2. “Get under the covers.” 3. “You look cold.” 31. “Please don’t leave me.
This is post-Brand X
Even though she tried to act tough most of the time, Mulder knew that Scully was actually a pushover when he played his cards right. If he had a dollar for every time he heard, “Mulder, no,” before she went ahead and followed through with whatever she objected to, he could probably retire. All things considered, it was still more difficult than it usually was to persuade her to spring him from his latest stint in the hospital.
“You gotta get me outta here,” he rasped.
“I can’t stay here. The food is bad and it smells like bandages. Besides, I think the night nurse has her eye on me and I’m afraid she might try to sneak a peek under my gown while I’m asleep.”
“Mulder…” Her face was pained, but he could tell she was already softening. “You need someone who can care for you. Your lungs are still weak. Overexertion, even by accident, could cause a collapse or even worse, we have no idea what those beatles did to you. You need to heal.”
“Who better to heal me than you?”
“A hospital. This hospital. With doctors and nurses and equipment and-”
“You’re a doctor. If anything happens, you’ll know what to do.”
“I may not.”
“And I trust you not to overexert me,” he added with a wink and a smile. “Until you deem it safe.”
She sighed and he knew he had her. Hours later, that’s why he found himself all snug and secure, shirtless and content on top of Scully’s bed as she shifted a stethoscope over his chest to listen to his lungs.
“All good?” Mulder asked.
“Shhhh,” she said. “Take a deep breath.”
He did as she asked and stayed quiet as she listened to his chest. After awhile, she pulled the headpiece away from her ears and coiled the stethoscope on top of her nightstand. Her hand rested lightly on top of his chest where she’d just been listening.
“Get under the covers,” she said.
“You need to stay warm.”
“I think this is working well enough,” he said, covering her hand where it rested against him and stroking her wrist with his fingertips.
A pink blush tinted the apples of Scully’s cheeks and she slowly slipped her hand out from under his as she stood. She tugged at the bedclothes under Mulder and he rolled himself up to sit on the edge of the bed. He would have to admit that the movement did make his chest burn a little and shortened his breath. He lay back down and then let Scully tuck him in.
“You’re not leaving, are you?” he asked. “Please don’t leave me.”
“Does your chest hurt?” Instantly concerned, she sat back down on the side of the bed and pulled the covers back to touch his chest and then feel his forehead.
“If I said yes, would you stay?”
“Don’t scare me like that.”
“You look cold.”
“I look cold?” She raised her brow at him.
“Plenty of room in this big bed of yours if you want to join me.”
“Will you stay quiet if I do?”
He nodded to prove he could. She sighed and kicked her shoes off and then moved to the other side of the bed to slide in beside him. He grinned and opened his arm to her so she could rest her head on his shoulder. She brushed her palm across his chest and then splayed her fingers over his heart.
“You know,” he said. “It was only less than a week ago that-”
“Shhhh,” she interrupted. “You promised.”
“I just wanted to point out, lying here like this-”
“I can literally feel you thinking overexerting thoughts,” she said, flexing her fingers against his chest. “Put it out of your mind. You need to get well.”
“Five days, eight hours, twen-”
Mulder trailed a finger up and down Scully’s spine under her thin sweater and then played with the ends of her her at her nape. She breathed deeply and shifted against him.
“I can’t help thinking overexerting thoughts,” he said. “It’s like asking someone not to think of a pink elephant.”
“Then, think of a pink elephant,” she said.
“You’re thinking about it too, aren’t you?”
“About a pink elephant?”
“Five days, eight hours-”
Mulder put his hand over Scully’s to keep it against his chest and stopped talking. He breathed quietly and evenly, trying not to let any overexerting thoughts get in the way of his healing.
“Pink elephants was my favorite part of Dumbo as a kid. I would watch that scene on repeat for hours, eventually my tape broke and no longer played that part. When classmates discussed Disney everyone said it was scary and one kid told me I was going to grow up to be a “crazy bad person” because no “normal” person could like it. It was only recently that I rewatched it and understood how it could have seemed terrifying to kids but it still didn’t bother me and I feel like I’m weird for liking it.”
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