Father of the Bride

Mulder was fidgety. He hadn't felt this nervous for a long

time. Reminded him of being called into Skinner's office. He

smiled. He was glad that Skinner and his wife had been able to come

to the wedding. Hadn't seen that old friend for eight years.

     A tall, slim young man came into the room. "Dad, everyone is

ready. What's keeping Mom, do you suppose?"

     "She'll be here. Your mother is never late." Mulder looked up

at his middle child. The boy's auburn hair was in a neat military

cut. His blue eyes sparkled with suppressed excitement. "Your tie's

crooked, Bill. That's better. How's mine look? I hate these formal

bow ties."

     The young man leaned down and adjusted his father's tie.

Wheels on the gravel drive announced the arrival of a limousine.

     Bill looked out the window. "Oh, good. It's Mom and Grandma

Margaret. I'll go take Grandma to her seat." He opened the door

between the little waiting room and the church vestibule. Margaret

Scully gave Mulder a wave as she took Bill's arm and let him escort

her to the front of the church. Scully and Sam came in to where

Mulder was sitting.

     "Sam, you look beautiful. Turn around. I like the way Grandma

Margaret did your hair."

     "Thanks, Daddy." She was standing tall and serious. "The

flowers turned out really well, don't you think?" She held out the

basket for Mulder to examine. The flowers were pretty, but his dark

haired daughter put them to shame. Mulder raised his eyes to

Scully's. She was smiling at him, sharing the pride he felt in

their youngest child. She reached out and they held hands briefly.

     Bill stuck his head in the door again. "I see the other limo.

Maggie's here."

     Mulder stayed in the background while the bride and her maid

of honour filled the room with their skirts and veils and chatter.

Sam stood staunchly beside Mulder holding the bride's flowers as

well as her own basket. Scully twitched the wedding gown's full

skirt into place and smoothed an imaginary stray hair back into

Maggie's copper curls. The two redheads were the same height. Next

to Maggie, Scully's hair was definitely muted with grey, but she

still had those big blue eyes. Bill was the only one who had

inherited them. The girls had Mulder's eyes. Scully was calm and

practical, talking soothingly to her daughter like a handler with

a nervous horse.

     Mulder sighed. Scully looked a little too thin. He preferred

her with a little more meat on her bones and once the wedding was

in the past she would probably relax and start eating again. He

didn't know how she did it. Three kids and a full time career in

forensic medicine. Of course, he'd been at home for the children,

and they'd always had a part time housekeeper.

     A sudden silence made Mulder look up. His womenfolk were

ready, standing looking at him expectantly. Bill hovered in the

doorway. Mulder smiled at the bride. "This is it, sweetheart. Are

you sure you don't want to change your mind? It's not too late for

Bill to stand in for me."

     Maggie leaned down and kissed her father on the cheek. "Don't

start up again, Dad. This is your job and you're not getting out of

it. Bill, take Mom in and tell the organist we're ready."

     Scully gave Mulder a wink as her son escorted her into the

church. A few seconds later they could hear the music start. Sam

led off, her face solemn. Then the maid of honour.

     Maggie stood beside her father and placed her hand on his

shoulder. They started down the aisle.

     Walter Skinner felt a pang of regret when he saw Mulder.

Silver haired, but still lean, with that gentle face and those keen

intelligent eyes. One of the good ones. An unfortunate loss for the

Bureau. Skinner hoped the man responsible was rotting in a cell.

     Giving her Dad's shoulder a little squeeze, Maggie walked

gracefully beside his wheelchair while Mulder concentrated on

steering a straight and steady course down the aisle.

 

                                *

 

     Scully didn't think that she would ever forget the sickening

crunch as Mulder's bones broke.

     Moments before they had been joking in whispers, tucked

tightly together in an ell of the building, their guns drawn.

Mulder had been teasing her about playing "sardines". For a moment

she had thought he was finally going to kiss her. Then the signal

was given and all hell broke loose.

     There had been more of them than expected and they were armed

and ready for trouble. Somehow they must have been warned that the

FBI would be waiting for them. Scully saw Mulder go down. She knew

he was wearing a bullet proof vest and she could see it was only a

leg wound. She had hesitated, but he had waved her on, so she had

continued with the rest of the team.

     She would never know whether they had run over him on purpose

or whether he had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Scully had been holding two of the highjackers at gunpoint when she

took a quick look back towards Mulder. He was sitting on the edge

of the road, his back to the truck. There was so much hullabaloo

that he didn't hear it coming until it was too late to get out of

the way. He threw himself down and to one side, which had probably

saved his life, but the big wheels had caught him across the base

of his spine. Leaving her prisoners in someone else's custody,

Scully had raced over.

     "Don't touch him. Don't touch him," she yelled in panic. Even

people trained in first aid had a hard time resisting the urge to

move a victim to make him look more comfortable. "Let me by. I'm a

doctor. LET ME SEE HIM." She crouched down beside his head, one arm

held out protectively over his body. His face was pasty grey and

his eyes glazed with shock. The pain must have been intense. She

gripped his hand and squeezed it tight. Leaning into his line of

sight she spoke to him. "Mulder, it's Scully. Let yourself go. I'll

take care of it."

     He blinked once and shut his eyes. "Okay, Scully." His hand

relaxed and he slipped into unconsciousness. Scully heard the

paramedics coming through as she took a quick survey of his twisted

body. It wasn't good. It wasn't good.

 

     When she talked about that night with Dr. Morrow, he had

gently pointed out that she couldn't have heard Mulder's bones

breaking. She had been too far away and there had been too much

going on. It simply wasn't possible. But the sound was loud in her

mind. She heard it clearly as her memory tormented her by replaying

the scene over and over again. She would have given anything to

undo that moment. She cried for him. She cried in her mother's

arms. She cried through her sessions with Dr. Morrow. She cried

alone in the middle of the night.

 

     The first thing he saw when he woke up was Scully's face. She

looked just the same. Maybe a little tired, but calm and smiling,

her big blue eyes looking at him without a waver.

     "Hi there. About time you woke up. I've been waiting for

hours."

     "Sorry."  His voice was a rusty whisper. His eyes closed again

as he shook his head. His thoughts were slow and muzzy.

     "You're still feeling the effects of the anaesthetic, Mulder.

And they've got you on a pain killer. Give it time."

     Mulder tried to move his arm and discovered his hand was in

hers. She gave it a friendly squeeze and released it. He rubbed his

face slowly, noticed the IV in his other arm. "So what's the damage

this time, Scully?"

     Scully didn't reply right away. Even in his drugged state,

Mulder picked up a hint of tension. Something wasn't quite right

here. He watched her, waiting for an answer.

     "Do you remember the truck? You were hit by a truck after you

got shot in the leg."

     "A truck?" His brows drew together.

     She licked her lips. "It came up behind you and you didn't

have time to get out of the way."

     Mulder's eyes showed only confusion and doubt. He wasn't in a

state to deal with the whole truth.

