Sent: Monday, November 13, 2000 8:46 PM

Title: Wired for Sound
Author: Vickie Moseley
Summary: Just a little 'what if'-what if Margaret was a few seconds late
in getting Dana to give up her weapon in the episode Wetwired?
Spoilers: Wetwired
Category: MT, ST, SA, MA, MaggieA, SkA, ah heck the whole bunch is A
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Let me take you back, to a place far away . . . oh, sorry,
forgot myself for a moment. Legal authority (mores the pity) for these
characters belongs to A Whole Slew of People who are not me. So I can't
make any money off this, and that's just okey-day as far as I'm concerned.
Archive: yes
Comments: and I live for feedback

Wired for Sound
By Vickie Moseley

Margaret Scully's home
Baltimore, Maryland
11:21 pm

"I'm here to help you, Scully." The words were out of his mouth before he
even realized he'd said them. It was a nightmare, playing out before his
eyes. His partner, the only person on the planet he trusted, suddenly and
inexplicably had turned against him.

In the last 24 hours, she had shot at him, run from him, hidden from him,
he'd even thought for a few terrorizing moments that she'd been found dead
along the road, naked as the day she was born. And now, after a night and
a day searching for her, he was standing in her mother's dining room,
facing the business end of her Smith and Wesson 9 mm.

"I told you, Mom, he's here to kill me!" she shouted at him and her mother.
Mulder's heart cracked and threatened to break apart right as he stood.

"I'm on your side. You know that," he chanted.

"Put it down, Dana," Maggie pleaded.

"Scully, listen to me very carefully. You don't know it but you're sick
with that same thing that drove those other people to murder, and whatever
you think may be happening . . ."

Mulder was holding his breath, praying that his words would cut through the
veil that had fallen across Scully's thinking.

"Just step back," Scully said, her voice wavering as she cocked the
trigger. Her eyes darting back and forth between her mother and her

Margaret stepped closer to her daughter. "Dana, you're not yourself. He's
telling you the truth."

"It's not the truth, Mom!" she shouted. "He's lied to me from the
beginning. He's never trusted me!"

Mulder shook his head in objection. "Scully, you are the only one I
trust," he assured her, his own voice heavy with emotion.

"You're in on it! You're one of them. You're one of the people who
abducted me. You put that . . . thing in my neck. You killed my sister!"

Maggie gasped. "That's not true, Dana."

"It is," Scully said straightening, her voice steady for the first time
since she'd arrived. Maggie moved to grab her, but time seemed to stop.
Before she could move, Maggie watched her daughter stare right at her
partner, a fire her gun.

"Dana!" Maggie screamed, and Mulder watched in slow motion as she grabbed
the gun out of her daughter's hands and threw it across the room. He would
have yelled at her to be careful, to watch out in case of a second round,
but he couldn't seem to make his mouth work. There was a burning in his
side, just above his belt and the room was tilting at a dizzy angle.
Maggie was shouting at him, but he couldn't make out the words and in a few
blinks, he was falling to the ground.

Maggie was frantic, but it took her only a moment to pull herself together.
Dana, her baby girl, was sobbing at her knees, crying out in pain and
muttering words that were unintelligible. Fox, oh, dear God, thought
Maggie. Fox was lying on the floor, clutching his side. Blood was already
staining his wrinkled white shirt.

Dana was still clutching her legs as she tried to move. "Dana, baby, I
have to get to the phone. I have to call the ambulance."

"No, Mom! They'll come! They'll take me back to that place, that place I
don't remember! Mom, you can't let them take me!" Just when Maggie had
leaned over to try and calm her daughter, Dana grabbed her head and her
eyes rolled back in their sockets. She fainted dead away.

Maggie's immediate concern was tempered by some relief. Whatever was
affecting her daughter, whether some drug or some disease, she was totally
out of control. Having her pass out was probably the best she could hope
for. Maggie made a quick check of her daughter's breathing and her pulse
and found both to be satisfactory. She left her on the floor and went over
to her daughter's partner.

Fox was semi-conscious, moving his head back and forth, but his eyes were
shut. "Fox? Fox, it's Maggie. Just lay still, Fox, I'm calling the
ambulance. It's going to be all right, Fox, OK? Just lie still. I'll get
help. I'll get help for you both."

Seeing that her words weren't having the desired effect, Maggie grabbed the
cordless phone, dialing 9-1-1 while simultaneously hurrying into the
kitchen to rip two kitchen towels off the bar on the stove. She glanced at
them, assuring herself that they were fresh, and then hurried back into the
dining room.

