Title: The Perfect Gift (A Christmas Story)
Author: Mulderache
Written: December 2000
Spoilers: through season eight
Disclaimer: they do not belong to me, however, they do belong to 1013 and chris carter. Oh yeah, according to my pregnancy calendar, Scully was two months pregnant in Requiem and her due date is January 20th.

Feedback: PLEASE.

December 24, 2000

He had been rescued just two weeks earlier. He had just been discharged from GUMC against doctor's orders. Skinner shook his head as he walked beside a very weak Mulder, who had insisted on shopping for a Christmas present for Scully. He just wanted to take him home and tie him to a bed and watch him heal properly.

Even Scully could not deter Mulder's restlessness. He would just complain that he had basically been immobile for the almost six months that he had been missing. Now he wanted to feel human again. He just wanted to shop for the perfect gift or the woman he loved and who was now carrying his baby.

The walker slowed him down as he made his way down the sidewalk.

He was determined to get a present for Scully. He wanted to give her something special to help make up for the time that they had spent apart. Skinner had insisted on accompanying him on his shopping trip but he knew that Scully and Skinner were being overprotective. He couldn't blame them though, he had only been out of the hospital for a only a couple of days. He just wanted to be normal again, or at least normal by his definition of the word.

It was already four o'clock in the evening and time was running out, the shops would be closing soon. He was beginning to stumble at intervals. He knew that he was over doing it by insisting on using his walker but he refused to be placed in the damned wheelchair and treated like an invalid. Skinner was giving him concerned looks and shaking his head. " You're worrying too much Walter."

"Mulder you are the only person I see that is sweating in twenty degree weather. If I let you get sick then Scully will let me have it but good." He watched as Mulder continued to struggle and gaze into the store windows.

"I'm fine. I have to find her a present. It has to be perfect, nothing else will suffice." He stopped to catch his breath then looked over to Skinner." She is the reason I held on to life. I need to give her something that will show her how much she means to me and how much I love her and the baby." He paused for a few seconds, "They are my reason for living. And trust me Walter, that is really saying a lot." He then proceeded to move forward slowly.

Skinner nodded his head and continued to stay an arm's length away, ready to catch him if he fell. " Do you know what you are looking for Mulder?"

He shook his head," I don't know but I will when I see it, it will speak to me." His hands had started to shake from the cold and he was appearing to weaken as he pushed the walker forward.

"Mulder, listen Scully is going to kick my ass if I don't get you home. She doesn't expect a gift. What she will be is ticked if you get sick. And who will she take her anger out on Mulder? Not you! She will take it out on me and I really don't need her mad at me. Do you understand?" his face was red with the cold and the anger.

Mulder could not help but smile, "You really are afraid of her aren't you Walter?"

"You damned right." He looked over to his struggling friend.

"Come on Mulder, you can take her shopping in a few days. You're getting sick is not worth it and anyhow she really didn't want you out in the cold anyway."

The walker caught in the uneven pavement and Skinner caught Mulder's arm, " I'm fine, I'm fine," he mumbled, but if he really told the truth he would have to say he felt like crap and his energy level was dwindling. He looked up to see a very concerned Walter Skinner. " I really am fine." He lied as he managed to get the walker steady and to stand up straight again.

"I'm taking you home Mulder before I have to call an ambulance.

He pulled out his cell phone to call Scully but Mulder reached up and took the phone out of his hand.

"Thirty more minutes and I will go regardless if I find the right present or not." He got quiet for a few seconds and then finished his sentence," I promise."

Skinner nodded and took his cell phone back and placed it in his coat pocket, " Thirty minutes and no more Mulder. I will not back down."

Mulder stared looking again at the shops when one caught his eye and he proceeded to take the walker and move towards the small shop with Skinner at his side.

Two hours later (Fox Mulder's Apartment)

She was pacing the floor. Walter had called an hour ago and told her that he was bringing Mulder home. Their home was now officially his apartment. It was larger than hers and closer to Mulder's rehab center. They had wanted him to stay at least two weeks in rehab but he would have none of it and now he was out in the cold shopping. What had she been thinking to let him out in twenty-degree weather? She must have been having a stupid moment to allow such a thing. He was too weak to be out shopping or doing anything else for that matter. She was about to ring Skinner's cell phone when she heard a gentle knock at the door.

