It was four o'clock in the morning, and Mulder was wide awake. That was just fine. He wasn't bothering anyone. Matter of fact, he had energy to burn. So, he went for a jog. He was prepared for any kind of trouble, except for the kind he found. He ran into a bat. It bit him on the neck. in classic form.
Cursing as he ran back home, Mulder held his left hand on his neck. He got out the first aid kit to clean up the twin wounds. He slapped a bandage on it while he called Scully.
"Scully, it's me," he said by way of greeting.
"I know it's you," she said, her voice heavy with sleep. "No one else would call me this late."
"I'm having a medical issue."
"So go to the emergency room."
"Can you come over?"
There was a pause, while she checked the time. "No. Mulder. Are you on drugs? You can tell me. I won't judge you."
"You'll shoot me."
"I will shoot you, but I will not judge you."
He knew she was right. "I got bitten by a bat."
"You'll need to get some shots. Go to the doctor. You'll be fine."
"You're a doctor."
"No, I'm a federal agent. Who has a gun. And needs some sleep. You are not going to be able to convince me that this was a paranormal bat. God only knows why it would attack you-- where did this happen?"
"I went for a run."
"You're an idiot," she scoffed.
"I know. Please?"
She didn't say anything.
"I'm getting up, I'm getting dressed. I'll be there in thirty minutes. Make me some coffee."
"I can check if the coffee shop's open."
"I'll check it on my way to the pharmacy." She sighed. "Mulder, you'd better be dying."
When Scully softly knocked on the door-- not waking the neighbors-- she had a bag from the pharmacy, and her gun in its holster. Her hair was pulled back or forward; Mulder couldn't quite tell. There were things-- pins or barrettes-- sticking out of it. She was wearing jeans and a T-shirt and a sweatshirt too large to be her own. She didn't look like Scully. She didn't act like her either.
She made him sit down on the toilet so she could properly clean out the wounds. She dabbed at his neck with iodine.
She gripped his shoulder with her left hand. "Hold still, Mulder."
He started shaking. "I have the flu?"
"Possibly. You might have rabies." She pressed the cloth harder on his neck.
"Has anyone told you that you have a terrible bedside manner?"
"Yes, but I make house calls."
"What if I turn into a vampire?"
"Mulder, you're not going to become a vampire."
"I was bitten by a bat, Scully."
"So you've said."
"You don't believe me."
She sighed. "I want to believe you, Mulder. I want to know that you didn't get bitten by some girl you picked up."
Mulder blinked. "I don't. . .do that."
"I know. That would require talking to someone."
His jaw started its descent to the floor. He sized her up, in her t-shirt and jeans. "Did you get shorter?"
"I'm not wearing heels," she said, rolling her eyes. She popped a thermometer into his mouth before he could say another word. "How can you always manage to find the bad situation?"
She led him out to the couch and had him sit quietly for a minute while she formulated a plan. A minute became sixty and the hour became all the time he had left.
When he came back to himself, he was in his bed. He didn't have a bed. He was tied down. Someone was walking towards him. Someone was going to rescue him.
It wasn't Scully; he'd know her footsteps anywhere on any surface. It was some nondescript nurse holding a syringe.
"You need to calm down, Mr. Mulder," he said, tapping the syringe. "Everything will be all right."
"This is a mistake."
"You've already made all of the mistakes," the nurse sighed.
Mulder couldn't make out the name on the tag. "Let me go," he said.
"I'm afraid we can't do that, Mr. Mulder. Don't worry, we'll have you all better soon enough."
Then there was pain and too much light. Then there was calm and too much darkness.
The second time he woke up, Scully was talking.
"What if you're right?" she asked. Her words was meant for him, but she wasn't looking. She was wearing the clothes she'd been wearing at his apartment. Her hair was different, but still not Scully-like. "What if, in the world you live in, you really are turning into a vampire, undergoing a cellular transformation? What does that mean? Do I, will I have to kill you? Does it have to be a stake to the heart? Will you need blood from the bat that bit you before you can get to that point? Will you just waste away without it? Are you ever going to wake up?"
"Yes to the last," he croaked. "Hi."
"Hi." She looked at him. "You've been out for the last few hours."
"Have you been talking to me the whole time?"
"Off and on."
He moved his arms. He wasn't tied down any more. The room looked different. Everything had changed. "Am I a vampire?"
Scully took off her necklace. She pressed the cross into his hand, closing his fingers around it. "Does that hurt?"
She re-clasped the chain. "You're not a vampire then."
"That's your test?"
"Yes." She nodded. "Hundred percent effective."
"You're supposed to be a scientist."
"You're supposed to be a psychologist. You tell me why people do the things they do."
"That's not who I am any more."
She shrugged. "You'll be fine, Mulder." She stretched. "I'm too tired to think of all the reasons why you can't possibly be a vampire."
"I'll be fine," he repeated softly.