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Title:  Drive-by 
                           Author:  Waddles52
                           Summary:  When Mulder is injured Scully must care for 
                           him.  Add a safe house, the attempted murderer still 
                           on the loose, and a chance to develop their 
                           relationship.  Will romance blossom?
                           Spoilers:  None
                           Category:  MT, MSR
                           Rating:  PG13
                           Distribution:  Please ask
                           Feedback:  Always welcomed at DASWaddles52@aol.com
                           
                           
                           Basement Office, Hoover Building
                           
                           Scully was staring at an untidy pile of cash register 
                           receipts, charge slips and a wide assortment of paper 
                           scraps with various notes and dollar amounts that 
                           Mulder had just dumped in front of her.  She gave him 
                           a frosty stare.
                           
                           "What?" Mulder asked.  "You said you needed those 
                           receipts for our expense report.  I spent quite a bit 
                           of time making sure I had everything before I gave 
                           them to you."
                           
                           Scully sighed wearily.  "Mulder, did it ever occur to 
                           you to organize them by case number and date?"
                           
                           "Why would I need to do that?  I know the case number 
                           and date for every one of them.  All you have to do 
                           is ask."  Mulder leaned back in his chair and began 
                           lobbing paper wads at the trash can, missing the 
                           target badly.
                           
                           Scully stuck her arm out and caught one in mid-flight 
                           and chucked it in the can.
                           
                           "Scully scores from three point land and the crowd 
                           goes wild," Mulder said in his best announcer's 
                           voice.
                           
                           Scully gave him an extra frosty stare.  "Mulder, I 
                           can't believe you are taking this so lightly.  We 
                           just spent the last hour in Skinner's office getting 
                           chewed out for every past transgression and anything 
                           we might even think about doing in the future.  This 
                           expense report is due at 9 o'clock sharp tomorrow.  
                           We do not have time to play!"
                           
                           "You're right, Scully.  I'm sorry.  Look, it's lunch 
                           time and I'm hungry.  I think I'll work much better 
                           if my stomach isn't growling every two minutes.  Why 
                           don't I go out and get us something to eat?" Mulder
                           offered.
                           
                           "Oh, no you don't!  I'm not letting you out of my 
                           sight.  You'll get sidetracked and I'll end up 
                           staying here all night finishing this report.  If 
                           you're going out then I'm going with you.  Consider 
                           me your shadow."
                           
                           "Okay, shadow.  The cafeteria is closed due to a 
                           chlorine leak in the dishwasher so the quickest lunch 
                           would probably be the hot dog stand down the street.
                           
                           Scully turned up her nose.
                           
                           "I'm just trying to save some time so we can get back 
                           to work on that report.  You can get sauerkraut on 
                           your dog so you can get your veggie fix.  Okay?"
                           
                           "All right," Scully agreed.  "But you're buying."
                           
                           They grabbed their coats and were out the door.
                           
                           
                           "I'm serious, Scully.  My apartment building is 
                           really getting wild."  Mulder finished his hot dog 
                           and threw the wrapper in the trashcan by the curb.
                           
                           "Really, Mulder?  You're usually the cause of the 
                           wild things that take place there," Scully teased.
                           
                           "Not last night.  I had to break up a domestic 
                           disturbance right outside my door."
                           
                           "Really?  What happened?"  Scully finished her meal 
                           and deposited her trash.  They began to walk back to 
                           the Hoover building at a slow pace.
                           
                           "My new neighbors decided to have a knock-down drag-
                           out right in front of my door.  I broke it up before 
                           any real damage was done and escorted the wife back 
                           to her apartment," Mulder explained.
                           
                           "Did you call the police?"
                           
                           "It turns out that the husband is a police officer."
                           
                           "How convenient."
                           
                           "Yeah, right.  Real convenient.  This morning I went 
                           out to my car only to find a "Denver boot" on it and 
                           a citation for unpaid parking fines on the 
                           windshield," he grumbled.
                           
                           "Let me guess.  You haven't had any parking tickets."
                           
                           "Bingo!  I had to take the Metro in today.  You 
                           wouldn't happen to know anyone who could help me get 
                           this fixed?" Mulder asked hopefully.
                           
                           "Not right off hand.  Sorry," she apologized.
                           
                           "I may have to visit him at the station and tell him 
                           about all of the IRS agents I know."
                           
                           "That might work," Scully grinned.
                           
                           They continued to walk slowly.  As they approached 
                           the far end of the Hoover Building, their attention 
                           was drawn to a car pulling out from the curb, 
                           squealing its tires as it accelerated.
                           
                           "D.C. drivers are getting crazier every day," Scully 
                           thought.  She noticed a flash from the passenger side 
                           window, then felt herself being pushed to the 
                           sidewalk.  
                           
                           She heard two loud cracks at the same time Mulder 
                           screamed, "Gun!"
                           
                           Scully pushed herself up and looked around as the car 
                           sped away.  Several people were beginning to gather 
                           around a figure lying on the sidewalk.
                           
                           "Mulder!" she screamed, as she got to her feet an ran 
                           to him.
                           
                           Mulder was curled on his right side, his right hand 
                           gripping his upper, left arm, blood bubbling out 
                           between his fingers.
                           
                           The spectators parted to let Scully through.
                           
                           "Someone call 911!" she ordered as she knelt beside 
                           Mulder.  She tried to pull his hand away, but that 
                           only caused him to grip even tighter.
                           
                           "Mulder, let me see."
                           
                           "Nooo, can't let go," he groaned.
                           
                           "Mulder, I need to see how bad it is.  Just relax, 
                           okay?"
                           
                           "Can't.  Think it's broken," Mulder gasped as she 
                           began to pry his fingers loose.
                           
                           Scully could see where the bullet entered.  "Mulder, 
                           I need to look for an exit wound."
                           
                           Very gently she moved his arm.  Mulder bit his bottom 
                           lip so hard it began to bleed.  She could feel the 
                           bone move as she lifted up his arm.  She saw that the 
                           bullet had exited inside his arm, then let out a gasp 
                           of surprise when she saw that it had re-entered his 
                           body through his chest.
                           
                           She gently laid his arm down and pulled his tie loose 
                           and began unbuttoning his shirt.  She saw blood 
                           welling from a small hole in his upper, left side.
                           
                           "Mulder, are you having any trouble breathing?" she 
                           inquired.
                           
                           "Can't tell.  Don't think so.  Arm hurts so bad, 
                           can't tell," he answered through clenched teeth.  
                           Tears had formed in the corners of his eyes and began 
                           to run slowly down his face.  Scully wiped them away 
                           with her left hand, her right hand smoothing the hair 
                           back from his forehead.
                           
                           "Take it easy, partner." Sirens began to wail in the 
                           distance.  "You'll do just about anything to get out 
                           of working on that expense report," she teased.
                           
                           "Rather be. . . working now."
                           
                           The sirens became louder and louder and soon an 
                           ambulance screeched to a halt beside the curb, 
                           followed closely by a police cruiser.
                           
                           Scully moved back to let the emergency workers move 
                           in.  She felt a hand on her shoulder and turned 
                           around to see Skinner.
                           
                           "Agent Scully, what happened?"
                           
                           "It was a drive-by shooting, sir.  It happened so 
                           fast that I didn't get a good look at the car.  A 
                           dark sedan, I think.  Mulder must have seen the gun 
                           because he pushed me out of the way," Scully 
                           explained, trying to keep an eye on the emergency 
                           workers.
                           
                           "Were they aiming for Mulder or someone else?" 
                           Skinner queried, looking over the crowd that had 
                           gathered.
                           
                           "As I said, it happened so fast I couldn't tell."
                           
                           The EMT's had already cut Mulder's jacket and shirt 
                           away and were turning him to look for another exit 
                           wound.  There was none.
                           
                           "Sir, I will be glad to talk to you later, but right 
                           now I'd like to see how Agent Mulder is doing and 
                           accompany him to the hospital."
                           
                           "Of course, Agent Scully.  I'll see you later at the 
                           hospital."  Skinner left her and began talking to one 
                           of the police officers.
                           
                           Scully walked back over to Mulder.  The EMT's were 
                           working feverishly, one establishing an IV in 
                           Mulder's right hand while the other was putting on an 
                           oxygen mask and applying cardiac monitor leads.
                           
                           "What are his vitals?" Scully asked.
                           
                           "And you are?"  The EMT finished taping the IV line 
                           and turned to Scully.
                           
                           "I'm his partner.  I'm listed as his next-of-kin and 
                           I'm also a medical doctor."
                           
                           "His pulse is 110," he answered, looking at the 
                           monitor.  "Jeff, did you get his BP?"
                           
                           "Yeah, 100 over 60."
                           
                           "We're going to transport him to Georgetown," the EMT 
                           informed Scully, gathering up his equipment.
                           
                           "I'm going with you," Scully insisted.
                           
                           "Okay, just stay out of the way."  He pulled the 
                           stretcher over and the two of them placed Mulder on 
                           it, eliciting a cry of pain as he was moved.
                           
                           Georgetown Memorial
                           
                           Scully was standing outside of the trauma room, 
                           waiting impatiently for the x-rays to be completed.  
                           As soon as the portable unit was out the door, Scully 
                           was in.  She saw that they were preparing to insert a 
                           chest tube.  She went directly to Mulder's right side 
                           and took his hand, careful of the IV.
                           
                           "Mulder?"
                           
                           "Mmm," he moaned.
                           
                           "How are you doing?"
                           
                           "Hurts. . .bad.  Hard to breathe."
                           
                           "I know, Mulder.  The doctors are going to insert a 
                           chest tube.  That should make you feel better.  Just 
                           hang in there," Scully implored.
                           
                           "Mr. Mulder?" the doctor asked.
                           
                           "Just Mulder," he answered.
                           
                           "Okay, Mulder.  Your left lung is giving you some 
                           problems.  Probably some blood from the bullet.  We 
                           need to put in a chest tube.  We're going to give you 
                           some pain medication and numb the area pretty well, 
                           but I won't lie to you.  It's going to hurt like 
                           hell.  Why don't you keep holding the lovely Dr. 
                           Scully's hand and we'll get this taken care of as 
                           quickly as we can."  He nodded to the nurse and she 
                           injected the pain medication into Mulder's IV.
                           
