Built-In Paranoia (PG-13)

He was deep into an old file, looking for similarities to a case that had come across his desk from a field office in Idaho.  Nothing; he finally slapped the file closed in disgust, and leaned back in his chair.  Since the fire, so many files were incomplete.  Maybe there was a copy on the main frame.  Scully might remember, or was it before she joined him?  He grinned to himself, BS?  Before Scully?   Didn’t even seem real.

Speaking of Scully, where was she?  He glanced down at his watch.  Damn, she was really late, for her anyway.  She probably had run an errand or something.  He turned back to the file and stood to return it to the cabinet.  He was quickly reabsorbed in his search and it was over forty-five minutes later when he looked up again.  He realized immediately that Scully had still not shown up.

Now that was odd.  Had she mentioned an appointment and he’d forgotten?  No, that would be very unlike him.  What the hell - he picked up the phone and dialed her apartment.

The droning busy signal surprised him.  So she was home, maybe she was trying to get him.  He pulled out his cell phone and dialed again, leaving the office phone free.

Still that drone.  It was making him uneasy for some reason, though he couldn’t say why.  He tried again in a couple of minutes.  Who would she be talking to this long?  Okay, some of their conversations lasted a long time, but that was in the middle of the night when no one else was calling.  And only with him, though he chided himself as soon as that idea formed.

It was going to piss her off, but he was going to head over there.   Hell, it was almost time for lunch now.   They could grab a bite and then get in a good half-day anyway.

He slipped his suit coat back on and ignored the elevator, taking the stairs up to the parking garage.  This time of day the traffic had eased off from the morning rush hour and lunch hadn’t begun, so he made good time to her place.

He didn’t know whether to be relieved or not when he spotted her car parked out front.  He headed inside and stopped in front of her door.  The paper was still lying outside, that was unusual.  He lifted his hand to knock and realized the door wasn’t completely closed.  He could feel the hair on the back of his neck stand up.

He tapped lightly on the door and pushed it open.  “Scully?”  The living room was in shambles.  He drew his gun and continued on into the room.  Shades of Duane Barry came to him but he spotted no blood.  He moved cautiously toward the kitchen.  The same destruction had taken place in there.  Broken glass and ceramic littered the floor.  She wasn’t in here either.  He withdrew and moved down the short hall toward her bedroom.

Be there, Scully, he silently begged.  I need to know you’re okay.  The bathroom door was wide open and her bottles of bath stuff that she liked so much littered the floor.  The combined scents were overpowering. 

That left the bedroom and that door was closed.  He found himself hesitating before reaching for the doorknob.   She was okay, she had to be.  He eased the door opened and stepped inside.  It was a mess, like nothing he’d seen in here before.   “Scully.”  It was a whisper and even that stuck in his throat.  Where the hell was she?  A movement caught the corner of his eye and he started to turn.  He recognized the barrel of a gun aimed at him and dived for the floor.  The bullet caught him in the arm and pain flared uncontrollably for an instant.

No!  He didn’t have time for pain.  Where was Scully?   Had this person shot her as well?  Was her . . . body . . . lying somewhere he couldn’t see in the room?  Was she in the closet with the assailant?  Pushing the pain aside, he slid around the bed.  He had to get a better look at the situation.  He didn’t dare fire his own weapon until he knew her location and status.

At least his arm was going numb; of course Scully was going to have to replace the carpet in here.  He spotted one of her slips hanging off the bed and grabbed it.  He wrapped it around his arm to staunch the bleeding.  He’d owe her some lingerie; good, he’d make a point of picking it out himself - because she had to be okay.

He continued moving cautiously around the bed and saw the closet door open a little wider as the shooter tried to spot him.  Hopefully he thought Mulder was down and decided to check.

Mulder watched as the hand holding the gun emerged from the closet.  The hand - that was her hand!  Scully had shot him?  Again?  But this was different; she wasn’t trying to protect him from himself this time.  She moved farther out into the room and he waited motionlessly to see what she was going to do.

