Mulder's Refuge Challenge
here they are:
Fox and CC Hold the copyright (C) For now
we'll assume that the standard fan fic disclaimer (no copyright
infringement, yadda yadda yadda) is in effect.
By Anonymous for the MR Challenge-March 2010
Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully and the rest of the X Files characters don’t belong to me, they never will and I’ll never make a profit from borrowing them for a little bit of MT.
Mulder chuckled quietly but not quietly enough.
“You think this is funny?” Scully asked him, her blue eyes shooting fiery sparks at him.
“It’s a little funny,” he said crumbling under her stare, “Come on. There’s a massive storm outside and the phone lines have gone down, the lock finally broke on the door leaving us unable to open it and the final tier on our teetering cake; I left my cell at home and you forgot to charge yours. We’re stuck and there is no way for us to get out until someone finds us down here. What are the odds of all of those things happening at once? It’s one hell of a coincidence.”
She didn’t share him enthusiasm. She was sure there was foul play here. “I thought you didn’t believe in coincidences Mulder.” She paced the room.
“I don’t but I also don’t see how this could be a set up. Sure you can tamper with the lock but how would you contrive a storm at the same time as me forgetting my phone and you forgetting to charge yours AND ensuring that the lock breaks today after we’ve already used it a few times?” He sat in his chair behind his desk grinning at her over his bare toes that rested on top of the desk.
Scully huffed and continued glaring at him while he chuckled again.
“Face it Scully. It’s nothing more than a coincidence. Instead of being mad at it why don’t you just appreciate how truly twisted the universe can be when it wants to.”
“You do that,” she said doing another lap of the office that seemed to be shrinking the longer she was in there, “I’m going to try and find a way out of here.”
“Aww Scully, is it really so bad being trapped in here? You’ve got me.” He gave her a winning smile and waggled his eyebrows. “Someone is bound to come down here when they realise we’re missing.”
“Who, might I ask, is going to notice we’re missing?”
Mulder shrugged, “Skinner?”
Scully laughed out loud, “Sure, that sounds likely.” She sighed and for the first time actually let her mask slip and Mulder saw the anxiety in her eyes.
“You’re not claustrophobic are you Scully?” he asked, playing tone gone.
“No. I’m just not thrilled with the idea being stuck down here.”
Mulder put both his feet on the ground and limped over to her, attempting to offer her some comfort.
“Sit down,” she admonished, “You shouldn’t be walking or even standing on that ankle.” She was looking down at his ankle that was still steadily swelling. She didn’t have ice but she could make him sit and elevate it.
He stopped his path to her and hobbled back to his desk, carefully putting the injured limb back onto the hard wood surface. He flicked his eyes over to the door. The dent he’d made in it was still there. Amazing the amount of times he’s kicked in doors with no trouble and this one, his own office door, had been the one to break his ankle.
He’d not realised he had been kicking against the doorjamb until it was too late. It was then he remembered that it was easy to kick in doors. Not out. He wouldn’t tell Scully that his ankle felt like it was on fire and it was taking every ounce of his willpower to keep the grimace off his face, the groan from rising in his throat.
“Scully, the phones will come back on in their own time, there’s nothing we can do about it. How about we try and get through our paperwork for once,” he suggested, reaching for the top of the stack he’d accumulated.
Scully’s stare stopped his hand on its way to the pile. “What?” he said, trying hard not to squirm under her scrutiny.
“What is up with you today?” she asked him, “You’re usually the first one to cook up a conspiracy theory and today not even a bite and now you want to do paperwork?” She crossed her arms over her chest, “What have you done with my partner?”
He raised his hands innocently, “I just think we should make good with a bad situation that we have no control over.”
She strode back to her desk without taking her eyes off him and sat down heavily, eyeing him suspiciously. He ignored her and stuck his nose in the papers in front of him. Not an easy task with his feet taking up his desk space. When she had finally looked away from him he risked a glance at his watch; he had three hours to go. Three hours of sitting there with a possibly broken ankle.
Maggie had called him the week before to arrange Mulder delaying Scully from returning home too soon and spoiling her surprise birthday party. Mulder had then enlisted the help of the Lone Gunmen to rig the lock to appear to be broken and ‘lock’ them in the basement office together. They had also been responsible for the phone lines going down and providing Mulder with an empty battery to out in Scully’s cell phone. Like she would ever forget to charge it. Mulder also hadn’t left his at home; it was neatly tucked away in his bottom drawer along with Scully’s real battery.