All the while she was talking to the dispatcher, Maggie pressed the towels
to the growing stain of blood on Fox's left side. His breathing seemed
shallow to her, but not labored. He was turning pale, she was sure he was
going into shock. She asked the dispatcher to please hurry. The
dispatcher wouldn't let her hang up until the ambulance arrived. So
together, they waited.

"Oh, I just remembered," Maggie said suddenly. "Could you please contact
Assistant Director Walter Skinner with the FBI. I know he'll want to be
informed." The dispatcher agreed and by the time Maggie had repeated her
request so that the information could be properly noted, she could hear the
sounds of the sirens coming down her street.

Maggie shouldn't have worried about the Assistant Director. He had
obviously been listening to the police scanners and arrived just a few
minutes after the ambulance and the squad car. A second ambulance arrived,
blocking in the Bureau car that he had just departed.

"What happened?" he asked the nearest police officer, flashing his badge by
way of introduction.

"Not really sure. The only witness to the shooting is sorta busy right
now, talking to the EMTs. But from what we've been able to gather, the red
head went nuts and shot the guy, then collapsed. Seems they work together."

Skinner nodded grimly. "They're partners, under my command."

The cop was shaking his head. "It happens," he said stoically. "Well, we
need a statement, but if the Bureau is handling this . . ." It was an
opening to allow Skinner to take over the case and leave the nice uniformed
officer to go back to his patrol.

Skinner decided to cut the guy a break. "We'll be taking it from here," he
said with a terse nod. He missed the grin that was blaring from the cop's
face as he closed his notebook and headed toward his companions. Skinner
was already on his way over to Maggie Scully.

Maggie was holding her daughter's hand, listening intently as the paramedic
relayed the agent's vital signs to the base at the hospital. Skinner was
hesitant, but finally reached out and touched the woman's arm.

"Mrs. Scully. I'm awfully sorry, but . . ."

Maggie's face tilted up, and he could see the tears still fresh on her
cheeks. She seemed to take a minute to place the face, and then
immediately stood and took his hand.

"Mr. Skinner. Thank God they found you," she said with a tired sigh. "Fox
is being loaded on the ambulance. He's lost quite a bit of blood, but the
paramedics said his vitals looked good. We'll know more at the hospital."

Skinner bit down on his lip and let his gaze fall to his other agent.
"Mrs. Scully, I hate to do this to you, but you're the only one who can
tell us what happened here."

Maggie nodded and he felt his gut twist as he watched her fight to hold
back more tears. "She got here about three this afternoon. Fox had called
earlier and had asked that I call him the minute I saw or heard from her.
But she was hysterical when she got here. She ran around the house,
locking all the doors. She took the phone off the hook and pulled all the
curtains. I didn't know what to think. Then, she started telling me all
kinds of things. I didn't understand them, but she was so insistent."

The EMT who appeared to be in charge interrupted. "Sorry ma'am, sir, but
we're ready to roll. Do you have a ride to the hospital?"

"I really would like to finish this conversation, Mrs. Scully," Skinner
said with a questioning look.

"We'll take real good care of her, ma'am," the EMT assured her. "And there
really isn't a lot of room for passengers back there."

Maggie nodded silently and then walked with the stretcher out to the
waiting ambulance. She leaned over and kissed her daughter lightly on the
forehead before stepping back and letting the other paramedics load the
stretcher and close the doors.

Skinner helped Maggie into the passenger seat of his sedan and quickly got
behind the wheel. They followed the ambulance toward Baltimore Mercy

"You said she arrived about 3 o'clock," Skinner said as they were stopped
at a light.

Maggie nodded. "Yes. I tried to get her to eat something, but she kept
telling me she couldn't be sure the food wasn't poisoned. She wouldn't
even drink the water, kept saying they put drugs in it, that they were
trying to kill her. I asked her several times who 'they' were and she kept
saying she couldn't tell me, she didn't want them to find me. I wanted to
call Fox but she would never leave me alone in a room."

The light changed and the ambulance pulled out, Skinner right behind. "Fox
came to the house about an hour ago. He must have figured out something
was wrong. I knew he'd call and he must have gotten a busy signal. But
when he got there, she started screaming not to let him in. I've never
seen her so frightened!" Maggie tugged a tissue out of her purse and wiped
her wet cheeks. "Fox looked so tired and scared. Scared for her. I asked
him to go away, but he pushed past me. I told him to go away because I
wanted to try and get her calmed down first, but he just barged in. And
then she was screaming at him and he was denying everything she said and it
was all crazy talk, that Fox had known about her abduction and that he had
lied to her. She was holding her gun on him and I wanted to get her to
give me the gun, I was talking to her and then she just . . . she just . .
. she shot him. He was defenseless, he was just standing there and then he
was falling. Oh, God, she'll never forgive herself. She cares so much for
him, I've known that for so long and whatever happened to her, she would
never do this if she was in her right mind."

