By Christine Leigh
Summary: New Year's Eve 2001 in a familiar setting.
Spoilers: Millennium, Existence.
December 31, 2001
Adams Memorial Hospital
"Do you want to go home? I can call a cab." The nurse smiled hesitantly as she made this inquiry. The man she was addressing was obviously tired and stressed to his limit.
Of course he didn't want to go home. What was that? Home. It didn't exist without the two persons who had been admitted here earlier in the evening. He tried to be civil.
"No, I have my car, but I'll just wait here. Thank you."
"They'll probably be admitted overnight. The doctor told you that, didn't she?"
No, she told me to get lost, since I'd only be in the way here. She covets the bedside-manner-of the-year-Oscar. Did this nurse really think he'd leave without even seeing them? Still, he tried.
"Thanks. I'll just stay."
Mulder walked over to the couch and sat down, staring at the television. It had been a hellish few hours. And if he were to survive the night, he needed to be here, not back at the apartment. If there was a coffee machine in the vicinity, he would be grateful.
Earlier that evening.
Mulder had been content to be sitting behind a desk. No, this wasn't the Twilight Zone. He'd managed, though, to spend almost an entire day e-mailing his students regarding their assignments for the first week of the next quarter, which would start in two weeks, and he was feeling quite productive. Scully and William had gone to her mother's and would be back soon, and from there they would play it by ear, which is to say, by William. The champagne was on ice, and the food would be delivered around eight. If William kept to his most recent and much appreciated pattern, Mulder would have Scully to himself tonight. If not, well, that was good, too. He and Scully would celebrate the New Year in the morning. Either way, life was good. Then the phone rang. He almost let the machine get it, but then picked up.
"May I please speak with Fox Mulder?"
"Mr. Mulder, this is Officer Michael Hendrick with the Alexandria Police Department."
Mulder sucked in a deep breath. "Okay. Why are you calling?"
"I'm sorry to tell you this, but there's been an accident. Dana Scully and William Mulder were involved in a two-car collision approximately an hour ago, and have been taken to Adams Memorial Hospital. They were hit by a driver who ran a red light, but fortunately wasn't going too fast. You're listed as the person to contact in the case of an emergency for Dana Scully, and are William Mulder's father?"
"Yes. Are they all right?"
"I can't answer that, but they didn't seem to be critical."
This was unreal. Mulder breathed again. "Thank you."
He was out the door faster than he'd ever before moved in his life.
Adams Memorial Hospital
New Year's Eve 1999
The pain was unremitting, but Mulder refused to take anything for it. The doctor thought he was crazy. The arm would be okay, but still, the doctor knew that it must hurt like hell by now. But the patient was adamant in his refusal of medication.
"Am I all right to go?"
"Yes, but no driving."
"I have a driver."
"You can go, then. You need to see your doctor next week, though."
"Happy New Millennium, then."
Mulder paused a few seconds, but then thought, what the hell?
"Same to you. Thanks."
He left to go find Scully. She'd saved his life once more, and he wanted to see her, needed to see her. There wasn't anything else that mattered. He found her in the waiting area with Frank Black and a little girl who he surmised must be Frank's daughter. Frank seemed transformed; this wasn't the man who, along with Mulder, had nearly died three hours ago. Frank was speaking to the girl.
"Let's get out of here." He turned to shake Mulder's hand.
"Frank, good luck with everything."
"Agent Mulder, Agent Scully. I guess this is it, huh?"
"You're not going to stay and watch?" Scully nodded toward the television as she spoke.
"No, we just want to go home." Frank held his daughter's hand as they walked out the door.
Mulder was beyond frustrated at waiting to see Scully. He had seen William briefly, and he was all right. He wasn't harmed beyond a small bruise on his arm. Mulder would get to go back and join his son as soon as the doctor was finished, which would be in a few minutes hopefully. In the meantime he kept from going crazy by remembering that night two years ago in this same hospital.
What happened after Frank and his daughter left had been so sweet. Mulder certainly wouldn't have minded if it had been more, but as it stood it was a remarkable event. It had been one of those moments that played both fast and slow at the same time. Now, when he thought back on their first kiss, and felt her lips for the first time upon his, he replayed the memory on slow. He saw the look in Scully's eyes and remembered the joy he felt. When it was over, someone else might not have seen a change in either of them, but there had been one, unmistakably. He'd never been happier.
So much had happened since then, but this remained one of the fondest memories that he had of Scully and him together. The world they now inhabited had begun in serious that night.
He looked up to see the nurse who'd offered to call the cab earlier.
"You can go back to join your son now."
"Thanks. What about his mother?"
"They're finishing up with her. You can see her in just a few minutes."
Tears came to his eyes. He blinked them away, but wasn't completely successful. The nurse saw this, and placed a gentle hand on his arm. She led him into the cubicle where William was being fussed over by three people, and now was happy to see a fourth, and most favorite face. He gurgled a welcome to his father, who went to stand over the crib where he lay, extending a finger to the tiny boy. It was grasped, immediately. Mulder bent to kiss his small cheek.
"Will, are you okay? You look okay, but are you really?" Mulder saw a small bandage on his left arm, but it didn't seem to have any effect on William, who was definitely happy to see his father. The doctor in charge entered the cubicle.
"Mr. Mulder, I'm Dr. Malik."
"Hello." Mulder shook her hand.
"William is fine. It turns out it was a very small contusion; nothing to be worried about. The bandage can come off in two days."
"Thank you. What about his mother?"
"We thought there might be concussion, but there isn't. She has a bump on her forehead, and minor contusions up and down her left side, but there again, nothing serious. They can both go home tonight, as it turns out."
"Thank you." The words came out in a whisper. He was truly worn out. "Can I see her? I need to see her."
Then the voice he needed to hear spoke three of the most frustrating words in the world, but on this occasion, three of the most beautiful ones.
"Mulder, I'm fine."
Scully had entered quietly, and crossed to meet Mulder's embrace. The attendants and the doctor left them alone. Mulder didn't want to let her out of his arms, but was mindful of her bruises, and finally let go, but reluctantly. She had a bandage on her forehead, but was smiling.
"Mulder, I'm all right, and so is William. He was a real trouper. He didn't even cry until we got here. What about you?" She reached up and touched his cheek.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Now."
Scully went over to William. "You were so brave, just like your father. He's the bravest man in the world."
Mulder knew he didn't deserve this accolade, but the fact that she felt that about him, made him all the more aware of how precious what they had together was. He thought back to Frank Black. Mulder hoped he and his daughter were happy wherever they were.
"Scully, are you sure you want to go home tonight?"
Half an hour later, the three of them were bundled up and ready to leave. It was just a couple of minutes before midnight as they crossed into the waiting area where Mulder and Scully had been on that same night two years ago. They paused and watched the countdown on the television, both smiling knowingly the whole time.
Once again, the world didn't end.
"Happy New Year, Scully." Mulder bent to kiss her, being careful not to wake William who was now asleep in his arms. It was a longer kiss than the one two years ago had been, and made all the sweeter by the events that had occurred since.
"Happy New Year, Mulder."
"So, what do you say we try for a different venue next year?" he asked, as they walked down the hall toward the exit.
She put her arm around him. "That would be nice."
~ End ~
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This story is (c) Copyright 2003 by Christine Leigh. "The X-Files" and its characters are the property of the Fox Network and Ten-Thirteen Productions and are borrowed here without profit or intent for profit.