again and took
him by surprise. Try as he might, there was no
stopping the reaction this time. He let loose a
manly sneeze, one that nearly took his head off.
As he recovered from the force of the sinus explosion
and the resulting muscle pain, he heard three dainty
sneezes erupt next to him.
Scully sat up, looking somewhat dazed.
"You all right, Scully?"
"I think so. What about you? That had to hurt."
"I suppose I'll live to sneeze again." He managed to
paste a smile on his face despite the lingering pain.
"What brought all of that on?"
"Air conditioner started, stirred up some dust and
got to both of us."
"Evidently," she agreed, rising to a sitting
position. "You sure you're okay?"
"Uh-huh. Just hurts a little now."
"It was an interesting way to wake up."
"I can think of more interesting ways to awaken." He
leered at her.
"Oh, really? Care to share?" she asked playfully as
she reached for a tissue.
"I'd rather demonstrate instead, but that would
require a much different setting."
"And, what would that be?"
"Scully, I need to ask you something first. If I
don't I may get slapped when I tell you about my
alternative methods of awakening."
"All right," she agreed hesitantly.
"Okay, here goes," he thought. "I'll either crash
and burn or be a very happy man, but I have to know."
"I've been pretty much out of it the past couple of
days, but I know I didn't dream this. I told you
that I loved you, several different times, in fact,
but I don't remember receiving a response."
"I know, Mulder. I wasn't entirely sure you were
aware of what you were saying."
"I meant every word, Scully."
"Then you deserve my reply. I have the same feelings
for you, Mulder. I love you too. I'm so glad we
finally have this out in the open."
Mulder's face broke out in a shy, shit eating grin.
He could hardly contain his joy. For a moment he
thought he would cry, but he took a deep breath to
steady his next words. "Me too, Scully. The big
question now is where are we going to go with this?"
he asked softly.
"Oh, I think Skinner has given us an opportunity to
"The condo in Destin?"
Yes, but I'm still trying to figure out what made him
offer it to us."
"I honestly don't know, but I'd like to take him up
"So would I," Scully agreed with a huge smile.
They moved toward each other, closing the gap
literally and figuratively, and their lips met in a
kiss. Neither of them pulled back as they deepened
the kiss, tongues exploring.
Finally, Mulder had to reluctantly break the kiss,
his breathing ragged. "Scully, I'd like to do that a
little more, but I'll have to get some of my strength
back to do it properly."
"Yes, uh, you certainly do need to get your strength
back. I'm, um, looking forward to that because that
was pretty amazing as it was," she stammered.
"We'll just have to keep practicing, then," he smiled
"In the meantime, would you like to tell me about
those alternative methods of awakening?"
Skinner made a quick stop in the ER to say hello to
Karen then went straight up to check on Mulder. He
was quite surprised when he found Scully sound asleep
on the foldout couch while Mulder was sitting on the
side of the bed, his long legs dangling.
"Come on in, sir, Scully's dead to the world right
now. The nurse just came in to help me walk around
the bed and she didn't stir."
"Is she all right?"
"Yeah, just tired, I think," Mulder answered, looking
toward her sleeping figure, affection showing on his
face so much that it almost shone from him.
"It looks like you're feeling much better."
"The nurse said my temperature is still slightly
elevated and I'm weak as a kitten, but I feel much
"Great, Mulder. I'll have to admit that you had me a
little worried early this morning."
"Thankfully, I don't remember much. Have a seat,
"Thanks, Mulder. I can only stay for a few minutes.
I have a dinner date then I'm heading back to the
hotel for a good nights sleep."
"I'm sorry that I kept you up all night, sir."
"Nonsense, Mulder and would you please call me Walter
when we're not working? I think six years of working
together and a friendship has afforded us that
"Thanks, Walter. I'll try to remember that," he
grinned, rubbing his back.
"You must be pretty sore."
"Yeah, I am. I feel like I've been beaten. It's a
side effect of that procedure."
"Let's hope that clears up pretty quickly. Any idea
when you'll be discharged?"
