Snow crisis


Author : Poormulder.

Email :

Writing for the december Golden Gurney fic Awards contest.
Words used :
hot chocolate
dust bunny
ice cream
wine glass
TV Guide

DISCLAIMER: I don't own'em. I'm just
borrowing them for this contest. They'll be
returned in the state I found them in. :o) They do,
however, belong to CC and 1013 Productions
and that's about all I have to say about

Rating : PG
Spoiler : none

Thanks to Lisa for helping me for this one !


Mulder turned his feverish eyes towards
Scully, and for the third time in two hours
steadfastly repeated the same thing he'd been
trying to convince her of.

"Scully, we're wasting our time here. I'm
sure it's just a pesky winter bug or
indigestion or something. Nothing that a little
rest and a few Tylenol won't cure. I am
..ugh...ow ! " He rose very carefully, still
speaking and at once dropped back heavily
onto the chair, his face a study of pain,
breathing hard through his clenched teeth.
" I think it's...just a pulled muscle,"

He wondered who he was trying to convince
more as he cradled his lower stomach, his
face crumpling with his suffering.

"And it's well-known that you especially
have a talent for pulling a muscle like this,
spontaneously, without any effort at all",
answered Scully, smiling but growing
concerned by the obvious distress of her
partner. "But you are also feverish Mulder,
and you have acute lower quadrant pain, I am
practically certain that you have appendicitis.
You are presenting with all the classic
symptoms. It is necessary for you to be
examined by a surgeon."

"We could at least waited till we returned to
Washington. They know me there; they give
me my regular bed. One nurse even sneaks me in
twinkies and seeds if a bat my eyelids at her.
A real home from home at least, over there,"
whined Mulder, with his usual reticent humor,
although his face was now hidden between
steepled hands, elbows digging into his
bouncing knees.

Scully couldn't do anything but smile. She
adored him even more when he took on this
sulky pouting tone, when he knew he
wouldn't get her to budge when she was in
full doctor mode, and regretted simply that
she couldn't see his face right now. She
imagined his cute pouting bottom lip, the
beaten puppy eyes to go with the hunched shoulders,
and her hand went instinctively to the nape of
his neck. She felt him shiver with the contact
of her comforting touch. An unspoken
gesture that shouted she cared and would be
here all the way with him through this.

"I'm sure we won't have to wait too much
longer. And I heard that the doctors of Cook
county ER were the best in Chicago. Just
trying to loosen you up and relax you a little.
For what its worth Mulder, the airport has
been closed due to snow for two hours. Noho
on getting any kind of flight. If you need
surgery, we are in the best place here, not in
mid flight. Come here.."

While murmuring comforting words to him,
she pulled him against her and eased him
down to rest his head in her lap. He didn't
resist and was content to let her make him
comfortable. He pulled his long legs up as
slowly as he could with the painful tremors,
and propped them on the row of vacant seats
beside him, before he snuggled into Scully's
knees. He was weak and felt his eyelids
closing despite his efforts not too let them.
He felt Scully's roving fingers in his hair,
cherishing and softly stroking his scalp.
Despite his pain, he almost purred as he
leaned into her touch.

"You know that you can do that as long and
often as you want to, Scully, even when I'm
not sick ..."

Scully smiled again at hearing his sleepy
voice. She stepped up her comforting caress,
letting her fingers slip deeper into his thick,
soft hair, while exerting a light pressure
massage all over his scalp and neck. She laid
her other hand gently on his shoulder and felt
that even through his shirt, she could feel the
abnormal tepidity of his skin.

"I'll remember that, Mulder," she answered
softly continuing to play with the brown
strands. "Try to sleep a little. I'll wake you
when its your turn to be seen. Busy night
from the looks of things. Hopefully it wont
be too long.."

She soon felt his body slacken against her
and heard light snoring a few moments later,
which brought another smile to her lips. Even
she felt incredibly tired, sighing, thinking about Mulder,
her family and yet another year that bad luck had visted
their Christmas plans, and she pulled her partner closer.
Her caffiene depletion was reaching critical levels and
she couldn't exactly move right now. But a sleepy Mulder was
a cooperative one, and at least he was getting some respite
from his discomfort. She prayed they would
be seen soon. In the meantime, she didn't
want to wake him. He looked like a big
overgrown child. She continued to stroke his
temples and smiled, trying not to watch the
tediously slow ticking of the clock in the ER.
waiting area.