The storm however was an act of nature that had just happened to occur at the right time. He couldn’t have planned it better. It was the perfect excuse for the phones being down.
He felt a little guilty for his deception but he kept reminding himself that it was all for a good cause. He had to keep Scully in the office and away from her apartment where her mother was setting up the party.
The only thing that wasn’t planned for was the injury he had managed to inflict on himself. He was trying to put on an act and make it look like he was trying to kick the door down but he had lost his balance and put a little too much weight into it.
As long as he managed to last the three hours he could take the paperclip out of his pocket and slip it onto the small slot next to the lock, opening the door and delivering Scully to her party without suspicion.
Her birthday had been three days before hand but it was hardly practical to have a party on a weeknight. Maggie had been sensible in waiting for the Friday evening. Not too sensible in asking Fox Mulder to not screw up getting Scully there at the right time.
Scully too was looking at her watch, “Got something on Scully?” he asked.
“No,” she answered testily, “We’ve been down here for four hours,” she complained.
“We’ve been down here all day,” Mulder pointed out, “A few more hours won’t kill us.”
She glared at him again, “How can you say that?” she said, her voice raising an octave with her annoyance, “You don’t know if anyone’s going to find us before morning and you need to go to a hospital, I don’t understand how you can be so calm about this.”
He planted his feet on the ground, biting his lip when his right foot touched the cold concrete of the office floor, “Scully, I jarred my foot a little, I do not need to go to a hospital.”
“Yes you do,” she said right back, leaving no room for further argument. “You can’t just leave something like that untreated.”
“It’s fine,” he continued his protest, “It barely hurts anymore.”
“Don’t lie to me Mulder, I’m not blind. As soon as we get out of here you’re going to a hospital. Sit down.”
Mulder reluctantly returned his butt to his seat and set his brain into overdrive mode. If they made a side trip to the hospital they would be late for the party, prove he was completely unreliable and Mrs Scully would never ask him to help again. Worse was that his ankle was really hurting and he didn’t think he’d be able to keep that fact to himself much longer; every time the pain jumped up a notch on the pain scale an awful greasy nausea came up with it. It was only a matter of time before something more came up.
Then the brilliant idea struck him; they could get out of the office and spend a few hours at the hospital. Not his favourite place in the world but it beat three hours of agony. Fingering the paperclip from his pocket he got up and limped his way to the door.
“Mulder, what are you doing?” Scully said thoroughly annoyed with his refusal to follow a simple direction: butt in seat.
“I thought I might take another look at the lock and see if I can’t get it open.”
Scully sighed and watched him limp agonisingly to the door and crouch in front of it. Through his white shirtsleeves she could see the sweat pouring off him in strain and rolling down his back, soaking patterns into the fabric. She couldn’t see what was in his hands but after only a few seconds there was a click and the door swung open with Mulder clinging to it like a baby koala so he wouldn’t fall.
Her jaw dropped in disbelief. “How did you do that?”
“I guess it just needed a gentle touch,” he said with a shrug.
“I wish you’d tried that before kicking at it.”
He smiled sheepishly, “I’ll just get my shoes back on and we can go to the hospital.”
She turned towards him, stunned and with her hands on her hips, “I thought you said you didn’t need to go to the hospital.”
“What can I say? When you’re right, you’re right Scully. But if you don’t want to go I can just get a cab home,” he shrugged nonchalantly and pulled his sock on, knowing full well that Doctor Scully wouldn’t let him go anywhere untreated.
“No, it’s okay. I’ll take you to the hospital. You’ll definitely need an X-ray.”
He had to put his head down to avoid her seeing the self satisfied smile that spread across his face. One shoe on, he started on the other but was interrupted with: “Leave it off.”
He was silently thankful that he wouldn’t need to struggle back into it. “Then I’m all set, let’s go,” he said with more enthusiasm than he felt. It wasn’t knock off time yet but when Mulder hobbled his way to the garage with Scully offering him as much support as she could, none of the few people they passed said boo.
By the time he’d settled into the passenger seat of Scully’s car he was wishing that he’d given up his male bravado and chosen the back seat where he could put his foot up.