                           The doctor waited for a few seconds and began to 
                           inject an area in Mulder's upper, left side with the 
                           numbing medication.  Mulder's eyes were closed and he 
                           appeared to be sleeping.  When the doctor finished 
                           injecting the site, he began to swab it with a 
                           betadine solution.  When he completed that task, he 
                           took a scapel from the tray and made a small 
                           incision.
                           
                           Mulder's eyes opened and he moaned loudly.  When the 
                           doctor inserted his finger in the incision, Mulder's 
                           eyes opened wide and he screamed in pain.
                           
                           "Mulder," Scully called.  "Mulder. listen to me.  
                           It's almost over.  Just a few minutes more and 
                           they'll be finished.  You need to lie quietly.  The 
                           more you cooperate, the sooner it will be over."
                           
                           Mulder nodded yes and squeezed Scully's hand so hard 
                           that she knew she would have a bruise.
                           
                           "We're finished, Mulder," the doctor said as he tied 
                           the tube in place.
                           
                           The x-ray tech brought in the films and Scully went 
                           over to view them with Mulder's doctor.
                           
                           "It's pretty much what we thought we'd find.  His 
                           humerus is fractured, and will require surgery.  The 
                           bullet re-entered his body here," he pointed out to 
                           Scully, "Fractured these two ribs and imbedded itself 
                           in his left clavical.  I'm willing to bet there is a 
                           laceration on the lung.  We need to go in and take a 
                           look around and repair what we can."
                           
                           Scully shook her head in agreement.
                           
                           "Shirley, call for a thoracic surgery and ortho 
                           consult," the doctor ordered.
                           
                           Scully walked back over to Mulder and took his hand 
                           in hers again.  "Feeling better?" she asked.
                           
                           "Some," he answered.  "Still hurts like hell."
                           
                           "I imagine it does.  I'll ask if you can have more 
                           pain medication, but first I want to tell you what is 
                           happening."
                           
                           Mulder nodded yes.
                           
                           "As you know, the bullet entered your left arm.  It 
                           caused a fracture which will require surgery.  The 
                           same bullet re-entered your body through your chest.  
                           It traveled upward and fractured two ribs and 
                           probably lacerated your left lung.  That's why you 
                           were having trouble breathing.  They are calling in a 
                           thoracic surgeon who will explore the area and make 
                           any necessary repairs.  The bullet finally stopped at 
                           your collarbone.  An orthopaedic surgeon will repair 
                           your arm and your collarbone if necessary."  Scully 
                           finished her explanation and smoothed Mulder's hair 
                           back.
                           
                           "Is that all?" he asked sarcastically.
                           
                           "I think that's quite enough."  Scully turned to the 
                           nurse to ask for more pain medication.  As she turned 
                           back she saw Skinner enter the room.
                           
                           "Agent Mulder, I see you've found another excuse for 
                           avoiding your quarterly expense report," their 
                           supervisor said sternly.
                           
                           "No, sir.  As far as excuses go, this wasn't exactly 
                           what I had in mind," Mulder answered.
                           
                           The nurse injected more pain medication into his IV, 
                           then hung a unit of blood and began to connect it to 
                           the line.
                           
                           "What happened, Agent Mulder?  Was the attack meant 
                           for you?" Skinner inquired.
                           
                           "I don't know who the target was.  I just saw the gun 
                           and reacted.'
                           
                           "Can you think of anyone who might be going after you 
                           this way?"
                           
                           "Only the usual suspects," Mulder yawned.  "Sorry, 
                           sir.  I'm starting to feel really sleepy."
                           
                           "The nurse just gave him more pain medication," 
                           Scully explained.
                           
                           "Why don't you rest, Agent Mulder?" Skinner 
                           suggested.  "I need to speak to Agent Scully outside.  
                           I'll send her back when we're finished.'
                           
                           "'Kay," he mumbled, drifting off to sleep.
                           
                           Scully followed Skinner to the hallway outside of the 
                           trauma room.
                           
                           Skinner spoke first.  "How is he doing, Agent 
                           Scully?"
                           
                           "All things considered, he's actually doing quite 
                           well.  His upper left arm is broken, along with a few 
                           ribs and his collarbone.  His left lung is lacerated 
                           and he will require surgery to repair his lung and 
                           arm.  Of course, he is in considerable pain, but they 
                           are being pretty generous with the pain medication," 
                           Scully explained.  "Do you have any ideas on who 
                           might be responsible for this?"
                           
                           "No, I really don't.  This is not the consortium's 
                           style.  They have much more subtle methods at their 
                           disposal.  As far as I know, no one with a grudge 
                           against Mulder has been released from prison or 
                           escaped.  I honestly don't know if Mulder was the 
                           target, if someone else was, or if this was 
                           completely random.  No one got a good look at the car 
                           or the shooter, so right now we have nothing to go 
                           on.  Just to be on the safe side, I'm going to assign 
                           a guard to Mulder.  If the attack was meant for him, 
                           the shooter may try again."
                           
                           "Thank you, sir."
                           
                           "Keep me informed of Agent Mulder's condition,"  
                           Skinner ordered.  "I'll be in my office."
                           
                           Scully nodded as he headed for the exit.
                           
                           
                           Georgetown Memorial-Surgical Waiting Area
                           
                           
                           Scully had just finished her fourth cup of waiting 
                           room coffee.  If she had a stomach lining after this 
                           it would be a miracle she thought, and looked at the 
                           doors leading to the OR for what must have been the 
                           thousandth time in the last five hours.  Mulder's 
                           thoracic surgeon, Dr. Metz, had already been out to 
                           talk to her.  Mulder had done so well during the 
                           surgery to repair his lung that the orthopedic 
                           surgeon had decided to go ahead with his part of the 
                           repair.  She thought that they should be wrapping up 
                           soon.  Seconds later the door opened and a man in 
                           surgical scrubs came through.
                           
                           "Mulder family?" the man inquired.
                           
                           Scully walked toward him.  "I'm Mr. Mulder's next-of-
                           kin.  My name is Dana Scully."
                           
                           "I'm Dr. Sanchez.  I just completed the surgery on 
                           Mr. Mulder.  We were able to stabilize the bone in 
                           his upper arm with a plate and a few screws.  We 
                           removed the bullet from his collarbone.  It was 
                           fractured but didn't require extensive repairs.
                           
                           "All in all everything went well.  It will probably be 
                           several months before that arm is back to normal and 
                           the collarbone should heal within four to six weeks.  
                           For the time being we have completely immobilized Mr. 
                           Mulder's arm.  I think he will be much more 
                           comfortable that way, considering the many fractures 
                           he has.  They will easily be able to reach his chest 
                           tube and surgical incision.  He'll be in recovery for 
                           an hour or so, then he'll be moved to an intermediate 
                           care room," the doctor explained thoroughly.
                           
                           "Thank you, Dr. Sanchez.  Could I stay with him in 
                           the recovery room?  I'd feel much better if I could 
                           be there when he awakens.  There is also a 
                           possibility that another attempt could be made on his 
                           life," Scully stated.
                           
                           "Well, since you put it that way, I guess it will be 
                           all right.  Just try to stay out of the way.  Come 
                           with me."
                           
                           Dr. Sanchez took her to the recovery room where 
                           Mulder was the only patient.
                           
                           "Jeanetta, this is Miss Scully.  Miss Scully, this is 
                           Jeanetta Slocum, one of our best recovery nurses.  
                           Jeanetta, I told Miss Scully it would be all right to 
                           stay with Mr. Mulder until he's ready to go to his 
                           room.  She has promised to stay out of your way," Dr. 
                           Sanchez made the introductions and left.
                           
                           "I'm sure you won't be in the way," Jeanetta said as 
                           she brought a chair for Scully.  "He's a little gruff 
                           at times but he's one of the best orthopedic surgeons 
                           on staff."
                           
                           "Thank you," Scully said as she took the chair.
                           
                           "Mr. Mulder should be waking up soon.  Do you have 
                           any questions about the monitors or the surgery?"
                           
                           "Actually, Dr. Sanchez was quite thorough when he 
                           talked to me and I'm familiar with the monitors.  In 
                           addition to being an F.B.I. agent, I am also a 
                           medical doctor," Scully explained.
                           
                           "That seems like an odd combination," Jeanetta 
                           remarked as she recorded the readings from the 
                           monitors.
                           
                           "Not really.  I'm a forensic pathologist.  It comes 
                           in pretty handy in our line of work."
                           
                           Mulder moved his legs and groaned softly.
                           
                           "It looks like he's waking up," Jeanetta noticed.
                           
                           "He's awake," Mulder said hoarsely, opening his eyes.
                           
                           "Hey.  How are you feeling?" Scully asked, standing 
                           up and moving to his side.
                           
                           "Like an elephant sat on my left side."  He tried to 
                           move and gave up quickly when the pain overwhelmed 
                           him.  "Why can't I move my arm?" he gasped.
                           
                           "Mulder, take it easy.  They immobilized it.  You 
                           have so many fractures the doctor thought it would be 
                           more comfortable," Scully explained.
                           
                           "Mr. Mulder, my name is Jeanetta.  I'll be taking 
                           care of you until you go to your room.  You have a 
                           patient assist device to administer your pain 
                           medication." She placed a control in his right hand.  
                           "All you have to do is push the button and it will 
                           administer a pre-set amount of medication.  You can 
                           use it every eight minutes if you need it.  You can't 
                           overdose on it, so use it as often as you need to.  
                           Understand?"
                           
                           Mulder nodded yes.
                           
                           "Mulder, use it," Scully directed.  "Okay?"
                           
                           "Okay," he agreed, and pushed the button.
                           
                           "You should be feeling more comfortable soon," 
                           Jeanetta promised.  "I need to get your temperature, 
                           then I'll leave you alone for a while."
                           
                           She finished and went off to record it in Mulder's 
                           chart.
                           
                           "How are you feeling now?" Scully inquired.
                           
                           "Must be getting some pretty good stuff.  Feel like 
                           I'm floating."
                           
                           "Why don't you quit fighting it?  Just close your 
                           eyes and float on off to sleep."
                           
                           "Sounds like a good idea."  He closed his eyes and 
                           drifted off.
                           
