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Sam's had just about enough of the slop they're calling food and with sneer of disapproval, he pushes the hospital tray away from him.

"You're not going to eat your fruit cup?" Shafe asks him, lounging in the chair beside his bed.  He's stopped by for a brief visit.

"You couldn't pay me to eat it," Sam replies and he wipes his hands with a paper napkin.  He crumples it into a ball and tosses it aside when he's done.  It's not really the food, it's just being stuck here that he hates so much, "You talk to the nurses?  Can I go?"

Shafe doesn't respond but looks at Sam for a long moment with a smirk on his face, "This is just killing you, isn't it?  You know, you're lucky you didn't get your head cracked open.  Just a couple of battered ribs and some real rough bruises, Hodiak."

"Next time, Shafe, you're taking the bikers and I'm taking the hippies," Sam says.  When he breathes in, he can feel the pain in his body.  Shafe's right; he's got some really nasty bruises up his torso where he got a few really good punches.  Each inhale hurts and each exhale is like a little relief.  Sam's jaw tightens as he thinks of it.  He could have taken them, he's sure, if one of them hadn't pulled out a weapon. 

"Who brings a pipe to a fist fight?" Sam asks sarcastically, leaning back against the firm hospital pillows.  They make his neck itch, so he reaches behind him to try to get a good scratch but the movement is too much and an agonizing soreness makes him drop his arm again.  

"Yeah, well, you're welcome for saving your ass," Shafe's sighing with a grin, "I guess you owe me one, partner."

"I'll pay you back with a little advice: cut your damn hair."

This makes Shafe laugh and he stands, runs his fingers through the shaggy mess and slips his thumbs into the pockets of his bluejeans.  Some cop, Sam thinks, but he realizes he's not even being sarcastic.  Shafe's a good cop even with that damn mop on his head.

"Eat your fruit cup," Shafe says as way of goodbye, "You'll be back on the streets in no time.  See you, Hodiak."

Sam watches him go and he suddenly realizes he's not happy to be left alone again.  Cutler was by earlier but he really just wanted to question him, trying to bleed out any help Sam could offer on a few open cases.  He's only been in the hospital a day and already the precinct was falling apart without him, he'd thought--at least, Cutler was.  Opal had stopped by also and she'd even brought a small vase of flowers to brighten up the room.  She was never a woman prone to the pleasantries of life but she had a funny way of coming through when it mattered.  Once she had realized he was okay, she'd stayed only long enough to finish her cigarette.  Sam looked down at the ashtray besides his bed.  The butt from her smoke was crushed out inside of it, the ring of her lipstick still on it.  At least she had brought him some magazines.

"Sorry," Opal had said, the swirls of her smoke billowing around her face, "All I had was McCall's and Mademoiselle."

Sam had thumbed through the women's magazines and twisted his lips, "No, no, it's alright.  I was hoping I'd learn how to become a 'summer stunner'.  Bring me a book next time, would you, Opal?"

She had shrugged one narrow shoulder, crushed out her cigarette and bid him goodbye.  Sam tossed the magazines aside at first but as the hours dragged on, he'd peak inside them every once in a while.  Sam stashed the magazines under his pillow when Cutler and Shafe had shown up but he pulls one out now.  He is even considering attempting to make the bundt cake on page 21 when the door to his room opened.  Sam slips the glossy pages under the bed sheet before he lets out a small breath of relief.

"I'm just here to collect your tray, Mr. Hodiak," the nurse says, stepping into the room with a soft click of stubby heels.  Her voice is quiet but firm and her body is petite, emphasized by the white dress of her nurse's uniform.  From beneath her hat, there was a soft bob of red hair.  When she got to the bed, she asked, "You hardly ate.  Are you in pain?"

"Hm?  Oh, no, no.  I've just had about enough of hospital food, that's all."

"Well, alright," the nurse says.  There's a coldness in her voice that surprises him.  Normally, the nurses fawn and mother.  She's definitely not the type.  Sam is grateful.  He watches as her manicured hands, with nails that are clean, short and functional, collect the tray.  Sam also watches her face and he's struck by how lovely he finds her although she seems uninterested in meeting his eyes.  She lifts the tray and wipes the table with a curt motion and Sam takes the chance to lift himself in the bed a little with his forearms braced on the mattress.  He groans when he does it and that catches her attention.  He sees now her eyes are blue.