     "You've got some broken bones, Mulder, but you're in good

hands. Just relax. When you've had a chance to sleep off the drugs

we'll talk about it more."

     "You're the Doctor." He gave her a groggy smile and drifted

back into unconsciousness.

     They kept him heavily sedated for the next few days. It seemed

that whenever he woke up, Scully was there. She would soothe him

and give him something to drink, then sit beside him until he went

to sleep again.

     Scully wasn't there when reality caught up to him. She had

been taking a break, to call her mother and get something to eat.

She had dozed off sitting in the cafeteria, her hands wrapped

around a mug of hot coffee, her head leaning against the cool wall.

     Mulder's voice reached her as she got off the elevator. He was

yelling in fear and panic. Full denial. She ran down the corridor.

Two orderlies were holding Mulder by the arms as he hurled abuse at

the doctors.

     "Scully! Thank God you're here. Do you know what these idiots

are saying? Set them straight will you? Scully... " He read the

truth in her eyes.

     His jaw went slack; the blood drained from his face. His

expression changed from florid anger, to realization, to shock and

back to pale white anger. He sagged back on the pillow and stared

at the ceiling in silence.

     The medical staff left except for one unobtrusive nurse.

Scully moved cautiously closer to the bed. When Mulder was white

and silent was when he was the most dangerous. She put out a hand

to touch his arm but he jerked it away. He wouldn't look at her.

She waited.

     She waited for four days.

     Mulder discussed the situation in detail with the staff

doctors. He argued and pleaded for a glimmer of hope. He demanded

and got another expert opinion. And a third. He was rude and

impatient with the nurses tending to his senseless bowels and

bladder. Like a wild animal caged for the first time he threw

himself violently against the walls that were closing in on him.

     During those four days that he ignored her, Scully went to see

Dr. Morrow. She knew that later Mulder would need help in adjusting

but she went to get help for herself. How did she deal with such an

angry Mulder? How did she deal with her own anger and sorrow? How

did she help him? How did she let him know that it didn't matter.

She was with him for life, through thick and thin, as bonded to him

as any woman who had taken marriage vows.

 

     Day five. Scully slipped into Mulder's room. For the first

time he looked a little discouraged. She sat in the chair by the

bed. He looked out the window.

     "I'm starting back to work tomorrow. Skinner has put the

X-Files on temporary hold. I'll be in the forensic labs and

teaching one class at Quantico. I won't be able to come to see you

as often."

     Mulder felt a rush of panic. Even though he had been ignoring

her she was the one stable element in his life. He wasn't sure that

he could handle this if she wasn't there by his side. He stole a

look at her. She was watching him calmly. He noticed that her face

was scrubbed clean of make-up and her eyes were rimmed with red.

His glance skittered away again. He had found it nearly impossible

to look at her since the day her face had confirmed the doctors'

sentence. Now he asked himself why. Why was he so mad at Scully?

Because he had to blame someone or some thing. Because she hadn't

told him right away. Because she hadn't been able to fix it.

Because she didn't lie to him and tell him everything would be

okay. Because in her face he saw the inescapable truth.

     Mulder reached out blindly and her hand came quickly into his.

His chest was tight, his eyes burning. He was going to cry. He knew

once he started he wouldn't be able to stop for a long time. But he

had to look at Scully first. He took deep breaths until he could

turn to her.

     "I'm sorry, Scully."

     "It's okay, Mulder."

     It wasn't hard to look at her at all. She was just as

beautiful as she had always been. Steady, forthright and caring.

     He was the one who was changed.

     Then he wept.

 

***

Part 2

 

 

     "We need a break, Mulder."

     "Yeah." Mulder pushed the table edge causing his wheelchair to

scoot backwards.

     They had been hunched over the computers in Mulder's new

ground floor rooms, comparing data from old files with their

current case. They had been at it for hours and were tired and

frustrated.

     Scully put a hand up to massage her stiff neck, remembering

how good Mulder's back rubs used to feel when she was weary and

feeling low. Like right now. She looked at him, trying to gauge his

mood and mental state. He had wheeled himself over to the window

and was looking out at the summer night with a wistful look on his

face. He probably would have gone for a long run if he still had

the use of his legs. Scully chewed at her lip. Getting back to work

had stabilized Mulder's world and lifted his depression. He had

been relatively normal and cheerful for several weeks now.

     "Don't suppose I could talk you into giving me one of your

super back rubs, Mulder? Then we could go out for some fresh air."

     He shifted uneasily. "I'd rather not, Scully."

     "Not give me a backrub or not go outside?"

     "The backrub. Fresh air sounds good." He wheeled around

towards the door. Scully didn't move. "Coming?" He fiddled with his

keys.

     "Why not?" Her voice was soft with an undertone of hurt.

     "You know why not."

     She swallowed. They had to have this out in the open. "Does

this mean that you're never going to touch me again?"

     "Yes, that's what it means." He firmed his voice with a little

irritation. "Let's go."

     Scully walked around the chair so that she could see his face.

"Just like that? You cut me off just like that? Don't I get a say

in this at all?"

     Mulder looked away, pretending not to understand. "Cut you off

from what, Scully? We still work together, just like before. The

bureau has been very accommodating allowing me full status as an

investigative agent even though I'm not mobile. Thank God for the

computer and all it's electronic offspring. I think I would have

gone crazy if this had happened to me in the 70's instead of the

90's."

     "Mulder, it's been four months since you started back to work.

I miss your touch. You were always touching my shoulder or my arm,

putting your hand on my back. Some women would have been put off,

I suppose, but I knew you never meant anything negative by it. I

got to like it. I got to expect it."

     She paused, struggling with her feelings. A little part of her

wanted her to cry and stamp her feet. Mulder had certainly been

through a terrible time, but he had been getting the kid glove

treatment for so long now. She needed some attention, too. All she

was asking for was some friendly contact.

     "I need your touch, Mulder. I'm lonely."

     He was looking at her now, his eyes drawn to her face like

moths to a flame. She was right. He had relentlessly beaten down

his urge to touch her ever since the accident. That part of his

life was over. There was no use in fuelling false hopes. Besides,

he had been afraid that if he once touched her he would break down

and cling to her like a drowning man, pulling her under with him.

No need to ruin two lives. Mulder gathered his resolve, steeling

himself against the longing in her voice.

     "Everything was different then, Scully. There was always the

tantalizing possibility that you and I could have a future

together. Now it's out of the question. We're partners. And that's

all we're ever going to be. We both have to get used to it."

     "No. I don't want to `get used to it'. You have no right to

make that decision for me." Her eyes flashed with annoyance. "I

still love you, Mulder. I'm still attracted to you." She held her

breath. She hadn't meant to go so far. But it was only the truth.

     Mulder jerked as if she had struck him. His anger rose to meet

hers. "Stop it, Scully. You're just going to make it more painful

for both of us." Why did she have to say it now? After all the days

and months of silence... why did she have to voice it now, when it

was too late? "There's nothing for you here. If you can't accept

that you'd better get yourself a new partner."