She continued to move toward where he had fallen and finally he was able to see her face.  Her hair was wild, hanging in her face, and her skin was pale.  She was wearing an old FBI t-shirt and boxers.  She hadn’t even dressed for the day?  He could see her heart beating rapidly in her throat, but it was her eyes that held him.  She had to be drugged.  Her pupils were pinpoints and they were opened wide enough to show the whites all around. 

She still hadn’t spotted him.  Good, he had to take her down and he didn’t want to hurt her.  He reholstered his own gun and moved swiftly as she finally moved out far enough to give him the opportunity to grab her.  She would struggle before she recognized him and he was handicapped now with his arm hanging limp.  He had to do this before she could get off another shot.  He could apologize later.

He tackled her, using his greater weight to his advantage.  They crashed to the floor and her gun flew under the bed.   She didn’t go down quietly - clawing and scratching him, struggling frantically to get away from him.

“Scully!  Scully it’s me - it’s Mulder.  You’re okay, please!”

If she heard him it made no difference.  A blow to his wound drew a hiss from him.  She was out of control and he realized she wasn’t hearing him at all.

The bedroom door burst open and Mulder heard a deep voice bellow at him.  “Freeze!   Let her go mister, NOW!”

Mulder loosened his hold of her and her struggle intensified.   “I said let her go!”  Mulder heard a round move into the cop’s weapon.  He released her then and watched her scramble to the far end of the room.

He raised his good arm, the other hanging from his side.  “My ID is in my breast pocket.  I’m Fox Mulder, FBI.  Her gun is under the bed.”

That caused a hesitation on their part, and then the closer of the two reached into his coat and removed the gun from his waist and then the ID from his pocket.   He held the ID so his partner could see it, then returned it to Mulder.

“Sorry, we got a call of domestic disturbance.”

“I understand.”  He watched one of them look under the bed for her gun.  “We need an ambulance.”  The younger man emerged with her weapon and pressed the send on the radio at his shoulder.

“We’ve got help coming for you.”

“Not me.  Her.”  He approached her again and watched her cower from him in the corner where she had retreated.  “Scully, can you hear me?”  She actually bared her teeth at him and his heart sank.  She didn’t recognize him.

“What’s wrong with her?”

“I don’t know, but we’ve got to get her some help.”

The cop looked around.  “Was anyone else here?” 

“I didn’t see anyone.  I need to use the phone.”  The cop nodded and Mulder removed his phone from his pocket.  “AD Skinner please, this is Agent Mulder.  It’s an emergency - you need to put me through.”  There was a short pause, then. “Sir.  I’m at Agent Scully’s apartment.  She’s . . . there’s a problem.  An ambulance is on the way and I’ll be accompanying her.  I’m not sure where she’ll be taken.”

“Isn’t Georgetown the closest?”  Skinner’s voice was tense.

“Yes sir, but her situation isn’t . . . she’s not been injured.”

“Talk to me Mulder.”  Skinner cut through the bullshit quickly.

“She doesn’t recognize me, her apartment’s been trashed, and she’s, she’s not herself.”  He finished lamely. 

“Let me know what's happening as soon as they transport her.   I'll meet you there.”  Skinner broke the connection and Mulder looked back over at her.   She wasn’t exactly calming down.  He heard the disturbance of the EMTs arrival and moved to give them room, but refused to leave.

He ended up having to help them strap her to the gurney before they could begin their examination.  He had tears in his eyes watching this frightened woman try to protect herself.  Nothing he said made any difference.

When she was secured he moved aside again and retrieved his phone, dialing quickly.  “Hello?”

“Mrs. Scully?  It’s Fox Mulder - “

“Fox, what’s wrong?  Is Dana . . .?“

“I’m with her now, Mrs. Scully.  There is a problem, but she’s not injured.  You probably need to meet us at . . . Where are you taking her?”  He interrupted his conversation.

"We'll go to Georgetown for now, but they may transfer her."

Mulder nodded, "Georgetown Mrs. Scully.  Be careful - she's not injured.  Do you hear me?"

"I'll meet you there Fox."  She broke the connection and Mulder finally allowed the men to examine his arm.  The bullet had gone through cleanly so they bandaged him, but insisted he be transported as well.

