Story so far: Mulder is injured while investigating the disappearance
of a young boy, Kevin Douglas. Scully is after the person she believes
responsible for killing Kevin and also putting her partner in
Sorry for the long delay in posting this part, it's been finished for
a while now, but my sisters' computer died and I had no way to send
it. But it's fixed now, so we're back in business. Thanks to all the
great people who are giving me feed-back on the story so far. I'll be
in touch soon. I haven't been ignoring you! And to those I promised to
send this part direct - I would if I could, but I only have about half
an hour right now, so I'm just sending this to MTA. Forgive me??
I had intended to finish the story with this part, but since I let
Mulder and Scully loose on the computer, they won't go home. The final
instalment will be completed in the next few weeks. Parts 1 & 2 can be
found in the alphabetized files on Xemplary (http://www.xemplary.com)
and MTA. I've been advised that a "blood and guts" warning is needed
here, for a description of a medical procedure. Maybe I should stop
reading Stephen King, because I didn't think it was that bad. :)
Shirley, you're a saint. Thanks for all the hard work you do. More
thanks to Vickie (the legend) for everything, Debbie Goldstein for her
great tips and Keryn, for her knowledge, expertise and willingness to
help. Hope you won't regret it when I keep hounding you for info!
Disclaimer: I have been swallowed up by the world of fan fic. My
meager spare time is no longer my own, and neither are the characters
I write about (the interesting ones anyway). Thanks Mr Carter for
feeding my habit.
Sorry for all this preamble. Please let me know what you think of this
part : cgol...@tac.com.au
Chasing Lights Three (PG13)
Part 3 of 4
by Ellen Field
18 March 1999
Huntington County Hospital
"Dr Scully? Could I speak with you a minute?"
She was half way between the elevator and Mulders' room when she heard
the voice and turned her head. A nurse was calling to her, the same
one who'd been with Mulder when she'd left. Cathy? Karen? Something
like that anyway. The young woman was smiling. It was in no way
reassuring. Scully walked over and saw Mulders' open chart on the
counter. Looked up as the nurse spoke again and caught a glimpse of
her name tag. Kate Campbell.
"His blood pressure and pulse have settled down. But temperature's
still up there."
Scully read the page in front of her. "You've given him
Acetaminophen." She glanced at her watch and did a quick calculation.
"About twenty five minutes ago."
"And sponged him down. Dr Hunter wants a report at nine o'clock. I
just wanted to let you know she's keeping tabs on him."
"Good. Thank you." As Scully walked across the hallway, she spoke to
no one in particular. "I'll be doing the same thing."
Mulder stared at his left arm. It was hanging only inches from his
face, so it wasn't all that hard to miss. When they'd first strung it
up, he'd convinced himself it would be impossible to sleep like that,
and he'd been right. He was limited to either lying on his back, or on
his right side. On his back was best, because his arm didn't hurt all
that much. He'd stay that way for as long as possible, until numbness
spread out from his spine and to his shoulders, till even his backside
and legs got involved, and then everything would start to burn. Which
meant he'd be forced to roll onto his right side. Instant relief for
his back, but immediate pain for his arm. The trade off game. One pain
for another. Sleep? Sleep ran a distant last.
But that was all ancient history now. At the moment he was struggling
to stay awake. It was as if every ounce of energy had been leeched
from his body. The latest bout of vomiting had been the worst yet.
Apart from throwing up in front of Scully, which was bad enough in
itself, the heaving had made his arm spasm so violently he would
gladly have ripped it off at the shoulder. The pain had been huge, but
over a period of time had slowly toned down to a dull roar, and during
the last few minutes virtually disappeared. Even the headache that had
been with him all day had lost its punch for the time being. Still, he
was grateful he didn't have the strength or urge to move, just in case
the truce was suddenly called off.
He'd been thinking about Springer.
When Scully came back he'd ask her to explain a few things, but he
hoped she wouldn't be too much longer. Concentrating on anything was
becoming more and more difficult, and his eyes were dropping closed
whenever his mind wandered. It was hot, although not as bad as when
the overhead fluorescent had been on. He'd been cooking underneath it.
The room felt a little more comfortable now, wrapped in soft light
coming from somewhere on the wall above and behind him. It made
everything seem hazy and distant. Sounds in the corridor were echoes
from a world away. He watched the shadows play on the walls and floor.
And the door. Scully would walk through there soon, so the door was
important. He stared at it, not moving his eyes at all. It was
This time when his eyes closed, they stayed that way.
When Scully finally reached Mulders' room she could see he was losing
his battle against sleep. His eyes were essentially closed, but there
were one or two flutters before his eyelids finally surrendered and
stayed down. The combination of medications for nausea and fever would
hopefully be enough to give him a good rest, without having to resort
to Demerol. She slowly walked over and stood by his bedside. He didn't
look good. If anything, the fever appeared to be getting worse. But at
least he seemed free of pain for the first time today.
She drew back one side of the sling to check his arm. The blood
seepage hadn't increased significantly. She moved her hand to his
Mulders' eyes opened. "Shit. Don't sneak up on me, Scully."
At least that's what she thought he said. Except only the first and
last words stood out, making it sound more like 'shit dosneeubonme
"Sorry. Go back to sleep." He was still way too hot and her hand came
away slick with his perspiration.
"I wasn't asleep." Not so slurred this time. He hesitantly edged up a
little in the bed, but stopped with a wince. "I'm thirsty."
"I'll get you some ice."
Mulder pointed a finger to the jug on the bedside table, but didn't
lift his hand. "Be a pal?"
Against her better judgement, Scully half filled the glass and gave it
to him. But she didn't let go of his hand, steadying it as he lifted
the water to his mouth. "Not all of it." He'd already taken a few
mouthfuls before she could stop him.
"Thanks" He dropped his head back to the pillow and looked at her.
That took her by surprise. "Better than what?"
He'd closed his eyes again. "You looked washed out. Tired." He was
struggling with the words.
Look who was talking. She squeezed out the face cloth that had been
left in a basin of cool water on top of the bedside cabinet, folded it
and placed it on his forehead. Leaning closer, she said, "We need to
get your temperature down. Be quiet for a while."
He was silent for all of two seconds. "Tell me why you think it's
She should have been expecting it. This was Mulder. Of course he would
be thinking about the case. But she wasn't about to be drawn into a
"I'm crashing Scully. Now or never."
"I speak, you listen." He nodded an agreement to her ultimatum and
she took a few seconds to collect her thoughts. Some of it she'd told
him before, but if it kept him happy till he passed out, she was
willing to go over it all again. She drew a deep breath and began.
"Our car was found in a ditch last night, not far from the turn-off to
Mt Riley. Someone spotted it down there after they were almost
sideswiped by a car registered to Dave Springer. We think Springer hid
his car, walked up to the camp-site to retrieve something left there
that would incriminate him, or to conceal the boys' body more
thoroughly. Blood matching that of Kevin Douglas was found on our
steering wheel, so it would suggest the latter." She kept watching
Mulder all the time she spoke. Was it possible for him to be asleep
with his eyes open? He blinked. He was awake.
