Sent: Sunday, August 06, 2000
Subject: Barbecue Series 20: ATM by S.Proto

Category: MSR, MulderTorture

Rating: PG-13 for language.

Spoilers: None really

Summary: Just a quick stop at the ATM.

Archive: Archive to MTA, Susan's Garden and those sites that I have given
prior written permission. All others, please ask.

Disclaimer: The names you recognize belong to 10/13 productions and Chris
Carter. I'm just borrowing them, and since I've learned to play nice in the
sandbox, I promise to return them in one piece.

Author's Note: For Vickie who felt deprived of an important scene in my last
posted story. Hopefully this one will feed the yearnings. <VBEG>

Feedback? Feedback? Yup, I *need* the stinkin' feedback! Feedback is
definitely therapeutic!

The Barbecue Series 20: ATM
Part 1/3

"I need to make a quick pit stop at the bank."

"That's going to make us late," she replies as she turns the steering wheel
to make a right at the corner.

"I'm sorry, but I don't have a dollar to my name. I used up the last of my
cash when I'd stopped off last night at the convenient mart for the milk.
Scully, it'll only take a couple of minutes, and we're going to pass right by
the bank anyway."

I hear her sigh, but I know she won't argue with me further about it.

"Why didn't you stop at the bank last night?"

Okay, so I'm wrong.

"Look, even though I'm an FBI agent, I know stopping at a money machine at
midnight is not the smartest move I can make."

She nods at this, but I can swear I hear her muttering something like, 'now
he decides to become sensible.' I have to smile, because I know Scully
thinks I'm procrastinating. Well, perhaps I am.

We're heading over to Baltimore to Mom's house for one of her famous summer
barbecues. She's not the reason I may be procrastinating. Maggie's
first-born, Bill, however is.

"Fox Mulder, would you please stop stalling."

Oh, this woman is good. She is very, very good.

"Scully, I really am wiped out. Would you just stop at the bank," I ask

I see her turn to look at me and then at the car phone. I know she's
debating whether to call her Mom to let her know we're running late. She
drives into the parking lot of the bank, which is obviously packed to the
hilt with cars. I see her peer over the top of the wheel in search of a
parking space, but there are none to be found.

"I'll go to the drive-up window," she offers grudgingly and continues driving
to the corner of the lot. When she turns, I hear her groan and mutter,
"We're definitely going to be late."

"I can't believe how many people stopped for milk last night," I remark
lightly. Scully rolls her eyes at me, but before she's able to pull into
line, I tell her to go around again and drop me off at the ATM.

She drives and turns the next two corners, which essentially takes us full
circle and back to the main entrance of the bank.

"Thanks, Scully, I'll be right out."

"Mulder, there's no place to park."

"I know, just wait here," I reply in a slightly incredulous voice. I can't
understand what her problem is at the moment.

"It says 'No Standing.' I can't wait here. I'll just drive around again and
pick you up here," she explains.

"It's not like you're going to leave the car," I retort.

"It's against the law," she states vehemently.

Oh, for crying out loud. I wish she would just try living a little
dangerously for a change. Bend the rules! I can't even imagine what she
would say if she knew that if I were by myself, I'd have probably parked and
left the engine running. If I had any kind of nerve I would say this to her.

But I value my life.

"Fine, Scully. Do what you need to do. I'll be right out," I say and watch
her drive off. For a second or two I wonder if she'll find her way back to
the front entrance.

I turn and use the card to enter the small ATM room. There's a separate
entrance to the main bank, so I find myself alone. I slide my bankcard in
and punch in my code. I type in S-C-U-L-L-Y and wait for the menu to appear.
I quickly choose 'fast checking' for two hundred dollars and withdraw the
card to replace it in my wallet. I've left one too many cards in the damn
machine to not immediately put it away.

Next, I withdraw the money and count out the twenties. It's all there and I
push the wad of bills into the billfold of my wallet at the same time as I
pull open the door to go and meet Scully.

"OOMMPH!" I look up startled as I wonder why all of a sudden the wind is
knocked out of me. "What_?"