They didn't dare sedate her; they had no idea what she had already been given.  Mulder sat at her head and spoke to her continuously.  He kept repeating his name as well as her own and that she was safe now.  The words didn't seem to penetrate, but eventually the tone seemed to and she didn't shy as violently from his hand when he brushed the hair from her eyes.

They were separated at the hospital, though he fought it.  They didn't care that he was FBI and his own injury didn't need attention in his opinion.

He heard Mrs. Scully's voice and ignoring the nurse that was attempting to rebandage his arm, left the cubicle to see her.  "Fox?  What happened, are you okay?"

"I'm fine.  They're still examining Scully."

"What happened to your arm, Fox?"

"I was shot."

"Was Dana shot?  Who did it?"  She had hold of his good arm now.

"She wasn't shot.  She wasn't injured, Mrs. Scully.  I . . . she was drugged.  Her eyes . . . She wasn't herself, she would never - "

"Dana shot you?  Oh Fox, I have to see her."

"They won't let us in.  I've tried.  Come on, have a seat."  He led her to a couch in the waiting room.

"Mr. Mulder, may I finish with your bandage now?"  The nurse looked pretty disgusted with him.

"Oh, yeah."  He looked down at his arm.

"Go on Fox.  I'll get you when we can see her."  

He was upset to find out that they finished with him first.  "Nothing?"  Mrs. Scully shook her head.  "I'm gonna see what's going on."  He approached the desk as he saw Skinner enter the ER.  He changed direction and moved toward him.

"Agent Mulder.  You didn't tell me you were injured." 

"It's nothing.  Do you think you could use some clout and get Mrs. Scully some answers."  Skinner glanced over at Mrs. Scully as she approached them.

"Could you tell me what's going on first?"  Skinner looked around and Mrs. Scully nodded.  Mulder sighed and they all returned to the couch where he brought them both up to date.

"My poor baby, what could have . . . Who would do this?"   She stopped as Mulder came to his feet and looked over at the approaching doctor.

"Agent Mulder?"

"Yes.  This is Agent Scully's mother.  What's going on?" 

"Please, have a seat."  He pulled a chair up to join them.  "We're waiting for the toxicology report, she has to have been given a cocktail we aren't able to . . . Without knowing what's in her system we're not able to give her anything to bring her down.  I'm concerned about her heart.  We're going to move her to a room and monitor her.  For now, that's all we feel comfortable doing.  Once she's settled, one of you can sit with her.  I'll have a nurse come get you."  He rose.

"Hold it!  You don't know anything?"  Mulder rose as well.

"Agent Mulder, we need to move cautiously here.  We don't want to do more damage than has already been done.   Her blood pressure is up, and her heart rate, she's struggling against her bonds.  We can't get her to communicate.  We have to wait, for her sake."

Mulder wiped his hand across his forehead and swallowed his next comment.  He felt Mrs. Scully's hand on his arm.  "We need to wait, Fox."  He nodded but didn't look at her.

"Mulder, Mrs. Scully, let me get you some coffee."  Skinner spoke up, trying to calm the situation.

Mrs. Scully looked up at him and gave him a tremulous smile.  "I don't think we need any coffee right now Mr. Skinner, but I appreciate you sitting with us.”  He nodded; there was nothing to say.


When the nurse finally came to escort them to her room, Skinner excused himself to handle the investigation at her apartment, promising he would call.

Just outside the door the nurse stopped.  “I’m sorry but I have orders that only one person is to be in there with her.  They’re trying to keep stimulation to a minimum.”

“You go on in, Mrs. Scully.  I’ll sit out here.  Let me know if you need anything.”

She hesitated, torn with his need to see her, but this was her daughter.  Finally she nodded and entered the room.  He could hear her murmuring, trying to comfort her.  The animal sounds grew louder, more frantic.  He rose to his feet and was fighting with himself.  He’d made the decision to enter when the door opened and Mrs. Scully emerged, tears streaming down her face.

“She’s afraid of me.  My presence is making her worse.  Fox, what’s wrong with my baby girl?”  He put his arm around her and led her to the chair he had vacated, glancing once more at the door to Scully’s room. 

