From: ephemeral@ephemeralfic.org
Date: 22 Aug 2004 13:36:53 -0000
Subject: NEW:  All Things Again (1 of 2) by Vickie Moseley
Source: direct

Reply To: vickiemoseley1978@yahoo.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.