Title:Abah VII: The Visit(1/2)
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 98

Category: Story, Angst, MSR, Mag/Sk Romance
Rating: PG13 for language
Spoilers: Through Season 4

Summary: Mulder is determined to be independent even with the
disabilities he has had to learn to live with. But as determined as he
is, fate always seems to have other ideas for him.

Archive: Yes

Disclaimer: These characters belong to 10/13 productions and Chris
Carter. I am merely borrowing them, I won't keep `em unless Mr. Carter
thinks otherwise (which, of course, I doubt, but I can dream, can't I??)
I shall return them at the end of the story, but may take 'em back again
if you don't treat 'em right! <g>

Introduction: The saga continues. For some reason I thought the ol' boy
still had something to say. I hope you agree, (and I'm sure you'll let me
know if you don't! Just do it gently, 'kay?) This continues after the
events of Abah VI: The Recovery. There is continuity from that story to
this one, so I do recommend you read Abah I -VI first, because I really
think as "informative" as this story is, there may be some black holes
that can be filled in by the previous stories in the series. Besides,
this is my totally gratuitous means of groveling and begging for feedback
on any and all of my stories.

And though some may tire of reading it, I never tire of writing it: Thank
you Vickie Moseley for your support and advice.

Thanks in advance for all of your kind words, past and future.
Please send e-mail comments to: STPteach@aol.com

Abah VII: The Visit
by Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)

Part 1/8

7:48 p.m.

He gagged. Then he coughed and gagged again. He couldn't call out to
anyone, since there was a damned respirator tube down his throat. He'd
always hated respirators, but especially now. He hated it most of all,

As his awareness heightened, so did his panic. Mulder hadn't a clue as to
what the time was, where he was, or why. All he knew was he was laying in
a room that was dark and he couldn't speak, hear, or see anything.

He knew the respirator was preventing him from speaking, and since he was
pretty sure he wasn't wearing his hearing aids, he had a good idea as to
why he couldn't hear anything, but he didn't have a clue as to why he
couldn't see anything.

It was that last little fact that scared the hell out of him.

Scully. Where was his Scully?

The prior Monday
3:00 p.m.

"Mulder, I just won't go," she said determinedly. "It's not the end of
the world. I mean, there will be other workshops, won't there?"

"Scully, don' be ridiculous. This is an opportunity of a lifetime, an'
you are going to go. It's no' everyday my wife is invite' to be a keyno'e
speaker. C'mon! Le's show a little enthusiasm here!" Mulder cajoled.

"But your mother's party is the same night. How can I not go to her
sixtieth birthday party?" Scully lamented.

"How could you no' accep' the honor of being a keyno'e speaker?" he
responded in kind.

"Mulder, I didn't mean to upset you," she said.

"I'm no' upse'," he began.

"Bull. I always know when you're upset," she rebuked. At his quizzical
expression, she explained, "You're dropping your word endings. Tell tale
sign that you _are_ upset."

"Oh." Mulder couldn't argue, because he knew she was right. When he was
upset, he tended to let his enunciation lapse. It was something he always
had to work at, especially when he was working as a consultant for the

Mulder had gone on medical leave after a few serious medical traumas which
had resulted in more than a couple of serious physical disabilities. The
FBI, however, still called him back on a part time consultant basis,
since, even with his physical disabilities, Mulder was still recognized as
the best profiler around.

Often the cases he was asked to sit in on were the most gruesome and
difficult to solve. In many cases the victims were children, which Mulder
had always found difficult to deal with. He still did even though his own
sister, Samantha, was finally back in his life after 25 years.

So Mulder was well aware of how his emotional state also affected his
speech patterns. Mulder recalled a number of occasions when colleagues had
asked him to repeat information or conclusions, because he'd become upset
and found it difficult to maintain his composure and put the necessary
energy into forming his words properly.

"Scully, please, listen to me. I may be upset," he implored with enough
emphasis on the word ending that it got Scully's attention, "but the
reason I'm upset is because I don't want to see you pass up this
opportunity. Why can't you go to your workshop, and I go to my mother's

"It's in Greenwich, Mulder," she replied.

She stared at him.

He stared back.

"Scully, I know where my mother lives," he said quietly. "What I don't
understand, is why that will prevent you from going to your workshop and
me going to her party." He enunciated each word to perfection, and he was
slowly becoming exhausted from the effort of maintaining calm and clear

"Mulder, you can't drive there because of the seizures. That would leave
flying, and neither Mom nor Walter will be available to accompany you
because they're finally going on their honeymoon to Hawaii, Wednesday,"
she said.

"What did you say?" he asked between clenched teeth.

"I said they're going to Hawaii," Scully responded.

"No, tha's not wha' I was referring to. I mean' about them no' being able
to accompany me. You are kiddin' me, aren' you." It was meant to be a
rhetorical question, but, unfortunately, Scully had a response.

"But they're not available. That's a fact," she responded.

"Damn! Damn i', Scully, I'm no' six years old. I don' nee' a nurse mai'
to hol' my han' for the res' of my life. Damn you for even thinkin' tha'
I do!" he shouted. Mulder couldn't remember the last time he felt so
angry or betrayed.

"Oh Mulder, I'm sorry. I know how it sounds, I'm sorry," she cried out to
him. She understood completely why he was so angry with her, but she
really didn't feel he was ready to travel independently as yet.

"Mulder, the seizures__," she began to explain.

"__But I'm takin' the Tegretrol, Scully," he interrupted.

"I know, and it's working, but you still have petite mal seizures and an
occasional grand mal seizure," she countered.

"When the hell was the las' time I ha' a gran' mal seizure?" he asked

"Four weeks ago," Scully responded quietly. "When you'd learned the last
UNSUB you'd profiled had murdered again. You had a seizure then, Fox."

Mulder looked at her thoughtfully, because he knew she was correct. It
was a shock to him that the UNSUB had struck again so soon, and he thought
he'd blown the profile. It turns out, that particular victim was
"accidental" on the part of the UNSUB. The victim had come across the
UNSUB at the crime scene, and the sick bastard felt he had no recourse but
to kill the unknowing observer as well.

Mulder hadn't remembered seizing at the office, (he never did) but he did
recall seeing Walter's very concerned face when he'd come out of the
seizure. Mulder was embarrassed, but Walter handled it very calmly and
casually. Walter knew the seizures were a part of Mulder's life, and he
and everyone around him had better learn to deal with them in an as matter
of fact manner as possible.

"But Scully, I can' live my life in the fear tha' I may have a seizure.
I'm no' plannin' on pilotin' the airplane. I jus' wan' to be a
passenger!" he implored.

"Mulder, what happens if you have a seizure on the plane?" she asked.

"So I have a seizure on the plane, which I don' plan on doin' by the way.
Bu' if I do, don' you thin' the fligh' attendan's will know wha' to do?"
he asked rationally.

"They won't know why?" Scully countered.

"I have the damn bracele', Scully," he retorted angrily.

"Which you never wear," she shot back.

"Well, i' itches, damn it! Gives me a rash," Mulder explained.

"So, where is it now, Mulder?" she asked.

He looked at his wrist and realized he was not wearing the dreaded

"Well, I knew we were together, so I didn' thin' to pu' it on," he
responded weakly.

"And what if we were in an accident Mulder, and I couldn't explain your
medical condition," she asked.

Mulder paused and looked at his wife thoughtfully. He spoke slowly and

"Thank you, Scully. You have just made my poin_t_. Shit could happen
even if you did accompany me," he explained. "I promise, I'll wear the
damn bracele', Scully. Scou's honor," he stated earnestly.

"But what about __," she stopped.


"What about when you're tired, Mulder. Sometimes the vertigo kicks in
high gear again," she reminded.

"Tha's why I use the cane, Scully," he answered.

"But sometimes it's not enough, is it, Fox?" she asked seriously.

Just as Scully always knew when he was upset by the missing word endings,
she always knew when he was unduly tired by how he steadied himself by
placing his hand on her shoulder, or if he was really tired, he actually
resorted to latching onto her arm, on the premise that he was being
chivalrous and allowing her to lean on him.