     "What do you mean, nothing. Just because you can't use your

legs I'm supposed to forget about the rest of you? I love the whole

man... "

     "I'm NOT a WHOLE MAN! Don't you get it, Dr. Scully?" His tone

was vicious.

     She jutted out her chin. "C'mon, Mulder," she goaded him.

"Don't pussy foot around it. Spit it out. Tell me exactly what you

mean." She wanted him to drag his demons out into the light of day.

     Mulder clamped his jaw shut and spun the wheelchair away from

her. He couldn't believe she would put him through this.

     Scully just grabbed his chair and spun him back. "We're not

finished yet, Mulder," she shouted at him. "Can't you say it out

loud? I thought you were a man who searched for truth. What's the

real reason you won't touch me any more?"

     "You bitch!" he hissed. "You know perfectly well I can't feel

anything from the hips down. I can't have sex." He reached out and

pulled her down by the front of her sweater, partly in aggression,

partly to steady himself. "I can't get an erection. Couldn't feel

it if I did. I won't ever have another orgasm. Probably won't have

children." He was yelling into her face now, out of control,

shaking with fear and anger. "I'm not a man, any more. I'm just a

clever vegetable!"  The room continued to vibrate in the sudden

silence. Mulder's lips pulled back in a grimace of pain. Tears

started to flow. "I can't make love to you the way that I would

like to, Scully."

     Scully was on her knees, her face wet with her own tears. "I

know, Mulder. I know." She put both her hands over his clenched

fist and loosened his hold on her sweater. She held his hand to her

face and kissed it gently. "It's okay. See, I'm still here." She

smiled. "You can say all those things out loud. The world didn't

come to an end. The stars didn't fall from the sky. I'm still here

and I still love you. Those things are not enough to scare me

away."

     He shook his head from side to side. "Scully... don't."

     She got up and slipped off her shoes. "Now if you had told me

that you didn't want to touch me, that would have been scary." She

climbed into Mulder's lap. "If you had said that you didn't love me

any more, that would have sent me packing." She put her arms around

him and kissed his damp cheek. "But, I notice that you didn't. And

I KNOW you are a man who deals in truths."

     Mulder found himself almost smiling despite his misery. He

couldn't resist wrapping his arms around her warm soft body.

     "In a way, we're lucky that we never did sleep together. We

can start with a clean slate." She pulled back so that she could

see him better. Her face was very serious. "It's true, we won't be

able to make love to one another the way we would have liked to. I

don't mean to underestimate the difficulties. But I'm pretty sure

we can figure out something." She kissed him softly on the lips.

"What do you think?"

     Mulder's was in turmoil. Maybe, just maybe, there was

happiness in his future after all. They would take it very slowly.

Give her lots of time to change her mind. Not that Scully's mind

was easy to change. Stubborn, beautiful, red-headed vixen. He gave

her a wobbly smile in defeat.

     "I think you're a formidable opponent. And I hope that this

doesn't set a dangerous precedent for how future disagreements will

be resolved. And... not as if anyone present ever seems to have had

any doubts... I feel I should state, just for the record... I love

you, Scully."

     Her face broke into a radiant smile... the sunset after the

storm. She leaned in and kissed him again. He kissed her back

hungrily, glorying in the feel of her after many long months of

restraint.

 

                                *

 

     Margaret Scully sat in the bay window seat and looked out over

the large private yard. It was a pretty garden. It was a lovely

house. Starting to show it's age but full of warmth and character.

Most important of all it had spacious rooms, wide doorways and

hardwood floors. Good for wheelchairs.

     She turned her head and looked through the dining and living

rooms to where her daughter was conferring with the contractor who

was going to build the ramps. An elevator would have been simpler

but Mulder's ego was at stake. He preferred to power himself. He

had a point. He would never have to worry about batteries or power

outages.

     "Well, Mom, what do you think?" Scully was bursting with pride

of new ownership.

     "It's just beautiful, Dana. Even empty it feels like a real

home. And such a nice neighbourhood. I love the trees."

     "I'll finally get a chance to garden." Scully skipped happily

into the kitchen, her mother following. "Don't you think the

previous owners did a nice job renovating? Lots of counter space

and light but still in character with the rest of the house."

     Mrs. Scully surveyed the room, nodding. "Yes. I think that the

kitchen is the most important room in a house. A warm, friendly

kitchen with lots of room to work becomes the heart of a home."

     Scully gave her a quick hug. "I have lots of good memories of

your kitchen, Mom. Not just the good food and the conversation

around the table but all the art projects and science projects and

sewing projects. We did everything in the kitchen."

     "Well it wasn't as big a house as this and we had four

children. We didn't have an `office' or a `family room'."

     "The contractor says he'll look after getting a permit to

extend the house for the ramps. He even knows where he can probably

get some matching older bricks. I'm hoping he can have everything

finished by the end of next month. Then we can move in right after

we get married."

     Mrs. Scully smiled. She hadn't seen Dana this excited since

she had been accepted into med school. She was very happy for her.

But she did have some reservations.

     "Dana, isn't this house awfully expensive?"

     "We can handle it. I got a nice raise when they made me

Assistant Coroner. And Mulder sold his book."

     "That science fiction story?"

     Scully laughed at the look of surprise on her mother's face.

     "Don't look down your nose at it, Mom. There's a big market

for good science fiction. I've been reading some of it and trust

me, Mulder's book is much better than a lot of what's out there.

The publishers sent him an advance and want him to sign a contract.

Between his fiction and his articles on the paranormal and his

consulting work for the Bureau, we are a two income family."

     Mrs. Scully was relieved to hear that the financial picture

was so rosie. "That's good news, Honey. But I still wonder why you

want to buy such a big house. You and Fox are going to rattle

around in here. Your furniture combined won't even begin to fill

it."

     "It's because of Mulder's special needs. Once we've spent the

money to make this house suitable for a person in a wheelchair we

would be very unlikely to move again unless we really had to. So we

bought a house big enough to grow into. We may live here for the

rest of our lives."

     "Grow into? What do you mean?"

      Scully's eyes were blue fire. "I hadn't planned to tell

anyone yet, but I think I'm going to burst if I don't." She took

hold of her mother's hands. "I'm pregnant, Mom. Isn't that

wonderful?"

      Margaret Scully's jaw dropped. "Pregnant? But... who's the

father?"

     "Mother! Mulder, of course. Who else?"

     "But... I thought that it was impossible... that he couldn't.

I mean, how did you... " She blushed in embarrassment. She didn't

like to pry into her children's private lives but she really was

worried that Dana would come to regret entering into a sexually

dysfunctional marriage, even though she and Fox loved each other

very much.

     "Artificial insemination."

     "But it's been two years since the accident. I read those

books you gave me, Dana. They said that he would probably be

sterile by now."

     "The doctors and I encouraged him to put some sperm in a sperm

bank shortly after the accident. Just in case. He didn't want to,

but he went along with it. And now we're both so glad he did."

     Margaret Scully could only shake her head in amazement. "Oh,

Dana. I hope you're not going to regret this."