“Are you okay?” Scully asked, considering telling him to get into the back.
“Fine,” he replied predictably with a strained smile on his face that truth be told looked more like a grimace.
Her eyebrows knitted together with concern but she said nothing, just started up the car and made a path for GMH; Mulder’s second home the pouring rain and weather making their trip just that little bit longer. Pulling up to the emergency department Mulder was looking more than a little pale. Scully took a moment staring at him and chewing on her lip before coming to a decision, “You wait here; I’ll go get a wheelchair.”
Mulder’s head snapped up and he met her eyes, “No,” he protested sharply, “I am more than capable of walking 20 feet to the waiting room Scully.”
She didn’t believe it and neither did he but it didn’t stop him from throwing the door open, from putting weight on the injured ankle, from falling flat on his face in the parking lot.
Scully rolled her eyes, cursed and hurried to the other side of the car to collect her arrogant partner from the wet ground. He had already rolled over and she spied blood on his forehead, grazed as he did his pope impression, kissing asphalt. Hands on her hips he scowled down at him, “How about you wait in the car and I’ll get a wheelchair?”
Mulder gave her a half grin that he usually employed to get himself out of trouble but she wasn’t having any of it. She reached down, pulled him up and forced him to sit in the car while she headed for the emergency department for a wheelchair, cursing him the whole way.
When she got back to her car with the desired item she thought he’d fallen asleep. Head tipped back, mouth open and drooling a little, he looked a bit like he did on a long stake out. “Mulder,” she said gently rousing him. He was an unnerving shade of white bordering on green. “Are you okay?”
“Never better,” he lied obviously and shifted stiffly into the chair without a fuss. His ankle was about the size of a grapefruit and the slow rolling his stomach was doing was definitely going to get messy sooner rather than later.
The waiting room was near empty save for one woman and her son who had something stuck up his nose and an old man with a cold. A nurse met them as soon as they came in and directed Mulder to a cubicle. Mulder would bet anything that Scully had said something to her when she retrieved the wheelchair.
This was a position Mulder knew all to well; sitting on a gurney with his injured body on display for poking and prodding. Trying to stifle moans when the doctor became increasingly sadistic in his manipulations. Trying to keep his stomach contents in check as the pain grew.
“Okay Mr. Mulder, I’ll have Tanya bring you something for the pain and we’ll see about getting you into X-ray,” the tall apathetic doctor said.
Mulder managed a small nod of acknowledgment before being left a pitiful lump on the gurney. Scully was leaving him too; heading off in the same direction as nurse and doctor. She couldn’t leave. If she did she’d be home to early and ruin the surprise party.
“Scully,” he said in alarm, sitting up on the gurney despite his body’s protests. “Where are you going? Don’t leave me,” he pleaded pathetically.
She turned back to him surprised and concerned, “I’m not leaving,” she soothed, “I’m just going to fill out your paperwork. I’ll be back in a few minutes okay?”
He breathed a sigh of relief at the same time as kicking himself for making such a fool of himself. She gave him a pat on his arm and once again turned away from him and followed the doctor to fill out his paperwork. She knew everything about him and didn’t bother asking him for his input anymore. He found that comforting.
What wasn’t so comforting was the sudden realisation that he was alone in his cubicle. Not that he was afraid of being alone but that his mouth had flooded with salty saliva and he was without a basin or the means to get to a bathroom.
His situation dire he swung his legs over the side of the gurney and prepared to limp to the nearest men’s room. About to attempt to put his feet on the ground, Tanya made her reappearance with two cups in her hands; pills and water. “What are you doing?” she asked. Mulder wanted to laugh at the prospect of him swallowing pills right now but instead he just tried to keep his stomach from leaping out of his mouth.
Easier said than done.
Tanya must have been a well seasoned nurse, catching the look on his face in an instant. She moved quickly, putting down the cups and reaching for a bowl but she was not quick enough. One horrible second was all it took for Mulder to empty his stomach all over her.
Scully was so used to filling out Mulder’s medical forms that she could set speed records for them now. Mulder’s files were all there anyway and she had very little to add to it. She had to admit being more than a little concerned over the way Mulder had panicked when she walked away from him. He’d never done that before.