She knew better. If he didn't have her, or Mom, or Walter to hold on to
at any given moment, he lost his balance and fell. She'd seen it happen a
couple of times. Mulder never knew she'd witnessed his falls, because she
knew he would be devastated that she might think he couldn't take care of
himself. However, she made it her business to not allow him to be on his
own when she knew he might become overly fatigued.

"Dana, this is different," Mulder began. "This is no' a major serial
murder case tha' I'll be working on. It's my own mother's 60th birthday
party. Tha's all. If I become tire', I'll go lay down. Why are you
makin' this into such a big deal?"

"Because it is your _own_ mother, that's why. She's been a source of
tension and stress for you for so many years. Just because Samantha's
back, doesn't mean your mother is going to change her manner of dealing
with you overnight. Mulder, let's face it. She tends to drive you a
little nuts," Scully said truthfully.

"Yeah," he said with a slight smile, "but Sam will be there."

And so will Jack Stein," she reminded gently.

"And Jack Stein," he echoed.

Jack Stein, a/k/a the Cancerman, the Cigarette Smoking Man, the Black
lunged tarred and nicotined son of a bitch, was also his sister,
Samantha's, birth father. He was also involved romantically with his
mother again.

Jack Stein was also Mulder's original Abah. He was the man Fox Mulder
turned to as a small child for support to stave off physical and mental
abuse from his own father. Mulder still felt a tremendous amount of
ambivalence toward Stein. But Mulder also knew Samantha was delighted to
have her Abah back in her life again.

"Will you be able to deal with your mother and her relationship with Jack?
And what about Sam's relationship with him? Can you accept that too?"
Scully asked gently.

"I'll have to," he replied softly. "We're all big boys and girls, Scully.
They don' nee' my permission to ge' involve' or resume a relationship, do

"No, they don't," she agreed, "but you also don't need to subject
yourself unnecessarily to the stress their relationships are sure to cause
you by seeing it up close and personal.

"Sweetheart," Scully continued, "it's one thing if I, or Mom and Walter,
were going to be there with you, but we're not. I don't even think you
can count on Sam being able to spend too much time with you, since she's
helping your mother host the party. It's going to be you pretty much on
your own."

"I don't need you, or Mom, or Walter holding my hand all the time," he
said determinedly. He hoped he had sounded convincing, but in reality,
Mulder knew he would have felt a whole lot better about this if at least
his in-laws could be there with him.

But Mulder also knew Walter and Maggie had to postpone their honeymoon
because of a couple of well publicized cases that the top brass insisted
Skinner head up. Since he'd only just returned to full time status, and
he knew he was going to take at least two weeks off for the honeymoon,
Walter and Maggie decided it best not to make waves. They'd waited this
long to go to Hawaii, what was another few weeks. Well, of course the
weeks turned into a few months, but the time had finally come at last.

Unfortunately, they'd already made and paid for their reservations when
Elizabeth Mulder's invitation had arrived in the mail. They sent their
regrets, and really did feel badly about being unable to attend. It was
not, however, so much because they would disappoint Elizabeth, but because
they knew it would have meant a lot to Fox to have them with him in

Maggie and Walter had become more like parents to him then his own mother
could ever hope to be.

However, since they were not available, Mulder had to face reality and try
to convince Scully that he was, indeed, capable of functioning on his own.
Once again, he became insistent that Scully attend the conference. Mulder
tried desperately to reason with her in the calmest, most controlled voice
he could muster.

"Scully, listen to me. I take the flight from Dulles to LaGuardia Airport
in New York. I take the Connecticut limousine to Greenwich. My sister
will pick me up from the dropoff point in Greenwich. I go to my mother's
home and stay with her and my sister. There is no big deal to this," he

"Mulder, I just don't think__," she began.

"__I'll be all right, Scully," he interjected. "Please. Don't do this.
Don't make me feel like I'm going to be a cripple for the rest of my
life," he pleaded in a whisper.

"Mulder, I don't see you as a cripple__," she began.

"__Then don't treat me like one. Please, I need to do this. Dana, I need
to do this for me."

8:08 p.m.

He felt so warm, he desperately wanted to pull the covers off of him. He
tried to move his arms but he couldn't. He realized suddenly his hands
were in restraints, and though he knew it was useless, he strained against
them in an attempt to free himself. He felt his feet and chest were
restrained, and it frightened him to have no idea as to why.

Was he being held captive again? It happened before. That was how he'd
found Sam, since she was actually working for his kidnapper, that bastard
Krycek. But he was in jail. But maybe he escaped. Maybe he caught him
again. Maybe he's got Sam. *Ohmigod! I've got to save Sam. I've got to
get out _____!* Mulder panicked, and in his panic, he began to seize.

The prior Tuesday
12:30 p.m.

"Dana, do you think it's a good idea to let him go?" asked Walter Skinner
as they lunched together at the Bureau cafeteria.

"Walter, do you think I want him to go? We had a royal battle over it,
believe me," Scully replied.

"And you actually allowed him to win this one?" he replied with a small

"That's just it, Walter. He's had so many battles in the last few months,
and he hasn't had occasion to win many of them, has he?"

"Dana, but is he strong enough?" Walter asked with concern.

"I hope so, Abah," she whispered, using the term of endearment when she
was especially worried and feeling vulnerable.

At that moment, Mulder walked up to their table and sat down to join them.
Scully looked at him with a little concern and kissed him gently on the
lips. Next, Scully asked him if he'd eaten lunch yet, to which Mulder
replied, "No."

"Okay G-Man, sit here with your father-in-law while I go get you
nourishment, and don't give me that look. I know what kind of a miserable
case they called you in on, since I did the autopsies on three of the
victims. You'll need all the strength you can get, so what do you think
your stomach can handle?" Scully asked.

She was hoping he'd say a salad, soup, and a sandwich, but in reality she
knew better, so when he replied, "A yogurt?" she merely nodded.

Mulder knew he was the subject of Walter and Scully's discussion just
prior to his arrival. When Scully left to buy him his lunch, he looked at
the one man who garnered Mulder's highest respect and asked, "Do you agree
with her? Do you really think I can't make this short trip by myself?"

"Fox, you know it's not that I think _you_ are incapable. It's just there
are so many other factors__," he tried to explain.

"__So, you don' thin' I'm capable," Mulder responded as calmly and evenly
as possible.

"I think there are too many things that could go wrong," Skinner
responded, recognizing fully that his son-in-law was working very hard to
maintain his composure.

"When am I goin' to gain everyone's trust?" Mulder asked earnestly.

"Oh Fox, it's not a question of gaining our trust. It's just that we're
concerned you are not physically strong enough to handle this kind of a
trip," Skinner answered.

"Abah," he asked, reverting to the very special relationship he shared
with this man, "do you have any idea how silly that sounds, given the type
of cases I've been asked to consult on, and with your blessing I might

"I've ha' to deal with evidence tha' points to monsters out there who like
nothing better than to cut open their victims from hea' to toe while they
were most likely still alive. I've ha' to deal with evidence that points
to evil beings out there who get their kicks out of maiming their victims
and then assaulting and raping them. Many of these victims are children,
Walter. Small, helpless children. I look at their belongings, their crime
scenes, their pictures, their maimed bodies in the autopsy room.

"An' you sit here and can honestly wonder if I am physically strong enough
to handle a plane fligh' from Dulles Airport to LaGuardia Airport? Abah,
what's wrong with this picture?" Mulder asked with quiet passion.

Walter looked at Mulder with a sense of helplessness. He didn't know how
to explain to this man, whom he'd developed a strong paternal bond with,
why he, Maggie, and Dana were ill at ease with the notion of his flying
alone. When Mulder played his cards, Walter had to admit it seemed
somewhat foolish, yet all of his instincts and intuition told him it was a
mistake for Mulder to get on that flight.

Scully returned with Mulder's yogurt, as well as a container of juice, an
apple, and some crackers. She handed it to him, and wondered at the same
time if he would actually open the yogurt container and play with it in
front of her, or if he would take it with him, play with it for a moment
or two at his desk, and then throw it away uneaten.

