by Susan
5 years ago
Title: After the Ice Author: Susan E-mail: Classification: post-movie vignette Movie: Fight the Future Archive: No archive without permission. Disclaimer: Though these characters don't belong to me, I will continue to be fascinated by them no matter how many years go by. Notes: I've noticed that they've been showing Fight the Future quite a few times lately on TV, and I've been catching bits and pieces of the movie when I can. I can't believe it's almost been 20 years since it first hit the theaters! Oh, how I've missed seeing *this* Mulder and Scully on a regular basis...which is why I was inspired to write this little tale.:) More notes: I'm not in the medical profession, but I have had a lot of experiences with nurses in the hospital. Some of them have been absolutely wonderful like the nurse in this story. Some have been all business, but in my opinion, both kinds of nurses deserve all kinds of kudos for the job they do. I figured after all that Mulder and Scully had been through in Antarctica they deserved a special nurse like Shelly to look out for them. Closing thoughts at the end. Summary: What happened after Mulder and Scully were rescued in Antarctica and brought to the hospital? Maybe something like this... ****************************************************** After the Ice by Susan ~~~~ The first time he opened his eyes, his head felt like it was going to explode. Bringing his hand up to his forehead, he brushed his sensitive fingers over the bandage there and closed his eyes again. Though they'd most likely given him something for the pain when he was first brought into the hospital, he sure as hell wasn't feeling the benefits of it now. Along with the sharp pain he felt pulsating in his head, every muscle in his body ached and screamed for relief. Wanting to open his eyes again but finding it to be way more trouble than it was worth, he went back to sleep. ~~~~ The next time she woke up, she threw up. Again. Luckily, just as there was the other two times, there was a pan on the table by her hospital bed that she was able to grab. Not that it really made her feel any better, but at least it kept her from making a mess on the bed. Pressing the call button for the nurse, she weakly set the nearly overflowing pan back on the table, then wiped her mouth and took a drink of water. Although the cool water felt wonderful sliding down her sore throat, it didn't take away the bitter grass-like taste in her mouth. "You okay, Dana?" asked the nurse, quickly picking up the smelly pan, flushing its contents down the toilet, and walking back to her bedside before she could answer. "Judging from what I just disposed of, it looks like your system's just about cleared out now, which is good." The no-nonsense nurse jotted some notes down on her chart. "My name's Shelly, and I'll be your nurse until the next shift comes in around 11:00," she said, putting the blood pressure cuff around her arm. "You probably don't remember me being here before, but you look so much better than when I first saw you." She smiled. "But I'm guessing you probably don't want to hear that right now." "No, I don't," she rasped. She waited until Shelly removed the cuff, then took another sip of water and winced. "I know your throat feels pretty raw right now, but Dr. Johnston said it's not permanently damaged so that's good, and your blood pressure's 110 over 70, and that's good too." Those *were* good things, and she knew she had a lot to be grateful for, but right now she didn't have the energy or the desire to talk about any of it. Nodding her head in agreement, she leaned back against the pillow, turned away, and closed her eyes. "That's okay, honey. I'll check on you again in a little while," said Shelly, patting her on the leg. "You just go ahead and rest. That's what you need more than anything right now." She opened her eyes and turned her head to say thank you, but the kind-hearted nurse was already gone. ~~~~ She's not breathing. She's not moving and she's not breathing, but they have to get out of there. They have to get out of there now. He lays her down on the cold hard surface while angry creatures all around him are screaming and clawing at the ice trying to find a way to escape and he breathes into her mouth, presses on her chest, then tries to catch his own breath as panic sweeps over his entire body. Wake up, Scully, Come on, Scully. Wake up, damn it. "Scully!" he screamed, his eyes flying open as his body jolted forward in the bed. The sudden movement sent a sharp pain through his head, and he immediately laid back again, trying to calm himself down. The pain now morphing into a relentless pounding, he lightly rubbed his forehead and felt the bandage there, and it was then that he remembered. Quickly pressing the call button, he waited anxiously for the nurse as he tried to piece his thoughts together. "Well hello there, Mr. Mulder. It's good to see you awake," said the short, round-faced nurse. "My name is Shelly, and I'll be your nurse until the next shift comes in another few hours. So what can I do for you?" Although she seemed nice enough, all he wanted was answers, and he wanted them now. "My partner. Agent Scully. Where is she?" he asked anxiously, sitting up straighter and pressing his hand to his forehead. "Calm down, Mr. Mulder. She's right down the hall and she's okay." She took hold of his wrist, found his pulse and smiled. "You're not lookin' so hot though." "But you don't understand..." he argued, jerking his arm away from her and trying to pull the covers off his legs. "I have to see her. I have to..." His abrupt exertion sent another sharp pain through his head, and suddenly it felt like the room was spinning. Gently easing him back against the pillow, Shelly calmly said, "Look, I understand that you're worried about her, but I just checked on her a little while ago, and I can honestly tell you that she's okay... and that she's safe here. You both are." Closing his eyes to try to get his dizziness to abate, he let her words sink in. *She's safe here. You both are.