     Scully's face fell. "Why do you say that, Mother? I thought

that you would be pleased."

     "I'm just worried about the future. Children will make

everything more difficult if... if things don't work out."

     "Don't work out? I love him. He loves me. We've spent years

getting to know one another and working closely together. I would

think that statistically our marriage has a much better chance of

lasting than most do."

     "Aren't you just the least bit worried that somewhere down the

road you'll meet a man who attracts you and who can give you more

in bed? Who can satisfy your needs like Fox can't?"

     Now it was Scully's turn to blush. "No, Mom, you don't have to

worry about that. We've been sleeping together for nearly a year,

you know."

     Margaret hadn't known. Dana was usually a private person.

     "I can honestly say that I am well loved and very satisfied."

Scully's eyes filled with tears. She had become so emotional since

she had gotten pregnant. Just the thought of Mulder's hands on her

body made her overflow.

 

     They had taken it very slowly. At first it was enough just to

sit on his lap in the wheelchair and kiss and talk. Gradually, as

he gained confidence that this was what Scully really wanted,

Mulder's hands had become bolder, more sensuous, much more

intimate, more and more insistent, until one day she had exploded

into orgasm and clung to him quivering. After she had had all she

wanted, he held her tightly. He had been afraid. Afraid that he

would be so jealous that he wouldn't be able to bear it. But he

wasn't. His heart soared with a pure, clear joy. He would never

have believed that giving someone else pleasure, with no

expectations of it being returned, could be so satisfying.

     They had stayed at that level for weeks. Mulder wouldn't get

into bed with her. He wouldn't let her undress him. He was

painfully self conscious about his useless body parts and

embarrassed by his "plumbing". So she let him undress her and

explore her and satisfy her with his hands while she caressed and

kissed what parts of him she could reach.

     One night, driven by his desire to explore her with his mouth,

they got into the bed. Afterwards, as they lay together, she naked,

he fully clothed, Scully argued with him.

     "You're not being fair, Mulder. I want to give to you, too.

It's not enough just to take all the time. I need to feel you and

kiss you and taste you, too. I want to give you as much pleasure as

you give me."

     "I don't think there's much you can do for me, Scully."

     "Rubbish. The skin is just one big erogenous zone. Let me show

you just how good I can make you feel."

     "I don't think it would work. I wouldn't be able to relax."

     "Are you afraid that I'll be disgusted? That I'll laugh? I've

seen men in your condition before, Mulder. I AM a doctor."

     "I know. But a patient is different than a lover."

     "Please? How about just the top half? Let me at least undress

you to the waist." She started to undo his shirt buttons. He

grabbed her hand, squeezing it painfully. Their eyes locked.

     Mulder's eyes were full of anxiety and pain. He didn't want to

risk losing the good thing he had in what he feared was a doomed

attempt for something that would never be good enough.

     Scully's gaze was confident and encouraging. He tried to draw

some of her strength into himself because in her eyes he saw what

was probably his only hope of happiness and freedom from his fears.

     "I promise, Mulder. Only from the waist up."

     "Okay." He lay back and closed his eyes but he was tense and

unhappy. Scully tenderly undressed him. His upper body was more

muscled now. She thought he was beautiful. She slowly poured out

her love through her hands and her lips and then her tongue. By the

time she had explored his front to her satisfaction Mulder was

relaxed, watching her from heavy lidded eyes and smiling softly. He

offered no resistance when she rolled him over and started on his

back. When she was done she pulled up the covers and lay on top of

him. Drugged with sensuality, they had slept.

     After that it was easier. Mulder had to admit that he really

enjoyed what she did to him. Scully got to know his most sensitive

spots and would drive him crazy with pleasure. He never knew what

to expect. It could be anything from the lightest trace of her

nipples, the merest puff of warm breath, all the way to a deep

massage or a thorough tongue washing. She made him feel so good he

could hardly remember what ordinary sex felt like any more.

     Eventually the rest of his clothes came off and she was able

to caress him all over. He couldn't feel it, but he was able to let

her see him and touch him. He watched her face anxiously for any

negative sign, but he saw only acceptance and love. He let go of

his last fears with a deep sigh.

 

***

Part 3

 

 

     Mulder's pulse was pounding in his ears... his breathing

painfully ragged. Even though his muscles burned with fatigue, he

would push his body past it's physical limits rather than give up.

     They were out to get him for sure this time. Two to his one

and murder in their eyes. For an instant he considered trying to

bulldoze his way through, but decided to try a double feint. It

worked. The bigger guy fell for it leaving a brief opening that

Mulder quickly darted through. He raced away. He felt so alive...

every sense alert, every fibre involved. A third man came from his

left to block his escape, but Mulder was close enough now. Spinning

his wheelchair to the right, away from those eager arms, he gained

a moment to take aim. He fired with deadly accuracy.

     The ball dropped through the basket without even touching the

rim. The crowd roared approval and the buzzer sounded for half-

time.

     Mulder grinned in jubilation and sucked in air. Looking up

into the stands he waved at young Maggie who was bouncing up and

down on Scully's almost non-existent lap and jabbering away to her

Grandma. They didn't often have the opportunity to watch him play.

Scully had taken her maternity leave a couple of weeks early so

that she and her mother and Maggie could all come to the National

Wheelchair Basketball Finals in New York. They had taken an

outrageously expensive hotel suite for the week. After the

tournament Margaret Scully was going to babysit her three year old

granddaughter while Mulder and Scully took in a couple of Broadway

shows and sampled the night life. It was a hedonistic last fling

before the new baby arrived to absorb all their energy for a while.

     The coach gave his players a pep talk. Mulder drank water to

replenish the inside while he mopped sweat off the outside. He

exchanged a few insults with his teammates then looked up to touch

base with his family again. Scully wasn't there. Margaret was

consoling a crying child.

     The buzzer sounded and the game resumed. Mulder threw himself

back into the fray. Scully had probably just gone to the washroom.

The baby gave her other organs hardly any room at all to function

in.

     The next time he had a free moment he checked again. Still no

Scully. Maggie was calm and Margaret smiled at him and gave him the

"okay" sign. He smiled back, nodding.

     The game was very close. Mulder tried to concentrate on his

playing but his mind was uneasy. If everything was normal, why had

Margaret felt the need to give him a signal of reassurance? Mulder

fouled. The coach chewed him out, but he hardly heard. He asked for

time out and went along the sidelines. Margaret and Maggie were

working their way down the bleachers toward him.

     "It's okay, Fox. Dana has just gone along to the hospital. Her

waters broke."

     "Daddy, pick me up! I want to play. Daddy!"

     "Has she had any contractions?"

     "Up, Daddy!"

     "No. She says there's lots of time and you are to go on with

your game. She's fine."

     Mulder frowned.

     "Daddeeee!"

     "Sorry, Muffin. Not this time. This game is just for big men.

You stay with Grandma."

     "Mumma said I should stay an' keep Gramma comfy."

     "That's right. You keep Grandma company and I'll be done

soon."