                           
                           Room 332, Intermediate Care Unit, Georgetown Memorial
                           
                           
                           Mulder opened his eyes and found that his 
                           surroundings had changed again.  "Crap," he thought 
                           as he took inventory of the same tubes, wires and 
                           monitors that he'd had earlier.  "This doesn't look 
                           like the ICU, though.  Wonder where Scully is?"
                           
                           He tried to turn his head and found that the pain in 
                           his collarbone prevented that.  He heard the door 
                           open and relaxed as he heard the familiar footsteps 
                           approach his bed.
                           
                           "Oh!  You're awake," Scully observed, surprise in her 
                           voice.
                           
                           "You caught me."
                           
                           Scully set her coffee down on the bedside table.  I 
                           thought you would sleep a little longer.  How are you 
                           doing?"
                           
                           "I've been better.  That coffee smells good," he 
                           hinted.
                           
                           "Don't let the aroma fool you.  It's typical hospital 
                           coffee, and I don't think your stomach is ready for 
                           that yet.  How about a nice, refreshing spoonful of 
                           ice?"
                           
                           "I guess I'll have to settle for that," he answered, 
                           making a face.
                           
                           Scully fed him a few ice chips and watched as he 
                           allowed them to melt, then swallowed.  "More?"
                           
                           "Yeah.  Feels good."
                           
                           She gave him more.  "How's the pain?"
                           
                           "The elephant is still sitting on my left side, but I 
                           think I'm getting used to it."  He tried to shift in 
                           bed but gasped when the pain hit.  "Bad idea."
                           
                           "Yes, it was.  The control for your PAD is on your 
                           right bed rail.  Can you reach it?"
                           
                           Mulder raised his right hand and found the control.  
                           "Yes, I can."
                           
                           "Then use it.  It's there for your comfort."  To 
                           emphasize her point, Scully reached over and pushed 
                           the button.
                           
                           "Sculleee," he whined.
                           
                           "Mulder, efficient pain control is essential for your 
                           recovery.  Use it when the pain is bad."
                           
                           "Yes, doctor.  When can I get out of here?"
                           
                           "You just had over five hours of surgery, Mulder.  
                           You're not going anywhere until the chest tube is out 
                           and you can move a little more easily," Scully 
                           admonished.
                           
                           "Wonderful," he griped.  "Any news on what the 
                           shooting was all about?"
                           
                           "At this time it appears that it was totally random.  
                           Skinner has assigned a guard, but if nothing turns up 
                           soon he will probably be re-assigned."
                           
                           "I agree that it was most likely a random shooting.  
                           It was just my usual luck to be in the way.  I'm 
                           really starting to fade out here.  Think I'll rest 
                           for a bit."  Mulder closed his eyes.  "Scully, go 
                           home.  I'll be okay."
                           
                           "I think I'll stay for a while longer."
                           
                           "Suit yourself."  He began to drift off, pleased that 
                           Scully was staying.
                           
                           Mulder drifted in and out of sleep during the night, 
                           rousing when the nurse came in to check him, and 
                           going back to sleep after a mouthful of ice chips and 
                           another dose of pain medication,
                           
                           Shortly before dawn, Scully decided to go home for a 
                           quick shower and a change of clothes.  Mulder was 
                           sleeping soundly as she told the guard she would 
                           return shortly.
                           
                           Minutes after Scully left, the guard received a call 
                           relieving him of his duty.  He told the nurses good-
                           bye and walked away quickly, happy to soon be off his 
                           feet.  A nurse checked on Mulder once and then 
                           returned to the station to complete her chart notes 
                           before the shift change.
                           
                           Scully returned, feeling more comfortable and 
                           relieved that it seemed so quiet on the floor.  As 
                           she pushed the door to Mulder's room open an alarm 
                           sounded.  As the door opened, she saw a man dressed 
                           in the maroon scrubs of the nursing staff holding a 
                           pillow over Mulder's face.  Mulder was struggling 
                           weakly, trying to bat the man's hands away with his 
                           right hand.
                           
                           As Scully reached for her gun, the man turned from 
                           Mulder and threw the pillow at her, then charged her 
                           and pushed her against the wall as he ran out of the 
                           room.  By the time Scully picked herself up, he was 
                           gone and the room began to fill with nursing 
                           personnel.
                           
                           The monitor stopped its alarm as Mulder's heartbeat 
                           and breathing began to return to normal.  Scully was 
                           quickly at his side.
                           
                           "Where the hell is the guard?" she demanded as she 
                           observed Mulder closely.
                           
                           "He was sent home," one of the nurses explained as 
                           she reapplied one of the cardiac monitor leads.
                           
                           "Mulder, can you hear me?  Are you all right?" Scully 
                           asked as she smoothed the hair back from his 
                           forehead.
                           
                           "I think I'm okay," he answered, still breathing 
                           heavily.
                           
                           "Just take it easy.  You're safe now," Scully said in 
                           her most soothing tone.
                           
                           "What was that about?" Mulder inquired, trying to 
                           slow his breathing as one of the nurses put an oxygen 
                           mask over his mouth and nose.
                           
                           "I don't know, Mulder, but you can be sure it won't 
                           happen again.  Take slow breaths, in and out, in and 
                           out.  That's it.  Keep slowing it down.  You're doing 
                           better."
                           
                           One of the nurses left to call the doctor, as the 
                           other one stayed behind to continue monitoring 
                           Mulder.
                           
                           "Stay here," Scully directed her as she left the 
                           room.  She grabbed the phone at the nurse's station 
                           and called Skinner.  After filling him in she went 
                           back to Mulder.
                           
                           Mulder was breathing normally once again and the 
                           oxygen mask had been removed.  "Well, that was 
                           certainly an interesting start to the day," he said, 
                           then grimaced.
                           
                           "It certainly was.  I'm sure it didn't do anything to 
                           help your pain."  Scully reached for the PAD and 
                           Mulder grabbed her hand.
                           
                           "No.  I need to be alert."
                           
                           "I'm here now and Skinner is on his way with more 
                           guards.  You can relax.  Let me push the button.  
                           There's no sense in suffering if you don't have to."
                           
                           Mulder moved his hand and allowed Scully to push the 
                           button.
                           
                           "Did you recognize him?" She asked, sitting down on 
                           the chair beside the bed.
                           
                           "Are you kidding?  The only thing I got a good look 
                           at was the pillow.  I could identify it anywhere.  
                           What about you?  What did you see?"
                           
                           "I saw the back of a very large man, maybe 6'2" and 
                           250 pounds.  He tossed the pillow at me and pushed me 
                           down on the way out."
                           
                           "Are you okay?" Mulder asked, concern evident in his 
                           voice.
                           
                           "I'll probably have a few bruises, but no permanent 
                           damage," Scully responded, taking his hand.  "I'm 
                           more concerned about you.  The doctor should be in 
                           shortly to check you over."
                           
                           "I think I'm all right.  My left side hurts like 
                           hell, but that's nothing new.  You saved my ass 
                           again.  I couldn't fight him off.  A few more minutes 
                           and . . ." Mulder didn't finish.  He squeezed 
                           Scully's hand and she squeezed back.
                           
                           "That's what partners are for,' she smiled and leaned 
                           down to kiss his forehead.
                           
                           "I don't know what I would do without you."  He 
                           reached up and stroked the side of her face.
                           
                           "Nor I you," Scully agreed, leaning down to brush her 
                           lips lightly against his.
                           
                           "Scully, if I weren't trussed up like a Christmas 
                           turkey, I'd take you in my arms and show you how much 
                           I can't do without you."  Instead he pulled her down 
                           for another brief kiss.
                           
                           "Can I have a rain check on that offer?" she asked.
                           
                           "Of course, any time or any place."
                           
                           "Well, since Skinner is due here any time I think we 
                           should put this conversation on hold."  Scully pushed 
                           the button on his PAD again, sending another dose of 
                           painkiller into his IV.
                           
                           "Scully, if I didn't know better, I'd think you were 
                           trying to dope me up so you could take advantage of 
                           me."  He gave her a lopsided grin as he began to feel 
                           the drugs coursing through his system.
                           
                           "Mulder, somehow I think that I wouldn't need drugs 
                           to bring that about."
                           
                           Mulder closed his eyes and began to snore softly.  
                           Scully kissed his forehead and straightened his 
                           covers.  She took his hand in hers and sat back down 
                           to wait for Skinner.
                           
                           Scully didn't have long to wait.  Within five minutes 
                           Skinner knocked on the door and motioned her outside.  
                           As soon as she was in the hall he began to question 
                           her.
                           
                           "What the hell happened, Agent Scully?"
                           
                           "Evidently, the guard got a message to terminate his 
                           assignment.  Shortly after, a man dressed in nursing 
                           attire entered Mulder's room and attempted to 
                           suffocate him by placing a pillow over his face," 
                           Scully explained.  "I startled the intruder and he 
                           pushed me over before I could draw my gun."
                           
                           "Is Mulder okay?  What about you?  He didn't hurt you 
                           did he?"
                           
                           "Mulder was a little shaken up, but seems to be 
                           recovering from that quite well.  I'm fine sir.  
                           I'll probably have a few bruises, but nothing 
                           serious."
                           
                           "Did you recognize the intruder?"
                           
                           "No, sir, and Mulder didn't get a look at him 
                           either."
                           
                           Skinner crossed his arms.  "This doesn't seem to be a 
                           professional job.  It's been too sloppy from the very 
                           beginning."  He opened the door and looked in on 
                           Mulder who was still sleeping.  "Agent Scully, can 
                           Mulder be moved?"
                           
                           "I wouldn't recommend it until the chest tube is 
                           removed."
                           
                           "When will that be?"
                           
                           "Well, the bleeding has stopped and there has been 
                           very little drainage since the surgery.  I would 
                           think that it could probably be safely removed 
                           sometime today.  What are you thinking, sir?" Scully 
                           inquired.
                           
                           "A safe house," Skinner replied.
                           
                           "Mulder is still quite ill.  He's in considerable 
                           pain and can't move very well.  In addition, he's 
                           still very weak from blood loss, and infection is 
                           always a risk," Scully explained.
                           
                           "In your opinion could he recover satisfactorily 
                           outside a hospital environment?"
                           
                           "Yes, sir.  He's stable and as long as he has 
                           adequate pain control, hydration and antibiotics he 
                           will probably be all right.  Of course, he couldn't 
                           travel far.  The safe house would have to be fairly 
                           close and he would need skilled nursing care for a 
                           few days."
                           
