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TO OZ AND BEYOND
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BEST PHYSICAL MT STORY ( TIE)
mij2.jpg
MIJ Silver sutures 2004

Title:  To Oz and Beyond
                                    Author:  Waddles52
                                    Summary:  Mother Nature seems to have it in for 
                                    Mulder and Scully.  Will they make it out of Kansas 
                                    alive?
                                    Spoilers:  None
                                    Rating:  PG-13
                                    Category:  MSR, MT
                                    Disclaimer:  Just for fun.  Not for profit.
                                    Archives:  If you want it, you've got it.  Just let 
                                    me know.
                                    Acknowledgements:  Thanks to Lisa who pulled this out 
                                    of the doldrums.
                                    Feedback:  Would be very much appreciated at 
                                    Waddles52@wmconnect.com
                                    Author's notes:  I am not an expert on medical 
                                    procedures by any means.  I ask your forgiveness in 
                                    advance for any mistakes.  Thanks to Gail for the 
                                    technical advice.
                                    
                                    
                                    "I hate these assignments in the middle of nowhere," 
                                    Mulder groaned as he tried to stretch his long legs 
                                    in the rental Taurus.
                                    
                                    "I agree, especially when it turns out to be a big 
                                    waste of time," Scully answered as she maneuvered the 
                                    road ahead, seemingly miles and miles of the flattest 
                                    land Kansas had to offer.
                                    
                                    "At least you can't blame this one on me," Mulder 
                                    reminded her as he too stared ahead.
                                    
                                    "I think Skinner is paying us back for some of the 
                                    trouble he thinks we've caused him in the past."
                                    
                                    "Trouble?  You and me?  Never.  We're the poster boy 
                                    and girl for the F.B.I."
                                    
                                    Scully snorted.  "More than likely they would like to 
                                    plaster our posters on the most wanted display in the 
                                    lobby.  Drat!" she exclaimed as big, fat rain drops 
                                    began to hit the dusty windshield.
                                    
                                    "That storm has been brewing behind us for the last 
                                    half hour.  I was hoping we'd reach civilization 
                                    before it broke."
                                    
                                    Scully looked in her side-view mirror.  "It's really 
                                    starting to look bad.  Looks like it's going to be a 
                                    real gully washer."
                                    
                                    A strong gust of wind shook the car as the rain 
                                    increased in intensity.
                                    
                                    "It looks like it might be a severe storm, Scully.  
                                    I'm going to see if there's a weather update on the 
                                    radio."
                                    
                                    "Good idea."
                                    
                                    Mulder tried to find a near-by station but was only 
                                    rewarded with static for his effort.
                                    
                                    "We really are in the middle of nowhere," he sighed.
                                    
                                    "Yes, I haven't even seen a farmhouse for the last 
                                    ten miles," Scully agreed, looking in the mirror 
                                    again.  "I don't like the looks of those clouds.  We 
                                    really need to find shelter."
                                    
                                    Mulder turned around in his seat to get a better look 
                                    as hail began to crash into the windshield.
                                    
                                    "We've got hail," Scully reported.
                                    
                                    "Why do I feel like I'm in the middle of a movie?" 
                                    Mulder replied as he observed the black clouds 
                                    rolling.  "Scully, we really need to find someplace 
                                    safe to stop.  I don't think we're going to outrun 
                                    this."
                                    
                                    "I'm open for suggestions."
                                    
                                    "Right now I'd settle for a nice, deep ditch," Mulder 
                                    said as he observed a dark cloud reach the ground and 
                                    begin twisting its way toward them.
                                    
                                    Scully looked in the mirror again.  "Mulder, is that 
                                    what I think it is?"
                                    
                                    "If you're thinking tornado, it's what you think it 
                                    is."
                                    
                                    Scully floored the gas pedal.  "What should we do?"
                                    
                                    "We've got to find some kind of shelter, or at least 
                                    a ditch or a decent-sized depression because that 
                                    thing is heading this way fast!"
                                    
                                    "Between the rain and the hail, I can hardly see."
                                    
                                    "Just keep going as fast as you can and be ready to 
                                    get out and run like hell when I tell you!" Mulder 
                                    exclaimed as the dancing, whirling cloud grew ever 
                                    closer.  "Any signs of a house or a building on your 
                                    side?"
                                    
                                    "No.  I just saw a sign by the road, but the wind 
                                    blew it away before I could tell what it said."
                                    
                                    "Maybe we're getting close to a town."
                                    
                                    Mulder continued to divide his attention between the 
                                    funnel cloud and the roadside.  He spotted a ditch, 
                                    or maybe it was a dry creek bed.  Whatever it was, it 
                                    looked like their only hope.
                                    
                                    "Scully, stop the car and head for that ditch!"
                                    
                                    Scully slowed the car.  "That doesn't look like it 
                                    would provide very much protection.  Wouldn't it be 
                                    wiser to keep driving?"
                                    
                                    "I'll leave it up to you, but hurry up and decide 
                                    because that thing will be over us in another minute 
                                    or two!"
                                    
                                    Scully looked ahead and then back over her shoulder 
                                    as she brought the car to a stop.  "Let's go, 
                                    Mulder!"
                                    
                                    They both left the car and ran for all they were 
                                    worth.  The hailstones stung when they hit the 
                                    exposed areas of their bodies and the swirling rain 
                                    and dust added insult to injury.  Mulder pushed 
                                    Scully into the ditch as the full fury of the storm 
                                    struck.
                                    
                                    Scully found it difficult to breath as the air was 
                                    literally sucked from her lungs.  The weight of 
                                    Mulder's body was the only thing keeping her on the 
                                    ground as the wind dragged them along the depression.  
                                    Debris rained all around them and Scully heard a yelp 
                                    of pain as something hit Mulder.
                                    
                                    It seemed like the onslaught lasted for hours but in 
                                    reality it was over in a minute.  Scully raised her 
                                    head as the wind diminished and she observed the 
                                    twister travel another half mile, then lift up and 
                                    disappear before her eyes.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, get off," she said as she tried to get up.
                                    
                                    Mulder moaned and rolled off of her onto his left 
                                    side.  "You okay?"
                                    
                                    "I think so.  Sore and muddy, but I'm okay.  How are 
                                    you?" she asked as she sat up and looked at him.
                                    
                                    "I think everything that wasn't tied down hit my 
                                    body." He tried to get up, but thought better of it 
                                    and sank back to the ground.
                                    
                                    "Where are you hurt?"  
                                    
                                    "Everywhere."
                                    
                                    "Any place more than others?"
                                    
                                    "My back and my leg."
                                    
                                    Scully maneuvered around so she could get a better 
                                    look at his back, wiping the rain from her eyes as 
                                    she moved.  They were engulfed in a torrential 
                                    downpour that was growing colder by the minute.  She 
                                    shivered as she knelt by Mulder's side, her breath 
                                    catching in her throat as she surveyed the damage.
                                    
                                    The clothes on his back were muddy and shredded.  He 
                                    was bruised almost every place that she could see, 
                                    but what really grabbed her attention was the piece 
                                    of metal impaled in his lower back.  She forced her 
                                    eyes to move down to his legs and found a piece of 
                                    wood embedded in his right leg.
                                    
                                    "Oh, Mulder.  You weren't kidding were you?"
                                    
                                    "I never kid about this much pain," he gasped.  "So, 
                                    what's the verdict, Doc?"
                                    
                                    "Well, it looks like some of the debris used you for 
                                    target practice."
                                    
                                    "And?"
                                    
                                    "We need to get you some medical attention."
                                    
                                    "There's something stuck in my back, right?" he 
                                    asked, struggling to get the words out through the 
                                    pain.
                                    
                                    "Yes, there is," Scully sighed. "And in your leg 
                                    too."
                                    
                                    "Yank it out!"
                                    
                                    "Mulder, I can't do that.  You're loosing enough 
                                    blood as it is.  I can't take the chance of causing 
                                    more damage."
                                    