"Are you alright, Mr. Hodiak?" she asks again with a directness.  He can tell she's watching him closely now.

"Nothing that can't be fixed with some fresh air, I think," Sam says to her as he gingerly tries to fix his pillows.  The nurse sees this and moves to do it for him, getting them properly under his back.  He sees her name tag reads "Dana".  He thanks her when he leans back against the pillows again.  She's using this opportunity to to pull aside the blankets which surprises Sam.

"You had the cracked ribs," she recalls and begins to untie the strings of his hospital gown and Sam's a little unsure what to say, "Let me take a look."

Sam's not comfortable with this and he attempts to halt her, "It's just some bumps and bruises, I don't need a full physical."

Dana stops what she's doing but she's holding the strings to his gown.  The look she gives him is motherly alright but it's like she's telling him to eat his vegetables, "It may be easier for me to recommend to the doctor to let you go if I see what's going on."

"He's a smart man, I'm sure he knows what he's doing."

For a moment, Sam feels her fingers tighten on the strings and then Dana drops them abruptly, brushing her hands like she's done with him, "Sure, fine, whatever."

Whatever?

Sam's a little surprised by her change in demeanor and he actually feels a little guilty.  As Dana picks back up the tray, preparing to leave the room, he raises summons her back politely, "Wait, hold on.  Wait.  I'm sorry.  Please come back."

"If you'd rather the doctor," Dana responds, pursing her full lips, "I will be sure to send him in as soon as he's free."

"I don't... Please, look, I apologize.  I'd like you to look at my bruises, Nurse Dana."

"Scully," she corrects but she's setting the tray back down on the little table provided.

"Scully.  Nurse Scully, I would appreciate it," Sam accents his words, trying to make his point, "if you'd take a look at my bruises.  Please."

This seems to win her over and Sam nods a thank you to her as she steps over to resume her place and her work.  Nurse Scully's fingers go to the neck of his gown and he feels goosebumps rise on his skin as they brush the short hairs there.  He shifts and helps her get the gown down and his arm through the sleeve, exposing just one portion of his body.  And it's a rough looking portion.

"That bad?" he only half-jokes as she lets out a stream of air through her lips.  He doesn't need her answer, he can see the angry looking splotch that makes up his entire right side.  It's ugly.

"It could be worse," she says and gently brushes her fingers over the area, barely skimming the damaged skin with the pads of her fingers.  Sam doesn't know if it's the chill in the air of her fingers but he feels his nipples tighten.  He opts to brush it off as the cold.

"How so?"

"You could be dead."

"You've got a great bedside manner.  Anyone ever told you that, Nurse Scully?"

Sam actually sees her smile at that and he's a little pleased with himself.  All in all, she actually does have a good beside manner, Sam decides.  Her touch is gentle and professional and her eyes examine him with a medical detachment he appreciates given the situation.

"Tell me how it hurts.  From a scale of 1 to 5, alright?"

Nurse Scully begins to press gently against the bruise.  She's running her fingers along it in different areas, lingering longer in some.  Sam's numbers are staying somewhere around 2 and 3.  Then she moves to a certain spot and he takes in a sharp breath,

"Oh, Christ!  Five," he winces away from her instinctively.  It seems like enough for her and she takes his arm in her hands, one small palm on his elbow and the other on his wrist.

"I want to see you move your arm," she informs him and, carefully, guides him to flex the arm out and then bend it back in.  Sam can do it but it hurts.  She suddenly asks, "Did your wife bring you those?"

Sam's not sure what she means until she nods towards the discarded women's magazines.  Sam laughs but hurts so its more of a forced chuckle, "Oh, yeah.  Well, ex-wife.  Soon to be ex-wife."

The line of questioning doesn't surprise Sam.  He's assuming she's in the market for a husband, like most women.  He's thinking that she's probably feeling left out.  She's got to be in her 30s, most women her age are married already.  She's probably watched all her friends marry off and it's got to be killing her.  It seems hard to believe that Sam would ever be interested in getting married again.  Maybe if, by some miracle, Grace and he... the idea is gone even before he lets it finish.