It had been a very difficult previous three days
for the both of them. They had been
summoned to Chicago for an investigation
into satanic murders but had the added
annoyance of being pressurized by the local
authorities for a quick result. The press had
interfered in every way possible, their
unwanted and potentially dangerous
intervention, making the agents jobs even
more difficult and complex to bring the case
to a close. To make matters worse, Mulder
had started to feel very unwell the day

Now the city was covered with thick snow
just to add to everything, and they couldn't
get a flight out.

As with the usual Mulder mule like
stubbornness, he had waited until he was in
so much pain he could barely stand upright,
before being forced to share his symptoms
with his exasperated partner. Finally by 8
p.m., no longer able to stand seeing him
grimacing and groaning with pain, she'd
ended up convincing him to present himself
to the nearest ER, where unfortunately for
them, on the advent of a busy Christmas eve
they were not deemed one of the more
serious cases, the triage teams were all
swamped with victims of a horrendous traffic
pile up just south of the hospital. It was going
to be a long night. Hopefully her partner
would get seen before his potentially hot
appendix burst.

For once, thank god, Mulder wasn't on the
point of death. She forced back a shiver from
memories of all the moments that she'd spent
in vigil at his bedside. His body was hot
under her touch, and she felt a renewed pang
of anxiety that he should been seen by a
doctor urgently and given some pain relief.
He was twitching restlessly in his sleep so she
switched to rubbing his back in slow circles.

She observed the busy comings and goings
of the ER staff, doctors and first-aid workers,
while pressing herself against the sleepy dead
weight of Mulder's body, enjoying the
familiar contact and hope that he would soon
be well, anxiety invading her thoughts more
and more as time went by.

She was startled when her partner's name
was finally called. She looked up sleepily to find a
young nurse holding a clipboard in front of
her. Her tinsel angel earrings swinging as she
checked her down her list. The nurse, whose
name was Cathy, smiled, but looked tired.

" Sorry for the wait. How is he doing? "

"He's in a lot of pain actually, and running a
fever. Pretty much exhausted from the case
we were here to crack." Scully awoke him
gently. "Mulder? "She shook him carefully
and helped him back to a sitting position,
noting with concern the paleness of his face,
and the beads of sweat dripping down his
forehead. " Hey partner, it's finally your turn.
Come here sleepyhead. How you feeling?"
She helped him get to his feet, her right arm
slung around his back for supporting him,
as straitening up seemed to be beyond his
current pain level and they both followed
the nurse who showed them towards an examination

"Mr. Mulder, I will ask you to please undress
and slip on our latest word in fashion, "
Mulder groaned as he took the offered gown
from her hand. " It's a bit skimpy but should
fit you, so you get that on so now that the
doctor on call can examine you. I'll return in
a few minutes to take your vital signs."

She left the room quickly, before that
pulling the curtain around the bed to give
him his privacy while stripping, sensing his
embarrassment, Scully averted her gaze,
smiling coyly while Mulder struggled to get
into the dreaded clothing, naturally too short
for his lanky frame. One arm protectively
tucked around his belly, and another holding
his bare ass inside the inadequate covering of
the gown, Mulder gingerly climbed into the
bed and tried to get comfortable, the acute
pain now worse and making it difficult. His
eyes closed tightly almost at once. Scully
came over to his side and pulled a blanket
over his legs up to his waist. He looked
pretty miserable, hot and exhausted from
hours of discomfort.

"Mulder it is necessary that you remain
awake while the doctor looks you over. I
know that you feel awful and that you're
very tired, but they will ask you questions... "

"Scully... you will be able to answer them
just as well, ...if not better than me..."

Suddenly Mulder almost doubled over under
a wave of the most violent pain to have
struck him since this crisis had started. His
face twisted with suffering, he lay down
curled up on his side, his innards contracting
like white hot knives were plunging into
them again and again.

"Shit... it's hurting.. ! "

"I know, I know.... Try to think of
something pleasant. What would you wish
for Christmas this year?"