                                    "Shit, Scully!  It hurts!"
                                    
                                    "I know.  We have to get you out of here and get some 
                                    help."
                                    
                                    "The car?" Mulder asked.
                                    
                                    Scully wiped the rain from her eyes once again and 
                                    prepared to search for the car.  To her surprise it 
                                    was right where they had left it, covered in mud, but 
                                    seemingly unharmed.
                                    
                                    "I don't believe this," she muttered under her 
                                    breath.  "Mulder, I think the car is okay.  I'm going 
                                    to check it out and get the first-aid kit.  Don't try 
                                    to move.  I'll be right back."
                                    
                                    Scully slogged through the mud, almost losing a shoe 
                                    in the gooey mess.  As she reached the car, she 
                                    breathed a sigh of relief.  Other than being covered 
                                    with mud and grass the car was untouched.
                                    
                                    Her relief was quickly replaced with anger and guilt.  
                                    "Damn it!  If I had decided to stay in the car Mulder 
                                    would be all right!"
                                    
                                    She surveyed the road ahead and once again her anger 
                                    surged.  The twister had apparently stayed off of the 
                                    road.  It was fairly clear as far as she could see.  
                                    She shook her head.  "It's almost as if that damned 
                                    tornado followed us."
                                    
                                    Shaking off her anger, Scully retrieved the first-aid 
                                    kit from the trunk.  She spotted a blue tarp folded 
                                    up in the very back of the trunk.  She practically 
                                    had to crawl in the trunk to retrieve it, but she 
                                    soon had it tucked under her left arm.  Carrying the 
                                    first-aid kit with her right hand, she made her way 
                                    back through the mud to Mulder.
                                    
                                    He was lying exactly as she had left him.  For a 
                                    moment she was afraid that she had taken too long 
                                    until she saw his right arm move ever so slightly.
                                    "Thank God," she breathed in relief.
                                    
                                    "I'm here, Mulder," Scully announced, kneeling beside 
                                    him in the mud.  She reached into the first-aid kit 
                                    for a roll of gauze and antiseptic.  "I'm going to 
                                    wrap this around that piece of wood in your leg to 
                                    try to keep it from moving.  First, I'm going to pour 
                                    some antiseptic over the wound." 
                                    
                                    She flipped the top on the bottle of Betadine in her 
                                    left hand.  "This is going to feel pretty 
                                    uncomfortable but try not to move.  I'll go as fast 
                                    as I can."
                                    
                                    "Okay, just get it over with," he grunted as the 
                                    solution hit his skin.  
                                    
                                    She quickly stabilized the piece of wood then tried 
                                    to decide what to do with the metal in his back.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, the only way I can wrap this is to sit you 
                                    up.  Think you can make it?"
                                    
                                    "Sure, Scully.  Just give me a hand up."
                                    
                                    Between the two of them Mulder managed to sit, 
                                    leaning heavily on his left arm.
                                    
                                    "Okay, same as before, antiseptic, then bandage.  
                                    Ready?"
                                    
                                    Mulder nodded and she began to work.  Mulder bit his 
                                    bottom lip as the stinging sensation grew.  He took a 
                                    deep breath and determined he wouldn't make a sound, 
                                    the rain hiding the tears of pain as they slid down 
                                    his face.  By the time Scully finished he was 
                                    breathing heavily, trying to hold onto consciousness.
                                    
                                    "Rest for a minute," Scully directed as she began to 
                                    wrap the tarp around his shoulders.
                                    
                                    As his breathing slowed down, Mulder became more 
                                    aware of his surroundings, especially Scully.  She 
                                    was rubbing a large bruise on her left ankle, and was 
                                    sporting a smaller bruise on her left cheek.
                                    
                                    "Scully, are you sure you're all right?"
                                    
                                    "Mulder, I'm fine," she replied with her stock 
                                    answer.
                                    
                                    "Then, what's this?" he asked, tenderly brushing her 
                                    bruised cheek.
                                    
                                    "I didn't say I came through unscathed, Mulder.  I 
                                    have a few scrapes and bruises, but I am fine," she 
                                    emphasized.  "The car is also fine.  The tornado 
                                    didn't touch it.  If I had decided to keep driving 
                                    we'd still be on the road and you would be unharmed."
                                    
                                    "Don't accept the blame for this, Scully.  I pushed 
                                    you into making a decision and it was the right one.  
                                    We didn't know what that thing was going to do," he 
                                    soothed as he gave her a quick hug, the best that he 
                                    could manage under the circumstances.
                                    
                                    Scully leaned into him briefly then took charge 
                                    again.  "The road was clear as far as I could see.  
                                    We just have to get you to the car and get you to a 
                                    hospital."
                                    
                                    "I don't suppose you could bring the car here?"
                                    
                                    Scully shook her head.  "Sorry.  Too muddy."
                                    
                                    Mulder sighed and shook his head to get the rain out 
                                    of his eyes.  "Let's go then."
                                    
                                    Mulder stood with Scully's help.  He swayed as his 
                                    vision wavered and his ears buzzed.  "Give me a 
                                    minute, Scully," he gasped, swallowing quickly in an 
                                    effort to keep his stomach contents where they 
                                    belonged.
                                    
                                    "Take all the time you need.  Do you need to sit down 
                                    again?"
                                    
                                    "No!  If I do I'm afraid I won't be able to get back 
                                    up," he groaned, fighting off the dizziness.  "Just 
                                    hold onto me."
                                    
                                    "Always, Mulder."
                                    
                                    After a few minutes he indicated that he was ready to 
                                    move.  Scully held onto him while he hobbled a few 
                                    steps, then stopped.  "I need to rest," he gasped, as 
                                    he sagged against her.
                                    
                                    Scully eased him down.  "Mulder, as much as I hate to 
                                    do this, I'm going to have to leave you here and try 
                                    to find some help."
                                    
                                    "No, Scully!  Let me rest and then we'll try again."
                                    
                                    She could see the fear and pain in his eyes.  She too 
                                    feared leaving him.  "Okay, we'll rest a few minutes 
                                    then try it again."  She pulled the tarp around him 
                                    more closely as he shivered against the cold rain.
                                    
                                    Scully looked back to the car, an impossible distance 
                                    away, but something had changed.  A police cruiser 
                                    with lights flashing had pulled up behind it.  An 
                                    officer opened the door and got out, bracing himself 
                                    against the wind and rain.  "Do you people need some 
                                    help?" he shouted.
                                    
                                    Scully waved her arms and nodded as Mulder slumped 
                                    against her, unconscious.
                                    
                                    At the officer's call, an ambulance arrived and in 
                                    short order Mulder was loaded and on his way to the 
                                    hospital, Scully following behind.
                                    
                                    She marveled at what the officer had told her.  The 
                                    small tornado had done little damage, mostly tearing 
                                    up the countryside and destroying a few signs and 
                                    fences.  Mulder's was the only injury reported so 
                                    far.
                                    
                                    They were only a few miles from town and reached the 
                                    small hospital quickly.  Scully parked the car and 
                                    hurried in to check on her partner, only to be 
                                    ambushed by the admitting department.  After signing 
                                    the usual forms she was taken to the doctor's lounge 
                                    where she was encouraged to take a shower and put on 
                                    a set of scrubs provided for her.  A cup of hot 
                                    coffee was pushed into her hands when she emerged and 
                                    she followed the nurse who was waiting to take her to 
                                    the small surgical waiting room.
                                    
                                    She settled in for the long wait, praying that her 
                                    partner would survive this latest assault on his 
                                    body.  She thought to call Skinner, but decided to 
                                    wait until she had some idea of Mulder's condition.  
                                    Restless, she took her coffee and walked to the 
                                    window.  A flash of lightning greeted her as she 
                                    stared out the rain-streaked glass.  The doctor found 
                                    her there an hour later.
                                    
                                    "Are you with Mr. Mulder?"
                                    
                                    "Oh, yes.  How is he"?" Scully asked, turning around.
                                    
                                    "He's doing remarkably well, actually."
                                    