Maggie sobbed quietly into the tissue and Skinner pulled into a parking
space outside the Emergency Department.

She was allowed to enter the cubicle with Dana, but Skinner headed off to
find out what he could about Mulder. He inquired at the admission's desk
and had been shown where to wait. He was waiting there, impatiently, when
a middle-aged man in blue-green scrubs approached him.

"Mr. Skinner? I understand you're here with Mr. Mulder? I'm Ian Gregory,
I'm the ER physician assigned to Mr. Mulder's case. Can we have a seat?"
Without allowing Skinner the time to answer, Dr. Gregory was ushering him
to a bank of plastic chairs along a far wall, away from any one else in the
waiting room.

"Now, then, I have a couple of questions," Gregory said, looking down his
clipboard. "And I'm sure you have a few, yourself. First of all, let me
explain that Mr. Mulder suffered a gunshot wound to the left lower quadrant
of his abdomen. The bullet exited the body cleanly, but there appears to
be some internal bleeding, probably from the large intestine. He needs
surgery, and I need a release signed. Do you know where I can contact his
next of kin? According to the card found in his wallet, that would be a
Dr. Dana Scully, and we can't seem to reach her at either her home or her

Skinner visibly flinched and Gregory's brow furrowed in response. "Is
there a problem?"

Skinner cleared his throat. "There is, or there could be. Agent Scully is
here, in the ER. She was brought in unconscious. To my knowledge, she has
not regained consciousness."

Gregory nodded and made a note on the clipboard. "The surgery is an
emergency, so we'll proceed on that basis. I'll just note that NOK was
unavailable. We'll take him up to the OR as soon as we finish prepping
him." The doctor regarded the man before him for a moment. "He woke up, a
little while ago. He asked for this Dr. Scully, called her by her last
name. Maybe you could come in for a moment, put his mind at ease. He was
very upset when we couldn't give him any information about her."

"Of course," Skinner replied.

The two men walked through a set of double doors into a large emergency
room. Cubicles were lining the walls and Skinner thought he heard Margaret
Scully's voice coming from one of them across the way. He was tempted to
go over there, see if there was any word on Scully's condition, but Gregory
was already pulling a curtain aside and motioning for him to enter the
space within. He nodded and did as directed.

Mulder was covered with a sheet, but Skinner could see the blood stained
scrubs of the attending nurse standing next to the gurney. He tried to
avoid the various wires and tubes attached to his agent and focus on the
younger man's face. His eyes were closed, but at the soft call of his
name, Mulder opened his eyes to look up at Skinner.

"How's Scully?"

"She's still unconscious, but they are doing everything they can to help
her," Skinner assured him, resting a hand on the raised bedrail. "Her
mother is in there with her now." He chewed his lip a second, trying to
gauge how best to approach the subject. He decided the direct approach was
the only choice. "Mulder, can you tell me what happened tonight?"

The younger man swallowed and let his eyes drift shut. When he spoke, it
was a hoarse whisper that Skinner had to lean close to hear. "The cable
TV. It's in the transmission. A switch or scrambler . . . or something.
Five inches long, about an inch in diameter, bronze. Induces paranoia.
She was scared to death of me," he croaked out, followed by a deep sigh.
Skinner couldn't tell if the pain that crossed the young agent's features
was physical or emotional or a mixture of both.

"I'll see what I can find out. You just take care of yourself. Get some
sleep, all right?"

One sleepy lid rose and a hazel eye met the older man's chestnut brown.
"Is that an order, sir?"

Skinner successfully fought a smile in spite of the circumstances. "It can
be, if it needs to be."

"No need, sir. I was thinking the same thing." Skinner was starting to
turn away when Mulder reached through the railing and caught his sleeve.

"Find them. Stop them. Before this happens again."

Three cups of watered down coffee and 30 minutes later, Skinner was sitting
in the waiting room when Maggie came to find him.

"How is Fox? Did they take him to surgery?" she asked anxiously.

Skinner nodded. "About half an hour ago. Did Dana wake up?"

Maggie shook her head sadly. "The doctor says her seratonin levels are
incomprehensible. It would account for the paranoia. But there doesn't
seem to be anything to cause it, no obvious physiological reason for the
reaction. Her doctor is baffled."

"I might be able to find out the cause," Skinner said cryptically. "Are
they taking her up to a room?"

Maggie looked like she was going to press him on his first comment, but
instead, skipped to the second. "Yes. I'm going up there now. I just
wanted to let the nurse or someone down here know to tell me when Fox is
out of surgery. He will be all right, won't he, Mr. Skinner?"