     It was an important game and Mulder was usually an important

part of the team. He owed it to them to stay till the end. However,

after he missed his next two shots and fouled again the coach

pulled him.

     "What the hell's the matter with you, Mulder? All of a sudden

you couldn't hit the broadside of a barn."

     "Sorry, Henry. It's my wife. Looks like the baby is coming a

little early."

     The coach's face lost it's wrathful look. "Into the showers,

Mulder. Give our best wishes to Dana."

     Mulder didn't take time to shower. He just pulled on his sweat

suit over his uniform and met Margaret Scully in the lobby. "All

aboard, Maggie. Let's go." He swung the little girl up into his

lap. She wrapped her arms around him and grabbed two handfuls of

his shirt. She had long since learned to hang on like any good

little primate as her father's arms propelled them. Margaret had to

run to keep up, his sports wheelchair was so light and fast.

 

      While Mulder was getting on a sterile gown and cap and

booties, he could hear Scully's voice coming from the birthing

room. She was calmly discussing childbirth techniques with the

obstetrician on duty. Every couple of minutes her voice would take

on an edge then stop while she panted through a contraction. They

were pretty close together. Finally Mulder passed muster with the

nurse and was allowed in to be with his wife.

     "Hi, Scully. How's it going?" The warm caress in his voice

belied the casual greeting.

     She was sitting cross-legged, leaning her elbows on the table

arm that extended across the bed. She smiled and reached out to

give his hand a squeeze. "The baby is coming really fast this time,

Mulder. The contractions are already only a minute and forty

seconds apart. Where's Maggie?"

     "She's gone to the cafeteria with your mom. You okay?"

     "Uh-huh." She propped her head up with one hand and relaxed,

letting the table take as much weight as possible. Reclaiming her

other hand from Mulder, she massaged her belly and started to pant

again. Mulder knew the effort it took to keep control. He wanted to

help, but Scully was up there on the high birthing bed and he was

down here in his wheelchair.

     When the contraction was over Scully wiped the sweat from her

upper lip. "This is Dr. Fairholme." Mulder thought that the doctor

looked awfully young.

     "Hi. Do you think you could give me a hand getting up behind

Scully?"

     "Scully?" The young man came forward to help but didn't know

what to do. Mulder had already pushed himself to the front of the

chair seat.

     "Easiest way is for you to hoist me up in a fireman's lift,

then turn and park my butt on the bed. I can take it from there."

     "Wait a sec. Let me move up," Scully said.

     Dr. Fairholme wasn't a man to hesitate. He had Mulder sitting

on the edge of the bed before Scully had a chance to hitch herself

forward.

     "I said wait a sec. You're on the IV, Mulder. Damn. It's

pulled right out."

     "Sorry, Scully... just let me get my leg over... "

     "You couldn't have waited two seconds? Ouch! That was my ear

you just took off!"

     "I'm sorry, Dana. I guess I was a little hasty."

     Dana? This good looking young doctor was calling his wife

Dana? He'd met her less than an hour ago.

     "What do you need an IV for anyway, Scully?"

     "Hospital policy, Mr. Mulder."

     Right. She was "Dana" but he was "Mr. Mulder". He was still

shifting into position when Scully started to pant again. Her eyes

were shooting sparks at the young man. She would have preferred it

to be Mulder but he was out of sight behind her and rubbing her

back in just the right place. The contraction ended and she took a

deep cleansing breath. She wanted to lean back into Mulder's arms.

     "Hang on, Scully." He fended her off with one hand between her

shoulder blades. "Doc, could you raise the head of the bed a little

more? Yeah."

     "Sweet Jesus, Mulder. Would you stop jerking and jumping like

a spastic frog. You're making me sea sick."

     "Let me put this pillow in here, Mr. Mulder."

     "There we are now. All set, Scully. You may proceed."

     "Thanks a million, Mulder. Seems to me I was doing just fine

before you came."

     He put his arms around her and kissed her cheek. "Hey, I've

got a right to be here. Does this irritability mean that you're in

transition?"

     Scully gave him a wicked jab in the ribs. She started to pant

again. The contractions were coming fast and strong.

     Mulder rubbed her lower back hard. God, if the man didn't have

such a talent for back rubs life would have been easier without

him. Wasn't it a back rub that had gotten her into this whole mess

in the first place?

     When the contraction finally eased its grip she leaned back

into Mulder's arms and relaxed. He wiped her face with a cool damp

cloth from the bedside table and slipped a piece of ice into her

mouth. They were functioning as a team again. They had always been

a great team.

 

     Popular wisdom said that the second baby was easier, the

mother's pelvis having been permanently stretched by the first.

Popular wisdom also had it that pushing the baby out felt good.

Well in this case they were wrong. Scully was a small woman. Their

son was a big baby. He simply jammed part way down and pushing hurt

like hell.

     She tried different positions. She even got up and walked

around for a while leaning on the back of Mulder's wheelchair to

push. Nothing seemed to help. So to conserve energy she ended up on

her side, Mulder at her back.

     She lost all sense of time and place. Her universe narrowed to

three things. The overwhelming urge to push, the pain... and

Mulder's voice. Every time a contraction ended she would nearly

lose it. She was tired of being strong. She wanted to let the tears

come. She wanted to call the whole thing off... to run away to

somewhere pleasant and pain free. Whimpering, she teetered on the

edge of hysteria until the next contraction overtook her.

     She was sure that this was what the hand of God would feel

like. Pointless to resist, impossible to escape. A huge emotionless

fist of steel coming down from the heavens to squeeze new life out

of a hapless human. No matter how much it hurt, she HAD to push. It

was never going to end.

     She hung on desperately to Mulder's voice:

 

     "You're doing fine, Scully. Take deep breaths. That's the way.

Hang in there."

     "The doctor says it's slow, but you are making progress.

Everything's okay. Just keep pushing. I'm here."

     "The baby's heart rate has slowed a little. Dr. Fairholme has

sent for the senior obstetrician."

     "The baby just isn't coming down by itself, Scully. The

doctors feel that you and the baby have had about all you can take.

That it's time for medical intervention."

     "Scully? They want to do an epidural. It looks like high

forceps or possibly a Caesarian. Okay?"

     "You have to stay really still while they put in the needle.

Scully? Are you with me? We're going to blow through the next

contraction. Don't push, blow."

     "Good, Scully, that's good. Just relax now."

 

     Suddenly there was nothing. No pain. No pressure. No panic.

Their absence was almost tangible in the cool, quiet air. She was

grateful. At first.

     In just a few seconds she went from being the focus of the

vortex to being a mere peripheral. The doctors took control. They

asked her to push, and she did try, but without sensory feedback

she had no idea if she was helping. They made encouraging noises

but their attention was on their tools and the monitors. She felt

about as useful and involved as a piece of cold meat. Her son was

delivered by doctors, not given birth by his mother.

     The baby was alarmingly blue from lack of oxygen and he was

large. Nine and a half pounds. He didn't squinch up his face and

cry, but rather contemplated his new world through well coordinated

eyes. The admiring nurses gave him oxygen and he pinked up nicely.