                                    "Thank God!"
                                    
                                    "Let's go over here and have a seat," the doctor 
                                    suggested.  "I'm Dr. Haus, by the way."
                                    
                                    "Dana Scully."
                                    
                                    "I understand you're both F.B.I. agents?"
                                    
                                    "Yes, we are.  What can you tell me about Agent 
                                    Mulder's injuries?"
                                    
                                    "Well, I'm happy to report that they weren't as 
                                    severe as we originally thought.  The injury to his 
                                    leg missed the nerves and the main artery that runs 
                                    through the leg.  It was mainly a job of cleaning the 
                                    wound and repairing the muscle.  The back injury was 
                                    a bit more complicated.  The metal did leave a small 
                                    laceration on his right kidney, but we were able to 
                                    repair that and baring complications he should be 
                                    fine."
                                    
                                    "Thank you, Doctor.  When will I be able to see him?"
                                    
                                    "We're keeping him in the I.C.U. overnight.  He lost 
                                    quite a bit of blood and I want him monitored 
                                    carefully for the next 12 hours or so.  Why don't you 
                                    give him an hour or so to get settled in, then you 
                                    can see him for a few minutes."
                                    
                                    "All right, but his prognosis is good?"
                                    
                                    "He's fit and healthy.  He should be fine.  Why don't 
                                    you get something to eat, make any phone calls you 
                                    might need to make and I'll let them know to expect 
                                    you in the I.C.U. in about an hour"
                                    
                                    "Thank you."
                                    
                                    "If you have any questions, I'll be around all 
                                    night."
                                    
                                    After the doctor left, Scully decided it was time to 
                                    let Skinner know that they would be staying in Kansas 
                                    for a while longer.
                                    
                                    Skinner was quite surprised when he learned the 
                                    circumstances of their delay, assuring Scully that 
                                    there wouldn't be a problem if she stayed with Mulder 
                                    until he was ready to travel.
                                    
                                    After a sandwich that tasted like cardboard and a cup 
                                    of tea that wasn't much better, she decided it was 
                                    time to go to the I.C.U. to check on her partner.  
                                    She got off the elevator on the second floor and 
                                    paused to look out the window.  It appeared that the 
                                    area was being assaulted by a storm once again.  A 
                                    flash of lightning illuminated the parking lot as a 
                                    crash of thunder shook the building.  A gust of wind 
                                    rattled the window as she noticed the busy nurses in 
                                    the intensive care unit go about their business as 
                                    usual.
                                    
                                    She thought of the whirlwind of their own lives and 
                                    the times they had to go about their business as 
                                    usual even as their world crashed around them.  She 
                                    shook it off and walked to the desk to ask for 
                                    Mulder's room.
                                    
                                    Mulder appeared to be sleeping, lying on his left 
                                    side.  She walked over to him and kissed him on his 
                                    forehead.
                                    
                                    "I don't think we're in Kansas any more, Toto," he 
                                    quipped and slowly opened his eyes.
                                    
                                    "Sorry, Mulder, but we are still in Kansas.  How are 
                                    you feeling?"
                                    
                                    "Like the wicked witch that the house landed on."
                                    
                                    "You're going to be fine, Mulder.  You need to rest 
                                    now."
                                    
                                    "You okay?"
                                    
                                    "Just a little sore and scraped up.  You shielded me 
                                    from the worst of it."
                                    
                                    A nurse came in and busied herself checking the 
                                    monitors and IV pump.  "I've got some pain medication 
                                    and a sedative for Mr. Mulder.  Dr. Haus wants him to 
                                    rest."
                                    
                                    "Mulder, I think that's my cue to leave."
                                    
                                    Mulder reached for her hand.  "You get some rest too, 
                                    okay?"
                                    
                                    "I will."
                                    
                                    The nurse injected the medication into the IV port.  
                                    "Give him a kiss now because this stuff acts pretty 
                                    fast."
                                    
                                    Scully looked surprised but bent over and kissed 
                                    Mulder's waiting lips.  She squeezed his hand and 
                                    turned to leave, looking over her shoulder as she 
                                    reached the door.  Mulder was already asleep, a smile 
                                    on his face."
                                    
                                    Scully decided since Mulder's condition was stable 
                                    and he would be sleeping for a while, it would be a 
                                    good time to find a motel and check in.  There was 
                                    only one available, an old motor court.  After 
                                    checking in she took a more thorough shower and 
                                    changed into some comfortable casual clothes and 
                                    sneakers.  She decided to go back to the hospital and 
                                    see if Mulder was awake yet.
                                    
                                    A representative from the Dodge City field office was 
                                    waiting for her in the I.C.U. waiting room.  "Agent 
                                    Scully, I'm Agent Mike Seldon from the Dodge City 
                                    field office.  AD Skinner called us and since I was 
                                    in the area already, I was asked to take an incident 
                                    report and provide any assistance you might need."
                                    
                                    "Thank you, Agent Seldon.  I'll be happy to talk to 
                                    you later, but it's time for another visitation 
                                    period.  I would really like to see Agent Mulder."
                                    
                                    "Of course.  I'll be waiting for you here.  Please 
                                    give Agent Mulder my wishes for a speedy recovery."
                                    
                                    "Thank you.  I will."
                                    
                                    Scully found Mulder still sleeping as she entered his 
                                    room.  A nurse was at his side making her check of 
                                    all the monitors.  "Hello Agent Scully.  I'm just 
                                    checking things over.  Agent Mulder has been sleeping 
                                    ever since you left.  His vitals have remained stable 
                                    since surgery."
                                    
                                    "I'm glad to hear that."
                                    
                                    "I'm just getting ready to turn him onto his back."
                                    
                                    "I can help you if you'd like," Scully volunteered.
                                    
                                    "I'll take any help I can get," the nurse smiled.  
                                    "This might cause him some pain so I'm prepared to 
                                    give him some more pain medication.  Agent Mulder 
                                    will probably be transferred up to the third floor 
                                    within the next few hours, but we don't want him to 
                                    have bad memories of his time here.  I'm going to 
                                    move him now.  If you could keep that pillow steady 
                                    under his leg, I believe I can do the rest."
                                    
                                    Working together, they soon had Mulder settled in a 
                                    new position.  He moaned a few times but gave no 
                                    signs of waking.
                                    
                                    "I'll leave you two alone.  You can stay ten more 
                                    minutes."
                                    
                                    "Thank you," Scully answered as the nurse left.
                                    
                                    "Is she gone now?" Mulder asked, opening his eyes.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, how long have you been awake?"
                                    
                                    "Ever since you started pulling on my leg, but I 
                                    wanted to see you so I decided to play possum.  She 
                                    can shoot me full of pain killers after you leave."
                                    
                                    "Mulder, she's going to catch on to the fact that 
                                    you're awake you know.  Your heart rate and blood 
                                    pressure are up."
                                    
                                    "Until then just stay here and let me look at you.  
                                    Did you find a place to stay?"
                                    
                                    "I checked us into the Plainsman Inn.  It's an older 
                                    place.  Nothing fancy, but it's clean.  There is a 
                                    tornado shelter right behind our room too."
                                    
                                    "We could have used that earlier, but it's good to 
                                    keep in mind for your future safety."
                                    
                                    "And yours too after your discharge.  We might have 
                                    to stick around for a few days until you get your 
                                    strength back."  She smoothed the hair back from his 
                                    forehead.  "So how are you feeling now?"
                                    
                                    "I was having the most wonderful, drug-induced sex 
                                    fantasy that I've ever dreamed and the next thing I 
                                    know someone is tugging on my leg and someone else is 
                                    rolling me over.  I'd like to finish that dream," he 
                                    grinned.
                                    
                                    "Who was in your dream?"
                                    
                                    "The person who's always in my sex fantasies."
                                    
                                    "And that would be?"
                                    
                                    "You Scully.  Always you."
                                    
                                    "Good answer, Mulder.  Now, I want you to concentrate 
                                    on getting well so we can re-create some of those 
                                    fantasies of yours."
                                    