It was neither. He left the yogurt where it was. Mulder stood up, said
he was needed back with the group of agents working on the case, kissed
his wife goodbye as well as his father-in-law.

That was one of the amazing changes Mulder had gone through since his
illnesses and the kidnapping. He wasn't afraid to be demonstrative with
those he loved, nor did it matter where he was.

What was even more amazing was those he loved were neither embarrassed nor
uncomfortable with his demonstrations of affection either. They had
almost lost him too many times to give a damn about so called professional
decorum, so it did not matter to the tall, brawny, AD if he stood in the
middle of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's cafeteria and gave his
grown son-in-law a hug and kiss in return.

Protocol be damned. This was family.

8:27 p.m.

Mulder felt a cool hand on his forehead. He was no longer restrained, but
he felt so tired and weak, it didn't matter to him that he was now able to
move his arms and legs unencumbered. Experience told him he'd probably
had a seizure. He felt totally dazed and bewildered as to where he was in
time and place. All he knew was he wanted Scully. The cool hand on his
forehead did not belong to his Scully.

It felt good though. Mulder needed to know there was someone there to
watch over him, since he was helpless to watch over himself. He felt the
breathing tube still down his throat. He couldn't hear anything
resembling a voice. His eyes were closed, and he couldn't open them.
Why? Why couldn't he open his eyes?
An old fear began to creep under his skin.

When he was first learning how to keep his balance, he had to do exercises
to help him learn to better maintain it. Walter did them with him, and
made him wear a blindfold. He hated Walter when he made him do that
damned exercise over and over again.

He was so scared. He was afraid of the dark, because he couldn't hear
very well and it frightened him to not have what little control he'd
become accustomed to having. He tried to explain it to Walter, but he
said it was for his own good.

*But Abah!* he remembered trying to plead with him, but it was to no
avail. He still made him do the damned exercises. It came in handy when
Krycek's bastard henchman kidnapped him and made him wear a blindfold. At
least he wasn't totally scared to death of the dark. Well, mostly not

But now he was in the dark again, and he was afraid. Where was his Abah
now? Where was Scully?

*Oh God, where's Scully?* he worried silently.

The Wednesday prior
11:34 a.m.

They had driven Walter and Maggie Skinner to the airport to see them off
on their long awaited, and deserved, honeymoon to Hawaii. They were going
to fly to California, have a two hour lay over, and then catch a
connecting flight to Hawaii.

The two of them behaved as one would expect newlyweds to behave. Walter
could hardly keep his hands off of Maggie, while Maggie could not stop
smiling. She looked over at her daughter and son-in-law and simply beamed
with happiness.

When all of the kisses and good byes were completed, Mulder and Scully
waved one last farewell to the lovebirds and watched them walk through the
security gate. Of course, since Walter was FBI, he carried his service
revolver with him at all times. He had to show his revolver and his FBI
identification badge to gain access with his gun remaining on his person.
When that was all said and done, he walked through and they were on their

Scully and Mulder then walked over to the American Airlines desk. Scully
watched as Mulder made his flight arrangements for his flight to New York
on Saturday. The morning and early afternoon flights were all booked, so
he had to settle for a late afternoon flight. He was scheduled to leave
Dulles at 3:45 p.m. He would arrive in LaGuardia at approximately 4:40
p.m., and if the wind was with them, it would be even earlier.

Scully watched Mulder as he made the arrangements and noted his mouth
broke into a huge grin. She'd finally come to realize just how important
this was to him. The last time he'd attempted to travel independently of
everyone else he was kidnapped by Krycek's henchman. She was well aware
that part of her concern for Mulder was his ability to attract trouble
like a magnet.

She knew the feeling was foolish, and that she had no real cause to worry.
It was a direct flight, and the limos were always available to take him
to Greenwich, and Samantha would be awaiting his phone call to pick him
up. There was nothing to worry about, and the confidence he showed in
that beautiful smile should have been worth all of the worry she felt.

So why wasn't it?

Disclaimers in part 1

Part 2/8

7:15 p.m.

Scully walked through the door and wondered if Mulder called in for pizza
or Chinese food. She had wanted to get the last of her speech completed
before her scheduled flight out to LaGuardia for the weekend conference.

She still felt uncomfortable about leaving Mulder alone. She knew he had
to stay through till Friday night to work with the VCS group. They were
very close to catching their UNSUB, and they wanted Mulder around to
corroborate their every step in apprehending him. She could only hope
they caught the sonofabitch before he killed his latest victim.

Apparently there was a young boy, aged 10, who had been missing for 48
hours. If the child was indeed being held by their UNSUB, Mulder figured
they had a window of opportunity for only another 24 hours. If they
caught him anytime after that, the child would most likely be dead.

She dreaded the idea of not being there for him in case that was the
outcome, especially since her mom and Walter weren't available either.
Mulder didn't do deaths well, especially 10 year old victim's deaths.

When she walked into their den, based upon what she saw, she realized she
was going to have to take care of dinner. He still had his trench coat
on, as well as his shoes. He was out like a light on the sofa. The
television wasn't even on.

"Hmm, maybe a cheese omelet will do for dinner," she decided aloud.

"Cheese omele'?" echoed her husband groggily.

"Yeah, G-man, do you want one?" she asked hopefully.

"Don' thin' so. Tire' " he muttered sleepily.

"All right, Mulder, but why don't you take your coat off and stay awhile?"
she asked lightly.

"Hmm? Oh, yeah," he said as he rose from the couch to remove his coat and
suit jacket. "Tha's better." He plopped down on the couch again and
quickly fell back to sleep.

"Must have been one helluva day, Mulder, for you to be able to fall out so
easily." She kissed him on the forehead and went off to the kitchen to
prepare an omelet for her dinner.


9:40 p.m.

He smelled something familiar. Scully? No, it wasn't Scully's scent, but
he recognized it as being almost as familiar. It was Sam. Samantha had
found him. When he felt a hand touch his brow, he knew it was her touch.
He attempted to lean into it, to let her know he recognized her.

She pressed harder, as if to let him know she realized he did recognize
her touch. He smelled something else familiar, but felt somewhat
disturbed by the familiarity of it. It took him only a few short minutes
to realize what it was that was disturbing him.

It was him. The Smoking Bastard. The man that helped to cause so much
grief in his life, and yet this was the same man who was the father of his
sister. And his mother apparently still had strong feelings for him. Even
after all of the grief he and his consortium's project laid upon her and
her family.

His mother. Was she here too? *Mom?* he tried to call out, but with the
respirator's tube still down his throat, he couldn't make his questions

He couldn't ask, *Where's Scully?*

Friday (One day prior)
10:36 a.m.

Scully hadn't even seen Mulder that morning. He had left very early for
the office and she had to go directly to Quantico to finish up notes on
the last autopsy she'd completed. She had everything packed in her car
for the ride to airport. All she needed to do before catching her 2:15
flight to New York was check in with Mulder.

She knocked tentatively on the door where the contingency of VCU agents
were working. When she heard a "Come," she opened and walked through the
door. She scanned the room and immediately zeroed in on Mulder.

He was sitting nearby the other agents which was a somewhat unusual sight
for her. In the past, Mulder had always sat on the periphery, so as to
set himself apart from the others. Mulder always said it gave him a
slight advantage.

But since his illnesses, Mulder realized if he were to grasp all that was
being discussed without making a nuisance of himself, he'd have to sit
closer to the discussions so he might follow them more easily.

He didn't like it, but it was a necessary evil. He looked up when he saw
her enter. Next, he stood up and excused himself from the group.

"Hi," he greeted her and then gave her a tender kiss on the lips.

"Hi, yourself. What time did you leave this morning?" she asked.

"About 6. I couldn't sleep. I really want to get this S.O.B. We're so
damned close, Scully, I can taste it." Mulder's eyes danced even through
the shades of weariness.

"I know G-Man. You'll get the bastard. I know you will," she encouraged.

"Yeah, but will it be in time," was his soft reply.

"Mulder, you can only do what you can do. Please don't beat yourself up
if it doesn't end happily ever after. Please?" Scully pleaded.

