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King of Pain
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Title:  The King Of Pain
                           Author:  Waddles52
                           Summary:  Mulder suffers the consequences during 
                           Scully's annual spring-cleaning spree.
                           Rating:  PG 13
                           Classification:  MSR, MT
                           Disclaimer:  Yawn.  No money exchanged hands.  I just 
                           have to play with them and rearrange their lives 
                           every now and then.
                           Archives:  I usually say yes.  Just ask me first.
                           Feedback:  Of course!  I love it!  Let me know you 
                           read it and if you liked it.  waddles52@insightbb.com
                           Notes:  Written for the VS 11 spring challenge.  I 
                           wrote this rather quickly so I didn't have a beta.  
                           All mistakes are my own.  
                           
                           Spring was definitely in the air.  The cherry trees 
                           were blooming and the tourists were flocking to the 
                           capital city in droves.  During a noon walk on the 
                           mall, Scully felt that familiar itch begin and there 
                           was only one way to scratch it.  No, it wasn't an 
                           allergy, although Mulder might think so.  It was an 
                           annual thing with only one remedy, spring-cleaning.
                           
                           Scully thought about hiring a cleaning crew and just 
                           turning it over to them, but a clean house was 
                           important to her and that feeling of accomplishment 
                           when everything was finished and sparkling clean just 
                           couldn't be replaced.  She chose the first weekend in 
                           April as her target date.  
                           
                           Mulder hoped for a long, complicated out-of-town 
                           case.  Since he practically lived with Scully now, he 
                           was expected to help with the yearly ritual.  Why 
                           couldn't she have an annual softball game, or a 
                           hiking trip?  Well, staying in her good graces was 
                           essential to him these days.  His lover could be very 
                           generous in the bedroom when she was pleased with 
                           him, and he felt the need to receive a bit of her 
                           generosity.  Now, what had she asked him to pick up 
                           from the store?
                           
                           He took the list from his shirt pocket and unfolded 
                           it.  He could tell it was going to be a hellish 
                           weekend.  The list started with ammonia and ended 
                           somewhere near the bottom of the page with window 
                           cleaner.  Wait, the instructions said to turn the 
                           list over.  He promptly obeyed and smiled at the next 
                           request, which was wine.  Red and white!  There might 
                           be a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow after 
                           all.
                           
                           Mulder was awakened at the crack of dawn Saturday 
                           morning.  Scully handed him a cup of coffee as he 
                           entered the kitchen.  When his eyes finally started 
                           to focus, he noticed that she was dressed in an old 
                           pair of sweats and a t-shirt.  "Mulder, you are 
                           seriously underdressed for this party," she grinned, 
                           noting that a pair of boxers was all he had on.  Put 
                           on the clothes I laid out for you.  They're on the 
                           foot of the bed."
                           
                           "Those?  I thought they were rags."  He took a swig 
                           of the strong coffee in hopes that it would jump- 
                           start him into consciousness.
                           
                           "Don't worry.  I'm sure they will be rags by the time 
                           we get finished.  Hurry up and finish your coffee.  
                           Daylight's burning, agent."  She gave him a swat on 
                           the butt and busied herself by gathering cleaning 
                           materials.
                           
                           If it hadn't been for the swat on the butt, Mulder 
                           might have opened an X-File right then and there.  It 
                           sounded like Scully was channeling Skinner.  He 
                           yawned loudly, scratched his hind end and shuffled 
                           back to the bedroom to put on his work clothes.
                           
                           After only an hour, Mulder knew that it was going to 
                           be the longest day of his life.  He had already taken 
                           down all of the mini-blinds to soak in a bathtub full 
                           of acrid smelling cleaning solution, swept the 
                           ceiling for cobwebs, dusted the top of all of the 
                           cabinets and his next assignment was to clean the 
                           light fixtures.  He could tell that he would have a 
                           very sore neck by the end of the day.  "Scully, 
                           where's the step ladder?"
                           
                           "I'm using it right now."  She was humming a happy 
                           tune as she washed the walls in the bathroom.  "Just 
                           grab one of the kitchen chairs."
                           