                                    "Promise?"
                                    
                                    "As soon as you're better," Scully promised.  She 
                                    gave him a kiss to seal the promise.  As she 
                                    straightened up she saw the nurse heading toward his 
                                    room.  "Mulder, I think you're busted."
                                    
                                    "Huh?"
                                    
                                    "Hello, Mr. Mulder.  I thought you might have been 
                                    playing possum so I decided to give you a few 
                                    minutes, but I've got to give you your medication 
                                    now.  Dr. Haus wants you to get all the rest you can.  
                                    You lost a lot of blood."
                                    
                                    "Could we have just a few more minutes, please?"
                                    
                                    "Well . . ."
                                    
                                    "It's official business.  I need to talk to my 
                                    partner and then I'll be glad to rest."
                                    
                                    "Okay, I'll give you three minutes."
                                    
                                    "Thank you, nurse."
                                    
                                    "I'll be back in three," she said.  "Official 
                                    business my ass.  Monkey business is more like it," 
                                    she muttered under her breath as she left the room.
                                    
                                    "What do you need to tell me, Mulder?" Scully asked, 
                                    taking his hand.
                                    
                                    "That I love you and I want you to go back to the 
                                    motel and get some sleep.  I don't want to see you 
                                    here for a few hours."
                                    
                                    "Mulder . . ."
                                    
                                    "If I'm not mistaken, I'm still head of the X-Files 
                                    and technically your superior . . ."
                                    
                                    "Mulder, you're pushing it."
                                    
                                    "I know, but I want you to rest, okay?  I'll be fine.  
                                    The only thing you could do here would be to watch me 
                                    sleep.  Please for me?"
                                    
                                    "Okay, Mulder.  You win. This time.  There's an agent 
                                    from the Dodge City field office that I have to talk 
                                    to.  After that I'll get something to eat and rest 
                                    for a while."
                                    
                                    "That's my Scully.  Kiss?"
                                    
                                    She leaned in to kiss him.  "Don't get used to 
                                    winning so easily, Mulder."  She kissed him softly 
                                    and then again with a little more passion.
                                    
                                    "Mmm, what do I get if I loose?"
                                    
                                    "Oh, we'll have to see.  Maybe a lot more of this," 
                                    she answered, kissing him again.
                                    
                                    "Might be worth throwing the game just to find out," 
                                    he laughed.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, behave."  She straightened up as the nurse 
                                    came in.  "I'll see you in a few hours."
                                    
                                    "Bye, Scully," he said as his meds were injected into 
                                    his IV, and he was soon asleep.
                                    
To Oz and Beyond--Part 2
                                    
                                    Disclaimers, etc in Part 1
                                    
                                    Before Mulder even opened his eyes he sensed several 
                                    things.  First, he knew that Scully had returned.  
                                    She was wearing his favorite perfume.  Next, he 
                                    realized that his surroundings had changed.  He 
                                    wasn't hooked up to as many monitors so he'd been 
                                    moved from the I.C.U.  Finally, he knew that he and 
                                    Scully were not alone in the room.  He could hear 
                                    Scully talking to a man, and was that a child's voice 
                                    that he heard?  What the hell?
                                    
                                    Mulder opened his eyes to find that he had been 
                                    correct on all accounts.  He was in a semi-private 
                                    room.  Scully was sitting in a chair between the beds 
                                    talking to a man in a suit, probably F.B.I. from the 
                                    look of him, and holding the hand of the little boy 
                                    in the next bed.  Huh?
                                    
                                    "Scully?"
                                    
                                    "Oh, Mulder!  You're awake."
                                    
                                    "Must've been some nap.  I'm definitely not in Kansas 
                                    anymore," he grinned.
                                    
                                    "Just a different location.  Mulder, this is Mike 
                                    Seldon from the Dodge City field office."
                                    
                                    "Glad you're doing better, Agent Mulder."  Mike 
                                    Seldon stepped forward and shook Mulder's hand.
                                    
                                    "And this is Robbie," Scully introduced.  "He had his 
                                    appendix removed a little after you had your surgery.  
                                    His mommy gave him a new baby sister yesterday in 
                                    another hospital and his daddy has gone home to get a 
                                    little rest.  Robbie's grandmother should be here 
                                    later."
                                    
                                    "Hi, Robbie.  I'm Mulder, nice to meet you.  How old 
                                    are you?"
                                    
                                    Robbie held up four fingers then ducked his head.
                                    
                                    "Agent Scully, Agent Mulder, I'm going to go now.  
                                    I'll check in again before you're released."
                                    
                                    "Thanks, Mike," Scully said.
                                    
                                    Mulder nodded as Agent Seldon turned and left.
                                    
                                    Robbie had decided to take a nap so Scully moved her 
                                    chair closer to Mulder.
                                    
                                    "Wow, Scully.  You're picking up guys all over the 
                                    place.  First Mike and now Robbie.  Aren't you Miss 
                                    Popularity?" he teased.
                                    
                                    "What can I say, Mulder?  When you've got it . . ."
                                    Scully laughed.
                                    
                                    "Do you think I might rate a little handholding, 
                                    maybe a little kiss?"
                                    
                                    "Although you have some pretty stiff competition in 
                                    Robbie here, I might be able to spare one little 
                                    kiss."
                                    
                                    Scully leaned over and gave him a very big kiss and 
                                    took his left hand in hers.
                                    
                                    "That's much better," Mulder sighed contentedly.  
                                    "So, what's up with the ankle biter?"
                                    
                                    "Mulder, this is a fairly small hospital and they 
                                    don't have a pediatric ward.  They are also 
                                    experiencing a staff shortage and have closed off 
                                    some rooms, so this was their solution."
                                    
                                    Mulder nodded at her explanation.
                                    
                                    "Now, how are you feeling?  Are you thirsty?  Do you 
                                    have any pain?"
                                    
                                    "Oh no, Scully in MD mode," Mulder grinned.  "Yes, 
                                    I'm thirsty.  My back isn't bothering me too much but 
                                    my leg is throbbing to beat the band.  Feels like the 
                                    bandages are too tight and sticking to my skin."
                                    
                                    Scully poured some water and held the cup as he drank 
                                    his fill.  When he was finished she put the cup back 
                                    on the nightstand and pulled the covers back.  She 
                                    had to lift his gown to look at the bandages.
                                    
                                    "Like what you see?"
                                    
                                    "Mulder, you'll have to tone it down.  There is a 
                                    small child present," she reminded him as she began 
                                    to examine the bandages.
                                    
                                    "Ow!  Okay, Okay.  I'll play nice.  Sheesh.  Ow, 
                                    Scully!  Are you trying to pull my skin off?"
                                    
                                    "Sorry.  You've got some drainage from the wound and 
                                    it's sticking to your skin.  I'll give the nurse a 
                                    call and she can probably fix you up."
                                    
                                    Scully adjusted his gown and pulled the covers back 
                                    up.
                                    
                                    "So, when's the foley come out?  Soon, I hope."
                                    
                                    "Well, you're producing urine, and there's no blood 
                                    in it that I can see, so you might get lucky."  
                                    
                                    "Explain lucky."
                                    
                                    "I'd say maybe tonight, or sometime tomorrow."
                                    
                                    "That's not soon enough for me."
                                    
                                    "It will just have to be," Scully replied as she 
                                    pushed the call button.
                                    
                                    Mulder shifted uncomfortably and groaned at the pain 
                                    the movement caused.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, a patient administered pain device is 
                                    attached to your IV.  You know the drill.  Push the 
                                    control button if you're hurting."
                                    
                                    "Don't mind if I do," he said, taking the control 
                                    from her and pushing it.  "Ah, Morphine?"
                                    
                                    "Yes, you can tell?"
                                    
                                    "Yeah, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when it goes in.  
                                    By the way, did the weather ever clear up?"
                                    
                                    "Not really.  More severe weather is predicted."
                                    
                                    "As long as it stays away from us."
                                    
