Title: The Wolfman Cometh
Author: Polly - firstname.lastname@example.org
Feedback: Welcome and greatly appreciated
Category: MSR, MT, Humor
Spoilers: Detour, other minor ones; takes place late Season 6, but doesn't follow the timeline
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Chris Carter and 1013 Productions
Archive: Be my guest
Notes: Written for the Mulder's Refuge May Monster Challenge. Thanks to all at the Refuge for sponsoring the Challenge and to everyone for their support!
Summary: Another nice trip to the forest
* * *  * * *
CATOCTIN MOUNTAIN PARK
APRIL 30, 1999
It happened so fast at first he thought he'd imagined it. Then a searing pain in his right leg made him stumble and he knew the encounter was all too real. He aimed the flashlight beam downward and nearly gagged at the sight of his leg - jeans shredded, blood already soaking his sock.
Suddenly something crashed into him from behind, knocking the air from his lungs and sending him sprawling headfirst into the underbrush. His weapon and flashlight rolled in different directions, and he instinctively reached out with both hands to retrieve them, grateful that some light from the full moon was able to filter through the canopy of the surrounding trees and into the small clearing.
As his fingers brushed the grip of his revolver, something clamped down hard on his outstretched left wrist. He cried out in excruciating pain and his stomach rolled at the smell of torn flesh and the sound of crushed bone. White sparks appeared before his eyes as he was flipped on his back and bolts of pain shot through his elbow and into his shoulder.
He kicked out blindly with his good leg, trying to extricate his wrist from the vice-like grip, but a large paw with razor-sharp claws swiped across his chest, tearing through his clothes, slicing his skin.
The jaws closed tighter and began to pull, the creature intent on tugging him out of the clearing and into the cover of the dense forest. He knew this was his only chance; if the creature succeeded, he would surely die.
Gritting his teeth to stave off the pain he knew would follow, he mustered all his strength and used both legs to land a savage kick directly on the creature's snout. More from surprise than discomfort, the beast released his grip momentarily, but it was just enough. He kicked out fiercely again, this time sending the creature backward into the underbrush.
The barrel of his weapon glistened in the moonlight, and he rolled toward it, snatching it up with his right hand and scrambling to his feet in one fluid motion. As his left arm dangled limply at his side, he raised the gun in the direction of the beast and squeezed off two rounds before a black blur hurtled toward him and knocked him off his feet. He pulled the trigger twice more as he tumbled backwards, waiting for the sound of the creature's pounce to finish him off. But the only thing he heard was a sickening *thud* as his head connected with the trunk of a fallen tree at the edge of the clearing.
He tried to sit up but his head lolled forward and his vision blurred. All around him was silent except for a muffled sound in the distance ...
Was he dreaming? Or maybe he was dead.
"Mul-derrrrrr! Answer me!"
The word was on the tip of his tongue and despite the pain and the fog in his brain he forced it out onto his lips.
"Scul-lee ..." It was little more than a whisper; and then he slipped away into the blessed darkness.
* * *  * * *
12 HOURS EARLIER
U.S. ROUTE 15
He didn't even have to steal a glance in her direction. He sensed that the woman in the passenger seat beside him was giving the eyebrow a workout.
"You're dragging me out into the wilderness on a Friday night to chase werewolves?"
"Well, you can't really chase werewolves in the daytime, can you, Scully?" He sucked in another sunflower seed and dropped the hull out the car window. "Did you have plans that I wasn't aware of?"
"Don't play dumb with me, Mulder," she said, placing her finger in the file as a bookmark. "Are you seriously trying to tell me that you didn't have your big monster sniffer working overtime to try and find us a case that would potentially take us out of town all weekend so that we might miss the barbecue at my mother's on Sunday?" He looked at her quizzically. "The barbecue that will feature a guest appearance by Bill and Tara?"
"Oh, *that* barbecue." He flashed her a sly smile. "Well, Scully, my 'monster sniffer,' as you put it, is flattered, but I can't take the credit. This little trip is courtesy of A.D. Skinner. He sent us on this one."
