From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 22 Aug 2004 13:36:53 -0000 Subject: NEW: All Things Again (1 of 2) by Vickie Moseley Source: direct Reply To: email@example.com Title: All Things Again (1 of 2) Author: Vickie Moseley Summary: Post Monday, Scully confronts another lifetime and Mulder is on the receiving end. Category: AU MT MSR A Rating: PG13 Archive: Yes Disclaimer: Kudos to Gillian Anderson for all things (basically for the character of Daniel Waterson) and Vince Gilligan and John Shiban for Monday. Oh yeah, and Chris Carter for dreaming up the universe in which I like to play, for no profit. No copyright infringement intended. Authors notes: OK, this is not exactly your standard post ep. It's more of a post ep remix. I took some stuff from all things, mixed it with some stuff from Monday and even though they are from two different seasons, I put the whole concoction in S7 probably where all things would go. If that's not confusing enough, I'll try harder next time. Hugs to Obfusc8tor for lightning fast beta service and the addition of a scene that was missing. Hope you like what I added. Craddock National Bank Eighth Street Branch Monday, 8:45 am The air in the bank crackled with fear and tension. Scully held Mulder in her lap, cradling him, pressing her hand against his bare chest as blood oozed through her fingers. She blinked back tears to look at his face; his eyes were glazed and dull. She bit her lip and lifted her head to look at the man towering above her. "They aren't going to call. What's your name?" The man, a straggly bearded guy not out of his twenties just snorted and cast a glance down at her before staring at the other customers all lying on the marble floor. "Yeah," he chuckled bitterly. "Look, I have to call you something. How about Steve? Steve is a nice honest name," Scully choked out, barely making the words pass her lips. She had to get him talking, had to make him realize that this situation was not hopeless, for any of those present, including her partner. "Bernard." She never would have pictured him a Bernard, but it was a start in the conversation. "Bernard. I have to get my partner out of here." It was becoming harder and harder to control her voice. She could feel Mulder's life slipping through her hands and she knew it was all up to her, but God, she didn't know if she was up to it. "I am blowing this freakin' place right off the map if they come in here," Bernard yelled at her, his finger going to the detonation switch attached to the sticks of dynamite strapped to his chest. He was staring at her when his eyes went wide and small hole appeared in his forehead. Two heartbeats later, she heard the report of the gun, just a few feet behind her. She jerked her head and looked over her shoulder to see the security guard on the floor, gun in hand, determined expression on his face. When she looked back at Bernard, he was in the process of falling to the floor, already dead. "I couldn't let that happen," the guard said in a shaky voice as he rose to stand. "Thank you," she said in a rough whisper. "Please, get the EMTs in here," she begged. "Yes ma'am," the young guard said, running to the door. Soon the bank was invaded by dozens of men in flak jackets. Scully searched the sea of faces and uniforms before finally spotting a woman and two young men in light blue carrying a gurney between them. "Thank God," Scully said in an exhale as the trio made their way over to her and Mulder. "He's been shot, in the chest. No exit wound. Pulse is thready." "We've got him. Marcy, help the lady up. Jake, call base, this one looks bad." As the woman helped Scully stand and tried to lead her away from where the two men worked on Mulder, Skinner stepped forward and took her sleeve. "I'm her boss. I have her," he told Marcy, who nodded and went back to work with her teammates to save the wounded agent. "Scully, what the hell happened here?" She looked up at him in a daze. "Mulder needed to deposit his pay check," she said simply and dragged her gaze over to where the EMTs were frantically working on her partner. "There was a robbery. It was in progress when I got here. Apparently, Mulder tried to stop it and the . . ." She couldn't go on, it was finally all crashing down on her. To his credit, Skinner realized he was asking a bit too much of her and put his arm around her shoulder, turning her away from the view of Mulder on the floor. "It's OK. We can get a statement later. Are you hurt?" he asked gently. She shook her head. "No. It's all Mulder's . . ." This time she couldn't stop the tears, but she only allowed them to fall for a few brief seconds. "The blood is all Mulder's," she said, forcing her self to remain calm. "Ma'am, do you know the next of kin?" Marcy asked and Scully turned to find that Mulder was loaded on the gurney, oxygen mask and IVs in place. "We're taking him to Washington National Hospital. They can meet us there." "I'm the next of kin," Scully said, her chin trembling, but her resolution to remain calm keeping her voice steady. Marcy nodded. "We'll be there in about 10 minutes. You can ask for him in the ER." She ran to catch up to her teammates, who were already out the door and headed for the waiting ambulance. Scully was frozen to her spot until she felt Skinner touching her shoulder. "My car is parked right outside. If we hurry, we should get there right after him." She nodded in gratitude and allowed him to guide her to the car. As they hurried down the street, she caught sight of a young woman with stringy bleached hair collapsing into the arms of a policewoman as two men loaded Bernard's body into the back of the Medical Examiner's wagon. Washington National Hospital 9:05 am The Emergency Room entrance was next to the ambulance bay and Scully saw the driver closing the back doors of the vehicle that had carried Mulder. She swallowed hard and headed for the sliding door. Pulling her badge, she addressed the receptionist. "I'm Dana Scully, I'm an agent with the FBI. My partner was just brought in with a gunshot wound -- Fox Mulder. Can you tell me where he was taken?" It sounded tinny and far away to her own ears, but she hoped it sounded detached and professional to the young woman behind the counter. Efficiently, the receptionist typed a few letters on her keyboard. "He's been taken to trauma room 3. If you step over to the cubicles to the right, someone will be with you shortly." She smiled up at Scully and then turned her attention to the next person in line. "No, please, I have to go back there," Scully interrupted the woman again, but Skinner was once more at her side and steered her over to the cubicles. "Scully, I know you want to be back there, but there is paperwork, procedure to follow," he said gently as he pulled out a chair for her. "Damn procedure," she spat out. "I want to know what is going on back there!" "As do I, but we can't get anywhere this way. Please, just give them his information and then we're more likely to get what we want." Trauma Room 3 Emergency Department Washington National Hospital 9:08 am "What have we got?" the attending physician asked as she strolled into the already crowded trauma room. "Gunshot wound to the chest, no breath sounds on the left, b/p 70 over 40 