* Relief flooded through him as he let out a long breath and opened his eyes again. He still felt a little dizzy, but at least the overhead light wasn't spinning anymore. "There, now that's better." Shelly took hold of his wrist again, felt his pulse. "Just relax." Satisfied with the result, she wrote his heart rate down on his chart, then set the clipboard down. "I know you're probably confused about a lot of things right now, but getting all worked up isn't good for your recovery." She lifted his right hand, checked his fingers, turned his hand over and checked his palm. "You're lucky. The frostbite you had on your hands was superficial and not severe," she stated as she checked over his left hand. "A few blisters might form on your fingers over the next 24 to 36 hours, but if they're clear blisters and not cloudy or filled with blood, they should heal nicely on their own. And as for the gunshot wound on your head..." Gunshot wound? A burst of light and shards of broken glass flashed through his mind as he remembered the hot piece of metal grazing the side of his head, then his body falling onto the cold hard concrete outside his apartment right before Scully was taken away from him. He blinked several times, trying to get those images out of his head and missing everything she just said about his wound. "You're sure she's okay?" he asked, his head still pounding, his thoughts still fuzzy but a little clearer than before. "She's fine," reassured Shelly, lightly touching his arm. "And considering what you were both like when they brought you in, I'd say you're both doing remarkably well. If Dr. Johnston says it's all right later, I'll see what I can do about letting you see her." The combination of his headache and his body's earlier overexertion exhausted him, and it was all he could do to keep his eyes open. "Thank you," he mumbled, his head lolling to the side, his heavy lids closing. ~~~~ The last thing she remembered was holding onto Mulder, cradling his head in her arms and uncontrollably shivering as she whispered words of encouragement to him. She remembered the harsh sting of the cold against her face, the numbness in her hands and feet and wondering if this was how they were going to die. She remembered struggling to shift his heavy body off her leg and the fire she felt in her throat every time she swallowed. And she remembered the ice. There was nothing but bright white ice everywhere she looked and the man who meant more to her than anyone lying unconscious in her arms. ~~~~ He remembered lying on the ice with Scully, his arm around her while he watched in both disbelief and wonder as the enormous craft slowly flew over them. He remembered how hard his heart was pounding as he watched it finally disappear into a swirl of gray clouds and how Scully struggled to focus her eyes on him while she said the words he so desperately wanted to hear. "I saw it." At least that's what he thought he heard her trying to say, but it was then that his damaged body couldn't hold on any longer and completely shut down. He remembered nothing after that. ~~~~ Scully raised the back of her bed up and looked down at her feet. She was wearing the standard stockings that the hospital gives all patients, but her feet looked huge in them. Leaning over, she carefully took off the stocking on her right foot and saw that cotton balls had been put in between each of her toes and that the rest of her foot was wrapped in gauze. Her nurse had told her that although she'd suffered some frostbite on both feet, with time and care they would recover without any permanent damage. She also had suffered some damage to the skin on her cheeks and her fingers, and although they weren't as uncomfortable as they were before, they still felt prickly and sensitive to the touch. As for her throat, it felt as if was on fire the first time she woke up, and now a couple hours later it felt even worse. Something obviously happened to her that caused the rawness in her throat, but she couldn't quite remember what it was. She wasn't sure she even wanted to. ~~~~ Mulder looked over at the clock on the wall. It was a little after 7:00, and he could tell by the lack of light coming through the blind on the window that it was getting dark outside. How long had he been here anyway? The last time he was awake, he felt as if he could barely move, but now he was alert and ready to start moving. He also needed to pee. Rolling over, he reached for the call button and called the nurses' station. "Well hello there again, Mr. Mulder. You look a lot better than the last time I saw you," said Shelly, smiling as she walked into the room. She adjusted the pillow behind his