Then they gave him to Scully. She tucked him into her arm on the

side where Mulder had his wheelchair so that he could see the baby,

too.

     His name was to be William. Bill. Bill had lots of auburn hair

and very blue eyes. Mulder reached out and touched a gentle finger

to the ugly bruise left by the forceps. It would fade soon enough.

Bill was safely here and Scully was okay. Mulder smoothed the damp

hair back from Scully's forehead and caressed her cheek. His love

for this woman and this child was intense. When he spoke, his voice

was unsteady.

     "You did a great job, Scully. He's wonderful. Thank you."

     She gave Mulder a smile, but she didn't say anything. She went

back to gazing into the baby's eyes. She offered him her breast. He

tasted it but didn't seem very interested in sucking yet.

     When the doctors were all finished with Scully the baby was

taken away to be cleaned and diapered. The nurses cleaned Scully up

and moved her into her room, gently suggesting that Mulder go home

so that his wife could rest. It was after midnight.

     Mulder suddenly remembered Maggie and Margaret. "Do you want

me to send in your Mom for just a minute?"

     "No, I don't think so." Her voice was flat.

     "We'll all be back first thing in the morning. Maggie will be

eager to see you and her new brother."

     Scully just nodded.

     "Are you okay, Scully? You seem kind of subdued."

     "I'll be fine. I'm just tired. Go on, Mulder."

     His eyebrows were drawn together in a worried peak, but he

didn't say anything else. He squeezed her hand and left.

     The nurses said that they would keep the baby in the nursery

for a few hours, that Scully should sleep. They turned out the

lights and left her alone. She lay there feeling empty and

worthless and defeated. Curling up on her side, she cried silently

until she fell asleep.

 

     A familiar thump woke her. Mulder was opening the door from

the hospital corridor by the simple expedient of running into it.

The wedge of light vanished again as the door closed behind him.

"Scully?"

     "I'm here, Mulder." She turned on the night light. "I thought

that you were going back to the hotel to get some sleep?"

     Mulder brought the side of his wheelchair close to the bed.

Scully was curled up on her side. She shifted so that her face was

right at the edge of the mattress. He kissed her gently.

     She had worked so hard to get that baby out. She had pushed so

hard for so long that little blood vessels had burst in the skin

around her eyes. The flesh was puffy and bruised making her look

like someone had punched her lights out. Her lovely red hair was

tangled and matted with dried sweat.

     "Maggie says the baby looks like he has a sunburn. Your mom

says he's beautiful."

     "I didn't think they would get a chance to see him tonight."

     "Just a quick look through the nursery window. Then we went to

the hotel and had something to eat. After Maggie was asleep I had

to come back to see you."

     "Why? I'm okay."

     "'Cause I love you." He kissed her again. She wasn't okay.

Something was terribly wrong. After Maggie had been born Scully had

been tired, sure, but there had been a sparkle in her eyes and a

smile in her voice. There had been a sense of joy and achievement.

     "I know something is bothering you. You must be pretty sore.

Is it the stitches?"

     She shook her head, no, and managed a wan smile for him. Her

face was so pale and slack. Her eyes were dull. It wasn't just

exhaustion. She was deeply depressed about something.

     "Talk to me, Scully. Whatever it is, you know you can share it

with me. Don't bury it like you so often do. Please."

     "Nothing's wrong, Mulder." She rolled away from him on to her

back. "We have a big, beautiful boy. The baby is healthy. I'm

healthy. Everything is fine." Tears were welling up in her eyes and

running down unheeded. She stared at the ceiling and never made a

sound, but the tears just kept coming and coming.

     Mulder's was fit to be tied. He needed to be close to her but

getting up on to the high bed would be difficult without help. How

ironic that one of the least wheelchair-friendly places he had ever

come across was a hospital. Well, if he couldn't get up, she would

just have to come down. He set the brake on the chair and dragged

the covers off her. Scooping her up in his strong arms he pulled

her over and down on to his lap. The IV snagged. He freed one hand

to grab the delicate tubing and angrily ripped it in two with his

teeth. The fluid dripped out onto the bed. Mulder didn't give a

damn.

     Cradling Scully close he rocked her and crooned to her as if

she was Maggie. She pressed her face into his chest. After a while

she started to talk, her voice muffled by his sweatshirt.

     "I failed, Mulder. I couldn't do it right."

     "I don't follow. Do what?"

     "Have a baby."

     Mulder was speechless.

     "Something that any female mammal can do. I couldn't do it."

     "Oh, Scully. Don't say that. You were wonderful. Strong and

enduring and in control."

     "But it wasn't enough. I had to have a team of doctors pull my

baby out." She hiccupped. "If we had been out in the wild we both

would have died."

     "It wasn't your fault that the baby was so big. Nine and a

half pounds for heaven's sake. It's a marvel they didn't have to do

a caesarian."

     "I couldn't stick it out. I gave up."

     "It's because you did push so well that they were able to

reach him with the forceps."

     "It was like I wasn't even there, Mulder. After the epidural

I couldn't feel anything... I wasn't able to help. I was useless."

     Mulder just looked at her. She wasn't listening to his

reassurances anyway.

     "I wasn't able to do what any thirteen year old, any bimbo off

the street can do. I failed. Instead of participating in what is

supposed to be a woman's most meaningful physical achievement, I

was just a spectator at a medical procedure."

     Mulder's continued silence brought Scully's face out of

hiding. She looked up at him but she didn't see what she expected

to see. His face was stern.

     "Mulder?" She sighed. "I guess it's hard for a man to

understand. I think giving birth must be tied up with a woman's

self concept at some basic, cellular level. I feel like a failure

as a woman."

     "I understand exactly how you feel, Scully. Do you think that

a single day goes by that I don't feel inadequate as a man? That

I'm not aware of all the things I miss out on because of my numb

and worthless legs?" The words were bitter but he wasn't angry with

her. "I have to rely on a medical procedure for what is one of the

most basic, universal joys of life. Hell, I wasn't even present

when you were impregnated! You can't tell me anything about feeling

useless."

     It was just as if he had doused her with icy water. The shock

took her breath away. They stared at each other until a sharp stab

of remorse started Scully's brain functioning again and the events

of the evening fell into perspective with a shuffle and a sigh.

Yes, the way things had turned out was disappointing, but she had

been shamelessly wallowing in self pity. Mulder's rebuke had been

mild considering the thoughtless cruelty of her words.

     Scully nodded. "Thanks, Mulder." Her voice had lost it's

plaintive note. She sat up straighter and put her arms around his

neck. "Thanks for the reality check. I needed it." She pressed her

nose against his cheek. "I'm sorry if I hurt you," she whispered.

     "That's okay." His voice was fond and forgiving. He stroked

her back gently. "You HAVE been through a lot today. You're all

worn out. It's easy for that kind of thinking to take over when

your defences are down. I've just had more practice at fighting it

off than you have." He smiled and kissed her. This time there was

some life in her response. In fact it felt pretty good. He tried

another and lingered over it.