                                    "I agree."
                                    
                                    The nurse came in and introduced herself.  "I'm 
                                    Michelle, Agent Mulder.  I'll be taking care of you 
                                    until midnight.  What kind of problem are you having 
                                    with your bandages?"
                                    
                                    Scully explained while Michelle made her own 
                                    inspection.  She agreed with Scully and took off the 
                                    old ones and replaced them, wrapping an elastic 
                                    bandage around Mulder's leg to finish up.
                                    
                                    Mulder took another hit from the IV pump and dozed 
                                    off rather quickly.  Several hours later he was 
                                    awakened by a gentle shake of his shoulder.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, you need to wake up," Scully said softly, 
                                    shaking his shoulder again.
                                    
                                    "Just give me five more minutes," he groaned.
                                    
                                    "I'm sorry, Mr. Mulder, but the doctor ordered blood 
                                    work every eight hours," the technician apologized.
                                    
                                    "Every eight hours?" he griped, waking up more fully 
                                    as the technician began to search for the vein she 
                                    wanted to use.
                                    
                                    "The doctor needs to monitor your kidney function and 
                                    check for infection," Scully explained.  "He's just 
                                    being thorough."
                                    
                                    "Tell him to be thorough with someone else.  Ow!  
                                    What are you trying to do, hit the bone?"
                                    
                                    The technician quickly finished her task and left the 
                                    room without comment.
                                    
                                    Mulder looked over to find that Scully had returned 
                                    to Robbie's bedside to help him hold his glass of 
                                    ginger ale.
                                    
                                    "Grandma hasn't made it yet?"
                                    
                                    "Her car broke down and Robbie's dad is at the other 
                                    hospital," Scully filled him in.  "She's trying to 
                                    catch a ride, but she lives in the next county over 
                                    so it might be a while."
                                    
                                    "I want my Granny," Robbie whimpered.
                                    
                                    "Thanks, Mulder," Scully frowned.
                                    
                                    "Sorry, I didn't know it was such a touchy subject.  
                                    Hey, buddy, how did you happen to end up here?"
                                    
                                    "I got a bad tummy ache, but it's better now.  Were 
                                    you really in a twister?"
                                    
                                    "Yeah, we were.  It went right over us."
                                    
                                    "Dana said you pertected her."
                                    
                                    "Yes, Robby.  Mulder did protect me," Scully smiled, 
                                    emphasizing the proper pronunciation.  "That's how he 
                                    got hurt."
                                    
                                    "Did you have a oprashun too?"
                                    
                                    "Yes, I had an oprashun too," Mulder answered, 
                                    deliberately mispronouncing the word.  "Do you like 
                                    cartoons?"
                                    
                                    "Yeah!  I like Spongebob!"
                                    
                                    "You know, I do too.  I don't know if he's on right 
                                    now, but let's see if we can find some cartoons on 
                                    TV."
                                    
                                    "Yeah!"
                                    
                                    Mulder grabbed the control and soon Robbie was 
                                    engrossed with the cartoons on TV.
                                    
                                    Scully pulled her chair back over by Mulder who was 
                                    watching TV too.  "What is that?" she inquired, 
                                    glancing at the TV.
                                    
                                    "I don't have a clue, but the Robster seems to enjoy 
                                    it."
                                    
                                    Robbie was glued to the TV, clutching a stuffed 
                                    Spongebob in his arms.
                                    
                                    "Feeling any better?"
                                    
                                    "About the same."
                                    
                                    "I brought your carry-on bag, Mulder.  I made sure 
                                    you had a pair of sweats and some pajama bottoms, but 
                                    judging the thickness of that bandage you might just 
                                    want to slip your running shorts on when the foley 
                                    comes out.  Although your bottom is delicious, 
                                    Robbie's granny may not appreciate a free shot."
                                    
                                    "You just want to keep me all to yourself," he 
                                    accused jokingly.
                                    
                                    "You got that right.  Seriously, I think the nurses 
                                    planned on having you sit on the side of the bed 
                                    after dinner."
                                    
                                    "I'm not looking forward to that," Mulder groaned.
                                    
                                    "Just use your control button if it gets too bad."
                                    
                                    "Don't worry.  I will."
                                    
                                    Robbie and Mulder had identical dinners of beef 
                                    broth, strawberry jello, ginger ale and weak tea.  
                                    They were eating their dessert, a cherry Popsicle, 
                                    when Michelle came in.
                                    
                                    "Agent Mulder, I have some good news.  Dr. Haus 
                                    reviewed your blood work and latest urinalysis and 
                                    was absolutely thrilled with the results.  He gave 
                                    the okay to remove your foley with the understanding 
                                    that it goes back in if your condition should worsen.  
                                    You're very lucky to have it removed so quickly."
                                    
                                    "Sounds like a plan to me," Mulder beamed.
                                    
                                    "Great.  You guys finish your Popsicles and I'll be 
                                    back with some help because we're going to let you 
                                    sit up for a little while."
                                    
                                    "Uh, can we wait on that?"
                                    
                                    "Mulder, the sooner you become mobile, the sooner you 
                                    get to leave the hospital.  This is the first step," 
                                    Scully explained as she wiped Robbie's face.
                                    
                                    "Agent Scully is right.  We'll just keep you up for a 
                                    few minutes the first time.  I think a big, strapping 
                                    F.B.I. agent should be able to handle that, don't 
                                    you?" the nurse grinned.
                                    
                                    "Bring it on, then," Mulder responded to her 
                                    challenge.
                                    
                                    "All right.  See you in a few minutes.  Robbie, how 
                                    are you doing?"
                                    
                                    "Okay, but I gotta potty," he answered, ducking his 
                                    head.
                                    
                                    "I'll take him," Scully offered.  "He can show Agent 
                                    Mulder what a big boy he is.  He doesn't mind getting 
                                    up even with a sore tummy."
                                    
                                    "Thanks.  Call me if you need me," Michelle directed 
                                    as she left the room.
                                    
                                    "Thanks, Scully.  Rub it in why don't you?" Mulder 
                                    pouted.
                                    
                                    "Seriously, Mulder, Robbie's being more mature about 
                                    this than you are."
                                    
                                    "What's mature?" Robbie asked.
                                    
                                    "Something Agent Mulder needs to work on.  Ready to 
                                    go?"
                                    
                                    "Uh-huh."
                                    
                                    "Let me hold your hand."
                                    
                                    "'Kay."
                                    
                                    When Scully's back was turned Mulder stuck his tongue 
                                    out at her.
                                    
                                    "You're just proving my case, Mulder," Scully 
                                    commented as they got to the bathroom door and shut 
                                    it behind them.
                                    
                                    "How did she do that?" he wondered as the Popsicle 
                                    slipped off the stick and landed in his lap.  "Damn 
                                    it!"
                                    
                                    "Mulder, little ears," Scully reminded him.
                                    
                                    "Sorry," he apologized as he scooped up the Popsicle 
                                    remains and dropped them on his tray.  "Shit, shit, 
                                    shit!" he thought as he searched for something to 
                                    wipe his hand on.  When he couldn't reach the 
                                    tissues, he gave up and used the front of his gown.
                                    
                                    Scully opened the door just in time to catch him in 
                                    the act.
                                    
                                    "For Pete's sake, Mulder!  Let me get you a 
                                    washcloth," she fussed.  She turned around to run 
                                    some water over a washcloth.
                                    
                                    "Let me take it," Robbie offered.
                                    
                                    "You sure you feel like it?" Scully asked.
                                    
                                    "Uh-huh."
                                    
                                    Robbie slowly walked to Mulder and ducked his head 
                                    shyly as he handed him the cloth.
                                    
                                    "Hey, little man.  Thank you.  You sure do move well 
                                    for a fellow who just lost his appendix."
                                    
                                    "I gots some band-aids and a sore tummy," Robbie 
                                    explained, pulling up his gown to show Mulder.
                                    
                                    "You must be very brave," Mulder praised.
                                    