"Catoctin Mountain Park is managed by the National Park Service, so that puts this under Federal jurisdiction." He noticed that she had flipped the file open once more. "Not to mention the fact that the Presidential retreat, Camp David, sits right smack dab in the middle of it. Can't have a werewolf sneaking up and biting Hillary on the ass now, can we?"
"No," she replied. "Anyway, I think that one wolf in the White House is enough."
He laughed at her joke and reached into his jacket pocket for more seeds.
"But why did we have to come today?" she whined. "Couldn't this have waited till next week?"
"Oh, come now, Scully," he chuckled, preparing to turn off the highway. "That should be fairly obvious."
With an exasperated "humph" she thumbed through a few more pages of the folder. "Full moon," she finally said, glancing over to see Mulder touch the tip of his nose with his forefinger. "The three previous attacks were on the first night of the full moon - March 31st, March 2nd, and January 31st."
"So if we're looking for a werewolf, this is our best chance to find one," Mulder interjected.
They continued in silence, Scully reading through the file and Mulder navigating the winding road up the mountain. He was so caught up in watching for oncoming traffic and animals darting out into the roadway that he jumped slightly when she spoke.
"Your victims here are hardly credible, Mulder," she said. "All admit they were drinking just prior to the attacks. Two of them are college students. It could have been some kind of prank."
"Thirty-two stitches, Scully. That's a pretty elaborate, not to mention nasty, prank."
Now it was time for the Rational Explanations. "Well, in their inebriated state they could have mistaken any large, furry animal for a werewolf. A bear, a large wild dog, maybe even a real wolf."
He laughed. "Scully, what are the odds of finding a real wolf in the Maryland mountains?"
"Slightly less than the odds of finding a werewolf in the Maryland mountains, I'd say."
He spotted the parking lot for the Ranger Station and turned on the blinker. "The attacks are very similar, but one constant in all three, aside from the full moon, is that each victim described his attacker as walking upright on two legs. I've never seen a wolf do that, not even on Stupid Pet Tricks."
She shook her head. "Mulder ..."
"Look, the Sheriff is meeting us here with the three victims. Let's just talk to them before we draw any conclusions, agreed?"
"Agreed." She closed the file and dropped it into her briefcase. "But we're not missing that barbecue on Sunday, Mulder. Agreed?"
He eased the sedan into a parking space and turned off the ignition. "Wouldn't miss it for the world, Scully."
* * *  * * *
Throughout the afternoon, they had each interviewed the three victims separately, and as a group. Clay Baldwin, Matthew Sterling, and Fred Jergens all stuck to their stories that were quite similar, as Mulder said. They had each stepped away from their campsite and into the forest alone - one to gather firewood and two to relieve themselves - when they were attacked. In each case, their friends came running when they heard cries for help, and the attacker had been frightened away. Unfortunately, none of the friends had seen the creature, but the descriptions from the three victims were amazingly similar: built like a man, six-and-a-half to seven feet tall, walking upright, covered in thick hair, long fangs, and sharp claws on hands and feet. All three attacks had occurred within a half-mile of each other.
"Now you can take your vehicle this far," Sheriff Davis was pointing at the map spread out on the table. "You can park in the lot here, and then it's about a three mile hike to the general area you're looking for. It'll be dark soon, but the trails will be well lit with the full moon. There will be lots of signposts along the way to point you in the right direction."
Mulder supposed he should be listening, but he was too busy concentrating on something far more important. On the other side of the lodge, Scully had been talking to one of the Park Rangers non-stop for more than 10 minutes. They were standing close together, and every so often Scully would tilt her head back and laugh out loud, as if the Ranger were the funniest man on the face of the earth. Each time she laughed the Ranger would touch her shoulder, and Mulder seethed.
"... unless you have any more questions."
Mulder suddenly realized the Sheriff was waiting for an answer. "I'm sorry, what?"
"I said I think that about covers it unless you have any more questions, Agent Mulder," Sheriff Davis repeated.
"Um ... no. I'm sure we'll be fine." Mulder gathered up the map, folded it hastily, and swung his backpack over his shoulder. "If this creature is a creature of habit, we should be able to pick up its trail tonight, and with any luck, we'll be able to stop it."