"I spoke with him briefly. I think he'll be fine. The doctor wasn't too
concerned. The bullet missed a lot of vital organs."

Maggie fought back tears, but drew in a deep breath and nodded. "Then I'll
go up to Dana's room. She's in 351, that's on the west side of the
building. Are you going to the surgical waiting room?"

Skinner shook his head. "No, I need to check something out, something I
promised Mulder I would see about. I'll leave my pager number with the
nurse, in case they need me."

"You're going to find out why this happened to Dana, aren't you?" Maggie
said evenly. When no affirmative answer was forthcoming, she dropped her
gaze to her hands, twisting together on her lap. "I'll be here, in case
they need someone for Fox. And I'll be there when he wakes up," she added,
a defiant tilt to her chin.

"Thank you, Mrs. Scully. I'll be back as soon as I can."

He had no idea where he was going to start to find the answer for this
strange illness of Scully's, but Skinner didn't have far to go. Once out
to the parking garage, a shadow fell across the hood of his car. His eyes
darted up and he recognized the man immediately. Damn, he thought, I was
sure I'd left a scar on his forehead.

"What are you doing here?" he demanded. The black man raised an eyebrow,
it almost looked defensive.

"I heard Mulder was brought in with a gunshot wound." The man's arrogance
wept out of every pore.

Skinner had his fists wadded with tan trench coat in a blink of an eye.
"You caused this, you son of a bitch! You and your 'associate'!"

Rather than remaining passive, the other man threw off Skinner's grapple
hold and pinned him against the nearest car, arm across his neck. "Don't
try to threaten me again, Mr. Skinner. This time you won't walk away with
a bloodied face," he growled. "If Mulder had followed directions, none of
this would have happened. He's as much to blame for his condition as I am,
more so!"

"You poisoned his partner," Skinner spit out.

"_I_ didn't do anything! And Mulder was on the trail of who did accomplish
this disaster, but he dropped it to run after her! She's a liability to
him," he said, emphasizing the word liability by slamming Skinners
shoulders against the car hood. The car alarm blared into the night.

Skinner refused to be baited. "If you didn't do it, who did?"

A look that could have been despair crossed the other's dark eyes. "I have
only suspicions. That's why I needed Mulder. For proof."

Skinner thought about that for a moment. "Tell me your suspicions. I'll
find your proof."

Baltimore Mercy Hospital
3:00 am

The nurse smiled at Maggie as she led her through the maze of doorways into
the brightly lit recovery room. "He's right over here. He woke up once,
while we still had him in the operating room. But we're having a little
trouble getting him to wake up now. Is he always such a sleepy head?"

Maggie was confused by the question, until she realized why it was asked.
The misconception was an easy one, given the circumstances surrounding the
evening. "Oh, I'm not his mother," she said shaking her head.

"Then you're his mother-in-law?" asked the nurse.

"No, just a friend. His mother is . . . really far away," Maggie said,
chewing on the inside of her cheek. It wasn't really a lie, but she still
didn't like the way Fox was always hiding things from his own mother.

"Oh," the nurse said with a slight frown. "Well, anyway, the doctor said
it was all right for you to sit with him for a little while. Maybe you
could talk to him for us, get him to wake up a little more?"

"I'll try," Maggie said steadying herself. The only image in her head was
Fox lying on the floor of her dining room, blood staining his shirt, his
coat, her hands . . .

"Here he is," the nurse said with more cheerfulness than Maggie thought
possible at that hour of the night. "Mr. Mulder? Fox? You have a
visitor. Look who's come to see you. It's . . ." She looked at Maggie

"It's Margaret, Fox. Dana's mom."

The nurse pushed a chair closer to the hospital bed and Maggie dropped into
it gratefully. She reached through the raised rails of the bed and took
the young man's hand in her own, stroking the back of the fingers lightly.

"Fox. Fox, they want you to wake up, now. The operation is over, you're
going to be fine. You just need to wake up so they can make sure
everything's in order."

While she was talking, she took stock of his appearance. He was still
dreadfully pale by her thinking. His eyes had dark circles under them and
his hand felt cool to the touch. She tried to ignore the bag of bright red
blood hanging from the pole on the headboard. There was another bag of
clear liquid and a much smaller bag almost covered by the bold orange
sticker covering the label, all attached with tubes to the needles in his
arm. The printing on the bags was too small to make out from her seated
position, but she was sure her daughter would have recognized the
substances immediately. Wires snaked out from under the neck of his
hospital gown and appeared to be connected to the heart monitor on the
other side of the bed. The steady rhythm of the machine was her only

"Fox. Please, Sweetheart, you need to wake up now. The doctor wants to
check you over, then you can go back to sleep, I promise."

He slept on, but she was pretty sure his eyes were darting back and forth
underneath the closed lids.