                                    "I am," the little boy agreed solemnly.
                                    
                                    "Come on, Robbie.  You've been up long enough," 
                                    Scully called.
                                    
                                    "Thanks for the washcloth, Robbie.  You go with Dana 
                                    now."
                                    
                                    "Okay.  Bye Mulder.'
                                    
                                    Scully helped Robbie get situated then made her way 
                                    over to Mulder.
                                    
                                    "Would you like a clean gown?" she asked.
                                    
                                    "That would be nice.  Sorry for acting so juvenile.  
                                    I guess I'm just a little bit out of sorts," Mulder 
                                    apologized.
                                    
                                    "You're forgiven.  You can't be very comfortable 
                                    right now."
                                    
                                    "I'm not, but I shouldn't take it out on you."
                                    
                                    Scully gave him a big kiss as the nurse came in, 
                                    followed by an aide.
                                    
                                    "Are you ready to get rid of that catheter, Agent 
                                    Mulder?" she asked, gathering some gloves and paper 
                                    towels.
                                    
                                    "I believe so."
                                    
                                    "Then let's get that taken care of," she said as she 
                                    pulled the curtain around his bed.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, I'm going to get that clean gown and your 
                                    shorts."
                                    
                                    "Thanks, Scully."
                                    
                                    It only took a few seconds to remove the foley 
                                    catheter.  Scully helped Mulder change his gown and 
                                    wiggle into his running shorts.
                                    
                                    "Now, for the main event," Michelle announced.  "Leah 
                                    will hold your leg while I help you sit up.  Agent 
                                    Scully, if you could move that chair over here, we'll 
                                    have something to prop Agent Mulder's leg on."
                                    
                                    Within a few minutes Mulder was sitting on the side 
                                    of the bed with his back to Robbie.
                                    
                                    "Are you doing all right, Agent Mulder?" Michelle 
                                    asked.
                                    
                                    "Yes, I am."
                                    
                                    "No dizziness?"
                                    
                                    "No, a little pain but I think I can handle it," he 
                                    admitted.
                                    
                                    "Okay.  We'll try it for five minutes this first 
                                    time."  She opened the curtain.  "We'll be back in a 
                                    bit then."
                                    
                                    Scully turned to Robbie.  "Look who's sitting up."
                                    
                                    Robbie clapped then took notice of the bandage on 
                                    Mulder's back where the gown had fallen open.  "Ooh, 
                                    Mulder gots a big boo-boo.  He's brave too."
                                    
                                    "Yes, Robbie.  He really is," Scully agreed.  "How 
                                    are you holding up, Mulder?"
                                    
                                    "I'm getting a little shaky.  This is harder than it 
                                    looks."
                                    
                                    "Do you want me to call the nurse?"
                                    
                                    "Not yet," he answered, his voice a little weaker.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, I think you've had enough.  If you pass out 
                                    I won't be able to hold you."
                                    
                                    "Okay," he gave in.
                                    
                                    Scully reached for the call button but the nurse was 
                                    back in the room before she could make the call.
                                    
                                    "Mulder's getting a little tired," she explained.
                                    
                                    "Then let's get him back to bed."  She pulled the 
                                    curtain again.  "Let's put you on your left side for 
                                    awhile.  Agent Scully, if you could hold his leg, I 
                                    think we can get this accomplished.  I need to talk 
                                    to you two anyway.  Robbie's granny isn't coming.  
                                    There's a pretty bad storm on the way and she doesn't 
                                    want to get caught in it."
                                    
                                    "Poor little guy," Mulder sympathized as he settled 
                                    onto his left side while the nurse put a pillow 
                                    between his legs.  "He needs his Granny."
                                    
                                    Scully pulled the curtain back to reveal Robby curled 
                                    up with Spongebob, sleeping.
                                    
                                    "Agent Mulder, is that comfortable enough for you?"
                                    
                                    "Feels great.  Thanks."
                                    
                                    The nurse pushed the button to release some morphine 
                                    into his IV.  "Why don't you follow Robbie's example 
                                    and get some rest?"
                                    
                                    "Good idea, Mulder," Scully agreed as the nurse waved 
                                    good-bye.
                                    
                                    The TV programming was interrupted for a weather 
                                    bulletin telling them that a super cell thunderstorm 
                                    was two counties away and headed right for them.
                                    
                                    "Scully, I'd feel much better if you would go back to 
                                    the motel for the night.  You need to beat that storm 
                                    and stay close to that shelter," Mulder reasoned.
                                    
                                    "What if you or Robbie need me?"
                                    
                                    "I'll keep an eye on Robbie and I can call the nurse 
                                    if either one of us needs anything.  Scully, I want 
                                    you to be safe.  Please?"
                                    
                                    "All right, Mulder, but call me if you start to feel 
                                    worse, or if you just want to talk."
                                    
                                    "I will call you later.  Leave the motel's number."
                                    
                                    Scully wrote down the number and kissed Mulder 
                                    thoroughly before she left.  He hit the pain control 
                                    again and dozed off with a huge smile on his face.
                                    
                                    Several irritating sounds were disturbing Mulder's 
                                    sleep.  He could hear doors opening and closing along 
                                    with panicked directions being shouted.  A piercing 
                                    whistle came from the vicinity of the TV.  A roaring, 
                                    vibrating sound was getting louder by the second and 
                                    a small child was screaming in his ear.
                                    
                                    Mulder opened his eyes to see Robbie's terrified 
                                    face, tears streaming from his eyes.  "Mulder, 
                                    Mulder!  Wake up!  I'm scared!"
                                    
                                    "What the hell?"
                                    
                                    Mulder's fuzzy brain tried to process everything that 
                                    was assaulting it.  The TV.  That was a tornado 
                                    warning.  His eyes darted to the window.  Lightning 
                                    was flashing, the wind was howling and the pressure 
                                    was increasing in his ears.  That roaring, vibrating, 
                                    feel it in his chest noise, he'd heard that before.  
                                    He looked at the window again to focus on a tornado 
                                    crossing the field along side the parking lot, 
                                    drawing a bead on their room.
                                    
                                    "Shit, not again!" Mulder exclaimed as he rolled from 
                                    the bed, tearing the IV from his wrist and sending 
                                    shockwaves of pain through his injured back and leg.
                                    
                                    He pushed Robbie under his bed, grabbed a pillow and 
                                    covered him with it.  He saw a nurse approach the 
                                    door just as the room seemed to explode.  Mulder 
                                    covered his head and hoped that he would survive the 
                                    black monster outside their window.
                                    
                                    Ceiling tiles and insulation landed on the beds, 
                                    narrowly missing him.  The TV was thrown from its 
                                    mount, crashing into Mulder's bed as the window 
                                    exploded sending shards of glass flying.  Mulder 
                                    could feel the sting as he was struck by several of 
                                    the flying pieces.
                                    
                                    The bathroom door began to separate from the frame 
                                    then stopped, hanging crooked as the fury gradually 
                                    died down.  Mulder removed the pillow covering 
                                    Robbie.  "Hey, Buddy, you okay?"
                                    
                                    "Is it gone?" Robbie whimpered.
                                    
                                    "All gone," Mulder assured him.
                                    
                                    Robbie started to crawl out from under the bed.
                                    
                                    "Careful Robbie.  There's broken glass all over the 
                                    place."
                                    
                                    Mulder put the pillow on the floor beside him and 
                                    motioned for Robbie to crawl onto it.
                                    
                                    "Now, stay there while I get up and see what we've 
                                    got."
                                    
                                    Robbie began crying again.
                                    
                                    "What's the matter, buddy?  You're safe now."
                                    
                                    Robbie pointed to Mulder's arms where the IV had torn 
                                    loose and bits of glass had caused numerous small 
                                    cuts.  "Blood."
                                    
                                    Mulder glanced down.  "Hey, I'm okay.  It doesn't 
                                    hurt," he lied.  "Now, let me try to get up."
                                    
                                    Mulder began to push off with his good leg.
                                    