"Well, the Park Rangers aren't allowing any campers into that sector tonight," the Sheriff said, "so there shouldn't be anyone getting in your way. I sure hope you catch this thing, Agent Mulder."
"Uh ... yeah," Mulder nodded, his eyes trained on Scully and the Ranger again. When the Ranger handed Scully a backpack and they began to walk toward him, he turned back to the Sheriff and offered his hand. "Yeah, thank you, Sheriff. Thanks for everything. We'll stop at your office on the way home tomorrow and give you a full report."
"Ready to go?" Scully asked as she stopped at Mulder's side.
"Whenever you are," he answered, and headed for the door. He assumed Scully would be right behind him, but instead she turned back to the Ranger. "Thank you, Dan. I appreciate all the help."
"No problem, Dana," the Ranger replied. "I'm on duty all night, so I'll see you when you get back in the morning."
"I'll be looking forward to it." Scully patted his forearm, and then followed Mulder out of the Station.
"You and Ranger Rick seemed to have an awful lot to talk about," Mulder said as he unlocked the trunk so they could place their packs inside.
"His name is Dan," Scully corrected. "Dan Phillips. He was very nice. He shared some of his knowledge about the forest with me."
"I'll bet that's not all he wanted to share with you." Before Scully could answer, he pointed at the additional pack the Ranger had handed her. "What's in the bag?"
"Just some extra things we might need ... just in case. C'mon, Mulder," she said, climbing into the passenger seat of the sedan again. "Let's get this show on the road."
* * *  * * *
"Mulder. C'mon, Mulder. I need you to wake up now." She pressed her fingernail into his ear lobe, first lightly, then harder. "Wake up, Mulder."
As his eyelashes began to flutter she let out the breath she had been holding since she heard the first gunshots. "C'mon, Mulder, wake up."
"Wha ... what happened?" He shifted slightly and the moan that escaped was testament that he wouldn't try that again.
"Lie still, Mulder." Dried blood and sweat had plastered his hair to his forehead, and she pushed it back gently. "I need to check you out, just lie very still for me, okay?"
"'Kay," he muttered. "Thirsty."
"I know, just hang on a minute." She pulled back his eyelids to check his pupils and to her relief they were equal and reactive. "Track my finger," she said, but he seemed to have trouble following the digit floating in front of his face. "Mulder, can you see me clearly?" When he didn't answer, she pinched his earlobe again. "Stay with me, Mulder. Can you see me clearly?" she asked again.
"Blurry," he said, his voice getting stronger. "Kind of blurry. God, Scully, my arm ... feels like it's on fire."
"I know, Mulder," she replied, stroking his hair. "It's in pretty bad shape. Do you feel nauseous at all? Like you're going to throw up?"
"No, not really."
"Good." Scully unzipped the pack the Ranger had provided and pulled out the first-aid kit. Although it was small, she found it surprisingly complete. "I'm going to give you some Tylenol first. That might help the pain a little. But just a few sips of water, okay? I don't want you to get sick."
"Okay," he agreed through clenched teeth, waiting patiently while Scully shook three pills from the container and unscrewed the water bottle cap. She placed the pills on his tongue and held the bottle to his lips. "Just a little, Mulder. That's right."
He took one last sip and nodded that the pills were down, then leaned back against the fallen tree. "I found it, Scully," he said as she removed the scissors from the first aid kit. "The monster. Or rather, it found me."
"It found you, all right, Mulder. You're a mess." She cut along the inside seam of his jeans, providing better access to the damaged leg. "I don't know why I let you talk me into splitting up, Mulder," she said as she began her examination. "Every time we split up, something bad happens." The gashes in his leg were deep, but had almost stopped bleeding. They might need stitches, she surmised, but right now were the least of his problems.
"We had a lot of ground to cover, Scully," he said as she tried to shift his clothing to look at the scratches on his chest without jostling his arm too much. "If we hadn't split up, we might never have found it."
"I'm beginning to think that might not have been such a bad thing." The scratches were superficial, she noted. Better to leave his clothing in place and retain the warmth. Even though it had been an unusually warm day, the night air was still chilly.