                           "Let's talk to his doctor then.  If he agrees, I'll 
                           make the arrangements."
                           
                           "Let me get this straight," Mulder said.  "We're 
                           going to pretend that I died from complications due 
                           to the attempt on my life?"
                           
                           Scully nodded yes.
                           
                           "You're going to sneak me out of the hospital through 
                           the morgue and take me to a safe house in a hearse?"
                           
                           "That's right, Mulder."
                           
                           "Whose brilliant idea was this?"
                           
                           "It was my brilliant idea, agent," Skinner said as he 
                           entered the room.  "Do you have a problem with it?"
                           
                           "No, sir.  I've always wondered what my final journey 
                           would be like.  Thank you for giving me that 
                           opportunity," Mulder answered facetiously.
                           
                           "You're welcome, Mulder.  I would suggest that you 
                           prepare yourself for that journey.  As soon as the 
                           gurney arrives we'll transfer you to the morgue," 
                           Skinner informed him.
                           
                           "Yes, sir."
                           
                           Skinner went back to the hallway to wait for Mulder's 
                           transportation.
                           
                           The door opened and two agents disguised as orderlies 
                           brought in the gurney.
                           
                           
                           Safe house-Falls Church, Virginia
                           
                           The hearse quickly deposited its occupants behind the 
                           house and left just as quickly, trying not to draw 
                           attention in the quiet neighborhood.  Scully held the 
                           back door open as Skinner helped Mulder up the steps.  
                           He was leaning heavily on Skinner, using what little 
                           strength he had in reserve.
                           
                           "Damn, Mulder!  You're heavier than you look," 
                           Skinner huffed as they reached the top step.
                           
                           "Must be all of that good food we eat when we're in 
                           the field," he explained sarcastically.
                           
                           "Agent Scully, there's a bedroom just on the other 
                           side of the dining room.  It should be set up and 
                           ready to go.  If you could get the bed ready, I'll 
                           have Agent Mulder there as quickly as I can."
                           
                           "Yes, sir."  Scully moved ahead of them to find the 
                           room.
                           
                           "Sir, if it's all right with you, could I sit down at 
                           the kitchen table for a few seconds?" Mulder asked, 
                           breathing heavily.  "I've got to rest."
                           
                           "You won't get any arguments from me."  Skinner 
                           pulled out a chair and helped Mulder sit.
                           
                           The short walk up the stairs had just about done 
                           Mulder in.  He was beginning to perspire heavily and 
                           could feel nausea rising in his throat.  The pain was 
                           about to overwhelm him again and his vision was 
                           beginning to waver.
                           
                           Scully came back in to see why they had to stop.  
                           "Mulder, what's wrong?"
                           
                           "Think I need to lie down.  Starting to feel sick."  
                           With that he began to heave and Scully grabbed a 
                           nearby trashcan just in time as Mulder began to empty 
                           the contents of his stomach.  There wasn't much to 
                           come up, but the dry heaves continued for several 
                           minutes.
                           
                           "Shit!" Mulder exclaimed shakily when he was 
                           finished.  "I've got to get to bed before I pass 
                           out."
                           
                           Skinner hauled him up by his good arm and Scully put 
                           an arm around his waist.  Together they were able to 
                           get him to the room and sit him on the side of the 
                           bed.
                           
                           Skinner grabbed his legs and swung them around while 
                           Scully supported Mulder's back as they eased him into 
                           a prone position.
                           
                           "Damn, shit, hell . . .arrgh, it hurts!" he cried out 
                           and began to heave again.
                           
                           "Mulder, calm down.  Remember to take slow, deep 
                           breaths.  I'll give you something for the pain and 
                           nausea as soon as I get your IV going again."
                           
                           Scully quickly got the supplies for the IV together 
                           and attached the tubing to the hep-lock that was left 
                           in place and started the flow.  She then prepared 
                           injections of phenergan and morphine and added them 
                           to the solution already running.  She smoothed the 
                           hair off his forehead and prayed that the medication 
                           would soon help.
                           
                           Mulder visibly relaxed as the medication began to 
                           work its magic.  His eyelids fluttered, then closed.  
                           Soon he was sleeping soundly.
                           
                           Scully pulled the covers up and checked the IV pump 
                           to be sure the settings were correct.
                           
                           "Is he okay?" Skinner asked, not bothering to hide 
                           his concern.
                           
                           "I think so.  I believe it was just too much exertion 
                           for his weakened condition.  I'll check his vitals, 
                           but I think he'll be all right after he sleeps for a 
                           while."
                           
                           "I'll leave you to it then.  I'm going to call and 
                           see when the nurse will be here.  You're dead on your 
                           feet.  I want you to rest as soon as he gets here," 
                           Skinner ordered.
                           
                           "Thank you, sir.  I am rather tired."  
                           
                           When Skinner returned from his phone call, Scully was 
                           sitting beside Mulder with her head on the side of 
                           the bed, fast asleep.  He closed the door softly and 
                           went back to the kitchen to wait for the nurse.
                           
                           When Scully awakened she found herself in a nice, 
                           comfortable bed.  "How did I get here?" she wondered 
                           as she looked at her watch.  "Damn!"  She pulled 
                           herself up as she discovered that four and a half 
                           hours had passed.  "I've got to check on Mulder."
                           
                           She made her way down the stairs, trying to figure 
                           out where everything was.  She found Mulder's room 
                           and looked in.  After she was satisfied that he was 
                           sleeping peacefully, she made her way to the kitchen 
                           where she found Skinner drinking coffee with another 
                           man wearing surgical scrubs.
                           
                           Skinner looked up.  "Agent Scully!  I didn't expect 
                           you to awaken so soon.  Sit down and let me get you a 
                           cup of coffee."
                           
                           "Thank you.  That would be wonderful."
                           
                           Skinner rose and went to the counter to pour her a 
                           cup.  As Scully sat down he introduced her to the man 
                           seated across from her.  "Agent Scully, this is Chris 
                           Smith.  He usually works in the infirmary at 
                           Quantico, but I asked him to help us out."
                           
                           "It's a pleasure to meet you, Agent Scully," Chris 
                           said extending his hand.  "I've heard many good 
                           things about you."
                           
                           "Thank you, Mr. Smith," Scully smiled, taking the 
                           coffee from Skinner and shaking Chris' hand.  "How is 
                           Mulder doing?"
                           
                           "Please call me Chris, and Mulder is doing well 
                           considering what he's been through.  He's been 
                           sleeping since I arrived."
                           
                           "Good.  He needs the rest."  Scully turned to 
                           Skinner.  "Sir, how did I get upstairs?  I don't 
                           remember walking up there."
                           
                           "You fell asleep with your head on Mulder's bed.  You 
                           were so tired that I couldn't rouse you, so I carried 
                           you upstairs where you would be more comfortable," 
                           Skinner explained.
                           
                           "Thank you, sir; although, that really wasn't 
                           necessary."
                           
                           "Agent Scully, you haven't had any sleep in over 24 
                           hours.  You won't be any help to Mulder if you 
                           collapse from exhaustion.  In fact, you should try to 
                           get some more sleep.  Mr. Smith is here to give you a 
                           break.  You can stay with Mulder when Mr. Smith 
                           takes a break.  That is an order, Agent Scully."
                           
                           "If you put it that way, I don't guess I have much 
                           choice.  I would like to check in on him before I go 
                           back upstairs," Scully stated, taking another swig of 
                           her coffee.
                           
                           "I think that will be acceptable, but no more than 
                           five minutes.  I sent someone to your apartments to 
                           bring back some clothes and toiletries for you and 
                           Mulder.  I hope you don't mind.'
                           
                           "No, sir.  A hot bath and a change of clothes would 
                           feel heavenly right about now."  She rose from her 
                           chair.  "Thank you, sir for being so thoughtful."
                           
                           "You're welcome, Agent Scully.  I'm going back to the 
                           office to see how the investigation is going.  When I 
                           return, I expect to see you well-rested."
                           
                           "I'll try, sir"
                           
                           "Don't try.  Do it," Skinner ordered.  He turned and 
                           left through the back door.
                           
                           Scully started to move towards Mulder's room.
                           
                           "I'll come with you, Agent Scully.  I can show you 
                           the chart I've started and fill you in if you have 
                           any questions," Chris offered.
                           
                           "That would be nice, Chris.  It would also be nice if 
                           you would call me Dana."
                           
                           "Okay, Dana."
                           
                           When they entered Mulder's room he was beginning to 
                           awaken from his long nap.
                           
                           "Hey, partner.  How are you feeling?" Scully inquired 
                           as Chris handed her Mulder's chart.
                           
                           "Well, I don't have a pillow over my face, so I guess 
                           I'm feeling pretty lucky."  He looked in Chris' 
                           direction, trying to figure out what he was doing 
                           there.
                           
                           "Mulder, this is Chris Smith, a registered nurse from 
                           the infirmary at Quantico.  He's going to help with 
                           your care for a few days until you're stronger," 
                           Scully informed him.
                           
                           "Nice to meet you, Mr. Mulder.  I must say you're 
                           quite a legend at Quantico."
                           
                           "Call me Mulder.  I guess 'Spooky' Mulder will always 
                           be fodder for some pretty tall tales.  Don't believe 
                           everything you hear, especially if it's something 
                           good."
                           
                           "Mulderrr . . ." Scully groaned.
                           
                           "I must admit I've heard some unbelievable stories," 
                           Chris grinned as he put a blood pressure cuff around 
                           Mulder's right arm.  "How is the nausea?"
                           
                           "It's not giving me any trouble at the moment.  In 
                           fact, I'm rather thirsty," Mulder replied.
                           
                           "I think we can probably let you have a little bit of 
                           water.  How would you rate your pain on a scale of 
                           one to ten?"
                           
                           "Mulder, tell him the truth," Scully warned.
                           
                           Mulder sighed.  "Yes, Dr. Scully.  I'd rate it around 
                           a three."
                           
                           "Mulder," Scully started.
                           
                           "All right, all right."  He rolled his eyes at her.  
                           "Maybe it's more like an eight.  Satisfied?" he asked 
                           Scully.
                           
                           "Mulder, you need to be truthful.  Your recovery will 
                           move along much faster if the pain is under 
                           control."
                           
