Washington Hospital Center
âMulder, I said no, and I meant it,â said a firm, feminine voice.
âAww, but Scully,â whined Mulder.
âMulder, you went over eighteen hours with no food or water. Youâre dehydrated, and you have a concussion, not to mention three broken ribs. If you remove that IV, I will personally stick it back in, and believe me partner, you wonât like where I put it.â
Smothering a grin, Walter Skinner entered room 1121 and greeted his two favorite agents.
âWell, itâs good to see you two are feeling better this morning.â
âGood morning, Sir,â said Scully. She reached for the crutches sheâd left propped against the wall and moved as if to rise from the chair beside her partnerâs bed, but he waved her back down.
âDonât get up. I just stopped by to see how you both were doing. I can see that Mulderâs feeling well enough to be his usual pain-in-the-ass self.â The pain-in-the-ass in question smirked in response. âHowâs that ankle?â
âNot bad,â the redhead replied. âItâs just a sprain. Itâll be fine in a few days.â
âGood. Iâm looking forward to reading your report,â said Skinner.
âYeah, so am I,â Mulder interjected cryptically.
âYes, sir,â she responded, shooting her partner a sharp glare. âItâll be on your desk first thing Monday morning.â
âAlright, well, keep me posted,â he said, heading for the door.
âWe will, sir.â
He was halfway out the door before remembering the other purpose of his visit. âOh, Agent Scully, I wanted to let you know, I asked the crime scene boys to keep an eye out, but so far no one has seen that bracelet you lost. Iâll let you know if it turns up.â
âThank you sir, I appreciate that.â Out of the corner of her eye she saw Mulder sit up straighter in his bed. Once their boss was out of earshot, he raised his eyebrows in a silent question.
âI donât know what happened, Mulder,â she explained earnestly. âI had it when we left the tunnel, but by the time we got here it was justâ¦gone. Iâve asked the hospital staff to keep an eye out, too. Maybe it will turn up.â
Fully prepared for an all-out Mulder-rant disparaging whatever cruel twist of fate it was that forever doomed them to lose, destroy, or have stolen each and every tiny little shred of evidence that may possibly be construed as proof of anything remotely paranormal, Scully found his softly spoken, âGuess you shouldâve gotten that clasp fixed, eh Scully?â almost anticlimactic.
Scully looked at her partner in surprise. âYouâre not upset?â she questioned.
He considered a moment before answering. âWell, it might have been nice to be able to study it,â he said, âbut to tell you the truth Scully, you were getting a little too weird, even for me. I mean, that sleep-typing thing? Face it Scully, that was just plain spooky.â
His obvious attempt to relieve any residual guilt she felt over losing the bracelet earned him a dry chuckle for his efforts.
âYouâll get no arguments from me, Mulder. Iâm more than happy to leave the realm of the strange and unexplained to you.â She stood and slid her crutches into position under her arms. âIâm going to get something to eat. Want me to bring you anything?â
âNo, thanks,â he said, reaching for the television remote. âI hear thereâs lime jello for lunch. I wouldnât want to ruin my appetite.â
With one hand on the doorknob, she turned back. âYou know Mulder, I just canât help but wonder what else we might have done. Who we might have helpedâ¦â she trailed off, not quite sure how to explain herself. âI know I was resistant at firstâ¦â she started. A rather loud guffaw interrupted her assertion, followed by a pained, âOw, my ribs. Scully, donât make me laugh!â
After a minute or two of alternately chuckling and clutching his side, Mulder sobered. âScully, itâs only natural to think of all the good deeds that could have been done. To have precognitive knowledge of all the bad things to come, to have the opportunity to right wrongs before they even happen, thatâs a heady prospect. But thatâs all it really was, Scully, a prospect. A hope. We donât have the slightest idea what would have happened next if you still had that bracelet. Maybe it would have worked, and maybe it wouldnât. In fact, I believe that more than likely there would have been no more predictions. I think, Scully, that you did what you were meant to do.â
âYouâre talking about the letter,â she stated.
He nodded. âThink about it. Everything that happened with that bracelet was mentioned in Dorothy Williamsâ letter. The rapist, Gallant, Neidertâ¦they were all referenced at least indirectly. But beyond that, there was nothing. No âyouâre going to do many good deeds with this bracelet, young ladyâ or anything. I think that was all you were intended to do.â
âYou mean rescue my impulsive partner and hopefully in the process teach him a lesson about waiting for proper backup before investigating a possible crime scene?â she smiled.
âDonât you start with me about backup right now, Pot,â he returned. âAnd I donât mean just me. Your warning saved that McIntyre girl from being raped, and who knows how many kids that pervert Gallant would have taken if we hadnât caught him.â He shook his head and chuckled again.
âWhat?â she questioned, curious.
âI just realized, that âsomeone you love will be lostâ Dorothy wrote you about, that was me? Gee, Scully, I didnât know you cared.â His tone was light, teasing, but in his eyes she imagined she saw something more, somethingâ¦hopeful?
Turning back towards the door, Scully could only imagine the look on his face as she delivered her parting shot and left the hospital room.
âWell Mulder, I guess now you know.â
Westbound Boeing 747
Somewhere over North America
Jennifer Reeves leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes, glad to be on her way home. It wasnât that she hadnât enjoyed their vacation, she thought, but her mother did tend to go a little overboard sometimes. Jen was quite certain she didnât have a single living relative left on the East Coast that she and Meg hadnât visited in the last week. And that âAunt Pattiâ with the broken hip her mother had insisted they stop by and see in the hospital this morning on the way to the airport? Well, Jen was ninety percent certain she didnât even have an Aunt Patti. She couldnât really fault her mother though. Her desire to reconnect with distant family members had everything to do with wanting to show off her granddaughter, Jen was sure.
She sighed softly. Flying made her sleepy. Too bad it didnât have the same effect on the little munchkin in the window seat beside her.
Jen opened her eyes and regarded her daughter. âYouâre too quiet. What are you up to, Trouble?â she asked with a smile.
âNothinâ Mommy, just playing with my bracelet,â replied the five-year-old.
Jen lifted the childâs wrist to inspect the unfamiliar jewelry. âDid Granny give you that, honey?â
âNo Mommy, I found it. At that hospital where we saw the lady with the blue hair. Can I keep it?â
Jen sighed. âNot much point in asking now, is there?â
âAre you mad, Mommy?â
âNo honey, Iâm not mad. But next time you find something, let me know right away, ok? You should always try and find out who it belongs to before you just decide to keep it. Somebody back in Washington could be missing that bracelet very much.â
Ah, how to explain the concept of âsentimental valueâ to a five-year-old. Jen decided it wasnât worth the effort. If she played the lesson up too much, Meg would soon be demanding that they turn the plane around and return the bracelet to itâs rightful owner. Truthfully, it didnât seem like an overly expensive piece, and, well, it was owlsâ¦how broken up could they be over it?
âYou know what I think?â Jen asked with a yawn.
âI think we should try and take a nap. It will make the time pass quicker.â
âIâll try. Do you think Daddy will like my new bracelet?â
âIâm sure heâll love it, sweetie. Now close your eyes.â
As the gentle dips and sways of the airplane nudged her gently towards sleep, Jen found herself reflecting once again on how glad she was to be heading home. There was nothing like the craziness of a vacation to remind you just how nice the normal, everyday routine could beâ¦
THE END….for now…