He shocks himself by asking, "Does your husband know you spend all day running your hands all over other men?"

The comment is uncharacteristically flirtatious and impolite to ask but Sam figures it couldn't hurt.  He certainly wouldn't kick her out of bed and sometimes all a woman needs is a little attention.  He's got to be twenty years older than her but, well, he's a good looking man, isn't he?

Nurse Scully doesn't answer and seems to make a point of not doing so by asking another question in its place, "Do you live with her still?"

"No, we haven't lived together for years," he wants to remark that her comment is a very forward.  Sam watches her face, trying to judge what her feelings are but she's hard to read.  She's still examining him with a clinical eye.  Sam finishes with a hesitation, "I live alone."

"Alright," Nurse Scully says and helps him get his gown back in it's proper place before stepping back, "I think it's broken, Mr. Hodiak.  Did the doctor not do an x-ray on you?"  

She moves to the chart clipped to the end of the bed and collects it for reading.  The action is odd to Sam and he tilts his head, admiring the intense way she handles him.  She's chewing her bottom lip as she reads through it quickly, her light brows are furrowed.

"Dr. Crews said it wasn't necessary."

"Of course that's what he said," she remarks under her breath and Sam realizes she didn't want him to hear her.  She puts the chart back down and stands at the foot of the bed.  Her arms cross, mouth twisted in thought.  Sam looks back at her and after a raise of his eyebrow, she does the same.

"Mr. Hodiak, I think..." she trails off, as if she's just realized something and it's taken the words right out of her mouth.  She seems resigned when she says, "I'm going to see if I can speak to Dr. Crews so you can go home.  I don't think you need to be here."

"Thank you, Nurse Scully," the relief in Sam is obvious and he leans back in the bed, "I really have to get back to work."

"What do you do for a living?"

"I'm work for the police force.  I'm a detective."

"Ah," she nods her head, "So I should be calling you Detective Hodiak."

"I'd prefer just Sam."

Nurse Scully smiles but wags a finger with a distinct seriousness, "Well, Sam, no work.  None.  You need bedrest.  A lot of bedrest.  But at least you can do it in your home.  Let me get the doctor."

That's not exactly what Sam wants to hear but he doesn't argue with her.  He just watches her walk out of the room, appreciating her legs in the white stockings as she does.  It's almost an hour before he sees anyone again and it's Dr. Crews, with Nurse Scully tagging along behind him.  Crews enters the room with a confident flourish and grins a broad, straight smile at Hodiak.

"Sam, how are we doing, old boy?"

"Who you calling 'old', Doc?"

"Right, right," Crews laughs and comes over to the beside, "Our Dana tells me you're doing better.  Maybe it's time to let you go.  I don't see why not, I suppose.  How are you feeling though?"

"I'm fine, really.  It's just a bruise."

"I think the rib may be broken, Doctor," Nurse Scully chimes in from behind him.

"Do you think it's broken, Sam?"  Dr. Crews hardly takes in Nurse Scully's words, just enough to ask Sam his own prognosis. 

Sam's not entirely sure if it is or if it isn't, he just knows he wants to get out of here, "I'm alright, Jonas.  I'm ready to go."

"Very good, very good.  Well," Dr. Crews puts his hands on his hips, under his long white doctor's coat, "I think we can see to getting you discharged.  You'll be up and going in a few days.  Maybe even tomorrow.  Just go home and wrap yourself tight, a compress on the ribs will help set anything, alright?"

Crews reaches out to slap Sam on the shoulder in a sign of camaraderie.  It's agony on Sam's body but he holds in the small scream he wants to let out.  It's completely lost on Crews, who says he'll get the discharge papers ready.

"Dana will take care of you, get you all squared away," he says and right before he leaves the room, an idea strikes him and he stops to look at Nurse Scully, "Dana, do me a favor and, after you get Hodiak ready but before you leave, will you bring me Stubben's report and a cup of coffee. Thank you."

"Sure thing, Dr. Crews," she says to his retreating back.  Sam can see the way her fingers are twisting in the pressed fabric of her skirt.  He's pretty sure if she hadn't kept them busy, they'd be balled in a fist and in the back of Crews's head.  Sam would have to respond, of course, being an officer of the peace but he'd definitely get a good laugh out of it first.