                           "Sheesh, how can anyone sound so thrilled to be 
                           scrubbing walls?" he grumbled as he passed by one of 
                           the exposed windows and noted the beautiful spring 
                           day he was missing.  "Might as well start in the 
                           kitchen."  He sighed loudly as he made his way there. 
                           At least, the view wasn't as nice in there.  It 
                           wouldn't remind him so much of what he was missing.
                           
                           He positioned the chair under the ceiling fan and 
                           hopped onto the seat.  As he began to remove the 
                           light bulbs, he noted that the paddles of the fan 
                           could use a good dusting.  That was actually the 
                           first sign of dirt that he had seen all morning.  He 
                           reached for his trusty dust rag in the back pocket of 
                           his jeans and began to clean the fan.  Dust began to 
                           filter down directly into his eyes.  "Damn it!"
                           
                           He tried to swipe the annoying particles away from 
                           his sensitive eyes but it was too late to prevent the 
                           dust from settling in his left eye.  Both eyes 
                           clamped shut as tears began to flow due to the 
                           irritation.  He needed to get to the sink and wash 
                           his eyes.
                           
                           Disoriented due to the stinging pain, he misjudged 
                           the boundary of the chair.  He took a step back and 
                           met thin air.  Managing to utter a few expletives, he 
                           landed on the floor----hard!
                           
                           His tears continued to flow, effectively washing out 
                           the dust.  Even more tears flowed as he fought to 
                           control the pain in his right shoulder and ankle.  
                           Did he hit the counter on the way down?  He wasn't 
                           sure, but one thing was certain, Fox Mulder was 
                           through cleaning for the day.
                           
                           Scully heard the chair scoot and the sound of 
                           Mulder's body hitting the floor.  She hastily climbed 
                           down from her perch on the ladder and was by his side 
                           in a flash.  "Mulder, don't try to move!"
                           
                           Move?  Was she serious?  He managed to get his right 
                           eye open and just stared at her unable to do anything 
                           other than let his involuntary muscles do their job.  
                           Pain was in charge right now and it wanted his full 
                           attention.  Good thing, because that's all he could 
                           handle at the moment.
                           
                           After a few seconds, Pain eased off enough to let him 
                           move his mouth.  He tried to say, "Scully," but it 
                           sounded like a gurgle and drool ran from the right 
                           side of his mouth.  Pain didn't like relinquishing 
                           any part of its hold on its newest victim.  It 
                           clamped down on Mulder again, allowing him a tiny 
                           grunt before taking over completely.
                           
                           Scully was on her knees beside him trying to judge 
                           his level of consciousness.  He squeezed his right 
                           eye shut again as the tears continued to fall.  He 
                           felt his partner gently wipe them away as he fought 
                           with Pain for control of his voice.
                           
                           "Mulder, can you hear me?"
                           
                           Pain was a formidable foe, but he kicked it aside 
                           long enough to grunt an answer.  "Mmph."
                           
                           Pain charged right back and almost kept him from 
                           hearing Scully's next question.  "Are you injured or 
                           did you just get the wind knocked out of you?"
                           
                           Did she really expect an answer?  Pain laughed.  It 
                           would win this round easily.  To its surprise, Mulder 
                           blurted out, "Hurt!" causing Pain to scramble for 
                           complete control once again.  Although still strong, 
                           Pain had lost its overwhelming edge.  With one last 
                           try, Pain realized that his victim was stronger at 
                           the moment.  It decided to linger in the background 
                           and wait for another chance to rule the day.
                           
                           "Where does it hurt?"
                           
                           "Right shoulder, ankle."
                           
                           "What about your neck or back?"
                           
                           "No."
                           
                           "Okay, let's have a look."  Scully felt along his 
                           collarbone and then his shoulder joint.
                           
                           "Oh!  Stop!  Hurts!"
                           
                           "I imagine it does, Mulder.  Did you hit the counter 
                           on your way down?"
                           
                           "Not sure.  Why?"  He gritted his teeth as Pain tried 
                           to surge in and take over again.
                           
                           "Your shoulder is dislocated."
                           
                           "Damn!"
                           
                           "Just relax.  We'll get you to the ER and they'll put 
                           it back in place in no time."  She smiled.  "It won't 
                           be that bad.  I promise."
                           