"....A white Christmas and glass of wine to
be shared with you, ..Buttered popcorn, and
the dust bunny which inhabit the attic of
my mother..."

"You're delirious, Mulder. The dust
bunny ?" She ruffled his hair affectionately.
Noting with alarm how much he was
sweating from constantly bracing himself
against the pain.

"Yes, it is the first toy which my parents
gave to me. I was two years old... "

Sympathizing, she took hold of his hand in
her own and lovingly stroked his fingers. She
knew exactly what poor Mulder was going
through. She'd had appendicitis at the age of
twenty and she remembered with clarity the
knife like agony she had suffered for almost
two days, while waiting for a proper
diagnosis and the surgeons decided to
operate on her hot appendix. She shuddered
at the memory, squeezing her partner's hand
in empathy even more as a sharp pain
exploded through him again. His was
gasping at times and his heart was racing.
She didn't think now there would be any
doubt as to what the prognosis was.

She hoped that the surgery would go quickly
and smoothly, and that Mulder would soon
get some relief from this terrible pain and be
well on the mend in time for New year. What
a lousy way to spend Christmas. He started
to groan gently and she murmured all the
comforting words and reassurance she could
think of, making soothing circles on his bare
back through the opening in his gown..

The nurse returned a few moments later and
began the ER ritual of effectively filling in
her patient's notes: then taking temperature,
blood pressure, heart rate and scale of pain...
Mulder eyes widened when they took in the
huge a needle and a syringe she was
producing from her instruments tray.

"Not... Not that... I hate needles...ow... You
are really sadistic , you hospital... nurses."

"A simple blood test, Mr. Mulder. We need
that to establish a diagnosis. Will Mrs.
Mulder hold your hand, perhaps that will
take your mind off it ?"

" Vampire ! "

The nurse flashed a grin toward Scully while
raising her eyebrows and by shaking her
head in an amused way. 'These men, are all
the same. '

Scully folded her fingers over Mulder's hand
and murmured comfort in his ear., he was
shivering with pain again and his eyes were
tightly closed. Scully liked his nurse. She
was obviously impressed to be dealing with
two "FBI Agents ", she'd taken very
particular care to gently draw his blood
sample in order to get it off to the lab and get
the results back swiftly. Mulder had been too
long racked by this pain and Scully couldn't
wait until this life threatening, hot appendix
was history.

"We will have the results in approximately
thirty minutes" the nurse informed her a few
moments later when she returned. "I also need
a sample of urine. Mr. Mulder, I'll leave you
the bottle. The toilets are to your right beside
the cubical."

Mulder sighed when she left the examination
room. He shuddered deeply, curling up into a
fetal position, as much as the pain in his mid
section would allow, which wasn't a lot and
his bloodshot eyes had taken on a glassy

" How can she expect me to go out in the
corridor like this... I'm practically butt

Scully helped him slowly to a sitting position,
grabbed his long greatcoat with one hand and
draped it delicately around his shoulders with
her other.

" You feel better with this covering your
pride?" She helped him gingerly maneuver his
legs over the bed and onto the floor, her arms
supporting him.

Mulder answered her with a weak smile.
"Yes, much. Don't want all and sundry staring
at my pan dulches. They can get their
Christmas treats elsewhere. Lets go get this
over with."

" Sure you're okay? You could just use the
bottle. "

" No, I'm all cramped up. I need to move
around a little."

A few moments later and one horrendous
bathroom visit later, they were back in the
room, where Mulder could barely wait to get
back to the comfort of his bed. He lay there
shivering as Scully pulled the blankets up to
his waist again. She cursed herself for
allowing him to make the trip to the
bathroom, at the same time cursing her
partner for his stubbornness.

Too uncomfortable to remain flat, he pulled
his legs up to his chest, keening as a wave of
violent pain shot through him, he was getting
very little respite from his ordeal now, the
pain barely leaving him at all. Instead one
long stream of discomfort that blended
together, making him feel like he was tearing
in two.