Mrs. Scully saw the movement and took his hand.  “Go to her Fox.  See if she knows you.  She’s got to calm down, her body can’t take this.”

He nodded, having reached the same conclusion.  But her paranoia had made her just as terrified of him, shooting him to keep him away from her.  Mrs. Scully gave him an easy push toward the door.

Yes, he had to see her, touch her.  Despair nearly overwhelmed him when he saw her.  She was as agitated as she had been at her apartment.  How could she keep going like this?  He approached the bed slowly, his hand out, talking softly.  Her name and his name, like in the ambulance.  He saw her actually look at him for an instant, really focus on him and then away.  Well that was a positive.

He lay his hand gently against her cheek and she jerked away, but he did it again and again.  Her movements seemed less violent, or was that wishful thinking?


He heard the tap on the door, so did she - he could feel her tighten up even more, if that was possible.  Thinking it might be Mrs. Scully, he answered in a low, calm voice.  When the door opened however, it was a man in coveralls.

“Excuse me.  I’m sorry to disturb you.”

“You need to leave.”  He had to keep his voice steady, calm.  What the hell was some workman doing in here?

“Yes sir.  I’m sorry to bother you, but I need to check out the wiring in here.” 

“Wiring?”  He kept his voice soothing; his hands never ceased their caress of her shoulder, her hair. 

“Yes sir.  We’re experiencing weird power surges, static.  All kinds of electrical interference.  It seems to be coming from this floor, this wing, and it’s causing problems with patient care.  I’ll just be a minute."

Mulder’s eyes narrowed and his hands faltered.  Her whimper drew his attention back to her.  He began rubbing her arm again.  The same movement over and over. 

Mulder kept a close eye on him.  He acted legit, and seemed to know what he was doing.  He approached the bed cautiously, "May I look at the controls of the bed?" 

After looking down at her, he nodded slowly.  The man stayed as far from the bed as possible as he examined the call button and television control.  After a minute he looked up at Mulder and shrugged.  "I'm not finding anything.  There's no short.   Look, I'm sorry.  I'll get out of your way."

Mulder nodded, "Could you stop back by, tell me what you find?"

"Huh?  Oh, sure." 

Mulder turned his attention back to her.  He had thought she was calming down, but that wasn't it he realized.  She was weakening, her body no longer able to withstand what was happening to it.

"Scully, please, I'm here with you.  Try to relax; I won't let anything happen to you.  But you have to calm down."

Her eyes were glassy now.  He wasn't sure she could still hear him at all.  She hadn't slept, though at times she had seemed to lose consciousness.

The doctor returned and motioned for Mrs. Scully to step inside the room.  She was no longer able to struggle.  "We need to examine her again."

"Why?  You're not helping her!"  He hissed his frustration at the doctor.  Mrs. Scully put her hand on his arm.

"Fox, let them try."

He closed his eyes, shaking his head, but allowed her to lead him from the room.  He sank into the chair he had used earlier, Mrs. Scully pacing in front of him.

"Uh, Mister?  She, is she..."

Mulder looked up to see the electrician standing near him looking concerned.

"No change."  He stretched and rose from the chair.  "Hey, did you find anything?"

"Nothing that makes sense."  The man shrugged.  "It seems to be coming from right here, but it's not our equipment.  Our equipment doesn't put out the kind of signal I'm getting."

"What's your name?" 

"Bob, Bob Samuels."

"Mulder.  Listen, can you get your hands on one of those lead aprons, like they use in x-ray?"

"Yeah, I think so."  He turned and headed toward the stairs.

"Fox, what?  What are you thinking?"

"I don't know.  This came on her from nowhere.  They can't find any drugs in her system and now this weird electrical problem.  I don't know, it's like there's some kind of connection."  He shook his head.

"A hunch, Fox?"  He shrugged.  She managed to smile at him then.  "Dana trusts your hunches.  She says you're famous for them."

"You mean that's where I got the name 'Spooky'?"

"I don't know about that, but I feel more confident that you'll find help for Dana than anyone in there."

He drew back, startled.  Mrs. Scully felt that way?  Before he could think of a response, Bob was back with the vest.

"You think there's something dangerous about these surges?"