She walked as quickly as her pregnant body would allow. She looked through the peep hole and saw Skinner standing by Mulder, who was sitting in his wheelchair. She opened the door and quickly noticed that either Mulder had passed out or he had fallen asleep. And Walter had better wish that it was the latter or he would need a wheelchair.

"It's not what you think Dana. He's just asleep." Scully opened the door wide and he pushed the wheelchair into the entry.

"He's exhausted." Her hand was quickly touching and assessing her partner and lover. She motioned to the bedroom door and Walter pushed the chair into the room, near the bed.

He helped remove his heavy coat and clothes. Walter helped Scully change him into his pajamas. He then gently lifted him into the bed. He noticed as he had in the past week just how much weight his agent had lost during his abduction.

Mulder had been too stubborn to stay in the hospital and let them help him gain some weight back before coming home. Instead he had left the hospital against medical advice of Dr. Beyers. She had even threatened him that she would stop being his physician if he left but that did not deter his actions. He called the Gunmen and they brought him home. Dr. Beyers had called Scully and told her about her wayward patient and together they came up with a plan.

He would have a nurse during the day and in the evening and at night they would sedate him so that he would sleep all night. He was having a lot of really bad nightmares at night, which was interfering with his rest.

Walter looked down at Mulder and then back up at Dana, "He wanted to go shopping. Please don't get mad at him, he just wanted to get you a present." His voice was low, almost a whisper so as not to disturb Mulder's sleep.

"The man infuriates me but he is Mulder." She pulled out a syringe and filled it with his night medicine. She had obtained pill form and oral form. If he refused his oral meds she was instructed by Dr. Beyers to give him an injection. She wanted him to sleep the rest of the night. Actually he needed the rest after that little stunt today. Skinner helped turn to him to his side and pulled done his pajama pants, to expose his hip, she then cleansed the skin and pushed the needle into the relaxed muscle.

Mulder did not acknowledge the sting of the needle but instead he continued to sleep soundly.

Skinner gathered his coat, which he had discarded earlier and turned to leave, "Good night Dana. Merry Christmas." His right hand reached out and opened the door. " Tell Mulder I'll see him tomorrow."

She smiled and nodded, "I will as soon as he awakens," which should be somewhere around noon, she thought to herself. "Merry Christmas Walter. Be careful going home." He waved and was out the door. Scully went back into the bedroom to check on her wayward partner. He was sleeping soundly and he seemed to be fine. She went to the bathroom to change and went she came back out she gently, and quietly crawled into the bed, careful not to disturb its slumbering patient. Within minutes she was asleep.

Christmas Morning

She awakened to find a pair of hazel eyes staring down at her, his face was beaded with sweat. "Hey, are you okay?"

"Fine." He rolled over and took her in his arms. " My hip hurts a little."

"Sorry. Dr Beyers wants you to at least sleep ten hours a night."

She pulled herself up in bed and ran her hand through his sweaty hair. It suddenly dawned on her that he might have a fever. " Mulder, do you have a fever or did you have a bad dream?"

"I think both." His voice low and gravely. "I feel cold." His body was shivering and his skin was warm to touch.

Scully reached over and grabbed the aural thermometer and placed it in his ear, the reading was one hundred three point two. She pulled herself out of the bed and grabbed the phone. She made a call to Dr. Beyers and to Skinner. She would need to take Mulder to the emergency room at GUMC.

"I'm not going to the hospital Scully." She was busy getting her clothes on as she gathered his meds and started putting them into a plastic bag." You're not listening to me. I am not going to the hospital."

She shook her head and grabbed her purse and placed it with the bag of meds." Mulder, this is not up for argument. You will go to the ER and you will not get upset about it, understand." Her hands were firmly set upon her hips and her blue eyes looked an angry red from where he was lying. A chill ran through him, he didn't know if it was from the fever or from fear of his partner.

She did shoot me once, he thought to himself.

She pulled a pair of sweats out and helped Mulder slide into the pants and placed the sweatshirt over his head. She put a pair of socks on his feet and then his house slippers. She then opened the bottle of Tylenol and gave him two capsules and hoped they stayed down. Mulder had a tendency to vomit whenever he had a fever. "Okay Mulder, let's get your coat on before Walter gets here." She was holding the coat out in front of him." I shouldn't have let you go shopping out in the cold yesterday, that was so stupid," she mumbled to herself.

"I said I wasn't going to the hospital Scully. I am not going."

He folded his arms across his chest in a stubborn gesture.