Scully bent over, placing a light kiss on his
cheek, and pushed back the wet strands of his
hair from off his face. Ten minutes passed
before a doctor appeared in Mulder's cubicle.
He was about Mulder's age, almost bald with
glasses and had a big friendly joy-of-
Christmas smile and looked altogether too
cheerful for Mulder's current appreciation

"Good evening, Agents, I'm Doctor Mark
Greene, head of the ER department. How are
you feeling tonight Mr. Mulder?" Mulder
reluctantly peeled open his eyelids. His eyes
were red, puffy and not helped by the
penlight the doctor was now blinding him
with. Scully stifled a laugh as he took in the
grimace Mulder greeted the man with. It
almost shouted 'go away'.

" Terrible. It came on suddenly yesterday
evening." Scully rolled her eyes as she
watched the doctor taking Mulder's pulse. It
had at least been another day before her
partner had fessed up about feeling ill. If he
hadn't have looked so pitiful at that point,
Scully doubted she would have let him live
until Christmas. She had almost wanted to
kill him.

Greene then flicked back his blanket and
pulled up Mulder's gown to examine his
patient. Quickly and gently he palpated his
lower extremities, but it was when pressing
down hard on the right quadrant that Mulder
started to groan enough to strip wallpaper.
Scully's heart tightened in empathy at seeing
his face contorted in such pain.

" Well, I think it's pretty obvious you have
the appendix equivalent of Mount Vesuvius
in there. Time to take that loose that sucker I
think. It also confirms it in your examination
and blood work results that I got back a short
while ago. Needed a physical exam to make
sure. Sorry about that." Mulder grunted, still
gasping for breath and reaching for Scully's
hand. " They show high infection, your
white cell count is elevated to 30 000. You
have other symptoms?"

"Yes... I have a killer headache, want to
vomit a lot and I can't straighten up with the

"You present all the signs of acute
appendicitis, I am going to admit you, but it's
generally customary to ask for a second
surgical opinion. My colleague will be with
you shortly." Greene was on the point of
leaving when Mulder called out to him.

" Wait...You're not going to give me any
pain relief? "

"Sorry, but that would be likely to mask the
symptoms. That could be dangerous. You
will have to be patient still a little bit longer "

The door had barely closed before Scully
heard Mulder's loud groaning punctuated
with one word ... "Asshole".

She suppressed the urgh to giggle at that and
concentrated on her partner, who was now
making a superhuman effort not to show his
pain. His face was contorted by agony lines,
and his pallor had taken on grayish sheen. He
was writhing about all over the place and she
was becoming alarmed at his evident
distress. With his back turned away from her
it took a moment to realize he was silently

Scully left his side for a moment to fetch a
wet cloth, and then delicately wiped his face
made clammy by the fever and tears. His
breath escaped his lips in gasping shudders
as the pain increased. Tears continued to spill
down his nose and over his cheeks.
Suddenly, he grasped hold of her hand, so
intensely he almost broke it.

"Scully... please, do something... I cannot
stand this.... any more.."

He tried desperately to find comfortable
positions without success, just folding in on
himself more with the each bolt of pain as he
moved, his body protested by sending waves
of fresh agony through him.


Scully leaned over him stroking his sweat
soaked hair and murmured gently in his ears.

" Okay Mulder. I've had enough of this too.
I'll have to leave you for a few moments. I
will see whether I can get them to speed
things up. I will try to find the surgeon, ok?
Will you okay alone till I come back? "

She felt him release her hand and he sniffed a

" Yeah. " Her heart clenched at the truly
pitiful sight he made.

" I'll be back in a few minutes and I swear
that I will employ force if needed. If that fails
I'll.... I'll hijack an OR and whip it out
myself. Just hold on for me partner, try to
sleep a little."

She pressed a tender kiss to his cheek, which
managed to make him smile and left the
room. She knew the hospital was busy with
RTA victims, but Mulder needed something
to happen and soon. For both their sanities.


Mulder awoke with such a strong
pain in his lower abdomen; he couldn't hold
back the cry of pure white-hot agony, which
escaped, from his throat. He was soaked with
sweat and just had time to catch the small
basin Scully was thoughtful enough to place
by his hand, before vomiting in, and over the
side of it.

The effort of heaving only exacerbated his
suffering. He finally finished before
breathlessly collapsing onto the wet bed.