"Forensics haven't been able to lift any useable prints, but I'm going
to check over their report in the morning." She had planned to do that
tonight after calling in here, but things weren't working out that
"That's about all we really have at the moment. Nothing was found at
the camp-site. No signs of disturbed earth, no blood, none of Kelvin's
belongings." And that was where she intended leaving the story. It was
the abridged version, but it was all he was getting.
Mulder removed the cloth from his forehead and passed it to her. It
was warm in her hand. He replied in a voice that was dragging and
drowsy, but with a mind in total contrast. "You've got nothing
conclusive to tie Springer to..." His words trailed off to a whisper,
"a, the disappearance of the boy, and b, trying to make road kill of
No doubt about that, she'd already come to the same conclusion. Except
deep down she knew Springer was responsible. The man was nowhere to be
found, and it was highly improbable that his vanishing trick was
merely coincidental. But she'd need more than that to put him away.
She'd need hard evidence to back up her instincts. Or a confession.
The phone rang next to her and she reached over to answer it, placing
the cloth in the basin at the same time. Things were happening at
Woodport. She spoke quietly, keeping watch as Mulder drifted. By the
time she'd hung up, he was almost out for the count.
"I have to go again, Mulder. That was Dennis Brault, the SAC assigned
to the case. He and Agent King are picking me up in five minutes. We
might have Springer."
She didn't want to answer the question. Brault didn't have all the
details, but there was a report of shots being fired from the house in
Memorial Avenue. Mulder wasn't going to hear that though. He looked
terrible. Worrying unnecessarily would only make him worse.
As she was working on a good answer to give him, Nurse Campbell came
through the doorway. The interruption couldn't have come at a better
time. Vitals were taken as Scully watched in silence.
"Scully?" So quiet that she almost didn't hear it.
There was to be no reprieve. She stared at the floor as she answered.
"By the time we get back up to Woodport they should have him." She'd
said that to her shoes.
Silence. She shifted her eyes back to his face. He was asleep.
Campbell had just finished taking his pulse, carefully laying his
wrist back down on the covers. "I was wondering how much longer he'd
last. BP's dropped a lot from the last reading." She handed Scully the
chart. "Temp hasn't really budged, only down a couple of points to
101-9. I thought the antipyretic would have put a bigger dint in the
fever by now."
"It should have." This was bad. His blood pressure was low, but not
hypotensive. Pulse was normal, but that didn't make her feel any
better. The urge to get Springer was overpowering, but her desire to
stay was just as compelling.
No, make it more personal.
"Kate. I have to go. I don't know how long I'll be. But I'm very
concerned. I need you to closely monitor him, if there's no
improvement within the next half hour, call Dr Hunter. I think she'll
agree that we need to look at the wound as soon as possible, perhaps
change the antibiotic."
Kate gave a knowing smile. "He's in good hands. Don't worry."
Scully pushed back the hair that was plastered to Mulders' forehead.
"I'll call the first opportunity I get."
"How's Agent Mulder?"
She buckled her seat-belt as she answered. "Not good. Let's get this
over with." Brault must have had a sixth sense for these things, or
else he didn't really care, because he left it at that.
King was driving. He negotiated an exit from the hospital car park and
onto the main street, ducking the car in and out of light traffic
until the road ahead was clear, then picked up speed. Brault had
dragged out his cell-phone, and by the gist of the conversation,
Scully knew he was speaking to someone on scene. As soon as he'd
finished the call, he turned in his seat, directing his words at both
King and herself. "Myers was tipped off that Springers' car was seen
in back of the house. When he went to check on it, two shots were
fired at him. He got out of there in a hurry and called for back-up.
Scully looked out the window. She'd seen this stretch of road so many
times in the last two days she'd be seeing it in her sleep, whenever
that might be. "What's the current situation?" At the speed King was
driving, she estimated they would reach Woodport within the next
fifteen minutes or so.
She waited for Brault to answer, but before he had a chance, she had
to grab the side of his seat. The car skidded out of a corner and they
collectively held their breath.
"Fuck!" Brault shot a filthy look at his partner. "Slow down for
chrissakes. Die on your own time!" King immediately backed off the
pedal, which seemed to satisfy the older man. He turned his attention
back to Scully. "It's a stand off. They think there's just the two
men inside. Springer and the guy you spoke to this afternoon, Tate?"
Scully nodded. "Possibly Tate's wife as well, but the neighbors seem
to think she's not living there any more. There's been no response to
telephone calls, so it's anyone's guess. Another couple of units are
up there with Myers now, they're waiting for us to co-ordinate the
There was not a lot more talk during the remainder of the journey.
Scully tried to keep her mind on the job ahead.
Just let this scumbag do them all a favor. Give himself up quickly so
she could get back to the hospital.
Scully adjusted the fastenings on the side of the kevlar vest until
she had a snug fit. She did a quick head count before everyone was
deployed. Seven police officers, and three FBI agents. If Springer had
half a brain he might work out there would be no escape this time. But
he'd ignored repeated phone calls, and now Brault was about to give
him a first and last warning over a loud hailer.
She'd only had a few seconds to speak with Myers before he was sent
with two other police officers to secure the rear of the house. He'd
said he hadn't got far enough to see if Springers' car was there or
not before he was ducking bullets, fired from a back window. But that
had been almost an hour ago now, it was time to get this show on the
"David Springer and Barry Tate. This is FBI Special Agent Dennis
Brault. We have you surrounded. You have three minutes to come out of
the house. Hands in the air."
Scully watched the front door as Brault spoke, and continued to stare
for a prolonged and almost intolerable period of silence after that.
More than three minutes had elapsed when she saw Brault motion to a
police officer to signal the men at the rear of the house. But before
another thing could happen, a voice called out from an open window.
Scully moved her gun to the right, following the noise.
"Don't shoot. We're coming out."
Brault had the loud hailer up to his mouth again. "How many of you are
"Just me and Barry. We haven't done anything."
"Both of you walk slowly out onto the street, hands in the air."
"We're coming. Don't shoot."
The front door opened a moment later, and two men walked towards them.
Both of them appeared unsteady on their feet. From fright or whatever,
Scully didn't really care. She'd seen a police photo of Springer, and
recognized him as the one in front. Her trigger finger tightened in
Brault had discarded the hailer. "Don't move your hands. Keep
Scully hated this part of an arrest, the moment of uncertainty, bodies
and minds on a razors' edge. She kept her eyes glued to the two
suspects, but she was also aware of two police officers coming through
the front door of the house, as Myers and another officer emerged
from the side driveway. All of them had their guns trained on the two
Springer and Tate had reached the street.
"That's far enough. Turn around."
Brault stood and gestured to Scully and King. "Go cuff them."
Scully took Springer. Gun aimed unwavering between his shoulder blades
until she was standing about two foot away. The smell of alcohol was
overwhelming. "Hands behind your back Springer. Slowly." When he
complied, she slipped the handcuffs on and squeezed them closed, a
notch too tight, in the space of two seconds. Glancing over at King,
she saw he'd done the same with Tate.