Scully bit her lip in frustration. It was like dealing with a twoyear old since his return. "Listen, Dr. Beyers is ready to put you in restraints if necessary. We will not allow you to hurt yourself! And if I personally have to fasten the restraints then that is just what I will have to do Fox Mulder!" The words had come out harsh and a little too blunt but she cared and she would not allow for him to cause himself harm.

His eyes clouded with unshed tears, his arms dropped to his side and in almost an inaudible whisper he spoke, "It reminds me too much of my captivity. It's sterility, nonemotional faces that whisper things like this is going to hurt for only a second but seconds then minutes pass and the pain is still there to endure."

He looked up to Scully, his eyes were pleading, "I couldn't stay in the hospital because the dreams and the memories were surely going to drive me mad. It's not that I don't want to get better.

I just can't do it in the hospital and keep my sanity"

Her face softened and she walked over and took him in her arms."

Mulder, I didn't know. I know that it had to be a hard thing. I can't remember what they did to me but I can only imagine that you remember details, your eidetic memory won't let go of the terrible things they did to you Mulder." She hugged him tighter, she could feel the tears as they ran down his face staining her blouse. She heard a faint knock on the door and she pushed Mulder back down under the blanket. "I'll be back in a few minutes." She stroked his cheek and left to answer the door.

Skinner walked in and looked into the bedroom door and saw Mulder with his eyes closed. "How is he Scully?" he asked as he followed her into the kitchen. She had pulled out her cell phone and was talking with someone. He waited until she finished and spoke, "What's wrong with Mulder?"

"His fever is up and Dr. Beyers wants him at GUMC as soon as possible. She wants me to give him some Ativan to help with his anxiety. She feels that he really needs to be seen due to his high fever." She placed the phone back into her pocket and walked back into the bedroom with Skinner following.

"Mulder. Dr Beyers wants me to give you some medicine to help you with the anxiety. She promised me that she would not keep you overnight if she did not find anything significant." she kept talking as she drew up the large dose of medicine into the syringe. She hoped that he understood that it was for his own benefit.

He looked up at the syringe," It's Christmas Scully. I don't want to spend Christmas in the hospital. I've spent every holiday for the past six months in a flying saucer with someone slicing and dicing me with some form of instrument. I just want to be here in my apartment with you Scully. Please not today."

Skinner watched as tears flowed from Mulder's eyes. Scully continued to prepare the syringe. She reached over and took his hand and gently squeezed," Mulder, I love you. I can't ignore your fever. Please, if you can't do it for yourself then do it for the baby. Please." Her face was sad and distressed as she looked down into his eyes, hoping that he could see the truth of her statement, the desperation.

He nodded and turned to his side. It was a gesture of more than just surrender, it was a recognition that he needed some help with dealing with the ER visit. "Hurry before I change my mind."

His voice was low and full of emotion.

Scully repeated the process from the night before but this time Mulder tensed and the needle did not enter as gently as she would have hoped and the grimace on his face gave way to the pain she had just inflicted on his body." Sorry Mulder." She placed the used syringe into the red needle box then reached down to rub the sore muscle. " We need to go before the medicine puts you completely out Mulder."

He nodded and scooted back to the side of the bed and Walter rolled the wheelchair beside his bed. " I can do it, give me a second." He slowly pushed his sore hips into the seat. " Can I get my coat?"

Scully reached for the coat and assisted Mulder into getting it around his small frame. Together, Skinner, Scully and Mulder left for the hospital.

GUMC Hospital

The hallways were crowded with sick people. Scully was concerned that Mulder would get exposed to something worse. His defenses were down and his body was weak. He was still sleeping when they arrived. Walter had lifted him into the chair and now they sat in the waiting area wondering where Dr. Beyers was, what was keeping her from seeing Mulder.

The nurse called out Mulder's name and Scully walked up to the desk. When she returned she was mad. " They were too busy to tell Dr. Beyers that Mulder was here. She has been waiting for him the whole time." Walter grabbed the chair and started to the ER cubicle that the nurse was leading them too when Mulder sat up and noted where he was and that he was back in the ER. He shook his head and rubbed at his face. He felt foggy from the medicine and a little bit nauseated." Scully?"

"Yes Mulder." She looked over to see the green tent to his face and reached over to the stand in the room and grabbed a basin.

She placed it under his chin just as he started to vomit. " It's okay Mulder." She rubbed his shoulders and waited until he had finished. A washcloth appeared from a nurse who was assisting.