"Maybe in 48 hours if I'm lucky." He rolled his
"I'll have to admit that it looks like you could use
a change of luck. You've had one hell of a week,"
"Can't argue with that."
"Have you and Scully discussed my offer of the condo
"Yes, we have and we've decided to take you up on
your offer," Mulder reported happily.
"Great! I think you'll enjoy it. One bedroom has a
king-sized bed with a large whirlpool bath, while the
other has twin beds. There's a small kitchen along
with a nice living room, a dining area and another
full bath. There's also a heated pool and it isn't
very far from the beach."
"Sounds wonderful, Walter."
"Well, you two need some time to recuperate and just
kick back and enjoy each other's company." Skinner
noted the shy expression on Mulder's face all of a
sudden. Was that a blush?
"That's just what we intend to do. Looks like you .
. .er, could win the office pool after all." Mulder
grinned when he saw the astonished look on Skinner's
"Mulder, I . . .how did you know about that?"
Skinner stuttered, blushing.
"I'm 'Spooky' Mulder, remember?" Oh! Damnit!"
"Mulder, what's wrong?" Skinner inquired, standing up
to steady Mulder as he began to sway.
"Passing another piece of that stone," he gasped,
hugging his midsection momentarily.
"Here, let's get you back in bed." Skinner helped
him get situated, keeping a wary eye on him the
entire time. "Should I call the nurse? Get you
something for pain?"
"No, thanks. Got everything I need here," Mulder
replied painfully, pushing the control for his pain
medication. "It's starting to ease off a little."
"How long will you continue to have these pains?"
"No idea, Walter," he sighed wearily.
"Mulder, I hate to leave you like this but . . ."
"Go on, Walter. I'm okay now."
"Yeah, go, but could you do me a favor?"
"Sure, if I can."
"Take Scully back with you when you're finished?"
"Of course, I was going to suggest that anyway.
Karen only gets a 45 minute break, so I should be
back up here in about an hour."
"I'll make sure she's ready to leave."
"I'll see you two in an hour then." Skinner grinned
as he left for his date.
"Trying to get rid of me, Mulder?" Scully asked,
rising from the sofa.
"Never, Scully. I just want to be sure you get a
good nights sleep."
"I know that. Thank you."
"How long have you been awake?"
"Oh, a few minutes at least. How's the pain? Gone
now?" She gave him a quick kiss on his forehead
before sitting down in the recliner and taking his
hand once more.
"All gone for the time being anyway. I hope that was
the last one."
"Maybe it will be. How about eating some jello for
me before I leave?"
"Sure, I'd do that for you, Scully. I'd even eat
green jello if you insisted."
"Oh, I don't think I would force you to do that," she
Nita entered the room carrying a plastic container of
red jello and a plastic spoon.
"Looks like your lucky day, Mulder," Scully chuckled.
"What do you have for me, Nita? Strawberry or
Nita looked at the label. "Strawberry."
"Wow, my favorite," he said sarcastically.
"Mulder, behave, or I will insist on lime," Scully
warned him with a smile.
"Behaving now, Scully," he grinned as he accepted the
jello and spoon from Nita.
"How's it going, Mulder? Still having those sharp
pains?" she asked as she prepared to take his blood
"Some, it passes pretty quickly."
"What about the nausea?"
"I haven't had any since I woke up in the recovery
room," he reported happily.
"Fantastic. I'll make a note of that and I'm sure
the doctor will adjust your diet accordingly. Your
blood pressure and pulse are normal and I'll come
back and take your temp later. Can I get you
anything or do anything for you while I'm here?"
"Can't think of anything, Nita. Thanks for the
"Not a problem. Dana, you look tired. Why don't you
go back to the hotel where you can really rest? I
promise we'll take good care of this guy here."
"I know you will. Thanks for your concern, Nita.
Walter will be picking me up soon."
"Looks like you have all the bases covered. I'll
just go and find someone who needs me," she joked.