He was finding it hard to catch his breath
now. And a little frightened that he felt this

It was obvious to him he must have dozed
off, but it seemed like an eternity since
Scully had gone to kick ass with the doctors.
Where was she? The noises of the hospital
came through to him like his head was
wrapped in cotton, so much so his ears were
buzzing. His eyes burned and when he
touched his face, he felt the heat that
emanated from him even before they touched

Anxious that Scully hadn't returned, he tried
to rise, but the fever made him as weak as
newborn and the pain consumed him
entirely, threatening to make him lose
consciousness. After several attempts, teeth
clenched tightly to stop him shouting out, he
pulled himself upright. A wave of nausea
shook him, and he had to grab the basin
again to empty what little still remained in
his stomach. With trembling legs and short of
breath, he folded into two, his arms hugging
his stomach to try to alleviate the stabs of
agony that radiated all through his gut, he
staggered unhappily towards the door.

Mulder grabbed the handle with both hands,
steadying himself as tried not to fall as he
entered the corridor, but the spectacle, which
greeted his eyes as he looked around, made
him instantly forget his own suffering.

Two armed men were holding the entire ER
personnel and any patients who had been
gathered at the bottom of the corridor hostage.
He immediately distinguished Scully from the
rest of the group and she also saw him, her face
paralyzed by anguish. Her eyes begged him
silently not try anything, along with the
discreet shake of her head. He silently slunk
back to his room, the best he could manage
without falling on his face, heart pounding
and holding his breath, closing the door
behind him with infinite stealth.

The thugs had not seen him. He hoped that
would last long enough to exploit the
element of surprise and to try to take them
down without anyone getting hurt, but the
fever and the pain made him vulnerable. He
frantically sought a means of alerting outside
help or security, but the room didn't have a
telephone. His jacket! With jerky pain filled,
shuffling, he located his clothing and dove
into his pockets for his mobile: feeling
despair wash over him in a heartbeat as he
realized the batteries were dead.


He made his decision. Cursing his current
medical state and racked with pain, he
managed to struggle into his pants and tee
shirt. He checked his Sig and tucked it in his
pocket, comforted by the heavy feel of metal
and the power it represented to this life or
death situation unfolding outside. He could
hear shouting now.


Adrenalin pulsed through him, only slightly
taking the edge off his pain. His FBI training
kicked up a notch and he took a deep breath,
taking the few unsteady steps which
separated him from the door. He could hardly
go on, the pain threatening to topple him at
any moment, sweat pouring off him, but he
forced himself to concentrate on his task. He
had to watch his partner's back, and the
people outside needed his help. It took
precedence over everything, even his
frighteningly imminent appendix rupture.

Scully's heart both soured and despaired
when she saw him reappearing in the
corridor, his gun aloft and sweaty face taut with
agony. Her face didn't show it, but her eyes
conveyed silently how broken up she was by
the torment he must be enduring to
come to her aid, she just knew that he was
going to try something.

It was so like him. She felt a tear at the
corner of her eye, threatening to escape. She
mentally shook herself. The next few
seconds were crucial and could all go to hell
in a heartbeat.

The thugs were too busy pistol-whipping the
desk clerk, while the other was demanding
large qualities of drugs and yelling to have
noticed Mulder. Things looked like getting ugly.

A woman patient screamed suddenly and
Scully used that as a diversion. She slid her
hand carefully into the back of her jeans,
feeling the cold metal reassurance of her own
revolver. Without a word, his eyes gestured
in the direction of the attacker whom he was
going to put out of commission, while Scully
signaled that she was focused on the other
hooligan. There was only a slight wavering
of Mulder's hand as he raised his gun to a
firing stance.

Then everything happened at once.

" Freeze FBI!"

Mulder's pain drench yell resounded around
the corridor; the hooligans startled and turned
towards him, they scowled in anger, drawing their
guns and pulling the trigger in his direction
almost instantaneously on hearing the word

A shot rang out in tandem with Scully's two
shots, hers hitting both attackers in non-vital
areas and knocking them to the ground. They
were howling in pain and trying to grab back
their dropped guns, but were disarmed at
once by the doctors and other staff who had
thrown themselves on top of them.