                           Chris finished taking Mulder's vitals and recorded 
                           them quickly.  "I'm going to get you some water and 
                           prepare some anti-nausea and pain medication to go in 
                           your IV.  I'll be right back."
                           
                           As soon as Chris left the room, Scully bent over 
                           Mulder and gave him a kiss, which he gladly returned.
                           
                           "Scully, a few more of those and I'll forget about 
                           the pain."
                           
                           "Well, that will have to hold you for a few hours.  
                           Skinner has ordered me to get some more sleep."
                           
                           "Need any help?"
                           
                           "Mulder, with you in my bed, I doubt that either one 
                           of us would get any rest," Scully smiled.
                           
                           "You're probably right, but I wouldn't mind trying."  
                           He tried to shift onto his right side so he could see 
                           her more clearly.  "Ahhh, shit!"
                           
                           "Mulder, if you'll wait until Chris returns, we can 
                           shift you to another position."
                           
                           "I'm all for trying new positions," he panted, trying 
                           to bring the pain under control.
                           
                           Even though he was in considerable pain, Scully knew 
                           that he was getting better.  His innuendo gland was 
                           functioning again, and quite well too.
                           
                           Chris came back with a pitcher of water, a cup and a 
                           straw.  He set them down on the bedside table.
                           
                           "Before I go upstairs we need to move Mulder onto his 
                           right side," Scully said.
                           
                           "Okay.  I'm sure you're tired of lying on your back 
                           so long.  Ready, Mulder?"
                           
                           "Yes."
                           
                           "Just let us do the work," Scully directed.  "Don't 
                           try to help."
                           
                           "Okay, Doc," Mulder agreed.
                           
                           Between the two of them, the task was accomplished 
                           quickly.  Chris poured a cup of water, placed a straw 
                           in it and held it so Mulder could drink.
                           
                           "Thanks, Chris.  That really hit the spot."
                           
                           "Dana, you need to get back upstairs.  Remember AD 
                           Skinner's order," Chris reminded her.
                           
                           "You're right.  Mulder, I'm going upstairs and relax 
                           in a nice, hot bath, then sleep for a few hours.  
                           Chris will stay here and take care of you."
                           
                           Mulder looked disappointed.
                           
                           "Mulder, I know you'd rather look at Dana, but AD 
                           Skinner left orders for her to rest.  She'll be back 
                           in about four hours.  Until then you're stuck with 
                           me.  I'm going to give you your medication and you'll 
                           probably sleep for about the same amount of time.  As 
                           soon as Dana wakes up, she'll take over while I rest.  
                           Can you live with that?"
                           
                           "Of course.  Scully needs to rest and so do I."  He 
                           looked at Scully.  "Hear that?  Follow Skinner's 
                           orders and rest up."
                           
                           "Okay, Mulder.  I'm on my way.  You rest too and 
                           don't give Chris any trouble," Scully agreed.  "See 
                           you in about four hours."
                           
                           "I'll be waiting," Mulder smiled and closed his eyes.
                           
                           Four and a half hours later, Scully felt rested, 
                           refreshed and ready to tackle anything.  When she 
                           entered Mulder's room she was surprised to see Chris 
                           hard at work taking Mulder's temperature and bathing 
                           his face with cool water.  He turned as he heard 
                           Scully enter the room.
                           
                           "Oh, Dana.  I'm glad you're up.  I was just about to 
                           come and get you."
                           
                           "What's wrong?" she inquired, moving quickly to 
                           Mulder's side.
                           
                           "He's started to spike a fever."
                           
                           "How high?"  She reached out to feel Mulder's 
                           forehead and found that it was quite warm.
                           
                           "It was 102.8.  I've started cooling measures and 
                           have given him a Tylenol suppository."
                           
                           "It could be a reaction to all of the exertion today, 
                           or he could be losing blood or developing an 
                           infection.  I think we need to draw some blood and 
                           get it to the lab," Scully thought out loud.
                           
                           "I'll do that while you continue to bathe him."
                           
                           Scully took the washcloth and basin from Chris and 
                           ran the cloth around Mulder's face and neck.  Mulder 
                           sensed that she was back and opened his eyes.
                           
                           "Scully, I'm so cold," he shivered.
                           
                           "I know, Mulder.  You have a little bit of fever," 
                           she explained symphathetically.  "Chris gave you some 
                           Tylenol so you should be feeling better soon.  In the 
                           meantime, I get to give my favorite G-man a sponge 
                           bath." 
                           
                           "As much as I've dreamed of your hands roaming all 
                           over my body, I'm just a little too cold to enjoy it 
                           right now," he shivered again as Scully pulled the 
                           covers back to bathe his legs.
                           
                           "Just remember that when your fever breaks and you're 
                           so hot you can't stand it."
                           
                           Mulder felt something cold on his inner arm, then 
                           gasped as Chris slid the needle in to draw blood.  
                           "Shit!  How about giving a guy some warning next 
                           time.!"
                           
                           "Sorry, Mulder.  I'm kind of in a hurry and I thought 
                           you were so distracted that you wouldn't notice."  
                           Chris finished up and began to label the vials.  
                           "Dana, I've got a courier coming to pick this up.  I 
                           put in a stat request and they'll call us with the 
                           results as soon as they're finished.'
                           
                           "Thank you, Chris," Scully acknowledged as she 
                           continued to bathe Mulder.  She finished and reached 
                           for the thermometer and put it in Mulder's ear.  The 
                           readout indicated 102.  "Well, Mulder, it's coming 
                           down.  There may be hope for you yet."
                           
                           Chris took the basin from Scully.  "I'm going to 
                           empty this and fill it with fresh water."
                           
                           "Scully, could I have my blanket back, and maybe some 
                           sweats or pajama bottoms?  I'm freezing," his teeth 
                           chattered as he talked.
                           
                           "I know you're cold, but we've got to give your body 
                           a chance to cool down.  I'll put the sheet over you 
                           until your temperature is closer to normal."
                           
                           "I guess I'll have to settle for that then."
                           
                           Chris came back with a fresh basin of water along 
                           with two hypodermics.
                           
                           "It's time for your pain medication, Mulder," he said 
                           as he handed the water to Scully.  "I'm also going to 
                           give you more anti-nausea medication.  Between the 
                           two of them you should sleep for a while and maybe 
                           your temperature will be down when you wake up"
                           
                           "Okay," Mulder sighed.  "Maybe I won't feel as cold 
                           if I'm asleep."
                           
                           Chris emptied the hypodermics into the IV port.
                           
                           Scully continued to bathe Mulder's face and arm until 
                           he dozed off.
                           
                           "What was his last blood pressure?"  Scully inquired, 
                           sitting down in her usual place by Mulder's bed.
                           
                           "It was 112 over 68," Chris reported, handing her the 
                           chart.
                           
                           Scully looked it over and handed it back.  
                           "Everything looks fairly normal for a post-op 
                           patient.  I'm hoping he's just worn out."
                           
                           "We should know within a few hours," Chris said as 
                           the doorbell rang.  "That must be the courier."  He 
                           started for the door.
                           
                           "Wait!" Scully pulled her gun.  "We can't take any 
                           chances.  You open the door and I'll cover you."
                           
                           After a very thorough interrogation, it was 
                           determined that the courier was legitimate.  Chris 
                           handed over the blood and they both went back to 
                           Mulder's room.
                           
                           "Chris, why don't you take a break?  I'll call you if 
                           I need you," Scully offered.
                           
                           "I think I'll take you up on that.  Be sure to call 
                           me if you need me.'
                           
                           "I will," she promised as he left the room.
                           
                           Scully sat with Mulder.  After a while he began to 
                           become restless and moan from time to time.  She took 
                           the aural thermometer and placed it in his ear.  
                           After a few seconds she read the results-100.2.  She 
                           breathed a sigh of relief.  She noticed that Mulder 
                           was beginning to perspire and had kicked the sheet 
                           away.  He groaned loudly and opened his eyes.
                           
                           "Hot," he sighed, wiping his forehead with his good 
                           hand.
                           
                           "Actually, hot is good.  Your fever is breaking.  How 
                           about another sponge bath?" Scully suggested.
                           
                           "Sounds good.  Where's Chris?" Mulder queried, 
                           looking around.
                           
                           "He's taking a break.  Why, would you rather he gave 
                           you the sponge bath?"
                           
                           "No!  It's just that I uh . . ."
                           
                           "You what?"
                           
                           "I uh, need to, you know . . ." Mulder squirmed.
                           
                           "You need to what?" Scully grinned.
                           
                           "I need to pee!" he exclaimed, clearly embarrassed.
                           
                           "Mulder, you have a catheter.  If you feel like you 
                           need to go, just go right ahead." she laughed.
                           
                           "It's not funny," he pouted.  "I thought they took it 
                           out before we left the hospital.  Who put it back 
                           in?" he asked cautiously.
                           
                           "Relax, Mulder.  Chris put it back while we were both 
                           sleeping.  Why are you so embarrassed?"
                           
                           "Scully, although I'd love for you to become very 
                           familiar with that part of my anatomy, that wasn't 
                           the way I had in mind."
                           
                           "I understand.  Now how about that sponge bath and a 
                           clean gown?"
                           
                           "I would like that very much, but how about some 
                           sweats or pajama bottoms instead?"
                           
                           "Not until the catheter is out."
                           
                           "Please," he pleaded.
                           
                           "No, sorry.  We need easy access," she said firmly.
                           
                           Mulder looked like he was going to say something, 
                           then clamped his mouth shut.  Scully was quite 
                           surprised that he would pass up a line like that.
                           
                           "Mulder, are you okay?"
                           
                           "I'm fine.  I just realized that I'm in a no-win 
                           situation at the moment; but be warned, I will 
                           eventually come out on top," he grinned as Scully 
                           picked up a spare pillow and gently swatted him with 
                           it.
                           
                           "Ow!  Take it easy!"
                           
                           "Sorry.  I didn't hit you that hard."
                           
                           "How about that sponge bath?"  He wiped the 
                           perspiration from his forehead again.
                           
                           "Let me get some fresh water and towels.  Don't go 
                           anywhere," Scully directed.
                           
                           In a few minutes she returned with the supplies.  
                           "Let me get your vitals before we get started."  She 
                           took out the blood pressure cuff and stethoscope.  
                           After she had finished and recorded her findings, she 
                           began to bathe Mulder's face and neck.
                           