Springer cocked his head over his shoulder, stumbling a little. He was
obviously very drunk. "What the fuck's going on?"
"You're wanted for questioning in regards to the disappearance of
Kevin Douglas. We also believe you responsible for the attempted
murder of a federal agent. And shots were fired tonight at a police
officer who came here looking for you. Is that clear enough?" She
punctuated the question with a poke to the back of his ribs and pushed
him towards one of the police officers.
The two men were read their rights and dragged off to the open doors
of two patrol cars. Springer shouted back. "Some bastard was trying to
steal my car. I fired a couple of times in the air to scare him off."
Scully was behind him as he was loaded into the cruiser. She put a
hand on the roof and leaned in to speak. "You expect us to believe
that? Try coming up with a better story on the way to the station."
And with that she threw the door shut in his face.
Brault was climbing into the front seat. "I'll go with him back to
Huntington. You and King go over the place and see what you find."
Scully watched the two cars pull away before turning back to the
They had done a preliminary search of the premises, and Springers'
car, which was in the back yard covered by a tarp. Her run of luck
hadn't changed. Nothing had been found. Scully was in the kitchen when
she heard Myers call to her from outside. She pushed open the screen
door and saw him standing next to a rusted twenty gallon drum near the
side fence. As she walked to the edge of the back porch, she said "You
Myers peered up at her, putting a hand to his eyes. "Maybe. Mostly
ashes. But I can see something shining down there. ' He indicated the
bottom of the drum. "You want to bring an evidence bag out here?"
She pulled a plastic bag from her pants pocket as she moved down the
steps. Myers was rummaging around inside the barrel, but straightened
up as she approached. He'd found what he was looking for and was
holding something up in his gloved hand, but she couldn't make it out.
He solved the mystery for her as he dropped his find into the bag.
"Buckles. Two of them."
Scully lifted them up against the light shining from the house. "Could
be from Kevin's back pack."
Myers shrugged. "Could be." He tilted the drum towards him, rolling it
from hand to hand. "You find anything inside the house?" His eyes
were totally absorbed with the contents of the barrel.
Scully looked at him, could see he was beginning to look a little
worse for wear. "No. I'm going back to Huntington in a minute. What
about you? Overtime doesn't stretch this far does it?"
He blew out a sigh, and Scully recognized the expression on his face.
It was hers. The same one she reserved for people who liked to tell
her she should stop what she was doing and go and get some sleep.
Raising a hand in apology, she smiled, and as she walked behind him
said, "I take it back. Keep going."
Myers returned the smile. "Talk to you later."
She had her cell phone out and was punching the hospitals' number in
as she headed round the side of the house. The connection was made as
she reached the front yard.
What was taking them so long to pick up the damn phone? Fourth ring.
Fifth ring. Sixth..
"Third floor. Can I help you?"
"I'm wanting to speak to Kate Campbell please. This is Dana Scully."
"Oh, Dr Scully. We've been expecting your call. They're in with Mr
Mulder at the moment."
Scully actually felt her stomach tie itself into a knot. "They?"
"Dr Hunter came back about half an hour ago. I'll see if she can spare
a moment to speak with you." The phone clunked as it was dropped. She
hadn't been put on hold, and Scully strained to hear something,
anything, but there was nothing except a few muffled sounds. A long
sixty seconds later, the unidentified nurse returned.
"She'll call you as soon as possible. Probably another ten minutes."
"Can you tell me how Agent Mulder is please?"
"I'm sorry Dr Scully, but I really don't know. I only came on duty as
the doctor arrived."
"You were just in there. You must have seen something." If only she
could reach down through the line and give this woman a shake, it
"It won't be long and the doctor will speak with you."
It was useless, she'd have to wait. "My number is written on the top
of Agent Mulders' chart." She heard a mumbled goodbye before the line
went dead in her hand. Her heart was pumping with a burst of
adrenalin. She used it to yell across the road at King. "I want to get
back to the hospital."
He was talking to a police officer and waved her off without even
looking over. "Hang on a second."
She was in between the two men without being fully aware of having
moved at all. "Now." No raising of her voice, just a hint of menace.
Calm. But it would be a calm before the storm if he didn't get his ass
King must have sensed the danger. "OK Agent Scully. I'm finished here
They'd been driving for more than ten minutes when the phone went off
in her hand. Scully pushed the receive button, cutting it off mid
"Jamie Hunter here. Sorry I couldn't talk before. I was in with your
partner. There's been a sharp deterioration in his condition over the
last hour or so."
This woman didn't mince words.
"Mmmn." That noise came from her? She tried again. "How bad?"
"His temperature spiked at 103-9, and we're not having a lot of
success in lowering it. The latest blood work is discouraging, there's
a high concentration of neutrophils on the differential count. I've
bi-valved the cast and taken some blood and fluid samples. It's not
good. The swelling's extensive and the stitches have opened up quite a
bit. I was in the middle of an irrigation and debridement when you
"You there?" Hunter was waiting for her to say something.
"Yes. Will you be staying for a while?"
"Initial results from the swabs should be back in around an hour. I
want to see them before I think about going anywhere."
Scully looked at her watch. There was nothing for her to do at the
hospital for the moment. "OK. I'm on my way to Huntington Police
Station now, but I'll be back at the hospital around ten thirty."
Hunter replied, "Talk to you then."
Scully turned the phone off and said to King, "Change in plans."
King looked sideways at her. "I heard. Station, then hospital."
Scully almost smiled. The man learned quick.
Huntington Police Department
Scully had her head buried in the forensic report when Brault sat down
in the chair opposite.
"Springer hasn't sobered up any. But even drunk, he knows when to keep
his mouth shut. Told me he wasn't saying a word till he spoke to a
She didn't stop reading while he spoke, but left off for a second to
answer him. "Well get him one."
Brault shot her the look he usually saved for Agent King. "It's late.
Let him sleep it off and we'll continue this in the morning." He
tossed a key on the table in front of her. "I made a booking for you
at our motel. It would be a good idea if you got some sleep too."
If she heard that one more time ....
"I want five minutes with Springer, then I'll go." Back to the
Brault rolled his eyes and stood up. "You're wasting your time."
Springer was stretched out on a bunk in the far corner of the holding
room. Comatose. One arm hung loosely off the side of the bed, the
other thrown across his stomach. His head was turned towards them,
mouth hanging open. A pool of saliva was spreading on the mattress
next to his face. Snoring. The bastard was comfortable in there.
Scully leaned on the wire cage. "Springer!" Her voice was loud, not
quite a shout. She may as well have whispered for all the good it did.
"Springer! Wake up!" This time she yelled.
Brault was standing next to her, a couple of feet back from the cell.
She heard him give a small cough. "Like I said..."
"Springer!! Loud enough to wake the dead. And it did. Springer opened
"I want you to answer some questions." He didn't move. Scully was
gearing up to shout again when he pushed himself off the bunk and
staggered over to stand in front of her. Face to face, only wire
separating them. The smell of him was sickening. Breath and body.
