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GOOD TO GO
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Title:  Good To Go
                           Author:  Waddles52
                           Summary:  Did you really think Mulder would stay out 
                           of the woods after he heard the ME's report?
                           Spoilers:  Post-ep for The Jersey Devil
                           Rating:  PG
                           Category:  MT
                           Disclaimer:  No copyright infringement intended.  
                           Just for fun.  Not for profit.
                           Archives:  After_the_Fact, others please ask
                           Feedback:  Wanted and treasured  DASWaddles52@aol.com
                           
                           
                           "Scully, we've got to go back," Mulder said 
                           emphatically as they walked down the steps of the 
                           Smithsonian.
                           
                           "What are you talking about, Mulder?"
                           
                           "We've got to find the offspring before Detective 
                           Thompson does."
                           
                           "We are not even sure that there are any offspring.  
                           It could have been a stillbirth, or the child could 
                           already be dead, especially if it was very young," 
                           Scully countered as they reached the bottom of the 
                           steps.
                           
                           "Scully, can we take that chance?  The child could be 
                           in trouble if there is no adult to look after and 
                           provide for it, and you know what will happen if 
                           Detective Thompson gets wind of any sightings."
                           
                           "Mulder, you haven't completely recovered from your 
                           encounter with that beast woman.  You don't need to 
                           be traipsing through the woods."
                           
                           "I'm fine, Scully.  Besides, I'll have a physician 
                           with me, won't I?" he asked hopefully.
                           
                           Scully turned and began to walk away, leaving Mulder 
                           with a disappointed look on his face.  She turned 
                           back around.  "Are you coming?  We need to go home 
                           and change into some clothes more suitable for a hike 
                           in the woods.  And I also need to pack a first-aid 
                           kit," she said under her breath.
                           
                           Mulder fell into step beside her.  "Great!  Let's get 
                           our things together and I'll pick you up in say two 
                           hours?" he asked, looking at his watch.
                           
                           "Fine, Mulder.  You bring the insect repellant."
                           
                           
                           
                           "Well, we're here.  Do you have the slightest idea 
                           how to go about locating this supposed offspring?" 
                           Scully queried, adjusting her backpack.
                           
                           "Think like a kid, I guess," he answered, starting 
                           into the forest.
                           
                           "Mulder, I know that will be an easy accomplishment 
                           for you, but this is no ordinary child, if there is a 
                           child," she emphasized.  "I'm sure that self-
                           preservation was taught from birth.  It's not going 
                           to come out and invite us to play."
                           
                           "Kids are kids, Scully," he shrugged.
                           
                           Scully stepped up her pace and followed him into the 
                           woods.
                           
                           Several hours later
                           
                           "Mulder, don't you think we should be turning back?  
                           We haven't found anything other than the normal 
                           woodland creatures, and I'd rather not spend the 
                           night with them."
                           
                           "Scully, you mean you would pass up the chance to 
                           commune with nature, spend a night under a cloudless 
                           sky, gaze at the stars . . ."
                           
                           "Mulder, I just saw something!" Scully exclaimed.
                           
                           "Where?" he asked, turning quickly.
                           
                           "Down the hill, by the creek bank."
                           
                           Mulder turned just in time to see a flash of what 
                           appeared to be human flesh disappear back into the 
                           woods.  He threw down his backpack and sprinted down 
                           the hill.  Scully shrugged out of her pack and 
                           started after him.
                           
                           About two-thirds of the way down, Mulder snagged his 
                           right foot on a tree root and tumbled down to the 
                           creek's edge, landing on his left side.  He tried to 
                           push himself up, but thought better of it and eased 
                           himself back down.
                           
                           "Mulder, don't move," Scully advised, skidding to a 
                           stop beside him.
                           
                           "I'm okay.  Go after it!" he ordered.
                           
                           "Whatever it was is long gone.  Now stay still and 
                           let me see what the damage is."
                           
                           Scully gently rolled him onto his back and found the 
                           front of his shirt was becoming saturated with blood.  
                           She pulled his shirt up and found that the wounds he 
                           had suffered one week earlier had broken open.  She 
                           pulled Mulder's left hand up and pressed it firmly 
                           over the wounds.
                           
                           "Ow!"
                           
                           "Keep pressure on that.  I'll be right back."
                           