""Thanks for all of the help you've given us, Nita,"
"Just doing my job, Dana, and making some new friends
along the way. It has been my pleasure."
"Well, you've been more than helpful."
"I second that, Nita. I don't remember much until I
woke up in the recovery room, but I'm grateful you
were there for Scully," Mulder chimed in.
"Stop it, you two. You're embarrassing me."
"Okay, Nita. We'll stop for now." Scully promised.
"Well, okay. If I don't see you before you leave,
Dana, get a good nights sleep. Mulder, I'll see you
"Oh, I'm looking forward to it," he grinned, rolling
"Well, it looks like I'll have to see what nasty
procedure we can put you through," Nita threatened
with a grin.
"All right, all right. I will be eagerly awaiting
your next visit."
"That's better. See you later."
Nita left, and Scully got up and sat on the side of
the bed. "You're going to behave until I come back
in the morning. Right?"
"Right. You won't get any bad reports on me."
"My goal in life now is to keep you happy all of the
"Wow, Mulder. I don't know what to say."
"Just say you love me and give me a kiss."
End Part 14
The Domino Effect Part 15
Headers and Disclaimers in Part One
When Scully returned the next morning, Mulder was
sitting in the recliner, sipping some ginger ale.
"Well, I wasn't expecting this." She entered the
room with a huge smile, pleased that her partner was
out of bed. She leaned forward and kissed him
deeply, savoring the ginger taste on his lips.
"Got tired of lying around so I thought I'd have my
breakfast here," Mulder explained. "The view's not
that great and the food isn't much better, but it'll
have to do. Things definitely started looking up
when you walked in." His hands reached for her
"So, what did you eat?" Scully looked at the tray.
"A few of my old favorites like beef broth and
strawberry jello. I hear that if I'm a good boy, I
may get chicken noodle soup for lunch." He waggled
his eyebrows. She laughed. Yes, he was definitely
on his way back to being her usual Mulder.
"Looks like you have been a good boy. I don't see
anything left. So, I guess since you were able to
get this down you're feeling better?" she asked
"Yes, I am."
"Any more pain?"
"Not a bit since you left last night. My temperature
is normal. My back and stomach are still sore but
much improved. They took some blood earlier, and the
verdict is still out on that, but for the most part
it looks like I just need to get my strength back,"
Mulder reported, trying to pull her in closer.
"I'm so glad you're feeling better."
"Not half as much as I am. I think I'm ready to get
back in bed now." She could see him tiring again,
reminding her that he had a way to go yet before he
was back up to par.
"No sense in wearing yourself out. Do you need any
"Um, this is a little embarrassing, but could you
move that uh . . .that thing?"
"The urine collection bag? Not a problem and it is
He gave her a wry smile. "Well, embarrassing or not,
I'll be glad to see it go." Mulder climbed back into
bed slowly, giving in to his sore muscles. He sighed
with relief as he sagged back into the pillows.
"You should be getting rid of it soon." Scully
informed him as she hung the bag on the side of the
"Let's hope so. Come here." He snagged her hand,
pulling her over.
"I just like having you close." He moved over and
patted the space beside him.
"Mulder, I'd love to climb in with you, but you need
your rest and I don't think you'd keep that in mind
with us being so close. I need you to get your full
strength back for our visit to Destin."
"Scullee. . ."
"Quit whining, Mulder. Besides, you should remember
how busy hospitals are in the morning. Your doctors
will stop by and probably order tests. The nurses
will want the aids to give you a nice bed bath and
change your bed . . ."
"Okay, okay. I get the picture. Did you pack some
sweats or pajama bottoms for me to wear in case I do
get rid of this torture device today?"
"Yes, I did, along with a change of clothes to go
home in when you're discharged. Hopefully tomorrow,"
"I like the way you think."
Mulder was back in his room at the hotel. Scully had
gone to find a pair of scissors to cut off the
hospital bracelets around his right wrist. The
sooner all traces of that place were removed the
better. He couldn't wait to begin his voyage of
Scully discovery at Skinner's condo. His heart did a
little giddy flip at the thought of what delights lay
ahead. Still, he tamped down thinking about it too
much. They needed to take this one step at a time.