Scully rushed to Mulder's side and just
caught him before his knees buckled from
under him. She gasped with fear at growing
bloodstain on his tee shirt welling out of a
wound in his upper left chest and shoulder.


"Shhhuush partner. You're hit. But it will be
okay. Somebody, I need help here!"

She yelled for assistance as she applied
pressure to the wound with her fist. She
pulled them both down together the rest of
the way to the floor immediately. Shocked,
she delicately cradled his head across her
thighs, whispering reassurance with a
strangled voice that told Mulder his partner
was close to loosing it, her fingers lovingly
worrying his sweat soaked hair.

" Oh God, You'd go to any length to get seen
by a surgeon faster, isn't that so, Mulder?"

He peered down at the crimson pathways of
blood running from his chest through her tiny
fingers, and then back up at her sleepily.
Even with eyes glazed from pain and shock,
a small smile took shape on his lips. "We
make a fine team, don't we?. ...What's
...your Christmas wish,. ...Scully?"

The last thing he was aware of, was watching
Scully's face crumple and blur alongside the
sound of urgent approaching footsteps and

They were surrounded at once by a
Medical team and Scully gave Mulder over
to them to work on, who by now had
mercifully sunk into unconsciousness. Scully
followed them and her partner's gurney into
the elevator, without relinquishing his hand
for a second. She quickly alerted the doctors
who freinzied tended and gave him oxygen,
the original reason Mulder was here and
his diagnosis for an emergency

They raced him to the surgical floor, Shouting
instructions between them, the tension high,
knowing this looked realy bad. The complications
from both serious chest wound and appendicitis
didn't even bear thinking about. She looked at
Mulder's pale form lying motionless and bloody
once more, she leaned and kissed him, before reluctantly
letting go of his lifeless hand, watching them whisk him
away from her through the OR doors.

I can't lose him, her mind told her frantically.
Not now. Not here. I can't. In that moment she'd
been excluded from her partners care, she'd never
felt so alone.

Too exhausted to stand anymore. Scully let
her body drop into a chair outside the OR
waiting area, thoroughly wasted by the stress
that she had just lived through. Both the difficult
case of the last week and this. She felt she
ought to ring Skinner, her mother...but just
for a while she wanted to sit. Her eyes closed
of their own volition and she let her head rest
back against the wall. It was only when she
started processing how much in danger
Mulder was in now, did she give in to the
groundswell of her tears.


She passed the next few hours giving her
statement and answering the usual volley of
police questions an incident like this
required, also to the local FBI who came to
take her deposition after the shooting.

Aggravated beyond belief, the only thing her
mind was on now was her partner. No one
had been by to tell her how he was doing yet,
and her eyes were riveted on the door behind
through which a dying Mulder had
disappeared seemingly hours ago. She
answered them their questions concisely,
almost absently. They all eventually
withdrew leaving her still staring at that
important door like she was in a trance,
barely hearing them while they excused
themselves, asking if there was anything they
could get her, wishing her a happy reunion
with Mulder once he came out of surgery and
they hoped he'd have speedy recovery. They
obviously regarded him as a hero and
mentioned that they'd be back tomorrow to
see how he was doing and bring some christmas cheer.

Another hour of anxiety passed before
The doors of the OR suddenly opened,
disgorging Mulder's surgeon. Scully didn't
recall walking up to the man, who
immediately reassured her with a smile.

"Mulder? How is he?" She felt annoyed, as
those few words struggled not to trip over

" Dr. Scully. It's okay. Our hero came
through surgery very well. The bullet would
was less serious than we first though and
didn't cause any serious or permanent
damage. The bullet missed his lungs and
major arteries, and it didn't compromise the
articulation of the shoulder itself, even
though it grazed a rib and rebounded up his
soft shoulder tissue. He will undoubtedly
need physiotherapy to find complete mobility
again, but all that should be arranged quickly
once you get back to D.C. Hopefully in a few days.
And his appendix was indeed one very hot mamma. A few
moments longer getting him on the table and
it would have burst. I don't need to tell you
Dr. Scully, how catastrophic that would have
been. Thankfully we avoided that little
additional drama. We carried out its
extrication by keyhole surgery, which will
minimize any post surgical complications. I
expect Mr. Mulder to make a full recovery
and come rejoin the land of the living in time
for the excellent Christmas lunch they serve here."