and falling," called out a nurse standing near the patient's head. The doctor did a quick exam and looked at the automatic blood pressure cuff monitor. "There's a nicked artery somewhere. We need to get him a scan and up to surgery." She looked over at one of the nurses. "Better put in a call to the old man." The nurse grimaced. "I thought he was on vacation." "He didn't leave town. He never does. Call his service, he'll be here. And tell him to hurry, he hates it when they go sour before he gets a chance to slice and dice." An orderly and a nurse pushed the gurney out of the room and down the hall to the nearby X ray department. Another nurse touched the doctor's sleeve. "Dr. Patterson, his partner is out in the waiting room. Do you want to speak with her?" "Partner?" "He's FBI. He was trying to stop a bank robbery," the nurse replied. "Shit. This is what he got for his trouble. Sure, I'll speak with her. What's her name?" The nurse quickly consulted the computer screen in the corner of the room. "Dana Scully." Dr. Patterson nodded and went over to the sink, stripping off the latex gloves and washing her hands. "Let me know when the old man gets here." It wasn't a long walk to the ER waiting room, but the noise level increased dramatically. After a few minutes, Patterson caught sight of a young woman and an older man in business attire sitting in the far corner of the room. The woman looked like she'd been crying. The doctor squared her shoulders and walked over to them. "Dana Scully?" she asked softly, but loud enough to be heard over the din. "Yes, I'm Dana Scully. Do you have word on Fox Mulder?" Scully was on her feet before the words had left her mouth. "I'm Janet Patterson, I was the ER doctor who saw your partner." "How is he? Is he . . ." Patterson reached out her hand and rested it on Scully's shoulder. "He's being taken to surgery. I've called the best cardiac surgeon in the DC area. Your partner will be in excellent hands. Now, if you want to go up to the sixth floor, you can wait in the surgical waiting room. Just give them the patient's name at the desk and someone will be out to give you regular updates." "But how is he? Mulder, I mean," Scully insisted. "We're doing everything we can," Patterson hedged. Just then, her pager went off. She glanced down at the screen and nodded to herself. "I have to get back there. We are blessed with an excellent staff here, please take comfort in that." Before Scully could object, the doctor was gone. "C'mon, Agent. Let's go find this waiting room." Skinner was holding her elbow again, leading her toward the bank of elevators just down the hall. For a moment, Scully imagined that she was dreaming. It felt so surreal, so unnatural. Mulder should be walking next to her, his hand on the small of her back. She'd seen him, talked to him just a few hours ago. When had he gotten a waterbed? He'd been staying at her place on the weekends, but only because she refused to try and dig a path through the mess of his apartment. Wouldn't a waterbed be the kind of thing she would dream? The elevator doors opened and she stumbled as she stepped out, Skinner quick to take her elbow again. She was grateful for the support, but annoyed that she seemed to need it. She wanted to walk straight, to think straight. What if they needed her to make a decision for Mulder's treatment? She blinked her eyes and tried to think of mundane thoughts. Wasn't it Monday? Already the week was shot to hell, she mused and couldn't stop the near hysterical giggle that bubbled up her throat. Skinner gave her a concerned look, but refused to comment. She got herself a little more under control and even managed to walk unaided into the tasteful waiting room just down from the elevators on the sixth floor. Spotting the desk at the front of the room, Scully went up to the counter and gave them Mulder's name. The older woman smiled at her and told her to make herself at home and let the desk know if she needed anything. She said nothing as she sat down on a comfortable armchair next to Skinner. CNN was on the television and the bug running at the bottom flashed a line about an aborted bank robbery in Washington DC, suspect dead, one man injured. She turned her eyes to the table next to her and fished through the 'Woman's Days' and 'Ladies Home Journals' before settling on 'Southern Living'. It was just something to hold in her hands to keep them from trembling. "Scully? Do you think you should call your mother?" Skinner's voice came to her from a long distance away, but she turned her head toward the sound and saw her boss looking at her sympathetically. "Mom?" she asked. "I just . . . I mean shouldn't you call her. Just to let her know where you are, that you're OK?" Scully nodded dully and started to pull out her cell phone. Skinner caught her hand and directed her attention to the blue and white sign on the wall near the door. "No cell phone usage allowed on the cardiac ward." "I think I saw a payphone near the elevators, just on the other side of the hall," Skinner offered. Armed with that information, she forced herself to rise and find the reported payphone. The phone rang five times before the answering machine picked up. Scully couldn't believe she was talking to her mother's machine, but there wasn't much she could do about it. "Mom, um, it's me, Dana. Uh, there's . . . there's been a shooting. Mom, I'm at Washington National . . . Mulder -- " She had to stop because sobs were clogging her throat. After a few seconds, she started again. "Mom, if you get this, don't try to call me back, they don't allow cell phones. We're on the sixth floor, cardiac surgery unit. If you can, please come up. I . . . I need some fresh clothes, there was a lot of . . . blood. Mom, please, hurry." She hung up the phone, but couldn't make her hand release the receiver until the sweat from her palm caused her grip to slip. She pushed herself away from the wall and started toward the waiting room. As she took a step, the walls of the hallway started to dim and waver before her eyes and as her vision grayed at the edges she hoped she wouldn't hit the floor too hard when she fell. "Scully? C'mon, Scully. Time to wake up. You're starting to scare me here." At first, she thought it was Mulder, that she'd slept past the alarm again as she often did on nights when he stayed over. But then she realized it wasn't Mulder's voice, just Mulder's words that she recognized. She opened her eyes and stared directly at the Assistant Director. "Sir?" she asked, unsure of what he was doing leaning so close to her. "She's awake," Skinner said quickly to someone just outside her vision and a pert young nurse came into view, smiling at her. "There you are! Just needed a little glucose and some rest. Are you feeling better?" "What happened? Why am I lying down?" she asked, struggling to get up. "You passed out in the hallway," Skinner told her. "I came to look for you when you didn't come back from calling your mother and found you unconscious on the floor. The doctor who checked you out said you were suffering from shock after everything that happened this morning. Scully, I'm so sorry I didn't see the signs. I had no idea -- " She waved him off as she finally attained a sitting position. "I'm