                           Mulder looked at her warily.  Something told him it 
                           wouldn't be that easy.
                           
                           "Now, let's check out your ankle.  It's probably just 
                           a slight sprain.  I assume it's your right one?"
                           
                           "Uh-huh."
                           
                           Pain saw an opportunity to show its dominance once 
                           again as the woman began to unlace the victim's 
                           sneaker.  Yes, it would definitely be large and in 
                           charge again by the time his sock was off.
                           
                           "Son of a bitch, Scully!  You trying to tear my foot 
                           off?"
                           
                           "Sorry, there's already a lot of bruising and 
                           swelling.  I've got to move your foot a little bit to 
                           check out that ankle joint.  It could be fairly 
                           painful depending on how badly your ankle is 
                           injured," she warned.
                           
                           "Go ahead," he gasped.  "Couldn't hurt any worse than 
                           it does now."
                           
                           Pain nearly went into convulsions of laughter.  What 
                           an idiot!  Well, Fox Mulder was just about to find 
                           out just how much more it could hurt.  Although the 
                           woman was being as gentle as she possibly could, Pain 
                           couldn't be happier.  The slightest movement of the 
                           injured joint caused the victim to cry out, and in 
                           just a few seconds his discomfort would multiply 
                           exponentially.
                           
                           "When Scully rotated his ankle, Mulder felt a little 
                           click in the joint.  The ensuing pain overloaded his 
                           senses.  Scully was shocked when his eyes rolled back 
                           into his head and he lost consciousness.  Pain 
                           laughed loudly.  
                           
                           Mulder came to a few seconds later, surprising Pain 
                           who had stepped into the background again.  "What 
                           happened?"
                           
                           "You passed out on me!  It was just for a few seconds 
                           but you gave me a good scare.  Don't do that again!" 
                           she warned him, a weak smile on her face letting 
                           Mulder know that she wasn't really mad.  "How are you 
                           feeling now?"
                           
                           "Not so good," he sighed.
                           
                           "I'm going to call 911.  We need to get you to the 
                           hospital."
                           
                           "No, you drive me."  Pain cheered him on.  That would 
                           be wonderful.  Even getting him off the floor would 
                           feed its need for quite some time.
                           
                           "Mulder, your ankle is broken and there's no way I 
                           could support you.  Your shoulder will make it 
                           difficult to get in the car and I'm not 100% sure 
                           that I could even help you to get off the floor."
                           
                           "What about your neighbor?  You know, the trainer 
                           with the Redskins?  Couldn't he help?"
                           
                           "I'm sure he would if he was at home, but he's on 
                           vacation."
                           
                           "Damn!"  Pain was sneaking back in from its hiding 
                           place.  Although it was disappointed that the woman 
                           was going to call an ambulance, it could still get in 
                           a few good licks until they got there.  Mulder felt a 
                           twitch in his nose signaling only one thing.  He was 
                           going to sneeze.  He had to stop it!  He raised his 
                           left hand and placed it under his nose.  Too late!  
                           The sneeze caused his entire body to convulse, making 
                           his injured shoulder jerk.  The resulting pain almost 
                           made him lose consciousness again.  
                           
                           Pain giggled.  Yes, that would do nicely until the 
                           paramedics came to move him.
                           
                           XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 
                           
                           Pain was absolutely delighted.  Even though it was 
                           resting in the background once again, it knew that it 
                           would create quite a stir when they reached the 
                           hospital.  The paramedics had been very cooperative 
                           at first.  Just as the victim had started to relax, 
                           they arrived and began their own examination.  Pain 
                           had put on a stellar performance and the paramedics 
                           rewarded the victim with a hefty dose of morphine.  
                           Pain just shrugged its shoulders and grinned 
                           wickedly, realizing that it was only a temporary 
                           setback.
                           
                           At the hospital, Mulder dozed through his transfer 
                           from the ambulance stretcher to the hospital gurney.  
                           Pain was a bit disappointed but realized that the 
                           morphine was beginning to lose its effect.  It would 
                           be show time soon enough.
                           