Sam pulls back the blanket and gingerly swings his feet over the side of the bed.  Nurse Scully goes to a cabinet and is collecting the clothing Sam had come in.  The nurses had washed them and folded them neatly for when he was ready.  Nurse Scully set them down on the bed,

"I'll go get your papers while you dress, Sam."

"Thank you, Nurse Scully, for talking to Dr. Crews for me," Sam remarks, trying to catch her eyes.  He's sitting up and can get a good look at her now she's so close.  He's starting to see the soft dusting of freckles on her skin and how very clear her eyes are.  He can't say they're his favorite feature though.  What Sam's liking the most is something that can't be seen in Nurse Scully, at least not on her skin.

She laughs a little, touching her nose and raising her eyebrows, "I'm not sure how much it helped but you're welcome, Sam."

Sam wants to tell her that Crews is an arrogant ass.  He's know the man for years and he's never really liked him but Sam has a feeling that she already knows this. And there's something that keeps him saying it.  He reaches out and finds his thick fingers go to her nimble wrist.

"Thanks all the same," he finishes, finally getting her eye.  She takes her hand away before their touch can linger too long.   She nods.

"Well, let me get the papers," and she's headed out the door.  Sam's preparing to stand when he notices she hasn't left, she's hesitating there with her back to him.  Finally she turns and he's already got his attention on her.  There's something she wants to say and it looks like it's building up inside her.

"Sam..."

Sam feels she needs a little encouragement so he casts a sympathetic glance on her, wanting her to see she has his full attention, "Yes, Nurse Scully?"

She steps forward and finally lets out a breath, "Look, you need... Sam, I'm pretty sure you have a broken rib.  Maybe even two.  It's not the end of the world, it's not serious but you need honest-to-goodness bedrest.  No work.  No undue excursion.  If you push it, if you could even manage to push it, you risk breaking it further or even piercing a lung.  I know what Dr. Crews said but I strongly suggest that you take /my/ advice.  You're going to need two, three months to let those bones mend.

Her hair bounces as she speaks, her white cap is pinned perfectly on the crown of her head, and yet Sam hears nothing but sound advice.  She may look just like a cleaner of bedpans and a bringer of coffee but her tone is something different.  Her tone is something he can trust.  Sam nods as he listens to her.

"You said you live alone.  You should stay with someone, or have someone who can help you.  That's just my advice."

"I think you're probably exactly right, Nurse Scully.  I think your advice is sound and I'd be stupid not to heed it."

She's surprised and her face registers it.  Sam knows she expected him to brush her off, just as Crews had.  He smiles a bit at how quickly she recovers and returns to that chill, professional manner of hers.  

"Well," she says again, pausing just to let herself return his smile a little, "I will get your papers.  You... try to dress."

Right before she's out the door, she stops again and turns quickly, finger pointed, "Oh and under no circumstances should you bind yourself.  Compression is not good.  Just let your ribs heal naturally.  The human body is a miraculous thing, Sam, it knows how to care for itself.  Let it do it's job."

She's gone before he can say anything, closing the door to give him privacy, and Sam sits on the bed for a few minutes, reflecting on Nurse Dana Scully.  What comes over him in a mixture of warmth and sympathy for her.  It wasn't a husband she was looking for, it was just some damned respect.  He could admire that in a person, any person, but especially a woman.  Housewives and mothers is all they were allowed to be, it was the few and far between who longed for more.  It must be one hell of a fight.

Dressing wasn't as easy as he'd thought it'd be.  He'd managed to get his under pants and slacks on when there was a knock at the door.  Sam's not sure what to say but he's struggling to get his undershirt on, the motion of lifting and bending his arms like that is particularly painful.

The door opens just a little and he hears Nurse Scully speak carefully, "Sam?"

"Uh, I'm a bit indecent," he says, "But I could use your help."

She slides herself into the room and closes the door again.  In her hands are clipboard but she rests that on the table for now.  She's completely unfazed by his semi-state of undress and she goes over with delay to help him.  With her, he can complete the simple task of getting his undershirt on over his broad body.  She doesn't comment as she aids him in getting on his shirt as well.

