Summary: Post Triangle, “A survey of the room revealed no Scully, but her voice drifted in from the hall.”
“Gilligan Awakes” by Shelba
Feedback: Yes, please, at Kits1013 @ aol.com
Keywords: Mild MT, MSR, mild MA, Skinner
Episode references: Triangle.
Archive: Yes, if you wish. Please keep intact with my name and email address. I’d appreciate a note to let me know where it goes, so I can visit.
This is for our dear Nancy.
King Edward VII Memorial Hospital
Soft voices from nearby pulled at him, the sound drawing him from sleep like a plant following the sun. He blinked and turned his head, wondering where he was.
Light wavered through the slats of the window blinds, coursing across the ceiling like the sun playing on water. The patterns on the ceiling and blue tinted walls were mesmerizing. They shimmered like sun sliding into the blood warm depths of the sea. It was as though he was still under the surface, fearing that he would never escape the pull of the ocean.
He blinked and took in his surroundings. He was in a room – from all indications, a hospital room. His head throbbed in time with his pulse. The smoky fragrance of coffee wafted to him from a cup on the bedside table. A sweater he recognized as Scully’s hung precisely by the shoulders on the back of a chair and a book marker kept her place between the pages of a medical journal, but under the journal was the tell-tale lump of a paperback. He grinned. She’d never admit to it, but the little minx was reading another bodice ripper. A survey of the room revealed no Scully, but her voice drifted in from the hall.
Though it hurt to raise his head, he tried to sit up. Shit. He was being held in place. At any other time, knowing he was restrained would have shot him straight into a panic. Even knowing Scully was near, one shout away, would not have been enough to keep him from having a panic attack, so he figured some of the Good Stuff was still waltzing with his neurons.
The fact that his brain felt like flannel was more evidence that he’d been heavily drugged. His head probably should have been hurting more; a doozy of a headache was probably waiting for him. Said headache would most likely bring some other assorted body aches along to keep it company. Since he was still slightly stoned from whatever they’d given him, this did not concern him as much as it probably ought. Gotta love that IV morphine.
He studied his left hand and frowned at an IV piercing the delicate skin there. He was relieved to see that he recognized the restraints as the type that were easily removed; he’d had them before, to keep him from tugging on tubes in his sleep. He shuddered as he thought about other, less patient friendly restraints he’d been subjected to in the past.
Reflexively he wiggled his fingers, experimented a moment, then found he could just reach the bed controls with his right hand. Obediently, the head of the bed raised and the nurse call button eased into reach. It was time to try the old Mulder charm and see about getting these things off before the dope wore off and turned him into a chittering fool. These might be softer, gentler
restraints, but they were still restraints.
The left side of his face felt puffy. He didn’t know how colorful the accompanying bruise was but he assumed he was not looking his best. He frowned. Stubble and bruises didn’t appeal to too many
women. He’d have to try pouting and hope the nurses were susceptible to droopy eyed, lip biting, forlorn pleas. It worked on Scully most – – ok, some – – of the time. If it worked on cracking a nut as hard as her, surely it would work on other, less armor clad women. Once upon a time it had, but it had been years since he’d tried it on other women. He was out of practice. He didn’t care what Scully said; he did not flirt with auto pool secretaries to get his way.
A movement drew his attention to the door. Two shadows darkened the frosted glass door. A tall broad one, a smaller one, heads bent toward one another. Their motions slowed, stilled. The taller
shadow — Skinner, he guessed, had his shoulders set in what Mulder thought of as Drill Sergeant mode. The shorter figure had her arms crossed tightly. He recognized that stance. This would be the missing Scully, and she was about to launch into lecture mode . He’d been on the receiving end of that often enough. He wondered what she was upset about.
He sighed, strained door-ward and listened as best he could, shamelessly eavesdropping.
“….twenty-four hours….” Scully, his mind supplied. “…possibility…. late drowning…”
A deeper response from Skinner “…. informed Kersh… doctor …. danger… salt water….”
Scully again, “…. in the elevator….wanted …. apologize…”
“….. surprised me…..” Skinner again. After all this time, he didn’t think much surprised Skinner anymore. “…Agent Thompson…” Who was Thompson? His curiosity was piqued; he listened harder and was about to call out when the door swung partially open and he could suddenly hear Skinner’s voice clearly. “…won’t tell anyone about the… uh…. kiss.”
Kiss? He blinked. Surely Skinner didn’t say….
“That’s good to know, ” Scully sighed in relief. “I don’t know him and was concerned. The rumor mill has enough to talk about already.”
Oh. My. God. Scully. Elevator. Skinner. Kiss. Enough to talk about? What else was there?