Scully let escape a huge sigh of relief that
made her feel a bit giddy. She took a few seconds
to steady herself.

"To enjoy his new status as a hero? I'm sure
he will enjoy that. And trust me, he will be
hungry." She smiled her thanks, shaking his

"I'd like to make a point on behalf of all the
team of the emergency dept of thanking you
and your partner for all you did. Your quick
thinking undoubtedly avoided a massacre.
And Mr. Mulder was definitely acting
beyond the call of duty. We've had a few
problems with raids like this.These drug head
types were ready to kill and you stopped them
with the minimum of damage and bloodshed, save
for your partner's own blood. I can ensure you
that your partner will be revered in the eyes
of all the personal of cook county ER for a long
time to come. "

The surgeon offered her a broad smile before
adding: " Le hero of the day will soon be
back in recovery. No doubt needding to see your pretty face.
I expect you like to join him there and stay with him?"
She nodded, overjoyed that Mulder would be fine.
Again. She followed the surgeon eagerly,
relieved that Mulder, despite all that had happened
had escaped the jaws of death by the seat of his pants.
They would have a hell of a Christmas, once they got home,
if not a little late. They desevered this time of peace to
reflect and unwind after such harrowing case ...and Mulder's
ER adventures. They could enjoy each other company along with
Scully's family while her partner recuperated. She couldn't
wait to get him safely home.


Mulder awoke a few hours later and noticed
immediately that he was pain free. Without
opening his eyes, he felt himself floating around
the confines of his head, conscious thought
only permeated by a strong waft of creamy
hot chocolate and sound of his steady heartbeat
blaring out of the monitor by his bed. He
forced his eyelids to function and was
rewarded by the dazzling smile that Scully
reserved for all his hospital vigil awakenings.
She was looking over the top of the TV guide
she'd been reading, which she now put down,
instead she took his hand in hers , squeezing

" Merry Christmas Mulder. How do you

"Well... I pain...hungry actually."
She started laughing, fingers stroking his
hands. " Disgustingly normal for you then
Mr. 'Die hard with a vengeance.' You're
under morphine, Mulder. It always has this
goofy effect on you... "

" Am I hallucinating or I do I detect the smell
of hot chocolate?"

"Not, you are perfectly lucid, Mulder. But it
is Christmas day afternoon now, do you
remember what happened? Seems you are a real Hero.
The press want to talk to you later , but I'll keep
them at bay for you, as long as I have the right to
a small yuletide treat...with chocolate
sprinkles.." He nodded, incredulous at his new Hero status.
He inwardly cringded at the though of having to face reporters.
He just felt sore and needed to rest. He was thinking back to the
drama of the night before. Not one he would care to repeat.
Scully informed him that everyone was safe and the villains were
spending their Christmas in a jail cell. His attention was
distracted then by the inviting sight of
her mug of chocolate. She taunted him with
it. Grinning.

" Hey not fair, me too... I want the right to
ice cream rather than ice chips this time." His
eyes widened, as he tried to reach her mug
but she lifted it out of his reach. He looked
gorgeous even amongst his nest of tubes and
monitor leads with that classic pouty look.

She shook the head while smiling. " Ice
cream is for a tonsillectomy, Mulder. Not for
an appendectomy. But one of your Christmas
wishes came true at least. Look outside." She
rose and drew the curtain away from the

Mulder slowly pulled himself up the bed
enough, frowning with the pain of putting too
much strain on both sets of stitches. Both of
them cast their eyes on the winter
wonderland of downtown Chicago. His face
filled with joy as Scully came back and
clasped his hand, eyes bright with unspoken
emotion and the sight of the city covered
with snow. "White Christmas, Mulder. And
if you are very good, we will be celebrating it
a little late in a few days at home with wine
glass and popcorn."

They drew each other into a careful hug,
Mulder's merry Christmas to Scully getting
lost as she pressed her mouth to his lips and
claimed them, they came up for air and
smiled as the visiting carolers in the corridor
outside Mulder's room sang a rendition of
Bing Crosby's Winter Wonderland.

The End