Category: MT, Mulder Angst, Scully Angst.
Spoilers: Takes place in Season 6.
Summary: Mulder has a headache and it's actually bigger than he thinks.
Archive: Mulder's Refuge, then Gossamer, Ephemeral. If anyone else wants it, please ask.
Feedback: Makes a writer's day! firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, any other characters not mine, and The X-Files belong to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen, and Fox Studios. Mo money made; no copyright infringement intended.
Author's Note: Rising to Mulder's Refuge Challenge for September, Heads Up.
J. Edgar Hoover Building,
Office of The X-Files
Special Agent Dana Scully had been in the office since 8:30 wondering where Mulder was. Her partner was usually there before regular working hours. She had been busying herself with an autopsy report for the past hour before Fox Mulder arrived.
Her "Hey, Mulder? Where've you been?" was met with a worn, weak smile.
"I've been asking that myself," he said as he hung his coat on the rack beside Scully's. "I woke up so tired I just couldn't stay awake after the alarm went off. I dunno, Scully." He took his place at his desk and ran his palms across his eyes, then leaned back in the chair, staring at nothing in particular. At least he had managed to shave.
"Are you all right, Mulder? You look like..."
"Hell. I know, Scully, and I feel like Hell. I just shaved, got dressed and drove straight here. My head feels like fifteen jackhammers have been at work."
Scully looked at his eyes for any signs of a medical condition, then walked over to him, looking at his head. She gasped in horror. "Mulder, what happened to your scalp? There's... there's a shaved spot with what look to be sutures. Mulder?"
"What?" He passed his fingers over his head. He felt his cool fingertips on the back of his head, left side, about three inches from the crown. "I hadn't noticed, Scully. Scully? I don't remember getting hurt or anything. What does this mean? I wasn't... I wasn't 'taken', was I?"
She looked into his tired, sore eyes and put her hand to his cheek. "I don't know, Mulder. But we're going to find out. Let's get you to the hospital. I'll get them to do some scans and... "
"No, no Scully. I want to get this Hayward case done so we can get the report to Skinner. I'll go after work."
Scully bent down beside him and looked straight into his eyes. "I'm taking you to the hospital," she whispered. "The Hayward case is not a priority over your life. Now, let's go. I'll call upstairs on the way to the parking garage."
Georgetown University Hospital Center
Scully looked over Mulder's X-Rays and MRI Scans with the radiologist and neuorlogist, Dr. Sam Blackburn.
Dr. Blackburn was in his mid-forties, with a touch of grey in his tawny hair, and a bewildered look on his well-tanned face. "I've never seen anything like this, Dr. Scully. Are you sure it isn't a bullet fragment, maybe a piece of metal from an explosion?"
Scully pondered all the agents had been through. She had a rough idea what was imbedded in Mulder's head. "No, I think this is something I've seen before, and it has nothing to do with bullets or explosions. I... don't think I should go into any further detail other than to say you wouldn't believe the things I've seen. You wouldn't believe the things Mulder and I have been through."
"Dr. Scully, you went through some tests and cancer treatments before, and I do recall seeing some of your files. At this point, you could convince me of anything."
"You don't want to know," Scully said lowly. "Just don't ask."
"Right. I think we can remove this safely... "
"Wait. I need to know the... never mind. Let's hold off on any surgery until I do some work."
"Well, I think... "
Scully's face was red with rage. "Until I give the WORD, Dr. Blackburn, he stays right where he is. I'm sorry. I'm just... worried about him. There could be a lot at stake here. Just trust me on this one."
"Okay. But do not put this off much longer..."
"I hope to get some answers soon."
"You know as well as I do that foreign matter and the brain just don't mix."
Scully looked at the x-rays one more time. "I'll be back."
Mulder's Hospital Room,
Mulder lay asleep when Scully entered his room. It was evening, so the lights were on ready for dinner to arrive.
She put her hand on his shoulder. "Hey, Mulder. It's me."
Mulder slowly opened his eyes. "Where... ?"
"You're in the hospital, Mulder, remember?"
"Uh, I could have sworn I was at the Gunmen's..."
"The Gunmen's place? Why?" Scully was beginning to suspect one or two things, but she just hadn't thought it out fully.
"Poker night." Mulder moaned. "Damn, this hurts."
"Wait... you went and played poker last night, didn't you?"
"Well, yeah. Then I went home and went to bed, but I woke up so damn tired, and this stupid headache... "
Scully rolled her eyes and let out a loud sigh. "Mulder! How much do you remember about the poker game?"
"Just tell me. What do you remember?"
"Mostly losing. There was Frohike, Byers, Langly, and some new guy... can't think of the name. Beer, fajitas... "
Scully frowned. "New guy, huh? I'll be back, Mulder. I need to do a few things. You have a good dinner... "
"Scully! Wait... What's the rush? The Hayward case?"
"It can wait until we get you through this, or out of this. Have some supper, I'll do a few things and get something to eat." She went for the door like a shot, then turned. Her tone softened, as she realized she had been a bit harsh. "Don't worry. I do know how much you're suffering. I'm on it. Don't worry, Mulder. You are safe."
"Well, at least that's comforting," Mulder grumbled. "Now, I want to know some answers. I feel like I'm the only one who hasn't been let in on some secret." There was a grimace on his face. "I'll be okay. Just... do whatever to get me outta here."