                           Scully made her way up the hill and soon returned 
                           with both backpacks.  She opened hers and retrieved 
                           the first-aid kit she had packed.
                           
                           "Always prepared, huh Scully?" Mulder winced.
                           
                           "I've found it pays to be prepared when traveling 
                           with you.  Move your hand."
                           
                           She applied a pressure bandage to the wounds and 
                           checked him for any other obvious injuries.
                           
                           "Are you hurt anywhere else?" she asked.
                           
                           "I think I sprained my right ankle when I tripped 
                           over that tree root," he groaned, trying to sit up.
                           
                           Scully pushed him back.  "Stay still.  I don't want 
                           you to aggravate that chest wound.'
                           
                           She felt his lower right leg, satisfied that there 
                           were no obvious fractures, then began to rotate his 
                           ankle.
                           
                           "Damn, Scully!  Take it easy!"
                           
                           "Well, you've definitely hurt your ankle.  If I take 
                           your boot off the swelling will probably prevent you 
                           from putting it back on, and you certainly can't walk 
                           out of here like that, if you can walk," she added.
                           
                           "It's just a sprain, Scully.  I've had them before.  
                           It'll hurt like hell for a while, but I'll be able to 
                           limp out of here," he assured her.
                           
                           Mulder became the recipient of a "Scully Look", 
                           something he was becoming accustomed to seeing 
                           throughout their short partnership.  The arched 
                           eyebrow indicated that she seriously doubted his 
                           words, so he hauled himself up and tried to take a 
                           step.
                           
                           "Oh, shit!" he cried as he began to lose his balance.  
                           Scully grabbed him around the waist and helped him 
                           back to a sitting position.
                           
                           "Well, maybe I'll hop out of here," he moaned.  "Just 
                           give me a few minutes and I'll be good to go."
                           
                           Another 'Scully look' found its target.
                           
                           "Scully, just tighten that bandage around my chest 
                           and give me a hand up.  I'll be okay."
                           
                           Scully fixed the bandage without saying a word, then 
                           rummaged through the first-aid kit and came up with a 
                           small bottle of ibuprofen.  She shook out three 
                           tablets and handed them to Mulder.  He accepted them 
                           along with the bottle of water she handed him next, 
                           and swallowed them down.
                           
                           After she had put everything back into her pack, she 
                           extended her hand.  Mulder grabbed it and was soon 
                           back on his feet.  He tried to walk again and took a 
                           few steps, heavily favoring his right ankle.
                           
                           "See?  Good to go," he announced, all the while 
                           thinking the he'd be lucky to make it up the hill.  
                           His ankle probably wouldn't get him out of the park, 
                           but he had to give it a try.
                           
                           "Ready?" Scully asked, handing him his backpack.
                           
                           "Yeah," he answered, hanging it carefully on his 
                           right shoulder, trying not to aggravate the newly re-
                           opened wounds.  "Like I said, I'm good to go."  He 
                           started up the hill, wincing with every step, Scully 
                           following close behind.
                           
                           After two hours of walking and resting it became 
                           apparent to Scully that Mulder had reached the end of 
                           his strength.  She caught him as he stumbled once 
                           again and helped him ease himself to the ground.
                           
                           "Mulder, no more," she pronounced, pushing him into a 
                           reclining position.
                           
                           "Scully, just let me rest for a minute and I'll be 
                           good to go," he said, repeating the phrase she had 
                           heard too many times over the past two hours.
                           
                           "Mulder, you are not good to go.  You are exhausted 
                           and you're bleeding again.  We've got to stop here 
                           for the night.  In the morning I'll hike out and get 
                           some help."
                           
                           "As much as I hate to admit it, you're right.  I 
                           can't go any further tonight," he sighed.  "But we 
                           will walk out of here in the morning."
                           
                           "Just try to rest, and we'll see how you feel in the 
                           morning.  Let me change those bandages and get your 
                           ankle elevated."
                           
                           She pulled Mulder's backpack off his arm and placed 
                           it under his leg, then brought out her first-aid kit 
                           once again to get the few bandages left.  She cleaned 
                           the wound and applied antibiotic ointment in what 
                           little light remained.  She taped the last gauze pads 
                           over it and pulled his shirt down.
                           