                           The doctor arrived within a few minutes.  The ER 
                           wasn't yet busy.  They were expecting an onslaught of 
                           sports injuries later in the afternoon, but for the 
                           time being things were pretty quiet.  The MD did a 
                           quick exam, enough to make Mulder squirm, but he was 
                           still rather heavily sedated from the morphine.  The 
                           patient was on his way to radiology before the drug 
                           really started to fade away.  Pain began to prepare 
                           for its re-entry.  X-rays could be such fun!
                           
                           The technician was nice and tried to be gentle, but 
                           Pain made the process a living hell.  Each time one 
                           of his injured joints had to be positioned for a 
                           different view, Mulder cried out in agony.  The only 
                           thing that kept him going was the promise of seeing 
                           Scully and getting more pain medication once he was 
                           back in the examining room. The technician even 
                           called ahead to let the ER know he was coming back.
                           
                           The nurse was waiting when he returned and quickly 
                           injected additional pain relief.  Pain was also ready 
                           for a little rest.  The patient torture in x-ray had 
                           been a real hoot, but it knew it would have to return 
                           full force very soon.  Mulder's enemy realized that 
                           it would have to put on quite a show when the doctor 
                           tried to put the shoulder back in place.  "Yeah, hang 
                           in there, Mr. Mulder.  We both need our rest," Pain 
                           giggled.  "The best is yet to come."
                           
                           After half an hour, Mulder was awakened from his 
                           comfortable slumber when the orthopedic surgeon on 
                           call came in to look at the x-rays and give Mulder 
                           and Scully the low down.  Thankfully, the ankle 
                           fracture wasn't serious but the doctor expressed 
                           concern because Mulder would not be able to use 
                           crutches.  "You really need to stay off of that ankle 
                           for about two weeks.  We'll put you in a cast before 
                           you leave, but it will not be a walking cast.  You'll 
                           need to secure a wheelchair."
                           
                           Mulder groaned his disappointment and Scully gave his 
                           left hand a squeeze to show that she sympathized.  
                           Pain was a bit disappointed.  It had planned to 
                           linger while Mulder was on crutches.  Oh well.  The 
                           most intense pain was still waiting in the wings.
                           
                           "Now, as you so painfully know, your shoulder is 
                           dislocated.  I'm going to add a little more medicine 
                           to your IV so that you'll be really relaxed.  I'm 
                           going to find one of my residents to assist me while 
                           you're getting relaxed and we should have that 
                           shoulder back in place in no time.  When we're 
                           finished we'll have to completely immobilize it for a 
                           couple of weeks to give those ligaments a chance to 
                           heal.  Do you have any questions?"
                           
                           "Why can't you just knock me out?" Mulder asked.  
                           "It's going to hurt no matter how relaxed I am."
                           
                           "True, but I'm trying to prevent an overnight stay.  
                           If we give you a general anesthetic we'll have to 
                           take you to surgery, intubate you, and keep an eye on 
                           you for a while.  I'm just trying to do what will be 
                           easiest for you and your wallet."
                           
                           "We appreciate your concern," Scully put in.  "How 
                           long before you can get started?"
                           
                           "I'll write the order for the meds right now and 
                           round up some help.  We should get started in less 
                           that 30 minutes."
                           
                           Pain was delighted.  Getting that shoulder back into 
                           place was really going to be entertaining.  It 
                           couldn't resist digging in just a bit.
                           
                           "Ow!" Mulder exclaimed.
                           
                           "Are you okay?  Should I get the doctor back in 
                           here?"  Scully jumped up and was at his side 
                           immediately.
                           
                           "No, just had a really sharp pain in my shoulder.  
                           It's better now."
                           
                           "Probably a muscle spasm.  The meds you're going to 
                           get should relax you enough so that you won't have 
                           any more."
                           
                           "Meds indeed!"  Pain chortled.  There wasn't a 
                           medicine on earth short of general anesthesia that 
                           would mask the pain Mulder would feel when they tried 
                           to put his shoulder back into place.  "Oh, this is 
                           what I've been waiting for these past few hours.  
                           Bring it on, doctor!  I'm more than ready to defeat 
                           your medication."
                           
                           The additional medication sent Mulder off to 
                           dreamland.  He laid on the gurney with a contented 
                           smile on his face.  He didn't even notice when the 
                           two doctors entered the exam room and put a rolled up 
                           sheet under him.
                           