                           When she had finished there she pulled his gown down 
                           to his waist and after rinsing the cloth ran it down 
                           his right arm and the chest area that was free of 
                           bandages.
                           
                           "Mmm, that feels good.  I don't suppose you could 
                           remove some of those bandages?" he asked hopefully.  
                           "It's kind of itchy."
                           
                           "Sorry.  Not for a day or two, and before you ask; 
                           the arm has to remain immobilized."
                           
                           "I didn't know you were into torture," he teased.
                           
                           "There are a lot of things you don't know about me," 
                           she replied, pulling off his gown.
                           
                           "This is getting interesting," Mulder thought.  "I 
                           can't wait to see where she goes next."
                           
                           To his disappointment, Scully pulled the sheet up 
                           over his legs and folded it discretely over his lap.  
                           She gave him a sly grin and began to bathe his legs, 
                           stopping just a few inches past his knees.  She dried 
                           him off and pulled the sheet back down, then grabbed 
                           the clean gown.  "Put your arm through."
                           
                           Mulder complied, disappointment evident on his face.
                           
                           Scully brought the gown around and tied it in the 
                           back.  "I think we'll let Chris take care of the rest 
                           of your sponge bath."
                           
                           "What's the matter, Scully?  Can't trust yourself 
                           around me?"  Mulder decided he might as well joke 
                           about it.
                           
                           "Mulder, you know me too well," she answered.  
                           "Besides, we don't want that catheter to irritate 
                           you, and I think there is less of a chance of that 
                           happening if Chris is in charge."  She leaned over 
                           and kissed him lightly.
                           
                           Mulder pulled her in closer and deepened the kiss.  
                           After a few seconds Scully pulled back and smiled 
                           broadly.  Mulder smiled too as he pulled her back for 
                           an even longer kiss.  After a few seconds more. 
                           Scully broke it off.
                           
                           "Remember what I said about catheter irritation?' she 
                           asked.
                           
                           "Too late," Mulder grinned.
                           
                           "If we keep this up you'll need another sponge bath."
                           
                           "I wouldn't mind," Mulder answered, trying to pull 
                           her close again.
                           
                           "I'm sure you wouldn't, but we need to keep your 
                           temperature down."  She left his hold and began to 
                           gather up the towels and basin.  "I'll be back in a 
                           few minutes to take your temperature again.  In the 
                           meantime you need to rest.'
                           
                           In a few minutes she returned, her right hand behind 
                           her back.  "Guess what I have for you."
                           
                           "The way my luck has been running it's probably an 
                           enema."
                           
                           "No, that would be Chris's department anyway," she 
                           laughed.  She pulled her arm around to reveal a 
                           plastic cup of strawberry Jello.
                           
                           Mulder was relieved it was nothing that would 
                           torture him, although it came close.  "What, no 
                           green?"
                           
                           "Not this time.  How about it?  Do you think you can 
                           keep it down?"
                           
                           "I think so.  I'm really feeling weak though.  I 
                           might need a little help holding the spoon."
                           
                           "Poor Mulder.  I'll just have to see if I can help.  
                           Let's get your temperature first."  She took it.  "I 
                           think you're going to live.  It's 99.8.  Now let's 
                           see how this Jello goes down."  She pulled off the 
                           top and proceeded to spoon feed him until he finished 
                           it.
                           
                           "Thanks, Scully.  As much as I detest Jello, you made 
                           it bearable."
                           
                           "Well, I'm glad I'm good for something."
                           
                           "Oh, I think we haven't even started to tap into your 
                           talents yet."
                           
                           She handed him a glass of water.  "Drink this and try 
                           to rest for a bit," Scully ordered.
                           
                           "Okay.  I am a little tired."  He accepted the water 
                           and took a few sips.
                           
                           "How's the pain?'
                           
                           "Bearable"
                           
                           "Good.  Let me know if it gets worse.  You rest and 
                           I'm going to see if they have the results of your 
                           bloodwork back."  She kissed his forehead and waited 
                           until he closed his eyes, then went in search of a 
                           phone.
                           
                           The phone rang before Scully could find it.  She 
                           followed the sound of the ring and located it.  It 
                           was the lab.  Mulder's blood count was close to 
                           normal, with no sign of infection.  "Maybe our luck 
                           will begin to change," she thought as she made her 
                           way back to Mulder's room.
                           
                           
                           Safe House-Falls Church Virginia
                           
                           "What a difference 24 hours makes," Scully thought as 
                           she entered Mulder's room.  Chris had relieved her at 
                           midnight and she had gone straight to bed and slept 
                           until 7:30.  After a quick shower she was ready to 
                           take over Mulder's care for the day.
                           
                           "Hey!" Scully called out her greeting.  She was 
                           surprised to see Mulder sitting in a chair beside the 
                           bed.  His gown was gone and he was wearing a pair of 
                           gray sweatpants and white socks.  His chest was bare, 
                           revealing the many bandages.  "Damn!" she thought.  
                           "Even with all of those bandages and a serious case 
                           of bedhead, he is still the sexiest man I've ever 
                           laid eyes on!"
                           
                           Chris interrupted her thoughts.  "Mulder wanted to 
                           surprise you.  I took the catheter out after his 
                           sponge bath and helped him dress and get in the 
                           chair.  He's been sitting for about five minutes," he 
                           explained.
                           
                           "I am surprised.  I wasn't planning on getting you up 
                           until tomorrow."
                           
                           "I'll have to admit I'm pretty bushed," Mulder said, 
                           " but it feels so good to be out of that bed."
                           
                           "I told Mulder if he ate a good breakfast and lunch I 
                           would help him walk to the bathroom this afternoon."
                           
                           "Well, I guess I'll have to get busy and prepare 
                           something," Scully grinned.  "You're going to need 
                           more than Jello if you begin moving around.  Do you 
                           think you could handle some scrambled eggs and 
                           toast?"
                           
                           "I'm willing to give it a try," Mulder answered as 
                           his stomach began to rumble.
                           
                           "I guess that makes it unanimous," Chris laughed.  
                           "I'll help him back to bed while you work your magic 
                           in the kitchen."
                           
                           Fifteen minutes later Scully entered Mulder's room 
                           with two plates of scrambled eggs, toast, orange 
                           juice and a cup of coffee for herself.
                           
                           "I thought I'd join you," she said as she set the 
                           tray on the bed table.  "Chris, I left you a plate in 
                           the kitchen.  Don't bother with the dishes.  Just eat 
                           and get some rest.'
                           
                           "Sounds like a plan.  I'll see you around 4:30," 
                           Chris agreed as he left the room.
                           
                           Mulder had already reached for a slice of toast.  He 
                           quickly took a bite, set it down, took a sip of juice 
                           and after putting down the glass grabbed a fork and 
                           tore into the eggs.  He was able to finish half of 
                           them before pushing his plate back.  "My compliments 
                           to the chef, Scully.  It was wonderful, but I'm just 
                           too tired to finish."  He shifted uncomfortably on 
                           the bed.
                           
                           "I think you did pretty well for your first real meal 
                           in several days.  How's the pain?" she inquired, 
                           slipping back into doctor mode.  "How would you rate 
                           it on a scale of One to ten?"
                           
                           "About a six," he answered truthfully.
                           
                           She flipped through his chart as she finished her 
                           toast.  "You're due for some more pain medication."
                           
                           "It can wait until you're finished with your 
                           breakfast."
                           
                           "Thank you, Mulder."
                           
                           He watched her as she daintily ate her eggs and 
                           sipped her juice.  "Damn!" he thought.  "She even 
                           makes eating breakfast sexy!"  He shifted in bed 
                           again, causing a small gasp of pain to escape.
                           
                           Scully finished her last bite of toast.  "I'll get 
                           your pain medication now."
                           
                           Scully got up and got the vial of medication and a 
                           syringe.  She noticed Skinner standing in the 
                           doorway.  "Good morning, sir.  I was just getting 
                           Mulder his medication," Scully explained.
                           
                           "You're looking better than the last time I saw you, 
                           Agent Mulder.  How are you feeling?"
                           
                           "Better, I think.  I've had some excellent care,"  
                           Mulder answered.
                           
                           "How is the investigation going?" Scully asked as she 
                           put the medication in Mulder's IV.
                           
                           "It's going nowhere.  We know there is a threat, but 
                           we haven't been able to turn up anything," Skinner 
                           answered.  "I'd like for you to stay here until 
                           Mulder is stronger.  Maybe we will make some 
                           progress.  We're not going to let this drop."
                           
                           "Thank you, sir," Mulder said.
                           
                           "Agent Scully, if you would make a list of any 
                           supplies that you need, I'll make sure that they are 
                           delivered later today."
                           
                           "Yes, sir.  I'll get right on that."
                           
                           "I'll meet you in the kitchen when I'm ready to 
                           leave," Skinner announced.  "I'd like to talk to 
                           Agent Mulder for a few minutes."
                           
                           He made himself comfortable in the chair.  "Is there 
                           anything you'd like that would make your stay here a 
                           little easier?"
                           
                           "I really can't think of anything, sir.  Agent Scully 
                           informed me that there is a pretty extensive video 
                           and DVD collection for when I'm feeling better, and I 
                           really don't have much of an appetite.  If I think of 
                           anything I'll let you know," Mulder promised.
                           
                           "Fair enough, Agent Mulder.  In the process of 
                           investigating this case, we found that one of your 
                           neighbors committed suicide."
                           
                           "Who?" Mulder asked, a surprised look on his face.
                           
                           "A Mrs. Helena Delgado, in number 45.  It seems she 
                           used her husband's spare service weapon to re-arrange 
                           her sinus cavities and brain," Skinner explained.
                           
                           "When did this happen?"
                           
                           "The ME estimates the time at mid-morning the day you 
                           were shot.  Most tenants were at work, so no one 
                           heard anything.  Did you know her?
                           
                           "Not really.  I stopped her husband from beating the 
                           shit out of her the night before she died, but that 
                           was the only contact I had with her.  I didn't 
                           realize she was in such bad shape emotionally.  Maybe 
                           I could have done something . . ."
                           