"Fox, I need to understand what happened tonight. I know you've been to
hell and back in the last couple of days, but you're the only one who can
tell us why this is happening. I think you would have told me at the
house, but . . ." She couldn't choke back the tears that spilled down her
cheeks. "Oh, God, Fox, you have to know how very much I wish none of this
had happened. I don't know what it will do to the two of you and I'm so
very worried for you both."

She didn't see him swallow but she noticed when he flexed his hand. It was
enough of a positive sign that she continued to encourage him. "That's it,
come on. Now, let's open those eyes for me," she smiled through her tears.

Slowly, as if they were weighed down with bricks, Mulder dragged his lids
open, and then closed them shut again. With effort that Maggie watched
breathlessly, he tried once more, this time keeping them open and focusing
on her face.

"Good morning," she smiled at him.

He swallowed hard and winced. "thirsty," he rasped out.

She reached over to the tray table and inspected the contents of a
Styrofoam cup. "Ice chips. I suppose they don't want you do have water
yet." She scooped up a spoonful and brought it to his mouth. He frowned
as if it was a major offense, but took the few ice crystals and leaned back
into the pillow.

"Where's Dana?" he asked in a still hoarse whisper.

"Two floors down. She's still asleep."

"She'll be OK?" he asked fearfully.

Maggie nodded. "The doctor has no explanation, but she appears to be
sleeping peacefully. They did a CT scan and a MRI, none of which came up
with anything. They suspect a drug or poison, but can't find any traces in
the blood work."

"It wasn't poison," he announced flatly. "It was a hypnotic suggestion, of
sorts. Delivered subliminally, through the television signal."

Maggie drew in a deep breath and frowned. She hated to question him
further on the subject, he appeared to be tiring out from just the few
sentences he'd uttered. "Fox, we can talk about all this later. Right now
you need to rest. It will be better in the morning." She stood up and
after only a moment's hesitation, she leaned over and kissed him tenderly
on the forehead. "I'll call the doctor. Then, I want you to get some
sleep." She reached over and hit the call button on the bed rail.

He nodded, eyes still shut. "She was so afraid of me," he muttered sadly,
and it almost broke Maggie's heart.

"It will be all right, Fox. You'll see. It will be all right." She
continued the litany until the doctor arrived and she was escorted from the

end of part one

Wired for Sound (2 of 2)
By Vickie Moseley

Hospital Parking Garage
3:30 am

Skinner stared at the man before him, not daring to blink.

"You don't know what you're getting yourself into," the other man growled
through clenched teeth.

"Like Scully knew? Like Mulder knew?" Skinner spit back.

"Look, Mulder is my problem, I inherited him. Scully, well, she's a big
girl, too. What I want to know is which side are you playing? Because you
can't play both, you know."

Skinner flinched. "I'm protecting my agents," he said with more than a
little defensiveness.

The other man snorted a laugh. "Well, go stand outside their doors, then.
I have work to do."

As he turned to walk away, Skinner grabbed his arm. The man reached into
his coat, Skinner was certain he'd pull his gun. Instead, he just stood
there, waiting.

"I told you already, tell me what you're suspicions are and I'll find your

The glare narrowed to mere slits and the black eyes glittered in the dim
overhead mercury lighting. "There's no turning back."

"There never is," Skinner said calmly.

The other man continued his search of his inside pocket. He produced a
small note pad and a pen, scribbled something on one page and tore it out
off the pad, then handed it to Skinner.

"It's amazing what comes out when the sun comes up." And with that, he
left Skinner staring at the address on the paper. If he hurried, he could
be ready when the sun rose in three and a half hours.

7:45 am

Sunlight was making patterns on her cheeks, warming her face, when Maggie
woke up. A nurse smiled apologetically and went about taking Dana's vital
signs, marking them down on her chart. Maggie stretched her arms over her
head and rose to stretch her back. Sitting in chairs, even relatively soft
chairs, were not the way to spend the night.

Two bright blue eyes blinked at her.

The smile came to her so naturally, she didn't realize she was smiling.
"Good Morning, Sleepyhead. How are you feeling?" she cooed, and moved to
sit on the edge of her daughter's bed.

"Mom?" Dana asked in a raspy voice. "Mom, where am I?"

"Baltimore Mercy," Maggie explained. "You were brought in last night. You
. . . collapsed at the house."

Dana appeared to be sorting through her memory, trying to find the file
that was the previous evening. When it started shifting back to her, her
eyes went wide and she jerked forward.

"Mulder! My god, Mom, where is Mulder? Is he all right?" she demanded and
started to throw aside the covers to get out of bed. Maggie's firm hand on
her arm was her only restraint.