His stomach and heart were switching places in his body and were trying to get out through his mouth. Morphine, hell. He was going to need a body bag. He wanted to die. He closed his eyes. Decided
to play dead. Get in a little practice.
“Mulder! You’re awake!” Scully stepped to his bedside, Skinner following right behind her. Did she look flushed? Had they been… he couldn’t even think the word. Surely they weren’t standing
outside his hospital room, doing *that.*
“He still looks pretty out of it to me.”
“I think he raised the head off the bed.” Damn, she was observant. He continued to lie there, wondered how long he could get away with playing possum. Probably couldn’t for long.
Scully bustled around the bed, checking his IV fluids, removing the soft restraint on his right hand, checking the IV site on his left, then removing the restraint there. He ignored the medicalese
she spouted at Skinner as she went over his chart, recognized her brisk tone as the one she used when she was upset about something. Or, his insecure inner child supplied, when she’s hiding something.
He wondered where ‘here’ was. And how had he gotten wherever ‘here’ was? He chanced a sideways peek at Scully. Her hair was smoothed back, her face slightly pink. His heart sank. Had Skinner put that color there? She looked like she’d been in the sun or had been thoroughly kissed. His heart sank a little more.
“Scully, I’m going to check on where the Gunmen are.” The door closed with a soft snick and he chanced a peek at his partner. Her hair curved around one ear and he thought about all the times he’d
watched her pull it away from her face, how often he’d done it himself. How often he’d stolen chances to caress her cheek with his fingertips. How much he wished he could cup her entire cheek in the palm of his hand.
He imagined having her soft cheek pressed against his rougher one, smoothing his hands down her curves, holding her body against his own. Wondered what their first would kiss be like. Would it be
soft and slow, as they savored every second? Would it be fierce, full of six years of frustration? He wants to catalogue all the ways he will kiss her, wants to show her how he feels about her with his mouth and hands and body.
His heart sank at the idea that perhaps Skinner would be the one to find out these things. He wasn’t going to let her go to Skinner’s arms without her knowing how he felt. He was going to tell her, the next chance he had…
“Mulder? Mulder? Mulder, it’s me. Hmm?”
He was startled out of his reverie and forgot he was supposed to be unconscious. He opened his eyes. Better play the part, he mused. “Where am I?
Scully stood next to his bed. “You’re in the hospital.”
“Oooooo.” Good, great. He must have gotten a good bonk on the head if Scully thought he couldn’t recognize a hospital room. Really, Scully? Is that why I recognize the posh decor and stylish IV
stand? My brain is quite intact. It’s my stomach and heart that aren’t doing so well, thank you very much.
“Lie still.” Okay, he could do lying still. She didn’t really think he was going to go far, did she? He wasn’t exactly dressed for an escape and he didn’t think Skinner’s suit would work. His body would slide out through the opening of that thick necked Skinner’s shirt.
“I feel… Like hell.” Eloquent as usual….
“I don’t blame you. You’ve been through the wringer, I’d say.”
“What happened to me?” What he really wondered was what had happened to *her*?
“You did something incredibly stupid.” That wasn’t a very informative statement. In Scully’s world-view, ‘stupid’ covered a lot of territory, territory that he often inhabited.
“What did I do?”
“You went looking for a ship, Mulder. In the Bermuda Triangle.”
“Say that again?” Well. Maybe the brain wasn’t functioning after all. She said Bermuda Triangle? Cool.
The door opened. Darn. Skinner was back, obviously having found the Gunmen.
“Gilligan awakes.” Mulder ignored Frohike. If he was anyone, he was the Professor.
Byers, Langly and Frohike hovered behind Scully, looking dapper, stoned, and rumpled, respectively. Skinner just looked uncomfortable. Guilty, perhaps? His eyes narrowed. He decided he wasn’t going to die. He was going to get out of this bed and kick Skinner’s ass into next week. There would be a big, Skinner-shaped hole in the space-time continuum. Just because he was laid up here, didn’t mean Skinner could just go poaching on *his* Scully.
He diverted his attention back to where it belonged. “You were there.” He tapped her hip lightly, relishing the solid warmth of her, wishing he could feel more.
“Hmm?” Scully leaned into him, watching his eyes, checking his color, his breathing.
Langly shook his head, “He’s delirious.”
“And he was there, too.” He gestured toward Skinner.
“Right,” Skinner snorted. “Me and my dog Toto.”
“No, you were there with the Nazis.”
Skinner rolled his eyes. The flowers he had brought in plopped onto the bedside table. Mulder wondered darkly if Skinner had actually brought them for Scully, then when it came time to give them to her, he chickened out. Lord knows, he’d done that himself a time or four. He almost felt sorry for Skinner. Almost.