"I plan to." With that, she went quickly to the elevator. "Poker game, huh?"
The Gunmen's Lair,
Dana Scully was flaming angry by the time she got to the Gunmen's door. She rapped loudly more times than she ever had.
Frohike looked at the security monitor and panicked. "We're... We're not decent!!" he shouted. "All going to bed early! Late night last night! Come back tomorrow and I'll give you some... "
"Let me in, you little troll! This is about Mulder and I'm not going one step away from here until I find out what you and your weirdo-tech friend did to him! I have my gun!"
Frohike turned and whispered to Langly, "One hot Mama when she's pissed off."
"Let her in," Byers calmly told Frohike. "We need to be calm. She's a doctor, friend, partner. She'll... well, maybe she won't understand, but let her in."
Frohike undid all eleven locks on the door. "Won't you come in, Agent Scully? And don't you look... "
"Can the comedy and tell me what you did to Mulder."
There was dead silence, each man looking at the other fearing for their lives. Or their body parts.
"Well?" The glare from her eyes could have blinded any or all of them.
Byers was first to speak up. "We really didn't do anything, Scully. Actually, it was this... this guy we met at a tech seminar last Friday... "
"A guy you just met last Friday? You're telling me this tech guy did a hack job on Mulder's brain?"
Langly really was shocked at the words. He had no idea what had been done to Mulder. "He did what?"
"Shaved part of Mulder's head, and put some kind of... metal device in his brain! What did you think I was going to say? And don't tell me you didn't know about it!"
"He didn't," Byers replied. "Agent Scully, Langly was out getting a monitor by the time..."
"By the time what!?" She was so tense her fists were clenched and about ready to punch someone.
"By the time Dooley inserted a memory enhancement chip into... don't shoot me." Frohike was shaking like a leaf.
"A memory enhancement chip. I see. So, it's okay if he has little or no sleep, and walks into the office not knowing what happened and with severe headaches? Do you realize what you've done?"
"Home surgery?" Frohike quipped. That didn't lighten her up, he could see.
"He's tampered with Mulder's brain. The human brain is so complex, and there's still so little we know about it." Scully sunk into one of the Gunmens' dining chairs, head in her hands. She tried her best to get some semblance of composure. "Where is this Dooley? We have to get that... thing out of Mulder's head. You guys were taking a big chance of doing brain damage, not to mention the risk of infection... "
"For now, Frohike, he is resting and his head is splitting. There doesn't seem to be any sign of infection, but they're monitoring him closely. I think we'd better find this Dooley and get him to help us get Mulder back to normal. Get this friend of yours on the phone now, please?"
Byers looked through the rolodex and punched the numbers as quickly as he could. "Kent? It's me, Byers. Yes, we did have some laughs. Listen, about that memory chip... Just listen to me... Yes. Well get over to... where is he, Scully?"
"Georgetown U." Scully was getting fidgety, impatient.
"Georgetown U Medical Center. We'll pick you up. Right."
"Let's get going, guys. Dooley says he'll take it out."
"Aw... " Frohike sighed. "It would have been the best discovery of the decade had it been without... " His eyes said, Pity me to Scully. "Without complications."
Georgetown University Hospital Center
Scully looked on in gown and mask as Dr. Blackburn and Dr. Kent Dooley, a raven haired younger man, were performing the delicate surgery needed to recover the chip and relieve Mulder's agony.
Scully knew this man was obviously highly educated in neurosurgery. "Just where did you train, Dr. Dooley?"
"Harvard. With honors."
"Honors. Well, I see no honor in experimenting with an F.B.I. Agent. You'd better know your business."
"I know my business, Dr. Scully. This is a remarkable discovery, but obviously..."
"It needs some work," Blackburn added. "If I ever see or hear of anything like this again, I will make sure you never practice anywhere. Ever."
I've already made that call, Scully thought to herself. It was best not to tell anyone until well after Mulder had recuperated.
Mulder opened his eyes and a very tired Scully was first to see them smile at her. "Hey... "
"It's okay, Mulder. Your head is going to be okay." She brushed his arm and bent over him. "No more poker games with strange new friends."
"The Gunmen... did you let them live, Scully?"
"For the time being," Scully laughed. "This was not a happy experience for me, Mulder. Did you know this Dooley character placed a memory enhancing chip into your brain? That he was experimenting with you?"
"What? Naw... we had a few fajitas, I lost really badly at poker, had a few too many beers, and probably... well, I probably split my head open bumping into some wall. He just... I guess, he patched it up and you didn't like the needlepoint."
"Mulder, your memory definitely needs enhancement where the other night is concerned. How's the headache?"
Scully just shook her head and whiapered, "Oh God... "
"Well, I'm too tired for this, Scully. By the way, you forgot something."
"What's that? The Hayward case can wait, Mulder. It really can. Besides it's early Saturday morning."
"Well, you need memory enhancement, Scully. It's my birthday. You forgot my birthday. After all we've been through for six years, not even a lousy card. Yeah, leave me out. I'm goin' back to sleep. In the hospital on my birthday... "
Scully sat down beside his bed. "Well, have you been a good boy?"
"Well... some of the time. Maybe I should have stayed home, right? I mean, because then I'd be able to have a party and all that with you throwing a big do for me and all... "
"In your dreams. Happy birthday, partner. Maybe next year."
"If I live so long."
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