The Next Case (PG-13) - 6/8


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Will was in the lab before her the next morning.  He was looking in the microscope, but looked up when the door opened.  "Want some breakfast before we get started?" she asked.

 

"Thanks."  He headed for the kitchen.  "I had an idea last night."

 

"Why does that not surprise me?" Mulder said as he joined them in the kitchen.

 

Will grinned and took a seat.  "I've been exploring drug delivery systems.  The one that gets into the bloodstream the quickest is under the tongue, that's not feasible for us, so I'm looking into nasal delivery."

 

"Air borne?" Scully asked.

 

"Yes."

 

She looked up at Mulder; there was fear in her face.

 

"I want to try this on Isaac," Will said calmly, watching her.

 

"Isaac?" Scully looked up startled.  "No.  He has asthma, we can't chance it."

 

"If it works on him we'll know it can pass through the lungs - "

 

"That's totally irresponsible!  It takes years to go through clinical trials for - "

 

"We don't have years," Will interrupted.  "And the years we do have has to be used to spread this.  I like Isaac; I would never hurt him.  I, I think this could help him."

 

"Help him how?" Mulder finally joined the conversation, watching them both.

 

"Since you two got your injections, have you been sick?"

 

"What?"

 

"A cold, flu, anything?"

 

"I had tobacco bugs - "

 

"Don't!" Scully voice stopped him and he heard the fear that memory brought up in her.  He took her hand.

 

"No, I haven't been sick since I returned from Russia.  Scully?"

 

She took a moment, remembering.  Finally she shook her head.

 

"This thing may be helping us, keeping us healthy.  If that's true, Isaac could benefit from this," Will pushed.

 

"And he could die from it!"  Scully didn't back down. 

 

Will looked over at Mulder, but his father shook his head.  "It's dangerous, Will.  Isaac is already at risk."

 

Will stopped then, seeing the resolution in their minds.  He took a deep breath.  "Okay, who?  We have to test it on someone."

 

Will felt Scully's conflict.  Apparently Mulder did too, because his arm went around her.

 

"I need to think about it.  I'm sorry, I need . . . " She turned and left the kitchen.  Mulder and Will exchanged looks, but let her go.

 

She was quiet the rest of the day, obviously torn.  When they went to bed that evening, Mulder pulled her close.  He needed to get her mind on something else. 

 

He kissed her ear and let his arm encircle her waist, pulling her closer into his chest.  "Have you ever thought about what would have happened if that bee hadn't stung you that day in my hall?"

 

She glanced behind her.  "Of course I have, thousands of times."

 

"And?" he cuddled around her.

 

"Well, I hope you'd have taken me in your arms and back to your apartment and we'd have made love for hours."

 

He drew back startled.  "You'd have come?"

 

"Many times, I'm sure."

 

He glared at her.  "That's not - yeah, you have come until your head blew off, I mean, would you have returned to the apartment with me?"

 

"Yes."  She turned to kiss the tip of his nose, "but it's a good thing that didn't happen."

 

"What?  Why?"

 

"Look what happened after that bee sting."

 

"Yeah, you nearly died, we nearly died - "

 

"We didn't.  Somehow I knew you'd be looking for me.  No, I mean your rescue of me."

 

"Indiana Jones, that's me."

 

She chuckled.  "My own personal action figure.  I'm talking about the injection, Mulder.  Without it we wouldn't have Will, we wouldn't have this chance to save at least some of humanity."

 

"We would have made love all night instead of battling frostbite . . . " His mournful tone only caused her smile to widen.

 

"Worth the wait, Mulder?"

 

"You held me off for two more years."

 

"I'll continue to try to make it up to you, Sweetheart."

 

"You'd better," he growled as her hands traveled south.

 

*****

 

She lay boneless, covering him as they both tried to bring their heartbeats under some sort of control.   He managed to snag the sheet to pull up over them, not wanting her to leave him. 

 

He was going under and knew it.  "Mmm, love you."

 

"Love you too," she murmured into his chest and he thought she was already sleep when she whispered, "Will's right.  We need to give Isaac this chance."

 

His eyes widened for a moment, but she burrowed in and was out.  He wasn't sure she realized what she had said.  He'd check tomorrow.