I'm suddenly surrounded on both sides by voices, but I'm in so much pain at
the moment that I can't make out their faces. I feel a shooting pain in my
side and all I want to do is get out of here and go to Scully. She can help

Help me.

I feel hands groping me and voices penetrating the fog of pain that surrounds

Help me.




As quickly as I've been accosted and manhandled, that's how quickly I am
deserted by my attackers. I feel a slight breeze across my face as the door
opens and they leave.

I slowly reach over to my right side and feel a stickiness there. It only
now occurs to me that I've been stabbed. I manage to remain standing, though
I'm not sure how.

Oh God, help me.

I stumble to the door and grope for the handle to push the door open.
Suddenly, everything seems too bright. I can't open my eyes wide enough to
see the car. I have to find the car. I have to tell Scully they stabbed me.

Shit. Scully's gonna kill me.

"Mulder! C'mon, we're late enough as it is. Move it, partner!"

I hear her voice, but I'm so lightheaded at the moment that I haven't a clue
as to its direction.


I think I've called out her name; I want to call it out, but I can't do much
else but keep myself upright.

"Scully," I call out but realize it's nothing more than a whisper.

"Damn it, Mulder, get your ass in this car or Bill is not the only one who's
going to kick it!"

I want to laugh at this; I really do, because Bill is going to want to kick
my ass so badly for ruining yet another one of Mom's barbecues.

I hear her sigh in disgust as she starts the engine and drives a bit closer
to me. She hasn't figured out that we're going to make a quick a side trip
to the ER yet. Looks like Scully's going to get a chance to play with her
new car phone after all.

I take a deep breath and instantly realize that was a mistake. I gasp and
feel myself losing my balance.


I hear the confusion in her voice and want to respond, but it hurts to
breathe now. You're gonna have to figure this one out for yourself, Doc.

"Mulder, what are you doing? C'mon, we're going to be__. Ohmigod_."

She's out of the car in milliseconds once she figures out that I'm barely
standing on my feet. I feel her arms go around me to offer me some support
when I hear her gasp. She gently kneads my side, so I know she's discovered
my stab wound.

I groan aloud when she touches a particularly sensitive spot and she manages
to turn me so I can sit down in the passenger seat of the car.

"Hurts," I manage to whisper.

"I bet," she replies. "When? How?" she asks incredulously.

"So quick," I reply softly.

She nods at this, makes sure my legs and arms are inside the car. Next she
reaches in the back for the lightweight sweater that she habitually keeps in
the car for overzealous air conditioners, rolls it up, and presses it against
my side. Next I feel her pull out and down the seatbelt and clasp it around
me. I see her check the 'bandage' to make sure the seatbelt secures it as
much as possible and then she places my arm down over it for insurance.

"I know this has to hurt, but we're only a couple of minutes away from the
hospital. Hold that as tightly as you can against your side, understand?"
She slams the passenger door shut.

I watch her run around to the driver's side and slide into her seat. As
she's never turned the car engine off, she's able to pull away from the curb

She flips open the car phone, which remains attached to the car dash and
presses the speed dial button. It's on speakerphone mode, so Scully's hands
are free to drive. That's my fiancée for you; always thinking, 'safety

Of course, now I get to be privy to the conversation, something I'm not
altogether sure I want to deal with.

"Hang in there, Mulder. We're almost at the hospital." At this point I hear
the phone ringing and I pray for Mom to pick it up.

"Hello?" greets the deep voice.

I'm dead. If the stab wound doesn't kill me, Bill Scully will. He's gonna
reach right on through the damned speaker phone and strangle me.

"Bill, put Mom on the phone," Scully demands.

"Dana? Where are you? You're supposed to be here now, aren't you?"

No Bill, it's too early. We're supposed to be there in fifteen minutes. Of
course, that doesn't mean we would have actually arrived in fifteen minutes,
but the point is, we're not officially late. Yet.

"Billy, please put Mom on the phone," she requests again. Here I am,
bleeding like a pig, and the woman sounds normal as usual. I don't know how
she does it.

"Aw, Sis, what the hell happened now? Don't tell me you've got called onto a
case, because we'd both know that's bullshit since your boss is here already."