"Yeah, but not to us."  He looked over at Mrs. Scully who nodded her encouragement.  He took the vest from Bob and moved to her door.  It opened before he could get there.  "How is she?"

The doctor shook his head and looked grim.  "Not good.  I admit, I'm at a loss.  Nothing in my experience should cause this.  She's weakening rapidly.  I...I've conferred with some colleagues, none of their suggestions have helped at all."

"There's something I want to try."

"You?  What would you want to try?"  The doctor wasn't happy, but he didn't have any reason to object.  He was helpless right now.  He moved aside to allow Mulder entry, glancing down at the vest.

Mulder lightly caressed her cheek, "Scully, can you hear me?"

Her eyes barely blinked.  She was dying and he had a stupid experiment to run.  He glanced at the monitors, her pulse was still racing and her breath was shallow.

Hell, at this point he had nothing to lose.  He lifted her shoulders and slipped one end of the vest under her head.   He pulled the other end over her throat and chest, completely surrounding her throat.

The doctor watched in amazement as her pulse slowed to a more normal rate.  The muscles in her arms unlocked and she slipped immediately into a sleep state.

"What the hell did you do?"

"I'm not sure.  Bob, could you check the surges?"

"Yeah, yeah, sure."  He pulled his equipment from his belt and moved into the room from where he had been standing just outside the door.  "I'm not...” He squatted near the outlet that fed her monitoring equipment.  "It's gone.  Look at this."

Mulder knelt beside him.

"Fox, what is it?"  Mrs. Scully placed a hand on his shoulder and looked down at the monitor herself.

He rose and leaned in close to her, speaking in barely a whisper.   "The implant."

Her eyes widened, but she followed his lead, this wasn't something they could speak of in front of the others.  She took a breath and straightened up.  "Doctor, how is she?"

He was examining her again.  "Her blood pressure is down, and her heart rate.  What the hell did you do?"

"You're saying she's better."  Mulder spoke then.

"Yes and I want to know why."  He reached to remove the lead apron.

"Don't touch that."  Mulder had spoken quietly, but the command was there.  The doctor flinched back as though he'd been struck.  "She's resting now.  Don't disturb her."  He turned then, dismissing the doctor.  "Mrs. Scully, there are some people I need to get over here.  Will you be okay here for a few minutes?  Don't let anyone touch that."

She nodded.  "We'll be okay."

"Doctor, why don't you leave Mrs. Scully alone with her daughter for a little while."

"I beg your pardon?"  The doctor wasn't used to being dismissed from a patient's room.

"Agent Scully is resting more comfortably.  I'd prefer that she not be bothered with further testing for the present."  He stood facing the doctor, not making the fact that he was armed obvious, but something about his posture…

The doctor was out the door now and Bob was trying to hide his smile at the way the whole thing had gone down.

"I won't be long, Mrs. Scully.  Bob, can you hang around?"

"Yeah, sure."  He didn't know what was going on, but he wanted to see the rest of it.


Byers was having an argument with Frohike even as they exited the car.  They hadn't even spotted Mulder until he called out to them.  "You bring the stuff?"

"Yeah, but we don't understand."

"Neither do I, but it nearly killed her.  We have to find out what's happening.  When the implant was shielded by the lead, she finally relaxed.  It can't come back.  Her body can't take any more of it.  Whatever we do, we have to keep her protected."

Frohike nodded.  They followed him into the elevator, with Mulder bringing them up to speed as far as he knew.

Back at her room, he introduced the trio to Mrs. Scully and Bob.   Then asked Bob to brief them on the electronic interference he had investigated.  Mrs. Scully stayed at her side as they retreated to the hall to talk, but her eyes were on Mulder; he was back in command.  He’d found something that helped Dana, his only goal.

After a few minutes Bob started to lead the three men away to check the junction boxes.  Byers stopped when he realized Mulder wasn’t beside him.  “Mulder?”

“You guys are already over my head.  I’ll hang around here, make sure she’s not bothered.”   Byers nodded and caught up with the others.

Mulder quietly opened the door to her room and Mrs. Scully looked up.  She smiled and motioned for him to enter.

“Any change?”