"I'll try, Dana. I promise," was his reply, and then to change the
subject, he asked, " So are you ready for your grand debut?"

"Mulder, you make it sound like I'm going to a debutante ball."

"No, I don't mean to. This is a very big honor, Scully. I'm so proud of
you," he said with a smile. "An' Dana, I'll be fine. Really."

"When did you learn to read my mind, Mulder?"

"I'm amazing Dr. Scully. I keep tellin' you that, bu' do you ever believe
me? No, never!" he admonished teasingly.

"Oh, Fox Mulder, I've always believed in you. You're the only one I will
ever trust totally and completely," she responded in a much more serious

"I know, Dana. I know," he whispered into her hair as he embraced her
lovingly. "Seriously though, are you all ready for your trip?"


"What time do you have to leave?" he asked.

"Actually, now. I just came to check in with you, and to tell you to be
careful and to make sure you pack your medication and to wear the bracelet
and to pack some extra batteries for your hearing aids and to leave a
message at my hotel when you arrive at your mother's house. Okay?" she'd
asked basically all in one breath.

"Done," he replied succinctly.

"I mean it. I'm not fooling around here, G-Man," she said emphatically.
Then, in a softer, caressing tone of voice, Scully said, "Fox, please
take care of yourself over the next 24 hours. No matter what happens,
okay?" she pleaded.

He knew she was referring to the current case. He had to find the child
before the UNSUB decided to kill him, as the murdering sonofabitch did to
the others. Mulder just had to find him first.

"I'll be fine, Scully. I promise. Go to your conference and knock 'em
dead, 'kay?" he said.

"Mulder, that 's a helluva line to give me for a Forensics Pathologist
Workshop," she retorted laughingly.

Mulder joined in the laughter too, and then stopped abruptly to give his
wife of five months a long and passionate kiss. "I'll be fine, but I
will miss having you beside me tonight," he said, concentrating on his
word endings so as not to give Scully any more reasons to be worried or

The fact that he, himself, was worried and anxious didn't matter. He
wanted his wife to believe everything was okay, and he pulled it off
because within the next few minutes, she was gone. She'd left to go to the
airport and catch her flight to New York.

And in the next few minutes after that, Mulder learned they'd caught their

Unfortunately, too late to save the young victim's life.
10:05 p.m.

Samantha had finally retreated and someone else grasped his cheek and
chin. It wasn't Scully. He flinched slightly at the new touch. Elizabeth
Mulder caught the reaction and quickly removed her hand. Her son rebuffed
her ministering once again. She sat back down and abandoned any attempts
at mothering him for now.

Friday (One night prior)
9:40 p.m.

He entered their home totally and completely vanquished. The nightmare he
had hoped to avoid actually played itself out. Not one of the agents had
given it a second thought when Mulder had rushed to this latest crime
scene with the others. Of course, they should have, and if Walter Skinner
had been nearby, they would have. But Walter wasn't. And they hadn't.

He had seen the handiwork of the demented mind he'd so accurately
profiled. The death of another victim. Another child. His torso was
carved in an intricate design representative of a Satanic Cult. The
amount of blood surrounding the victim had indicated the carving had been
done while the child had still been alive. The child's eyes had still
been open, and the expression of horror and pain had been forever etched
into Mulder's memory.

All because he couldn't get the profile done sooner. He should have
prevented this death, and if he'd only worked harder, had worked faster,
had done a better job.

At the crime scene, one of the agents, John Beatty, had noticed Mulder
was standing near the body that hung from the hook on the wall. He'd
walked over to him and had called Mulder's name.

"Mulder?" he had called. When there had been no response, Beatty had
called his name again, and when that had failed to produce an answer, the
agent had lightly touched Mulder's shoulder.

"Shit," Beatty had cursed. "Henderson, get over here, now!" he'd called
out. When Agent Amy Henderson came over, she had asked Beatty what he

"Look at him," he had said while pointing toward Mulder. "Something's
wrong, isn't there?"

"He's seizing. It's a petite mal seizure. He'll come out of it soon,"
she'd replied.

By the time he'd become coherent again, the investigation of crime scene
was in full swing. There was really no reason for Mulder to stay, as he
wasn't a full time field agent any longer, and he probably should not have
been allowed on the scene in the first place.

Beatty and Henderson arranged for a black and white unit to drive Mulder
back to the office. They wanted to drive him home, but Mulder claimed he
needed to finish up some paper work before he left for Greenwich tomorrow

He had stayed the rest of the day and well into the evening and night. He
had typed up the finished report that completed his profile and would most
likely play a large part in the DA's case against the defendant. By the
time he had gotten downstairs to the security booth in the main lobby, he
was exhausted. He had asked the security guard to call a cab for him, and
finally arrived home in time to collapse into bed.

There were a couple of messages on the machine, and Mulder hit the play
button. The first was from Mom and Walter, to let them know they were
still delayed in their flight to Hawaii. Apparently there were terrible
storms and El Nino was playing havoc with the flight schedules.

"But the airline's springing for first class accommodations at the LA
Hilton, so we're not complaining too much," Maggie giggled out loud.

"So we're hopeful of getting a flight out of Los Angeles Saturday
morning, but we're not going to hold our breath. It's a real mess here,"
added Walter. "Hope everything's okay with you two. We'll let you know
what's going on tomorrow. We'll leave a message at your mother's house,
Fox." BEEP.

"Hi Mulder. I can't believe you're not home yet. You've got a big day
tomorrow, and you probably haven't even begun to pack yet, have you? Well
I arrived and I'm so glad you convinced me to go. I've met a couple of old
friends and they're so impressed that they had, at one time, seen the
keynote speaker drunker than a skunk in med school! Well, I'll call
tomorrow morning to check in. Get some sleep, Mulder. And eat something!
Oh, and I love you, Fox. I love you so much. Speak to you tomorrow."

Mulder sat on the bed and stripped off his clothes. He went into the
bathroom, took all necessary medication, washed up, and brushed his teeth.

He then fell into bed and proceeded to dream of little boys, satanic
cults, and all of his failures. It was a long night.
10:26 p.m.

He felt the BP cuff swell up on his arm. Next he felt a pointed object
inserted into his ear and realized it was a thermometer. He knew he had
sticky tape on his head, so he figured they were monitoring his brain
waves. He must have been seizing a lot for the doctors to have him
constantly monitored. He realized he had contacts taped on his chest as
well, so they were monitoring his heart too.

He wondered if his heart had stopped earlier. He wondered just what kind
of shape he was in. He didn't feel all that bad physically, though he
figured that was most likely a result of some really heavy duty
painkillers. The drugs always made him feel a little groggy, but he was
still aware enough that Scully was still not with him.

If his sister and mother and Jack were here, why wasn't Scully?

*Where was Scully?*

Saturday (Early that morning)
8:30 a.m.


"Mu'der," he said groggily.

"Mulder, it's me," Scully said.

"Wha'? Umm, woul' you ho'd on p'ease?" he asked wearily.

Scully knew he was groping for his hearing aids and placing them in his
ears. When he returned to the phone, she repeated her greeting.

"Hi Mulder, it's me."

"Hi you. I go' your message las' nigh'. Gla' you're havin' a goo' time,"
he mumbled.

"You sound tired. What time did you get to sleep last night?" she asked.

"Early. Aroun' ten," he replied.

"Yeah, but how many hours did you actually sleep, Mulder?" she retorted,
knowing full well he would have never slept through the night.

"The usual, Scully," he replied uncommitted.

"Anything new with the case?" she asked tentatively.

"We got the guy."

"Oh, Mulder! That's great!" she called out enthusiastically.

"Dana, we were too la'e to save the boy," he responded dejectedly.

"Oh, Fox. I am so, so sorry," she replied, trying to comfort him. "You
did your best. You couldn't have worked any harder if you tried. You've
got to believe that," she pleaded.

"I wanna believe, Dana. I wish I coul'," he said mournfully.

"Mulder, are you going to be all right? Maybe you should postpone the
trip," she suggested.