"Billy, I really need to speak to Mom."

Okay, now the human side of Scully is starting to slip through, as her voice
is now just showing signs of emotion.

"Bill. Please. Mom. Now."

Check that; we are now just shy of sounding panic stricken.
C'mon, Billy ol' boy. Just put Mom on the phone.

"Shit," he mutters and then yells, "Mom, Dana needs to speak with you."

I decide time must have stopped and that's why it's taking so long for Maggie
to get the phone. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the
possibility that I've gone into shock. Yeah. Right.

I must have mumbled that out loud 'cause Scully reaches over and pats my arm
gently. "We're almost there, Mulder. Just another minute or two," she says

"Hello? Dana?" I hear her concern in her tone. Oh, Mom, I've gone and done
it again.

"Mom, something's happened and we can't make it. I'll fill you in later
after we've arrived at the hospital."

"Hospital? Dana, are you hurt?"

I hear Bill's voice call out in the background, "What's wrong? What's

"No, I'm not hurt. Mulder's been mugged; he's been stabbed."

"Oh, no," she cries out breathlessly.

"Damn it, Mom, what's happened now?" calls out Bill in agitation.

"It's Fox; he's been hurt in a mugging."

"Oh, for Christ's sake," he cries out in anger.

"Billy, enough," Mom snaps back.

"Mom," breaks in Scully, "I'll call you back as soon as I know what's going

I hear her snap the phone closed and catch her taking a quick glance at me.
I try to smile, but I think all that comes out is a really ugly grimace.
Damn thing hurts like hell.

"Hang in there, Mulder. ETA is only about two minutes."

And I guess that time trick happens again, because it feels like it's frozen.
I want the pain to stop, but it feels as if it's going to go on forever.

Then I hear the magic words. "Mulder, we're here."

Scully grunts as she opens the driver's door wide to climb out and rush into
the emergency room. As the doors swing open I hear her shout, "I need a
gurney out here, STAT!"

Almost instantly I can hear feet running toward me with a gurney rolling
quickly to my side. I hear voices and try hard to focus in on what they're
saying, just in case they're directing me to do something, but I can't. The
pain and blood loss is too overwhelming at this point, and I feel as though
I'm going to lose myself in blackness very soon.

Hurts! Oh God, it hurts! I'm being lifted out of the car and onto the
gurney. I open my eyes wider to seek out Scully, but I don't see her

Scully? Scully! "Scully!" I manage to rasp out.

"I'm here, Mulder. I'm right here."

I raise my hand up; grab it, Scully. I need to feel you with me.

I feel her fingers entwine mine for the barest of seconds when a voice calls
out, "Ma'am, we have to get him into the room. Please wait out here."

My fingers grasp only air.


I hear a multitude of voices calling out orders and giving directions and
asking questions, but I can't keep track of what any of them are saying.

"We got a PT here on the right side, and no, the cops may _not_ come in and
talk to the victim yet!" one voice rings out. I actually know what this is,
because they call a gunshot wound a 'penetrating trauma' as well.

They roll me over gently to see what damage is done to my back. That hurts
more than I could have imagined, but when they roll me onto my back again I
manage to catch my breath.

"Sir, sir, can you hear me?"

I can hear him, but I don't know if I've answered him.

"Well, Mr. Kramer, what can you tell me?"

"The patient is going into shock?" replies a very tremulous voice.

"Going, going, gone, Mr. Kramer!" confirms what the doctor and I both know.
"He's most definitely in shock, Mr. Kramer. So, what do we do?"

The young voice obviously belongs to a medical student and it recites the
treatment for shock. He also delivers a pretty thorough recitation of the
ABC's of an initial evaluation.

I think I've missed my calling in life. I'm able to anticipate everything
this kid is saying, so I guess I know all of this stuff already; shit, I've
had it done to me enough times in my lifetime.

Right now, though, I'd give anything for a mega dose of the good stuff,
because I'm in a mess of discomfort. All the while I'm considering my life's
choice of professions, the doctors and nurses are busy trying to keep me from

"Is the Foley in? And how's his BP, Aileen?"