fine, sir," she insisted, although the IV in her left hand said otherwise. "Mulder! How is he? Has there been any word?" Skinner fought back a smile. He knew her first thoughts on waking would be her partner. "One of the nurses came out just a couple of minutes after you went to the payphone. She said the cardiologist found a tear in the aorta and was repairing that. The nurse figured Mulder would be in surgery another couple of hours and then the doctor who performed the procedure would be out to talk to you. That's why I went to find you, I wanted to see if you had any questions before she went back in the operating room." "Yes, I have all kinds of questions," Scully said tersely. "But get this thing out of my arm," she directed to the nurse. If the nurse was put off by Scully's brusque manner, she didn't let on. In a moment, Scully was free from the IV and looking around for her shoes. Skinner found them on a chair and handed them to her. "Where are we?" she asked, noting they were in a cubicle of some kind. Now that her attention wasn't focused on news of her partner she could pick up sounds and noises. "Emergency. They wheeled you down here. You were out for about 40 minutes, Scully," Skinner said, matching her terse tone. "Has my mother shown up?" she asked, sliding on her shoes and taking a tentative step off the gurney. To her relief, the room didn't spin and she stayed standing. "I don't know. I've been down here with you." "We better get up there, Mulder might be out of surgery and the cardiologist won't wait if I'm not there." Skinner had to hustle to catch up with her at the elevators. Scully was all but running when she made it to the cardiac waiting room. As she entered the door, she heard her name being called and turned to find her mother sitting in the seat she'd vacated not quite an hour before. Maggie Scully stood up and put her hand out to her daughter. "Honey, where were you?" "Long story, Mom. Has there been any word on Mulder?" Scully asked, trying to deflect her mother's concern to the appropriate person, her partner. "I asked at the desk when I got here. There was some confusion as to where you were. Someone thought you might have been down in the emergency room. What happened, Dana?" "I'm fine. I fainted in the hall, but it was nothing, Mom. Just . . . don't worry about it. I'll explain later. What did they say about Mulder? Is he out of surgery?" "They told me it would be another half hour or so before the doctor could come out to talk to us. I didn't know what to do, so I decided to wait here. I figured you would show up eventually," she said with a raised eyebrow and a disdainful expression. "Now, what do you mean you fainted?" "The doctor said it was shock, Mrs. Scully," Skinner interrupted, since Scully seemed reluctant to give the incident more thought. "There was a hostage situation at a bank robbery down the street from our office. Agent Mulder was shot by the suspect and both he and your daughter were held hostage for a short time." Maggie's eyes widened in dismay. "I heard that on the radio this morning. Craddock Marine Bank, right? What was Fox doing at a robbery? You don't work on robberies, do you, Dana?" "No, Mom, it was just bad timing. He was at the bank to deposit his pay and he was at the wrong place at the wrong time." Maggie shook her head and sighed. "Poor Fox. He does seem to find trouble." "I'll have to remember to have Kim put him on direct deposit after this," Skinner muttered. "At least I didn't miss the cardiologist," Scully said and sat down in a chair near her mother. Skinner glanced at his watch. "Agent Scully, I really need to call the office. The meeting is on hold right now and I think I should have Kim cancel it for today and reschedule." Scully shook her head, amazed that the wheels of bureaucracy could continue to grind even while her partner was fighting for his life. "Of course, sir. Whatever you need to do." Scully and her mother sat in silence for a few minutes. "I still don't quite understand what happened, honey," Maggie spoke softly. Taking in a deep breath, Scully looked over at her mother. She knew she'd be telling the police this story sometime in the near future. It would help to get the facts straight in her mind. "Mulder came to work late this morning, his waterbed sprung a leak and damaged the apartment below his. We were paid today so he had to run down to the bank and deposit the check before the check cleared that he'd written the landlord to cover the damages. He was just going to be gone a minute. When it appeared that he'd been gone too long, I went down to find him. I walked in on the robbery. When the gunman's attention was on me, Mulder drew his gun. Mulder ordered the gunman to drop his weapon, but the kid fired instead, hitting Mulder in the chest. He dropped to the floor and I ran over to him. The gunman then revealed that he had a bomb strapped to his chest. While he was telling me he was going to blow us all to kingdom come the bank security guard shot him. It was over in a matter of minutes." "Well, not quite over," Maggie corrected. She reached over and pulled her daughter to her. "I'm so sorry, sweetheart. Fox is in God's hands, we just have to trust that things will turn out for the best." Scully melted into her mother's embrace and let the sobs overtake her again. "I'm just so scared, Mom. I couldn't help him, I couldn't do anything to get him out of there. If that guard hadn't taken his shot when he did, we might all have been . . ." "No what if's, Dana. That part is all over. We have to concentrate on the here and now and how we're going to help Fox recover. Maybe this time we can convince him to come stay with me for a while. I'll promise him my famous meatloaf and mashed potatoes." That brought a smile to Scully's face. "Toss in your German chocolate cake and a sweet potato pie once in a while and you'll never get him to leave," she said with a chuckle and wiped the tears from her eyes. Skinner was standing at the door, looking like he wanted to be anywhere else. "Scully, I just talked to Kim. The DC police are crawling up the Director's -- well, I need to get back to the office. I'll hold them off, but you'll have to make your statement sometime today." "I understand, sir. Just let me hear how he's doing and I'll be able to talk to them," she answered with shoulders squared. "Good. I'll head back to the office. Please, call me with updates?" "Certainly. As soon as I know anything, I'll call. And sir? Thanks for everything." Skinner just nodded once and left. Maggie started to say something when a nurse came to the far door of the waiting room, next to the desk and called for the family of Fox Mulder. The nurse smiled at Scully and Maggie, then led them through the door and out into a small hallway. "Just this way," she said as they passed doors on either side. Finally, they came to the end of the hall and she opened the door into a small office, furnished with four chairs similar to the waiting room and a computer. Boxes of tissues were on the two tables separating the chairs. "Make yourself comfortable. The doctor will be right in," the nurse said and left, closing the door behind her. Scully noticed her mother fidgeting in her seat. "It's OK, Mom. This is more 