"No!" he shouted. "I'm sorry, Scully. No, I'm okay. I just gotta finish
packin' and then I'll be all ready to go. Really, Scully, I'm fine," he
rambled on, as he tried to convince her he was something he wasn't.


"I'll be right there," she called to those knocking at her door. Mulder,
are you sure? Maybe I should come home__," she began.

"Scully, go with your frien's, please. I'm fine. I gotta go finish
packin', okay? I love you, an' I'll spea' to you tonigh'. Okay?" he

"Okay, but Mulder, if you need me for any reason, call me on the cell,
okay? I love you, G-Man," she said.

"Love you too, G-Woman," he responded tenderly and then hung up the phone.

Saturday (Earlier that afternoon)
3:40 p.m.

He arrived at the airport an hour and a half early. He wanted to make
sure he had enough time to get from the airport entrance to his gate. He
didn't want to unnecessarily fatigue himself anymore than he already was.

He had checked his overnight bag several times. He had packed all of
medications and as he had placed each one in the bag he had mused he could
be arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking . He then checked his other
toiletries and clothing. He couldn't remember the last time he had to
pack his own flight bag. He had felt an enormous sense of pride at
accomplishing this small task.

Now, as he sat on the flight, he fingered the medical bracelet he'd
promised Scully he'd wear. It informed medical personnel that he was
prone to seizures and took the drug Tegretrol twice a day to forestall
grand mal seizures. The damned thing, however, caused him to itch like
crazy. Scully kept promising him she would paint the back of it with some
clear nail polish, but as yet she hadn't, and the damned thing caused a
rash. He was scratching his skin raw.

He pulled the bracelet off, and dropped it in his jacket pocket. He
rationalized that at least the damn thing was on his person. Next, he
felt his shirt pocket for the two hearing aids he normally wore in each
ear. The air pressure in the cabin was uncomfortable for him, so he took
the aids out as they ascended.

When the flight attendant arrived with the drink cart, he said "ice tea"
as clearly as possible, and it was placed in his hand. Since it was such
a short flight, he didn't have to worry about conversing with anyone about
meals or movies.

Which is why it surprised him that the flight seemed to be taking longer
than he had anticipated.

When the flight attendant reappeared to collect the drink cups, Mulder
asked him why it seemed to be taking so long to get to LaGuardia Airport.

"Oh, Sir, didn't you hear? They're badly fogged in at LaGuardia, so we've
been diverted to Newark International Airport in New Jersey," he replied.

"What? I'm sorry, I'm hard of hearin' and I didn't qui'e understan' what
you sai'," Mulder replied with a twinge of anxiety.

"Fog at the airport. We're going to Newark International Airport
instead," he repeated a little louder and definitely more distinctly.

"Oh. Than' you," he responded with now more than a twinge of anxiety.
He wondered if the limousine service was available in New Jersey too. He
had no idea, since he'd never had need to use it before his illness. He'd
always just rented a car and drove off.

Suddenly, the plane took a sudden dip. Mulder felt his stomach drop to
the baggage compartment and then rise again. "Wha' the hell happene'?" he
called out.

Mulder saw the other passengers talking with one another. He was going to
replace his hearing aids, but when the plane dropped in altitude, the
pressure in his ears felt even stronger and even more uncomfortable, so he
left the aids in his shirt pocket.

"E'cuse me," he said nervously to the passenger closest to him, "coul' you
tell me wha' jus' happene'?"

"The pilot said a bird hit the plane in the fog," the gentleman replied
loudly enough for Mulder to comprehend him. As long as he maintained eye
contact with the speaker, even if he wasn't wearing his hearing aids, he
could usually get the gist of what someone was saying by lip reading.
Mulder made out the word "bird" and "plane" and put two and two together.

Abruptly, the plane took another big dip. Mulder looked wildly around him
and saw the rest of the passengers looked equally as nervous. He finally
got the attendant's attention who immediately dropped to within eye level
of Mulder.

"Sir, we are in the process of doing an emergency landing. We lost the
engine, and it's very foggy in this area too. Put up your tray, put on
your seat belt, and assume the emergency crash position." As he was
relaying this information to Mulder, the flight attendant was basically
doing everything for him. He got Mulder's tray up, seat belt buckled, and
pushed the passenger's head forward and down in the emergency crash

"Oh God, please, don't make this flight an 'I told you so' flight.
Please," Mulder prayed aloud.

The airplane dipped wildly and swerved in midair before it's nose finally
touched down. Unfortunately, the nose touched down before the landing
gear, and caused the plane to turn, swerve, and turn over on its side.
The speed the plane had attained on descent however, was enough to keep
its momentum going and had caused the aircraft to continue moving forward.

All the while spectators observed the outside destruction of the plane,
the passengers and crew had to endure the collapse of the
interior. Carry-on luggage was flying all over the place as were any
other airline material that was not nailed down.

The piercing of metal could be heard from both inside and outside of the
plane. There was enough shrapnel flying around and into passengers to
make it look like a war zone.

Though most of the passengers were strapped in, some were not as secure as
they should have been and were bouncing around the aisle. Those who did
remain in their seats experienced the force of their bodies trying to
escape the restraints, which caused just as much physical pain.

Mulder felt large pieces of metal strike his head which caused a large
jagged laceration to his forehead. Next, he felt excruciating pain in
both of his eyes. They felt as though they were being pierced by the
sharpest of daggers, and he cried out from the pain.

That was the last thing Mulder remembered thinking before it all turned

Saturday (Earlier that evening)
5:55 p.m.

He woke up because he smelled the smoke and he was frightened. He opened
his eyes briefly and barely made out the smoke now, and the flames. He
had to get out of there, but the belt held him tight. Then he opened his
eyes again. His sight was terribly obscured, and the vision in his left
eye was extremely blurred. He saw, however, what appeared to be the
silhouette of a small child to the right of him, and he knew he had to
help her.

Mulder yanked the seat belt until he'd separated it from the buckle.
Next, he groped about and finally reached over to the little girl and felt
her fingers touch his as she grabbed for his hands. At this point he
heard what sounded like muffled shouts, and prayed it was people searching
for survivors.

"Over here! We're over here!" he shouted. As they made their way over,
he handed the little girl over to the rescuers.

"Are you all right?" they asked him.

He didn't answer them, of course, because without his hearing aids he
couldn't decipher their words above the noise of the rescue work. Mulder
barely saw them, as his vision was so fuzzy as a result of the scratched
corneas. He merely nodded towards them, in an attempt to get them to move
on to save the little girl. When they saw his small nod, they'd assumed
he was okay and would follow them.

Of course, he couldn't. His head was pounding from the pain of a
concussion and the stabbing pain of his injured eyes. To compound
Mulder's problems, his sense of balance was now way off. Each step he
took resulted in not only a crashing blow of pain to his lacerated eyes
and head, but a mountainous wave of nausea due to the vertigo. Mulder
took each step very, very slowly.

Too slowly.

The explosion caught him full force.

7:06 p.m. (Earlier that night)

"I got a couple over here, Jim," called Allan Hornsby, a member of the
emergency rescue squad. "Come over here and give me a hand."

Jim Borden walked over quickly. He observed a male victim lying under a
number of parts of airplane. He noted another victim laid to the left of
him. Borden was fairly certain the second victim was dead, but he
couldn't tell about the first one.

"What ya got, Allan?" he asked.

Allan searched for a pulse in both victims' necks but found only one,
though it was weak. He began removing the various pieces of airplane that
had toppled on top of the two men. "This one's alive," he said pointing
to the first victim, "but the other one didn't make it."

They worked on removing the debris from the victim and had to cut his
jacket off of him in order to finally free him. They finally got him onto
one of the emergency helicopters that had been made available for the most
seriously injured.

Fox Mulder arrived at the emergency room of Newark Medical Center at
approximately 7:30 p.m.

It was the same time Dr. Dana Scully-Mulder began to deliver her Keynote
Speech to her colleagues at the Forensics Pathologists Consortium at
Columbia University Medical School.

End of part 2/8

Disclaimers in part 1

Part 3/8

8:49 p.m.