                           Scully had seen the procedure done several times 
                           during her training, but had never taken part in one 
                           mainly because the doctors needed someone pretty 
                           strong to keep the patient in place.  She moved to a 
                           corner of the room to give the specialist plenty of 
                           room to maneuver.  She wanted to stay by Mulder's 
                           side but knew that she would only be in the way.  She 
                           hoped that the medication would be strong enough to 
                           keep him fairly comfortable.  She knew that the 
                           procedure was going to be painful no matter how much 
                           medication he had on board.
                           
                           The resident pulled on the sheet as his supervisor 
                           began to manipulate the joint.  Mulder's eyes shot 
                           open immediately and he almost bit through his lip as 
                           he tried to keep from screaming.  Whatever the doctor 
                           was doing was killing him!  He kept waiting for the 
                           joint to go back into place, signaling the end of his 
                           torture, but it didn't happen.
                           
                           The doctors stopped to take a break and to allow 
                           Mulder to catch his breath.  Scully urged her partner 
                           to slow his breathing down.
                           
                           Pain was ecstatic!  If they gave awards for this sort 
                           of thing, it would have a mantle full from this 
                           injury alone.  Even so, it felt the need to push on 
                           and do an even better job the next time the doctors 
                           tried to manipulate the joint.  That poor man was 
                           such fun to torture.   His victim tried so hard not 
                           to give into to the excruciating pain.  Even though 
                           Mulder had gained the respect of his torturer, Pain 
                           decided it would not be satisfied until he was a 
                           quivering, defeated human, begging for mercy.
                           
                           The doctors were ready to try again.  "We're going to 
                           give it another go, Mr. Mulder.  Try to relax as much 
                           as you possibly can.  Ready?"
                           
                           No!  He'd never be ready, but he still managed to 
                           grunt out an, "Okay."
                           
                           Pain gave the performance of a lifetime.  Mulder was 
                           perspiring with the effort of trying to cope with the 
                           agony in his shoulder.  Finally, he decided he'd 
                           reached his limit.  "Stop!  No more!  Put me to 
                           sleep!  I don't care if I have to stay overnight!  
                           I'll pay anything!"
                           
                           Pain took a bow for the best performance yet.  By the 
                           time the doctors tried a third time, he'd have Mulder 
                           right where he wanted him.  He was so close!  If they 
                           thought he'd been begging for relief before, that was 
                           nothing!  The best was yet to come."
                           
                           Pain stopped patting itself on the back to listen in 
                           on the doctor's conversation with the patient.  "All 
                           right, Mr. Mulder.  I agree.  You're in too much pain 
                           to even consider going on.  I'll arrange for an OR 
                           and an anesthesiologist and we'll get this taken care 
                           of."
                           
                           "I'm sorry.  I tried."  Mulder was close to tears.  
                           Somehow he felt like he'd let everyone down, 
                           especially Scully.  He was such a wimp.
                           
                           "You did just fine, Mr. Mulder.  Your muscles are in 
                           spasm and we just can't work around that.  It's not 
                           your fault.  Just hang in there for a few more 
                           minutes and we'll get you upstairs and make you 
                           comfortable."
                           
                           "Thanks."
                           
                           Scully found herself back at Mulder's side, grateful 
                           that she wouldn't have to see him suffer through 
                           another attempt.
                           
                           Pain was stunned.  Doctors always tried three times 
                           before giving up and going to surgery.  It felt 
                           cheated.  One more try would have satisfied its need 
                           for complete dominance.  Pain looked back on 
                           everything that had happened and decided that his 
                           performance had been outstanding.  Perfect!  It 
                           couldn't have been any better!  Then, Pain realized 
                           that it had been too good!
                           
                           Pain was so busy congratulating itself that it didn't 
                           notice that Mulder was moving to the OR, room 8.  It 
                           barely had time to get in one last lick when the 
                           patient was transferred from the gurney to the table.
                           