Mulder wondered why they never believed him. He knew where he’d been. He’d been there, right on board the Queen Anne. He was certain of it. The memory was as real as the bruise on his cheek. He hid a smile. 1939 Scully was as prickly and spunky and beautiful as 1998 Scully was. He’d never tell her that of course. She’d kick his ass even farther than he planned to kick Skinner’s.
“Mulder, will you settle down? It’s an order.” Scully looked concerned, more concerned than she usually did when he was obviously awake and pretty much aware.
“Not that he takes orders. . .” Skinner looked thoughtful. “At least not from me. Maybe he’ll listen to you.”
“Well, he’d better take my orders, right now, he could still…”
“Uh, guys? Yoo hoo. I’m right here.” He hated when Scully got into medical mode. She sometimes forgot her ‘patient’ might not like to be talked over like a lab specimen. Of course, one had to cut her some slack. From a certain point of view, most of her patients *were* lab specimens.
“Now, tell me. I could still…. what?”
She cleared her throat. “Well, it’s good that you’ve gone several hours without needing extra oxygen, and…”
“Just say it, Scully.” He recognized the ‘give it to them slowly’ technique and was really a bit too tired and worried for her to work up to whatever she was trying to *not* tell him.
She made a little motion with her hands and then shrugged. “Ok. You could still drown.” She pressed her hands against his shoulders when he bolted upright. “Stay in bed, Mulder.” She sighed. “I knew I shouldn’t have told you.”
“What do you mean, still drown?” He was suddenly short of breath and the O2 cannula snaked on the wall regulator was looking pretty good.
“Hey, Scully, Mulder, we’re going to take off.” Frohike led the way and the four men left, giving the partners some privacy.
Scully said her good-byes and he heard the door snick shut. He didn’t think they were ever going to leave.
“Take it easy, Mulder. You’re doing very well. Your chest x-rays have all been clear and the nurses say your lungs sound good. Your blood gases are ok; there’s no sign that your blood sugar is high, both of which would be off, if you weren’t doing okay. So far, all your labs have been good. They want to keep you for twenty-four hours.” She held up a hand to forestall his protests, “because you were unconscious and you were in salt water.”
He listened, horrified at the idea that he could still drown. Who would have thought that?
“How the hell can that happen?” He held up his hand. “Wait, don’t explain everything. Just give me the Cliff Notes.”
“Ok. After being submerged, there is a danger of pulmonary edema causing respiratory failure. Or, after water has been inhaled, the larynx can spasm and shut off the airway, which is called ‘dry
drowning’ because there’s no water in the lungs, but no air can get in either.”
“You just suffocate?” At his horrified look, she grasped his hand and held it tightly between her own.
“Don’t worry, Mulder.” She smoothed his hair back from his forehead, caressed the purpling skin of his cheek. “You’re going to be alright. I promise.”
He could say one thing about finding out he could *die* of drowning in a nice dry hospital bed. It got some sweet Scully attention and it took his mind off of his foot connecting with Skinner’s ass.
Geez. He could drown.. . .
“Hey. Earth to Mulder.” Scully leaned over him, searching his face, drawing his attention back to her. He wondered what she was looking at. Did he look pale? Cyanotic? “Don’t worry. The probability of late drowning happening to you is very small. You’re doing fine,” she soothed, “and I won’t leave you alone.”
He nodded, relaxed back onto the pillow. “Okay.”
“You try to rest. I’m going to get a sandwich from downstairs” She pulled a few bills from her wallet and to his surprised delight, leaned in and pressed a kiss to his forehead before walking toward the door. “Don’t worry. I’ll be right back. Five minutes, tops.”
He smiled at her receding back. “Hey, Scully?”
“Yes?” She paused, smiled, came back to the bed. Mulder wore a rumpled hospital gown, had two days worth of stubble, and was developing an interesting assortment of bruises, *everywhere*, but he was alive, and to her eyes, adorable.
Over the years, she’d had occasion to catalogue the many shades of Mulder’s chameleon eyes, but she’d never seen this particular combination of green and blue-gray. They were soft and dark with something lighting them from within. It made her think of the ocean at dawn.
He leaned up on an elbow, gazing at her, searching her eyes. “I love you.”
“Oh, brother….” She turned away. She was going to have to talk to that doctor about a CAT scan…
What, she was just walking off? He stared after her, then relaxed. He had seen something in her eyes, something soft and warm, he was sure of it.
His cheek throbbed. He remembered how it had gotten bruised and how much he’d enjoyed the preceding kiss. Maybe he’d just have to see about getting a matching one on his other cheek. Soon.
He smiled and lay back against the pillow. Soon, he thought, Scully. Soon.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This is for you, Nancy. I hope it made you smile. Thanks to Carol for helping herd the wild commas and for advice and cheerleading. Thanks for reading!