"Yes to the Foley and BP's dropping, Dr. Jarvis. It's 70 over 50.

"Are we typed and cross matched yet?"

"Yes, Doctor."

"All right then, let's get those IV lines wide open and get that blood flow
going a little stronger.

My blood pressure must have gone up a bit because I'm more aware of my
surroundings, most notably is the fact that Scully is still nowhere to be
seen. I want to know what's going on, and Scully is the only one I trust to
tell me the straight story.

"Scully." Whoa. I think I just spoke. I try it again. "Scully."

"Mr. Mulder," responds the doctor's voice, "Do you know what happened to you?"


"What hurts?" he asks.

"Side. Down. Right." I guess stringing more than two words together is
about all the challenge I can handle at the moment.

"Okay, Mr. Mulder. It appears you've been stabbed on the lower right side of
your abdomen. We're afraid we're seeing some blood in your urine output.
We're going to be doing some more tests to see what our next steps should be,

I think I nod.

I hear the doctor bark out words such as 'FAST' and lavage, but I don't have
a clue as to what he's talking about. I do know that I feel something cold
on my abdomen and realize they're doing some kind of ultrasound test on my
stomach. I hear them murmuring something about the kidney, but I don't pay
all that much attention. I try to concentrate on withstanding the pain.

I hear the door swing open and wonder if Scully has decided to take matters
in her own hands. I want it to be her.

"Doctor, they want to know when the victim will be available," reports a new

"Tell them the _patient_ will be available when we've got him stabilized,
Janice," he replies firmly. I sense him leaning down closer to me and hear
him say, "I suspect there's a couple of policemen outside waiting to talk
with you. I think we're going to hold them off until after we've gotten all
of the test results back and you've visited the operating room. That okay by

I nod again. The next thing I try to do is ask for Scully, but the only
thing I seem capable of doing is almost smacking my lips.

"I believe your wife is waiting for you outside. Would you like to see her
for a moment?"

This doc is a first class mind reader. I love you doc. I manage to nod my
head again, and after a few seconds I feel my hand entwined in hers again.

"They're going to take you upstairs to the OR for exploratory surgery. The
doctor told me the test results so far have shown there may have been some
damage to your kidney, but __."

I think my eyes must have glazed over at this point, because Scully stops her
diagnosing and simply bends down and begins to lightly kiss me on the face.

"I'm here," she murmurs.

I know.

"I love you."

I know.

"Okay, Mrs. Mulder, it's time to finish up down here and bring our patient
upstairs for a little repair work."

All she does is nod. People were always mistaking us for a married couple,
and we'd spend most of the time trying to straighten people's impressions of
us. Since we became officially engaged though, neither one of us has felt
the need to correct anyone regarding our marital status. Hell, I've felt
like I've been Scully's one and only for as long as I've known her.

I gently squeeze her hand to let her know I'm okay. She squeezes back to
acknowledge me, but then all I feel is air again.

I wake up and hear voices amid beeps and clicks. I don't open my eyes yet,
but I listen. I know Scully is here, but I'm not sure who else is with her.

"Sweetheart, the nurses said Fox will be fine. The surgeon said there was
only minor damage to the kidney and it was easily repaired."

Mom. This is Mom's voice I hear. I sigh in relief at the thought that
Scully has some support.

"I still don't understand how he could allow himself to get mugged."

Oh joy, Bill is here too. Well, Billy boy, I'm not quite sure how I allowed
myself to be mugged either.

"I mean, for crying out loud, he's this big hero FBI agent, ya know? And it
was broad daylight, so will someone tell me how he could get hurt?"

Jeeze, Billy, make it sound like I'm totally incompetent, why don't you?

"And you allow this guy to protect my sister?"

Ahh, so the truth comes out. Of course, it does give one pause to wonder,
doesn't it? I mean, I can't seem to protect myself, so why should anyone
expect me to be able to protect my partner?

"Bill, you haven't been here for five minutes yet, and already you're
starting?" Scully admonishes her brother.