She ran her fingers along the back of his head and found a large knot but no blood. When she placed her hand on his left shoulder, he flinched. "Don't, Scully. Please don't touch it."
She smiled reassuringly. "I have to take a look, Mulder. I'll be as gentle as I can. Besides, none of my other patients complain about my examination technique."
He gave her a weak smile, but she could see the apprehension in his eyes. "Tell me what the thing that attacked you looked like," she said. Perhaps if she could keep his mind occupied, it would help him block out the pain.
He closed his eyes so he wouldn't have to watch her touch the injured arm, but he pretended to be visualizing his encounter with the ferocious beast.
"It was too dark to see it clearly," he said through clenched teeth, jumping slightly when her hand brushed his wrist. "Ow! It ... it was big, tall. At least a foot taller than me and nearly a hundred pounds heavier." He tried to slow his breathing. "And it was hairy - all over. I couldn't see it, but I could feel it. And it had very bad breath."
She laughed and patted his right arm. "All done. You can open your eyes now." When he did, she was smiling her best bedside-manner smile. "Is that a common trait among werewolves? Bad breath?"
"They don't have anyplace to carry their Tic-Tac's."
She smiled and angled the first aid kit closer to her flashlight's beam, ready to pull out the materials she would need to treat his injuries. "Okay, Mulder, here's the deal. We need to do some down and dirty first aid here. The wrist is in pretty bad shape, and I need to get it clean and immobilized as soon as possible to reduce the risk of infection. It's going to hurt like hell, but I'll try to do it as quickly and painlessly as I can. Are you up for that? Mulder?"
When he didn't answer she looked up. He was unconscious - asleep or passed out, it didn't really matter at this point. She gathered her tools and silently went to work.
* * *  * * *
He awoke with a start, brushing away a bug that was crawling across his nose. He tried to blink the sleep out of his eyes, but then remembered the events of the evening and realized the blurred vision was a result of his fall rather than the Sandman. He tried to sit up straight, and was surprised to find his left arm in a sling bound tightly to his chest. It was still quite painful, but nowhere near the agony that had wracked his body earlier.
He could see well enough to know that something or someone was crouching on the ground in front of him. He cleared his throat and managed to croak out a few words. "Scully, what are you doing?"
She turned on her heels, then crawled over to him. "Good, you're awake," she said, placing her hand on his forehead to check for fever. "I think you've only got a mild concussion, but I don't want you to sleep too long at one time. You don't feel feverish. That's good."
He sighed when she pulled her hand away. "So, what's the damage, doc?"
"All in all, not as bad as it could have been." She easily slipped into medical mode. "I cleaned and dressed the gashes on your leg. They might need stitches, but they're not too bad. The scratches on your chest are minor. But your wrist is pretty bad, Mulder. I cleaned it and set it the best I could, mainly just to keep it immobile, but I think you're going to need some surgery and probably some physical therapy. There's a lot of damage to the nerves and the tendons. But I think if we get it treated pretty quickly you should be able to regain full use of it."
He nodded and looked down at the strips of bandages that bound the sling to his chest. "You did all this while I was asleep? I must have really been out."
"Well, you did wake up once, but you passed out pretty quickly. That was probably for the best." She brushed her hands on her pants and looked into his eyes. "I'm afraid there's a little more," she said.
"I don't know if it was a werewolf that bit you, Mulder, but *something* bit you. There's a trail of blood going that way," she pointed toward the west, "so you obviously hit whatever it was. But if the Rangers can't find it first thing tomorrow morning so that it can be tested, then we're going to have to start a rabies vaccine series. That's five injections over the course of roughly a month, and then the Rabies Immune Globulin. It's important to start the vaccine as soon as possible after potential exposure, so I'm afraid in all likelihood, that's what's in store for you."
He looked at her with his best puppy dog eyes. "We don't seem to have very good luck in the forest, do we, Scully?"
"No, we don't," she said, brushing his hair out of his eyes. "And I want you to promise me one thing."
"That next time you won't go to so much trouble to avoid a barbecue at my mother's." She placed a quick kiss on his forehead, and crawled back to the spot where she had been crouching before, facing him this time.
