Sent: Monday, April 23, 2001 4:12 AM

A Simple Complication 2/2

A Simple Complication 7/12

By Sally Bahnsen

Disclaimer in part one

Garden State Parkway

5:46 p.m.

"Scully. Stop the car."


"Now, Scully."

She does. The car swerves to the side of the road and pulls to a halt
just as I throw the passenger door open and scramble from my seat.

I stumble frantically away from the car and drop to my knees, the
tearing sensation in my thigh and subsequent agony that shoots from
groin to toes urges my stomach closer to my throat. I crawl amongst
some unsuspecting plant life and proceed to decorate the greenery with,
brown, gooey, not so healthy, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Surely there's gotta be a better way to die.

After a minute or two of violent heaving my stomach finally stops
contracting. Exhausted, I collapse onto my left side and wonder idly if
I will ever find the strength or inclination to move again.

"Mulder!" Scully squats beside me.

"They lied, Scully, there's nothing healthy about peanut butter." I
mumble as I try unsuccessfully to spit the taste from my mouth.

"Are you done? Can you make it back to the car?" She pushes my hair
back from my forehead, a routine she seems to have adopted as her own
personal ritual, performing it whenever I'm sick or injured. Not that
I'm complaining. If it were possible I'd probably get sick or hurt more
often just to have an excuse to feel her fingers threading through my

"I hope so, and I think so. Help me up." I try not to lean on her too
much, but my left leg is trembling so badly that I wonder if it will be
able to support me at all. As for the right one, I don't even bother
putting it to the ground.

"Give me a second, Scully." I lean over and suck in a couple of deep
breaths hoping to clear my head a little.

"Take as long as you need." She wraps one arm around my waist and with
her other hand she grips my wrist and secures in place the arm I have
draped across her shoulder.

"Okay, I'm ready." We stagger like a couple of drunks back to the car.
A passing motorist gives a long, enthusiastic blast of his horn in
appreciation of our side show. Nice to know the general public can find
something amusing in my hour of need.

Scully helps me to get seated again, and this time when she offers me
the pain meds and the water I accept. My stomach feels much better
after losing lunch, which makes up for the solid, resounding ache in my

"Mulder..." Scully waits till I finish drinking so she has my undivided

"I think we should swing past the ER on our way back to the motel." She
doesn't elaborate or try to dazzle me with technical doctor reasoning as
to why we should do this, instead she just looks at me. Imploring. A
worried frown creasing her brow.

I want to tell her yes, but what would be the point? They're only going
to diagnose the obvious and Scully has already done that. A bruised or
torn muscle, whatever. Rest and ice it. I can do that without visiting
a hospital. So, rather than hurt her feelings or get into a pointless
argument, I opt instead to dazzle *her*, with some good ol' Mulder
reverse phsychology.

"Scully, can I be honest with you?" A myriad of expressions pass across
her face before she settles on a look of shocked surprise.

"Go ahead," she coaxes.

"I really don't feel up to sitting in a crowded ER right now. My leg is
killing me, my mouth tastes like rotten peanuts, and...please, Scully,
can we just go back to the motel?" I conveniently forget to mention the
part about wanting to try and contact Dr Diamond at the Smithsonian,
hoping to get his opinion on the bones, the lair and the general
validity of my 'feral child' theory.

"You must be feeling bad, Mulder if you're willing to admit it to me.
I'll tell you what; we'll go back to the motel, you rest and ice your
leg for the next couple of hours and if you can get through that without
any more major catastrophes -- because there sure as hell have been
enough of those for one day-- we'll skip the ER for the time being."

"You got yourself a deal, Scully." I dig deep and offer her my
all-American boyish grin which ends in a grimace as I inadvertently move
my leg the wrong way, sending a sharp pain through my thigh.

"Hmmm. Why do I feel like I've just been had? That was too easy,
Mulder," she frowns at me suspiciously.


"Don't say it. I don't want to hear the 'T' word any more this weekend
either." She pauses, then gives me a serious look. "You gonna be

How does she do this? One minute treating me like an out of control two
year old, the next speaking to me as if my health and welfare are the
most important things in her life. The soft, caring note she injects
into her voice cuts straight to my heart, stripping the outer layers of
flippancy I usually hide behind, making me feel as if all my emotions
are being laid bare before her. It scares me; the way a simple display
of affection from Scully can evoke such a strong feeling of
vulnerability in me.


"I'll be fine, Scully." And I will too, as soon as the pain meds kick
in everything should be just wonderful.

She rubs her hand along my arm, then sparks the engine into life and
carefully pulls out to join the stream of traffic.

I hunker down in my seat and wait for some Tylenol-induced relief.




"Mulder, come on, we're here."

"No. I'm fine, leamme alone."

"Mulder, wake up!"

"Mmmm, five more minutes...OW! Shit! What the...?"

"Sorry, Mulder, it's the only way I could get you to wake up. We're
here. You fell asleep."

"Well, now that you've got my attention; what the hell did you do to
me?" I ask rubbing my arm and making sure she sees how unimpressed I am
with her bedside manner.

"It was just a little pinch, don't be such a baby. Do you need some
help getting out?" She asks the question as she pushes her door open.

How the hell should I know, I just woke up. I push my own door ajar and
move to get out of the passenger seat. So far so good. I lever myself
upright and wait.

Oh yeah. I'm gonna need help. As soon as I stand my leg throbs,
gradually increasing until I begin to feel the nausea return and a
slight shift in focus as the motel starts to shimmer and twist from side
to side. I close my eyes and hold tight to the roof of the car with one
hand and the passenger door with the other.

"I guess the answer is yes." Scully is at my side prying my fingers
from the car door and guiding my arm across her shoulders. I take
comfort in the thought that I am saving her a fortune in gym fees.
After this weekend she'll never have to work out again.

The nausea increases as the sickly smell of disinfectant and cheap
cover-up chemicals permeate throughout the motel room. At least the bed
is made, and with a bit of luck, fresh towels are part of the package.

"Sit, Mulder." Scully pauses and points meaningfully at the bed.

"Would you like me to roll over and play dead too?" I ask quietly.

"I think you've done enough of that for one day." She mumbles under her

"What was that, Scully?"

She gives me approximately half a second of her time before dismissing
my comment out of hand and focusing on a new task. Her eyes zero in on
the bathroom and she strides purposefully in that direction,
disappearing inside for a minute before re-emerging with a clean towel
draped over her arm. She switches her attention to the closet, hauls
the door open and pulls down two spare pillows.

"Lie back," she orders as she tosses her bounty onto the bed beside me.

This is a woman on a mission and I decide to do as I'm told.

"Okay, let's get your pants off." Hmmm, this doesn't exactly fit the
scenario I've played through my mind over and over again during those
long, sleepless nights on my couch. I always imagined something a
little more romantic when Scully finally got round to asking me to
remove my pants.

She notes my hesitation.

"Rest, ice, elevation. You don't expect me to ice your leg through your
jeans do you?" We're back to the 'stop-acting-like-a-two-year-old' tone

"You know, Scully, it's probably a good thing you decided on forensic
medicine because sometimes your bedside manner leaves a lot to be
desired." I pull at my belt buckle as she moves towards the door.

"I'll be back in a minute, Mulder, I'm want to see if I can find an ice
machine." And with that statement she is gone, leaving the tacky lace
curtain wafting in the breeze as she pulls the door behind her.

Once Scully is out the door I ignore my belt and think about sitting
up. The thought also occurs to me that in order to remove my pants I'm
going to have to eventually get to my feet. And while the pain has
dropped to a managable level since taking the last dose of Tylenol, I
really don't have the energy to move. I wonder instead how I am going
to convince Scully to put a call through to Dr Diamond.

I check my watch; 8:30 p.m., probably a bit late to catch him at the
Smithsonian, I wonder if Scully has his home number? If she can run
some tests on the bones tomorrow, verify the markings are indeed made by
human teeth, then we are one step closer to having some hard evidence to
back up my theory. that Thompson knows I'm onto him, time is
our enemy. I'm pretty damn sure he'll be moving quickly to get rid of
all traces of the kid's existence.

Where did Scully put our backpacks? Sitting up slowly, I scan the room
in search of them. There. By the door. I swing my legs over the side
of the bed and ease myself up. The quiet thud in my thigh increases in
intensity, but the need to make sure the bone fragments are still safely
tucked inside the backpacks, overrides the pain. Taking slow, careful
steps I limp my way over to the door and reach for the pack, my hand
hovering inches from the object of my desire when the door swings open,
nearly clocking me across the head. I jump back in surprise, wrenching
my leg and falling flat on my ass.


"Mulder! What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Through watery eyes I manage to make out the unhappy face of my
partner. Icy blue daggers stare out at me from under heavily armed

If my leg wasn't hurting me so badly I might have found this situation
amusing. But to add insult to injury my butt is now aching where it
impacted with the less than adequately padded floor covering.

"Mulder? I asked what you are doing."

"Nothing!" I snap. If she's gonna keep talking to me like a two year
old then I'm going to start acting like one. I'm sick and tired of
being in pain, and I'm sick and tired of being restricted by that pain.
Feeling more than a little sorry for myself I slump back against the
threadbare carpet and close my eyes, only to be rudely reminded of the
bump on the back of my head.

"OW! Shit! Goddammit!"

Sounds of soft laughter start to filter through my bout of self-pity.
The little chuckles gradually building in cresendo until they become a
full fit of giggles.

I force my eyes open.

"Well, I'm glad you find something funny in all of this, Scully."

"I'm...I'm...sorry...Mulder." Oh yeah, she sounds really sorry.

I roll over onto all fours and make an effort to get back on my feet.

"Here...let you." Scully chokes out in between gasps of

"I'm fine. I can do it myself." And I shake her hand off my arm to
prove it. Ignoring any further offers of assistance from Scully, I grit
my teeth and limp painfully back to the bed, slumping awkwardly onto the
lumpy mattress.

"Mulder? I am sorry. It's's just..." A soft snort escapes
before she can finish the sentence. "I'm sorry."

I don't answer her.

"I found an ice machine. Let's see if we can get the swelling down and
make you a little more comfortable."

I continue with the silent treatment as she squats by my feet and starts
to untie my shoe laces.

"Mulder? Why do you think Captain Thompson behaved the way he did?
Don't you think it was a little extreme, even for him?"

"I've been thinking about that myself, Scully. Ah!...Shit!" Pain
rivets up my leg as Scully tugs the boot from my right foot.

"Here, lay back on the bed." She pushes my shoulders down and helps me
get straightened out on the mattress, moving to my feet and pulling my
socks off.

"Thanks." I give her a half smile, my earlier anger at being the butt
of her mirth quickly subsiding.

"So, what about Thompson? What do you think was the real motive behind
his actions?"

"I still believe his main concern is to get rid of the kid by the most
expedient means possible. The simplest... the,
what are you doing?" Her hands glide up my leg and start working at my
belt buckle.

"You better let me do that, " I say, gently prying her hands away, "or
you might find you get a little more than you bargained for."

As the full meaning of my words hit home, I notice a rather becoming
pink tinge start to creep across her cheeks. She nods at me and mouths
the word 'sorry.'

I work the belt loose while Scully pours ice into a plastic bag.

"I'm beginning to think that Thompson might be a little more closely
involved with the gambling community than just your regular 'cop
protecting the casino trade' routine."

"You think Thompson's on their pay roll? Lift your hips." Scully
slides my jeans down to my ankles then gently tugs them off and tosses
them onto a nearby chair.

"Maybe. It might explain his behaviour, why he was so hell-bent on
keeping us away from where the hikers were killed."

"That or he just hates you, Mulder." She lightens her words with a

"Well he wouldn't be the first local law enforcement officer campaigning
to be president of the 'Anti Mulder' fan club." I give her a wry smile
of my own. "It doesn't matter what the real motive is, Scully.
Thompson wants us out of his hair, and if he doesn't want us around,
then as far as I'm concerned, that's all the more reason to stay."


"Hmmm, what?"

"You've got a lot of swelling, Mulder. No wonder you had pins and
needles. How does your foot feel now?"

I wiggle my toes to check it out. "Okay, I guess. A little tingly

She pulls at the strapping on my thigh. "Lift your leg a little."

I carefully pull my knee up and Scully unwraps the bandage, laying it
beside her on the bed. Her brow creases in thought as she stares at my

"I don't like the look of this. Maybe we should have stopped by the
emergency room." Her finger tips trace a tickly trail from knee to
groin, pressing lightly on the place where the bat connected with my
thigh. I grit my teeth in an effort to keep myself from leaping off the

"Is that hurting you?" Your powers of observation blow me away
sometimes, Scully.


"Hmmm." She continues to rub her hand lightly up and down my thigh.
Marvin shifts nervously as her hand creeps closer to my groin.

"Pass me that pillow."


"The one you're not using, give it to me."

Who says I'm not using it?

Reluctantly I give up the second pillow under my head. She pulls off
the cover then places it--along with the earlier gathered spares from
the closet--under my leg. I have to admit the support of the pillows
helps the pain to recede a bit. After wrapping the plastic bag of ice
in the previously discarded pillow case, she carefully places it along
my thigh. Tiny rivulets of icy condensation run down my leg and creep
under my boxers. Marvin rears back in fear as the freezing droplets
pool around very sensitive parts of my anatomy.

"Hows that, Mulder?"

"Cold," I answer honestly.

"It's supposed to be. We need to get the swelling down." I don't know
if it's working on my leg, but Marvin the Martian has certainly lost any
dellusions of grandeur he might have had just after Scully began
caress...I mean, examining my leg.

Scully scoots closer along the bed so she's sitting by my chest, then
reaches up and trails her hand across my brow. Her fingers are cool
after handling the ice. Nice. I close my eyes and relax under her

"Why don't you get some rest, Mulder. I'll go and see about fixing us
some dinner."