Whisky and week old sweat.
Springers' bleary eyes narrowed. "I remember you. You're the one who
cuffed me. Big improvement on him." He jerked his head at Brault. "But
I'll just look for now. We'll talk later." And he took a step back and
did just that. Looked her up and down, from head to toe, as a smile
grew wide on his face.
Blood was pounding in her ears. So loud she could hardly hear her own
words. "You're such a brave man, Springer. Especially when you're
behind the wheel of a car. How does it feel to run someone down and
leave them for dead? Or beat a twelve year old boy so badly he has to
run away? But running away didn't save Kevin, did it, you worthless
piece of shit!" She slammed her hand on the wire in front of his face.
Springer sneered at her. "You're the one who's full of shit lady."
"What happened up on the mountain, Springer? When Kevin wouldn't come
home with you? You got a little carried away this time, didn't you?"
She was spitting the words at him now. "Tell me where his body is."
And then the strangest thing happened. Scully was watching him
closely, trying to pick up any change in expression that might give
her a clue to what was going on in his head. When she asked that last
question, she'd seen something she hadn't expected to see. Surprise.
Genuine surprise written all over his face before he'd been able to
Springer smiled. A great big sugary smile before he stumbled back
across the cell and dropped down on the bed. "I want a lawyer. You're
asking me things I don't know anything about. If that little shit of a
kid's got into trouble, it ain't my worry." He rolled over to face the
"Maybe you'll change you mind when you see the evidence we have
Brault grabbed her by the arm when they left the room. "What evidence
are you talking about?"
Scully shrugged his hand away. "We found some buckles in the remains
of a fire. They're metal, distinctive. Possibly from the boys' back
Brault was flabbergasted. "That's it?"
"For now. We can hold and charge Springer on the firearm offence until
we have more." Before she could say anything else, Brault was running
off at the mouth again.
"And that's guaranteed, is it Agent Scully?"
"Absolutely. When the forensic work on our car has been re-done."
That one stumped him. He stared at her, mystified. "What?"
"I want our car gone over for fingerprints again. This time by our
"You want....." Brault's face was turning a deep shade of red and he
spoke through a clenched jaw. "I'm not going to authorize it. I've
looked at the results myself, there's nothing to be achieved by
repeating the process."
He needed a few things pointed out, and she was happy to oblige.
"They weren't even able to lift a partial. Conclusion drawn? That
surfaces were wiped clean by the perp. I agree. It could explain the
traces of blood." Brault still wasn't following, so she elaborated.
"The interior light on our car wasn't working. Whatever Springer used
to wipe over the steering wheel and door handle may have had Kevin's
blood on it. When he removed the fingerprints, he smeared the blood
on. In the dark, he would have been none the wiser."
"So what if he did? We still don't have his prints."
Scully could feel her temper fraying. She'd grown so accustomed to
working with Mulder, was so used to his quick mind adding to her
ideas, that this was liked having teeth pulled. It was impossible to
keep the exasperation from sounding in her voice as she explained. "Do
you think he drove the car into the ditch? He would have pushed it
in. Now, unless he climbed down and wiped it over again, his prints
should be somewhere on the outside of the car."
Brault was far from impressed. He wasn't buying it, and she was at the
end of her rope. Time for a different tactic. "Just get it done. If
you won't, I'll get the authorization myself ..... from AD Skinner."
The name dropping did the trick, Brault threw both hands in the air as
he backed away from her. "Tomorrow morning OK with you, or did you
want that done tonight as well?"
Before he escaped she calmly replied, "First thing tomorrow would be
fine, thank you."
Huntington County Hospital
It didn't take her long at all to realize how very sick he was. She
heard it before she saw it.
The nurses' station was deserted as she headed for Mulders' room. Only
a few more steps to the door.
She peered in at the bed. Two nurses were trying to hold her partner
down. Campbell had a hypodermic in her right hand while her left hand
was fighting a losing battle with Mulders' good arm. She was waiting
for him to stay still long enough to get a clear shot at the IV port.
The other woman was half lying over Mulders' legs while she held his
plastered arm against his chest. The empty sling swung above the three
of them, keeping time.
The pair of women were behind on points, and didn't look like making a
come back in the near future.
"Mulder!" Scully practically ran across the room. Campbell looked up
as she called out, seeing her for the first time.
"Give us a hand."
Scully caught Mulders' right arm, and pinned it down on the bed with
both her hands. The heat startled her. Campbell quickly inserted the
needle and Scully watched the plunger descend as the sedative was
administered. She shifted her gaze to Mulders' face. He was staring
straight back at her without the slightest hint of recognition in his
eyes. They were glazed over and watering, and his face streamed sweat.
"Hey Mulder, remember me? How about keeping the noise down a bit?
You'll wake the neighbors."
Her voice was working. He was calming down even before the drug could
take effect. So she kept talking. "I can't leave you alone for very
long, can I? Just relax and take deep breaths, you'll feel better
soon, don't worry." She remembered promising him the same thing up on
the mountain. Last night? Twenty four hours that had been going on
for about a year now.
Mulder was still watching her, but his head had fallen back on the
pillow and he was no longer struggling. Campbell took the opportunity
to put the bed rails up again and check the IV line, while the other
nurse began lifting his arm back into the sling. Scully held it open
for her as she slid the bandaged cast back in.
"Scully?" His eyes were closing and his voice was small.
"So you do remember me." She took the wash cloth that Campbell
offered, and began wiping the sweat from his face and neck, carefully
negotiating her way round the bruise and scratches.
"Whatshout." Mulder trapped her left hand under his on the bed.
"What shout?" Scully looked at Campbell to see if she'd heard any
better. The woman shrugged her shoulders, shaking her head for no as
she took his temperature.
Scully rolled her hand over underneath his and squeezed his fingers.
"You ....whatshout. Fire."
Now she understood. Watch out. It was a warning. He was so hot he was
probably seeing flames. "Shh. Fire's out. Go to sleep." She said it
again and kept repeating herself till he quieted.
Campbell smiled over at her. "Your timing is good. Thanks" She patted
Mulders' arm. "We weren't expecting that. His pressure was bottoming
out not long ago." Scully's mouth opened and her hand stopped in mid
air, but the nurse quickly reassured her. "It's OK. It registered
almost normal on that last reading. But Hunter's not happy. His
temperature's still hovering around the 103 mark."
The other nurse returned, struggling as she carried a tall electric
fan with her. She took it to the other side of the bed, plugged it in
and turned it on, adjusting the air flow till it covered the entire
length of Mulders' body with every sweep it made.
Scully resumed pulling the wet cloth over Mulders' forehead and hair.
"Where is Dr Hunter?"
"Once we got his BP stabilized she went down to Pathology. She'll be
breathing down their necks for those results." Campbell smirked as she
picked up the syringe tray and made her way to the door. "I'll get him
another gown and some new linen for the bed. Everything is soaked
Scully waited until both nurses had left the room before she began
speaking again, keeping it to a low whisper. "Get better Mulder, I
want you back. We caught Springer, but it's painful working with those
Charleston agents." She slipped her left hand out from under his,
rinsed the cloth and continued to try and cool him down, pulling the
top of his hospital gown away from his body a little to wipe the top
of his chest and shoulders. He was not completely under yet, when she
looked back up at his face she could see his lips moving, forming
silent words only he understood.