She wanted to get back to his as fast as she could, fearing that maybe he’d hit his head in the parking lot harder than she realised. As she neared the curtained cubicle as saw Nurse Tanya hurrying away drenched in what looked suspiciously a lot like vomit.
Pulling back the curtain and ready for the worst case scenario, she saw her miserable partner sitting on the edge of the gurney with an emesis bowl in his hands. She sighed to herself, she’d not even left him that long and he still found trouble.
When he was done heaving she took a pile to tissues and wiped his face and hands in time for the doctor to come back. “You really should have told me you were feeling nauseous,” the doctor scolded in mild annoyance, “I would have prescribed your pain relief IM and some anti emetics.”
“Sorry,” Mulder grumbled and made Scully instantly pissed at the doctor’s attitude.
“It’s not like he did it on purpose,” Scully spat at the doctor.
“Oh no of course not,” he said disinterestedly, writing up the new meds and leaving wit a hasty, forced smile but without another word.
Scully helped Mulder put his feet back on the gurney and waited with him while another nurse brought medication for him. Tanya was otherwise occupied at that moment.
“I’m sorry Scully,” Mulder said, sure she was mad at him, “I should have said something.” He looked as miserable as he felt.
“There’s nothing to be sorry about Mulder. He’s a doctor he should have noticed. He should have checked your head injury.”
“I didn’t hit it that hard; it’s just a graze,” he shrugged, touching the wound gingerly before Scully slapped his hand away. He dropped his eyes to his lap and sat still like a scolded child.
“I’m sorry Mulder, none of this is your fault. It’s just being stuck in that office all afternoon has put me in a foul mood.”
Crap. ‘This is my fault,’ Mulder though in disgust, ‘all my fault.’ He made a note for future reference to never lock Scully in their office again. How would Maggie be when he delivered Scully to her surprise party in a bad mood. It was bad enough that he was going to be delivering her on crutches.
His plan could not have been more poorly thought out or executed he decided. Then a sudden thought flashed through his head; X-rays usually took a while. What if they were grotesquely late?
With the mix of pain meds and anti emetics in his bloodstream his conscious thoughts started to melt away from him. Scully smiled at the goofy grin that had taken up residence on his face. A drugged Mulder was an entertaining Mulder at least.
She sat with him without incident for another 2 hours before orderlies came to take his to X-ray. “You guys must be pretty backed up there today,” she commented to make small talk as they got her partner ready for moving to radiology.
“Yeah, there was a 3 car MVA this morning and we’ve had them in there all day. Some of them were really hard to move, took us an hour to just do one of them,” said the shorter orderly who looked like he’d had a really long day.
“What time is it?” Mulder asked through his haze.
Scully checked her watch, “Half past 6, why?”
His eyes went wide. They were going to be late for the party. “You have to go Scully,” he said urgently.
“What’s the matter?” she asked, worried by his sudden change in manner.
“You have to go home,” he said slower.
“No, I’m not leaving you here on your own,” she was looking at him like he was ready for the psych ward.
“I’m okay,” he said only half convincingly, “You should go home.”
Scully dismissed his requests and said sternly, “Would you settle down. I’m not leaving.”
“But you have to,” he pleaded.
She pried open his eyelids and peered into his eyes, “Mulder can you tell me what day it is?”
“Friday,” he said, aggravated.
“Do you feel dizzy, is your vision blurred?”
“I’m fine,” he almost shouted at her, “Go home.” He then turned to an orderly in desperation, “Tell her to go home.”
They ignored him, looking to Scully for direction instead, “Take him to X-ray, I’ll get a hold of his doctor.”
Mulder wanted to scream. Damn her for being such a good friend, and he couldn’t even pull off a surprise party for her. All he had to do was get her there on time. Mission failed.
The X-ray was as painful as he thought it was going to be. He’d had enough of them to know that even the strongest painkillers were no match for a radiologist and a broken limb.
Scully was no where in sight when he was finally brought back to his cubicle. He thought for a wonderful second that she’d listened to him and gone home to her party. But then his rational mind took over and told him that that just wasn’t Scully. She’d never leave him there unless he was admitted and drugged to the gills.
The tall doctor actually had expression on his face as he pulled back the curtain and blew into the cubicle. He wasted no time in poking the graze on Mulder forehead and shining light into his eyes.