"You buying?" I mumble sleepily.

"I'm buying. What do you feel like?" Her hand caresses the side of my
face, then moves back to my forehead, fingers twirling lightly through
my hair. I wonder what I did to deserve this little display of tender
loving care.

"Mmmm. I dunno. You choose. Nothing with peanuts. Don't want
peanuts." I feel the bed shake slightly as Scully lets out a soft

"Something light on your stomach might be best," she offers. "I'll see
what I can find. And I promise, no peanuts."

Her hand leaves my face and I grumble quietly at the loss of contact.

"Rest, Mulder. I'll be back soon."

"Mmmhmm." Her last act of kindness before she leaves is to drape the
towel across my lap, damming the the icy stream of water trickling
steadily towards my nether regions, and saving Marvin from an unwanted


Oh Christ!

How long are they gonna leave me lying here? GET IT OFF!! Get this damn
bovine off my leg! It's crushing me! Why the hell aren't they doing
anything? Someone must be there. The whole damn township of Kroner
would have heard the oversized, under-done pot roast come crashing
through my roof. Hell, they probably heard it all the way across

SCULLEEE? Where is she?

My leg hurts, Scully. Can't feel my foot. HELP ME!

Icy rain pours through the gaping whole in the roof. Gathering around my
hips. Wetting my clothes. Freezing my ass off. GET THE GODDAMN ANIMAL

Hurts. Hurts. Gotta move. I try and drag my leg from under it. Pain
shoots through my thigh. I scream. I know it's me, the sound
reverberates though my throat, my ears, my head.


Huh? Where am I? There's no cow and there's no rain. Then why the
hell am I lying in a puddle of water? And why the hell does my leg feel
as if the damn cow is still sitting on it?

Ah yes. Of course. It's all coming back to me. The day from hell.

I lift the wet, soggy, suspiciously light, bag of ice off my leg. The
nice white, *dry* towel of earlier is now a saturated mess of terry
cloth still draped thoughtfully across my lap, soaking its wet, sodden
contents into my boxer shorts. Well, that explains the puddle of water.

And where's Scully?

I check my watch. 9:30 p.m. I managed to make all this mess in just 20
minutes? Man, I'm good. I can just hear Scully's less than subtle
comments when she returns to find me lying here in wet boxers. No thank
you! It's time for action. Now, where the hell did I put my overnight

Aha! Over there by the closet.

I ease myself up and carefully swing my legs over the side of the bed,
feeling the sheets squelch with my shift of weight.

A little twinge in my thigh reminds me that movement is something to be
done only when necessary and then, with great care. Tough cookies!
Marvin the Martian clinging to my hips in a wet, soggy embrace tells me
this particular movement is more than just necessary. It's essential.

So, slowly I stand. And wait. And, oh, Fuck! The pain slams into me
from all directions, totally engulfing my leg from toes to hip. The
room tilts dangerously to one side, the ugly lace curtain undulates
backwards and forwards.

My stomach twists in on itself and very vivid images of peanut butter
and jelly sandwiches play through my mind which is enough for my stomach
to lurch in rebellion. But there is no way I am gonna make it to the
bathroom. No way in the wide, wide world. My arms flail wildly, tying
to stop the inevitable descent to the floor, but in my less than
coordinated state, I manage to latch onto absolutely nothing and hit the
floor with a resounding THUD!

Oh, crap!


End of part 7


A Simple Complication 8/12

By Sally Bahnsen

Disclaimer in part one

Lucky Stars Motel

9:38 p.m.

Time distorts unfathomably. Lying on the ground, gasping like a beached
whale, time simply ceases to have any meaning for me. My world exists
on a very narrow plane. Intense pain, and fighting for air. The
unintentional trip to the floor has knocked the wind out of me, and it's
taking every ounce of energy I have just to draw breath.

With my head buzzing from lack of oxygen, I continue to lie on the
stained, stinking carpet, wrestling with the need to throw up, and
trying to concentrate around the solid, unending ache in my leg.

Finally, I manage to suck in some air. This helps clear my head a
little, but the nausea hangs in there, as determined as ever.

I think I hear someone groan. Given that I'm the only one here, it must
be me. And I don't care. I'm past caring. I'm hurting, and right now
all I want to do is stay on the floor and wallow in self pity.


Scully. Thank God.

"Dammit, Mulder, I can't leave you alone for a second."

"Scul..." I choke on her name when another wave of pain rolls over me.

"Oh, Mulder."

"Sculleee," I moan at her. I no longer care about stoicism. I no
longer care about a brave front. All I care about is some kind of
relief, and at the moment, Scully is the best chance I've got.

"What happened? Did you hit your head?"

"No...don't think so. My leg."

She kneels beside me "Cramp?"

"I don't...know. No, no....I don't It's aching...hurts."

"Dammit. I should have insisted on taking you to the emergency room
this afternoon. I can't believe I let you talk me out of it." She
leaves my side and searches her pockets. Finding her cell phone, she
punches in a number.

"Who are you calling?"


This time I don't argue.

I half listen to her speaking to the operator, supplying details of our
location and a brief rundown of the situation. Which is me.

She returns to the floor beside me.

"Scuuu...aaarrgh. Shiiit." I bite back a groan.

"Sssh, Mulder, it's okay, I know you're in pain. Help is on the way.
Let me take a look at your leg. Can you lie back a bit for me?" I'm
flat out on the floor, how much further back does she want me to be?

Her soft, cool hands clasp mine and remove them from my thigh. Then, I
realise I'm not flat at all, but rather, curled up in a tight ball. She
eases me over so I'm facing the ceiling and carefully straightens my leg
out. Her hands rest lightly behind my knee, then travel to my foot. I
think I hear a gasp, and this time it's not me.

"What is it, Scully?"

"Nothing, Mulder. Just try and relax." She smoothes the imaginary hair
from my brow. Maybe it's a nervous tick-thing that she has, but,
whatever it is, I'm glad she does it.

The muscle in my leg squeezes tight again, and I start to roll over to
my side, groaning my misery into the room.

"Come on, partner, just try and breathe through the pain." She moves
her hand to my groin. Marvin doesn't even notice. She presses down
lightly, near my hip, then works her hand slowly down towards my knee.
Which is all very well until she happens to press on the point of
impact. Before I'm even aware of what I'm doing, I lift my arm and
smack her hand away. Hard.

"Oh, God. Sorry...didn't hit you."

"It's all right. I'm not hurt. I guess I found the sore spot." She
smiles apologetically at me.

"Yeah, you could...arghhh." A knife-like pain slices through my thigh.
"Christ, Scully...I'm...not much...more of this...I can

"Mulder, describe the pain for me." She places her hand under my jaw
and turns my head so I'm looking at her.


"I know that, I know." Her tone is soft and gentle as her hand sweeps
across my forehead. "I mean, is it sharp? Dull? Intermittent?"

"I's...just there. Kinda like...a my
leg, only worse. Like it's being crushed from the inside out."

"Do you feel sick, nauseous?"

"Mmm. Was before. Not so much now."

I close my eyes for a second and release a slow breath, enjoying a
slight reprieve as the pain subsides a little.

And then a thought occurs to me. The reason I'm splayed out on the
floor in the first place.

"Scully, I'm wet."


"My...uh...underwear, it's wet." I nod in the direction of Marvin.
Scully's face fills with a look of shock, followed by pure pity.

"Were you on your way to the bathroom?" She doesn't exactly say, 'you
poor dear', but I hear it in her voice.

"Uh, huh."

"Oh, I'm sorry, Mulder. I should have thought before I left. Why
didn't you tell me you needed to pee?"


"No. I didn't *pee* myself. The damn ice melted!"


"Could you find me some dry shorts, please?" I start to push myself off
the floor.

"No, Mulder, I don't think it's a good idea for you to be moving
around. You can change later, at the hospital."

It's not until she says I shouldn't move around that I notice something
strange about Scully. Something she doesn't usually show. She's
worried. Every line, every crease on her face is screaming a message,
broadcasting in no uncertain terms that she is *really* concerned.

And now, so am I.

"AAARGH" The pain hits again, this time radiating down to my calf. I
try to grab at my leg but Scully is holding me down. Somewhere in the
background I think I hear sirens.

"Hang on, Mulder, I'll be right back." I clutch at her hand. "It's
okay. I'm just going to open the door for the paramedics. Help is

I lie back against the hard floor and close my eyes. With Scully no
longer restraining me, I roll onto my side and hold my leg. An
undulating throb alternates between my calf and thigh. The nausea
increases a notch with each new thud of pain. I groan helplessly into
the uncaring, tattered carpet.

Voices fill the room.

"...I found him on the floor about 15 minutes ago. He's in severe pain,
nauseous, I don't think he hit his head."

Polite noises of 'Uh-huh and 'yes ma'am,' respond to Scully's

I open my eyes. Two men in paramedics uniform, carrying a shit-load of
gear and pulling a gurney. Scully continues her rundown on my

One of the guys leans over near my head. "Hello, Mr Mulder, my name's
Chris and this is Dave," he nods to the other man, "we're going to try
and make you feel more comfortable, okay?"

I nod and try not to whimper.

Dave dumps his equipment on the floor then starts setting up some kind
of radio.

"Can you tell me where it hurts?"

"Leg. Started in my...aargh...shit..." Respite is over.

"Okay, just relax. I want you to tell me: on a scale of one to ten, ten
being the worst pain, how would you rate the level of pain you are

"Twelve!" I gasp out.

I feel myself beginning to fade and a faint ringing starts in my ears.
My breath catches in my chest as my stomach tries desperately to find an
exit from my body.

"Feel sick," I mutter. My stomach heaves. But there's nothing to bring
up. Just a painful retching that feels like I'm being ripped in two.

Someone starts rubbing my shoulder. I'd know that touch anywhere.
"Scully...what's wrong...with me?"

"That's what we're trying to find out." Something about her voice
sounds different. I force my eyes open to look at her. She has tears
glistening around the edges of her lashes.

"Scully." I whisper to her.

Dave's voice cuts into the room. "Patient is white male, late 30's,
complaining of severe pain in right leg associated with an injury
received approximately 36 hours ago. He's down and vomiting. Standby
for vitals."

Chris appears by my side and wraps a BP cuff around my arm and pumps it
tight, waiting a few seconds before releasing the pressure. "BP's 140
over 80."

Another agonising wave of pain clenches my thigh. "Arrgh, shit."

Chris pats me on the shoulder, then picks up my left wrist,
concentrating. He stares at his watch for a minute or so. "Pulse
115." He pauses, watching my chest intently. "Respirations 35."

Dave repeats the figures through the radio handset.

I can feel my breathing quicken, and my chest tighten as I try to suck
more air in. I grab at my t-shirt, seeking relief.

"Mr. Mulder, are you experiencing chest pain?"

"Uh. No, not...really... feels tight...when I breathe."

I catch a quick glimpse of his face before he disappears from view. He
doesn't look happy.

"Mulder, you're hyperventilating. You need to slow your breathing
down. Can you do that for me?" Scully. By my side, running her
fingers through my hair. Feels good. I try to slow down. For her, I
know I can do it.

Until another spasm of pain rips through my leg and I gasp, sending any
thoughts of controlled breathing right outside the realm of extreme

My breath catches in my throat, refusing to enter my lungs. I try to
roll over and clutch at my leg, but small hands are pushing my shoulders
back, forcing me to lay flat.

"Agent Scully, we're going to set up a monitor, I'll need some help
getting his shirt off."


Together Chris and Scully manage to pull my t-shirt over my head. A
minute later Chris has several plastic pads stuck to my chest and
shoulders. Above the sharp rasping of my breathing, I hear the
reassuring 'beep, beep' of the heart monitor. At least that proves I'm
alive, even though I feel like I've died and gone to hell.

"Sinus tachycardia on the monitor." Chris recites to Dave. I hear Dave
echo it back into the radio.

Scully picks up my hand and draws little circles across the back,
zig-zagging around my knuckles. "Hey, G-Man. How are you doing?"


"I know, partner. The paramedics will give you something for the pain
as soon as they can assess what's wrong. The medication might mask the
symptoms and they won't be able to make a definitive diagnosis." She
turns to Chris, then Dave, seeking confirmation.

"We're working on it, Agent Scully. As soon as we get a handle on this
we'll give him something. Is he allergic to any drugs?" Chris asks.


Chris disappears again, heading over to consult with Dave.

"It's going to be okay, Mulder. These guys carry the really good
drugs." She's forcing herself to be cheerful, but I recognise
'Scullyconcern' when I hear it.

"Chris, the Doc says to start an IV, D5 half normal saline. Run it at
50cc per hour till we get to the ER." Dave calls out.

Chris is back by my side.

The acidic smell of rubbing alcohol fills my nostrils and I feel
something cold and wet on the back of my left hand.

"Mr. Mulder, you're just going to feel a little stick."

And that's all the warning he gives me before plunging the mother of all
needles into my vein. Obviously this guy has lost all touch with
reality as far as needle size is concerned.

"I need to ask you some questions about what happened. Are you up to
answering?" Chris asks as he fiddles around with the IV needle and sets
up the drip.

"Mmm-hmm." I nod my head.

Scully squeezes my right hand briefly before taking up position behind
Chris, allowing him to move a little closer so he can hear me better.

"Your partner tells me you were hit with a baseball bat. Is that

"Not...hit. It... jammed into... my leg."

"Did you hear any sounds on impact. Any cracking?"

"No. Not...bone. Muscle. Bruised...the muscle."

He lightly runs his hands over the top of my leg and down the side.

"There's a lot of swelling. Has it been like this all along or is this
just recent?"

"Don't know. Scully was swollen...earlier."

"Did the bat connect with your thigh *and* calf muscle?"

"Thigh. Just the thigh. Oh, God..." The squeezing starts again. I
groan unabashedly and try to roll over.