'personal' than talking to us in the waiting room. Lots of hospitals are doing this as they upgrade their surgical and cardiac units." Maggie shot her an icy scowl. "Oh, I remember, dear. This is a perfect replica of the room they brought me to when you were injured in New York." Open mouth, insert foot, Scully silently chided herself. She was saved further faux pas by a knock on the door. A thin man in his late forties wearing clean scrubs and carrying a file folder stepped into the room. "Mrs. Mulder?" he asked, extending his hand to Scully. "Dana Scully," she corrected. "I'm Agent Mulder's partner. This is my mother, Margaret Scully." The doctor seemed confused for a moment, consulted his chart and then made a note. "OK, well, I'm Dr. Tanner, I assisted in Agent Mulder's surgery." "How is he? When can I see him?" Scully interrupted and Maggie reached over to place her hand on her daughter's arm. "Well, right now he's in recovery. He came through the surgery without complication. It was fairly intricate, the bullet nicked the aorta, a large valve at the top -- " "I'm a medical doctor," Scully interrupted again. "My specialty is forensic pathology." Tanner absorbed that information and made another note in the file. "Well, then, let's skip the explanations and I can show you the film." He pulled several x rays out of the folder and held them for both Scully and Maggie to see. Using his pen, he pointed to the film as he spoke. "You can see here the trajectory of projectile. Here is the resulting effusion," he circled an area of darkness next to the more recognizable heart. "Time was of the essence, of course and Fox had lost a full unit of blood before he arrived." "We were being held hostage," Scully said in a near whisper. Tanner looked at her sympathetically. "I heard it was an attempted bank robbery," he replied. "Well, the good news is we were able to induce DHCA and repair the tear in the aortic wall." Scully bit hard on her lip. "You ensured oxygenation?" she asked quickly. "Yes, there should be minimal chance of brain damage. The aorta is fully repaired and Fox responded well to rewarming." "Dana?" Maggie asked, obviously lost in the jargon being exchanged between the two medical professionals. "It's called deep hypothermic circulatory arrest, Mom. They brought his core temperature down to about 76 degrees. That allowed them to stop his heart for the period of time it took to repair the damage caused by the bullet. Then, when they were finished, they brought his temp back up to 98.6." "Exactly," Tanner said with a smile. "How many of these procedures have you performed, Dr. Tanner?" Scully asked, sitting back in her seat. He smiled again. "Only 4, but luckily, I wasn't the driver. Our chief cardiac specialist actually performed the operation. You might have crossed paths with him if you studied in the DC area. Daniel Waterson?" Scully closed her eyes and her fingers tightened their grip on her slacks. When she opened them, her guards were fully in place. "Yes, I know him. He was my instructor." "Well, he would be here himself but he got called in another operating room just as we were finishing up. I'm sure he'll be up to your partner's room later for rounds." "I'd like to see him now. My partner," Scully clarified. "We'll be moving him to a room in cardiac intensive care in about half an hour. The unit is on this floor, just go straight past the elevators then turn at the end of the hall and follow it to the double doors. The nurse at the desk will have the visitation policy, but I'll make a note that you're also a medical doctor and you shouldn't have any trouble staying as long as you wish." Scully was grateful for the man's kindness. "Thank you," she said sincerely. Tanner patted her shoulder. "He's young, in good health and he had the best surgeon on the east coast. He's very lucky he was brought here. Just make sure he follows orders and he'll recover from this in no time." Scully found nothing to say at that point. She nodded and followed Tanner out of the room with Maggie bringing up the rear. end of part 1 All Things Again (2 of 2) Washington National Hospital CICU 9:45 pm Scully walked into the waiting room and touched her mother's shoulder. Maggie startled awake from her doze in front of the television. "Sorry, sweetheart. I don't know what's wrong with me, I just drifted off." "Mom, there is no reason for you to stay. Why don't you go home?" "Oh, I'm fine," Maggie said, and didn't notice when her daughter winced at the phrase. "I'm holding out some hope that they'll let me in to see Fox." "Well, I have some good news. I talked the nurse into letting you go in for a few minutes. Then, I really want you to go home. I'll call if I need anything." Maggie sighed and leaned over to kiss her daughter on the forehead. "I'll just be a minute with him. I just want him to know that I'm here for both of you." Scully watched her mother walk to the door of Mulder's room and go in. She took the opportunity to collapse in the nearest chair and close her eyes. It had been a long day. Too long by half, as her father used to say. Mulder was holding his own. They had hooked him up to all the machinery of modern medicine -- he was on a ventilator because his lung had been damaged by the bullet, he was on an electroencephalogram to monitor his brain activity because of the DHCA, not to mention the heart monitor, blood pressure monitor, IV pump giving him antibiotics, pain medication and numerous other pharmaceuticals and they were closely monitoring his 'output' as well. It was tiring, watching all the displays and doing the mental calculations that served to reassure her that her partner was indeed being cared for in a manner she approved. She wished more than anything that she could curl up for a few minutes and rest. "Excuse me, are you here with Fox Mulder?" Scully's back was to the doorway, but she didn't have to turn to know who was now standing at the entrance to the waiting room. She remembered that voice all too well. Slowly, she stood and turned to face the man. "Dana?" Daniel Waterson's face split into an incredulous smile. "My God, Dana? What are you doing here?" "Daniel," she said simply, not really knowing what else to say to this man. "I'm here with Fox Mulder. He's my partner." Get him off us and onto Mulder, where this conversation belongs, she mused. "How is he?" "Oh, then you haven't seen him yet?" Daniel asked in surprise. "I'd heard a woman matching your description has been in there with him since he was brought up from recovery." Scully was growing impatient, but remembered how Daniel loved to control every situation. If she wanted information she had to play his game. "Yes, I was in with him. I know how h e is currently responding. I want to know . . . Daniel, damn it, just tell he what are his chances of a full recovery!" she growled. There was a flash of a smirk that crossed his face and it only served to make her angrier. In the space of a heartbeat, he realized his mistake and worked to make amends, something else she knew was Daniel's standard operating procedure. "Dana, let's have a sit," he said contritely. She purposely sat across from him, far enough that he had to perch on the edge of his chair to reach across and take her hand