“Can you tell me your name?” he asked.
“Fox Mulder, it’s Friday and I’m in GMH, will you tell her to go home?”
The doctor turned and eyed Scully then back to Mulder, “Why?”
Mulder signalled for the doctor to come closer and whispered, “She has a surprise party at her apartment. She’s going to be late.”
“Oh is that all?” he said. Mulder suspected that no one had ever thrown this man a surprise party. “Your X-rays showed a clean break in your ankle. I’ll put a cast on it and you can take her home yourself.”
Now Scully was more confused than anything, “Mulder what’s going on?” she asked him while the doctor was fetching supplies to put the cast on Mulder.
“Nothing,” Mulder said innocently. “What are the odds on me getting a walking cast?” He hoped the change of subject would get her away from prodding about his secret plans that everyone but her could know about.
“Dream on,” she said, taking the bait, “You’re going to be on crutches for at least four weeks.”
“I’m sure it won’t be that long,” he interjected.
“Yes it will,” she said with the matter of fact air of a woman who’d been through medical school and knew everything, “If you walk on it sooner than that you could set back your recovery.”
“Whatever you say doctor Scully.”
After another hour they were definitely late but Mulder had his cast and a fresh shot of pain killers to keep him going. Too wobbly for crutches he was taken to Scully’s car the same way he got was taken out of it. She took pity on him and decided that she shouldn’t leave him to fend for himself his first night with the cast so she took him to her apartment.
At her apartment door, after she’d managed to get the lock open whilst holding onto Mulder so he didn’t fall, three things happened. The scores of people in her apartment turned the lights on and yelled ‘surprise,’ Scully let go of Mulder and reached for her gun and Mulder promptly let out a girly scream of shock and fell flat on his arse.
Once she recognised the face of her mother, Scully holstered her gun and turned her attention to her partner who was on the floor and not getting up in a hurry. Maggie hurried forward, horrified by the turn of events and took in the sight of cast bound Mulder, “So that’s why you were late. Are you alright Fox?”
Mulder gave her the best reassuring smile that his drug numbed facial muscles could manage, “I’m fine, the plan went a bit off.”
“The plan was perfect,” Frohike said indignantly from behind Maggie and pushed through to pull his friend to his feet. Or foot. “How did you manage to do that?”
On his foot and using 2 Scully’s and a Frohike as crutches he hopped to the couch and plopped down heavily. “Don’t mind me,” he told all the party guests who were staring at him, “I’m just gonna take a nap.” He snuggled down into the couch, shutting his eyes and ignoring the voices around him.
“So what happened?” Byers asked.
Scully faced him and turned the question back on him, “Why don’t you tell me what happened and I’ll tell you where it went wrong.”
“It was simple,” Langly said, “He was to take the battery out of your phone when you weren’t watching, making you think you’d forgotten to change it. Then he had to put his phone in his drawer with your real battery and release the catch on the lock that would make it immobile. We cut the phone lines in and out of your office. Then when you’d been down there long enough a paperclip in the tiny hole next to the lock would release the mechanism and let the two of you out; getting you to your surprise party on time and none the wiser.”
“Where was the part where Mulder was supposed to kick at the door?” she asked the three masterminds behind the elaborate plot.
They exchanged looks of confusion amongst themselves before saying, “He wasn’t supposed to kick at the door. He was just supposed to sell it so you’d accept you were trapped and leave the door alone.”
She nodded her understanding and turned her eyes to her now dozing partner on the couch, shaking her head and thinking, ‘only Mulder could have made such a mess of that.’ Then she had to smile to herself. Only Mulder would go to that much trouble for her. It was just too bad he couldn’t do anything by halves.
As the Gunmen wrestled Mulder from the couch and half dragged him to the bedroom where he would be out of the way, Scully was approached by her mother and taken into a belated hug.
“Were you at least surprised?” she asked her daughter.
“I was,” she admitted, “In fact I think today I had more than a few surprises. But next time you decide to throw a party mom, just ask Mulder to bring chips.”
She had a sudden image projected into her mind of Mulder in a supermarket buried under an enormous pile of chips. She laughed at the image provoking a questioning look from her mother. “Actually on second thought, just invite him; if he makes it in one piece it’ll be a huge surprise for us all.”