"I'm sorry, Mr Mulder, just a few more questions. Has the pain been
constant? Or does it come and go?"

"Pretty much...constant. Tylenol helped...a bit."

"How many Tylenol have you taken over the last 24 hours?"

"Not sure. Lost count. Maybe...ten, something like that."

"Mulder!" Scully's shocked whisper reaches me from behind Chris.

"Has the pain gotten worse or stayed about the same since you were first


"Okay. You take it easy, I'm just going to have a look at your leg."


He moves to the side of my leg, palpating the area around my groin. I
think to myself: this is probably more the scenario my mother had in
mind when warning me about clean underwear. And here I am, in wet
boxers. She'd be so disappointed in me.

Chris seems to linger a little longer by my groin than I consider
comfortable, before moving his hands to the back of my knee. He casts a
quick glance up at his partner then he makes his way down to my foot.
Pressing lightly on the top, and concentrating.

"He's been complaining of pins and needles in his foot," Scully pipes up
from behind Chris.

"Uh-huh." Chris says, non-committedly, before moving back near my head.

"Mr, Mulder, I'm going to perform a test. It should confirm at least
part of what I suspect the problem is, then we can give you something to
relieve the pain. This may hurt a bit. Are you okay with that?"

Could it be any more painful than what I'm going through now? I don't
think so.

"Go...for it." The pain is building again and that woozy feeling is
coming back.

"Agent, Scully? You might like to sit by him, hold his hand."

I watch Scully's features tense up, and I don't like her expression.
She's a doctor, she must have some idea of what I'm in store for.

"Hey, G-man, if it gets too bad, just squeeze my hand. I'll be right

Well, these medical people really know how to instil a sense of
well-being in a guy.

I take Scully's hand in mine. Chris is back by my feet. "Ready? Left
leg first." You'd think I was about to face the firing squad the way
they're acting.

I nod my agreement. Chris grips my toes and pushes them towards my

Yeah? So? What's all the fuss about? That didn't hurt at all.

Then he moves to my right foot and does the same.

my left leg, trying to get him away. He must've been expecting it
because he ducks swiftly to the side to avoid being hit.

"Positive Homan's on the right leg." Chris states as I try to get
myself under control.

I collapse back against the floor, whimpering, cold sweat running down
the side of my face and Scully's hand wrung tightly in mine. She traces
the fingers of her other hand across my brow, apologising. As if it was
her fault.

"Shh. It's finished now. It's okay." She pulls my hand to her lips
and lightly kisses my fingers. I watch her rise and beckon to Chris,
asking him to accompany her to the corner of the room.

"What did the Doc say about pain relief?" Chris asks Dave.

Way to go Chris!

"Stand by" I hear Dave relay the question back to the hospital and in a
few seconds the answer I've been so desperately waiting for floats
across the room to me.

"Morphine, 4 mgs IV push."

"Agent Scully, give me a minute to administer the pain meds and I'll be
right with you."

Chris-the-paramedic just morphed into Chris-my-best-buddy.

"You're going to feel a lot better now," Chris assures me as he
prepares the pain killer.

"Urmm." I grunt, hoping he's as good as his word.

A cold, yet burning sensation creeps up my arm, within seconds every
muscle in body relaxes and I stare gratefully up at Chris. My thoughts
turn to the interesting and intricate patterns made by the brown and
gray splotches scattered across the ceiling. I roll my eyes to the left
and become immediately transfixed by the beautiful, swirling, purple
lace curtain, wondering idly whether the manager might be able to get me
one for my apartment.

I run my tongue around my lips, then explore the inside of my mouth,
trying to remember if teeth are supposed to feel furry or not. Don't
really care. Life's pretty good right now.

Faint voices float across the room to me. Chris has left my side and
joined forces with Scully across the room. I wonder what they're
talking about?

For about 3 seconds.

Then another interesting thought pops into my head: wonder what the
score was between the Yankees and the Astros last night? Wonder how
Jeff Davies feels about having an asshole like Thompson as a
brother-in-law And I wonder about the story behind the pink stain on
the carpet six inches from my right ear.

I try and tell Scully about all the interesting things in the room, but
my tongue won't form the words right.

"Mulder?" Scully is back by my side.

I stare up at her, trying to concentrate on her face.

Why is her head so big? Now so small? And big? And crooked? And...

"Scully." I mumble through big, fat lips. "Gonna be sick." Mmm, hope
she can understand me.

Too late.

I start to retch, and it only takes one heave before she's aware of
what's happening and gently rolls me onto my side. The movement sends
an unexpected wave of pain through my leg which in turn reinforces my
stomach's urgent need to expel copious amounts of nothing from within.

Eventually the heaves stop. And so does my desire to take any further
part in this 'situation.' These guys can play doctor without the
patient. I close my eyes and flop bonelessly against the floor. Enough
is enough. And a wonderful, complete, sense of oblivion flows over me.

End of part 8


A Simple Complication 9/12

By Sally Bahnsen

Disclaimer in part one

Atlantic City Medical Center



"AarhOw." My leg jars painfully as the gurney is pulled from the

"39 year old male experiencing severe pain in right leg after injury
approximately 36 hours ago."

Heard those words before. Know that voice, too.

"He's vomiting, dehydrated. Severe cramps in right thigh and calf. No
external injuries."

Cramp. Hurts.

"Vital signs at scene: BP 140 over 80. Pulse 115. Resp 35. Lead 2
shows sinus tachycardia."

"IV D5 half normal Saline started for access, 25cc administered
initially over 30 minute period. IV now KVO."

Feel sick.

"MS 4mg administered IV push 20 minutes ago.

"Patient lost consciousness soon after at the scene but now responds to
verbal and tactile stimuli. Pupils equal and react to light."

"Mr. Mulder? Do you know where you are?" A different voice.

"Head injury approximately 8 hours ago, asymptomatic since."

"Mr. Mulder?" Hand on my shoulder.

Voices, all around me.

"Mr. Mulder, do you know where you are?"

"Um...Hell?" I find my voice.

Silence. A quiet chuckle. "Not exactly, but close."

"Do you know today's date?"

"Mm. Maybe. it?"

"No clues, Mr Mulder, sorry."

"June something...third...I think."

"Very good, you're right on the money." I try to focus on the face
behind the voice. Too hard. It keeps changing shape.

"We're just moving you over to our stretcher, stay still, okay?"

I feel myself being lifted momentarily. A sharp burst of pain shoots
through my leg, sending my stomach rolling around itself, as I'm placed
on a different type of gurney.

"Feel...sick." I mutter to anyone who will listen.

"Do you think... Oh-Oh. He's vomiting folks. Let's roll him."

More dry heaves wrack my body, and with some help I'm turned on my
side. Nothing comes up though. When it stops, they roll me back.

"Call Respiratory and tell them we want ABGs on this patient."

"BP 130 over 70. Pulse 88. Resps 26."

"You're doing better now, Mr. Mulder." The smiley voice again.

"Better than...what? Feel like shi... Oh, no. Gonna puke." And I
start the useless exercise all over again of heaving my guts out when
there's nothing to lose.

"Roll him!"

Oh God. I was right. This is hell.

"Mr, Mulder, do you have any allergies, are you allergic to any drugs?"

"Doctor? I'm Agent Scully. Agent Mulder's partner."

Scully? I try to find her, but too many people block my view.


"Yes. We're FBI. Maybe..."

"I'm sorry, Agent Scully, would you mind waiting outside. We'll have
someone come speak with you when we get Mr. Mulder stabilized."

"I'm a Forensic Pathologist and a Medical Doctor. I'll be staying right
here. Any questions that Mulder is unable to answer, I can."

"Of course, I'm sorry. I didn't realize. And you are most welcome to
stay. I'm sure you understand, but I need to know if Mr...uh...Agent
Mulder can answer for himself."

"He's not allergic to any drugs, but if he needs surgery he does react
badly to Versed."

"Thank you. We'll make a note of it."

Scully's face hovers above mine. "Hey, partner? These guys are doing a
good job, I'm gonna step back and let them work, but I'll be right here
if you need me."

She smiles at me and I feel that painful clench in my heart again.

Then she's gone.

"Let's get him started on some Compazine. 4mg IV."

"Mr. Mulder, we're going to give you something to ease the vomiting.
You should be feeling better real soon."


Someone shines a light in my eyes. Then, "Track my finger."

I do. I think.

"Did he lose consciousness after the head injury? Agent Scully, do you

"Not as far as I know."

"Good, thankyou."

A nurse sidles up to my bed, trying to get my attention. "Mr Mulder,
I'm just going to draw some blood. You'll feel a stick in your wrist,
it might hurt a bit, but it will be over quickly."

I try and pull my hand away. The last time someone told me it might
hurt a bit, it hurt a lot. I'm not so trusting this time. My wrist is
held tight and I pull a little harder. " me go."

"Let's get his partner over here. It might help if he has a familiar
face with him."

Scully. Yes, get Scully. She'll stop them.

"Hey, Mulder. Shhhhh." I feel her warm breath on my cheek as she
speaks quietly into my ear.

"No more...needles, Scully."

"They need to check the oxygen level in your blood. The only way they
can do that is by getting the blood from an artery. I'm not going to
lie to you, Mulder. It will hurt when the needle goes in, but it will
only be for a second. Okay? I'll be right here with you. I promise."

"Mm. Okay. You stay."

"Always, partner." She trails her hand lightly down the side of my
cheek. Then gives my shoulder a squeeze.

"Ready, Mr. Mulder?"


Scully was right. It feels like a spear sticking into me, digging deep
into my wrist.

Some kind of pad is placed over the needle puncture, held down firmly.
Hurts. "Agent Scully, would you mind keeping pressure on this, you'll
need to hold it there for about 5 minutes." The smiley voice again, I'm
beginning to like that voice. As soon as I can get my eyes to focus
properly I'm going to put a face to it.

I feel Scully shift as she takes over from the nurse.

A horribly familiar pain squeezes at my leg. And again. I try and get
comfortable but can't move.

"Switching monitors. Sinus rhythm a little tachy."

"Let's up his IV to 100c."


"Femoral and popliteal pulses strong on both legs. Pedal pulse a little
weak on the right."

"Temp's 101.1"

"Where's that fever coming from?" One of the voices mumbles quietly.

Doctors, nurses. Their voices volley across the room.

"Are you having any chest pain? Difficulty breathing?"

"Uh-uh. Not...right now."

"Good, you let me know if you do, okay?"

"Mmm." I think I nod.

My leg gives me another quick reminder that it needs some attention.
The muscle starts to contract along my thigh.

"Mmrrrrm." I groan, but I can't move, can't reach my leg.

"Mr. Mulder, are you able to urinate for us?"

Urinate? What the hell for?

My boxers are removed and a sheet is draped across my waist. Then,
something else, something suspiciously plastic, is placed against me,
confirming all my fears that I have somehow died and ended up in hell.
I wonder vaguely if Scully is getting a good look at this.

"Can't. Don't need to pee." I try and push it away.

"Okay, that's fine, maybe later." The bottle is removed.

The sheet is pushed away from my thigh and someone starts pressing on my
leg, just near the hip.

"Tell me where this hurts, Mr Mulder."

The hands move lower towards my thigh. To where Cantlon hit me with the
bat. I can feel my breathing start to quicken. No...don't go there.
Hurts down there. Then...

"AAArgh!" The hands disappear.

Then reappear on my foot. Against my toes.

Nononnono. Not that.

They push my foot up towards my knee.

"AAARRRRGH. NO! DON'T!" My head pounds and my vision blurs.

"Okay Mr. Mulder, we won't do that again for awhile."

I squeeze my eyes shut so tightly that tears leak from the corners and a
pathetic whimper escapes from my throat.

"Shh, Mulder. You're gonna be okay." Scully is at my side and does a
double sweep of my hair, with both hands this time. "No more tests that

"Scully. You promised...the good stuff."

"You had some already, remember?"

"Didn't work. Still hurts."

I hear the doctors at it again. Issuing orders. "Let's get a portable
chest X-ray, CBC, a chem-12, PT, PTT, urine. Get the vascular lab here
for a portable venous doppler, CT of his head and cervical spine. And
lets get a CT of that right leg, too."

"Scully? What are they...doing?"

"They just need to run a few more tests. I promise, none of them are
going to hurt. You've been through the worst."

"Mr. Mulder, can you squeeze my hands? Good and tight."

I'd rather squeeze his neck after that last test.

"Nice. Now, can you wriggle your toes?"

Tentatively, I make the toes on both feet wriggle back and forth.


The doctor turns to address his 'partners-in-crime', and issues more

"Let's get another IV started. Heparin, 1000 Units per hour, after a
loading dose of 5000 Units IV push. Start that after the blood is

"Scully." I gasp at my partner, feeling my breathing start to quicken
again. "It's coming back." I try to shift position on the gurney.


"'s coming back." I squeeze the small hand nestled in
mine and grit my teeth.

"Doctor!" Scully calls him over.

He takes one look at me and figures it out, but feels the need to ask
the question any way.

"Are you having pain, Mr Mulder?"

"Uh-huh...yeah." I nod.

"Where is it located?"

"Leg." I gasp out.

"Let's give him another 5mg of MS IV push, okay?" He calls out to the
room full of people, then turns back to me. "You should be feeling
better soon, sir."

Thank God. I knew there was a good man hiding in there somewhere.

"As soon as we run these other tests we'll get you admitted and find you
a room. Shouldn't be long now."

A nurse appears by my side with a needle in her hand. She injects it
into the IV port and immediately that wonderful pain-free euphoria
washes over me. I smile my thanks up at her blurry head.

"Thank you." I sigh as she floats away.


"Yes, Mulder?"

"You should try some of this stuff. It's really very good. Feel a bit
sleepy though." I struggle to keep my eyes open. Can't sleep yet.
Still more to say.