in his. She flinched at the contact, but didn't pull away. Not until she got what she wanted. "The bullet, as I'm sure you're aware, entered the chest passing through the middle lobe of the left lung and nicking the aorta. I was able to proceed only through the use of DHCA -- " "You stopped his heart," she said coldly. "Yes, and it saved his life. Dana, I've done that procedure a million times -- " She snorted her disdain for his exaggeration. "OK, a hundred times," he corrected. "Fox Mulder will make a full recovery, barring complications, which are always a danger. However, if I hadn't repaired the aorta, well, there are a number of very nice funeral homes -- " He realized too late his miscalculation and the fact that he had just struck bone. "Fuck you, Daniel," Scully said through trembling, gritted teeth. "I know what you did. Why didn't anyone come out and talk to me about it?" "Would you have suggested another procedure? If so, please enlighten me. I had no idea pathology had managed to find a better way to work on a _living_ heart," he sneered. "If cardiologists were perfect, we'd need fewer pathologist," Scully said with a sneer. "I wanted information. There are safeguards I would have asked about. I would have liked to give my permission." "That's for the next of kin," Daniel said evenly. "I am his next of kin," Scully shot back and watched the older man flinch and pale. "And he is mine." "I had no idea the FBI allowed -- " "Wasn't that always the way, Daniel. You had no idea then and you have no idea now." She pulled her hand away forcefully and stood up. "If you'll excuse me, I have to sit with my partner." She turned to find that her mother was standing in the doorway and had heard at least part of her confrontation. "Mom, are you going home now?" "Yes, sweetheart," Maggie replied, glancing over Dana's shoulder at Daniel. The surgeon had risen when he saw the older woman and was walking toward them. "Mrs. Scully, I'm Dr. Waterson, Daniel Waterson." Maggie gave no sign of recognition of the name so he ventured further. "I was one of Dana's instructors in medical school." "Oh, Dr. Waterson, what a coincidence," Maggie replied with a hint of suspicion in her voice. "Were you the surgeon who operated on Fox?" Waterson paled a bit at Maggie's obvious familiarity to his patient. "Yes, yes, I performed the surgery that saved Fox's life, actually," he said with an insolent smile. "Mom, when you come back up tomorrow, would you bring a sweater. It's rather chilly in these rooms," Scully said, shooting Daniel an indignant glance. "I better get in there. You know how he fights the meds," she added, leaning forward to give her mother a quick kiss on the cheek. "Thanks for coming up." "Where else would I be?" Maggie asked, accepting the kiss, but still very confused by the hostility she sensed in her daughter toward a former instructor. "Call me if there is any change?" "I promise," Scully said and put her arm around her mother, turning so that Daniel was no longer in view. They walked together to Mulder's door and then Scully squeezed Maggie's hand and went in to be with her partner. When Maggie reached the elevators she turned and saw that Dr. Waterson was still standing in the doorway of the family lounge, staring at Mulder's closed door. She vowed to find out what was going on, and soon. Scully slid the reclining chair closer to Mulder's bed, ever mindful of the cords and tubes hanging nearby and so easily tangled. He was pale and completely still, but the EEG registered strong brain activity and she heaved a sigh of relief. He would be waking up soon and she could talk to him, touch base with him. She smiled briefly when she remembered his words with her in his doorway months before. He called her his touchstone. She'd never felt that more keenly than at this moment, when he was right there, his hand under her cheek, and she couldn't see his eyes, couldn't hear his voice, couldn't read his thoughts. She hadn't felt so totally alone when oceans separated them. She dozed for a while, the steady beeping from the heart monitor and the hissing from the ventilator creating a white noise that her exhaustion accepted as a suitable lullaby. Unfortunately, her slumber was all too soon interrupted. Around 4:30 am, Mulder's arm moved under her cheek. She woke up and saw his eyes flutter. She smiled and turned on the low wattage light above his bed, hoping her presence would be enough to calm him. Her hopes were dashed when his eyes opened fully and he became aware of the tube down his throat. His right hand came up and he was just able to wrap his fingers around the tube when she caught him. It wasn't much of a fight, he was running on pure fear and had a nice cocktail of narcotics in his system which inhibited his reactions. She pulled his hand down to his side and stroked it, trying to make him listen to her. "Mulder, it's all right. I know you don't like it, but it's only for a little while longer." She chanted continually, and it seemed to be having an effect. Just when she thought he would go back to sleep, his gag reflex would take over and the fight was on again. By the look in his eyes he was pleading with her, not only to take out the tube, but to understand he wasn't fighting it on purpose. It was all beyond his control and was tiring him out unnecessarily. "I know, Mulder. This is ridiculous. I told them this would happen," she said as she tried to sooth him, stroking his head. Tears were slipping down her face and mixing with his own tears on his cheeks. They couldn't go on like that, she decided. Angrily, she hit the call button for the nurse. Nurses Station CICU 9:15 am Daniel Waterson strolled up to the desk with a confident air. He nodded as the nurse handed him his charts. His hands flipped through the pages until he came to the patient first on his list. "I see a notation that Fox Mulder was extubated last night?" he asked the nurse. Her wide-eyed expression called forth images of deer caught on interstate freeways. "I just came on, Dr. Waterson. I'm not sure -- " "The note says the resident on call extubated Mr. Mulder at 5:15 am. I left no orders to that effect." "No, you didn't." Daniel turned when he heard her voice and his smile died on his lips. "Dana. You look like something the cat dragged in," he said, trying hard to match her blank expression. "Well, I feel worse. Daniel, Mulder hates to be on a vent and when he'd conscious, he fights it, even if he can barely keep his eyes open. If he's awake and able to breath on his own, it's best to remove the vent immediately and avoid leaving him to struggle with it. I mentioned all this to the nurse last night. You, apparently, saw fit to ignore that warning and said you'd remove the vent this morning regardless. He woke up sometime after 4 am and was in a horrible state." "Then he should have been sedated," Daniel said casually, fumbling with the files to appear disinterested. Inside, he was seething. "You had no right to countermand my orders, Dana. He's not dead, you don't get to play with him yet." Scully's hand clenched into a fist at her side, but she kept her face a mask of professionalism. "He was oxygenating quite well and there was no need for the vent. He slept much better when it was