"We would have been here sooner, Dana, if you'd have called us back before
the guy was out surgery. They wouldn't allow us in the recovery room with
you, remember?" Bill retorts almost petulantly.

"Bill, enough. Mulder is the only one I would ever trust to protect my back,
and this discussion is over."

Well, I sure as hell wouldn't argue with her, but I wonder if Billy boy is
going to push it.

"I have to concur."

Doubt it, not with the big guy here.

"Sir, I'm afraid the police are breathing down my neck about making a
statement. Now that Mulder's out of surgery and stable, I don't want to hold
them off any longer. Would you_?"

"I'd be happy to accompany you, Dana."

"Mom, stay with him until I come back, please?"

I hear Mom answer in the affirmative as well as make a promise to keep Bill
from mouthing off unnecessarily. I smile inwardly at the picture that
presents in my mind's eye; Maggie Scully standing up tall up against her
eldest child with a whip and chair.

I hear the door swing close and lay amid the usual hospital sounds. Now
that's pretty sad, isn't it? I've been in and out of hospitals so often, the
sounds of one have become ordinary to me.

I want to let Mom know that I'm okay, but to be honest, I don't want to look
at Billy's glare at the moment. I decide to hold off and wait for Scully's
return. I suspect the police will try and follow her into the room to try
and get a statement from me, too.

I remain quiet; I figure I need to build up my strength for my next visitors.


I must have fallen back to sleep for a little while, because I hear Scully's
voice again. Only this time she sounds annoyed with someone other than her
older brother.

"I've told you, he hasn't even woken up from the anesthesia yet. Please, you
got my statement already, so why can't you just come back tomorrow?"

"Ma'am, the sooner we get to speak with your husband, the more clear he'll be
with the details. Please, let us try to get his statement so we can catch
whoever did this to him," replies an authoritative female voice.

"I don't want to wake him."

She didn't even flinch at the officer's use of the word 'husband.' Oh, we
are getting way too comfortable here, aren't we? I smile at the thought of
us growing old together and becoming comfortable. I like that idea very much.

I think, however, Scully is weakening; she understands the importance of
getting a victim's statement as soon after the incident lends itself to more
complete details. I've got to put her out of her misery.

"'S'okay, I'm up," I say, though it feels as if someone's stuffed a sheet of
sandpaper down my throat.

"Mulder," she says as she takes hold of my hand. There is nothing more
comforting than feeling this woman's hand in my own.

"I'll give my statement, but first, water. Please."

The next thing I know a cup of water is placed in front of my face with a
straw in it. Mom holds the glass for me while I sip. The water soothes my
throat, though I suspect it will be a momentary respite.

I turn my head to look over at the two police officers. The woman stands
still, biding her time, while her younger male partner seems to be ready to
bounce off the walls as he impatiently shifts from one foot to the other.

"Okay," I say.

"Thank you, Mr. Mulder," says the female officer, "I'm Officer Cole and this
is my partner Officer Logan. I know this is a difficult time for you, but
the sooner we get the facts of the incident, the sooner we can start looking
for the culprit."

I nod and try to shift a little to a more comfortable position.

Big mistake.

"Ohhh," I groan and within an instant I hear Scully trying to call off the

"No," I interject, but I don't know if Scully thinks I'm responding to her
desire to end the interview or to the excruciating pain I've just caused
myself to experience. Damn, this hurts like hell, but I want to get this
over with. I want the entire DCPD out in force finding the little thugs that
did this to me.

"Scully, I'm okay," I say while gritting my teeth. Okay, so I'm not really
okay, but it gets her attention at least.

"Mulder, you're not okay. This can wait till tomorrow."

"No, it can't. They're right; by tomorrow, I may forget stuff."

I do a stupid thing; I try to shift again. I no longer wonder why
cartoonists draw little stars over the heads of their characters after
they've fallen off the proverbial cliff. There were a multitude of stars
floating around my head, let me tell you.

"At least let me call the doctor to get your pain medication upped."

"No, not yet." I know Scully is looking at me like I have three heads. If
there's one thing the woman knows about me it's I don't like being in pain.
I don't think there's ever been a time when I refused the good stuff, but
there's a reason.