"Shhh. Sleep." He stopped mumbling, and not long after was finally
asleep. But the silence was short lived. The sound of approaching
voices down the corridor signaled she'd soon have company. Hunter,
with paperwork, and Campbell, with new sheets, walked through the
door, followed seconds later by the nurse who'd set up the fan. The
place was getting crowded.
Hunter tilted her head back towards the doorway. "I think we'll take
the conversation outside for a minute. Give the workers a chance to
get the housekeeping done."
Scully handed the face cloth to the second nurse as Campbell began
untucking the sheets at the bottom of the bed. So much for all the
effort to get him settled. With all this commotion, he'd be disturbed
for sure. She bent down next to Campbell to get her attention. "He's
only just gone to sleep."
A small smile grew on Campbell's face as she continued with the bed.
"Believe it or not, I've done this before. He won't even know we're
The women had stripped the bottom sheet with a minimum of fuss before
Scully left to join Hunter at the nurses' station. The doctor slid
Mulder's chart along the counter to her as she arrived, pointing to
the lab results. "It's not good news. Initial gram stain showed
numerous gram-positive cocci. Also clostridium." Scully was reading
the same information as Hunter spoke. "We'll have confirmation of
exactly what we're dealing with in 24 hours."
"And in the meantime?" Scully looked up from the report.
Hunter stared her straight in the eyes. "In the meantime, we've got
our work cut out for us. I'm changing him to a combination of
cephalosporin, penicillin and an aminoglycoside. I also want more
film done on his arm. The fever would account for the delirium, but
I'll check the position of the pins to be on the safe side." She began
filling out a request for radiology. "We'll continue with the
irrigation and wound management, and maintain treatment for the fever
and blood pressure fluctuations."
Everything Scully had expected to hear. But it didn't prevent the
apprehension expanding in the pit of her stomach. "I can't help but
worry about the onset of this infection. It was unbelievably quick.
What sort of prognosis are we looking at?" As a doctor, Scully knew
the question was unreasonable at this point of time. But she wasn't
asking as a doctor.
To her credit, Hunter realized this as well. "You know I can't give an
answer to that yet." She was smiling. A sincere smile as she patted
Scully lightly on the back. "It's bad, and we both know it could get a
lot worse. But we'll deal with it. Our first priority is to reduce the
fever. So right now I want to examine him, get the new medication
started and have the x rays done. After that I'll bring the new
nursing shift up to scratch and then go home to bed."
Scully trailed Hunter back into the room. "I think I'll stay for a
Hunter didn't turn around to answer her at first. "OK by me." Then she
looked over her shoulder and added, "After all you don't need sleep,
being a doctor and an FBI agent to boot." There was a wicked grin on
Scully's smile came naturally. "Don't worry. I'll sleep for a week
once this is over."
The fan had been turned onto a low setting, and its constant, dull hum
was the only sound in the room. She couldn't hear Mulder breathing,
but she could see the smooth rise and fall of his chest under the
sheet. His temperature had dropped to a more reasonable level and the
new cocktail of drugs had produced no adverse reactions. The X rays
had revealed no problems with pin placement. She should think about
going back to the motel now. Probably should have thought about it an
hour ago. But everything that had happened since yesterday afternoon
was rolling around in her head, clamoring for attention. And instead
of being able to sort it out, it just kept growing into more of a
Sleep on it. Tomorrow's a new day.
She could hear her mother's voice cutting through the commotion in her
OK Mom. You win.
Her body was aching - knees, back, neck and head, so she took her time
in standing up, before placing her fingertips on Mulders' cheek. Warm,
"See you in the morning. Don't go wrestling the nurses again." It was
only a whisper, he was sedated, but she didn't want to chance waking
One of the night nurses was standing behind the counter as Scully
walked out into the corridor. The woman saw her and said, "You're
"Yes. I'd like to be notified if there's any change. My number is on
"His chart. I know." The nurse had gone back to what she was doing.
Scully pulled out the motel key that Brault had given her, reading the
tag as she moved closer to the counter and waited till the woman
looked up again. "I'm staying at the Flag Inn, Room 24, if you can't
get me on my cell phone." The battery needed re-charging.
"I'll make a note of it, just in case. But there shouldn't be any need
to contact you tonight." She had a slightly pained expression on her
"Thank you. I'll see you in the morning." She took a last look in at
Mulder before finally leaving.
Flag Motor Inn
Scully rolled over, her eyes drawn to the digital read-out on the
clock. 4:49. No, 4:50. She'd seen various combinations of numbers
there during the last few hours.
Motels. Usually she didn't have a problem sleeping in them, they were
like a second home to her. This room was the same as every other room
she'd ever stayed in, she could walk to the bathroom without turning a
light on and be guaranteed not to stub a toe. Although the bed wasn't
the best, being of the too soft variety. Between watching the clock
and trying to avoid falling into the crater in the middle of the
mattress, she would have been lucky to have slept for an hour at most.
It was a lost cause. She tossed back the blankets and sat up, rubbing
away at the throbbing pain that had moved in behind her eyes and was
getting to know the rest of her head. And almost needed a heart
massage instead when the phone rang beside her.
She fumbled with the lamp as she picked up the receiver, squinting
against the light when she found the button.
"Da." She cleared her throat. "Dana Scully."
"Dr Scully, this is Alison Brody from the hospital. I spoke with you
as you were leaving tonight?" She posed the sentence as a question.
The fog lifted from her brain. "What's wrong?"
"You asked to be notified if there was any change in Mr Mulders'
Scully forced the words out once more. "What's wrong?"
"Mr Mulders' fever has climbed again. He's hypotensive and also
experiencing some shortness of breath. We've called Dr Hunter."
She was out of the bed, picking up the telephone base in her hand and
balancing the receiver between her shoulder and ear as she reached
into the wardrobe for some clothes. "How serious?"
"It's only developed over the last hour or so. Once we started oxygen,
he's become more alert."
She tossed a skirt and blouse on the bed. "OK. I'm on my way." She
went to hang up, but then brought the phone back up to her ear. "Thank
She practically collided with a nurse as she turned to enter Mulders'
room, throwing her hands out in front to stop the other person's
progress. It was Brody.
The woman's breath caught in her throat. "Sorry. Didn't see you." She
pushed past Scully. "I'll be right back."
Scully wasn't listening. She was staring at the raised bed, and the
person in it. Mulder was lying a long way over to the right, his face
close to the very edge of the mattress. His eyes were open, and
judging from the tilt of his head, he would have to be staring at
either the bottom of the wall near the window, or the floor directly
beneath it. He was receiving oxygen via a nasal cannula and a pulse
oximeter was back on his index finger.