It wouldn't do to screw it up by acting like an
Skinner had already said his goodbyes earlier at the
hospital where he had happily given them the key to
his condo. After a short visit with Karen Bower, the
AD left to catch a flight back to the cold, snowy,
"There you go, Mulder." Scully cut off the plastic
bands then handed him a bottle of water. "Drink up.
Remember, the doctor wants you to drink lots of
Mulder unscrewed the top and drank almost half of the
water in a couple of gulps. Scully nodded her
approval and came around to the other side of the
bed, kicking her shoes off.
Mulder excitedly held the covers up while she slid in
beside him. This was somewhat unexpected. "Mmm, you
feel good," he whispered, putting the water bottle on
the bedside table. He turned back around and pulled
her closer. "I think it's time to practice."
"Practice?" Scully questioned, confused.
"Kissing. Don't you remember?"
"Oh, now that you mention it, I think I do," she
purred, stroking his face.
They kissed deeply and hungrily. Both of them were
breathing hard when they broke apart.
"Um, I think your technique is wonderful. I don't
think we need any more practice," Scully decided.
"Perhaps not since I can't see any room for
improvement on your part either. I guess we can by-
pass the warm-up and go straight in without a net."
He smiled broadly and then covered her mouth with his
After several minutes of intense kissing, Scully
"What's wrong?" Mulder already missed the feel of
"I think we need to slow this down. You've only been
out of the hospital for an hour and you need to rest
"Oh, I am resting up." He emphasized the last word,
grinding into her.
Parts of him were certainly up to speed and raring to
go, she mused. "I noticed, but I don't want to do
anything that would jeopardize your recovery."
"I think I'll be in jeopardy if we don't continue,
not to mention downright uncomfortable," he groaned,
his breathing coming in heavy pants.
Scully's hand found its way under his shirt where she
began to caress his still tender abdomen and chest.
When he didn't flinch she continued her exploration
to more pleasingly sensitive areas. He was gasping a
little now as he leaned into her touch.
"I'm still a little sore, but I think a little
movement might help to work the kinks out." He began
placing light kisses all along her jawbone and down
her neck. Oh boy, she needed more skin.
"Um, some movement might be good," she agreed,
pulling his shirt over his head and off. "But, I
wouldn't want to spoil our trip to Destin by
practicing everything before we get there."
Mulder began to slowly unbutton her blouse. "Not a
chance of practicing everything. I've been waiting
almost seven years for this little rehearsal and the
many moves I have in mind will need a lot of detailed
He pulled her blouse off and tossed it on the floor
where it landed on top of his t-shirt.
"So, you're going to be the director?" she asked.
"Co-director," he informed her, kissing her once
"Yes, co-director," Scully agreed between kisses.
Their hands began to roam and explore. "Let's get
this production started."
"Great idea. Should we continue with Act I or
advance to Act II?"
"Definitely Act II."
"Act II of the Mulder-Scully production is now in
full rehearsal," he announced, deftly unhooking her
"Any directions for me?" Scully moved so that he
could pull the undergarment away, his eyes widening
with pure love and lust at the sight or her bared
skin. He almost cried at her beauty.
"Just tell me you love me and let me show you my
"Yes, try stopping me," Scully agreed breathlessly.
"I love you."
Mulder kissed her once again, then all thought of
patience or direction flew out the window.
On a plane making its way to Washington, DC, Walter
Skinner relaxed and thought of his two agents fondly,
then remembered to make a note to find out who won
the Mulder-Scully office pool. He was sure it was
his for the taking, though. He'd made a special
effort to enter it earlier when he'd realized that
they were becoming much closer, and it didn't hurt to
be in the position of matchmaker either.
He sat back and pondered what he would do with his
winnings. Maybe he could buy them an extra week of
time at his condo. It would make a great wedding
End Part 15