                           "Mulder, stop!" Skinner ordered.  "Don't blame 
                           yourself for this.  You barely knew her.  You 
                           couldn't be expected to know what kind of problems 
                           she had.  It sounds like the husband should be 
                           shouldering most of the blame.  Just put it out of 
                           your mind and concentrate on recovering."
                           
                           "Yes, sir.  I'll try," Mulder said softly.
                           
                           "Don't try.  Do it!"  Skinner rose from the chair.  
                           "You look like you need to rest.  I'll see Agent 
                           Scully on my way out and send her back when we're 
                           finished."
                           
                           "Thank you, sir."  Mulder closed his eyes.
                           
                           "Take care, Mulder."
                           
                           Skinner found Scully in the kitchen.  "I think I've 
                           written down everything we need," Scully said, 
                           handing him the list.
                           
                           Skinner glanced at it and put it in his inside suit 
                           pocket.  He proceeded to tell Scully what he and 
                           Mulder had discussed.  "I should have known better 
                           than to say anything.  He thinks he should have been 
                           able to help her, even though he didn't really know 
                           her."
                           
                           "Leave it to Mulder to lay a guilt trip on himself.  
                           Thanks for telling me, sir.  I'll try to help him 
                           through it."
                           
                           "I'm sure you will, Agent Scully.  I'll send those 
                           supplies over later today, and don't let your guard 
                           down.  Even though we haven't turned up anything, I 
                           feel that this isn't over," Skinner warned.
                           
                           "You're right, sir.  I'll try to stay alert," Scully 
                           promised.
                           
                           "I'm sure you will."
                           
                           Skinner left and Scully went back to Mulder's room to 
                           check on him.  He was sleeping so she gathered up the 
                           breakfast tray and went back to the kitchen to load 
                           the dishwasher.  When she finished straightening the 
                           kitchen she went back to Mulder.  He was still 
                           sleeping, but not comfortably.  Scully knew that a 
                           nightmare was coming on and decided to wake him 
                           before he started to thrash around and hurt himself.
                           
                           "Mulder, can you hear me?  Wake up."
                           
                           He slowly opened his eyes.  "Scully, what . . .what's 
                           wrong?"
                           
                           "You were starting to have a bad dream.  I didn't 
                           want you to hurt yourself," she explained.
                           
                           "I was dreaming about Mrs. Delgado."
                           
                           "Mulder, I want you to stop this.  You need to think 
                           of yourself for a change.  There was nothing you 
                           could do to help her.  Worrying about it won't help 
                           your recovery.  Let it go.  Please . . .for me?" she 
                           pleaded.
                           
                           He reached for her and she very carefully enfolded 
                           him in her arms.  "Scully, I'll try not to think 
                           about it.  I don't want you to worry about me.  
                           Okay?"
                           
                           "Mulder, I do worry about you.  I just want you to 
                           get better."
                           
                           "I am getting better, Scully.  Just having you here 
                           makes me better."  He held her tighter.  "I couldn't 
                           make it from one day to the next without you."  He 
                           kissed her forehead.
                           
                           "And I want to be there for you, Mulder."  She kissed 
                           him softly on the lips.
                           
                           He returned the kiss.  "Could you hold me for a bit?"
                           
                           "Of course."
                           
                           "Why don't you climb up here with me?" he suggested.  
                           "I think there will be plenty of room if I just scoot 
                           over a little."
                           
                           He moved over very carefully.  Ever so slowly and 
                           gently she eased herself in beside him.  After 
                           arranging the IV tubing so it wouldn't become 
                           tangled, she leaned against his right shoulder and 
                           carefully put her right arm around his waist.  "Am I 
                           hurting you?" she asked.
                           
                           "No, Scully.  It feels good having you this close," 
                           he sighed contentedly.
                           
                           "Try to rest then.  I'll be right here."
                           
                           Mulder closed his eyes and was soon snoring softly.
                           
                           
                           
                           Mulder was awakened by the sound of Scully's 
                           footsteps.  He opened his eyes to find her putting a 
                           tray on the bedtable.
                           
                           "Hello, sleepyhead.  Did you have a good nap?" she 
                           asked, smiling broadly.
                           
                           "Yes, I did.  It must have something to do with the 
                           company I keep.  Is it lunchtime already?"
                           
                           "Yep."
                           
                           "What's on the menu?  I actually feel somewhat 
                           hungry," he proclaimed.
                           
                           "Don't get too excited.  It's just chicken noodle 
                           soup from a can and crackers.  I want you to take it 
                           easy on your stomach for the rest of the day.  After 
                           Skinner sends the supplies, I should be able to fix 
                           something more substantial tomorrow.  Do you need any 
                           help?"
                           
                           "I don't know.  I'm kind of off-balance with my arm 
                           unable to move," he hinted.
                           
                           "Then I'll help you.  I don't think you want a lapful 
                           of noodles," she laughed.
                           
                           "You're right.  Feed me woman," he teased.
                           
                           "If you keep that up you will have a lapful of 
                           noodles," Scully threatened.
                           
                           "All right," he sighed.  "I'll be good."
                           
                           With Scully's help, Mulder made quick work of the 
                           soup and crackers.
                           
                           "Wow!  I'm impressed.  Would you like seconds?"
                           
                           "No.  That filled me up.  Thank you.  Uh, Scully, is 
                           there any way I could take that walk to the bathroom 
                           a little early?"
                           
                           "No," Scully decided.  "I really think we should wait 
                           for Chris, just in case you need help."
                           
                           "Please," he begged.
                           
                           "Sorry.  Here."  She handed him a urinal.  "Use that 
                           while I take the tray to the kitchen.  I'll empty it 
                           when I get back."
                           
                           "But, I only have one hand."
                           
                           "I think you can handle it, big boy."  She patted him 
                           on the head and grabbed the tray.  "I'll see you in a 
                           few minutes."
                           
                           When Scully returned she was in doctor mode.  She 
                           took Mulder's vitals, asked him to rate his pain, and 
                           checked his incisions.'
                           
                           "We'll probably change the bandages this afternoon, 
                           then get you up for your walk and let you sit for a 
                           while.  How does that sound?" she asked.
                           
                           "I think I can live with that," he answered, shifting 
                           to find a more comfortable position, wincing as he 
                           moved.
                           
                           "Mulder, let me help you move onto your side," Scully 
                           offered.
                           
                           "I think I'll take you up on that.  I've got a cramp 
                           in my back and my butt is going numb," he explained.
                           
                           "Poor Mulder."  She helped him maneuver onto his 
                           right side.  "Better?"
                           
                           "A little."
                           
                           "Let me get your pain medication then I'll give you a 
                           back rub."
                           
                           "Sounds good."
                           
                           Scully put the medication into his IV and began to 
                           gently rub his back.
                           
                           "Mmm, don't stop.  Feels good."
                           
                           She continued to massage the kinks out of his back as 
                           the medication took hold.  Soon Mulder was sleeping 
                           soundly, a smile on his face.
                           
                           Scully sat down in the chair by his bed and took his 
                           hand and intertwined her fingers with his.  After a 
                           few minutes she leaned her head against the bed and 
                           was soon sleeping too.
                           
                           
                           At 4:15 Chris entered Mulder's room and found that 
                           Mulder and Scully were still holding hands and still 
                           snoozing.  As he walked across the room to take a 
                           look at Mulder's chart, his patient groaned and 
                           opened his eyes.
                           
                           Mulder moved his hand and Scully straightened up and 
                           opened her eyes.  She yawned, looked around and 
                           spotted Chris.
                           
                           "Sleeping on the job, Agent Scully?" he teased.
                           
                           "You caught me.  I've probably slept so much that I 
                           won't be able to sleep later.  Chris, if you don't 
                           mind, after you help me change Mulder's bandages and 
                           walk him to the bathroom, I'll stay with him through 
                           the evening."
                           
                           "Sure.  I'll rustle us up something to eat later on 
                           and then check out that video collection and big 
                           screen TV until around 11.  Is that agreeable?"
                           
                           "Yes.  Mulder has done quite well today.  His vitals 
                           have been good and his appetite is returning," Scully 
                           reported.
                           
                           "That's me, your star patient," Mulder beamed.
                           
                           "Chris, while I'm washing my hands could you take 
                           Mulder's vitals and gather up the supplies we'll 
                           need?"
                           
                           "Sure thing."
                           
                           Several hours later Mulder and Scully were enjoying a 
                           dinner of vegetable soup, crackers and applesauce 
                           while Chris put away the supplies that had just 
                           arrived.
                           
                           "You know, Mulder, you're doing so well that we'll 
                           probably remove the IV tomorrow morning," Scully told 
                           him.
                           
                           "I wouldn't be upset if you removed it tonight."
                           
                           "Not so fast.  You still have another dose of 
                           antibiotics later on, and the IV pain meds will help 
                           you sleep better.  Tomorrow will be soon enough."
                           
                           "It was worth a try," he said.
                           
                           "I wouldn't expect anything less, Mulder."
                           
                           
                           The next morning Scully was finishing up breakfast 
                           when Chris came in.
                           
                           "Good morning, Chris," Scully greeted him.
                           
                           "And a good morning to you too, Dana.  Mulder had a 
                           very good night.  I've already removed the IV and we 
                           have a surprise for you."
                           
                           "Oh, really?"
                           
                           "Morning, Scully," Mulder grinned as he walked slowly 
                           and carefully into the kitchen.
                           
                           "Well, this is quite a surprise.  Sit down Mulder and 
                           I'll pour you a cup of coffee."
                           
                           Chris helped Mulder into the nearest chair while 
                           Scully brought him his coffee.
                           
                           "Is this the real thing?" Mulder asked.
                           
                           "Yes, Mulder.  I thought we'd celebrate your return 
                           to a regular diet."
                           
                           "Wow, caffeine.  Be still my heart," he joked.
                           
                           "I've got some eggs, bacon and biscuits to go along 
                           with it," Scully informed him.
                           
                           "Bring it on."
                           
                           Mulder continued to gain strength during the day and 
                           by lunchtime was able to roll out of bed without any 
                           help.  Scully talked to Skinner and they agreed that 
                           Chris was no longer needed.  Skinner promised to stop 
                           by in the evening and update them on the 
                           investigation and make plans for the next few days.
                           
                           After dinner Scully helped Mulder get situated on the 
                           couch in the living room.  "Comfy?" she asked as she 
                           placed a pillow behind his back.
                           