He chuckled. "Agreed. Not even avoiding Bill is worth this." He scratched his nose and shivered. "What *are* you doing, anyway?" he asked.
"Building a fire," she replied, arranging the small sticks in the shape of a teepee, and pushing some dried leaves in the center."
"This seems vaguely familiar." He smiled at the memory of the last time they had spent the night in the forest together. "Are you gonna take your shell casing apart now?"
"Nope." She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a ziploc bag, waving it and its contents - a box of waterproof matches - in front of his nose.
"That seems a bit like overkill, doesn't it? Waterproof *and* a baggie?"
"One has to be prepared for any eventuality when you're around, Mulder," she replied, striking the match and watching in delight as the fire caught right away. She piled on a few larger sticks and placed the matches back in the bag before returning them to her jacket pocket.
"You take those everywhere you go?" Mulder asked, stretching his chilled feet toward Scully's small blaze.
"Never leave home without them," she said, adding larger branches now. "After all, you never know when Fox Mulder is going to take a detour. Never let it be said that I don't learn from my mistakes."
"You weren't very prepared when we were in Florida, were you?"
"Well, on that trip, I thought the biggest risk of injury at our *planned* destination would be something like poking a swizzle stick in your eye." She stirred the fire with a branch, sending sparks up into the darkness. "As you can see, my new motto is 'Be Prepared'."
"I thought that was the Boy Scout motto." Mulder coughed and winced, the small movement enough to remind him of the pain in his arm.
"I've known my share of Boy Scouts." She winked at him and turned her attention back to the fire.
"Would you care to elaborate on that?"
"Um ... no." She giggled at his downfallen expression. "But I never learned as much from any of them as I learned from one Indian Guide."
He smiled with great satisfaction and sighed. "But I don't suppose you learned how to make it rain weenies and marshmallows, did you?"
She smiled and reached into the backpack that Ranger Phillips had given her. She pulled out a handful of pre-packaged snacks - rice krispie treats, granola bars, rice cakes, and two Hershey bars.
"I'm impressed," Mulder said. "Pass the chocolate and the rice krispies."
"Let's try a few small pieces of the rice cake first," she replied, tearing open the bag and handing one of the wafers to him, followed by one of the bottles of water. "Here. Delicious and nutritious. If you keep that down, then you can graduate to the next level. Small bites. Small sips."
He reluctantly took a small bite of the rice cake. "Yuck. Definitely not weenies and marshmallows. But you did learn how to make it rain Styrofoam." He took another small bite and shivered again as he waited for her small fire to grow bigger. "But I bet you still can't make it rain sleeping bags."
"Oh no?" She reached into the backpack again and retrieved a packaged thermal first aid blanket. "Ta-da!"
He smiled and shook his head. "Well, if I recall correctly, this means that now I get lucky."
She raised an eyebrow as she removed the blanket from its plastic wrap and spread it over him. "There'll be plenty of time for that once you get back to full strength," she said, purposefully brushing her breasts against his chin as she tucked the blanket around him. "Right now, you need to rest. There now, we're all set. We've got water, we've got food, we've got heat, who could ask for anything more?"
He took a small swig of water to wash down the rice cake and held the bottle between his legs as he replaced the cap. "Okay, you've provided us with all the comforts of home, but have you thought about how we're going to get out of here? I think Camp David is just a few miles over that ridge. Maybe we could go ring the doorbell, see if Bill and Hillary are home."
"I don't think you'll make it. And besides, you're just hoping Monica would be there," she said, and reached into the backpack once again. She pulled out a small electronic device and pushed a button on the front. The equipment emitted two short beeps and a red light came on. He looked at her quizzically.
"Homing device." She crawled over to sit it on top of the fallen tree and then took a seat next to Mulder. He offered her a space under the blanket, but she shook her head. "Your friend, Ranger Rick, suggested I bring it. They provide them to inexperienced campers or people who are hiking alone. I told Ranger Rick that if we weren't back by dawn they should send out a search party. With this, they'll be able to find us pretty easily. We just need to make it through the next few hours and everything should be fine."