Scully placed the washcloth to the back of his neck.

They assisted Mulder up on the exam table and Dr Beyers started her exam. She noted that he had no cough, sinus congestion, diarrhea or stomach pain. She wrote some orders and lab came in and drew blood and x-ray came in and did a portable film. When the room had finally cleared and Dr. Beyers had given him something for his vomiting he was resting quietly.

Scully and Skinner were sitting beside his stretcher talking in light whispers. He hated being in the hospital and he hated being sick. It was Christmas and they should be at home opening Christmas presents and filling up on turkey, dressing and dessert. The thought of food almost made him want to vomit again.

He was not staying in the hospital and nobody, not even Scully, was going to make him stay.

Dr Beyers walked back into the room and sat down facing Mulder.

Both Skinner and Scully stood and walked over to stand by his stretcher. " Mulder, from everything I see you have an infection.

Your white count is up, your fever and vomiting or definite signs that your body is trying to fight this off but you need antibiotics and they will need to come intravenously. I will need to admit you Mulder. I'm sorry."

He suddenly found the strength to sit up on the side of the bed, "No, I'm going back to my apartment." He attempted to sit up straight but his stomach was now cramping and his head was spinning.

Dr Beyers stood and placed her hand on Mulder's shoulder. "Mulder you aren't going anywhere so just lie down." She was meeting resistance and noted that he was not going to obey. He was definitely a stubborn one to take of when he was sick.

Mulder then stood and grabbed his clothes and walked to the corner of the room, holding on to the counters as he maneuvered his weakened, fevered body to a safe area. He was extremely lightheaded from the medications he had received." I'm going home. I will take the medicine at home but I will not stay here.

I can not stay here." The last statement was all he could give them. They did not know what they had done on the ship and they could not understand the terror he felt lying in such a sterile, cold environment for even a day.

"It's Christmas. Okay, I will get your homecare nurse to give your meds and keep you from vomiting up a lung." She turned to Scully, "This is not a good idea but I have no choice." She looked down and started writing orders and exited the room.

"Mulder get back over here before you fall and break something.

Skinner walked over and assisted their friend back to the stretcher but Mulder did not lie down. He picked up his clothes and started trying to dress himself. " I'll help. You are truly the most stubborn man I've ever seen." She fussed as she assisted getting him back into his sweats.

Dr. Beyers came back in with a nurse and a packaged tray. " I'm going to get your access line in before you leave. I've called homecare and instructed them on getting the equipment and the medicines but I want to give you the first dose of antibiotic now."

He nodded and held out his arm but Dr. Beyers shook her head.

"What?" he felt that she was trying to trick him, they had tricked him many times on the ship.

"Since you're going home I will need a better access for the Homecare nurse. I will probably put in a pics line or a central line into the internal jugular. You will need a good port for the heavy duty meds I need to send you home on for the infection."

She proceeded to set up a table as Mulder watched cautiously. " I will need you to lie down Mulder and turn your head to the left."

Mulder lay down and did as his physician instructed. He was watching very carefully as she gloved and then draped his neck with a green towel. " This is going to be cold Mulder." She instructed as she bathed his neck with betadine. Dr Beyers looked up at the very pregnant Dr. Scully and Walter Skinner," it might be best for you two to wait outside for a few minutes unless Mulder needs you to stay."

They both nodded in understanding that she could handle Fox Mulder better without their assistance. He was less likely to try to get up and bolt. Scully bent down and kissed him on the cheek, "We'll be back in a few minutes." She walked towards the door and vanished from Mulder's sight.

"This is going to sting but it'll be over in a few minutes." He nodded and the sting was more like a knife sticking in his neck.

He grimaced as the med entered his skin then numbness started to spread across his neck. She was poking and pushing but he did not move. Within minutes she was finished and he was sporting a three pronged central line from the right side of his neck." I'm done Mulder. I'm going to order your med and then after it infuses I'll reluctantly send you home." Her voice was indicative of the frustration she was having with her patient.

He rolled his eyes and held back his reply, he was going to be leaving so he would not press his luck. He reached over and pulled his coat into his arms and felt for the present in his pocket. After locating the small hump he smiled. She would think it was the perfect gift.

