A Normal Life - part 1 (R)

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When the pen clattered to the desk he looked up. She was flushed and didn’t look well. “Scully?” He rose and moved toward her, “You look awful.”

“Thanks a lot.” She looked up at him and tried to glare, but it was too much effort. He moved closer and touched the back of his hand to her forehead.

“You’re running a fever Scully.” His hand moved down to her cheek; for an instant he thought she leaned into it. He must be dreaming. “You need some aspirin, I’ll get you some water.”

“Mulder, don’t fuss.” But she didn’t say it as convincingly as usual. He pulled open her desk drawer and pulled out the bottle of aspirin, which he handed to her, then picked up her coffee cup and headed for the door.

At the sink he rinsed out the cup and filled it with cold water, then headed back to the office. She wasn’t there; her chair was empty. “Now where the hell . . . “ He stepped on into the office and spotted her, sprawled on the floor behind the desk. “Scully.” He merely breathed the word and was on his knees beside her. Pulse, yes, but she seemed even warmer than she had earlier. “Scully, can you hear me?” He pressed his hand against her face, then shifted to reach for the phone, not removing his hand.

Before he could pick it up she stirred and he focused on her again. “Scully?”

“Mulder? What . . .?”

“You passed out. Just lie still.” Of course she ignored him, trying to rise. “Scully, just stay there a minute.”

His hands on her kept her in place and she didn’t have the energy to struggle. She was feeling pretty bad, but she hadn’t expected to faint. “I’m okay. You can let me up.”

He watched her for a minute, then helped her to her feet and sat her back in her chair. “I think you should forget work for the rest of the day.”

After a moment she nodded, “Maybe I should head home.”

“Good idea. I’ll drive.”

“Mulder, I’ll be fine. I’ll go straight home.”

“I don’t want you driving. I nearly called an ambulance, Scully. You’re not going off alone in a car.”

“But then my car will be here and I might need it.” She was trying to be reasonable, but if she would allow herself to admit it, she didn’t feel up to driving.

“Then I’ll drive your car and after I get you settled, I’ll grab a cab back here.” He thought that sounded good, but it didn’t matter, he was going to see her home.

She nodded wearily. “I pay for the cab.”

“I’ll put it on your tab.” He had her swallow the aspirin, then took her coat off of the hanger and draped it around her. “You doing okay?”

She nodded and tried to smile. He noticed that she let him lift her from the chair and didn’t pull away from the arm he put around her to walk her to the door. She really was feeling bad. His concern went up a notch. He might hang around her apartment a little while; just to make sure the aspirin brought the fever down.

She more collapsed in the car than sat and he knew his insistence on driving had been correct. The gentle breathing as she leaned against the window let him know she had fallen asleep. What the hell was this? It had hit her like a ton of bricks. She’d been fine yesterday and looked a lot better this morning than she did now.

Once at her apartment he parked and opened her door before she woke. She was obviously disoriented, but realized quickly where she was. He noticed the trembling of her hands when she held on to the car door to help herself out. His arm was back around her immediately and he supported her into the apartment. Her fever seemed higher to him despite the aspirin.

She started for her couch, but he turned her and headed for the bedroom instead. In there he sat her on the bed and removed her jacket and shoes, then lifted her legs and placed them under the covers. “Scully? Where do you keep your thermometer?”

“Medicine cabinet.” She offered nothing more, just allowing him to look after her.

He found it along with some more aspirin, which he also brought with him. “Let me take your temperature, Scully. Okay?” She didn’t fight, just opening her mouth slightly.

It was a good thing she had an electronic one, he never had learned to read the old fashion kind. Nearly 101° and it had been nearly thirty minutes since she took the aspirin.

“Scully, I want you to take some more medicine, okay? You hear me?” She didn’t really respond but allowed him to place two more aspirin on her tongue and swallowed the water he brought to her lips. She was really getting worse and for the second time fear tried to overcome him. Maybe this wasn’t as bad as finding her on the floor, unconscious, but close. No way was he leaving here until her fever broke.

She tried to brush the hair off of her forehead and he saw that her hand was trembling even more than before. He rose and got a cool cloth to try to bring down the fever, berating himself for not thinking of it sooner.

