Speechless In Scully's Care

by Pattie

Title: Speechless In Scully's Care
Author: Pattie
Rated:PG-13
Spoilers: None. Occurs around Season 5. Category: MA, SA, MT.
Summary: Mulder suffers a mild stroke and must endure re-hab.
Archive: Gossamer, any other good home. Send postcard. Feedback: Cooed over! Rare things are worth it. trish59@444.net
Disclaimers: The characters and X-Files title belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and Fox Television Studios. I make no money and intend no copyright infringement.

Mulder hadn't showed up at the office. It was Tuesday, and he and Scully had a meeting with A.D. Skinner to discuss the last case-- a psychic's kidnapping by an unsatisfied client. Scully glanced at the clock on the office wall. 10:18 a.m. Mulder was usually first in and last out. This was very unlike him. :Where are you?" she wondered aloud. She picked up the office phone and dialed his apartment. The phone rang eleven times before she replaced the receiver. Skinner's secretary reported he hadn't called in sick.

Instinctively, Dr. Dana Katherine Scully felt her stomach churn in fear. Why? She signed out and went to Mulder's apartment building.

He didn't answer the knock or her calling out his name, so Scully used her key. She was frightened by the sight of the ever energetic Mulder slumped in his bathtub, tears draining from his eyes. Tears?

"Mulder! Mulder? What's wrong?" She knelt beside the bathtub and perred straight into his eyes, so sad and helpless. Helpless? "Can you speak, Mulder?"

The man raised his right hand and passed it horizontally in the air, then made a zero with his fingers pinched together. "Nahhh... nahh... ?"

"Okay. Take it easy." She felt his pulse and checked his respirations, then checked for pupil reaction. "I'm going to get you out of the tub and we're going to the hospital, okay?"

His eyes said yes. They also said he was afraid. They even said he disliked hospitals. These things she knew because she had become so keenly attuned to his non-verbal language, as he had to hers.

Her eyes stung with hot, salty tears as she dialed 9-1-1. If what she suspected was correct, timing was of the utmost importance. To hell with meeting, cases, the office and nameless bumps in the might. This was her priority now. "Please, God, don't let it be as severe as it could be..." she softly prayed.

Mulder noticed the tears and cried a bit more. "No... no... " he whispered hoarsely. And that was the last that came out of his mouth as she dressed him and waited for the paramedics.

Skinner had been waiting in the hallway as Scully and the other doctors carefully examined Mulder.

"How is he?" He asked softly. "He is okay, isn't he?"

Scully removed her rubber gloves. There was a sadness in her eyes that betrayed her feelings. "Mulder has sustained a right-sided CVA. A Stroke. The scans say it was a mild one. But he has lost most of his speech, likely some memorry, although we do not know just yet to what extent, and his left side is partially paralyzed. And, he... we... we need a few weeks off, Sir. I want to help him with his recovery."

"That's quite an undertaking for you, Agent Scully. And we could use you at the Bureau."

"Sir, please, as a friend..."

Skinner could not deny his fondness for his friends, and the look on Scully's face. "Done. And Agent Scully?"

"Yes, Sir?"

"Bring him back... like he was."

"Than you, Sir." She felt herself begin to cry. "I will do my best. You can see him tonight."

"I will. I will," he assured the petite red head. "I'm... needed at the office."

Mulder was in the hospital for three weeks and Scully was by his side everyday, reading his mail, updating him on the news and current affairs, stimulating him in almost any way she could to keep him from going stir crazy. She even went to his physiotherapy sessions to learn how to help him regain the skills he had lost: short-term memory, use of his right arm, even speech. She practiced with him through each exercise and smiled when, one sunny morning, he turned and said, "Scul.... Scu... "

"Good! Godd!" She exclaimed. "Yes, Scu--lly." Her smile was broad and she wanted to dance for joy.

"Scully." Mulder smiled slightly, ever so slightly. He saw the clock and tried to say something more. "Lu-- luntch... sss... s-soon... B...b-b-barff-ee..."

"Mulder! You are amazing!" She cupped her hands over his face and kissed him hard on the forehead. "You should be out soon. And no home care for you. I will be there for you."

"No-no---"

"Yes, Mulder. I should have see this stroke coming when your last cholesterol test read high. I should have never let you keep eating all those--those things that made it so easy for me to almost lose you. And I should have gone jogging with you that night you asked, that night before the stroke."