"Just relax, Mulder. Get some rest." She strokes my cheek, and I have
to fight harder to stay awake.

"You too, Scully. You...should sleep...too. Been...carrying me...all
day. Must be tired."

"I'm fine, partner. I'll get some sleep later. When you're settled."

"'kay, Scully. Make do."

"Sleep, Mulder."

"Mmmm. G'night."


Atlantic City Medical Center

Treatment Room



"Mulder?" A hand, shaking my shoulder.

"Mr. Mulder?"

I hear the voices but can't reach them.

A sharp pain pinches my ear.

"Ah. Ow. Lemme alone."

A light shines in my eyes. I squeeze them shut. Then try to push them
open. Can't. Heavy.

"Come on, Mr. Mulder, wake up." Hands slapping my cheeks.

I force my eyelids up. Blinking.

"Ah, there you are. Welcome back." I see a head swimming above me.
And another. A red halo frames the second one.

"Where..." My voice gets stuck in my throat. I try to swallow. Tongue
feels fat and dry.

Hands under my head, lifting. A plastic straw in my mouth. "Just a sip,
Mulder. Easy now."

I just get started when the cup disappears.

"More." I grunt.

"If you keep this down, you can have some more later."

I flop back against the pillow. And put a little more effort into
remaining awake.

My surroundings gradually become clearer. Scully standing on one side
of me, a nurse on the other.

" I?"

"You're in the Atlantic City Medical Center," Scully answers me.

Tubes. Wires.

I look like I'm hooked up to every medical invention known to man.

"What happened to me?"

A worried look passes between the nurse and Scully."

"You don't remember?"

"I...I remember bits and pieces. Back in the motel. My boxers were
wet. I was going to the change them. That's my last
clear thought."

"Mulder. I found you lying on the floor. You were in terrible pain."

I close my eyes again and try and sift through the odd assortment of
images rushing through my mind.

"Oh, God. Yes. I remember. My leg. Felt like someone was chewing it
off." I look down to make sure both my legs are still attached.

"You were pretty out of it. How does your leg feel now?"

"Still aching a bit. Not as bad as before."

"That's good news, Mr Mulder. The pain meds are working." I recognise
that voice. It's not the smiley one though. "Let me know if it becomes
too uncomfortable and we'll adjust the dosage. The doctor will be along
in a minute to talk to you." The nurse scribbles something on my chart
then leaves.

"Scully, what's wrong with me?"

She picks up my hand, carefully laying the tubes to one side.

"I think that's what the doctor wants to explain to us."

"But, you're a doctor, you should have some idea."

"I do, but I haven't seen all of the test results yet, so let's wait and
see what he says."

"See what who says?" Recognise that voice too. "Ah, you've decided to
rejoin us, Mr. Mulder. That's good to see." A tall, slim man, dressed
in green scrubs enters the room. A stethoscope hangs lazily around his
neck and wire rimmed glasses frame warm, green eyes. A few strands of
gray streak his sandy, red hair. He seems to sum up my condition with a
quick flick of his eyes before reaching for the chart hanging from my
temporary bed.

"Vitals are looking good. How's the pain?"

"Bearable." I move my leg a little, wincing as a sharp pain surges
through my calf and thigh. "Hurts if I move."

"That's to be expected." He replaces the chart and looks at me

"Well, now that you're awake I'll formally introduce myself. I'm Doctor
Phil Gordon. I was the attending physician when you were first brought
in." He gives me a smile.

"Nice to meet you. I think." Something about his voice reminds me of
extreme pain.

"We've run some tests and while I'm still waiting for the final results
of some of them to come back, I have been able make a preliminary
diagnosis. What I think we're dealing with here is a Deep Vein
Thrombosis. Resulting, as a complication from your initial leg injury.
What that means, is that you have a blood clot in one of the deep veins
in your right calf."

I give Scully a quick look, checking to see if she's getting all of
this. Her frown tells me that what we are hearing is not great news.

"We've also found a small tear in the right thigh muscle, but most of
your problems are being caused by a nice big hematoma in that same
muscle. Basically, as a result of your injury, you have been bleeding
directly into the muscle and the blood has collected in one area. This
in turn has put pressure on the muscle, nerves and bone and would
account for the severe pain and the tingling sensation in your foot."

"A hematoma? A bruise? I'm in the hospital for a bruise?" I can't
believe this.

"It's a little more serious than just a bruise, Mr. Mulder. But it's
the DVT that has us most concerned. It needs to be treated
aggressively, or risk having a piece of the clot break off and travel to
your lungs, where it could do serious damage."

"He's right, Mulder. This is not to be taken lightly."

"We've started treatment, and we'll be doing everything we can to make
sure that doesn't happen." He nods to one of the bags hanging from the
IV pole. "We're running an anti-coagulant--Heparin--as a precaution to
prevent further clots forming. I should have the results of your venous
doppler back within the half hour. I expect this to confirm my

"What the hell is a venous doppler?" I ask.

"It's like an ultrasound and used in much the same way. A gel is used
to facilitate the movement of an ultrasound probe over the veins of the
leg to determine if they are blocked."

I lay back against the pillow, trying to digest all this information.
How the hell could this happen?

"Compared to some of the injuries I've had, this is pretty minor. Why a
blood clot this time?"

"Basically, it's just bad luck. It's not common in men your age. It
tends to happen after surgery or long periods of immobility, like on an
airplane ride. But, a trauma to the leg, like the blow you received,
can cause a clot to form. DVTs have recently gained a lot of media
attention, where it's been referred to as 'Economy Class Syndrome'".

Bad luck. Figures. That fits in perfectly with the whole damn theme of
this weekend.

"We'll be admitting you to the hospital as soon as I get a room
organised. Once we have the nausea and vomiting under control we'll
start you on a soft diet. But for now it's clear liquids only. The
severity of the pain probably caused the vomiting. With proper pain
relief, I predict you'll be enjoying jello and pureed vegetables by
tomorrow." He grins like he's just informed me I've won the lotto

I fail to share his enthusiasm.

"I believe the bed rest will help your initial injury quiet down and
your pain should be minimal in a few days. I'm going to leave you for a
couple of minutes and find out how the arrangements are coming along for
a more permanent place of residence. I'll come and speak to you again
as soon as I get the final test results back."

"Thank you, Doctor." This from Scully.

"Agent Scully, there's a coffee machine just outside in the waiting
area, but I'm sure if you smile nicely at the night nurse she'll point
you in the direction of a decent brew in the staff room." He turns to
me, "Okay, you just relax, and I'll see you soon."

The doctor leaves, and Scully and I are left alone in the treatment

"Well, here we are again." Scully folds her arms across her chest, dips
her chin and paints a resigned frown on her face.

"Think of it this way, Scully. Another opportunity for research. Maybe
you'll discover some new and exciting sandwich spread with even more
amazing powers than peanut butter. I hear 'Vegemite' is very popular
with our Australian friends downunder. Just look what it's done for
Steve, the 'Crocodile Hunter.'"

My commentary leaves her unmoved.

"You scared me, Mulder." She lifts her head to look at me, and for the
first time I notice the dark smudges under her eyes. "When I walked
into the motel room and found you on the floor..."

"Hey." I pull her hand from under her arm and clasp it in mine.

"Mulder, you've been through so much this past year. You've been in the
hospital more times than I care to remember. How many more chances are
you going to get before...before your luck permanently runs out? Before
your body simply refuses to fight whatever disease, or injury or abuse
it's subjected to." She looks at me intently. Studying me as if she'll
see the answer to her question suddenly appear on my forehead.

"What are you saying, Scully?"

She heaves a long frustrated sigh. "I don't know what I'm saying,
Mulder. All I know is that each time I have to deal with you being sick
or hurt, each time I come close to losing you..." She chews on her lip
as if to stop herself from revealing some part of her that is not ready
to be seen. Another deep sigh before she continues. "I don't *know*
what I'm saying."

"Scully, you heard what the doctor said. What happened to me today;
it's just bad luck. It could have happened to anyone."

"But it didn't, Mulder. It happened to you. And this sort of thing
seems to be happening to you with an alarming amount of regularity."

"Scully. It's a simple complication. I had no control over it. I had
no control over what Cantlon did to me yesterday. These things happen.
It's part of the job."

She drops her chin to her chest again, and stares at our clasped hands
resting on the crisp, green, hospital sheet.

She draws a deep breath, seeming to steady herself, regaining control,
before lifting her head and smiling at me. "I guess I'm just tired,

"Well, you should be. You've been lugging me around most of the day."

"Good news, Mr Mulder!" Dr Gordon pushes his way through the swinging
doors and bounds into the treatment room. The only news that might
remotely resemble 'good', is if he is here to tell me that it's all been
a big mistake and I can go home.

"We're going to transfer you to a room now. We have space in our
step-down unit. It's a monitored bed so we can watch you for at least
24 hours."

And this is cause for celebration?

" everything all right in here?" He pauses and looks long and
hard at Scully and me. Confusion pulls his eyebrows into a tight frown.

"Everything's fine. What did the tests show?" Scully gives my hand a
quick squeeze before releasing it and stepping towards the doctor.

"Okay. So far the tests confirm my diagnosis. The venous doppler shows
a clot in your right calf with lots of inflamation in the vein. That's
why it hurt so much with the Homan's sign. We stretched your muscle and
vein." I squirm uneasily on the gurney as I remember the pure agony
inflicted on me earlier. My leg takes up a defensive throb at the

"Your chest X-ray and EKG were fine, as were your CAT scans. The good
news is that we are only dealing with the muscle injury and DVT. No
sign of a PE thus far."

"PE? Isn't that something you do to keep fit?" Scully shoots me a look
that any school marm would be proud of.

"Not in this case, Mr. Mulder. We're talking about a Pulmonary
Embolism. I explained to you earlier about the danger: what would
happen if a piece of the clot breaks off and gets into your circulatory
system. So far, so good. No sign of that happening."

I nod my head in understanding.

"We might want to do some more tests on that muscle if we don't see any
improvement in the next few days, but I think it will get better with
some rest and attention on our part. A nurse will be along in a few
minutes to move you to your room. You should be more comfortable then.
Right, any questions?"

"Yeah. When can I get out of here?"


End of part 9.


A Simple complication 10/12
By Sally Bahnsen

Disclaimer in part one

ER Atlantic City Medical Center


"Mulder, it was a stupid question and you know it." Frustration and
exhaustion drip from her words.

"Why? All I wanted to know is how long I'm in for this time?" I tell
her reasonably.

"You make it sound like a jail sentence."

"Your point?"

She sighs, folds her arms across her chest and draws a long breath,
releasing it slowly through her mouth.

"Relax, Scully. I know already. But what about our case? The kid?
Thompson? The bones..."

"Mulder, stop. Let's get one thing clear. We are not on a case. Right
now, I'm not particularly concerned about the 'kid'." Her tone
softens. "I'm concerned about you. Your leg needs to be immobilized.
You cannot get up and you most certainly cannot go galivanting all over
the country side in search of this so-called kid. You need rest."

I push the hospital-issue blanket over to the side of the gurney.

"Mulder, what the hell do think you are doing?"

"Is it hot in here?" I ask, feeling beads of sweat break out on my
upper lip.

Agent Scully suddenly morphs into Doctor Scully. She lays a hand across
my brow.

"No, it's not hot in here, but you are. Mulder, you're burning up."

"They probably have the heat turned up." But as soon as the words are
out, the crappy feeling that usually accompanies a fever starts to
spread through my body. I sink back a little lower into my pillow and
close my eyes.

"I'm going to get someone," Scully says decisively.

"Why? Someone will be here soon, anyway. They're moving me to greener
pastures, remember?"

"Agent Scully?" Speak of the devil. I hitch an eye open just enough so
I can see who the voice belongs to. A nurse and a rather
spindly-looking orderly enter the treatment room. I immediately lose
interest in them and decide to let Scully handle the travel
arrangements. Between the headache building behind my eyes, and the
quiet, insistent throb in my leg, I am really not in the mood for
socializing and making new acquaintances. So, I feign sleep.

"Yes, I'm Agent Scully."

"Agent Scully, my name's Suzanne, I'll be accompanying Mr Mulder to the
step-down unit. This is Craig. He'll help us get him settled into a
bed. Is he sleeping?"

I assume she's referring to me.

"I don't think so, he's just resting. But I think his fever is a little
worse. Would you mind checking his temperature?"

A slight rustle of clothing, then a thermometer is placed in my ear. I
continue to lay with my eyes shut. Less chance of having to deal with
annoying questions.

The thing in my ear beeps and is removed.

"Hmmm." Medical-speak for just about everything. "101.7."

I sneak a look at the nurse. She picks up my chart and scribbles
something down. "He is a little warmer. I wouldn't worry too much.
You can expect a fever with the phlebitis. I've noted it on his chart
and will mention it to the nursing staff in the step-down unit. We can
get him started on some Tylenol if it doesn't settle down."

"He's been vomiting and hasn't been able to keep anything down," Scully
informs her.

"Well, he doesn't have to take it orally, you know. A suppository will
do the job."

Now she has my attention.

"Um...Scully?" I throw her a look that leaves no room for
misinterpretation. There is no way anyone is going to be administering
medication to me in that form.

"Ah, you're awake, Mr Mulder."

"Yes, and I'm fine, so you can forget about the Tylenol."


"Scully," I grind out and give her a stronger version of my earlier
look. "I'm *fine*."

"Let's see how things go," the nurse says. "We'll monitor your
temperature and if it get's any higher, we'll decide what course of
action to take then. Now, I believe there is a room waiting for you


Step-down Unit

Atlantic City Medical Center.


"Okay, on three. One. Two. Three."

Ah, shit. I know they are trying to be gentle, but even so, the
movement is enough to send a jolt of agony coursing through my thigh.