"Hey Mulder." His left arm was still suspended in the sling, and the
position he'd got himself into was pulling on his shoulder. She put
her hand on his chest and took hold of his right arm, trying to
straighten him up a little. There was no need for a thermometer to
tell her his temperature was as high as it had been last night.
"You're crooked here. Let's get you comfortable again." She pushed him
up without too much trouble, but his head remained in the same
position, chin almost resting on his shoulder. This was more alert?
Taking hold of his face in both her hands, she drew him round till she
met his eyes. "Hi. How you feeling?"
His eyes slowly slid shut. He hadn't even seen her there.
Brody walked up behind her. "His pressure has picked up, but the
antipyretic's not doing much for the fever. Hunter's ordered another
CBC and blood gases."
"No. She organized it over the phone." Brody was checking the tubing
that ran up to Mulders' face, confirming the oxygen flow.
"And you say this started about an hour ago?" Scully had her hand back
on Mulders' chest. His breathing was short and shallow.
"Around three thirty. He woke up very confused, complaining of pain in
his chest and arm. Lungs sounded congested, so we started him on O2.
His temp had been fairly stable up until that point, but then it shot
through ......." Both of them turned to watch Hunter walk in. Brody
finished her sentence. "The roof."
Pulling a stethoscope from her coat pocket, Hunter muttered, "Don't
anyone say good morning. Has the technician been up yet?"
Brody answered, "No."
"Then go and find out what's going on." Hunter wasn't happy last
night, and now she was positively pissed. She listened to Mulders'
chest. After a moment, she removed the disc from the front of his gown
and said, "Lean him forward."
Moving closer, Scully put an arm around Mulder and pulled him towards
her. His head dropped onto her right shoulder, his face tucked into
her neck. He was so hot she had to lean away a little, but still could
feel the burn through the material of her blouse. Hunter continued the
examination and helped Scully to lay him back on the pillow a moment
Scully gave the doctor a minute to write on Mulders' chart. Finally,
she looked up. "He'll need chest x- rays done, there's a crackle in
both lungs. But I'd prefer not to move him while his temperature's so
high. We'll get a portable up here, make do with the one view for
now." Hunter was thinking out loud.
Great. Just great. Scully rubbed a hand over her face. She had no
inclination to speak.
Brody came through the door, a male lab technician in tow. Hunter
glared, arms folded over her chest. "It takes forty five minutes to
ride the elevator up here now?" He mumbled an apology and set to
work. Considering his audience, he set a remarkable pace. When he'd
finished and was placing the tubes of blood in the tray, Hunter spoke
again. "I want those results STAT." She turned to Brody. "Call ICU and
have a cooling blanket sent down. We'll need an EKG and get on to
radiology, organize a portable. Upright of the chest, and the arm
again, it's all on here." She pushed Mulders' chart into the nurses'
hands. "I want it all done within thirty minutes. Then I'll clean the
wound again myself." Brody nodded and made a quick get away.
Scully watched Hunter. She was inspecting Mulders' fingers, without
having moved his arm from the sling. Scully caught her eye and said,
"Thanks." One word, but it raised a small smile on Hunter's face.
"Don't thank me. I take it as a personal insult when patients don't
follow my plans." She quickly checked the bandage where the cast had
been opened and was apparently satisfied with what she saw. "The
revised plan is to get him over the hump today. He should start
responding to the new antibiotics by this evening. If not, I'll be
transferring him to the ICU."
Scully knew what Hunter was implying. If Mulder didn't start improving
soon, it could mean they were dealing with a highly evolved bacterium,
a strain resistant to the treatment he was receiving. And she didn't
want to think too much along those lines. It would do no one any good,
worrying over something that may not even happen. At least that's what
she told herself.
Hunter had left a few minutes ago after debriding Mulders' arm. Scully
watched the procedure from the back stalls, standing behind and
looking over the doctor's shoulder as she worked. Mulder was lightly
sedated, and probably hadn't felt a thing. She hoped he hadn't felt a
thing. A few times she could have sworn she'd seen pain on his face,
but he hadn't moved or made a noise, so it was most likely her
As she purged the wound, Hunter had given a running commentary. To
Scully, it sounded bad and looked even worse. The gashes in his arm
had been enlarged by incision during surgery, to allow insertion of
the pins. The wound on the right was in the better condition of the
two. The stitches still held, although it was unlikely to stay that
way. The flesh was an angry, swollen red and weeped clear fluid as
well as blood. The other incision was badly infected. It had opened up
in the middle to a length of about two inches, the radial bone visible
underneath the distended body tissue. Hunter took additional fluid
samples from both sites, then irrigated with saline. She then pushed
into the open wound, sloughing away the discharge and dead tissue with
swabs doused in antiseptic. Over and over, until it was clean. Also
raw and bleeding. Then covering it all with gauze, she left the nurse
to finish the bandaging.
Hunter had been cautiously optimistic, saying his arm hadn't
deteriorated too badly overnight. The chest x-rays, however, confirmed
what they already knew. Pneumonia. Consolidation on the lower lobes of
both lungs, blood gases indicating an oxygen level bordering on poor.
The end result was the removal of the nasal cannula, replaced by a
Mulder was still asleep underneath the cooling blanket. His
temperature was down on the last reading, but not enough of an
improvement to make her feel any better.
Brault and King could handle the investigation without her for a
while, but there were a few things she wanted to make sure were done.
She reached for the phone and dialed Brault's cell phone.
"Agent Brault. This is Dana Scully." She didn't have the opportunity
to tell him where she was before his voice boomed in her ear again.
"Good morning, Agent Scully. Can we expect you to join us for
breakfast sometime soon?"
He was still smarting from her pulling him into line last night. He
could live with it, and she didn't have to put up with his shit. "No.
You can't. I'm at the hospital."
His tone of voice changed immediately. "Oh. I see. Is everything all
"No. It's a long way from all right." Asshole. "Agent Mulder is
seriously ill, his arm is infected and he's developed pneumonia. I'm
staying here with him. I'd like you call me when the new forensic
report is finished."
"Yeah, of course. King is going back up to Mt. Riley with the dog
squad later today. I'll supervise the work on your car this morning."
"Thank you." It was late in coming, but at least he was trying to be
"If you need anything else done, just call me."
Seeing he asked...... "I intended to have Lyn Douglas look at the
buckles we found, see if she recognized them. And interview the other
boys from the camp-out again, see if they remember anything more from
the night of Kevin's disappearance."
A short silence. "OK. I'll get onto it." Brault hung up before she
could say good bye or give him another task to do. Next on the list
was Skinner, but she noted the time and decided to leave it for a
couple of hours. While Mulder was still asleep she could grab herself
a cup of coffee and try to eat something. She needed an energy boost,
her feet were already dragging.
Someone was pulling his arm.
But he hadn't said the word aloud, had he? Because now they had a hand
over his face and a knee in his chest.
His chest hurt most.
Push them off.
His arms weren't listening.
Open your eyes.
No can do.
A voice? Scully. Holding his hand. Tell her.
No can do that too. Throat hurt and ...
"Mulder? It's all right. Can you open your eyes?"