"Not-- not f-f-fault."

"No, not my fault. But maybe as your doctor I could have seen it coming." She held his hand. "Okay. Barfy lunch, then you go to CAT scan and hematology. You're getting there, partner."

Mulder glanced down at Scully's legs.

"What, Mulder? What?"

"C-c-can't whistle. Nice l-l-legs... "

"Thanks. But I'm warning you, Mulder, if you weren't so sick, I'd have to slap you for that."

This alone made his day. It made him smile. She was there for him all through this damnably frustrating predicament, and she would be there for the days ahead.

Discharge day finally came. The hoaky cards Frohike, Langley and Byers had sent, the flowers, the books and flowers were all ready to leave, as was the impatient patient Mulder. He was still trying to move his weak arm and grimacing at the fact that his left leg was not quite in command yet. The biggest insult was the diet the doctors had given him, and cutting down on even the basic things like pizza and sunflower seeds was an insult! "Nuts! No nuts! No...b-b-butter on p-p-pop---corn. Sucks!" These were his comments as Scully was packing the rest of his belongings.

"Well, Mulder, you are paying the price for all the fast foods. But, you CAN have them in moderation... with me. Let's get you out of here before you corrupt the other patients with your comments. Doctor Scully will be on call for you twenty-four hours a day."

Mulder smiled. "You d-do care. G-g-good friend. Home, Scull-ly. Please."

Scully was more than happy to wheel him to the lobby, where the Lone Gunmen were waiting to load him into their van. The boxes of things were loaded, and off they were to his apartment. Scully had already moved some of her belongings there, so there was no need to stop off in Georgetown.

The next few weeks were challenging for both Mulder and Scully. Mulder had always been so active, athletic and on the go. Sleep? Not much more than four hours was his usual routine, but Scully insisted he use a sleeping tablet to help the healing processes the sleep would bring. There was no more watching late night creature features, either. The T.V. was off by 11:00 p.m. and so was Scully. She had brought an inflatable mattress to sleep near the couch where Mulder was.

The physiotherapy exercises, the check-ups at the hospital, the cholesterol readings, the new anti-coagulant he had to take-- all these things were a pain in the neck. Yet, he knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. And it came one Tuesday morning.

Mulder had been used to Scully's help dressing and caring for himself. This day was the day Mulder took a huge leap of faith. Scully was still asleep, and he hobbled to the bathroom for his morning routine. "Yes!" he shouted, as he found his left arm much stronger, more able to move. "Yes!" Again, he found that he was beginning to speak much more clearly. His enthusiasm woke Scully as he shaved and shouted "Yes!"

"Mulder, I told you... "

"It's... it's okay, Scully. I'm getting so much better, it's time for jogging and basketball again."

"Now, wait, Mulder. Until your specialist says... "

"You're the only specialist I trust, Scully. Tell me, exercise is good for me, and the cholesterol is down... "

"Well, yes... "

"And you said yourself, the blood viscosity has normalized... "

"Yes, Mulder. You've improved amazingly these past few weeks... "

Mulder took her face in his hands and leaned into her to gaze at her teary eyes. "Then dismiss me as your patient and let's get back to work, okay?" He found her strangely silent. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing... " She bit her lip, and that was a sign that she was holding something back. Mulder knew that.

"What is it?" he smiled. "Wanna play house for a while longer?"

"I never did," she said cautiously. "It's just... that night you asked me to go jogging and I didn't go with you."

"You can't blame yourself for that, Scully. I had the stroke here. Right here in my home."

"And I knew your bloodwork had read dangerous levels of cholesterol." She was on the bring of sobbing. "I guess I felt responsible for not being there, for not telling you to ease up... "

He pressed his cheek to hers and his arms enveloped her. "I doubt you could have stopped me from falling."

"I guess you are ready for work, then." She happily wiped a tear from her face. "I'll let you get showered and dressed, then. I can pack... "

"Maybe a few more days of home cooking wouldn't be so bad, after all. Think you could stand me for one more week or so?"

"Yeah," she said happily, as she closed the bathroom door. "Better than the past five years in that dark office."

. END

Pattie

Author's Note: Dedicated to Shri1.


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