When he returned and began bathing her face she turned glassy eyes toward him. “Man?”

“Scully? It’s me; it’s Mulder. Scully, say my name.”

“A man.” She turned away from him and grimaced at some pain. He felt his heart rate rise. Surely she knew who he was. He took the thermometer off the bedside table and put it back in her mouth. She didn’t protest. 102.4°, on four aspirin.

Whatever was wrong was more than he could handle. He knew she was experiencing febrile convulsions already, a fever this high could do that to any adult, but she did not know him. He pulled the covers off of her and started to lift her. She cried out then and her hand went to her neck. He was no doctor, what caused neck pain - meningitis? No, this was too sudden. That wasn’t it; he wouldn’t let it be. He pulled her hair up, away from her neck to see if there was an abrasion or something.

What he saw was an angry red welt where the tiny scar usually was - the scar that came from reinserting the implant in her neck. He felt cold fingers clutch at his heart. He didn’t have time to be scared now; he had to get her to the hospital. This fever had to come down. He gently lifted her into his arms and carried her to her car.

The emergency room personnel didn’t want to listen to him, but he was used to that. He let them work on her fever as he called the people he wanted on his cell phone. Byers, Langly and Frohike were on their way. He’d used his credentials to get through to her oncologist, the man who had actually inserted the implant and he would be over as soon as possible. Skinner was in a meeting, but he’d left a message for him. At her mother’s house only the machine to talk to. He left word for her to call him and his cell phone number.

He had just broken the connection when he saw two additional nurses race into her cubicle. He followed without hesitation to find her convulsing on the table. None of the drugs they were using seemed to have any effect and the fear that he thought he had shoved aside nearly overwhelmed him.

As she jerked on the table he saw her neck stretch as though she were trying to escape from it. And he saw that the blister over her scar had grown and puckered. It was the implant. They had to get it out of her, it was killing her, but removing it could kill her too. What the hell should he do!

He was shoved aside as her doctor entered. He had gotten here fast. “Dr. Zuckerman, her neck.” He managed to form the words, “Where you put the . . . “ He hesitated, not many people knew that this doctor had performed such unorthodox surgery. He’d done it at her insistence, well his insistence, and her agreement.

The doctor looked over at him, then made a quick decision. “It’s got to come out. If that’s not the problem - “ He reached for a small scalpel on the tray near the table.

It was such a small piece of metal and her movements were becoming even more pronounced and dangerous. She could die from this kind of convulsion. The doctor had them holding her, trying to keep at least that part of her still. Mulder moved forward to help; he needed to touch her anyway.

“Scully, come on Scully, hear me. You need to hold on.” He was at her shoulder, a burly orderly was holding her head and the nurses were keeping her arms and legs from flailing too badly. The doctor was having difficulty locating the tiny metallic disk; the infection was growing even as he stood over it.

“Hold her!” He spoke through gritted teeth and continued to probe for the tiny object. He muttered to himself as Mulder tried to hold her stiff body still. “There! Just a second, yes!” He held the implant up and dropped it into a pan held by yet another nurse. Her body went limp immediately and Mulder nearly lost his balance. Her doctor immediately began cleaning out the infected site.

Mulder’s hand moved up to her face. She was still breathing, his hand trembled as he lightly stroked her cheek.

“Mr. Mulder, you need to step outside. I’ll be with you as soon as I can.”

Mulder started to protest, but now wasn’t the time. Instead he ran his thumb over her cheekbone one more time. “I’ll be right outside Scully. I’m not leaving.” He did however take the pan containing the implant. No one seemed to notice. He left the cubicle and once out in the hall collapsed back against the wall and sank down toward the floor, still gripping the pan.

That’s where they found him. “Mulder, she’s not . . . “ Byers couldn’t even say it.

Mulder opened his eyes at the sound and shook his head. “They don’t . . . I don’t know what happened. This came out of left field. She was fine yesterday; today . . . Thank goodness this happened at work, if she'd been home alone . . .“ He shuttered and looked toward the cubicle again. “They had to remove the implant.” He forced himself back to his feet.

“The implant?” Frohike’s eyes widened. “What about - “ His voice gave out as Langly’s elbow connected with his ribs.

“I don’t know. I don’t know what went wrong. I’ve got it, here. Can you . . .?”