What did she want? Just push the bad guy off me Scully. I think he
moved his knee. He's sitting on me now.
"Wake up Mulder."
So he was asleep. This was a dream. Everything would be normal once he
opened his eyes. He had to try a little harder.
Success. Blurry Scully smiling. No one sitting on him, but his chest
still hurt. No one trying to smother him, but there was something on
his face. And he was freezing. An explanation would be nice.
"Mulder? It's me, Scully."
That much he already knew. What he really wanted, more than anything,
was to move the thing away from his mouth and nose, but he only had
one hand, and Scully was not letting go.
"Pulse ox is back over ninety, how about we revert to the cannula?"
What the ... ?
Another voice answered Scully. "Yes. OK. The mask is agitating him."
Good. For a minute there he thought she was talking to him. He closed
his eyes as the thing, mask, whatever, was lifted from his face and
something was stuck in his nose.
"Scully." Oh fuck. Why did he try doing that?
"Don't talk Mulder. You've got a serious chest infection, you're on
Chest? But everywhere hurt and his arm was still being pulled.
"Arm." Scully would know what he meant.
"Your arm is infected too."
"What?" He opened his eyes again. God they were heavy. Scully was
swaying and her forehead was scrunched up. She was frowning at him.
"Go back to sleep Mulder."
No. He was awake and he could figure this out on his own if need be.
He shifted his gaze slowly around the room. Hospital?
He dragged his eyes back to Scully. Why wouldn't she stand still? It
was making him feel sick. "Stop." And then he remembered something.
Scully leaned close. "Stop what?"
"You were at the prison."
She shook her head and boy, now he really needed to throw up. And he
wanted a blanket. It had got that cold his teeth were beginning to
chatter. But she was speaking again and he tried to listen.
"I was at the police station in Huntington. That was last night."
What was wrong with her? "No, Scully. At the prison, with Boggs." He
couldn't keep his eyes open any more.
She was stroking his forehead. Really nice. She said, "Go to sleep."
Mulder was sleeping soundly again after their little chat. She wasn't
getting any better at translating delirium, her task made all the more
difficult when he began shivering. He'd said something about a prison,
but that was about all she could understand. Sleep was what he needed.
Well that and a few other things, like the damn antibiotics to start
doing what they were supposed to do.
Skinner had been great. Again. He was worried over the latest
developments in Mulders' condition. He'd also listened to what she had
to say about the case, and only asked one or two questions. Were the
Charleston agents working out OK? Was there enough evidence to charge
Springer? The answers she gave were very basic, but he was going easy
on her, which was fine. And better still, he'd told her he'd authorize
some time off if she wanted it. She was beginning to take a shine to
The phone rang beside her and she almost jumped on it to stop the
noise. But Mulder hadn't stirred. She brought the receiver up to her
ear. It was Brault.
"Well, you were right. They've lifted a couple of clear prints from
the boot of your car. Positive match to Mr David Albert Springer."
Scully resisted the urge to say 'I told you so'. Only just.
Brault continued. "Do you want to be in on the interview?"
She did. Badly. "Can you pick me up here?"
Scully was getting to know most of the nurses by now. Owens was on
duty again, and as she left the room, she caught her attention. "I'll
be back in about an hour. Can you keep a close eye on him till then?
He was very disorientated when he woke up last time."
"Of course we will. And I know, you're number's on his chart."
Seemed the nurses were getting to know her pretty well too.
Huntington Police Department
A lawyer had been arranged for Springer, and Scully poured herself
another cup of coffee as she and Brault waited for the man to emerge
from the holding cell. Fifteen minutes later, he did just that.
He shook Brault's hand, then hers, and introductions were made all
round. "I've advised Mr Springer he will be interviewed in relation to
the disappearance of Kevin Douglas, as well as the other offence."
"A charge of attempted murder on a federal agent, Mr. Fraser." Scully
was bristling. Fraser looked less than enthusiastic, as though there
was somewhere else he'd much prefer to be. "I assume you have also
advised your client to co-operate with us, answer our questions?"
"I've informed him of the forensic evidence gathered against him, and
he said he's willing to talk."
Scully already had the door open to the interview room. "Well let's
A handcuffed Springer was brought in several minutes later, a police
officer behind him. He was directed to a chair across from Brault and
herself. The lawyer, Fraser, sat at the far end of the table.
Brault started the ball rolling. "The night before last, near the
camping grounds up at Mt. Riley, a car was stolen and a federal agent
was run down and seriously injured. Care to comment?"
Springer shrugged and smiled at them all.
"Last Saturday night a boy went missing from the same area. Kevin
Douglas, the son of the woman you're currently living with. Do you
know anything about that?
Still he said nothing.
"We have evidence that directly links you to the attempted murder of
Agent Mulder. Mr Fraser told us you were willing to answer our
"Her questions." He stared at Scully and smiled.
Brault looked at her for confirmation. She nodded and leaned forward
on her elbows, matching Springer's stare. "We found your fingerprints
on the stolen car, Springer. And Kevin's blood. We want to know what
you did to him."
"I didn't mean it, you know." He ran his tongue slowly over his
"You didn't mean to kill Kevin?"
"Who said Kevin's dead? There's no body, you said so yourself."
She was tired, so tired. And it wasn't going to take much for the
exhaustion to boil over into anger. Scully drew a calming breath.
"Just cut the crap Springer. You haven't answered one of our
questions. What didn't you mean to do?"
He knew he was getting to her and he liked it. She could see the
enjoyment on his face, in his eyes. Well, she'd make sure she
disappointed him on that count from now on. She leveled out her voice,
even smiled a little as she continued. "By giving us answers, you'd be
making things easier on yourself in the long run. Although I'm more
than happy for you to keep your mouth shut. Refusing to co-operate
might earn you a few more years behind bars, maybe a few extra
beatings. Then we'd all see if you can take it as well as you dish it
out." She pushed the chair up and quickly rose to her feet. "Are we
The smile wasn't half as cocky now, in fact it had all but gone. "The
G-man. He ran in front of the car. It was his fault."
It was hard to hide her emotions, but Scully pushed her anger down
before it could surface. "You're admitting that you were driving the
stolen car that hit Agent Mulder?"
"Whatever his name is. I didn't see him till it was too late."
"You swerved into him and left him there, not bothering to check
whether he was alive or dead."
No answer to that.
"What were you doing up there?"
"Looking for Kevin, wanted to bring him home. But I didn't find him."
"So. You left your own car at the bottom of the mountain. Walked all
the way up to the camping ground. Searched for Kevin. Couldn't see
him, so you thought you'd steal a car and try to kill an FBI agent.
How do you explain Kevin's blood being found on the steering wheel?"
"I had a fight with the boy on Saturday morning. Might have been some
of his blood on my shirt." He mumbled the answer, his eyes not moving
from his cuffed hands resting on the table in front of him.
"That's your story? You had a fight with Kevin on Saturday and his
blood was still on your shirt on Tuesday. And it hadn't dried, because
it was all over our car." She shook her head in amazement. A bad move,
because her headache was back with a vengeance.