“No, she seems to be sleeping peacefully now.  I’m not sure the doctor will be back while you’re here.”

“For all the good he did, he doesn’t ever have to come back.”

“Now Fox, he did the best he could.  After all he’s not you.”   He looked over at her stunned.  “Well, you should take some credit.  You helped her relax, not him.”

“If it weren’t for me, she wouldn’t have the damn implant at all.”

“Right, and she’d be dead from cancer.”

That stunned him again.  “I meant - “

“I know what you meant.  You’re wrong.”  She stated it flatly, not willing to listen to any protests.  “You didn’t know Dana before she was assigned to you.  You don’t know how restless she had become.  She was already rethinking her decision about joining the Bureau.   Not that it bothered her father or me.   We would have liked to see her go back to medicine, but then you…she was totally revitalized, her work consumed her.  Okay, maybe a little too much sometimes, but only because she loves it.”  She settled back in her chair and motioned for him to draw up the other chair beside her.

“It seems to me that Dana is in a lot more danger when you’re not around than when you are.  That horrible case in New York where her other partner shot her, when you had to go off God knows where to find her, when they tried to close you down.”  He closed his eyes, if she was going to recite…

“I’m sorry, Fox.  You remember these things better than I do, and I know you can’t tell me too much; she’s told me so herself over and over, but the one constant I see, is you saving her.   Even when it’s not physical danger you save her, Fox.  Emily?  She would never have gotten through that without you.”

He looked at her lying there, “Not everyone in your family feels that way.”

“Not everyone doesn’t either.  You haven’t met Charlie yet have you?”  He shook his head.   “When I go to visit them, the first thing his boys ask me for is a ‘Mulder story’.”

“A what?”

“A Mulder story.  What you and Dana have been up to.  I’m not sure exactly what Charlie tells them, but he and Dana obviously communicate more than you realize.  The boys want to be just like you when they grow up.”

He just stared at her; okay, she had to be pulling his leg.  She smiled gently at his discomposure.  Scully shifted in her bed, not waking, just getting more comfortable.  Mulder stood then, as much to regain some composure as to check on her.  The lead shielding was still in place.

After a few minutes she spoke again.  “Fox, you should go on home.  I know you’re exhausted and she did shoot you.”

“That wasn’t her fault.  I’m fine, Mrs. Scully.  I don’t want to leave.”

She sighed; it was the answer she had expected anyway.  “Well then, I’m going to stretch my legs for a minute.   Can I bring you something?”

“Why don’t I go, what would you like?”

“Fox, sit here with her.  That’s what I’d like.”

He had no response to that, so he made none, taking the chair that she vacated, closer to the bed. 

When she returned Mulder’s friends and Bob were standing outside the door.  “Is anything wrong?”  She quickened her pace.

“No, no, Mrs. Scully.  She’s still asleep.  We came to tell Mulder what we’ve found, but he’s asleep too.  We didn’t want to disturb him.”

She nodded, “Can I give him a message?”

“Just that we’ve got a lot to analyze.  We’ll give him a call as soon as we can.”  The bearded one answered; Byers wasn’t it?

“And tell Dana we’re thinking about her.”  That from the little one. 

She smiled and thanked each of them, then opened the door a crack.   Yes, he was asleep, his head on the bed beside her.  She didn’t want to disturb them, so she turned to the nurses’ station to ask about a place to wait.


The movement of her hand woke him.  Her eyes were open but she was obviously disoriented.  “Scully?  Can you hear me?”  Her lips formed his name, but no sound came.  “Don’t try to talk, just relax.  You’ve been through the wringer and you’re going to be tired out for awhile.  You’re at Georgetown.  Your mother’s around here somewhere.  Would you like me to find her?” 

The shake of her head was almost imperceptible.  “What?”  She managed to whisper.

“What happened to you?  We don’t know yet.  The guys are checking it out.”  She moved her head then, as though trying to get out from under the weight pressing down on her.

“No Scully.  That’s a lead apron, from X-ray.  It needs to stay there for now.”  She looked the question at him, too weak to ask.

“I don’t know much more than you do right now, Scully.  But you’re going to be okay.  You’re not injured; you’re just exhausted.”