"Dana, you have to stay in bed. Doctor's orders. Now, lay back and I'll
tell you where Fox is." Dana didn't look like she was going to be
persuaded, but finally, fear won out.

"OK, I'm lying back. Now, where is he? How is he?"

"That's better," Maggie said, the smile returning. "Fox is just down the
hall, on this floor. He's sleeping now." She looked at her daughter
critically. "How much of last night do you remember?"

Dana suddenly found the blanket covering her legs to be of high interest.
"Most of it, I think." Her eyes rose and tears were filling them as she
looked at her mother. "I shot him. Oh, god, I shot him. Mom, what would
make me do that?"

Maggie chewed her lip and took in a deep breath. "Dana, you said some
things last night. You were very afraid of Fox. Do you remember that?"

The high blush of embarrassment was Dana's answer. She nodded sadly.
"Mom, it was like I couldn't see. Like there was a fog or a cloud over my
eyes and I was seeing everything distorted. I accused him . . ." Her
voice broke as she struggled to continue. "The things I accused him of,
Mulder could never do those things. And then I hurt him, I was looking in
his eyes when I fired that gun and when I saw him fall, it was like I was
finally able to see through the fog. I couldn't believe I'd done that.
That must have been when I blacked out." Her hands were wringing the
blanket into a wretched ball. She threw her head back and stared out the
window. "He'll never be able to trust me again."

The lost quality of her daughter's voice shattered Maggie's already broken
heart. She reached over and grabbed Dana's hand, hugging it tightly to
her. "Sweetheart, last night you were judging Fox even though you were
seeing through a fog. Don't judge him now in the same manner. Just wait
and let him speak for himself. But for right now, let's both try and catch
a little more sleep."

It was obvious that it wasn't Scully's first choice, but in the end, she
fell asleep and Maggie relaxed into the chair again and joined her.

Baltimore Mercy Hospital
8:45 am

"Mrs. Scully? Mrs. Scully, wake up, please. We need your assistance."

It was like a bucket of cold water was poured over her head. Maggie
startled awake at the sound of the voice so near her ear and the hand that
fell on her shoulder, shaking it gently.

"Yes, yes, I'm a wake," she mumbled, taking in her surroundings. The
hospital, Dana's room. Her daughter was still sleeping peacefully, but
Maggie could see the tracks of long dried tears on her cheeks. She looked
back at the nurse, confused.

"You need my help?" she repeated.

"Yes, with the other agent. He's awake and I'm afraid we're having some
problems." The nurse stood back to allow Maggie to stand up.

"Problems? What kind of problems? His condition hasn't changed, has it?
He's all right, isn't he?" Maggie was following the nurse down the hall,
trying to keep pace and failing because she had to dodge the breakfast
trays in the midst of delivery.

"His condition is still stable. For now," the nurse said cryptically.
"But we're having some trouble . . ."

They were getting close to the room Fox had been taken to when he was moved
out of recovery. There was considerable noise coming from beyond the
partially closed door.

"I don't give a goddam about hospital policy! Get me a wheelchair or I'll
walk there myself!"

"Agent Mulder, your doctor will be here in just a few minutes. Please, you
have to stay in bed."

"I don't have to stay anywhere, damn it, I told you that already. Now, get
this damned tube out of my arm before I rip it out!"

Maggie shoved open the door and her eyes expanded to the size of silver
dollars. To her credit, she recovered quickly and took control of the
situation immediately.

"Fox Mulder, just what do you think you're doing?" she demanded in a tone
that broke no argument. For his part, Mulder jerked his head up to meet
her gaze, then dropped it just as quickly.

"They won't take me to see her, so I'm going there myself," he said
defiantly. All the while he was talking, he was scooting over to the edge
of the bed, as if to make his escape. His movements were so jerky, Maggie
doubted he would make it farther than the floor beside the bed. She needed
to defuse the situation before it got out of control.

"Dana? She's still asleep, as you should be," Maggie said calmly. She made
to the side of the bed in two steps, shoved him back against the mattress
and pulled the blankets up around his chest, forestalling any further
attempts to climb over the rail. "I take it you're feeling better."

"He's on a lot of pain medication," one of the nurses chimed in. Mulder
made the effort to glare at her.

"I'm fine. I want to see her."

Maggie gave him a good look. He was still pale, but not so dreadfully so
as he had been. Pain lines near his eyes betrayed the cost of his
exertions. He was chewing on his lip and Maggie feared he might break the

"Later. Maybe. After we talk to the doctor."

He shook his head vehemently. "No, Mrs. Scully. I know her. She's
beating herself up nine ways from Sunday. I need to talk to her, tell her
what I know about the device that did this to her . . ."