removed. While we're on the subject, I think we'll be asking for a referral to another cardiologist." This time, Daniel couldn't hide his shock, or his anger. "What do you mean to say? That you don't trust me with your little boy toy?" Her hand came up, but she caught herself just in time. "If necessary, I'll have him transferred to another hospital. One where you do not have privileges." She spun on her heel and headed back into Mulder's room. Daniel caught her sleeve and she glared at him. "Let me go," she said slowly, through clenched teeth. "Dana, we seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot this morning," Daniel purred, changing tactics. Nothing was going the way he wanted it. "I'm sorry if you had a hard night." "Your patient had the hard night, Daniel." She shook him off and entered Mulder's room, Waterson hot on her heels. Before he could say something, the man in the bed spoke up. "Scully?" Mulder's voice was almost non-existent but it was definitely loud enough for Scully to hear and go to him, picking up his hand to hold close to her heart. "Hey there. Decided to wake up so soon?" Scully asked with a bright smile. "How are you feeling?" "Thirsty," Mulder rasped. He nodded over to the large cup of ice water sitting on his tray table. "Can I have a drink?" "I dare say you can, Mr. Mulder," Daniel said affably. He stepped forward and walked around Dana to stand at the foot of Mulder's bed. "I'm Daniel Waterson, I performed your surgery." Mulder licked his lips and swallowed. "I guess I owe you my thanks." Daniel smiled. "Your gratitude is refreshing. Too bad it's not that common these days." He directed the last comment at Scully. "Here, Mulder. Since Dr. Waterson says you can drink, have some water. Just take it easy." Scully held the cup and let Mulder take a few sips, then placed it back on the table. "Better?" Mulder nodded. "So, when do I get out of here," he asked, wincing as he tried to shift into a more comfortable position. "Mulder, we're not even going to talk about your release until you're in a regular room," Scully said, crossing her arms. "You do have ambition, I'll give you that," Daniel chimed in. "But I'm afraid we're several days before you'll be leaving us. Not to worry, you have a very competent personal nurse on hand, I'm sure you won't be lonely." Scully shot daggers at Waterson. "We don't want to keep you, Dr. Waterson. I'm sure you have other patients," she intoned. "Do you mind if I examine this one before I leave?" Waterson sneered. He took great pains to move Scully to the end of the bed and plugged his stethoscope into his ears. After listening to Mulder's chest both front and back, he peeled back the dressing covering the incision. "You're healing nicely, Mr. Mulder. I think we can have you in a step down room by this evening." He made a few notes on the chart and tucked it under his arm. "I'll leave orders for your pain meds at the desk." All the discussion and activity had taken its toll on Mulder. He was fading quickly. "sounds . . . good," he said with a long yawn. "Mulder, I want to talk to Dr. Waterson. I'll be right back," Scully assured him as she turned to follow Daniel out of the room. Mulder caught her sleeve before she got very far. "Play nice with the locals, Scully," he whispered and attempted a wink. It was what she had told him more than once when he was busy pissing off the local law and his intention was not lost on her. She smiled at him and brushed her hand through his hair. "I promise not to do anything you wouldn't do," she teased. "Good. They'll toss us out on our keesters before night fall," he smiled. Before she could respond, he was sound asleep. Daniel was waiting by the desk, trying to appear nonchalant when she approached. "I'd like a word with you, in private, Dr. Waterson," she demanded. "I'm leaving orders for Mr. Mulder's pain medication, Teena. You can file his chart for me, please?" Daniel asked sweetly of the nurse, completely ignoring Scully's presence. Teena had the good grace to glance over at Scully, but accepted the file. "Yes, Dr. Waterson." "Daniel," Scully said in a warning tone. "You said it yourself, Dana. I have other patients." "I want to talk to you, Daniel. Now." She spoke in a low voice, but very determined. He couldn't remember her ever using that tone of voice on him. He nodded and jerked his head. "There are conference rooms over here." He led her down the hall to a non-descript door and opened it, ushering her in. Scully stood until Daniel stared at her and finally she sat down. He chose to perch on the end of the small desk. "What is it now, pumpkin?" he asked, falling back on a pet name she'd always hated -- except in the bedroom. If she could throw him off balance, he saw every reason to return the favor. "Daniel, I want you to transfer Mulder's records to Dr. Tanner and I want it done before lunch," she said angrily. "You call him Mulder, he calls you Scully. Do you call him Mulder in bed, too, pumpkin? Or do you stay quiet so you don't call out the wrong name by mistake?" Daniel asked, crossing his arms and leaning back in an exhibition of total superiority. "Look, Daniel, you want to provoke me into telling you, OK, I'll tell you. Mulder and I are lovers. In addition to that we've been partners now over 6 years. You and I were together six months and that was 10 years ago. So I can assure you that Mulder never has to worry about hearing me call out your name or anyone else's when we make love." She stood up and marched to the door, turning back to look at him. "I'll expect those records to be transferred this morning, Daniel." When she returned to Mulder's room, she was only slightly calmer. Mulder roused when she scooted the chair closer to the bed. "Do you need your pain meds?" she asked, her fingers brushing his cheek. He shook his head no. "Scully? What's with you and my doctor?" he asked. She bit her lip and sighed. "I'm sorry, Mulder. I guess you must be terribly confused. I knew Daniel Waterson. He was one of my medical school instructors." "The one you didn't like?" Mulder asked. At her downcast eyes and grim expression, he smiled briefly. "Oh, the one you liked too much," he offered. Her eyes met his, glistening with regret. "I never dreamed I'd get involved with one of my professors, much less a married man. Mulder, I was young and foolish . . ." "And you got in over your head. Been there, done that, had to work an arson case with her many moons ago," he grinned sleepily. "You make it sound so commonplace," she said with exasperation. "Scully, believe me, when it comes to youthful indiscretions, I could write a book. But when they happen to you, or are in your past, no, they aren't commonplace. They are troubling and painful. I'm sorry you had to run into him this way. You have enough on your plate right now." "I left him and medicine to join the FBI, Mulder. I had to get that far away." Mulder nodded, as sagely as copious amounts of Demerol would allow. "And so this old beau is the guy who saved my life. That makes for a made for TV movie on Lifetime if I ever heard of one." She took his hand and caressed it gently. "I'm very, very happy with the choice I made," she assured him. "But I don't think Daniel has completely gotten over me." "Think