“Of course.” Byers took the pan from him and saw the tiny spot that was the implant. “What else do you need?”

Mulder shook his head. “Just this, for now. But I need it quick.”

Byers nodded seeing the anguish in his eyes. “We’ll get right on it. You can reach us at any time.”

They all froze as the doctor came out and spotted Mulder. “We’re admitting her Mr. Mulder. They’re going to take her for a CAT scan now. I’ll be back to check on her when they get her settled.”

“Is she awake?”

“No. We’re keeping a close eye on her.”

“Can I see her?”

He nodded, “Let them run the scan and get her in a room. What about the implant? Do you know what happened? How long was this coming on?”

Mulder sighed, “As far as I know it started this morning. She had a low-grade fever at work, then she passed out. I took her home and then . . . “ He looked down at his hands. “These guys are going to check out the device.”

The doctor nodded, "Let me know what you find." Then he moved off down the hall.

“We’ll get going too. Call us.”

Mulder didn’t respond, they were wheeling Scully out of the cubicle and toward the elevator. He moved quickly to follow them. “Sir, this elevator, oh it’s you.” The nurse moved to allow him to enter.


She was settled in the bed and he’d been told her vital signs were steady, but she hadn’t awakened. At least her temperature was closer to normal. He stretched his neck and tightened his grip on her hand. Why wasn’t she waking up? He knew what high fevers could do, especially in an adult. He wanted desperately to look into her eyes. That's the only way he would know for sure that she was okay, that she knew who he was. That had thrown him more than he wanted to admit. Scully always knew him, even when she had just come out of her coma she had known him. It was his only universal constant.


She was awake, she thought, but too tired to open her eyes. Her whole body ached. What in the world was going on? She felt something scratch her arm and forced her eyes open a slit. Mulder, he was asleep beside her and it was the stubble of his beard scratching her arm.

Where was she? Why was Mulder sleeping, sitting beside her? She managed to turn her head and realized this was a hospital room. That didn’t explain anything. She turned back to look at him and felt something on her neck.

She reached up to feel whatever it was with the arm not supporting Mulder and realized she was on an IV. This was getting worse instead of better. There was a bandage on her neck. She needed some answers.

Hating to disturb him, but needing information, she ran the fingers of her free hand through his hair. That felt good, he had let it grow out recently, possibly in response to an observation she had made. He moved his head in waking, scratch/tickling her again with his face. Then suddenly he shot up and was facing her.

“Scully.” Anything else seemed to catch in his throat and she saw what he had been through. What had happened?

She gave him a small smile, “Yeah, it’s me. Where are we?”


She looked around again, then back at him as his grip on her hand tightened. “Why?”

“What do you remember?”

“Nothing. I went to work, you were there.” She shrugged and grimaced at the movement.

He leaned closer to her immediately, “Are you in pain?”

“Not pain, I ache all over though. Did you beat me?” She gave him another smile, he didn’t return it and her eyes asked the question.

“It’s late Scully, or early - almost three in the morning. You should be asleep.” He wasn’t ready for this conversation.

“Obviously I’ve already been asleep and you don’t sleep, so this is the perfect time for a private conversation. What happened?” She could see the reluctance in his body language and the fact that he couldn’t quite meet her eyes. “Did you beat me?”

He looked up startled until he saw the light in her eyes. “Maybe it would have been better if I had.”

“Mulder?” He was beginning to worry her now, was she really ill? He didn’t face her, “Why is there a bandage on my neck?”

“Why don’t . . . “ He sighed, she was doing that eyebrow thing. “You were running a fever at work. Do you remember that?” She was frowning, but shook her head. “I took you home and you kept getting worse, I couldn’t get the fever down. Then you didn’t know who I was, so I brought you here to the ER, and . . . and you went into convulsions.”

Her eyes were wide now and her free hand went back to the bandage. When he didn’t continue she tugged on his hand. “Mulder, please. What was it?”

“Your . . . “ She was losing patience with him, but how was he supposed to explain - “Apparently it was the implant. As soon as we removed it, the convulsions stopped.”

“You . . . you removed . . . the implant’s gone?” She wasn’t looking him in the eye either now. And her hand was on her neck.