"So that's why you were spending so much quality time with Ranger Rick, huh?" Mulder chuckled. "Here I was, insanely jealous, and the whole time you were just using your sexuality for survival favors."
"That's right." She unwrapped a granola bar and took a huge bite. "If you got it, flaunt it, I always say."
"Well, tell me, Mary Poppins, you wouldn't happen to have a TV and satellite dish in that bottomless bag, would you? I'm missing the Knicks game."
She reached forward and grabbed the pack, turning it upside down and shaking it with a grand flourish. "Nope. Empty. We'll just have to entertain ourselves."
"We could tell ghost stories."
"Haven't you had enough monsters for one night?" she asked. "When did this fascination start, Mulder? When you were a kid or not until you found the X-Files?"
"Nah, I loved to read books and watch movies about misunderstood monsters when I was a kid. I think on some level I connected with them." He took another sip of water. "I loved 'Frankenstein,' 'Dracula,' 'The Mummy,' and of course, 'The Wolf Man.' A classic. One of the greatest horror films ever made. Lon Chaney, Jr., Claude Rains, Bela Lugosi. 'Even a man who is pure in heart, and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms, and the autumn moon is bright.' Gotta love that."
She shook her head, marveling at his memory for useless trivia. "I think the only wolfman movie I ever saw was 'I Was a Teenage Werewolf.' Not very good. I had trouble accepting Pa Ingalls as a werewolf."
He laughed. "Little Joe Cartwright. To girls, Michael Landon will always be Charles Ingalls; to boys, he'll always be Little Joe Cartwright. You know, when I was a kid we finally got a color TV because my dad wanted to watch 'Bonanza' in color. How weird, to think of that."
She started to speak, but Mulder continued. "You know, Scully, 'I Was a Teenage Werewolf' is actually a pretty great metaphor for teenage adolescence. A troubled high schooler's emotions trigger his change into a furry, fanged beast. But you need to see some of the classics. While I'm recuperating, you can come over and we'll watch a triple feature. 'The Wolf Man,' 'The Howling,' and 'An American Werewolf in London.'
"Well, I can't wait." She unwrapped the Hershey bar, broke off one square, and held it out to him. "I guess a little chocolate will be okay."
"I'll drink to that." He tapped his plastic water bottle with hers and they both took a brief sip. Then he popped the chocolate into his mouth, chewing slowly as if to savor every morsel. "We've seen our share of monsters, haven't we Scully? The Flukeman, Greg Pinkus, the Great Mutato, Eugene Tooms ..."
"... Donnie Pfaster, Lucas Henry, John Lee Roche." She continued the list. "I've always felt that the human monsters we've encountered have been much more frightening than the mutant variety."
"I think you're right about that," he said, staring into the fire as Scully tossed on a few more branches. "You do believe I saw something, don't you Scully?"
"Of course I do, Mulder," she replied. "You weren't attacked by a phantom. I'm just not sure it was a werewolf, that's all." When he frowned she added, "But, hey, cheer up! Remember this time you're going to have proof in 30 days, one way or the other."
"Well, look at it this way, Mulder. In about a month, at the next full moon, if you start sprouting fangs and hair in unusual places, you'll know that it was definitely a werewolf." He looked hurt, and she giggled.
"Ha, ha. Very funny." He yawned and snuggled deeper under the thermal blanket, resting his head on her shoulder.
"You know, Mulder, you can try to get some sleep if you want." She put her arm around him and guided his head into her lap - just like old times. "I'll keep watch. But I will wake you every couple of hours just in case you do have a concussion."
"I don't want to sleep, Scully," he said as another yawn escaped. "I want to stay awake with you. Why don't you sing something?"
"Last time I sang to you in the forest it was to put you to sleep." She played with his hair as she talked, and he smiled as her fingernails tickled his scalp.
"Well, this time, sing me awake."
She laughed. "Okay, then, but this time you have to participate. You have to help out with the chorus, okay?"
"Okay," he said sleepily. "Hit it."
She smiled. "Let's see if I remember the words ... here goes. I was working in the lab late one night, when my eyes beheld an eerie sight. My monster from his slab began to rise, and suddenly to my surprise ..." She waited a few seconds, then squeezed his ear. "Hey, that's your cue."