"Dr. Scully, may I just say how fascinating I found your speech to be?
Your theories certainly have some refreshingly new twists about them,"
said one of the many workshop participants who had listened to her keynote

"Thank you, I do appreciate your kind words," she replied over and over
again for the last fifteen minutes or so. She had vowed to keep the
speech to no more than sixty minutes, and she'd accomplished that feat
quite well. Her audience had apparently appreciated her succinct
presentation as well, and had applauded her words enthusiastically.

Dana was definitely experiencing a heady feeling with all the attention.
She wasn't used to being treated with this much adulation and respect.
Having been a part of the "Spooky Patrol" for so many years, she'd gotten
quite used to being looked upon as nothing more than a "necessary evil" by
her colleagues.

So it was with quiet trepidation she watched the two men approach. She
recognized "the look" anywhere. Long trench coats, dark suits, plain,
indistinguishable ties, and white shirts. Also, the obligatory,
regulation length hair cut.

The Men in Black live.

Scully wondered if she and Mulder evoked the same ambivalent feelings in
people they approached as she was feeling right at that moment. Scully
stood still, still shaking the hands of those who congratulated her, but
all the while watching the MIB approaching her. Closer and closer.

"Excuse me, are you Agent Scully?" the taller of the two asked.


"Agent Scully, I'm Agent Osborne and this is Agent Connors. We regret to
inform there has been an incident involving a commuter flight from Dulles
Airport to LaGuardia Airport."

Agent Connors began, "Your husband, Fox Mulder was on that flight, and

"__Ohmigod, no!" Scully cried out softly before she became lightheaded and
began to sway slightly.

"Agent Scully, he's alive. Listen to me, he's alive and in Newark Medical
Center, in Newark, New Jersey." Agent Osborne took hold of Scully's
elbow. "But he has been critically injured, and we have been requested to
bring you to the hospital immediately.


5:49 p.m. Pacific Coast Time

Neither one was sure who had jumped higher when they heard the hard
rapping on the door. Walter jumped out of the hotel bed that he had
shared with his wife for the last three days due to El Nino's insistence
in forestalling their Hawaiian honeymoon. Both he and Maggie decided
they weren't going to let the storms ruin their honeymoon, as they'd
planned on spending it in bed anyway.

So, they were spending it in bed in California instead of Hawaii. They
were being very understanding. And very pragmatic. California wasn't
costing them a cent, since the airline was footing the entire hotel bill.
Including room service.

Which was who Walter thought was knocking at the door, though he couldn't
for the life of him remember if he had indeed placed an order or not.

"Did you call room service?" asked Walter, as he pulled on a tee shirt and
pair of sweat pants.

"No, I thought perhaps you did," replied Maggie, as she retrieved her

So when Walter opened the door, he was about to ask whether they had the
right room or not.

Instead, he thought his heart stopped when he saw who was outside his

He found two men. Regulation, all the way. Bureau.

Skinner thought to himself, *Someone was either dead or very close to it.*

"Assistant Director Skinner?" asked the taller of the agents.

"Yes. May I help you?" Walter replied cautiously.

"Sir, I'm Agent Marcus, and this is my partner, Agent Wells. We're here
to inform you that one of your underlings has been injured in an
accident," the shorter of the two agents.

"Ohmigod, Dana?" Maggie called out.

"No_, no, it's Mulder, isn't it?" Walter asked.

"Fox Mulder. Yes, Sir," Agent Wells confirmed.

"What happened?" he asked and attempted to keep his voice calm and even.

"Sir, there was an incident on his flight from Dulles to LaGuardia

"Incident?" asked Maggie.

"The flight was diverted from LaGuardia to Newark International, in New
Jersey due to heavy fog conditions. Apparently, during the redirection, a
bird flew into one of the engines, and disabled it," Agent Marcus

"What happened?" Maggie whispered anxiously.

"Ma'am, the plane made an emergency crash landing at Newark International
Airport," he responded.

"Oh God. Is Fox __?" Walter began, his voice a little less calm, a little
less even.

"__Sir, he did survive the crash. He's in the ICU at Newark Medical
Center," Agent Wells confirmed.

"Oh God, Walter. We have to get back there. Dana! Does his wife know
yet?" asked Maggie of the two agents.

"Ma'am, as far as we know, Mr. Mulder's wife was notified in New York
City, and his mother was notified in Greenwich, Connecticut.

"Sir," Agent Marcus continued, "we have made arrangements for you and
your wife to be flown out immediately to Newark International Airport via
military transport," informed the shorter agent.

"Thank you. We'll meet you in the hotel lobby in fifteen minutes," Walter

"Yes, Sir. We'll be waiting for you in the lobby."

The two agents left, and Walter closed the door. Maggie had already
begun gathering their belongings and packing them in their suitcases.

Maggie stopped momentarily and looked at Walter. "How did you know?" she

"Know what?"

"How did you know it was Fox and not Dana?" she asked.

Walter paused and gave his wife of four months a thoughtful look. "He
said 'underling'. When Fox is brought in as a consultant, he's still
under my supervision. If it were Dana ___," he began.

"__They would have said 'Agent'," she concluded.

"Yeah." Walter paused and then, murmured so softly Maggie had to strain
to hear him ,"And besides__."

"__Besides what, Walter?" she asked gently.

"I__," he stammered slightly, "I just knew. Even now, oh Jeeze, Maggie,
this sounds so fucking weird."

"Talk to me, Walter. What about now?" she pressed.

"Even now, I can feel him needing us. Needing _me_," he explained. "I
just knew he was in trouble because I could feel he needed me," he
explained uneasily.

Maggie looked at her husband with a sense of awe. She could remember a
time when others, including her own daughter, had seen this man as so
unyielding and unbending, To think he now felt something akin to a
psychic connection with their son-in-law was almost incomprehensible.

But then the reality of the situation struck, yet again.
"Walter? Why? Why him?"

"Oh God, Maggie, I don't know. I don't understand it. I can't even begin
to comprehend it," Walter sighed wearily.


9:17 p.m.

"Isn't there an alternate route we can take, gentlemen?" asked Scully
anxiously. They had been at a standstill for the last twenty minutes on
the lower level of the George Washington Bridge.

"Dr. Scully, unfortunately, we can't get to any alternate route until we
get out from the bottom of this bridge," replied Agent Connors.
"According to the radio reports, there's been an accident. Normally this
would be the fastest way to get to the hospital. I am sorry, Ma'am."

"Oh God, you don't understand. I've got to get to him," she murmured

"Ma'am, we're doing our best to get you to your husband as quickly as we
can," the agent replied.


8:49 p.m. (pacific coast time)

Walter sat with his arm around Maggie's shoulders. He knew she was
crying, and he wanted to comfort her and tell her everything was going to
be just fine. Only he didn't know how. Not this time.

Walter wished there was someone who would put their arms around his
shoulders and comfort him. He needed someone to lie to him and tell him
everything would be fine, but he knew he wouldn't believe it. Not until
he saw him. Not until he could touch him, and hear him breathe, and see
him react.

Walter was full of unmitigated fear. He wondered if it was just dumb luck
and blind faith that allowed him to be in the right place at the right
time when Mulder had needed him in the past.

He wondered if he and Mulder had run out of luck.

However unexpectedly, Skinner had taken on the role of Abah willingly.
But now it was more than just a role he played. It had become his
identity. It was now a role he lived.. And Skinner was unwilling to
abdicate this role for anyone.

Not even the original.

10:56 p.m.

She ran. She ran down the corridor and banged her fist on the large
button that triggered the electronic doors to the Intensive Care Unit.
When she entered Scully had a wild, almost crazed expression on her face
that actually startled one of the nurses on duty. The nurse nudged one of
the doctors working on charts at the station.

"Miss, may I help you?" the doctor asked cautiously.

"My husband. Where is he? Please?" she asked hurriedly.

"What's his name?" he now asked gently.

"Mulder. Fox Mulder." Scully, if anything, had become even more anxious
in the last few minutes, as she stood twisting the strap of her purse.