The nurse entered and found her patient snoring softly. She quietly placed the antibiotic on the intravenous pump and hooked it into the central line. She picked up the coat and laid it across the bedside table not noticing that the small package fell from the pocket to the floor. She proceeded in taking vitals and before she left her foot had accidentally kicked the package underneath the stretcher.

Dr Beyers had medicated Mulder again for nausea before discharging him home. " Skinner had almost had to pick him up after the antibiotic had infused and place him into his wheelchair. The trip home was quiet and when they arrived at the apartment the Gunmen were there to assist with a very drowsy and grumpy Mulder. Afterwards the day nurse arrived and set up the pumps for Mulder's meds as he slept. The boys and Skinner reluctantly left to spend Christmas with their families Scully lay down on Mulder's couch and took a nap. The Christmas tree lights gave off a soft glow to the room. The apartment was bathed in silence. She awakened by a harsh sound coming from the bedroom. She stood and glanced at the clock at noted that is was late evening. She would need to heat up supper soon. Her mother had brought food over earlier and all she would have to do is to put it up in the oven. She quietly made her way to the bedroom and found her partner sitting on the side of the bed with tears flowing down his cheek. Her concern grew when she did not see the nurse." Mulder, where is the nurse?" she asked the concern was growing as she watched him sob. He was holding his coat and she was getting concerned that he was having a difficult time.

He shrugged his shoulders and answered in a dazed manner" The phone rang and she said she needed to leave for about an hour."

He pulled his coat closer to him and continued to cry.

"Are you sick at your stomach Mulder? Are you in pain?" Her hands were assessing his still too warm body and his tear stained face. " What's wrong Mulder?"

"I lost it." His voice was hoarse and low. He looked so sad.

"What Mulder? What did your lose?" she sat down on the bed beside him and gathered his fevered body in her arms. She knew that his emotional state was due to the combination of the fever and the medicine. He had difficulty with his meds in the hospital prior to discharge.

He pulled away and his eyes searched hers out and he spoke softly," I lost your Christmas present. I wanted to give you the perfect gift Scully. I wanted to make up for the pain I've caused you and the baby." His eyes fell to the bed as he dropped his coat to the floor. He started picking at the loose threads on his blanket, his fingers were moving nervously as he began to speak again, his voice low and sad," I wanted to show you how much I love you and how I held on because I knew that my reward would be seeing you again. I knew that if I had you that nothing else would matter. All the pain would go away when I saw your face and held you again."

She shook her head and smiled that Scully smile, "Mulder, I know how much you love me. You just don't understand. I don't need a store bought gift, the most perfect gift of all was that you were returned and that I get to hold you again." She paused again and looked into his hazel eyes and they stared for a few seconds at each other," Mulder. 'You' are the perfect gift. And 'our baby'

is the most wonderful and most perfect gift that I could have ever wished for in this world. Today I am the most happiest woman in the world, because I have you and I have your baby growing inside of me." She took him again into her arms and held him for a while crying together. The noise at the door startled then and they broke the embrace.

The nurse stood at the door," Dr. Scully. I'm sorry that I had to leave for a while but Dr. Beyers called, she wanted Mulder to get some ensure tonight if the vomiting was improved. She also wanted to give me this, she found it under Mr. Mulder's stretcher." she held out a small wrapped box. The smile on Mulder's face was bright and he started to get up to retrieve the box but Scully pushed him back down into the bed and reached for the small eloquently wrapped box. The nurse left the room to put away the ensure.

"What is it Mulder?" she asked as she carefully inspected the small package.

"Well it is Christmas Scully, I guess that you could open it and see what is inside." The smile of old returning to his lips.

"Unless you don't need anything else."

"Shut up Mulder." She quickly unwrapped the small package and was now staring at a small velvet box." Mulder. Is this what I think it is?" she asked but knew what lay inside the eloquent velvet box and she began to cry tears. But they were tears of joy, not of loss, that she had cried for the past few months. She turned and faced her lover and her best friend, she then opened the box and handed the small gift to Mulder. He reached inside and pulled out the sparking gold ring with the large diamond attached.

"Miss Scully. Will you marry me?" the expression in his voice was that of a small child asking if he could have the biggest piece of cake.

She held out her left hand and he placed the symbol of his love on her finger," I will marry you Mulder. I will." She pulled him into a hard embrace and held him tight.

"Now I have the most perfect gifts." He pulled her back and looked into her blue eyes," You Scully. You and our baby." They snuggled up together on the bed and stayed for the rest of the day. Finally they were truly happy.

The end.

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