Springer nodded again. "I admit I stole the car, but the rest was just
an accident. I don't know anything about the boy." He lifted his face
up to smirk at her.
Scully stared at him. She'd love nothing better than to wipe the grin
from his face. Permanently. He was not a good liar. Hell, he wasn't
even trying hard to give a reasonable explanation. No, he was having a
bit of fun with her, and she'd had enough.
"I've got better things to do than waste my time with you. But while
you're sitting in that cell, you might want to consider this. I know
you killed Kevin and believe me, we'll find the evidence to indict you
for his murder." She had his attention now. "You've admitted running
my partner down. Let's see you convince a jury that it was an
accident. They'll see through you as easily as I do. And they'll put
you away for a hell of a long time." Was that a hint of fear she saw
in his eyes? Or something else. Indecision? "Agent Mulder could die
because of what you did to him you son of a bitch. So you should start
praying he gets better very soon, because there are worse things that
can happen to you than prison."
It had slipped her mind that there were other people in the room, but
Scully was instantly reminded of the fact. Fraser jumped to his feet
and moved behind Springer.
"Agent Scully, did I hear you correctly?"
Now Brault joined in the fray. "What Agent Scully meant was....."
Scully swept her hand out to her side, cutting the SAC off mid
sentence. "What I meant was what I said. "You're a coward, Springer.
You murdered Kevin. If ....."
'That's enough Agent Scully." Brault pushed her arm down and pointed
to the door. "I'll talk to you out there in a minute."
She'd forgotten to breathe. So she took a couple of quick shots of
air, never taking her eyes off Springer for a second. He wanted to say
something else, that look of uncertainty was there on his face again.
"Agent Scully?" Brault still held her arm and was trying to turn her
She grabbed his hand and pulled it away. As she left the room, she
slammed the door for good measure.
So much for maintaining control. Brault had drowned her out before she
had a chance to finish. In hindsight, it was lucky that he did. Her
mouth had run away from her mind. What had she been about to say to
Springer? That she'd make sure he got the death penalty
if ...... if Mulder died. But he was going to be OK. She just
wasn't thinking straight, that's all. No food, lack of sleep, the
constant headache. It was all combining to cloud her judgement.
She sipped at another cup of coffee while she waited for Brault. That
would just about make up her weekly dose of caffeine in one day. She
really should be eating something instead, but she hadn't even been
able to stomach breakfast this morning. And now, on top of the
headache, she felt like she could throw up too.
Brault strode into the lunch room, stopping only when he stood about a
couple of feet in front of her. She put her cup down on the table and
simply side stepped him on her way to the door.
She stopped, didn't turn around, but made sure he heard what she said.
"I'm going back to the hospital."
"I'm recommending you be taken off this investigation."
She thought about it. Did she really care? They had Springer. She
would like to get him for murdering Kevin, but could she prove, beyond
a doubt, that the boy was dead?
The answer was obvious. She had to try.
Scully spun round to face him, stare him down. "Recommend whatever you
want, Brault. I'll be making a few of my own." Worry lines began
worming their way across his brow. "Have you interviewed Lyn Douglas
yet? Or any of Kevin's friends? I had to fight to have the forensic
work done again. If it hadn't been, where would we be now?"
"The investigation is running smoothly Agent Scully, even if you don't
think so. Right now, Agent King is supervising the final search of the
camp site. Which I organized with local authorities. We should both
try to calm down. Perhaps I was a little hasty in thinking you should
no longer be involved in the case."
Here it comes, the big back down.
"What I'm trying to say is you've been attempting to work and support
your partner at the same time. It's been a very stressful time for
you, both emotionally and physically..."
"Save it, Brault. I take it I'm still on the investigation. Correct?"
He inhaled deeply, held it for a second, then let out a long sigh.
"I'll get back on it in the morning. Right now, I'd appreciate a ride
back to the hospital."
Mulder wasn't any worse, but he hadn't made any progress either. Still
asleep. Temperature high. BP low and oxygen sats only passable. A trip
to the ICU was becoming more and more likely.
And she could do nothing but wait.
She picked up his hand. It felt heavy and lifeless. His fingernails
didn't have the bluish tint any more. That was an improvement she
supposed. A start.
"Hey Mulder? The new forensic work clinched it. Springer admitted
stealing the car, but he says hitting you was an accident. So when
you're better, you might like to give your version of the event."
Someone cleared their throat, and she immediately knew who it was.
Agent Brault, standing in the doorway. He took another two slow steps
before stopping and clearing his throat again. It was extremely
"Did you forget something?"
He was looking at Mulder. "Is he any better?"
She was in no mood for company, especially his. "No. What do you
"The boy's body has been recovered."
What? Did he say.... "Where?"
"That's the strange thing. We didn't need the dogs. King found the
body right smack in the middle of that little clearing up on the
summit. There was no attempt made to conceal it. We must have walked
over that same spot a hundred times yesterday."
"So the body was put there after we left. It still could be Springer,
he had plenty of time to do it before we arrested him." But it didn't
make any sense.
"The body is being transported to the morgue here at the hospital.
You're a pathologist, right?"
Three guesses what was coming next. She only needed one. "Isn't there
a ME available?"
"There is, and he's doing the autopsy. But if what King says is right,
you might like to stand in on it."
Equally annoying as the throat clearing. Trying to coax information
from this man. "What is King saying?"
"That the kid didn't look like he was dead. More like he was just
lying there asleep. From what they can see there's no apparent cause
of death, the body's unmarked. No decomposition at all. Five days ago
he went missing."
Another assumption that was totally wrong. Scully didn't bother to
look his way as she answered. "That's not to say he's been dead five
days." But Brault was right about the autopsy. She wanted to observe
"Tell them to let me know when the coroner arrives."
"Yeah. Should be in the next couple of hours." Scully waited for him
to go, but instead he continued to stand there, fidgeting. "I hope
he'll be OK."
She nodded and after a few long seconds, Brault finally left.
Stroking the back of Mulders' hand, Scully whispered, "So do I."
X-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-X END PART THREE
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LEAVE in the body of the message.
This post was ONE THOUSAND, SIX HUNDRED TWENTY lines long.
That's about 3 times too big for many newsreaders and servers.
Breaking it down into 3 or 4 parts would have been greatly appreciated.
Thank you ... ;-)
(What is WITH all these humongous posts recently???
How are authors even able to upload them in the first place?
<sigh> ... It *is* possible to have too much of a good
thing -- when you try to have it *all at once*. ;-S
* Friday on DUE SOUTH: "You Must Remember This" (...a hint to authors about
500-line/25K post size limitations? ;-D * approx. 10:30 pm EDT/PDT on TNT *
Large posts are not all bad, they save the trouble of finding perhaps dozens
of small parts, which IMO can be quite big bonus. Not all news servers have
problems with large files, perhaps you should check around for a more reader
friendly server. The largest story I can find right now on my server is a
486 KB message (chapters 2-6 of a 12 chapter story...) in
rec.arts.anime.creative and I've seen a few over 600 KB ones so we are not
breaking any records in atxc...