 

*****

 

Isaac's mother came on it the kitchen, following her son and Will.  She was carrying Isaac's backpack and smiled at Scully.

 

"Molly, thank you for letting Isaac stay with us tonight."

 

"He's talked of nothing else since you invited him.  Are you sure he won't be too much trouble?"

 

"Not at all.  Will has been the same.  They'll have a good time.  Is he allergic to anything?"

 

"Cats, but I already know you don't have one."  She dug through the backpack for a moment.  "This is a spare inhaler.  He always carries one.  If he has an attack, call me, I can be here in minutes.  If it seems severe, I have an eppie pen you can use and - "

 

"Molly, I'll keep an eye on him."

 

"I know.  Can you tell he isn't away from me very much?" Her cheeks were pink from embarrassment.

 

"I don't blame you, Molly.  I'd feel the same way if Will had asthma.  I can't tell you not to worry, but Mel and I will keep a close eye on him."

 

"I know you will, and don't let him get in your way while you're working."

 

"Don't worry about that either.  Mel is looking forward to an excuse to get away from his desk."

 

After giving Isaac another embarrassing hug, Molly left and the boys headed upstairs to Will's room.  They played for awhile, then both boys burst into the lab where she was working.

 

"Mom! Can we look through your microscope?"

 

She looked up and managed a smile.  "What do you want to look at?"

 

"How about a drop of blood?  That's so cool."

 

"Yeah, could we?" Isaac chorused.

 

"I suppose so.  Let me set it up."  She moved the large microscope into the center of the workspace and got out some slides.  "Who's finger?"

 

"Mine!" Will said immediately.

 

"No, mine!  I've never done it."

 

"I'll do you both.  Hold on."  She took two sterile pricks out of the drawer as well as a few pipettes, and tore them open.  "This will sting for a second."  She looked at Isaac, but in front of his friend he couldn't show any fear.

 

She took his left hand and wiped his ring finger with a sterile pad, then snapped the prick against his finger.  He barely flinched and she smiled.  She held the pipette to the spot of blood and squeezed his finger gently.  The pipette filled quickly. 

 

"Okay, that's plenty.  Here, let me wipe it down again."  She repeated the process with Will, then returned to Isaac's blood, preparing a slide.  She focused the lens and looked in herself, then stepped back to allow Isaac to look.  "See those little things that look like pillows?  Those are red blood cells."

 

"Let me see," Will said, playing his part perfectly.  He looked into the eyepiece, scanning it in a way that Isaac hadn't. 

 

"Okay, me again!"

 

Will relinquished his spot and looked over at Scully.  He shook his head slightly.  There were none of the pentagon shapes in his blood.  Scully nodded.

 

They looked at Will's blood then, and few other things, then the boys began to get bored.

 

"We have to clean up," Will explained to Isaac.  He reached into the cabinet and pulled out a spray bottle.  He caught his mother's eyes and nodded, then sprayed a small amount on the countertop.  "I like the way it smells."  He said it off handedly, and watched as Isaac took a deep sniff of it. 

 

Will took a paper towel and wiped down the counter.  He looked up when Isaac sneezed twice.

 

"Isaac?" Scully stepped closer to the boy.

 

"I'm okay.  Is there anything else we need to clean?"

 

"Uh, no, that's good.  You boys run along.  You have your inhaler?"

 

Isaac pulled it from his pocket to show her.

 

"Okay.  I'll fix you lunch in a little while.  Why don't you go upstairs and show him your games?"

 

"Sure, come on!"  The boys raced out of the lab and up the stairs. 

 

Scully leaned against the counter and closed her eyes.  She started when Mulder's arms went around her.  She hadn't heard him enter the room.

 

"Sounded like everything went well."

 

"I hope so.  Mulder, what if - "

 

He shook his head.  "Don't.  We'll keep an eye on him and you have all that experience being a pediatrician now.  Want me to go check on them?"

 

"Would you?" She looked up and he could see her unease.

 

"Yep, I'll do something with them.  You try to relax."  He held her for a minute, then headed upstairs.