By the time Craig, and his new assistant, Tim-the-human-mountain, have
me off the gurney and onto a real bed, my jaw is aching from clenching
my teeth together and a new pool of sweat has gathered around the neck
of my hospital gown. And the Grand Canyon of all headaches is pounding
away behind my eyes.

"Mulder, are you okay?" Scully is at my side, studying my face very

"Mmm. Think so." Then again...maybe not. Suddenly the room takes on a
very surreal atmosphere. I wonder vaguely why the bed is tilting
dangerously to the left. And why the walls don't quite meet the roof
in a straight line. And I wonder why my stomach feels like it is about
to climb into my mouth. I close my eyes and for a few seconds my head
seems to spin even faster.

"Mulder?" Scully rests her hand on my arm.

Her voice reverberates around the room. Or is it just in my head?
Can't be sure.

"MUU...UU...ELL...DE...ERRR." A hollow sound rings through my ears.

I swallow against the rising nausea. It doesn't help.

"HE...E...'S VOMMM...IT...ING." I feel myself being tipped to the
side. The distorted voice still echoes in my head. I can't make out
words. My stomach heaves relentlessly and my head pounds until I think
it might explode.

Some incomprehensible amount of time passes in which I am vaguely aware
of all kinds of activity happening around me. People come and go.
Voices fade in and out. Words hang in the air.

"4mg Compazine, IV push."

"Fever. 102.1."

"Spiked suddenly."


My body feels as boneless as a rag doll. A BP cuff is wrapped around my
arm. The pressure builds, squeezing, hurting. The room is hot. I try
to push the blanket off, but there's nothing there. Only my hospital
gown. Clinging, pressing on me. Suffocating. Scratching my skin. A
figure looms over me. Dark, can't see its face. It squeezes my thigh.
Tighter, tighter. Gnarled, bony fingers digging into my flesh.

"NOOO! Stop. Get off me!" Its eyes are red. Glowing. An ugly
cavernous mouth opens. Wider. Wider. Teeth, sharp and menacing.
Dripping with saliva. It bends over me and sinks its fangs deep into my
leg. "AARHH! STOP IT! NO!" Hot, burning pain escalates along my
thigh, encompassing my calf, my toes. "Hurts..."


The creature lets go. Laughing. Mocking me. Then it changes shape. A
child. Scared. Dirty.


It floats above me. I see its eyes. Blue. Lips moving. Trying to
tell me something.

"Mulder! It's me."


"Yes. I'm here, Mulder."

I reach up and touch her face. It is her. She takes my hand and clasps
it in her own.

"Scully. I'" Her face shimmers in and out of focus.

"Shhh. Mulder, it's okay. We're trying to get you cooled down. You're
going to be fine."

I can't see her properly. The light hurts my eyes.

A cloth, cold and wet is draped across my brow. Mmm, feels good.

"Mulder? We need to take your gown off, can you lift up a bit."

I try, but as soon as I raise my head the room spins and the pounding


Doesn't matter. Gentle hands grip my shoulders, support my head,
lifting me. The gown disappears.

Cold. I start shivering.

A sheet is draped across my waist. Not enough. Still cold.

"" It takes three attempts to get the word through
my chattering teeth.

A cool sponge glides across my chest. "No." I hit at it. "Cold."

"I know, Mulder. Sshhh, it's okay."

My body shakes harder in response. My teeth rattle together, making the
pain in my head even worse.

"Scully. Please...need a...blanket."

"No blanket, partner. I'm sorry. Just the sheet for now."

I feel her hand caress my cheek. Her fingers icy against my skin.
Hurts. I try and turn my head away, but don't have the energy.

"So...c...c...cold." I force my eyes open and for a second her face
comes into focus. Her worried, tired face. She fades out when a
particularly violent bout of shivering grips me.

Hot again.

The damp sponge makes another sweep across my chest. Arms too. Cool.
Nice. I swipe at the cloth on my forehead. Too warm. It disappears
briefly, then someone wipes my face.


"I'm here."

"'re here...Scully."

"Me too. Try and get some rest, you'll feel better if you do." The
sponge traces over my shoulders.

"Mmm. Stay...with me?"

"Always, Mulder. Just relax." She picks up my hand and washes it with
the sponge. Over my palm, between my fingers.


"Don't mention it." Her breath tickles my ear. Her lips graze my


"I know. Try and sleep."

"'kay, Scully. Think...I will."


Step-down unit

Sunday 6th June


No beeping from a heart monitor. No hissing from a respirator. No
Scully sitting in the chair beside my bed. Hmmm, no Scully? No nurse
standing over me, either. No way am I going to be lying in a dry bed if
I don't empty my bladder in the next sixty seconds.

I give the room a quick once over. Yep, definitely here on my own. And
there, some fifteen feet from my bed is the door leading to the
bathroom. All right!

Cautiously I attempt to push myself into a sitting position. Within
seconds, the effort of moving forces a cold sweat to break out under my
arms and across my forehead.

Eventually, the thought occurs to me that despite all my effort, I don't
seem to be going anywhere. Then I realise the fault is with my right
leg. For some reason it appears to be anchored to the bed, preventing
me from achieving anything more than a half recline. I lower myself
back onto the mattress, then lift the sheet to see what the problem
is. There are pads, or something, covering my leg from thigh to calf.
Leads run from under the sheet, snake along the side of the bed then
disappear behind the bedside cabinet. More leads trail from my chest,
connecting with some sort of transistor-radio-type contraption attached
to a belt around my waist. A homing device maybe? Does Scully trust me
so little in hospitals that she feels the need to track me? It doesn't
seem to be contributing to the anchor-like affect on my body so I let it
stay. However, the more urgent my bathroom needs become, the more
reasonable the idea of removing the pads from my leg seems to be.

So I do. Then I sit up, and am pleasantly surprised to find that
movement is relatively pain-free.

Until I swing my legs over the side of the bed and rest my toes on the
floor. A slow ache starts to throb in my calf, a dull accompaniment to
the more insistent pounding in my thigh. A fierce argument breaks out
between my bladder and my leg. Bathroom! Back to bed! Bathroom!
Bed! Bath...


"Mr Mulder!"

Dammit. Too slow.

"Mulder what the hell are you doing?" Scully stalks to the side of my
bed. The nurse follows in her wake, busily fussing over the fallen
leads and carelessly discarded heat pads.

"Scully, I gotta go."

"I thought we'd been through all this, Mulder. You are..."

"*Scully*. I have to go *now." I nod in the general direction of the

A look of understanding crosses her face.

"Mulder, lie down. I'll get you a urinal."

"Uh-uh, no way. I'm not peeing in a bottle when there's a perfectly
good bathroom just fifteen feet from here."

"I'm afraid you are, Mr Mulder." The nurse decides its time to assert
her authority.

"Scully, tell her. Tell her I don't pee in bottles or tubes or any
other damn thing except a toilet when I'm conscious. Go on, tell her."
I insist.

"Mr Mulder, I don't think you..."

"No, it's okay, Peg." Oh, so she's on first name terms with the
hospital staff already. "I'm sure if Mulder says he's okay to walk to
the bathroom then he's probably right."

I nod smugly at Nurse Peg. "You better believe it."

"Agent Scully..."

Scully lays a reassuring hand on Peg's arm, effectively halting any
further protests. Then she turns to me.

"Go ahead, Mulder." Scully holds out an arm, inviting me to make my own
way to the bathroom, but at the same time steps closer to the bed,

It's about time she realised I know what's best for me.

I edge a little closer to the side of the bed so my feet are firmly
planted on the floor. With my left hand I take hold of the IV pole for
support, and quietly tell myself that my leg is not hurting and that I
can do this on my own.

I nod towards Scully, just to let her know she made the right decision.
Then I push myself upright. Then I feel all the blood drain from my
head and pool somewhere south of my knees. Then I feel my thigh and
calf up the ante on who will win the battle for pain supremacy. And
then I feel myself slowly sink towards the floor, the IV pole
disappearing into obscurity, along with my balance, equilibrium and for
the umpteenth dozen time: my pride and dignity. But one thought of
reason does manage to break through the buzzing in my ears and the fog
clouding my vision: I will not pee myself in front to these women!

When my head stops spinning and I feel confident enough to open my eyes
again, I realise that I have somehow managed to get back into bed.
Judging by the look of annoyance on Scully's face, the equal amounts of
stunned horror and concern on Peg's, and good ol' Tim--the
'WCW-wannabe-turned-orderly'-- glowering in the background, I can pretty
safely assume that I didn't make it back in bed under my own steam.

"Scully...What happened?" I croak out.

"You nearly fell." A clear-cut, no-nonsense, reeking with
'I-told-you-so', statement. But I still gotta pee. And Scully knows
it. She holds out her hand to Peg, who passes my smug partner the
dreaded plastic bottle. It could be worse, I suppose. I should be
grateful that I *do* need to pee and didn't empty my bladder on my way
to the floor.

Never let it be said that Fox Mulder doesn't know when he's beaten. I
stretch out my hand and take the damned bottle off Scully, then cast a
disparaging glare around the room.

"If you don't mind, I think this is something I really can manage on my
own. Without an audience." The on-lookers pass an amused smirk amongst
themselves then leave the room to let me pee in peace.

I have to hand it to Scully, though. It was a very clever tactic: using
me against myself to teach me a lesson about getting out of bed. I did
think--albeit only a fleeting observation--that she was giving in too

A few minutes later Peg and Scully return. The hated urinal is removed
and if body language is any indication, it looks like I'm in for another
lecture on 'how not to piss off the hospital staff', versus my personal
favourite: 'how to be the patient from hell'. Something tells me I
need to do some pretty fancy fast-talking to regain some brownie points
with Scully. And a little sweet-talking the nurse wouldn't hurt either.

I open my mouth to apologize, but before I have a chance to utter a
word, a thermometer is placed under my tongue.

Peg steps up to bat first.

"Mr Mulder, my name is Peg..." Like I hadn't figured that out
already?..."And I'll be your primary nurse for your stay in the
step-down unit. Now, let's get one thing straight: patients do not get
out of bed on their own and collapse to the floor on my shift. Is that
understood?" I glance between Peg and Scully. Both sets of eyes are
firmly locked on me and seem to be waiting for an answer in the
affirmative. I nod my head slowly.

"Good. This here..." She holds up the call button..."is for you to use
when you need help. There is no monitor in your room but this ..." She
points to the electronic gadget attached to the belt on my waist..." is
a telemetry monitor. It sends signals to another monitor in our
office. It makes it easier for you to move around the bed and later,
and I do mean *later*, to move around the room. Are we clear on that?"

More expectant looks from Peg and Scully. I nod again, the thermometer
still trapped beneath my tongue.

"You, Mr Mulder, are on complete bed rest. No illicit or clandestine
visits to the bathroom." She glares at me, daring me to question her
authority. With the thermometer trapped under my tongue, it's a little
difficult to question anything. When I don't look like arguing, her
demenour softens a little and she finally removes the thermometer from
my mouth.

The result seems to please her. She smiles up at me. "Well, this is
much better. Almost back to normal."

"Can I see?" Ah, the ever diligent Dr Scully. Just making sure. She
snags the thermometer from Peg and checks my temperature for herself.
She smiles at me too. All I had to do was drop my temperature to get
these two back on side. How easy is that?

"If things keep improving like this, we could have you on solid food by
tonight. How's the nausea?" Peg asks as she jots down the latest
reading in my chart.

"Actually, I feel fine. I could probably go a Big Mac for lunch." This
gets the predictable 'Mulder don't be an idiot' response from Scully. A
roll of the eyes and click of disgust from her tongue. Peg just smiles
at me again. "Let's try walking before we run, Mr Mulder. If all goes
well, you can have some broth and crackers at lunchtime."

As far as I'm concerned, there's not much difference between broth and
crackers and bread and water. I knew this was more like a jail

"So, the nausea is under control and you seem to have your appetite
back. How's the pain?" Peg the inquisitor is still grilling me.

"It aches a little." Okay, so it aches a lot, in fact it's kicking up a
real stink. I guess my attempt at walking didn't do me any favours.
But there's no need to burst their bubble with unnecessary details.

"Which is one of the reasons you are confined to bed." Peg slips the
blanket back so my leg is exposed and proceeds to wrap it in damp terry
cloth. "I'm reapplying the K-Pads to your calf and thigh. This will
help ease the pain; you should find it very soothing."

"It looks like a wet towel." I tell her. She gives me a pretty good
impression of one of Scully's favourite looks.

"It is a wet towel, Mr Mulder. The K-Pad is placed over the top.
Simply, the K-Pad is a heat pad that circulates warm water. We'll keep
it on 24 hours a day with intermittent checks to give the skin
underneath a rest. We don't want your leg turning into a prune, now, do

No we don't.

"If you manage to keep your lunch down, you'll be able to switch from
morphine to Tylenol with codeine. I'll be relying on you to let me know
when you need something for pain relief." Peg wraps one of the pads
around my calf and the other across my thigh as she speaks.

"And don't try to be all macho about this, Mulder. *Tell* someone if
you're hurting."
Scully just can't resist the urge to add her two cents.

"Yes mom." I reply, wondering if now would be too soon to request
something and still maintain any amount of dignity.

"Okay." Peg resumes her run-down on my treatment. "To help dissipate
the clot in your leg you are on anti-coagulants. This means you will
need to be careful during your daily routine. If you get cut your blood
will take longer than normal to clot. Which is why I don't want to see
you getting out of bed unaided. If you fall badly you could start
bleeding internally. Oh, and be careful brushing your teeth, and
shaving - I suggest you try using an electric shaver."

"I'll bring you the one out of your overnight bag, Mulder," Scully
offers helpfully.

"Fine." I feel a pout forming on my lips.

"Over the next 24 hours, we'll be checking your prothrombin, or clotting
time, every 4 hours. This will help us determine whether you are
receiving the right dose of heparin. Basically this means you'll get a
little stick in..."