Her eyes fell on his bandage then and her hand reached for his.  “I’m fine.  This is nothing, they just like to charge for gauze around here.”  His free hand had reached up to brush that curl off of her face as he had done so many times at so many bedsides.  Her eyes were already drifting close again.  “Sleep, Scully, I’ll be right here.”

When she was asleep again he rose to stretch.  He should find Mrs. Scully; let her know that Scully had been awake.   And where were the guys; surely they’d seen everything Bob had to show them by now.   He glanced at his watch; shit, he’d been asleep a couple of hours.

He moved quietly to the door and opened it.  He didn’t want to leave the room, leave her alone, but he should find Mrs. Scully.  He glanced back at Scully.  She was asleep and he’d be right back.

The nurse looked up when he approached the desk.  “Do you know where Mrs. Scully is?” 

“Her mother?  She went down to the cafeteria.”  She glanced at her watch.  “She’ll probably be right back.  She hasn’t been far away since she arrived.”

Mulder nodded and looked back at the room.

“Go on back, Agent.  I’ll send her in.”

“Thanks.” He moved back to the room.  The nurse was right; Mrs. Scully was back in no time.


He was on his feet again.  Her mother looked over at Scully, then motioned for him to join her in the hall.

“Has she been awake?”

“Just for a moment.  She asked a couple of questions, then dozed off again.”

Mrs. Scully nodded, “Your friends came by, but you were asleep too.”

“They should’ve woke me.”

“She was resting and you needed to as well.  You’re not indestructible, Fox.”

He gave her a wry grin then, “At least not where she’s concerned.  Why don’t you sit with her and I’ll give them a call.”

She nodded and squeezed his arm, then quietly let herself into Scully’s room.  He watched through the glass in the door to make sure she was settled, then pulled his phone from his pocket.

“It’s me.  What have you found?”

“How is she?”  Frohike countered instantly.

“Her body’s getting some rest.”

“Good.   Can you come over?”

“No.  I can’t leave.   Can you bring the info here?”

“Yeah, we’ll be a little while.  Gotta get everything together.”

“Thanks, Frohike.  You know where to find me.”


“Mulder, it’s a transmission - you had it figured out.  We don’t know a lot more yet.  We need to know where it’s coming from to stop it.  It was affecting her at her apartment and here, so it’s a strong signal.  It seems to be broad band, not focused just on her, but . . . “ Byers shrugged.

“The best solution we can think of is to remove the chip - “ Langly started.


“We, uh, we didn’t think you’d like that one, Mulder.”  Frohike spoke to calm him.

Mulder took a deep breath.  “What else’ve you got?”

“Well, thanks to you, we know lead stops the signal.  Obviously she can’t go around with that lead bib around her throat.  We need to test, see how small a piece of lead is needed and where to place it.”  Byers responded.

“Mulder, she might need something as small as a nicotine or hormone patch.”  Frohike offered.

“The trick’s gonna be testing it.”  Langly looked over at the door to her room as it opened and Mrs. Scully looked out.

“Is she awake?”  Mulder moved over to her. 

“No, Fox.  Do you have any ideas?”

“That’s what we’re discussing now.  The guys have some thoughts; the problem’s going to be testing.   Her body can’t . . . “ 

“You’ll think of something, Fox.”  Mrs. Scully patted his hand and smiled at the others.  Then she turned back to the room.

After the door closed, Langly turned to Mulder.  “She’s got a lot of trust in you.”

“And I can’t let her down.  So, you have one of these patches?”

“Yeah, it’s a prototype.  We might be able to make it smaller, more comfortable to wear.”

“And Mulder, the signal could cut off as quickly as it started.”

“We can’t wait for that, Langly.  I came too close to losing her.”

All three men nodded at him and he pushed the door to her room open.   They followed him in.


She woke to the feel of his hand on her cheek.  “Scully, I need you to wake up.  Can you hear me?  Come on, Scully.”

Her eyes fluttered and her grip on his hand tightened slightly. 

“You can do it, Scully.”  His hand caressed her face again.

“Mulder?”  The weakness of her voice surprised her and she forced her eyes open.