     Scully pulled away with a self conscious little laugh. It was

hard to tell in the dim light but he thought she was blushing.

Mulder smiled to himself. Wanton baggage.

     She snuggled back down with a yawn. "Mulder?"

     "Mmm."

     "You need a shower."

     "Yeah."

     She slept.

     After a while a nurse came in. She was horrified to find the

patient being cuddled on her husband's lap. She was apoplectic when

she found the broken IV tube dripping on the bed. Mulder just

smiled blandly. The nurse bustled away muttering incantations.

     Minutes later a young student-nurse came hesitantly through

the door. "If Mrs. Mulder is up to it, we think the baby would like

to nurse." She held young Bill in her arms. He was squawking in

mild complaint.

     Scully roused when she heard the baby, reaching up eagerly for

him. Soon Bill was sucking contentedly, cradled in Scully's arms.

Mulder held them both safe and secure, a soft, silly smile on his

face. It was a sight he never got tired of.

     The young nurse quietly went about changing the damp bed. Her

eyes were drawn to the family in the wheelchair. This was what it

was all about. She hoped that someday she would be a part of just

such a trio.

 

 

***

Part 4

 

     They were in bed together, his arm around her, her head on his

chest, the dog stretched out on the carpet at the foot of the bed.

They lay in peaceful silence, going over the day's events in their

minds. The wedding guests had lingered on long after Maggie and her

husband had left on their honeymoon. It had been after eleven

before the weary family of the bride returned home.

     "Scully?"

     "Hmm."

     "Seeing Maggie all dressed up in a white gown today, did it

make you regret that we didn't have a fancy wedding? Do you wish

you had had a wedding dress like that?"

     "No, Mulder. I never wanted that."

     "Just checking." He nuzzled her hair. "Everything went pretty

smoothly today. I think it was one of the nicest weddings I've ever

been to. You and Maggie did a good job."

     "Thank-you. It did go pretty well, didn't it? I think everyone

had a good time. And Maggie and Terry looked so happy together.

Made it all worthwhile."

     "She looked beautiful. But so young. I hope they don't regret

getting married right out of college."

     "They're teachers, Mulder. Their work isn't incompatible with

marriage like ours was. Besides, not everyone wants to wait until

they are middle-aged before they get married." She gave him a

little dig in the ribs with her free hand.

     He caught her hand and interlocked his fingers with hers.

"Hey, we did okay. We were old enough to know what we really

wanted. I've no complaints."

     Scully turned her face up towards his. "No, no complaints."

They smiled into each other's eyes, knowing that what they saw

there had endured the test of time and showed no signs of fading.

     She put her head down again. She loved to hear the strong

steady beat of his heart. "I saw you going through that stack of

mail. It's been so hectic the last few days I haven't had time to

look at it. Anything interesting?"

     "Two letters from my publisher. And the latest `Lone Gunman'."

     "Is your article in this one?"

     "No, next month's."

     "What did your publisher have to say?"

     "One was a nice fat check. The new paperback edition is

selling well. The other was about a Science Fiction Writer's

Convention in August. They'd like me to go and do a workshop for

new writers and a book signing session. Good PR. Can you come?"

Mulder didn't like to travel alone. Too many unexpected pitfalls

for a man in a wheelchair.

     "I don't know, Mulder, I've got two cases due to come to court

in August."

     "So let one of your assistant coroners testify. What's the

good of being the boss if you can't take a little time off when you

feel like it?"

     "Said the man who had to be ordered to take a holiday. What

week?"

     "The thirteenth to the seventeenth, I think."

     "No, sorry. Dr. Fernandez has that week off. He's had a trip

booked for months. But you know... Sam will be off school. She

would love to go with you. And she's old enough now." Maggie and

Bill had each in their turn acted as personal travelling assistants

to Mulder. It had given them opportunities to develop poise and

self confidence while seeing a bit of the world.

     Scully sighed when she thought of the children. She and Mulder

were alone in the big house tonight. It happened too often for her

liking.

     After the reception Samantha had asked if she could sleep over

at a girlfriend's house. It had been very late but Scully had let

her go because Sam didn't get a lot of social invitations from the

other kids. Her serious grey eyes and vulnerable full mouth were so

like Mulder's.

     Bill had only stayed home long enough to change and had gone

out on a late date. He would probably stay up all night and then

crash at a friend's apartment. Ever since Bill had gotten his own

car their influence over him had dwindled. Scully was having a hard

time letting go of this middle child. There had been more than one

argument about his wanting to move out and share the friend's

apartment.

     Mulder heard the sigh. He was also sadly aware that their

family was nearly grown up. "Just you and me tonight, Scully." He

wiggled his eyebrows and gave her his best Groucho leer. "Wanna do

it on the living room rug in front of the fire?"

     Scully laughed, which was all he'd really hoped for.

     "At least we've still got Chester."

     When the dog heard his name he came and tried to lick Scully's

face. "Poor Chess," she said, ruffling his silky ears

affectionately. "How's the hip tonight, hmm? Not too bad? What a

long wait you had, all alone while we were out partying."

     Her lovey-dovey tone made Mulder smile. Now that none of the

children would accept much display of affection from her, she baby

talked to the dog more. Actually Maggie had passed through that

touch-me-not, independent stage. Since she had fallen in love with

her Terry she had been generous with the hugs and kisses. But she

didn't live here any more. Mulder missed her terribly.

     It wasn't all bad, of course. He and Scully did have more time

for each other. Mulder raised himself up on one elbow and gave her

face a careful scrutiny. It didn't seem to matter how grey and

wrinkled they were getting on the outside. In his mind she was as

smooth and firm and fresh as Maggie was now. And when she looked

back at him with those big, luminous eyes he felt just the same as

he had twenty-five years ago.

     Scully had a way of looking at him that stripped him bare of

all pretence and falsehood. Exposed in his nakedness to her

uncompromising examination he would be aroused and frightened at

the same time. And if her smile told him that he had passed the

test, he would feel a rush of relief and joy at his good fortune.

     She was smiling up at him now. "What are you daydreaming about

up there, old man?"

     "I'm thinking about replacing you with a nubile brunette.

Someone who will give a distinguished author a little respect." He

settled back down.

     "Better make sure she's deaf. Otherwise your snoring will

scare her away." Scully's comment ended with a squeak as Mulder

squeezed her hard.

     "What makes you think I will be sleeping, with her in the bed?

     Scully chuckled. "I'm just assuming that you will want to read

to her from your latest manuscript. So I know that she will be

asleep, even if you aren't."

     "Watch it, Shorty. You're treading on sacred ground."

     They grinned at each other.

     "I saw you having quite a discussion with Skinner at the

reception. Did he try to talk you into doing more consulting work

for Violent Crimes?" A visit with old acquaintances from the Bureau

could stir Mulder up and make him discontent for a while. She hoped

they weren't in for a bout of depression.