“Scully, it was like it had gotten infected or . . . or you’d become allergic to it or something. The guys have it; they’re trying to figure out . . . “ He ran down then, she was already thinking what he’d been avoiding since he sat down beside her. She tried to pull her hand from his. "Scully."

She shook her head but didn't speak. He refused to release her hand, caressing it with his thumb.

"Mulder, I'm okay. Why don't you head on home, get some rest."

"I'm not leaving here Scully. Forget it."

She turned from him then and settled back down in the bed. She allowed him to keep hold of her hand, but wouldn't face him. "Scully." He moved closer, joining her on the bed.

"I'm okay."

"Yes, you are and you're going to stay that way. Rest Scully." Impulsively he reclined next to her on the bed and held her. To his relief she didn't pull away or even stiffen up. "Go back to sleep."

She made no comment and he wasn't sure when she actually did fall back asleep, but her body finally relaxed completely in his arms and her even breathing relaxed him as well.

The changing shift brought a nurse into the room, waking him. He rose carefully from the bed, not disturbing her. At the nurse's insistence he left the room so that she could do an examination.

The doctor was there when he returned to the room. He wasn't happy that the conversation halted instantly as he entered the room. "Am I in the way here?" He knew he sounded stiff, but this had caught him off guard. He'd thought the doctor would wait for him.

"No Mr. Mulder. I was just telling Dana that I had examined her CAT scan along with some colleagues and it was clear. Her temperature has returned to normal and her white cell count is down. The antibiotics seem to be clearing up the infection."

Mulder glanced over at Scully. "So she's okay."

"I'm very pleased with her progress."

"I'd like to go home." Both men turned to look at her.

"Scully, you need to -"

"My fever is gone, I can take antibiotics at home. Doctor?" Damn she sounded controlled. He wanted to hold her in his arms again.

The doctor nodded, "I'll get your paperwork started."

Mulder looked over at him incredulously, "You can't be serious. You saw her yesterday."

"And you see her now Mr. Mulder." He turned back to his patient. "I want to keep a close eye on you Dana. You need to make an appointment for, say first of next week. We'll do some additional testing then."

She nodded and moved to rise from the bed. That was when he noticed that the IV had been removed from her arm. "I need to get dressed."

Mulder looked over to the doctor for support but he was already on his way out the door. A quick glance at Scully and he followed him out into the hall.

"Are you crazy? She's not ready to go home. I haven’t been able to reach her mother yet. You saw her yesterday."

"Mr. Mulder, she is doing much better. There's nothing more that we can do for her here right now that she can't do at home. Am I wrong in assuming there’s someone to be with her?” He looked pointedly at the taller man. “I want her to remain on the medication but she is much better. There's no real problem right now. I'll be keeping an eye on her, running tests, but right now there's no reason for her to remain here. And she wants to go home, she'll be more comfortable." He clapped the younger man on the shoulder and turned toward the nurses' station.

He tapped on the door, "Scully, you dressed?"

"Just a minute." Shortly she came to the door and let him in. "Are you sure about this?"

"I'm fine Mulder. I just don't want to stay here." He nodded reluctantly. "I don't suppose I have any shoes here?"

"Uh, no. I didn't take the time. They didn't seem important." He shrugged.

She nodded and turned away. The nurse was at the door then with her release papers. She signed them immediately and sat in the wheelchair, slightly resentfully. He had to scramble to catch up with the orderly and her as they moved toward the elevator. The ride down was silent. As they neared the door, he put his hand on her chair.

"Why don't you wait here, I'll go bring the car around."

"Thanks." The orderly pushed her near the door as he hurried to get the car. She saw him approach the entrance and came outside. It didn't make him happy and he did get out to open the door for her, which seemed to tic her off as well.

There was a slight tenseness in the car but he didn't know how to get her to relax. Hell, he wasn't sure how to relax himself. At the entry, he turned on the blinkers to make a right turn. "Mulder."

"Yeah Scully?" He looked over at her.

"Could . . . could we go to your place?"

"Of course we can." He changed the direction of the blinker without hesitation.

"Thanks." He barely heard the whisper and decided not to press. He preferred taking her to his place; then he had an excuse not to leave her. Besides his own car was still downtown, he needed the excuse to stay with her.


A Normal Life 2

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