"Would you like to check now?" I ask, offering her my middle finger in
the customary 'bird' position?

"Mulder!" Who needs a conscience when you have Scully?

Peg just smiles at me. "Venipuncture, not finger stick." Peg rests her
hand in the crook of my elbow to illustrate her point before
continuing. "You know, Mr Mulder, I've been a nurse for 20 years. In
that time I've seen all types come through this hospital. For all your
bravado, I don't believe you're nearly as tough as you make out you
are. My job here is to ensure you get well and to keep you as
comfortable as possible while you do. So how about you drop the 'tough
guy' act; because I'm not buying it." She glances quickly at Scully and
winks. My loyal and faithful partner, I notice, is hiding a
not-so-subtle smirk behind the fingers of her left hand.

"Now, is there anything you'd like to ask me?"

"Yeah, when can I get something to eat?"

"I'll speak to the kitchen staff and see if I can get some soup and
crackers organised for you. How does that sound?"

"I guess it will have to do."

"Good. If all goes well and the doctor okays it, we'll have you
disconnected from most of the equipment by lunchtime. The IV will stay
so we can administer the heparin. Now, remember, you need to tell me
when you want something for pain relief." She smiles at me and lays a
hand on my good leg. "We're not so bad in here, Mr Mulder. And with a
little cooperation on your part, you should be out of here in a few

A few days. The kid doesn't have a few days. Hell, the kid may not
even have a few hours. But for now I keep those thoughts to myself.
Instead I decide to at least pretend to be well behaved and

"Thanks, Peg. I promise to be a good little patient."

She smiles. Scully scowls. I might be fooling Peg, but Scully knows me
too well.


End of part 10


A Simple Complication 11/12

By Sally Bahnsen

Disclaimer in part one


Step-down unit

Atlantic City Medical Center

11:00 a.m.

"Sweat pants, clean shorts, cell phone, laptop...Scully? Why aren't you

"This is a joke, right? No. No, it's not. I know what the problem
is. Your head injury is obviously more severe than we first thought.
I'll ask your doctor to include an MRI and CAT scan as soon..."

"Scully, what are you talking about?"

"I can only assume that you are suffering the after effects of a head
trauma. Or, you are completely delusional. Maybe both. If you think I
am going to help you set up office in a hospital room, then you can just

"Scully," I say reasonably, "I only want the bare essentials. I need
underwear. Have you any idea how short these hospital gowns are?"

"Oh, I think I might have the general idea, Mulder."

A smirk slides across her face.

"Good, then you understand the necessity of bringing me clean shorts.
And while you're at it, just throw in the laptop, my cell phone...Aww
come on, Scully, don't look at me like that. What am I supposed to do
while I'm in here?"

" could try resting."

"I *will* be resting. Tapping a few computer keys and punching in some
phone numbers is hardly strenuous. It's my leg that's damaged, not my

"That's debatable."

"I heard that. Scully, if we don't do something to help the kid,
Thompson and his cronies are going to kill it. It will only be a matter
of time."

"Mu...uw...ulder." My name creeps out around a yawn. And it's then
that I realise how exhausted she must be.

"Scully, go back to the motel room and get some sleep."

"I'm fine. I will go and take a shower though, and bring back some
things for you. Electric shaver, toothbrush, clean underwear."


"You won't be needing sweatpants. Unless maybe you were thinking of
trying to escape?"


"You might have the hospital staff bluffed, but I know all your tricks,
and I won't be party to helping you on your path to self-destruction.
No sweats, no computer and no cell phone. Rest. Mulder. Get better."

"Would you at least call Dr Diamond and run my theory by him. Tell him
about the bones." She gives me a doubtful look. "Please?"

Scully huffs out a long sigh. "Mulder, I don't even know if he is still
with the Smithsonian."

"You're a trained investigator. Track him down."

"And then what?"

"Tell him about the bones. Tell him what's going on up here. We can't
just sit by and let Thompson hunt this kid down."

Scully covers her face with both hands. A muffled reply leaks out
between her fingers. "Okay. I'll call him."

I reach up and pull her hands from her face, taking one of them in mine.

"We've got to at least try," I say, trying to convince her.

She nods her head and squeezes my hand before letting go.

"You get some rest, Mulder. I'll see you in a couple of hours."

An overwhelming sense of loneliness fills the room as soon as Scully
pulls the door shut behind her. I hate it when she leaves.

A few minutes later the door swings open again and my heart leaps with
anticipation. She must have forgotten something.

But it's not her. Instead, a man enters, a doctor, I presume if the
white coat covering his clothes is anything to go by.

"Ah, Mr Mulder, you're awake." With powers of observation like that,
maybe this guy should consider a career with the FBI.

"No, I'm not. It's just a figment of your imagination." I say,

He gives me a brief look of confusion before rearranging his features
into a bland expression.

"I'm Richard Gillespie. I'll be your doctor while you are in this
hospital. How are you feeling?" He strolls over to the end of the bed
and picks up my chart, flicking idly through the pages.

"I'm good."

"Pain?" He runs a critical eye over me.

In the butt.

"No," I lie.


"Yeah, really." I feel my irritation climb a notch.

"That's quite a recovery."

"I'm a fast healer. I've had plenty of practice."

"Good. I'd like a to take a look for myself. Is that okay with you?"

I swallow hard and squirm restlessly beneath the bed covers. I've never
known a doctor yet who just looks.

"Fine," I say, thinking how much I'm beginning to dislike this guy.

"Mr Mulder, are you able to move around the bed okay, without too much
pain?" He places the stethoscope against my chest as he speaks.

"I tried to earlier and nearly caused a national incident."

"Yes, I heard about that, and if I remember correctly, you tried to move
*out* of the bed." He gives me a look of amused disdain, before
changing the subject. "I'd like to take a look at your leg, please."

"Why not? Everyone else has."

"Lie back." He reaches up by my head and presses the call button, then
pulls the blanket back to the end of the bed.

Peg pokes her head around the door. "Yes, Doctor?"

"Would you give me a hand, please?"

As Peg moves all the way in, Doctor Gillespie begins unwrapping the heat
pads and terry cloth from my calf and thigh, not bothering to be careful
about how he pulls and jostles my leg as he goes. I remind myself
never to criticise Scully's bedside manner again. Compared to this guy,
she's a saint.

He starts his examination by palpating around my lower abdomen. I should
have guessed-- even his hands are cold. The next port of call is my
groin. Pressing lightly with his finger tips, he pauses and checks his
watch. "Pulse is nice and strong now. A little fast maybe. You're not
worried about anything are you, Mr Mulder?"

"Should I be?"

He smiles at me. Actually, he bares his teeth, but I err on the side of
optimism and call it a smile.

Slowly, his hand moves along my leg, pressing here, pushing there,
easing closer and closer to... "AAAH! FFFFssshit."

"Did I hurt you?"

"No, I always cuss and swear when someone plays with my leg. It's a
real ice-breaker on a date." My fingers clench tightly around the bed

"Sorry." His tone would indicate he's anything but.

He continues his examination. I continue to envisage a slow and
torturous death for the good doctor.

"Uh-huh." He pulls out a tape measure and wraps it around my thigh.
"Swelling is down." He moves towards my calf, pressing and pushing
before doing his thing with the tape measure again. "Good." He
scribbles something on my chart.

He moves to the bottom of the bed and takes my foot in both his hands,
then without warning gently pushes my toes up towards my knee.

"AH! Shit." I hiss between my teeth, as sudden pain shoots through my

"On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate the pain just now?"

"About a six," I manage, but my voice betrays me as the words tumble out
in a hoarse whisper.

"I think we'll mark that down as an eight, Peg. I suspect Mr Mulder's
not being entirely honest with us." This time he offers me what I think
is a genuine smile.

"Peg, we'll set Mr Mulder free of the IV drip now and just leave in a
hep lock." He turns his attention back to me. "Everything seems to be
coming along as expected. The PT tests indicate the heparin dose is
right and I believe you're in good enough shape to move to a regular
room tomorrow. No nausea?"


"Good. And you handled the soup and crackers all right?" He turns to
Peg without waiting for an answer. "Soft diet tonight, regular
tomorrow. Seems you are true to your word, Mr Mulder. A text book

"Could you put that in writing? My boss might appreciate the fact that
there's *something* I can do by the book."

He ignores my remark.

"If you keep improving like this, we'll lose the heparin lock tomorrow
too and start you on coumadin. Now, if there's nothing else, I'll be on
my way." I watch his retreating form, willing the door to slam on his
fingers or something. But it doesn't.

"Nice guy," I mumble under my breath.

"What he lacks in bedside manner he makes up for in expertise. He's one
of the best, Mr Mulder. You're lucky." Peg starts to dismantle the IV.

Luck? Yeah, I've certainly had my fair share of that this weekend.

"How's the pain level now?"

"I'll survive."

"I'm going to reapply the K-Pads, that should help some." She pats my
arm gently. "Try and get some sleep."

"Yeah, maybe."

With nothing else to occupy my time, I reluctantly agree that sleep
might be the best option.

"Um...if my partner, Agent Scully comes back, can you tell her to wake
me? I need to speak with her."

"I'll be sure to let her know."


Step down Unit

4:00 p.m.


"Hey. How are you feeling?"

"Mm. Fine. I think. What time is it?" I scrub at my eyes with my
right hand.

"Just after 4. You've had quite a sleep."

"Yeah. Kind of snuck up on me." I try and work through the fog
surrounding my thoughts.

"I brought you some things. What is it with you and loony toons,
Mulder?" Scully reaches down by her feet and pulls something out of a
bag. A pair of boxers. Yosemite Sam stares angrily back at me.

"Not me. My mom."

She arches an eyebrow.

"It's a long story," I say wearily.

"I'm not going anywhere."

I heave a gusty sigh.

"I was visiting my mother one weekend a couple of years back. She
insisted on doing my laundry--I guess she had a maternal moment or
something. Anyway, I had a pair of 'Elmer Fudd' boxers. I can't even
remember where I got them from. Somehow she latched onto the idea that
I was a 'Loony Toon' fan, and from then on she sent me loony toon boxers
for my birthday and Christmas. Happy now?"

"Very. I called Skinner."

"What?" I carefully push myself to a sitting position.

"Mulder, he was going to wonder why we didn't turn up for work
tomorrow. I had no choice."

"What did he say?"

She gnaws briefly on her bottom lip, without giving me an answer.

"Scully? What did he say?"

"He's coming up here."


"It seems that someone else informed him of our whereabouts before I

"Scully, will you stop beating around the bush and just come out and
tell me what the hell is going on."

"Thompson called him. He made a complaint about us interfering --
uninvited -- in a police investigation. One we had no jurisdiction

"Bastard. He's just trying to stall us, Scully. Any way he can. How
did Skinner react?"


I nod slowly. "Too bad I'm already in the hospital. I'm sure he'd like
to have had a shot at putting me here himself."

"Mulder. He was pissed at Thompson. Not you."

I pull my head up sharply. "He said that?"

"Not in so many words. But his tone certainly indicated he was on our
side. From the way he spoke, I think Skinner might have had dealings
with Thompson before."

"Then why is he coming to Atlantic City?"

Scully shrugs. "He didn't exactly say. I assume he wants to
investigate Thompson's allegations for himself, and to check on the
well-being of his injured agent." She smiles at me.

"Great. Fantastic. This is just what I need. Skinner hovering around,
reeling me in."

"Reeling you in? Mulder, you are not being reeled in. You are already
cleaned, gutted and halfway to the frying pan. And have been for the
past 24 hours. I don't know why you think Skinner is going to be a
problem. Your investigation is over. Unofficial or otherwise. Get
used to the smell of antiseptic and the squeak of gurney wheels because
this is your home for the next few days."

"Did you talk to Dr Diamond?"

"I did."


"And, after an hour and a half of playing telephone tag I finally
managed to track him down in Orlando, Florida. He's on vacation."

"Did he have an opinion as to what's going on up here? What did he say
about the bones?"

"He was very interested in what I told him. He doesn't believe it is a
Neanderthal, but he likes your theory that we might be looking for the
dead woman's child."

"Did he offer to help us?"

"No. But..."

"Scully, I know I promised I wouldn't give you any trouble, but I've got
to get out of here." I push the bedcovers back and start pulling the
leads from my chest.


"If Diamond won't help, then..."


"Then I've got to find someone who will. Maybe the park ranger. What
was his name? If I..."


"If I can get a hold of the file from the motel, I can find his name
listed there. Then..."

"MULDER! STOP!" Scully's hand grips my wrist before I get a chance to
pull what's left of the IV out. She opens her mouth to speak to me
just as two nurses burst through the door pushing a crash cart.

They stop a few feet inside the room. Peg follows behind.

"Mr Mulder! What are you doing?" She nods to the nurses with the
cart. "I think you can put that away. The patient looks remarkably
healthy for a man with no vital signs."

I look down at the leads dangling from the monitor around my waist.

"I'm leaving," I inform her.

"Dana?" Peg looks to Scully for support.

"No, he's not. He only thinks he is. Mulder, stay in that bed."

"Scully, time is running out. We have to find the kid. I'm fine. The
doctor said so. I'm making a text book recovery. Now, where are my

"And you'll have a text book complication and a text book funeral to
follow it, if you don't get back in the bed."

"Sorry, Scully. No can do." I pull the K-Pads from my thigh and calf
and unwrap the terry cloth.

"Can I have someone take this IV out or am I going to have to do it

"I'll get someone," Peg says, swivelling on her heel to leave.

"Thank you." I turn to Scully. "At least somebody around here is
listening to me." I scoop up my shorts from the edge of the bed, and
release the monitor from around my waist. With the main IV gone and
only the heparin lock to deal with, I am able to move around freely. I
swing my legs over the side of the bed and stand up.