back, then picked up his chart. "How are you feeling?" "Like I want to get out of this bed," he replied, moving the covers off of him. "Do you need to use the restroom?" "That's what I was thinking, yeah," he said as he looked down at the IV attached to his arm. "A little help would be good though, I think." He swung his legs over the bed and placed his feet on the floor. "Just take it easy now, okay. You might feel some tingling and numbness in your feet and your legs might feel weak when you first stand up, which is why I'm going to be right here next to you," reassured Shelly as she took hold of his arm. Although he would've preferred to walk to the restroom on his own, he knew immediately why she was holding onto his arm. His legs felt like both jello and lead weights at the same time, most likely from all the running in the snow and from carrying and dragging Scully for what seemed like miles. "You doin' okay?" asked Shelly. "I think I got the hang of it," he replied as he reached out to hold onto the door frame and rolled the IV cart inside the bathroom. "Thanks for the escort." She closed the door behind him, but not all the way. "I'll be right outside if you need help." "Thanks, I'll keep that in mind." Quickly relieving himself and washing his hands, he leaned over the sink and looked at himself in the mirror. He carefully lifted the bandage that was on his head and brushed his fingers over the long brown and red mark on his forehead. Though his head was no longer pounding, he still felt a dull ache on that side of his head. His left cheek was streaked with red too, and there was a bruise along his jaw. He had no idea how it got there, nor did he care. He had survived something incredible, and a few minor injuries on his face were nothing compared to what could've happened to him. And Scully. So much had happened to her over the last few days, cruel and unimaginable things, and though he knew she was safe here now, thinking about just how close he came to losing her made his chest feel tight, his gut twist in knots. "Hey, you okay in there?" called out Shelly, breaking his reverie. "Yeah, I'll be out in a minute." He splashed some cool water over his face and blotted it dry, then carefully pulled the bandage back over his forehead and stared at himself in the mirror. If he was going to make the case for being strong enough to see Scully, he had to look like he hadn't just been run over by a truck and move around like someone who was 37, not 80. Running his hand over his hair, he stood up a little straighter, took hold of his IV stand, and pushed the door open. "I know. You missed me, right?" he asked, not only hoping his nurse would appreciate his attempt at humor, but also see that he was doing well enough now to go to Scully's room. Shelly smiled. "Of course I did. Feel better now?" She walked beside him, this time without holding onto his arm, then helped him back into bed. "Yeah, actually I do." And he did feel better, at least physically anyway. Getting out of bed and moving around had loosened up his muscles a bit and splashing some water on his face had helped him feel a little better too. Now he just needed to see Scully, to make sure that she really was okay after their ordeal, and then he'd feel even better. She helped him back into bed and picked up his chart. "When can I see Agent Scully?" he asked, stretching out his legs on the bed and trying to get rid of the tingling feeling in his feet by wiggling his toes. Shelly put the blood pressure cuff on his arm. "That depends." "On what?" he asked anxiously. "On whether or not you feel up to it and whether or not *she* does," she said, jotting some notes down on his chart. "Have you checked on her lately? Is she getting better?" he asked, trying to calm his breathing so he'd get a good reading on his blood pressure. "She is, and so are you," she remarked as she looked at his reading and took the cuff off. "175 over 78. Not bad, not bad at all." She wrote down the numbers on his chart. "I don't see any reason why you can't pay her a visit later, but I want to check with Dr. Johnston first, and I'll also find out if we can't take this IV out for you. Feel like having a little something to eat?" "I am kind of hungry," he admitted, trying to remember when the last time he'd eaten was. She patted his arm and smiled. "Well, I'll see what I can do about that too." "Thank you. I really appreciate it," he said, truly grateful for her kindness towards him. "You're welcome," she replied as she helped him put the covers back over his legs. "Now just rest, and I'll be back soon." ~~~~ She'd been doing a lot of thinking about Mulder. About how he'd carried her through those tunnels and lifted her up to that vent, about how he'd dragged her across the ice, about how he'd told her to keep moving when she didn't think she could possibly take another step. About how he'd saved her. Again. The last time the nurse had checked on her, she told her that Mulder was doing better and that he was going to be able to come to her room for a short visit later. That was an hour ago, and she'd waited long enough. She needed to see him, to look into his eyes and make sure that he really was okay. But more than that, she needed to tell him just how much what he did for her meant to her. No, that wasn't true. What she really needed to do was tell him was how much *he* meant