 

The next thing she knew, all three of them were thundering down the stairs and headed outside.  Well, at least she was close by.  After a few minutes, she headed for the kitchen and spotted them at the basketball goal.  Mulder was giving Isaac tips on free throws. 

 

She stood there for a little while, watching.  Mulder was such a good father.  He should never have worried about it.  Maybe it was his own experience that pushed him, but he went over and above spending time with Will, being the kind of father he must have always wanted.

 

She looked back at Isaac.  His cheeks were pink from exertion, but he was grinning and not any more out of breath than Will.

 

*****


When they trooped inside, she had lunch ready.  Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, with lemonade.  The boys made short work of the food, and were off again.  Mulder lingered at the table.  "He's doing well."

 

"I know, I was watching."

 

"If there is going to be a reaction, how long . . . "

 

"He should have already had it.  He pulled the spray down into his lungs."  She looked hopefully at Mulder.

 

He pulled her into his lap and held her.

 

*****

 

There was no reaction.  The boys played all afternoon and watched a movie that evening after dinner.  Scully hadn't seen Isaac even take the inhaler from his pocket.

 

When it was bedtime, she tucked both boys in and asked Isaac where his inhaler was.  He seemed surprised at the question.  "I left it in my jeans.  I haven't used it."

 

"Not at all?"

 

He shook his head.

 

"Well, good.  You boys need to get some sleep, don't talk all night."

 

Will grinned and Isaac laughed as Scully let herself out of the bedroom.  She hurried back downstairs and found Mulder waiting for her with a glass of wine in his hand.  He presented it to her and led her to the sofa.

 

"Everyone okay?"

 

She took a sip, then nodded.  "He hasn't used his inhaler since he got here."

 

"Really?  We had a pretty good session of basketball."

 

She cuddled into his side and his arm went around her.  "Will may have come up with a good theory.  I haven't had so much as the sniffles from 'normal' means.  I hadn't thought about it."

 

"We can't count on it.  I still can't believe I approved putting that little boy at risk."


"I know.  I don't want anyone to get hurt, but we have to move on this."

 

"I know."  She took another sip of her wine and they sat silently for several minutes.

 

"Do you want to watch anything?"

 

She shook her head.  "I think I want to go on to bed."

 

"Good idea.  Come on."

 

The next morning, Mulder fixed pancakes and they all headed for church.  Molly met them in the parking lot.  Embarrassed, Isaac allowed a quick hug before running off with Will to catch up with the other kids.  Chuckling, Mulder loaded the boy's small bag into his mother's car.

 

Scully handed her a small plastic bag with the extra inhaler and the eppie pen.  "He didn't need either; in fact he didn't even use the inhaler he was carrying."

 

"Really?  Did they just play video games or something?"

 

"Oh no, they played basketball with Mu-Mel and he helped them with free throws.  They were all over the place."

 

"And he didn't need it?  That's incredible.  Will must be good luck for him."

 

"I hope so," Scully said softly.

 

*****

 

Will was invited to Isaac's house for the next weekend.  That was fine with Will, but they needed to check his blood again.  To do that they needed to get him back out to their house.

 

"I'll take the car," Mulder offered.  "Tell Molly the service light came on and I had to take it in to be checked.  She'll offer to come get Will.  While they're here . . . "

 

"Thanks, I get that part of the 'plan.'"

 

Mulder grinned.  "Anything you want me to pick up, since I have to leave anyway?"

 

She gave him the list from the refrigerator and he took off.  She called Molly.

 

Molly was there in about thirty minutes.  Isaac was out of the car and running to the back door before she could get her seatbelt unbuckled.  Laughing she followed him inside.

 

"But he's not excited," she shook her head at Scully.

 

"Will too.  Thank you so much for coming out here.  I - "

 

"It was no problem.  Please, forget it.  I did want to tell you, Isaac hasn't needed his inhaler since last weekend with Will.  I'd drive a lot farther than this.  I think Will is lucky for him."

 

"He hasn't needed it at all?"

 

Molly shook her head, her smile widening.

 

"Is he in a growth spurt?  He seems taller."

 

"I think he is.   His jeans are getting a little short."

 

"You know, that might be it.  I've heard of asthma lessening as they grow."

 

"Whatever it is, we're delighted."