he wants to arm wrestle me for your favor? I'm not exactly at my peak here, Scully." "Mulder, this is not funny. I told Daniel that I want your care transferred to Dr. Tanner." Mulder nodded slowly. "If he makes you that uncomfortable, I understand, but -- " "He does. But it's more than that, I just . . . I don't know, Mulder. Yes, he's a brilliant surgeon, but he performed a procedure without my knowledge or permission. I don't like being kept in the dark -- " "As opposed to me, who prefers to be unconscious when medical decisions are being made," he said dryly. She refrained from the chuckle he was trying to invoke. "Mulder, I want the best care for you I can find. But quite frankly, I can't tolerate Daniel Waterson's bedside manner. I guess he was always that boorish, but youth and adoration clouded my vision. Now I see him for what he really is, a pompous ass who takes too many risks." "We don't want risky people on our team, Scully, that's for darned sure," Mulder teased. He turned his head to gently kiss her hand. "You look exhausted. Go home and get some sleep." She shook her head. "Oh no. I'm not leaving. You'll just wait till my back is turned and steal a set of scrubs or con Frohike and the boys into helping you make a jail break." "You think so little of me," he said with a tired sigh. "At least kick that chair back and sleep a little. I feel so tired, and you're making me more tired just looking at you." "Such a romantic. No wonder you had to beat the women off with a stick, Mulder," she replied with a smirk, but happily took his advice. With just a little maneuvering she was able to lie back in the chair while reaching through the railing to gently hold his hand. Scully woke up several hours later, feeling much better for the rest. She stretched the kinks out of her back and smiled over at her partner, sleeping soundly in the bed. His color was coming back and although he still looked like death warmed over, she knew he was recovering. It had been too close and not for the first time. Every time she came close to losing him before she'd held him tightly and then pushed him away as soon as he was able to take care of himself. Not this time, however. They were living together, for all intents and purposes. Maybe it was the right time to suggest they make the arrangement more permanent. She'd talk to him about it when they got home again. There was a knock on the door and Scully called out a soft 'come in', hoping not to wake her partner. Dr. Tanner peeked around the door, looking somewhat sheepish. "Dr. Scully, may I have a word with you?" Glancing over at Mulder she saw that he was still deeply asleep, part exhaustion, part recovery, part pain meds. She brushed the backs of her fingers against his cheek and smiled fondly before she turned to follow Tanner into the hallway. The doctor wasted no time. "I don't think it's in the best interest of this patient to change doctors," he said without preface. Scully shook her head, a scowl forming on her face. "I knew he would pull something like this," she muttered. Finally, she looked at Tanner, her hands on her hips. "Did Daniel threaten you? What did he say? I want to know the truth." Tanner's eyes flew open and he backed up a step. "Good God, no! No, you have the wrong idea, Dr. Scully. Daniel Waterson hasn't said a thing to me. I saw the chart and the notes waiting on my desk after I came out of surgery this morning. Triple bypass. It was a little tricky," he rambled, trying to sort his thoughts and put them into words. "No, I mean this was a very complicated case and Dr. Waterson did an exemplary job in the operating room. I'll be happy to oversee Agent Mulder's follow up care, but while he's still considered post- op -- " "You were in the operating theatre, too, Dr. Tanner. I would prefer that I have no further contact with Dr. Waterson, for whatever reason. I have full faith in your ability to care for my partner." It was her final word on the matter, so she turned to go back to Mulder's side. "What does your partner want?" Tanner called after her. "Dr. Scully, listen to reason. Your partner should have died. The fact that he's still alive is testament to the skills Daniel Waterson provided. Do you really want to risk your partner's life -- " Scully spun on her heel and glared at the man. "I would never jeopardize my partner's life," she growled. Taking a deep breath, she checked her anger and tried to think of what to say. "I know how hard it is to live in someone's shadow, Dr. Tanner, especially when that someone is the very best in their field. But believe me, I do have full confidence in your ability to over see my partner's care." She stood for a minute, watching his reaction. Finally he nodded. "I'll be by later this afternoon to talk with you about where we are in the treatment plan." "I'll warn you, Fox Mulder is not an easy patient to love," she said with a smirk. "He's willful, he'll question every decision and he'll probably try at least once to sneak out AMA." Tanner raised his eyebrows and held back a glimpse of a smile. "Oooh, a challenge," he said. "I love a challenge, Dr. Scully." "Then we're both in luck," she replied and returned to Mulder's room. When she got there, Mulder was awake, shifting in the bed with a grimace. She helped get his pillow where it had slipped down too far and straightened out a pinched IV tube. She knew by the look on his face that he was curious about her relationship with Waterson, but she really didn't want to explore old history again so soon. "How's the pain?" she asked, stroking his head. "Not too bad," he lied. "The nurse snuck in and stuck something in my IV," he pouted. "Probably something you need," she said with a smirk. "Think you can go back to sleep for a while? I really need to go down to the police station and make a statement on the robbery." He nodded. "Go ahead. I'll be fine, Scully. I think the nurse said something about a step down unit, so I might be out of this fishbowl when you get back." "At least they care for you better than your fishbowl at home," she chided. "I'll check at the nurses' desk and find out when they're planning to move you. I'll try to make it back by then." She leaned over and kissed him gently on the lips. "Mulder, please be good while I'm gone." "I am always good, Scully," he said with a leer. With the right amount of medication in his bloodstream, he looked like he was just this side of roaring drunk. She chuckled at him and ruffled his hair softly. "Yeah. Right. Just make sure you are somewhere in this hospital when I get back." She kissed him again, they exchanged I love yous and she stood up, stroking his hair. Mulder closed his eyes, knowing she wouldn't leave until she thought he was asleep. He felt her hand leave his head and heard her quiet footfalls out the door. He was glad she was finally getting out of the hospital. Not that he didn't want her there, he always felt better when she was nearby. No, he was worried about her reactions to running in to her old boyfriend. Boyfriend. The word didn't seem to relate to the old guy who'd come into Mulder's room and shown nothing but arrogance and bravado. Mulder thought back and remembered Jack Willis displayed some of those characteristics, too. If he did a few