"Ah. Dammit." I forgot about keeping the weight off my leg. Holding
on to the bed rail for support, and keeping my right leg off the ground,
I rummage around in the overnight bag Scully brought me, in the hope
that she relented and threw in some sweat pants.

"What are you trying to prove, Mulder?"

"I'm not trying to prove anything. I'm going to rescue the kid."

"Fox Mulder, Super Hero extraodinaire," she says dejectedly.

"And what exactly is that supposed to mean? Did you bring my sweats?"
Pushing aside the t-shirts, underwear and shaving bag, I dig a little
deeper through my things. Yes! Way to go Scully. With an air of
triumph, I pull my sweat pants from the bag.

"Mulder. Get back in bed." Her voice barely carries across the few
short feet between us, they are so quietly spoken. But, it is more
effective than if she'd yelled at the top of her lungs through a
megaphone. I lift my head and look at her.

"I can't do that, Scully. You know I can't."

"I know you believe you're the only one who can save the child, Mulder,
but that's not true. Wait. Wait for Skinner. He's on our side, he'll
listen. I called him just before I left the hospital this morning. He
should be here soon."

"There's been enough time wasted. I have to go." Leaning against the
bed, I pull my shorts and sweat pants on, and stare down at my bare
feet. Dammit. I need shoes.

"They're in the car." Scully's words slip out on a wave of resignation.

"Thanks." I pull the hospital gown over my head and replace it with my

"You're taking a big risk, Mulder."

"When I know the child is safe, I'll come back." She looks at me
sceptically. "Scully, I don't have a deathwish, I really don't. But I
can't sit here idly and do nothing."

She nods, but doesn't look any more impressed.

"Can you take this thing out for me?" I point to the tube attached to
my arm.

"...I don't know, Agent Scully's with him." Pegs voice penetrates the
room as she swings the door open.

Dr Gillespie follows her in.

"About time. Did Peg explain I need you take the IV out?" I say to

"I'm sorry, Mr Mulder, I can't do that."

"What...? Well, I say you can."

"What seems to be the problem?" He edges towards me.

"I'm checking myself out of here."

"Mr Mulder, you are not ready to..."

"Hey! Either you take the IV out for me, or I'll do it myself." I
start tearing at the tape holding it in place.


"Mr Mulder! You are making a serious error of judgement here. I
suggest you get back into bed...

"I don't give a damn what you suggest. I've tried being reasonable, and
it's getting me nowhere. Scully, tell these people I mean what I say."

"Mulder, listen to them..."

"No, Scully. I'm done listening." The tape rips free and I pull out
the thin plastic tube.

Dammit! Blood spills down my hand, dripping off my fingers and
splattering the floor.

"Mulder! What do you think you're doing?"

I snatch the discarded hospital gown and hold it over the puncture
mark. Gillespie takes another step towards me.

"Mr Mulder, sit down. You're in no shape to go anywhere. You need
continued medication. Too much activity could break off a piece of the
clot and cause a pulmonary embolism. I'm sure you realise the
medication you are on is an anti- coagulant." He nods towards my hand.
"You need to control the bleeding."

"If you want to help, get me a Band-aid. I'll take care of it myself."
A faint buzzing hums through my ears. I shake my head to clear it and
take one faltering step forward. Pain shoots through my leg when I am
forced to put weight on it to keep my balance.

"Look at you. You can barely stand. And you're still in pain. It
would be unsafe for me to release you from the hospital in this

"Doesn't matter." The words come out thickly, slurred around my tongue.

Gillespie moves closer, reaching out a hand to steady me. I sense
Scully moving in from behind.

"No. Don't. Don't try and stop me."

Gillespie's face turns dark. "Look, Mr Mulder, if you leave the
hospital you risk a complication. *My* license is on the line here. If
you don't care about your own health, think about my situation."

"Don't worry, I'll sign the damn papers that will get you off the hook."

"Well, then, go ahead Mr Mulder. There are a lot sicker patients here I
could be spending my time with, instead of babying you around." He
crosses his arms over his chest, but doesn't clear my path.

"Mulder, please. You're not thinking clearly," Scully pleads with me.

"No, Scully, you're wrong." I attempt another step towards the door.
Gillespie blocks my way. The buzzing noise in my ears gets louder and
my head starts to reel. I feel the hospital gown slip from my fingers
as blood runs freely down my left hand.

I push past Gillespie, who makes a half-hearted effort to grab my arm,
but I shake him off and stumble towards the exit.


A figure looms in the doorway. I squint, trying to identify him.

"Agent Mulder, what the hell do you think you're doing?"


"I'm getting out of here." My voice rasps through my lips.

"Agent Scully? What's he talking about?"

"Sir, Agent Mulder believes the child we spoke of earlier is in imminent
danger of being killed. He believes Captain Thompson intends to hunt
this child down in much the same manner as he did its mother."

"And you?"

"I believe Agent Mulder is acting with the child's best interests in
mind. However, he is sick and shouldn't be out of bed. Sir...Agent
Mulder is risking his own life."

I feel my breath start to hitch in my throat. The ache in my leg
getting worse the longer I'm forced to stand here. Skinner is still
blocking the exit. Gillespie has placed himself to the right of me,
with Peg at his side. Her face is strained as she watches the scene
before her. Scully has positioned herself on my left, just behind me.
I make a quick calculation and decide my best form of attack is
surprise. I give my head a quick shake, clearing away the fog gathering
across my vision, then, without warning, make a run for it. Shouldering
Gillespie to the side, I stumble awkwardly in Skinner's direction,
barrelling into his chest as I try to squeeze between him and the door

"What the hell..." Skinner is surprised but not defeated. He wraps his
arms around my waist and pulls me back.

"Let go, sir. You don't know what you're doing."

"Agent Mulder, cut it out!"

I lift my right arm and attempt to elbow him in the ribs. But he grabs
me and twists me around so my back is up against his chest with his arm
wrapped tight around me. I struggle hard against his iron grip, the
adrenaline rush spurring me on, giving me added strength. I bend over
suddenly, forcing my butt into his groin and the breath whooshes from
his lungs. Still he hangs on. "Agent Mulder." My name is squeezed out
in a tense plea. I don't care. Instead, I try to twist free, but all
this achieves is to knock us both off balance. Skinner holds on firmly
as we topple to the side. My right foot slips out from under me and I
hit the ground on one knee. The added momentum of Skinner's weight
drives my leg hard into the ground and the force reverberates through my
body as my thigh explodes in pain.


Except for my own harsh breathing and the renewed buzzing in my ears, a
strange silence seems to hang in the room for a few short seconds before
a surge of activity erupts around me. Voices all talking at once,
melding into an unintelligent thrum. My own whimpering and moaning only
adds to the melee of confusion around me.

"Mulder!" Scully by my side.

My chest constricts in a painful spasm. Can't breathe. Can't breathe.

"Dr Gillespie. He's having trouble breathing."


"Where, Mulder? Where are you hurting"

"Leg. Chest. Tight."

My eyes roll around in my head. I can't seem to focus on anything.

"Let's get him back in the bed." I think it's Gillespie speaking.

Strong hands wrap around my upper arms and lift me off the floor. My
head lolls listlessly from side to side.

"Peg! Let's get his vitals, and I want a new IV started."

The cuff around my arm. Another needle shoved in my hand.

"Where's the pain, Mr Mulder? Can you show me?"

I grab at the center of my chest.

"Does the pain move anywhere? Down your arm, up into your jaw?"

"No...stays...the same. Can't...breathe."

"BP's 130 over 85. Heart rate 110. He's diaphoretic." I recognise
Peg's voice.

"Are you nauseous?" Gillespie again.


"Can someone get a dressing on that puncture wound? Are you dizzy, Mr


"Okay, I want an EKG STAT, portable chest, and blood gasses."

Oh, god, another needle, digging into my arm. I hiss as this new pain
mingles with the others. Someone clamps a dressing over the site,
pushing down hard.

"I want those blood gas results, ASAP. Let's get him on an oxygen mask
rebreathing 4 liters. This looks more like a panic attack than a
pulmonary embolus," Gillespie mumbles, more to himself than anyone in
particular. "Give him 3mg MS IV push. Mr Mulder, I want you to try and
slow your breathing down. Agent Scully, can you help quiet him."

The plastic mask is placed over my face. I try and concentrate on the
flow of oxygen, waiting for the inevitable relief it brings. A tingling
sensation burns along my arm.

Scully's face hovers in front of me.

"Mulder, look at me. Slow down your breathing. Slow, slow, that's it,
let the medication work. You're okay, we're all here helping you.
Good, good, Mulder, that's it, nice and slow."

The pain eventually subsides and breathing is easier.

As the flurry dies down, I glance around at the anxious faces staring at
me. Scully, a deep furrow between her eyebrows, Skinner, his jaw
clenched so tight I wonder why I can't hear his teeth cracking. Peg
just wears the same strained look she'd had earlier. Gillespie is the
only one whose face is expressionless.

Someone attaches EKG leads to my arms and legs.

"How's the pain now, Mr Mulder?"

"Mm. Better," I mumble under the mask.


Another nurse enters the room and hands Gillespie a piece of paper. His
eyes give it a quick scan then he lifts his head and looks at me.

"Blood gas is normal. It doesn't appear to be an embolism or a heart
attack. But, just to make sure, we'll get a picture of your chest.
Have you ever had an anxiety attack before, Mr Mulder?"

"Once or twice."

"Well, I'd say you probably just had another one."

I close my eyes and sink back into the pillows. "No shit."

"I've got to find the kid," I say quietly.

Skinner clears his throat. "Doctor? Is he going to be all right."

"If Mr Mulder follows some simple advice and stays put, then yes, I
don't see why he shouldn't make a full recovery, and be out of here in a
few days, just like we originally planned."

More equipment arrives. Skinner steps outside while another barrage of
tests are done. Scully hovers protectively at my bedside, stroking my
face and speaking comforting, reasuring words to me. This is my luck.
Not the bad things that have happened this weekend, not the brilliance
of Dr Gillespie, but Scully. She is the greatest stroke of luck that
has ever happened to me in all of my miserable life. Even through my
drugged haze, it is the one thing that is crystal clear to me. I wrap
my fingers around her hand and hold it tighter.

"You okay?" She whispers into my ear.

"Yeah, Scully, I'm fine."

"Well, Mr Mulder, it looks like all your tests came back clean. No sign
of pulmonary embolism, no damage to your heart. You were lucky. It
could have been much worse," Gillespie says accusingly.

"I know." I say quietly.

"Peg, let's replace the mask with a nasal cannula, I think he's resting
comfortably now." Gillespie turns to me again. "You stay put, Mr
Mulder. I don't want to hear anymore nonsense about you giving my staff
a hard time and trying to leave." He strips off his gloves and tosses
them into a nearby trash can before turning and walking out of the room.

The mask disappears, and the cannula is put in place. Peg and a couple
of other nurses clear the equipment out of my room. Scully and I are
left alone.


"I know, Scully. It was a stupid thing to do. I..."

A quick rap on the door interrupts me. Skinner walks in, his face
bearing a look of grave concern.

"Agent Mulder. Agent Scully."


"I've just received some news regarding the child." Even through
drug-laden eyes, Skinner's discomfort is still obvious to me, and a
rumble of dread rolls through my stomach.

"I had a couple of agents from the field office go and check out
Thompson's allegations. Apparently, while they were there, word came in
that a perpetrator had been located out in the state forest."

"Is it the child?"

"I believe it was an adolescent child, female, approximately 15 or 16
years old, but that will be confirmed after the tests..."

"Tests?" I ask suspiciously.

"An autopsy will need to be performed..."

"Autopsy? That goddamned son of a bitch killed her!"

"It seems she attacked an officer and fled. I believe there was a
warning shot before another officer opened fire on her."

"Oh God." I close my eyes momentarily, taking it all in. Knowing that
I'd come so close to finding her and now it was too late.

"Mulder...I'm so sorry." Scully puts her hand on my shoulder.

My eyes snap open and I try to sit up straighter, but my arms are
completely drained of strength. "Thompson's got away with it again.
Cold-blooded murder under the guise of taking out a criminal. I won't
sit by quietly and let that happen, I can't. There's got to be a way to
make him accountable." Anger surges through me, making my stomach churn
and my head pound.

Skinner catches my attention. "He will be made accountable, Mulder.
I'm initiating an investigation into the whole affair. Scully told me
how Thompson treated you. His manhandling of a federal agent is enough
to get started with. I'll be putting in an official complaint, one they
can't ignore. And with your testimony and the evidence you found, I'm
sure there'll be enough to have him brought to justice."

"A fat lot of good that's going to do now." I drape my arm across my
head, the incessant thud behind my eyes just about driving me to tears.

"It's not ideal, Agent Mulder, but it's a start. Agent Scully, if
you've got things under control here, I'm going to drive over to the
field office and start proceedings."

"Thank you, Sir."

"And Agent Mulder, stay put. No more heroics while you're in the
hospital. I'll call in later before I head back to D.C." And with that
he takes his leave.

"Are you okay, Mulder?"

"No, Scully, I'm not okay."

"This isn't your fault."

"Maybe not directly, but I knew what would happen and I was powerless to
stop it." I scrub at my face, trying to push the headache away.

"That's right. You were powerless to stop it. You can't always prevent
bad things from happening. You're not responsible for all the evil in
the world. Sometimes you just have to do your best and hope it will
turn out right, but that's not an automatic guarantee that it will."

"I hear what you're saying, Scully. And maybe in a few days it will
make sense, but now? Now I just want to wrap my hands around Thompson's
throat and let him have a taste of what it feels like to be on the
receiving end. God, my head hurts."

"Let me get you something to help you sleep."

I cover my face with my free arm, and nod gently. "Yeah. I think I'd
like that."