"Fox, you will do no one any good if you hurt yourself!" Maggie shouted and
then relented when she saw the young man flinch. "I know you want to see
her, but I've already talked to her. She knows she was sick last night . . ."

"But she's still blaming herself, isn't she?" he accused. He moved to
cross his arms, but when his left arm touched his side, he winced with pain
and let it fall to his side. "I have to talk to her, before she does
something really stupid."

Maggie looked at his forlorn expression and brushed her hand over the top
of his head. "Now, you know I won't let her do anything foolish." When he
gave her the same raised eyebrow look that her daughter frequently wore,
Maggie had a hard time repressing a smile. "OK, point taken, but I've
already spoken with her, Fox. And I'm going to ask the doctor if she can
come down to see you, later, after you've both had something to eat and
gotten some more rest."

"She won't come," Mulder said sullenly. "She's afraid I blame her for
this. I have to go to her."

"I'm afraid you won't be going anywhere, Agent Mulder," said a voice from
the doorway, and an older man carrying a chart entered the room, frowning.
"I don't take kindly to patients who try to pull a Stalag 17 before they've
even met me." He stepped closer to the bed, and Maggie stepped aside.
"I'm Dr. Ellis, and you are bedridden for the next twenty four hours,
forty-eight if need be, until that side has more of a chance to heal."

Mulder opened his mouth to object, but Ellis stuck a thermometer in it and
took the agent's right wrist in his hand. "I've used restraints before
with troublesome patients, Agent Mulder. You don't want to get on my bad

Maggie had to put her hand up to her mouth to hide the smile. Dr. Ellis
seemed to be cut from the same cloth as her daughter. But she knew Fox
wouldn't be distracted for long.

The thermometer was removed and the doctor took his time listening to the
agent's lungs in the front and back. He lowered the bed and checked the
incision under the gauze bandage. Only after he'd done a thorough
examination did he address his patient directly.

"You're a lucky man, Mr. Mulder. The bullet nicked the large intestine,
but it didn't sever it. I stitched it up nicely and it should heal
quickly-if you rest! If you insist on trying to wander the halls, as you
seem to be intent on doing, you will pop some of the stitches and next time
I won't use my best sewing technique to close you up." He waited to see
Mulder's reaction.

"I just want to see my partner. I have to talk to her," he seethed through
clenched teeth.

"Then we'll see about getting her doctor to let her come down and see you.
I don't know what her condition is . . ."

"She won't come. She's feeling . . . she has her reasons. I have to go to
her," Mulder retorted, but the wind was leaving his sails. Perspiration
was dotting his upper lip and he was pressing himself into the mattress.

"Not today, you're not. And we'll see about tomorrow. Now, I think you've
done enough damage for this morning. I'm prescribing a sedative and I want
you to sleep this afternoon. We'll see how you tolerate a liquid diet for
dinner." Ellis scribbled something on Mulder's chart and handed it to the
nurse at his side. "And if there are any more attempted escapes, Nurse
Marrin here has my full permission to put you in five point restraints.
Have I made myself clear?"

Mulder glared at the man and didn't say anything, then closed his eyes in

"If it will help, I'll stay here for a while," Maggie offered. Mulder
opened his eyes to object, but Maggie held up her hand and he closed his
mouth. "She's asleep, Fox. The nurse will come get me when she wakes up.
But for now, I think I can do more good down here than down there watching
her snore."

Mulder's face cracked into a grin. "She drools, too," he added.

Maggie raised an eyebrow. "I'm not going to ask how you'd know that," she
said haughtily. "Now, close your eyes and go back to sleep," she said softly.

Doctor Ellis smiled as his patient dutifully closed his eyes and his
breathing evened out. "You're a miracle worker, whoever you are," he said
with a wry grin.

"No, I'm just a mother. His partner's mother. And I think I should tell
you that he may be right. They need to see each other, the sooner the
better. Neither of them will get any rest unless we let them talk to one
another, in person."

Ellis considered it a moment. "Let me do some checking. I think there
might be a way to work around this, if all parties are agreeable."

Maggie nodded her thanks and he left her to watch over Fox alone.

1825 Rockville Road
Maryland Heights, Maryland
7:53 am

Skinner crouched down in the driver's seat of his sedan, watching as the
cable company truck drove into the driveway of the deserted house. He'd
checked the perimeter as soon as the sun was high enough in the sky for him
to see what he was doing. The house was vacant, the door had one of those
realtor's locks with a combination. Skinner discovered it was a ruse, the
back door opened easily, but he left it and went back to the car.

Now, a man got out of the truck and looked around before going to the back
of the house. Skinner opened the door to his own car and followed, hugging
close to the house to keep out of sight.