"There," she remarks as he sits back down on the bed.  Just that small activity is wearing him out and he's dreading to ask her but he knows there's no way he's getting on his shoes without help.  He can hardly move, let alone bend down.  He doesn't have to ask and Nurse Scully's already moving to do so.

"Is there someone to pick you up?" she asks from down on the floor.

A few faces run past him but Sam's not sure who he would call.  Shafe would come and get him but there's something about showing that side of himself to the kid that makes him hesitate.  Cutler probably be too busy and Sam would never hear the end of it.  That leaves Opal and Grace.  Grace wouldn't be caught dead picking him up and honestly Sam wasn't sure what her situation was with her husband was currently, it seemed to be changing all the time.  If she was trying to pretend to be happy again then she'd definitely not want to be seen with him.  Opal would pick him up, if he asked her but the prospect didn't seem comforting.  He wasn't sure he wanted to speak to her right now, let alone drive with her and he most certainly wouldn't put her out by making her care for him for three months.  The truth was, it seemed unmanly to ask Opal.

"I can drive myself," he responds and the look Nurse Scully gives him is disapproving at best.  He goes on, "I can do it.  I just have to get out to my car.  But I promise, after that, it's all bedrest."

"If you say so, Sam," Nurse Scully stood and went back out to the hall to retrieve a pair of crutches she'd thought ahead enough to bring, "Just... use the crutches, at least.  Please."

Sam can't argue, even if he wanted to.  He gets them situated under his arms and he already feels better on his feet, taking some of the pressure off his body.  It's easier to walk but he winces with each step.  Nurse Scully stands besides him, her hands out stretched, as if she's ready to catch him if he falls--as if she could hold him up, he thinks.  After the fifth step, he does in fact almost fall and she halts him,

"Alright, just wait," she orders and she's out of the room.  When she comes back, Sam shakes his head.

"Oh, no.  Absolutely not.  I'm alright.  The crutches are enough.  I don't need this."

"Sam," she's saying over him, "Sam?"

"What?"

"Be quiet and sit in the chair."

"You'd make a good cop, Nurse Scully," Sam says with a displeased look on his face but he's giving into her demands, "You'd play bad cop real well."

Nurse Scully doesn't respond but instead she wheels the chair over to him and helps him ease his body down into the seat.  The bend hurts at first but it feels better in a moment and Sam's glad he won't have to walk it.  He isn't looking forward to be wheeled out of the hospital though.

None in the hospital notices but Sam feels obvious.  He feels vulnerable in the position he's in and that's not his favorite place to be but, damn, if Nurse Scully wasn't right; this was much better than walking.  When they turn a corner, he hears Nurse Scully, who's been pushing him, let out an unhappy breath.

"Damn..."

It's Crews.  He's standing at the nurses' station, chatting with the women there.  When he sees them, his eyes perk and he walks over, "What's going on here?  Couldn't make it out the door, Hodiak?"

"Oh, you know," Sam's unsure about what to say.  He's debating just telling Crews point blank that he thinks he's an idiot but Crews proves that enough with his next statement.

"Just wanted to be pampered by a beautiful woman, huh, Hodiak?"  Crews grins at him and gives a wink to Nurse Scully.  Sam can't see her face but he can guess what she looks like.

"I guess that's it, Crews," Sam deadpans, "If you'll excuse me, I have to get home."

Nurse Scully takes this as her cue and she moves them past Crews without another word.  When they're outside, Sam looks up at her.

"You're good at what you do, Nurse Scully.  You've got a gift for it."

Sam's implication is clear.  Her only reply is, "You can call me Dana."

When he helps her find his car, she finally speaks again, "Let me take you home, Sam.  You can't drive like this.  My shift is over, it's not a problem and I'd like to know you got home okay."

Groaning as he tries to get up from the wheelchair, Sam's beginning to think maybe she's right about this also.  How far is he going to get?  With a hard sigh, he looks at Dana, who's got a wrinkle of concern between her eyebrows.  It makes him feel... cared for.

"Don't you have to bring Crews his coffee?"

Dana smiles again.  This time it's big and unabashed.  She knows that he knows she's right.  She reaches up to unpin the hat from her head and says,

"He can get his own damned coffee."