The previously startled nurse interjected and stated, "I'll show you which
room he's in Mrs. Mulder. His mother, father and sister are in the room
with him now."

"His what?" Scully's reacted in a confused tone of voice. The nurse,
however, didn't notice and led her to Mulder's cubicle. Sure enough,
inside was Elizabeth and Samantha Mulder, as well as Jack Stein.

"Mulder!?" Dana called out in a panic.

"Dana, he seems to be stable for now." Samantha attempted to calm. "It
probably looks worse than it really is."

Dana swept by Samantha Mulder, as well as Elizabeth and Jack, and moved
directly to the head of Mulder's bed.

"Mulder, I'm here. I'm here. Sweetheart, can you understand me?" she
asked. She lowered her face to his and gently kissed him on the forehead.
There was apparently no reaction.

"Dana, he's out cold for now. He'd had another seizure only about twenty
minutes ago. It was a fairly long one, and took a lot out of him. They
had already administered some pain killers, but they just began the
anticonvulsant meds, so he's pretty much out of it," Samantha informed

"Why did they wait on the seizure medication? Didn't they realize he had a
seizure condition?" Scully asked, somewhat annoyed.

"No, they didn't. Apparently he wasn't wearing his ID bracelet," replied

"But he promised me," Scully gasped.

"He probably had been wearing it, Dana, but by the looks of this rash on
his wrist, he had probably put it in his jacket pocket," Samantha related.

That scenario made perfect sense given who the victim is.

"When did he get here? When did you get here? Oh God, how long was he
here alone?" she whispered guiltily.

"Dana, listen to me. We were told he was brought in around 7:30 this
evening," Sam began. "We were contacted a short time after that."

"Why were you told before me? Damn it, I'm his wife! They didn't get to
me until almost a quarter to nine!" she ranted in frustration.

"Dana," Jack Stein interjected gently, "they knew where to find us. We
were at your mother-in-law's address."

"Couldn't you have told them where I was?" she asked tersely.

"Dana," Elizabeth began, "at that point our only thought was to get to

"Well, isn't that a change of pace, Elizabeth," Dana remarked

"Dana, that was not called for," Samantha retorted. "It _was_ our only
concern. Besides, the officers didn't _ask_ about your location, so we
had assumed they knew where you were. You can imagine it was a bit of a
surprise _not_ to find you here, trying to orchestrate everything, as

Dana turned around abruptly. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Dana responded angrily.

"Children, enough!" Elizabeth interrupted the angry exchange. "We are all
under a great deal of stress here. Please. We're here for Fox, so let's
leave this stupid, petty competition outside."

Dana looked toward Elizabeth Mulder with fire in her eyes, while
Samantha's showed only the reflection of a daughter's remorse. Jack
walked over slowly to both Samantha and Elizabeth Mulder and touched both
of them in a small, physical gesture of reassurance.

Dana stood off to the side and watched while the three of them edged her
out of her place by Mulder's bed. Jack then reached out to grasp Mulder's
hand, while Elizabeth caressed his cheek. Samantha checked the monitors
and his chart.

Dana was effectively, pushed off to the side as excess baggage.

How could she have felt on top of the world just a few short hours before,
and now feel so totally and completely useless? That was her husband
lying in that bed, and yet his family seemed to have absolutely no respect
for her role.

His family. _His_ family. Not her family.

Dana wanted her family. Desperately, because at the moment she felt as
though she were all alone in the world. All she wanted was __her__

All she wanted was her Mulder, in one piece.


11:13 p.m.

He smelled her scent, and then he felt her soft, loving lips kiss his
forehead. It was his Scully, he knew it. She was here. *Scully, I love
you! Scully, I'm so sorry,* he tried to say. As suddenly as he felt her
lips touch his face, that was how quickly he felt the void.

*Where are you, Scully?* he wondered. *Please, don't leave me. I'm so
scared,* he said aloud in his mind.

As he wondered where his wife had gone off to, he felt a new aura of
energy in the room. He couldn't hear anything because he wasn't wearing
his hearing aids. He couldn't see anything because his eyes were bandaged.
But he could sense something. Something that was not necessarily good,
and in fact, it was something that was quite negative.

Next he felt someone touching his hand while someone else caressed his
cheek. Neither one was Scully. He flinched at their touches.

He wanted his Scully.


End of part 3/8

Disclaimers in part 1

Part 4/8

11:40 p.m.

Scully finally found her presence of mind to ask to see Mulder's chart.
She took it firmly from Samantha's outstretched hand and began to check it
over for any drugs Mulder may have reacted poorly to in the past.

Seeing none, she next checked the chart to see exactly what injuries he'd
sustained in the crash. One badly bruised spleen. Two badly cracked
ribs, which resulted in one collapsed lung, hence the need for the
ventilator. Several lacerations to and around the face. Two scratched
corneas, which were the reasons for the eye patches.

Eye patches. Scully looked back over at her husband with a sense of
anxiety. She walked over and examined one side of his head and then the

"Dana, what are you looking for?" Elizabeth asked.

"Where are his hearing aids?" Dana asked.

"I don't know," replied Elizabeth. "I don't recall seeing them."

Dana then looked at both Samantha and Jack for confirmation, and upon
seeing them slightly shake their heads, she immediately returned her hands
to Mulder's face and hands and torso, and anywhere else she could touch
him in an effort to reassure him she'd not deserted him.

"What's wrong, Dana?" Elizabeth asked.

"He's always been petrified of the dark, ever since he'd suffered the
hearing loss. Elizabeth, consider how helpless you might feel if you
could neither see nor hear, and now," as Scully looked and caressed him as
gently as possible, "can't even talk to make your needs known. Oh Mulder,
I'm here. I'm right here."

At that moment one of the interns walked in and stated called, "Dr.

"Yes?" the sister and wife responded simultaniously.

The intern looked totally confused and said, "I mean the one that's a

"That would be me," replied Samantha a tad too smugly.

"Excuse me," began Scully who had pointedly not referred to her as Doctor,
"but I, too, am a doctor."

"For crying out loud, Dana, you cut up _dead_ bodies," Sam said tersely.

"My specialty is forensics medicine, Samantha." Dana looked at her
sister-in-law with fire in her eyes and said, "Don't you dare trivialize
my knowledge and expertise in the area of medicine. I have kept abreast
of the latest medical advances.

"And besides, I've had my own, personal, patient to practice on. In fact,
I have doctored your brother for a lot longer than you have in the past
five years. Do I make myself clear?" asked Dana harshly.

"Perfectly, _Doctor_," Samantha replied tersely.

"Umm, excuse me. Doctor_s_. I was wondering if either of you would be
able to sign these release forms for me," the young intern said.

"Of course," answered Samantha. "She can handle _that_."

"Enough!" Jack Stein said vehemently. "That will be enough, Samantha.

"Dana, as Fox's wife, you do need to sign the release forms if he is
incapacitated," Jack stated firmly. He watched Dana sign the forms while
he moved quietly toward Mulder. Jack touched the younger man's forehead
and felt the heat emanating from his body.

"He's burning up," gasped Stein.

While Dana shoved the papers into the hands of the intern, Samantha was
immediately at Fox's side. She checked the monitors and then buzzed the
nurse's station. A nurse came over immediately.


"His fever is spiking.," Samantha informed. Both Scully and Samantha
watched as the nurse inserted the aural thermometer.

"It's at 103 degrees. I'll notify the resident. He may want to change
the antibiotics," she said. The nurse left to go page the resident.

In the meantime, Dana watched as Mulder's family gathered around him.
Jack Stein stood at the foot of the bed, while Samantha and Elizabeth
Mulder flanked him on each side. Only Dana stood alone, as she felt
unable to join in _their_ vigil.

1:06 a.m.

Mulder woke up, but still could not see, hear, nor say anything. He was,
however, in pain, and began to moan.

The only other person in the room to hear Mulder was Jack Stein. Jack had
insisted the women leave the room to stretch out in the waiting room and
get some much needed rest. Everyone's nerves were beginning to fray.