                           As the anesthesia began to enter Mulder's body, Pain 
                           told him farewell. It had been a good, satisfying 
                           couple of hours, but it needed a new victim.  It was 
                           sure that Mulder would be in its clutches once again 
                           in the not too distant future, but it needed 
                           something to do until then.  This was a hospital 
                           after all.  A visit to post-op should begin to 
                           satisfy its needs.
                           
                           Several hours later, Mulder was lying in his hospital 
                           bed glad that the worst was behind him.  Damn!  He 
                           couldn't remember ever hurting that much! It was 
                           actually pretty scary when he looked back on it. He 
                           didn't like losing control like that, but he would 
                           have done just about anything to rid himself of the 
                           all-consuming agony that had set up in his right 
                           shoulder.  If it hadn't been for Scully helping him 
                           work through it . . .where was she anyway?
                           
                           Mulder couldn't move very well due to the shoulder 
                           immobilizer, but he did the best he could to look 
                           around the room.  Scully chose that moment to return.  
                           He visibly relaxed.
                           
                           She made her way over to his bed and leaned over the 
                           railing.  "I've been making arrangements for a 
                           wheelchair rental and talking to Mom.  Since the 
                           apartment's pretty much a mess right now we're going 
                           to spend a few days at her house."
                           
                           Mulder perked up.  If he was going to be forced into 
                           a period of recuperation from these stupid injuries, 
                           the thought of Scully's mom and her mouth-watering 
                           meals made it a lot easier to take.
                           
                           "I've also decided to hire a cleaning service to 
                           finish up the apartment.  I decided I'd rather spend 
                           every minute with you instead of worrying about that 
                           apartment."
                           
                           "Thanks, Scully.  I know how important cleanliness 
                           and order is to you."  He thought to himself that it 
                           was quite a big step that she had taken.
                           
                           "You're more important than that apartment any day.  
                           By the way, I booked the cleaning crew for your place 
                           too.  I hope you don't mind."
                           
                           Mulder groaned silently and considered telling her to 
                           cancel.  He wouldn't be able to find a thing once 
                           they finished.  Suddenly he realized that he felt the 
                           same as Scully.  She was much more important than his 
                           apartment.  "Thanks, that'll give us lots more time 
                           together since I won't have to worry about clearing a 
                           path through the clutter every time you come over.  
                           If I like their work I may get them to come 
                           regularly."
                           
                           Scully was surprised, but thrilled that he hadn't put 
                           up a fuss.  "How are you feeling?" she asked warily, 
                           afraid that he was too high on pain meds to realize 
                           what he was saying.
                           
                           "I'm okay.  I'm a little tired but the pain is much 
                           better.  I haven't had to use the pump since I woke 
                           up."
                           
                           Scully breathed a sigh of relief.  Things were 
                           looking up.  This recuperation period should go 
                           rather smoothly since her partner seemed so 
                           cooperative right from the start.
                           
                           Mulder held his left hand out to her.  She took it 
                           gently so she wouldn't disturb the IV, then settled 
                           into the chair by his bed.  She was glad that her 
                           part in spring-cleaning was over, and was looking 
                           forward to the next few days at her mom's where she 
                           could give Mulder the TLC he deserved.
                           
                           Mulder felt a slight twinge in his shoulder but it 
                           faded fast.  He was thankful that his pain was so 
                           much better.  He wouldn't wish that on anyone.  Well, 
                           maybe Krycek and Spender were deserving, but he 
                           certainly wouldn't want a friend to go through what 
                           he had just experienced.
                           
                           In another part of the hospital, Pain had found the 
                           perfect place to camp out.  Labor and delivery was 
                           the greatest find!  The champion of torture could 
                           make lots of women miserable for a few hours and then 
                           move to another area if things got slow.  It thought 
                           of giving its old friend Mulder a visit but a new 
                           patient came in, already in considerable pain and 
                           screaming her head off.  Ooh, she was going to be a 
                           great victim.  She seemed to have a very low 
                           tolerance for pain and she still had several hours to 
                           go before she could have an epidural.
                           
                           "Thanks, Mr. Mulder.  We had a great time but I think 
                           I'll leave you alone for a while.  I'll be back if 
                           you ever decide to help your girlfriend with her 
                           spring-cleaning again," Pain cackled as it approached 
                           its newest victim.
                           
                           
                           
                           End