                           "Feeling any better?"
                           
                           "I think I'm lying on a rock," he groused, trying to 
                           raise up.
                           
                           Scully helped him up and removed the offending stone.  
                           He lay back down and sighed.  "Scully, I'm sorry.  It 
                           seems like I'm always dragging you into some big 
                           mess."
                           
                           "Mulder, I wasn't forced to come with you."
                           
                           "I know, but I still feel bad about getting us into 
                           this predicament."
                           
                           "It's okay.  I'm just glad I'm here to help."
                           
                           "Thank you."
                           
                           "I've got some granola bars.  Would you like one?" 
                           she offered.
                           
                           "Thanks, but my stomach is a little off right now.  
                           Maybe later?"
                           
                           "Sure.  Just ask."
                           
                           Mulder began to shiver.  "Damn!  Why am I so cold?  
                           It's still pretty warm out here."
                           
                           "You're going into shock, probably from the pain and 
                           exhaustion.  Do you have a jacket in your backpack?" 
                           she inquired.
                           
                           "Yeah.  I think so."
                           
                           Scully opened the pack, trying not to disturb his 
                           injured ankle.  Luckily it was right on top.  She 
                           took it out and helped Mulder put it on.  She took 
                           her own jacket and placed it over him.
                           
                           "Do you fell any warmer?"
                           
                           "Yes, thanks," he closed his eyes.  "I think I'll 
                           just rest now."
                           
                           Scully sat beside him and observed him while he 
                           slept.  "What have I gotten myself into?" she 
                           questioned for the umpteenth time since the start of 
                           their partnership.  He was so driven, out to find the 
                           truth even at the expense of his own well being, yet 
                           she felt drawn to him, drawn to his search.  She 
                           didn't have any answers to her questions, but somehow 
                           she knew that this was where she was meant to be.
                           
                           She laid beside him and put her arm over him, trying 
                           to give him some of her body warmth.  He moaned and 
                           shifted closer to her.
                           
                           "How odd," she thought, that they just seemed to fit 
                           together.
                           
                           She closed her eyes and began to doze.  A short 
                           distance away, a small figure observed them for a 
                           time then disappeared back into the forest.
                           
                           
                           Scully was awakened by the distant rumble of thunder.  
                           She glanced at Mulder who was already awake, watching 
                           her.
                           
                           "Mulder, what was that you said about a cloudless 
                           sky?" she asked, bringing herself to a sitting 
                           position.  Drops of rain were beginning to patter on 
                           the leaves.
                           
                           "Well, it was cloudless," he sighed, pushing himself 
                           up on his elbows.  "Ow!"
                           
                           "Be careful.  You don't want to pull that wound open 
                           again.  Here, let me help."
                           
                           With Scully's help he sat up and handed her back her 
                           jacket.  "I think you might need this."
                           
                           "Thank you.  Are you feeling any better?" she 
                           inquired, slipping into her jacket.
                           
                           "Still a little shaky, but much better."
                           
                           "You should probably try to eat that granola bar.  
                           How's the ankle?"
                           
                           "Throbbing like a son-of-a-bitch," he winced as he 
                           moved it slightly.
                           
                           "I'll get you some more ibuprofen," she offered.  She 
                           opened her pack and brought out the granola bar and 
                           the ibuprofen tablets and handed them to him.
                           
                           "I've got another bottle of water in my pack," Mulder 
                           told her.
                           
                           She retrieved it and gave it to him.  He swallowed 
                           the tablets and began to nibble on the granola bar.
                           
                           "Still not hungry?"
                           
                           "Not really."  He wrapped the bar back up.  "I'll try 
                           again later.  It looks like the storm is going to the 
                           north of us," he said as he observed a distant flash 
                           of lightning.  The rain had already stopped.  
                           "Scully?"
                           
                           "Yes, Mulder?"
                           
                           "Thank you."
                           
                           "You're welcome, but for what?"
                           
                           "Taking care of me and not saying I told you so."
                           
                           "Mulder, we're partners and we should take care of 
                           each other, besides I did see something.  It could 
                           have been what you were searching for," she offered.
                           
                           "I don't guess we'll ever know," he sighed and lay 
                           back down.
                           
                           "We can always come back when you've recovered," 
                           Scully suggested.
                           