Of course neither of the younger women wanted to leave the other alone
with Fox. For some reason, Samantha and Dana were behaving as though they
were in a competition with one another, and Fox was the prize. Jack
suggested to Elizabeth that she join them, not only to rest, but to

So it was Jack alone who heard the moans of pain from the patient. Jack
walked over and placed his palm on Mulder's forehead. He was warm, but it
was obvious to him that Mulder's fever had abated considerably. The
antibiotics were doing their job.

However, the groaning and moaning did not quiet down, and in fact became
louder and louder, and Stein realized the pain medication was not doing
its job any longer, and Stein reached for the call button. When the
nurse appeared immediately in the doorway, Jack questioned whether Mulder
was due for some more pain killers.

"Let me check your son's chart," the nurse said innocently. "It appears
he is due for another dose in about twenty minutes, Sir. I promise, I'll
be back in fifteen to administer it, okay?"

"But he's in a lot of pain now," he responded anxiously.

"I know. It's so hard to see one of your children in pain, but we can't
disregard the pain meds schedule, or there's a possibility of overdosing
him. I promise, I'll be back shortly to give him his meds," she explained
gently, and as she left, she suggested, "Why don't you gently massage your
son's temples. He might find that soothing until I return with his pain

"Yes, thank you. I'll try it," Jack said uneasily.

He looked down at the young man laying in the hospital bed. Everyone
naturally assumed he was Mulder's father. Samantha called him Dad and
Elizabeth, Mom, so they naturally assumed the patient was also his son.

*How would Mulder react to that one?* he mused to himself.

Jack wasn't foolish enough to think they'd developed any kind of
relationship over the last few months, but he had hoped Mulder developed,
at the very least, a tolerance for him and his newly revived relationships
with his sister and mother.

He followed the nurse's suggestion and began to massage Mulder's temples,
when, almost as soon as he'd begun, he heard a voice.


"What?" he reacted automatically.

"Please, don't."

Dana Scully had been watching Stein hover over Mulder from a short
distance away. The open area style of the ICU lent itself to a staff
member or a relative to keep an eye on a patient without actually being
within the confines of the patient's room area.

She had been watching Stein carefully and had wondered what he was
thinking. When she'd heard the exchange he had with the nurse it had
confirmed her anxiety. Dana had felt Stein was attempting to ingratiate
himself into the Mulder family again, and that included reestablishing a
relationship with Mulder himself.

She refused to let it happen, at least not like this. Mulder was
helpless. Scully didn't have any idea of his awareness level, and she was
not about to allow Stein do anything to him that Mulder might, under
normal conditions, find uncomfortable.

She repeated her statement. Firmly. "Please, don't."

Stein looked and found the source of the demand. "Don't, what?" he asked.

"Don't touch him," she said resolutely.

"Dana, I mean him no harm. The nurse said it might ease some of the pain
he's in until he can receive his pain killers."

She simply stared at him.

"Dana, I just want to help. I do have feelings for him. I've never
stopped having feelings for him. You know that. Damn it, you know that,"
he proclaimed.

"You gave up that privilege a long, long time ago, Jack," she responded.

"I've never set out to harm him. I've protected him. My God, Dana, I
helped rescue him from Krycek!" he exclaimed.

"Only so as long it suited _your_ objectives, Jack," Dana retorted.

"How can you say that?" he asked.

"Jack, you convinced Mulder to help cure my cancer by nearly killing him,
and it turned out he wasn't even needed. You just wanted to use him to
further your consortium's experiments.

"And the only reason you were so gung ho about rescuing him from Krycek
was because you were so damned sure you would find Samantha too. Please,
Jack, don't deny it, okay?" she stated with a sigh.

"I love him, you know," he replied with just the slightest tremor that
belied his normally calm personality.

"Perhaps you did, once. But now, don't touch him," she repeated in a
ferocious whisper.

"Dana, __," he began, but then abruptly stopped. He looked at her and
then walked over to her. "She suggested massaging his temples," he said
quietly, and then walked out of the door.

She walked over to Mulder's side and sat down heavily in the chair
stationed by his bed. She felt miserable. *Was Stein doing anything that
awful?* she wondered guiltily. But it had turned her stomach to see him
standing over her husband. *No,* she thought to herself, "I did the right
thing. His Abah will be here soon.*

"Soon, Mulder. Mom and Walter will be here soon," she said aloud surely
to comfort herself more than even Mulder.

1:19 a.m.

Something was wrong. He didn't know what, but he could sense something
was wrong. *Scully? Scully, where are you?* He'd felt his hands on him.
He didn't want his hands on him. He wanted Scully. And Abah. He wanted
Abah. He needed someone to protect him from the dark.

Scully was scared. And angry. *But could she protect him from _him_?
Could she find his Abah?* Mulder worried. Where was Scully?

*Scully,* he thought in relief as he felt her fingers gently massaging his
the sides of his head. *Oh God, Scully. I want to see you. Please, let
me see you soon.*

3:42 a.m.

They all jumped when they heard the footsteps at the entrance to his room.
Everyone had managed to wander back into Mulder's room and found a place
to sit and fall back to sleep.

But the hurried footsteps awakened them with a startle, and their heads
quickly jerked up to see who was causing the ruckus.

"Mom!" Dana cried out as she gently disengaged her fingers from Mulder's
hand to go greet her mother and stepfather with a hug. "Oh God, Mom, I am
so grateful you're here."

Then, turning to Walter Skinner, Dana quickly took him in an embrace and
murmured very softly into his chest, "You too, Abah. We need you with us
so much."

With those words, Walter's embrace became slightly tighter in an effort to
let his daughter-in-law know the feeling was mutual.

"How is he?" Maggie asked worriedly.

"He'll be okay, Maggie," Samantha said. "He's pretty banged up, but none
of his injuries are life threatening."

"Thank God," Maggie replied.

Dana shot her mother a look, but Maggie had no clue as to why. "What's
wrong, Dana?" she asked.

"Nothing," she replied, annoyed. For some absurd reason, Dana felt a
sense of disloyalty by her mother when she responded so quickly to
Samantha's accounting of Mulder's condition. The rational side of Dana
knew how foolish she was to feel that way, but the emotional side of her
felt betrayed.

Walter sensed something was wrong and held her to him for a few moments
longer. He then went into AD mode and said, "C'mon, let's go take a walk,
and you can debrief me on the situation."

Dana was grateful for the excuse of a respite from the ICU room as well as
the Mulder family members.

"She's right, of course. Thankfully none of Mulder's injuries are life
threatening," Scully began.

"So what's wrong? You looked like you were ready to bite your mother's
head off," Walter asked.

"Oh Abah, it wasn't so much Mom, as it was Samantha," she tried to

"Dana, she's his sister," Walter responded. "She's feeling a little
possessive too, I suppose."

"I'm not being possessive," Dana responded petulantly.

"Yeah, you are. But you're his wife and you're allowed," he answered with
a smile. "But sweetheart, she's allowed to be too."

"And Jack? What about Jack Stein, Walter? Is he allowed to take
possession of Fox again?" she asked icily.


Dana looked at the expression on Walter's face and saw it was a cross
between fatigue, puzzlement, and hurt.

"Oh Abah, I'm sorry. I'm just so tired, and I feel so guilty. If only
I'd gone with him. What ever possessed me to let him fly by himself?" she

"Dana, stop. Do you really believe you have that kind of power over
Mother Nature? It was the fault of a God damned bird, for crying out loud.
Sweetheart, consider this. If you flew with him, we'd quite possibly
have two of you in hospital beds." Walter stood and looked his favorite
agent in the eye.

"C'mon. I need to go see my son-in-law," he said.

As they entered the room Dana saw her mother holding Mulder's hand and
gently caressing it. No one spoke as she entered the room with Walter.

Walter walked over to the opposite side of the bed. He gently clasped
Mulder's face in his hands and leaned down to brush his lips across
Mulder's forehead. It was a habit they'd gotten into when Mulder was
recovering from the last illness, and it had become a pretty much time
honored tradition between them.

And Jack Stein's face paled as he watched.

End of Part 4/8
On to Abah VII:The Visit(2/2)