"I'll be in la la land if they dope me up. Let me give the statement and
then they can pump me up with as much pain killer as legally allowed by law,

Scully understands this and nods. I see her give the officers her full
throttle Scully glare and hear her say, "Keep it short."

I smile. It's nice having this woman looking out for my best interests all
the time. It's even nicer knowing I'm going to be marrying her sometime in
the future.

"Do you need us to leave?" asks Mom as she indicates Bill and Skinner.

"No, you can stay, if Mr. Mulder doesn't have any objections," replies
Officer Cole.

"_Agent_ Mulder," corrects the AD.

"Excuse me?" asks Officer Logan.

"This is Special Agent Fox Mulder, and he works for the FBI."

"And you are?" asks Logan.

"Assistant Director Walter Skinner."

"Oh, and were you at the scene of the attack, Mr. Skinner?" asks Logan.

"No, no I wasn't."

"I see." Officer Logan looks a bit exasperated and turn directly to me.
"So, Mr. Mulder, why don't __."

When I hear Skinner take in a deep breath, I freeze for a moment. It's one
thing for the locals to try and put me in my place; after all, I'm this fancy
shmancy FBI agent who lets these small time hoodlums get the best of me. But
you do not insult an Assistant Director by totally ignoring information he's
just given you.

I swear, I want to tell the young Officer Logan to duck. So, imagine my
surprise when an unexpected hero comes to both of our rescue.

"The Assistant Director just informed you the patient's name is _Agent_
Mulder. Isn't that correct, Agent Scully?" Bill looks over at his sister
for confirmation, and I would guess a little approval as well, and she gives
it to him in the form of a nod and small smile.

"I don't think it's necessary to insult either one of these gentlemen again,
do you Officer Logan?" asks Bill in the most moderate, even voice I've ever
heard come out of his mouth.

"No, Sir, it certainly is not," replies Officer Cole. "Please accept our
apology, gentlemen, as I'm sure no insult was intended. Isn't that correct,

I know that tone of voice. I also know if Logan values his young life, he's
going to nod his head in the affirmative and keep his mouth shut for the rest
of this interview.

Logan nods his head, and his mouth remains clamped. He's not nearly as dumb
as I thought he was.

"Agent Mulder, would you try to tell us exactly what happened, starting with
what led directly up to the incident?

I nod and begin my tale of woe.

Officer Cole asks specific, clarifying questions throughout my statement,
while I have to stop periodically to ask Mom for another sip of water and to
give Scully's hand a break from the ironclad grasp I have on it.

Every now and then, as I tell what happened, I feel my hands tremble a
little. It may be from the pain, but I'm pretty sure it's more from the
trauma of the attack. I guess I'm more shook up than I thought I was. Shit,
guess nothing; the damn thing scared the hell out of me.


"So, you didn't see their faces at all?" asks an incredulous Officer Logan.

I've just spent the last forty minutes giving a statement, and the man thinks
I'm withholding information? Damn! Now I'm not only in pain, I'm pissed
off. So much so, that as I inform Officer Blockhead, "That's a really stupid
question, Logan," I try to shift my position yet again, but this time, it's
too much.

"Oh God, please," I moan aloud.

"That's it. This is interview is over," declares Scully with a firmness that
I have come to admire and fear. At the moment, however, I'm just relieved.
I can't do this anymore right now.

"I'm sorry, Agent Mulder,'' says Officer Cole.

I try to smile at her; she's a class person and a good cop. But all that
comes out is another grimace of pain. I'm really, really hurting here now.


She doesn't need to hear anything else. She just knows and I see her reach
for the call button. In an instant, a nurse appears.

"The officers were just leaving, MaryAnn, and Agent Mulder could really use a
dose of his pain meds. Now."

"Yes, Dr. Scully. I'll page Dr. Taylor immediately." She escorts the
officers out and I try to find a comfortable position. I'm not being very
successful at it.

"Mulder, you did a good job," says AD Skinner.

I must do a double-take, because I don't have a clue as to what the hell he's
talking about.