                           "No.  Something's missing," he pouted.
                           
                           "What did I forget?"
                           
                           "I won't be totally comfortable until you're snuggled 
                           up next to me," he answered, patting the space beside 
                           him.
                           
                           "Let me find us a movie to watch first.  Any 
                           requests?"
                           
                           "No, I'll let you choose.  Nothing too girlie, 
                           though."
                           
                           "You mean I can't watch "Titanic" again?"
                           
                           Mulder rolled his eyes upward.  The finally settled 
                           on 'Dr. Dolittle', of all things.  Scully started the 
                           movie and was on her way to the couch when the wail 
                           of sirens caught her attention.  She turned to look 
                           out the window.
                           
                           "What's going on?" Mulder inquired as the sirens 
                           became louder.
                           
                           Scully looked out and saw several fire engines rush 
                           by.  They came to a stop just down the street.
                           
                           "It looks like a trash fire," Scully reported.
                           
                           "I guess they can handle it, then," Mulder commented.
                           
                           "I hope so.  It looks like they have quite a few 
                           onlookers to contend with."
                           
                           "They'll be all right.  Come on.  The movie's 
                           starting."
                           
                           Scully turned around and saw a man standing in the 
                           doorway leading from the hall.  It was the man who 
                           had tried to kill Mulder in his hospital room.  She 
                           made a move to reach for her weapon.
                           
                           "I wouldn't do that, little lady," he warned, showing 
                           her his gun.
                           
                           Scully put her hands by her side as Mulder slowly 
                           turned around.
                           
                           "Delgado!" he exclaimed.
                           
                           "Evening, Agent Mulder," he sneered.
                           
                           Suddenly it all made sense to Mulder.  "Your wife 
                           didn't commit suicide.  You killed her!"
                           
                           "That's going to be hard to prove.  You're the only 
                           one who knew about that little argument and you're 
                           going to be out of the picture pretty soon.  All 
                           right, little lady.  Raise your hands and turn 
                           around."
                           
                           Scully complied.
                           
                           "Now, back up over here to me," Delgado ordered.  As 
                           soon as she was close enough, he pulled her gun from 
                           the holster, pushed her over to the couch and sat her 
                           down hard.
                           
                           "Scully!" Mulder exclaimed, trying to stand up.
                           
                           Delgado pushed him down, sending waves of pain 
                           through his left side.
                           
                           "Leave him alone!" Scully screamed.
                           
                           "I'm okay, Scully," he gasped.
                           
                           "Not for long, fed.  You guys are always sticking 
                           your noses where they don't belong. This time you're 
                           going to pay."
                           
                           "It won't work, Delgado.  They'll figure it out," 
                           Mulder told him, still breathing heavily, trying to 
                           get the pain under control.
                           
                           "You feds aren't as smart as you think you are.  I'm 
                           the grieving husband.  I'm the last person they'll 
                           suspect."
                           
                           "You're not smart enough to pull this off," Mulder 
                           badgered him.  "Your diversion won't be enough to 
                           keep the guards occupied for long.  They're probably 
                           already on their way back and they'll check on us 
                           first thing."
                           
                           "Shut-up!" Delgado screamed and clipped Mulder on the 
                           temple with his gun. Mulder fell over on his right 
                           side, stunned.
                           
                           "Stop it!" Scully screamed as she brought her feet up 
                           and shoved them into his stomach.
                           
                           Delgado fell backward, but didn't lose his grip on 
                           the gun.  He brought it up and pointed it at Scully.  
                           His finger tightened on the trigger.
                           
                           "No!" Mulder yelled, his scream punctuated by the 
                           sound of a gunshot.
                           
                           Delgado looked down at his chest, surprise on his 
                           face as he saw the rapidly spreading crimson stain on 
                           his shirt.  He fell back to the floor, then was 
                           still.
                           
                           Scully whirled around to see Skinner in the doorway, 
                           his gun still pointed at Delgado.
                           
                           "Agents, are you all right?"
                           
                           "Mulder!" Scully exclaimed, moving over to kneel by 
                           him.
                           
                           "I'm okay, Scully," he assured her as she helped him 
                           sit up.
                           
                           "Are you sure?  You've got a pretty big lump on your 
                           head."
                           
                           "Nothing that an ice pack won't help."
                           
                           Skinner knelt down beside Delgado and checked his 
                           pulse.  There was none.  "I presume this is Harlan 
                           Delgado?"
                           
                           "Yes, sir.  I told him you would figure it out," 
                           Mulder said, trying to move away from Scully's 
                           probing fingers.
                           
                           "Yes, Mulder.  It seems that you weren't the only 
                           witness to their altercation.  Their next-door 
                           neighbor also witnessed it through her peephole, and 
                           the next morning heard him threaten to kill his 
                           wife."
                           
                           "What took Mrs. Greene so long to come forward?  
                           She's 
                           usually right in the middle of everything."
                           
                           "She went to visit her sister and just returned this 
                           afternoon.  As soon as she heard about Mrs. Delgado 
                           she contacted the police.  When she told them about 
                           your involvement it all fell into place and a warrant 
                           was issued for his arrest.  I came here to fill you 
                           in.  You're lucky I didn't stop for dinner along the 
                           way," Skinner explained.
                           
                           "I'll be glad to fix you something as soon as we get 
                           this cleared up," Scully offered.
                           
                           "I may take you up on that, Agent Scully.  Why don't 
                           you check out Agent Mulder to be sure he's okay, and 
                           I'll call the police and see about getting this mess 
                           cleaned up."  He turned to look at the TV where the 
                           movie was still playing.  "Dr. Dolittle?" he 
                           questioned.
                           
                           "We thought some comic relief would be nice," Mulder 
                           grinned.  "Ouch!  That hurt!"
                           
                           "Come on, Mulder.  Let's get some ice on that and get 
                           you a pain pill," Scully said, helping him up.
                           
                           "Sounds like a plan, Dr. Scully.  Lead on."
                           
                           By the time everyone had been questioned, crime scene 
                           photos taken, evidence gathered and the body removed, 
                           it was well after midnight.  Mulder was resting while 
                           Scully fixed Skinner a sandwich.
                           
                           "That hit the spot, Agent Scully.  Thank you," 
                           Skinner acknowledged as he rose from the table.  
                           "I've got to go to the police station and give a 
                           formal statement.  The outside guards have been 
                           released and I will be talking to them later today 
                           about the proper way to guard a safe-house."
                           
                           "That might be appropriate, sir," Scully agreed.
                           
                           "I've been thinking," Skinner started.
                           
                           "Yes, sir?"
                           
                           "This place is well-supplied and very comfortable.  
                           Why don't you and Mulder stay here for a few more 
                           days?"
                           
                           "I don't know sir.  I'll have to see how Mulder feels 
                           about it."
                           
                           "See how I feel about what?" Mulder asked, slowly 
                           making his way into the kitchen.
                           
                           "AD Skinner has offered us the use of this house for 
                           a few more days.  I didn't want to give him an answer 
                           until I checked with you," Scully explained.
                           
                           "It's fine with me.  It's a lot more spacious than my 
                           apartment.  It'll be much easier to maneuver around.  
                           Besides, we didn't get to watch our movie."
                           
                           "It's all right with me," Scully agreed.  "We may as 
                           well stay here until Mulder's first check-up."
                           
                           "Fine.  I'll send over a car for your use, just in 
                           case you need some transportation.  You can call me 
                           when you're ready to leave."
                           
                           "Thank you, sir."
                           
                           "Don't mention it, Agent Mulder.  I'm just glad 
                           you're on the mend and didn't suffer a serious 
                           setback due to the guard's fascination with fire."  
                           Skinner opened the back door to leave.  "Agent 
                           Scully, I'll see you in my office to talk about re-
                           assignment during Mulder's recuperation as soon as 
                           you return."
                           
                           "Yes, sir."
                           
                           Skinner left.
                           
                           "Well, that was quite a surprise," Mulder stated.
                           
                           "I agree.  How are you feeling?" Scully inquired as 
                           she began to clean up the kitchen.
                           
                           "A little more beat up, but nothing I can't handle."  
                           He walked over to Scully and put his right arm around 
                           her waist.  "Why don't you leave that until later?"
                           
                           "Fine, Mulder.  I am a little tired.  I think I'll 
                           call it a night."  She put the dishcloth down and 
                           turned to face him.
                           
                           "Scully, did you know that there is another bedroom 
                           downstairs?" Mulder asked, kissing her on her 
                           forehead.
                           
                           "Yes, I did, although I really haven't checked it 
                           out," she answered, kissing him on his left cheek.
                           
                           "Well, I did while you were talking to Skinner.  It 
                           must be the master bedroom.  It has a king-sized bed, 
                           an entertainment center and the bath is huge.  It 
                           even has a Jacuzzi," he told her and then kissed her 
                           softly on the lips.
                           
                           "Oh, really?"  She returned his kiss.  "You can't get 
                           your incisions wet, you know," Scully informed him as 
                           she gave him another kiss, lingering just a bit 
                           longer.
                           
                           "I know.  I'm not ready to give up my sponge baths 
                           just yet."  He kissed her again, much longer and 
                           deeper than the first.  "I just thought you might 
                           like to relax in it.  I could sit beside you and 
                           massage your back, maybe read to you or feed you some 
                           of those strawberries I saw in the fridge."  He 
                           leaned in to kiss her again and Scully came to him 
                           eagerly.
                           
                           "I think I would like that," she said after they 
                           broke the kiss.  "Do you think you would be 
                           comfortable sleeping in a regular bed?"
                           
                           "As long as you're there I'll be fine," he assured 
                           her.
                           
                           Scully began to place little kisses on the right side 
                           of his neck and then moved up to his mouth once 
                           again.  She kissed him passionately and then put her 
                           hand on the back of his neck and carefully pulled him 
                           forward.  "Why don't I give you another sponge bath 
                           before we go to bed?  I need to check your injuries 
                           again, and I'm a little concerned that there might 
                           still be some irritation from the catheter."
                           
                           "Oh, I can guarantee you that there is a lot of 
                           irritation."
                           
                           Scully put her left arm around his waist and began to 
                           guide him toward the bedroom.  "I think I want to 
                           cash in on that raincheck."
                           
                           
                           
                           End