As he passed by a partially open window, he heard voices. There was
someone else in the house. He thanked his lucky stars that he hadn't been
discovered as he'd checked the place out.

"That's what he told me," said one of the voices.

"Then where is he? He should be here by now," replied a second voice.

"He'll be here."

Skinner raised himself up on his toes to see into the open window. The man
from the cable truck was facing away from him. Another man, taller and
with a disgruntled look on his face, was looking toward the front of the

"It's almost 8." He walked toward the front door. "No sign of him."

Skinner dropped down under the window sill and then headed toward the back
door. As he entered the kitchen, he heard two thumps in succession. He
hurried his pace and ran into the center room where the two men had been

They were both lying in a pool of their own blood. The man who had sent
Skinner to the house was standing over them with a 9mm Glock equipped with
a silencer pointed to the ceiling. At Skinner's appearance, he aimed the
weapon toward him, but upon seeing who it was, lowered it toward the floor.

"You're too late," he said evenly.

"You murdered them?" Skinner asked in disbelief.

"I didn't have a choice. If you wanted the information on the device, you
should have acted sooner. Now, the threat is eliminated."

Skinner looked down at the dead bodies and then up to the man who had
killed them. "This is how you 'eliminate a threat?" he demanded.

The other man's face broke into a smirk that held no humor. "What would
you have done? 'Talked' to them? Asked them nicely how they had developed
a device that could turn people against those closest to them? Somehow I
don't think you would have been very successful, Mr. Skinner. Now, if
you'll excuse me, I have a mess to clean up. I suggest you see yourself out."

"What happened here? Who were those men?" Skinner asked angrily, stunned
into inaction as the other man produced two black bags and started to stuff
the bodies in them.

"No one. Now, get out of here!" came the growled response.

"Are they the ones who did that to Scully? To those other people? What
the hell were they doing?" Skinner demanded. "I'm not leaving until I know!"

The gun was back and now was pointing directly at his face. "These men
overstepped their authority. They were conducting experiments that were
not sanctioned. They have been dealt with. That is all you need to know.
Now get out of here or before you join them!"

Angry and utterly confused, Skinner ran through the back of the house, and
out to his car.

Baltimore Mercy Hospital
11:15 am

Maggie was startled by the screeching sound right outside the door.
Suddenly, the door to Fox's room opened and two orderlies pushed a hospital
bed in to position it beside Fox's bed. On the new bed, her daughter
smiled sheepishly.

"I didn't know this floor was co-ed," came a sleep rusted voice from the
male occupant of the room.

Maggie laughed. "Well, I guess you just got really lucky."

Mulder looked over at his partner with a smile so soft that it almost took
Maggie's breath away. "Yeah. I think you're right."

"Hey," he said, addressing his new roommate.

"Mulder, how are you? Are you all right?" Scully asked anxiously.

"I'll be fine. I'm better already. How are you? Are you OK, Scully?" he
returned, concern coloring his tone.

She nodded, tears glistening in her eyes. "Mulder, I'm so sor-"

"Don't," he pleaded. "No apologies, Scully. You were sick. You did
nothing wrong. Besides," he said motioning to his side. "I know you're a
better shot than this. If you really had wanted to kill me, I wouldn't be
sitting here right now."

She smirked at him and shook her head. "Do we know what happened?"

"Well, I suggest we lay off daytime TV while we're recuperating," Mulder
said, waving a hand toward the television set attached to a shelf on the wall.

Scully sighed. "I expect more of an explanation than that, Mulder," she
said, crossing her arms.

"I think we have at least a couple of days to discuss it, Scully."

Maggie decided it was time to go find a decent lunch, and leave them to
their own devices.

The end.


I have officially stopped going to the Temple of the Divine Surfer on
Sunday nights. If you are feeling like you have an extra free hour a week,
here are some things to keep you occupied:

Come to the Virtual Season Eight and 'read' when you would have watched:

Watch your new Season Two DVDs or dig out the Season One DVDs, start at the
beginning and watch the whole season.

Do your laundry during the show, and then watch the syndicated reruns of
The X Files--for the affiliate near you go to Official Site

Feeling a little FRUSTRATED with the Season Eight? Want to express
yourself without police involvment? Tell The Powers that Be that you are
still waiting for Mulder by writing them a nice long letter in the X Philes
for Mulder guestbook:

If they insist on bringing in a new era, make them do it right. Dig out
your checkbook, write out a check for Amnesty International and give Mulder
and Scully a chance to move on together--Preserve the Partnership:

And if you're still feeling Mulder-deprived, come visit my site. He's all
over the place! Created by the Divine Shirley Smiley, updated by the
Incredible TexxxRose with graphics by the extremely talented Shannara! (it
takes a village to build a web site ;)