“Hi.”  His smile warmed her and she tried to smile in return.  “Can you tell me how you’re feeling?”

She was quiet for a minute, assessing her body.  “I’m tired and sore.  Was I beaten?”  She moved slightly to ease the pressure on different parts of her body, and felt the bandage on her neck scratch the pillow.  She reached up to touch it.

“No, Scully.  Leave it.  I’ll explain later.  Do you want something for pain?”

She shook her head slightly.  “Water?”

He immediately had a cup in his hand and bent the straw for her.  “Let me know if you change your mind about the pain medicine.  Your mother’s here.  I’ll get her.”

“Mulder,” she didn’t release his hand.  “What happened to me?”

“We can talk about that - “

“Now, Mulder, I need to know.” 

They both looked at the door as it opened and Mrs. Scully entered.   When she saw that Dana was awake, she hurried to her side.  “Dana!”   She beamed at her daughter, then up at Mulder.  “How do you feel, Darling?”

“I’m okay, Mom.  I just need to know what happened.”

Mrs. Scully’s look turned indulgent then.  “That sounds like my daughter.  Okay, Fox, why don’t you explain it to her?  You’re the only one that understands anyway.”

Scully blinked at her mother, then noticed that Mulder looked slightly embarrassed at her words.

“The guys did the work.”

“Fox, you saved her.   Admit it, and accept my gratitude.”

He shook his head, but Scully tugged lightly on his hand.  “Mulder, please.  What?” 

He took a deep breath and sank into the chair beside her bed.  He glanced up at Mrs. Scully.  She took the chair next to him and patted his shoulder.  Scully became even more mystified at their closeness.

“Should I be jealous?”  She looked at her mother.

Her mother chuckled, “If I were twenty years younger, maybe.   But I don’t think I’d stand a chance.”

Scully looked over at Mulder, and saw that he was actually blushing.   What had happened?  She decided to start on something easy.  “What happened to your arm?”

“Huh?”  He had to look down to remember his own injury.  “Oh.”   He glanced at Mrs. Scully, which caused a slight frown to form on Scully’s face.  “I, uh, I was shot.”

“Shot?”  She tried to sit up then and his hand on her arm stopped her.

“It’s okay.  Just a flesh wound.”

“We were on a case?”  She looked confused.

“Not exactly.”

“Damn it, Mulder!  Talk to me.”  She winced at the movement and he was on his feet.


“I’m fine.  But I’m losing patience rapidly.”  Her eyebrow was at its apex.

He took a deep breath.


She looked over at her mother for confirmation.  The older woman nodded.  “The implant?”

“It had to be.  Whatever caused the broadcast; Bob was able to see it on his gauge.  It’s still being broadcast.  But the lead - “

“I have to wear a shield on my neck the rest of my life?”

“Scully.  I couldn’t let them remove the chip.”

He looked down then, she couldn’t argue with that, not really.   “I can’t believe I shot you.”   She shuddered slightly.

“You were protecting yourself, Scully.”

“From you?”

He gave her that sideways grin.  “If I were a paranoid person, I’d wonder about that.”

She didn’t smile, fingering the bandage yet again.

“Frohike thinks they can make it smaller, lighter.  We want you stronger before we do any testing, just in case.”

“Dana, you need some rest, and Fox hasn’t been home in a couple of days.  I’m sending him home and when he gets back, I’ll go.”

Scully looked at her blushing partner.  “I’m okay.  You can both - “

“Why don’t you go, Mrs. Scully?”

She looked at him then, and a small smile started in her eyes.  “Yes, Fox, that might be a good idea.”  She stood then and kissed her daughter’s cheek.  “I think I understand this partner of yours a little more now.   It makes me feel a lot better, safer, knowing you work with him.”  She whispered in Scully’s ear.   Scully’s eyes widened and she looked over at Mulder.  His look questioned her, but he remained silent for now.

Mrs. Scully straightened up then, “I’ll relieve you in an hour, Fox.”

“Don’t rush, Mrs. Scully.  I’m fine.”

She noticed that their hands were entwined and wondered if they knew it.  She smiled and let herself out the door.  They needed the time.