to her. Whether or not she was actually ready to say the words out loud was another story. ~~~~ Though he still felt a dull ache in his head, getting rid of the IV in his arm and having some actual solid food to eat was definitely a step in the right direction. He'd also taken a short nap and was more than ready to go see Scully now. "Ready to go?" asked Shelly, holding out her arm to help him out of bed. "As ready as I'm going to be," he replied, standing up and checking to make sure the ties on his hospital gown were tied securely. "Wouldn't want to give the nurses a free show, you know," he remarked dryly. "No, that's just reserved for me, right?" she laughed. "Only you, Shelly," he replied, his mouth curving into a smile, knowing she wouldn't be bothered by his comment. He'd been in the hospital on more than one occasion during his time on the X-Files and had a variety of nurses take care of him over the years, but it was the ones like Shelly that he'd appreciated the most, the ones who got his sense of humor, the ones who made him feel better without much effort. "Agent Scully's room is four doors down from yours, and we'll take it as fast or as slow as you need to. You just let me know if you need to hold onto my arm, okay?" Feeling steadier than he did when he'd gone to the bathroom before but not steady enough to go very fast, he opted not to hold onto her arm. His thigh muscles strained with each step, but the more he walked, the stronger he felt. Knowing that in just a few short minutes he was going to see Scully also made the walk easier and by the time he got to her room he was more than ready to see her. Now he just had to figure out what to say when he opened the door. ~~~~ "Anybody home?" he asked, lightly knocking on her door. Her pulse quickening at the sound of his voice, she sat up straighter in bed and ran her fingers through her hair. "Come in," she called out, adjusting the covers over her legs. The moment he stepped inside the room, it was as if everything else around her faded away. The nurse standing behind him. The low hum of the television on the wall. The uncomfortable burning in her throat and harsh sting in her cheeks. All of those things just disappeared as he slowly walked towards her bed. His eyes were dark, his jaw bruised and hair sticking out in all directions above the bandage on his head, but he never looked more handsome to her. Or more heroic. The fact that he'd traveled thousands of miles to Antarctica to find her suddenly hit her full force, and it was all she could do to breathe. Her eyes now swimming with tears, she felt her heart beating faster as she looked up at the man who had risked his life to save hers. How could she possibly put into words how much what he did meant to her? "Mulder...I'm just...I'm so glad you're here," she stuttered, her voice raspy as she wiped the moisture from beneath her eyes. "So am I," he said, carefully sitting down on the edge of her bed and pulling her into his arms. "I've been so worried about you," she said quietly, her tears dampening his hospital gown as she pressed her cheek against his chest. "I'm okay, Scully," he whispered, his warm body surrounding her, his hand gently rubbing her back. "And so are you," he added, kissing the top of her head. And she was okay, now that he was here. Letting herself relax in the comfort of his arms, she closed her eyes and breathed. ~~~~ He never expected this. He never expected her to fall apart in his arms, never expected to see so many tears in her eyes or for her to let him hold her like this. And he intended to savor every moment of it. Seeing her so emotional and so vulnerable made him feel even more appreciative of the fact that he had gotten to her in time, and though his body was now paying the price for saving her, he would do it again in a heartbeat. He would do anything for her in a heartbeat. Anything. Since he'd been in the hospital, he hadn't let himself even think of the possibility that he might not have succeeded, might not have gotten her out of that spacecraft before it took off, and that she might've died in that icy chamber alone. And though he knew they'd eventually have to talk about all that had happened to them out there, now wasn't the time or the place. For now he would just hold onto her, hold onto her as tightly as he could. "We're going to be okay, Scully," he said softly, his hand still rubbing her back as he closed his eyes and breathed. And as he felt her sink even further into his embrace, he knew they would be. ~end~ Closing thoughts: I always wondered what it was like for Mulder and Scully after they were rescued and brought to the hospital. They'd just been through an extremely intense ordeal, both physically and emotionally, and I wanted to explore how they might've felt about that a little bit. Also, in my opinion, there was NO WAY Mulder was coming back from Antarctica without Scully. That wasn't even an option for him, despite the fact that he had numerous obstacles to overcome, and to me, that makes him a hero.:) Thanks for taking the time to read my story. I haven't written anything this long for quite some time, and it felt really good to go back in time and revisit my love for *this* Mulder and Scully. Drop me a line by email or at my blog and let me know if you miss them as much as I do... Susan Email: Blog: Originally posted July 2017.