                                    "Agent Mulder, Robbie! Are you all right?" the 
                                    familiar voice of the nurse called.
                                    
                                    "Over here!" Mulder shouted, relieved that he didn't 
                                    have to get up.
                                    
                                    The nurse climbed over debris to find them in between 
                                    the beds.
                                    
                                    "Thank God!" she exclaimed.  "We were right outside 
                                    your door, ready to bring you into the hall when the 
                                    twister hit.  Are you hurt badly?  What about 
                                    Robbie?"
                                    
                                    "Robbie's fine.  I may need a stitch or two, but I'll 
                                    live."
                                    
                                    "Mulder putted me under the bed and putted a pillow 
                                    on top of me," Robbie explained, patting Mulder's 
                                    injured leg gently.
                                    
                                    "Then he's a hero isn't he?" the nurse smiled.
                                    
                                    "He's very brave but he got hurted," Robbie intoned 
                                    solemly.
                                    
                                    "Then let's get you guys out of here so we can fix 
                                    Agent Mulder up.  Do you fellas have any shoes?"
                                    
                                    "I did have some in the closet," Mulder answered.  
                                    "Are the closets still there?"
                                    
                                    "They appear to be intact.  Robbie, I'll see if I can 
                                    find your shoes too." 
                                    
                                    She made her way to the closets and found a pair of 
                                    sneakers for each of them.  The closets had remained 
                                    undisturbed.  She managed to climb over Robbie's bed 
                                    to get back to them.  When she finished putting on 
                                    their shoes she picked Robbie up.
                                    
                                    "Agent Mulder, I'll be right back.  I'm going to need 
                                    some help moving some of this stuff before we can get 
                                    you out."
                                    
                                    "Take your time.  I'll be okay."
                                    
                                    After she maneuvered Robbie out of the room, Mulder 
                                    carefully positioned himself so that his left side 
                                    was leaning against the bed.  He didn't want to let 
                                    Robbie know that he really wasn't okay.  "Thank 
                                    goodness the nurse, what was her name?  Michelle, 
                                    yeah, thank goodness Michelle got Robbie out," he 
                                    thought as he shakily reached behind to feel his 
                                    back.  It felt wet.
                                    
                                    He brought his hand back around.  It was covered with 
                                    blood, confirming that he had pulled some stitches 
                                    out.
                                    
                                    He only intended to close his eyes for a moment.  
                                    When he opened them again he was lying on his left 
                                    side on a stretcher in a hallway.  Someone was doing 
                                    something to his back and it hurt like hell!
                                    
                                    "Hey, stop!  You're hurting me!"
                                    
                                    "Agent Mulder, calm down.  You're okay.  I just 
                                    finished stitching you up again, and I added a few 
                                    new ones," Dr. Haus informed him.
                                    
                                    "Where am I?"
                                    
                                    "You're downstairs in the ER.  Only the top floor was 
                                    damaged, and it looks like your room got the worst of 
                                    it."
                                    
                                    "What can I say?  I'm a tornado magnet."
                                    
                                    "We're operating on back-up power and treating those 
                                    we can.  We're going to be sending you to Dodge City 
                                    as soon as we can get some more evac helicopters in."
                                    
                                    "I need to let my partner know.  I'm surprised she 
                                    isn't here by now.  Have you seen her?"
                                    
                                    "No, I haven't.  Where was she?"
                                    
                                    "She went back to the motel."
                                    
                                    "Agent Mulder, I don't know how to tell you this, but 
                                    her motel was hit pretty hard."
                                    
                                    Mulder tried to get up, but the doctor held him down.
                                    
                                    "Nurse, I need 75 of Demerol over here."
                                    
                                    "No, no drugs!" Mulder protested.
                                    
                                    "Agent Mulder, you need to stay quiet.  You could 
                                    cause yourself some serious damage.  Rescue crews are 
                                    at the motel right now and they are pulling out 
                                    survivors," Dr. Haus emphasized.
                                    
                                    "But you don't understand.  I have to get to her.  
                                    She may be injured."
                                    
                                    "If she is, the rescue crew will get her out and be 
                                    sure she is treated."
                                    
                                    The nurse arrived to administer the painkiller.
                                    
                                    "No, I don't need that!"
                                    
                                    Dr. Haus nodded yes and the nurse injected the 
                                    Demerol despite Mulder's protest.
                                    
                                    "Damn it!  I've got to find Scully!" he cried as he 
                                    felt the medication enter his system.
                                    
                                    "Agent Mulder, you've got to calm down.  If I see her 
                                    I'll make sure someone gets word to you."
                                    
                                    "Got to find her," Mulder mumbled as the medication 
                                    took him under.
                                    
                                    He fought against the medication and was soon able to 
                                    open his eyes.  The doctor and nurse had moved to 
                                    another patient down the hall.  Mulder spied the 
                                    newly re-installed IV and uninstalled it in one quick 
                                    motion.  He pushed himself up, wincing when the pain 
                                    hit.  Pushing it back, he was soon sitting up, 
                                    planning his next move.
                                    
                                    Grateful that they had not removed his shoes, Mulder 
                                    slid to the floor and grabbed the stretcher to steady 
                                    his self when he was almost overcome by a wave of 
                                    dizziness.  He waited a few seconds for it to pass.  
                                    Battling grogginess from the medication, he began to 
                                    move down the hall, grabbing on to objects to steady 
                                    himself.  He looked in each room as he passed, hoping 
                                    to find Scully.
                                    
                                    One room caught his attention.  It appeared to be a 
                                    supply room and he saw crutches hanging on the wall.  
                                    He pulled one down and grabbed the top from a pair of 
                                    scrubs on his way out.  He pulled the top over his 
                                    head and dropped his gown in the doorway.
                                    
                                    The crutch was a great find.  With its support he was 
                                    able to move much faster.  It only took a few more 
                                    minutes to make it to the ambulance bay.  Although it 
                                    was dark, a distant flash of lightning lit up the sky 
                                    enough to enable him to spot a man in an EMT uniform 
                                    throwing some supplies in the back of his pick-up 
                                    truck.
                                    
                                    "Hey, buddy," Mulder called.  "You wouldn't be 
                                    heading to the motel by any chance would you?"
                                    
                                    "Yeah, I am.  I had to check on my little boy.  He 
                                    was upstairs recovering from an appendectomy when the 
                                    twister hit."
                                    
                                    "Is his name Robbie?"
                                    
                                    "Yeah, how did you know?"
                                    
                                    "We were roommates," Mulder explained, grabbing onto 
                                    the truck as he was assaulted by another wave of 
                                    dizziness.
                                    
                                    "Agent Mulder isn't it?" the man asked as he reached 
                                    out to steady the swaying figure.  "You need to get 
                                    back inside.  You don't look so good."
                                    
                                    "Look, my partner was at the motel.  As soon as I 
                                    find her I will be more than happy to come back 
                                    here."
                                    
                                    "Okay," the EMT agreed hesitantly.  "I heard what you 
                                    did for Robbie.  You saved his life.  Let me help you 
                                    get in the truck.  My name is Allen Stewart by the 
                                    way."
                                    
                                    "You can call me Mulder."
                                    
                                    Allen helped him sit down and move his legs into the 
                                    truck.  It was an extremely painful maneuver and 
                                    Mulder nearly lost his tenuous hold on consciousness.  
                                    By the time he stopped seeing spots Allen had gotten 
                                    in and started the truck.
                                    
                                    "You okay, Mulder?"
                                    
                                    "Yeah."  Mulder took a deep breath and his head 
                                    cleared a little more.  "Your little boy is quite a 
                                    trooper."
                                    
                                    "Yes, he is.  I'm just so thankful that he wasn't 
                                    injured."
                                    
                                    "I hope my partner is as lucky."
                                    
                                    "So do I."
                                    
                                    The movement of the truck and the after effects of 
                                    the Demeral combined to make Mulder's eyelids 
                                    extremely heavy.  He fought to stay awake.
                                    