     "No, actually he didn't. He was telling me about a new agent

who has asked to do some work on the X-Files. Candace White. You

ever hear of her?"

     "Cassie? That's the rookie I was telling you about, who was

grilling me about forensic evidence in abductees. She's smart and

she's keen. Top of her class out of Quantico. So, are they going to

re-open the X-Files?"

     "The current AD is thinking about it. Skinner felt I should be

in on it if they do. I know those files better than anyone."

     Scully was silent.

     "You know, Scully, now that the kids are older I have lots of

time on my hands. It would keep me out of the pool halls. And maybe

I could make some progress towards finding out what happened to

Samantha."

     Scully's thoughts had been going in a similar direction. As

Mulder's emotional investment in the here and now had increased

with each child, he had gradually let go of his passionate search

for his sister. He still had feelers out. His contacts in the

various UFO groups would let him know if they heard of an alleged

abductee that fit Samantha's description. He always checked them

out, but it was no longer the driving force of his life. Sometimes

he would be overcome with guilt and self loathing for having

abandoned the search... for having abandoned his little sister.

     "I think it's a good idea." She paused. "Does this mean that

Cassie would be your partner?"

     Mulder knew the most professional Dr. Scully very well. His

arm tightened around her. He lifted her chin so he could see her

eyes. "No, Scully. YOU are my partner. I would just be a

resource...  poke around in the office. They would need a much

younger, fitter man to be her partner."

     Of course. She smiled sheepishly. Silly how much it had hurt

for a moment.

     "Besides, nothing's definite. I'd like to meet this Candace

White first, find out where her interest in the X-Files comes

from." Mulder yawned. "She doesn't happen to be a nubile brunette,

does she?"

     "Sorry. A statuesque blonde."

     Scully started to plant soft little kisses along his jaw.

"Mulder, I don't think I'm going to be able to get to sleep tonight

without a little something." Her voice was slow and smoky.

     "And just what did you have in mind?"

     "Oh, something friendly and satisfying. Something good for me.

To calm my nerves and help me relax." The soft kisses travelled

down his neck and along his collarbone. She unbuttoned his pyjamas

and ran her fingers through the hair on his chest.

     Mulder chuckled. He knew she was playing a game with him but

he wasn't sure just what her goal was.

     "You want to go out and sit in the hot tub for a while? Look

at the stars?"

     She frowned and pursed her lips. "No. That's not what I want."

     "You want me to give you a back rub."

     "Uhn-uhn."

     Mulder's eyes twinkled. He slid his hand in the top of her

nightgown and took possession of her breast. Putting his mouth

close to her ear, he whispered.

     Scully smiled slowly. "That sounds very tempting... but it's

not what I need right now." She looked up at him from under her

lashes, shamelessly using her eyes to their full effect. "I'm

hungry, Mulder. I'd like a peanut butter sandwich."

     Mulder laughed out loud. "Now you're hungry! You HAD to wait

until I got into bed."

     She just looked soulfully at him. Shaking his head in

resignation Mulder sat up and pulled his wheelchair closer. Scully

got up on her side and fetched their robes and their glasses.

     Together they made their way slowly down the ramps, Chester

following behind, gently waving his feathery tail.

 

 

 

                               END

 

                      comments to: Eleanore

                       the Canadian Coyote

                      coyote@worldgate.com

 

 

MEDICAL NOTE

 

     For those who are interested, here is the medical information

that I used in writing this story. I would have consulted with Tara

Sawchuck, but she went away to the Canadian Forces Base in Borden

and had a very busy summer. So instead I got my medical advice from

the author of "Expendable": Linda, RN, CNOR, X-phile, aka Darlene.

     She was very helpful and said that I could quote her here.

Thank you very much Linda.

 

Linda wrote:

 

          "You said that Mulder was paraplegic rather than

     quadriplegic, right?  OK, what works and what doesn't

     work really depends on where the injury is.

     Unfortunately, even a very low back lesion will pretty

     much knock out the voluntary sexual response, as the

     nerve centres for *psychogenic* erection are located at

     the 2nd, 3rd and 4th sacral nerve roots - and that's low.

     The spinal cord also has to be intact. Ejaculation is

     also controlled by those nerve roots vis the pudendal

     nerve. However, this doesn't mean that Mulder won't be

     able to have sex; he just will not be able to control his

     erections and will probably not ejaculate as a result of

     any stimulation. Many men develop alternate erogenous

     zones (again, what he feels and where depends on where

     the injury is.) and can actually experience a "phantom"

     orgasm. (Weird, huh?) He may be essentially sterile due

     to decreased ability to ejaculate and testiculate atrophy

     (shrinking) caused by the injury and paraplegia. So in a

     nutshell, yes, M can have sex, but it will be pretty

     opportunistic (ie, if he gets an erection, go for it) and

     relatively safe as far as birth control goes.

          "Re: the semen for the artificial insemination

     thingy. Scully's a doctor, and would know exactly how

     they do these things. I can go into icky details here,

     but I won't. No problemo on the little Mulderpopsicles

     -that stuff is kept in liquid nitrogen and will not go

     bad unless the temp. varies, so 8 yrs is realistic on the

     kiddos.

          "With a spinal injury, you're talking about both

     fecal and urinary incontinence, which can be controlled

     by bladder and bowel training. Not too darn sexy or easy

     to read, but hey, I'm a detail freak. (Read Expendable

     and see for yourself.)  He'll  probably train his bowels

     by taking stool softeners and doing a Valsalva manoeuvre

     at specific times of the day, and get into a regular

     pattern. He'll probably also do an in-and-out

     self-catheterization every 3 to 4 hours or so to empty

     his bladder, too. (They would only leave an indwelling

     catheter in there if he could not move his arms.)

          "Yeah, the accident is realistic. No traction should

     be really necessary unless he broke a femur or something

     - or if he broke his neck. All they would probably do is

     maybe put the bed in reverse Trendelenburg position -

     that is, flat, but with feet lower than the head. The

     Rotorest bed may or may not be appropriate, depending on

     how long the patient is to be kept immobile. You usually

     see these beds used on very unstable cases, where they

     cannot be moved at all - maybe they're not surgical

     candidates due to pulmonary problems or whatever. Surgery

     to reduce the fracture would be done within 48 hrs,

     depending on the amount of swelling involved (it has to

     go down first). After surgery no traction would be

     necessary at all, because they would put in screws,

     plates etc to stabilize the spine, and probably would

     fuse the two vertebrae together."

 

     If there are any X-Philes out there in wheelchairs please let

me know if I have misrepresented things too badly. I would be happy

to hear from you.

     When I started this story it seemed like an awful thing to do

to Mulder. But as I learned from Linda and worked my way through

the story it didn't seem so overwhelmingly tragic after all.

Familiarizing myself with it took away its power to scare me.

People are very adaptable and can live satisfying and happy lives

in an infinite variety of ways. You just have to open your mind to

the possibilities.

 

                               END

                      comments to: Eleanore

                       the Canadian Coyote

                      bonyun@oanet.com



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