She leans across me and presses the call button. A nurse pops her head
through the open door.

"Could you ask the doctor for something to help Agent Mulder sleep?"

"Sure, I'll be right back."

Scully slips her hand around mine as we wait for the nurse to return.

"Here you go, Mr Mulder." I hitch an eye open. It's Peg.

"What is it?" Scully just can't quit being a doctor.

"Diphenhydramine." She turns to me, "most commmonly known as benedryl.
It'll help you get a good night's sleep."

I nod my head, not really caring.

"Thanks Peg," Scully says. "Oh, could you get me a basin of warm water
and a wash cloth? I'd like to clean some of this blood off him. Oh,
and a new gown."

"I can send a nurse in to do that."

"No, thanks. I'd like to do it myself." Scully pours me a glass of
water as Peg hands me the pill.

I watch Peg's reaction. She just smiles. "Not a problem, Dana. I

Some kind of silent communication passes between Scully and Peg. I'm
dammed if I know what it is, though.


End of part 11.


A Simple Complication 12/12

By Sally Bahnsen

Disclaimer in part one

Warning- implied sexual situation


Six Weeks Later

Mulder's Apartment

6:00 p.m.

"Mulder, I can't believe you did this, I really can't."

"Are you telling me you find this harder to believe than genetic
engineering? Than the prospect of alien colonisation? Than...than
David Copperfield being able to make the Statue of Liberty disappear?"

"No, Mulder, I'm not. I'm telling you that I am having a very hard time
believing that you could be so stupid!" She grunts quietly as she
forces the front door open with her hip.

"Well, here I am, Scully. Living proof." I say light-heartedly as I
reach inside the door and flick the light switch on.

"One. One day back on field agent status and here we go again." She
eases me on to the couch, squatting down to remove my shoe and sock.

"Not quite. We're at my apartment, not the hospital, and it's just a
little sprain. Actually, it barely even qualifies as a sprain." I say
confidently as I examine my foot.

"Mulder! Look at your ankle. There's swelling and bruising from front
to back. With your luck it's probably a compound fracture."

"That's not bruising. It's the dye from my sock. I twisted my ankle in
a hole full of water."

We both stare at the wet, soggy, blue sock lying on the floor next to my

The news has only a marginal affect on Scully's mood and she forges
ahead anyway, unconvinced that this is only a minor injury.

"I'll get some ice. Elevate your foot and don't move from that couch!"

"You know, Scully, sometimes you come across as very bossy. Why is

"Because, Mulder, when you are sick or injured, you seem to do
everything within your power to hinder the recovery, rather than promote

"I do not."

"Stop that. I'm not having this argument. Now, lift your foot up."

"Hey! Hey, Scully. I caught the guy." I call to her as she disappears
into the kitchen.

"Congratulations. Your display of boyish agility was very impressive,
especially when you brought him down. Too bad he wasn't the one we were
looking for." From the kitchen her reply is muffled, but not enough to
hide the sarcasm in her voice.

I decide not to tell her that my 'display of boyish agility' was
actually me stumbling after I twisted my ankle. But I do feel the need
to remind her why I gave chase. "He could have been the right guy. He
matched the description perfectly," I reply defensively.

"You're lucky no one was hurt, Mulder." She calls back.

Well, go figure. What am I, chopped liver?

She returns with an ice pack wrapped in a cloth. "Move over."

I scoot up against the back of the couch and make room for Scully at the
end near my foot. She spends a few seconds examining my ankle before
placing the icepack over it.

"Ah! OW."

"I thought you said it wasn't bad?" She says accusingly.

"I said it probably wasn't a sprain. I never said it didn't hurt."

Scully graces me with a self-satisfied glare, the expression spewing out
accusations of 'I told you so.'

She must realise how unreasonable she's being because her tone softens,
"Would you like something for the pain?"

"No, thanks. I've had enough medication these last few weeks to last me
a life time."

"Hmm, okay then, but let me know if the pain gets worse and you need
something." She wraps a bandage over the icepack to hold it in place,
then slips two cushions under my foot.

"Scully? Do you think there might have been siblings?"

"Excuse me?"

"The girl in New Jersey. Do you think she might have had a brother or a

"Well, that came out of left field," she looks at me strangely before
her expression turns thoughtful. "It's possible there were others, I
suppose, but unlikely."

"I hope not." I say quietly. "I hate the thought of another child
roaming around in the forest alone."

"Mulder, I think if there'd been others then they would have been
discovered by now. Something happened to cause the girl to attack the
two hikers and reveal her whereabouts. We'll probably never know why or
what it was." She pauses, watching me intently. "You know Skinner had
the area thoroughly searched, and there was no evidence to suggest the
existence of another human being living where the girl was found."

"Yeah, I know. I don't believe she killed them, Scully. The more I
think about it, the more likely it seems that the hikers fell, like the
ranger said. I think the girl found the bodies and used them for food."

"Maybe, but without autopsies on either of the dead hikers, I guess
we'll never know for sure."

"At least Thompson's being made to answer for his actions this time.
Skinner really came through for us." I shake my head increduously.
"Sometimes I can't figure him out. I thought he'd have my ass for

"Technically, you didn't do anything wrong. For all of Thompson's
noise, you didn't impede his investigation. Pissing someone off is not
a punishable crime." Scully smiles at me reasurringly.

I snort quietly. "Just as well, or I'd be serving a life sentence."

"Are you hungry, Mulder?" She looks at me expectantly. "I'm starving.
How about I order us in a pizza? One with everything."

"Now you're talking, Scully." I narrow my eyes suspiciously. "What's
the catch?"

"No catch. I'm just feeling adventurous." She says, cryptically.

"Ooh, bring it on, Agent Scully." I pull my feet up and make a move to

"Hey! Where do you think you're going?"

"To change out of my wet pants." I hold up my foot, showing her the
soaked hem at the bottom of my pants' leg.

"Here let me help you." She stands and holds out her hand to me.

"You really want to help me change out of my pants?" I ask innocently.

"To stand up, Mulder," she says with an exasperated sigh.

"Oh." She grabs my hand and hauls me to my feet. "AH!" Pain shoots
through my ankle when I inadvertently put weight on it and I stumble
awkwardly. Scully slips my arm over her shoulder for support, but as we
go to move, I step on the wet shoe lying on the floor, which in turn
sets off a disastrous chain of events. Completely losing my balance, I
topple backwards, landing spreadeagled on the couch, dragging Scully
down on top of me."


"Mulder! Are you okay?"

"Scul...lee. Move...your...elbow." She glances down between our bodies
and realises her elbow has landed in the worst possible place it could
have...for a guy.

"Oh, my God. Mulder, I'm sorry." Her elbow moves from between my legs
and I curl over onto my side, waiting for my stomach to drop from my

"Are you all, right?"

"Just...peachy," I squeeze out in between gasping for breath.

Slowly and carefully, I ease myself back into a sitting position,
hunching protectively over my groin.

"Here, lie back a bit." Scully picks up the cushions previously used to
elevate my foot and stuffs them behind my head. "Let me see."

My eyes snap open as her hand reaches for the top button of my suit

"Scully, I know you like to play doctor, but there are limits. And this
is one of them," I grind out painfully.

"Mulder, you might have ruptured something. I need to examine you."

"No, you need to give me a minute to recover. I'll be okay. Trust me,
I've had worse, you barely made contact." I paste a smile on my face
and hope it isn't coming out as a grimace. Then I try to straighten up
a bit as the shock and pain subside.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Scully asks, guilt and concern written all
over her face.

"Scully, it's a guy thing. Even the slightest threat of anything
hostile coming in contact with the family jewels sets off an automatic
pain response. Really, I'll be fine." I readjust myself then suck in a
deep breath letting it out slowly, effectively chasing away the last
remnants of pain from my near-miss encounter with her elbow.

Scully's hand lingers on my top button. She has no idea how tempting it
is for me to just give in and let her continue her examination. My
resolve almost crumbles when the back of her hand brushes gently against
my crotch. Suddenly, all traces of pain are forgotten. A much more
primal sensation rises in its place. Losing all sense of self-control,
I groan quietly in appreciation of this non-hostile contact.

Scully looks at me enquiringly. A smouldering light dances in her
eyes. Maybe she does have some idea of what she's doing to me.

I swallow. Hard. Then attempt to clear my throat and say something,
but my voice seems to have gotten lost and the only thing I can focus on
is her hand hovering near my lap, and the shapely curve of her mouth. A
soft pink curve: lips slightly parted, revealing perfect white teeth.
She murmurs my name. And my appetite for pizza is boldly usurped by an
overwhelming desire to taste only one thing: Scully's lips on mine.

Without a single thought for the consequences, and without any conscious
act of movement, I plant my lips firmly on hers. Kissing her, tasting
her...until reason and common sense clip me under the ear and I pull
away suddenly.

"Scully! I...I'm sorry. I shouldn't..."

She places her hand against my cheek. "Shhh. Don't apologise. God,
Mulder don't apologise for kissing me." Her face brightens with an
enigmatic smile, one I don't recognise, yet one that reveals something
new and promising.

She moves closer to me, leaning her hand on my thigh, the warmth
pressing through the fabric of my pants and making its way to my groin.
Her lips brush gently against mine. Soft, warm, chaste. However, chaste
is the last thing on my mind and I nudge at her mouth with my tongue,
trying to control my urgency, but failing miserably. She lets me in,
and I realise then that her urgency is equal to my own as she slides her
hand behind my neck and holds me tighter.

"Scully." I sigh breathlessly against her cheek, my lips still tingling
from the kiss.

Her hand inches along my thigh. "Mulder, I think I better check for
swelling, you never know what damage might have been done earlier," she
says with a hint of mischief.

"Oh, trust me, Scully. There's swelling."

"I hope so, I'd hate to think I caused you any permanant injury.
Especially there--where I have a vested interest."

"No damage. Permanent or otherwise. I guarantee, everything is in
perfect working order."

She kisses me again: deeper, longer, trailing her hand to my fly and
tugging at the zipper. I groan into her mouth and gently pull away. I
need to know exactly where we stand before reaching the point of no
return. "Are...Are you sure about this, Scully?"

"About what, Mulder?"

"This. Us. Everything." I gesture ineffectually with my hands.

"After seven long years, you're asking me if I'm sure?" She looks at me

"Yes. I'm asking because it's taken seven long years. I need to know
that you want this, that you're sure about it."

"I've never been more sure of anything in my life." She holds my gaze,
and I see the same intensity there she usually reserves for arguing in
favour of a scientific explanation on one of our cases. Blue eyes
imploring me to understand and accept the strength of her conviction.

I close my eyes and fight the need to pinch myself, afraid of the
possibility that this is just another dream, tormenting me, teasing me.
But when I open my them again, she's still there. Scully is still at my
side, staring at me with open honesty and sincerity. Waiting for my

"I just want to be sure you know what you're getting yourself into.
With work, the people who are against could all become very
complicated," I warn her.

"After all I've seen in the past seven years, and all I've been through,
all *we've* been through..." She pauses, gathering her thoughts.
"Mulder, this is a simple complication. And I want it in my life, I
want you in my life. Not just during office hours and not only as my
work partner. The risks we've taken together, I'd do it all again, all
of it, if by taking those risks it meant I could be here with you now.
Like this."

"I want this too, Scully, but not at the risk of losing you. I couldn't
stand it if anything else happened to you because of me, because of our
relationship. I've caused you to lose so much, sacrifice more than I
ever had the right to ask of you."

"'Risk is what separates the good part of life from the tedium.'" She
looks at me thoughtfully, before continuing. "Charlie said that to me
when I couldn't decide between a career in medicine or the FBI. Mom and
Charlie were behind me when I was recruited into the bureau, but Dad and
Bill were sure I was throwing away everything that I'd worked so hard
for. I took the risk, Mulder, I went with my heart and despite what you
think, I don't regret one single minute of my time with the FBI. Or with

I laugh quietly.

"What, Mulder?" She asks softly.

"An English professor in Oxford once quoted that line to me. He told me
to never let others stand in the way of reaching my full potential just
because they were afraid of taking a risk. I've never been afraid of
the risks, Scully, not when I'm the only one who will be affected by
them. But I am afraid for you, what has happened to you, and what will
happen to you in the future, especially if we take this next step."

Scully takes both my hands in hers, rubbing her thumbs back and forwards
across my knuckles as she speaks.

"Mulder, *you* are the good part of my life. *You* are what makes it
worthwhile for me to get up in the morning. The only thing we risk
here, is losing the opportunity to move forward. If we let our enemies
prevent us from taking this step for fear of how they'll use it against
us, then they've won. As surely as if they'd put a gun to our heads and
pulled the trigger." She pauses, the idle doodling with her thumb stops
and she grips my hands tightly. "I want this. I have for a very long
time." She releases my hands and reaches behind my head pulling me
towards her until our foreheads rest lightly against each other.

"I love you, Mulder. That's the truth. The real, honest to God truth,
and at no time have I considered my love misplaced or risky."

Right now, there are no words in the English language that are able to
sum up how I feel. Emotion wells up in me until it has no place to go
but outwards. And that's what it does. My eyes tear up and my body
shudders against Scully's as she pulls me into a tighter embrace. I
hold on to her for all I'm worth and pray that the fallout from my
emotions won't crush her.

"Scully," I mumble into her neck. "God, Scully. I love you too. I
love you so much."

I lose track of any real passage of time, content to rest in her arms.
Letting her words sink in, and revelling in the relief of knowing that
she shares the same feelings that I've had bottled up for so long.
Eventually, I pull away, kissing her lightly on the lips.

"Come on, Scully. Help me up."

"Where are we going?"

"To the bedroom. I want to make things really complicated."

The end.


Feedback to

If you've made it this far...then thank you. I hope you liked it.

And one last very special thank you to Julieann, who has made me a
website and is also maintaining it.