"The statement. You gave a very good, clear, concise statement. You gave
those two a lot to go on," he explains.

"But he couldn't identify their faces," Bill blurts out.

I can tell he blurted it without thinking because he looks like he wished he
hadn't said a word. Of course, that could also be because of the dagger
stares both of the Scully women are throwing him at this very moment.

Poor Bill. Sometimes I really do feel sorry for him. Between Maggie and
Dana Scully, not to mention what he must have had to put up with when Melissa
was alive, the poor guy never stood a chance.

"No, he wasn't able to give a facial description," the AD agrees calmly,
''but he was able to give the officers details about their jewelry, clothing,
height, and accents to name just a few. They have enough to go on to proceed
with their investigation."

Bill nods and looks at me with almost an air of respect. Then he says
something that really tears me up.

"My God, it could have been any of us then. It could have been Dana that
went into that ATM room."

I guess I have no secrets what with me being hooked up to all of the machines
in the ICU. My heart rate must have started racing because I was definitely
triggering every bell and whistle in there.

The doctor arrives pretty quickly, and I feel almost immediate relief as I
watch him shoot something directly into the IV.

"A little Valium does wonders, doesn't it Mr. Mulder?" asks the doctor. I
manage a relieved smile, but I still can't find a comfortable position and
apparently my expression is a dead give away.

"Still in a lot of pain though, right?" he asks with understanding. I manage
a confirming nod and he points to the button on the side of the bed. "A
little push of the button, Mr. Mulder, and relief will be on its way.
Fentanyl is a wonderful drug when used judiciously; the machine won't allow
you to overmedicate yourself, but it will spare you unneeded discomfort."

I push and wait; moments later I feel a sense of relief. Now, what is all
the fuss about?

I must have a slightly dazed look on my face, as Scully is trying to get
everyone out so I can get some rest. I really am a bit confused for the
moment; I know there's a reason why the doc came rushing in with the drugs.
I look around the room to see if anyone will give me a hint, and then my eyes
fall on Bill.

Oh. Of course. Now, what was it that he said before? Something about how
it could have been his sister laying here instead of me? Oh yeah, way to go,
Bro, make me feel even shittier than I'm already feeling.

"Mulder," Bill begins.

"Bill, you say one more thing to upset him and I swear I will pull my gun out
and shoot you."

Guess who said that?

"And I'll hold you in place."

Whoa. Guess who said that? My Scully women stick together.

"No, you don't understand," he hesitates.

"What's to understand?" I ask aloud in a slightly slurred tongue. I do love
Valium and Fentanyl. Makes even Bill palatable. "If Scully had gone into
the bank instead of me, she'd be here and my face would probably be
connecting with your fist."

I think I giggle at this point. Oh yeah, Valium and Fentanyl makes one
helluva potent potable.

"Okay, that's it. Time for Mulder to get his beauty rest."

"Wait! Please," Bill says a little emotionally.

Hey, c'mon future brother in law, chill. Have some Valium.

"Listen to me," he demands a little more forcefully.

Okay, he's got my attention; apparently everyone else's too.

"I just wanted to say I'm sorry, Mulder. I made an assumption that was not
fair for me to make." Bill pauses a moment and looks directly at me, only at

I think he's trying to figure out if I'm still awake. I am.


"I thought Mulder was somehow responsible for the attack. I figured he was
impulsive and didn't think and got hurt because, well, because that's what he
does so well."

I chuckle out loud at this. What can I say? I've actually seen my hospital

"Mulder, what I'm trying to say is, I'm sorry for doubting you on this. It
dawned on me that this could have happened not only to my sister but to any
one of us. You couldn't control this situation any more than Dana could have
or the AD or me."

I sigh at this point. I think I got a rare Bill Scully admission of error.
I've been the recipient of one or two of these in the past, but they are a
rarity, that's for sure.

I receive it with the intent it was given.

"Apology accepted," I say groggily.

"Okay, now can we let the man get some much needed sleep?" pleads Scully.

I guess they all agree, as my eyes close, and I drift off into a much-needed

Maybe I'll make it to the next barbecue in one piece. Maybe.


End of Part 3/3



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