                           "You would do that?" he questioned.
                           
                           "Yes, I would, but I would bring a bigger first-aid 
                           kit," she grinned.
                           
                           Mulder chuckled and then closed his eyes.  After a 
                           few minutes it was apparent that he was sleeping.  
                           Scully sighed and lay down at his side once again, 
                           hoping for the swift return of daylight.
                           
                           They were both awake a dawn.  Mulder finished the 
                           granola bar and took some more ibuprofen.  Scully had 
                           already shouldered her backpack.
                           
                           "Mulder, I'm going to go for help.  You should be all 
                           right until I return."  She turned to go.
                           
                           "Scully, wait.  I intend to walk out of here with 
                           you, well maybe limp," he amended.
                           
                           Another arched eyebrow zinged his way but she didn't 
                           say a word.  She stuck out her hand and helped him 
                           up.
                           
                           Mulder took a few tentative steps, groaning with each 
                           one.  "It really stiffened up during the night, but I 
                           think I can make it.  I really don't think we're that 
                           far from the car, Scully.  Could you hand me my 
                           pack?"
                           
                           She picked it up and slung it over her right 
                           shoulder.  "I'll carry it for a while.  You just 
                           concentrate on walking."
                           
                           Mulder decided not to protest, and started moving 
                           very slowly in the direction of the car.  Scully 
                           followed closely behind, ready to catch him if he 
                           stumbled.
                           
                           After half an hour Scully called a halt beside a 
                           fallen tree.  Mulder gladly sat down as Scully 
                           dropped his pack and eased out of hers.  They heard a 
                           rustle ahead of them and they both reached for their 
                           weapons. Then quickly put them down when Ranger 
                           Boulay came into view.
                           
                           "Agents!" he exclaimed.  "I wasn't expecting to find 
                           you here.  I saw the car last night, and when it was 
                           still here this morning I thought I'd investigate.  
                           Are you all right, Agent Mulder?" he asked when he 
                           saw the dried blood on Mulder's shirt.
                           
                           "Yeah, I'm okay.  I tripped over a tree root and got 
                           a little banged up."
                           
                           "Agent Mulder has a badly sprained ankle," Scully 
                           explained further.  "Do you think you could help us 
                           back to the car?"
                           
                           "Of course."
                           
                           Several hours later in an Atlantic City emergency 
                           room, Scully strolled into Mulder's cubicle.  He was 
                           resting comfortably with his ankle propped up and 
                           iced, and sporting fresh bandages on his chest.
                           
                           "Where have you been?" he asked.
                           
                           "I called the office to let them know we wouldn't be 
                           in today.  Has the doctor read the x-rays?"
                           
                           "Severe sprain.  Nothing broken.  They're going to 
                           put it in an air cast for the trip home.  I'm just 
                           waiting for that and then we're out of here."
                           
                           "Good.  I also talked to Ranger Boulay, Mulder.  
                           There have been several sightings of what appears to 
                           be an eight to ten year old child in the past week.  
                           He's been keeping it quiet, but it's probably only a 
                           matter of time until Detective Thompson hears about 
                           it."
                           
                           "Damn.  We were so close," he sighed.
                           
                           "I know, Mulder.  A child that age might be able to 
                           survive.  We'll come back when your ankle is healed," 
                           she promised.
                           
                           "I just hope it's not too late."
                           
                           The nurse came in with the air cast and crutches.  
                           Scully helped Mulder put his shirt on while the nurse 
                           fastened on the cast.  The nurse went over his home 
                           care instructions and handed over a prescription for 
                           Vicodin with advice to get it filled at the hospital 
                           pharmacy.  Scully took it from her before Mulder 
                           could protest.  Mulder signed the forms and the nurse 
                           left to get a wheelchair.
                           
                           "I'll get this filled while you're waiting for the 
                           nurse," she offered.
                           
                           "Thanks, partner," Mulder smiled, thinking how nice 
                           it felt to be able to say those words and mean them.
                           
                           "I'll meet you in the waiting room," Scully directed, 
                           thinking that the word partner was finally beginning 
                           to sound comfortable.
                           
                           Scully left and Mulder leaned back, left to his 
                           thoughts of Scully and the feeling that he finally 
                           had a partner who would stay by his side.
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           End
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           

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