                                    "How much farther?"
                                    
                                    "A little over a mile.  I hope they've got the road 
                                    cleared or we'll have to go around the debris.  It 
                                    will be a pretty rough ride."
                                    
                                    "That's okay.  Do what you have to do."
                                    
                                    The road was becoming more cluttered with debris and 
                                    it was becoming difficult to maneuver around it.  Up 
                                    ahead the road was completely blocked by the roof of 
                                    a barn.
                                    
                                    "Hang on, Mulder," Allen advised as he swerved off 
                                    the road.
                                    
                                    The bumpy ride tore at Mulder's wounds.  He held on 
                                    to the dashboard and hoped that the stitches would 
                                    hold.  He looked ahead and spotted what was left of 
                                    the motel, outlined by the lights that had been 
                                    hastily set up by the search and rescue teams.  It 
                                    wasn't much.
                                    
                                    "You've been finding survivors?" Mulder asked 
                                    hopefully.
                                    
                                    "Yeah, we have.  By all rights anyone who wasn't in 
                                    the shelter should be dead, but so far we haven't had 
                                    any deaths, although we still had two missing when I 
                                    left, the owner and a female occupant.
                                    
                                    Mulder's heart sank.  "Any hope that they made it?"
                                    
                                    "There's always hope."
                                    
                                    Allen stopped the truck by the rescue vehicles.  
                                    Mulder reached to open the door.
                                    
                                    "Wait, Mulder.  Let me get your crutch and bring it 
                                    around.  Then I'll help you out."
                                    
                                    After Allen helped him out of the truck, Mulder stood 
                                    for a moment looking over the destruction.  Only part 
                                    of the office and the sign above it survived.  He saw 
                                    a group of people tending to a victim under a tent 
                                    that had been hastily set up to the right of the 
                                    demolished building.
                                    
                                    One of the rescue workers approached them.  "They 
                                    just found the woman," he reported, a huge smile on 
                                    his face.
                                    
                                    "Is she alive?"  Mulder asked, longing for an 
                                    affirmative answer.  "It's a miracle, but yeah, she's 
                                    alive."
                                    
                                    Mulder began hobbling toward the medical team, never 
                                    taking his eyes from his goal.  Allen followed close 
                                    behind.  Neither of them noticed the thin strip of 
                                    aluminum siding in Mulder's path.  His crutch became 
                                    entangled in it and he pitched forward, slicing his 
                                    right calf open on a slab of glass stuck upright in 
                                    the ground.
                                    
                                    "Damn it!" Mulder screamed in frustration as he 
                                    struggled to get up.
                                    
                                    Allen was immediately at his side, pushing him down.  
                                    "Listen to me, Mulder.  You have just sliced the hell 
                                    out of your leg.  You have got to be still."
                                    
                                    Mulder looked toward the place where he was beginning 
                                    to feel a horrible stinging pain.  "Oh, shit!  I've 
                                    done it now," he groaned as he saw the blood 
                                    geysering from the six-inch gash.
                                    
                                    "Don't panic on me," Allen warned as he placed his 
                                    hands on the wound and began applying pressure.  "I'm 
                                    going to holler for some help."
                                    
                                    Mulder acknowledged him with a nod.
                                    
                                    "I need some help here!  Get that doctor over here 
                                    now!"  Allen shouted at the top of his lungs.
                                    
                                    The blood continued to pump from Mulder's leg despite 
                                    the pressure.   His vision began to fade as he 
                                    registered a buzzing sound in his ears.  "Passing 
                                    out," he thought, "Maybe dying.  Where's Scully?  Got 
                                    to find her."
                                    
                                    Mulder could hear voices that faded in and out as he 
                                    felt several bodies around him.
                                    
                                    "What have we got?" one of the voices asked.
                                    
                                    "He cut his leg when he fell.  Think he got an 
                                    artery," Allen reported.  "We're going to need a 
                                    tourniquet and a lot of luck."
                                    
                                    "Doc, over here, stat!" another voice shouted as 
                                    Mulder felt something tightening around his thigh 
                                    above the previous injury.
                                    
                                    He heard someone running, then a strangled cry.  
                                    "Something familiar about that," Mulder thought, his 
                                    awareness fading fast.
                                    
                                    "Oh, Mulder, what have you done to yourself?"
                                    
                                    "Scully?" he whispered as his level of consciousness 
                                    slipped away until all was black.
                                    
                                    Ever so slowly, Mulder's brain began to register and 
                                    process outside stimuli, a sound here, movement there 
                                    and pain.  The pain registered nicely, thank you very 
                                    much.  At last things started to make sense.
                                    
                                    The sounds were those blasted monitors.  Must be in 
                                    the I.C.U. again.  The movement belonged to the 
                                    person taking care of him.  The smell was sweet and 
                                    heavenly, just like his Scully.
                                    
                                    "Scully?" he groaned as he opened his eyes.
                                    
                                    "Thank God!" Scully's voice exclaimed.
                                    
                                    Mulder's eyes began to focus and a smile spread over 
                                    his face.  "Scully, you're alive!"
                                    
                                    "Of course I'm alive."
                                    
                                    "Guess I am still in Kansas then."
                                    
                                    "I think you've been to Oz and beyond, Mulder."
                                    
                                    "As long as I can come back to you it doesn't 
                                    matter," Mulder announced in a shaky voice.
                                    
                                    "Don't try to talk.  You're very weak.  We've got to 
                                    have a talk about this desire you seem to have to 
                                    replace your entire blood volume every few days," 
                                    Scully fussed.
                                    
                                    "You okay?"
                                    
                                    "I'm fine, and that's another thing we need to talk 
                                    about.  You've got to stop jumping to conclusions."
                                    
                                    Mulder appeared to be confused so Scully explained.  
                                    "The tornado was bearing down on the motel as I 
                                    pulled into the parking lot.  I made it to the 
                                    shelter with about thirty seconds to spare.  I was 
                                    fine, Mulder.  I was helping with the injured and was 
                                    just about ready to hitch a ride to the hospital to 
                                    check on you."
                                    
                                    "Guess I should have waited, huh?"
                                    
                                    "You've got that right.  You've been in critical 
                                    condition for three days.  One of these days your 
                                    body will cease to function and I would hate for it 
                                    to be because you placed your life on the line for 
                                    nothing."
                                    
                                    "I understand.  Thirsty."
                                    
                                    Scully scooped some ice from the water pitcher.  
                                    "Open."  She placed a few ice chips on Mulder's 
                                    tongue.  "I am very proud of you though.   
                                    The entire country has heard how you saved Robbie 
                                    despite your own injuries.  You're a hero."
                                    
                                    Mulder made a face.
                                    
                                    "Might as well get used to it.  The governor is even 
                                    sending over a commendation to be presented in front 
                                    of the media on the day you leave the hospital."
                                    
                                    "Can't wait," he groaned, the sarcasm evident in his 
                                    voice.
                                    
                                    "Enough talking now.  Get some rest."  She bent down 
                                    and kissed his forehead.  "I'll be right here when 
                                    you wake up."
                                    
                                    "Good.  Keeps me out of trouble," he grinned, his eye 
                                    lids at half-mast.  "Love you," he whispered.
                                    
                                    "I love you too," Scully answered as Mulder's eyes 
                                    closed in sleep.
                                    
                                    Five days later Mulder was beaming with pride as 
                                    Scully accepted her own commendation from the 
                                    governor.  After a few brief words from the governor 
                                    and a few of Dodge Cities' elected officials, the 
                                    media event was dismissed.
                                    
                                    "I think it's definitely time to get out of Dodge," 
                                    Mulder quipped as Agent Seldon pushed his wheelchair 
                                    down the hall.
                                    
                                    "I couldn't agree more," Scully added.
                                    
                                    "Home James," Mulder directed Agent Seldon.
                                    
                                    "Yes, there's no place like home."  Scully grinned as 
                                    the agents approached the F.B.I. fleet car from 
                                    Rainbow Rentals.
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    The End