 

"Me too.  Isaac is a great kid."

 

"Thanks," Molly smiled at the sound of the boys thundering down the stairs.

 

"I have my stuff," Will held up his bag.

 

Scully shook her head indulgently.  "May Molly and I have just a couple of minutes?"

 

"Sure, we'll put the stuff in the car."

 

They were out the door.  "Molly, I . . . "

 

"What?"

 

"You're going to think I'm crazy, but I need a favor."

 

"Sure, what?"

 

"I need about four drops of your blood."

 

"Excuse me?"

 

"I'm so used to working on a campus with lots of students around to help with experiments.  If I go near poor Mel again, he'll scream and I already know what his blood is going to show me.  It's part of my research."

 

"Well sure.  Four drops?  What can you possibly learn from four drops?"

 

"You'd be surprised.  Come on back to my lab."

 

Molly followed her to the converted bedroom.  "Goodness, I had no idea you had so much equipment.  This must be expensive."

 

"It is.  I keep this room locked when I'm not in here.  Will understands how delicate this equipment is, but he is a kid.  I have to return all of this to the university, in perfect condition, when I return."

 

"Oh, I didn't realize universities let their equipment out."

 

"You have to sign several thousand guarantees I think, but I am getting closer."

 

"Can you talk about your research?"

 

Scully shook her head.  "Not really, but it's an international project."

 

"Wow."  She held out her finger and Scully quickly filled a pipette with blood. As she was wiping Molly's finger down, the boys joined them.

 

"Hey, can we do it again?"  Will looked up at Scully, playing his role perfectly.

 

"Yeah, can we?  Mom, you can look at my blood."

 

"I took a small sample so they could use the microscope; less than I took from you.  I'm thinking both of them will turn into wonderful research scientists."

 

Molly smiled.  "Okay, I'd love to see your blood."

 

That was quickly accomplished, and Will took the last turn looking at Isaac's blood.  He looked up at Scully and gave the tiniest nod.  She took hold of the counter, her knees weak.

 

"Are you ready to go?"

 

"Oh, yeah.  Mom?"

 

"Yes, we can go.  Suzanne, he'll be fine."

 

"I'm not worried.  Will, you behave."

 

"Yes ma'am."  He hugged her tight and she felt some of her strength return.

 

"We'll pick you up at church tomorrow."

 

He nodded, and allowed her to hug him again.  When she leaned down, he whispered into her ear.  "Bring the 'cleanser' with you."

 

He spoke so low that she could barely make it out, but her arms tightened slightly in acknowledgement.

 

They were just out of sight when Mulder pulled back into the driveway and hurried inside.  She had been headed for the lab, but stopped at the sound of the car.

 

"Well?" he asked as soon as he spotted her in the kitchen.

 

"I'm going to check now.  Isaac does have the pentagons in his blood.  Will saw them, but they left so I wanted a closer look.   Coming?"

 

"You bet."  He was only a step behind her.  She reconfirmed what Will had seen and let Mulder see it as well.  "What's all this?"

 

"Oh, Molly's blood.  I needed an excuse to check Isaac again, and this was the ruse Will and I came up with."

 

"Have you checked her blood yet?"

 

"No.  It was just - "

 

"Check it, Scully.  She's been breathing around the boy for a week."

 

"Do you think . . . " She was already preparing another slide.  She slipped it on the viewer and leaned over.  "Oh my God."

 

"Scully?"

 

"Look," was all she said.

 

They were there.  The little shapes were floating around in her blood as well; and nearly to the same level as Isaac.

 

"Will wants me to bring the 'cleanser' to church tomorrow, and use it during the coffee hour."

 

"That's a good idea.  That way anyone who inhales it will be there for at least an hour, probably two, which would give you time to observe them.  If they can pass it on at home . . . "

 

"Mulder, can we do this?"

 

"Yeah.  I think we can.  When's the next community blood drive?"

 

"Several weeks, it was in the bulletin last Sunday."

 

"Okay, let's test it out at the church this week and by then we should know some results.  I think you two may have saved us all again."

 

"Again?"  She looked up at him, puzzled.

 

"Well maybe it's just me you've been saving over and over all these years, but yes, again."

 

*****

 

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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.