"Oh, I forgot. He did the mash ..."
"He did the monster mash."
"The monster mash ..."
"It was a graveyard smash."
"He did the mash ..."
"It caught on in a flash."
"He did the mash ..."
"He did the monster mash. From my laboratory in the castle east ..."
* * *  * * *
ONE MONTH LATER
He lay back on the pillows, a satisfied smile spread across his face, exhausted but in a good way. Today he'd received his final shot in the rabies vaccine series and he and Scully had celebrated with dinner out and a stop at the video store for their werewolf triple feature. The movies would wait till tomorrow, late fees be damned, as their chaste kisses on the couch had progressed into passionate but careful lovemaking in the bedroom. Mulder's arm was still encased in a cast up to his elbow, but necessity was the mother of invention, after all.
"You're looking pretty pleased with yourself," Scully said as she padded back into the bedroom carrying two bottles of water. They didn't want to risk dehydration with the entire night ahead of them. As she plopped on the bed and handed him a bottle, he couldn't help but marvel at how beautiful she looked in red silk pajamas, her hair pulled back, face freshly scrubbed. He kissed her before loosening the cap and downing about half the bottle's contents.
"Slow down, Mulder," she cautioned. "You don't want to make yourself sick."
"Still looking after me." He replaced the lid on the bottle and set it on the nightstand.
"Well, somebody has to." She leaned over him to set her bottle beside his, then traced the long scars still visible on his chest with her finger. "These have healed nicely. Your legs too. Pretty soon you'll be able to get that cast off and get that wrist back into shape. You'll be good as new before you know it."
"I owe it all to my doctor," he said, placing a kiss on the top of her head. "I'm here today because of her survival skills, her medical expertise, and her tender loving care."
"She must be a genius," Scully replied, rolling onto her back. "And damn lucky to boot." Suddenly something outside the window caught her eye and she pointed toward it. "Look, Mulder. The full moon. Well, you don't *look* any different. No long teeth or extra hair anywhere that I can see. How do you feel?"
"I don't know, Scully, I do feel *something*." He fingered the hair on his chest. "Sort of like a tingling sensation all over my body. I'm afraid it might be the wolfman coming out in me. Maybe you'd better run for your life."
"Oh, I'll take my chances with the Big Bad Wolf." She placed a pillow under his cast and climbed over him, straddling his hips.
"You know, you *do* sort of remind me of Little Red Riding Hood in that outfit," he said, pulling the satiny hem of her pajama top between his fingers.
"Really?" She smiled and took his right hand in both of hers, stroking each finger with her thumb. "Oh, Mulder, what big hands you have."
"The better to touch you with, my dear," he replied, and cupped her breast through the pajama fabric.
She leaned forward and traced her forefinger across his lower lip. "Oh, Mulder, what big lips you have."
"The better to kiss you with, my dear." He placed his right hand at the back of her neck and pulled her downward, the electricity of their kiss sending a tingle straight down to his toes and back again.
She broke the kiss and slid backward, pulling her hands slowly down his chest. She stopped at the waistband of his boxers, running her fingers under the elastic, stretching it out. She pretended to sneak a peek inside and exclaimed, "Oh, Mulder ..."
He grinned like a cat about to pounce on the canary. "Go ahead, Red. You can say it."
She smiled seductively. "... what a big *EGO* you have!" She let the elastic go with a snap and whooped with delight as she hopped off the bed and out of his grasp, his mobility slowed by the heavy cast.
"You really know how to hurt a guy, Scully," he said, rubbing the area where the elastic had left its sting.
"I'm sorry, Mulder," she replied, approaching the bed cautiously, on the lookout for retaliation. "As a peace offering, I'll do that." She moved his hand and began rubbing the same area, pleased at the immediate response and glad that her little prank seemed to be forgotten.
"Keep doing that, Scully," he moaned, "and I might turn into a wolf tonight after all."
"Not now, Mulder," she said, using her other hand to reach over and turn off the lamp. "I can only handle one monster at a time."
* * *  * * *