moments of reflection, Mulder would have to admit he had his share of arrogance. Great. Now he knew that Scully was attracted to arrogant bastards. That was more reflection than he wanted in his current condition. There was more to it with Waterson, though. Mulder couldn't quite put his finger on it, but he hadn't liked the way the old man had looked at Scully. Disapproving. Waterson was looking at her much the same way Mulder's own father had looked at him for the last 20 years of their relationship. It was clear that Waterson thought he knew what was best for everyone, including Dana Scully -- a woman he hadn't seen in ten years. What an ass! It was probably for the best that he changed doctors. As far as Mulder was concerned it didn't really matter who signed the chart each day. Scully was his 'real' doctor and as long as she approved of whatever they gave him and whatever they did to him, he would keep out of it. He trusted her to watch his back and that included what they were jabbing into it with long pointy needles. He'd just started to relax and let his mind drift, thinking to the time when he'd get to go home and Scully would fuss over him. It was something he cherished, that she loved him enough to put up with him when he was hurt or sick. And sometime during that enforced togetherness, he'd have to remember to tell her he was sorry for scaring her and to thank her for saving him again. What did that make it? He knew she out scored him in the saving each other's lives department, but she kept insisting that going to Antarctica with a gunshot wound to the head got him multiple points in one outing. He heard the door swing on its hinges and wondered what she'd forgotten. Probably her jacket. It was lying on the other visitor's chair, the hard backed one that they never used. He opened his eyes to tell her where to find it when he saw that it wasn't Scully in his room. "Mr. Mulder. Good. You're awake." Daniel Waterson was standing at the side of his bed, a grandfatherly smile on his face. Mulder wondered if maybe he was a grandfather, maybe even a great grandfather. He shoved aside the several textbook examples of displaced father figures and young female attraction out of his head and tried to think clearly. "I didn't think you were my doctor anymore," Mulder blurted out. "Oh, this isn't an official visit. This is just a social call. I just wanted to see how you were doing," Daniel said glancing down at the chair near Mulder's side. "If you don't mind?" Mulder bit his lip. "Actually, I'm rather tired and I was about to go back to sleep," he said. "Oh, I won't stay long, I promise. Wouldn't want all my good work to go to waste now, would I?" Daniel started to sit down, then must have realized it would put him at Mulder's eye level. He made a show of moving the chair away. "So, you're Dana's FBI partner." "Yes," Mulder answered. If this guy were going to try and get into an argument over Scully, he'd just feign sleep. But in the absence of any kind of confrontation, Mulder was just as curious about Daniel and Daniel seemed curious about him. "We've been partners for almost eight years now." Daniel nodded in appreciation. "My heavens, you have known each other a long time. I thought Dana was going to the FBI to teach Forensic Medicine. Imagine my surprise when I heard she'd become a field agent. Isn't that a step down?" Mulder bristled, but answered. "Actually, most people in the FBI consider Field Agent to be the ultimate career. Teaching is what you do when you're too old to go out in the field," he said, holding back the smirk that he wanted so badly to display. "Scully, Dana, is very good in the field. She's a sharpshooter on the range and she has fantastic investigative skills. It would be a waste to keep her locked up in Quantico." "Not that you're biased, or anything," Daniel said with a smug expression. "Oh, I understand completely. She was a gifted doctor. It was a loss not just to the hospital, but to medicine when she chose to leave it all behind and go into law enforcement." Mulder really didn't like the way Daniel said 'law enforcement' -- as if it were something beneath him. "Agent Dana Scully has saved lives every day with her talent and her skills. I'm damned lucky she was assigned to be my partner, and so was the FBI when she chose to pursue a career there. She is considered one of the best female agents the Bureau has ever seen." "Well, all that's very nice," Daniel sneered. "Too bad it came at such a high price." Mulder frowned. Daniel seemed to know more about Scully than he should. "What are you talking about?" "Here she is, almost forty, no husband, no children, no real life outside the office. Seems to be a pretty shallow existence. I had hoped for more for her." Mulder smiled a tight-lipped smile. "After you left your wife, of course," he said derisively. "Or were you intent on just keeping her on a string, waiting for you to become unattached? How many young residents have benefited from your 'personal instruction' in the last ten years, Dr. Waterson?" Waterson flushed and Mulder knew he'd scored a hit. "That, sir, is none of your -- " "Oh, but I think it is my business. See, I have something for Scully that I think you lack -- respect. I respected her the moment she walked into my office and my respect for her has grown tremendously over the years we've been together. I want what Scully wants, not what I think is best for her. She is a brilliant, compassionate woman and she's made a mark on this world. I am proud to be her partner and I'm more proud to be her friend." He drew in a deep breath and licked his lips. "It took me 7 years to convince her how much I love her. You see, I didn't just see her as a plaything, a new conquest back then. I saw her as a person. I see her now as the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. And for the record, I waited for her to come to me, and when she did, I knew I wouldn't be looking for the next 'sweet young thing' that passed through my door. I had all I could ever hope for in her love." "Mulder?" The object of both men's affection was standing in the doorway, a scowl on her face. "Daniel, what are you doing here?" Waterson looked over at his former lover for a moment and then back to the man on the hospital bed. "Nothing, Dana. Nothing at all. Just saying goodbye to a former patient." "Dr. Waterson, thanks for saving my life, but I hope our paths don't cross again," Mulder said evenly. Daniel looked over at Scully one last time and sighed. "I doubt they ever will, Agent Mulder. Good day." He left, closing the door behind him. "What are you doing back?" Mulder asked her, hoping he sounded nonchalant even though he was in a serious world of hurt. "I had to come back to get my jacket, I forgot it," she explained. "Now I'm glad I did. You're in pain, aren't you?" She clenched her hands into fists. "I'm calling the nurse. And then I'll file a complaint against that asshole -- " "Leave it be, Scully," Mulder said softly, grabbing her wrist. "I'll take the pain meds, gladly, but let Waterson go. Let's not let him take another minute of our time," he said with a gentle smile. She gave him a loving smile and leaned over to kiss him on the lips. "Best idea I've heard all day." the end.