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Dec. 13th, 2008

18.



It's like he's in his early twenties again, dribbling the ball down the makeshift court with what he thinks is great finesse towards an unguarded hoop. He even throws in a bounce through the legs once or twice, just for added style. Nothing but net, and that smooth swooshing sound that has become one of his great sources of pride. A driver honks his horn in acknowledgment as he drives by. Mulder runs to catch the rebound. It's the curb that gets in the way, really. It must be his exuberance that makes him over-run it; he grabs the ball, his sneaker catching on the lip of the curb, and down he goes, his right ankle twisted painfully beneath him. Talk about betraying your cool exterior.

"Son of a bitch!"

Wincing, he slowly lifts himself enough to turn his body around to a sitting position. His ankle is throbbing, a hot, searing sort of pain that he remembers from that time he broke his wrist as a kid while wrestling with a friend at school. His mother had been furious, had told him it was a stupid thing to do, and he imagines Scully saying the same thing to him now, all these years later. Except she wouldn't say it out loud, she'd say it with one of those looks, all raised eyebrows and pursed lips. He eyes his coat on the other side of the court-- his cellphone is in the pocket-- and begins crawling on his hands and knees towards it, dreading having to make the call.

Scully picks up on the second ring, and he tiptoes his way around an explanation while she remains silent on the other end.

"It's probably nothing, you know, but the damn curb got in my way. I was rebounding a pretty sweet shot, too. This is not desirable terrain for basketball, Scully." He winces again in pain, hissing audibly into the phone.

"Mulder, you broke your ankle, didn't you?"

He sighs. "Feels like, Doc."

***

Twenty minutes later, lying on his back on the pavement with his arm over his eyes, Mulder hears Scully's engine idle and shut down. The click of her heels draws closer until it stops completely, and Mulder unshields his eyes to look up at her standing above him, holding a fast food bag.

"Morale booster," she deadpans.

He takes the bag and sits up, gritting his teeth. She's gotten him a hamburger and fries, that miraculous woman.

Scully crouches down by his ankle, poking it gently in spots and asking what hurts. All of it hurts, really, but the burger and Scully's bedside manner-- which is remarkably good today, he has to admit-- helps a little. His foot has swollen to a balloonish purple thing, tight in his sneaker. She unties the laces and tells him to bite his tongue, removing it in one quick motion.

Scully stands and reached her hands down for his, and helps him to his feet. Well, foot. With his arm wrapped around her shoulder, she helps him hobble to the passenger side of her car, and they head for the hospital.

They ride quietly, Scully's eyes on the road ahead except for occasional glances over at him from the corner of her eye. Mulder munches on the fries, holding one up in front of her in offering. She reaches her hand up and takes it, licking the salt from her lips.

"Pretty good, huh?"

***

Mulder hates the inefficiency of emergency rooms, and not even Scully's medical doctor status seems to be speeding things up. After three hours, he's managed to make it through a pair of x-rays, a blood pressure and temperature reading, and two cans of soda. He sits, leg propped up on a pillow, behind a bleached white curtain and flips the pages of a Sports Illustrated Scully has brought him to pass the time. She is off looking at charts and graphs, and presumably trying to move this thing along.

He hears her walk by, catches sight of an orange ribbon of her hair, but she moves away before he can call her back to entertain him. Maybe she is kicking some ER ass. Hopefully she is.

***

An hour later, Scully flicks her fingernail against the transparency, shaking him out of his bored trance.

"Fractured in two places, Mulder. You nearly shattered your posterior talofibular."

"I love when you talk dirty to me, Scully."

She hands him the X-Ray, putting her hands on her hips. He studies it with great concentration, biting his lip and nodding in what seems like approval and deep understanding.

"You're going to need a cast. And you're going to have to wear that cast for six weeks, Mulder. Luckily, you don't need surgery, but you're going to have to take it easy for a while. I assume you understand that means no more dribbling, Michael Jordan."

"C'mon Scully, everyone knows Scottie Pippen is way better."

"Mulder, I'm serious," she says, raising an eyebrow. She snatches the X-Ray back and leaves him behind the curtain again.

***
Five and a half weeks with a gimpy walk and no shoe on your right foot will sure make people talk. Well, more than usual, anyhow. His workdays are miserable and long; he feels like a cripple, and it makes him cranky and difficult. Only Scully sticks by him, bringing him the occasional hamburger like that first day at the court, even though she disapproves of such things in more than strict moderation. She drives him to and from work, watches bad TV shows with him, and generally doesn't take any of his shit.

Only three days left before his appointment at the hospital to cut off his cast. Scully slides a tape into the VCR-- Groundhog Day is the only thing they could agree upon, surprisingly-- and uses the bottom of her shirt to unscrew the caps from two bottles of beer, exposing her belly button, which Mulder tries desperately not to notice. She hands him one of the bottles and grabs the remote control from the coffee table where his foot is propped.

"I can't wait to get this damn thing off," he mutters, reaching for a hanger he kept beside the couch. It is shaped into one long hook like a skinny candycane, and he uses this to scratch his leg, which is itchy from sweat and the lack of air inside the cast.

"I bet," she says, smirking. "Oh hey, I got you a present."

"A present, Scully? What's the occasion?" He perks up immediately, rubbing his hands together like a cartoon villain as he watches her reach into her bag and pull out a wrapped rectangular gift.

"Oh, you know. A little something to remember the adventure." She grins and nods, encouraging him to open it.

Ripping off the paper, a framed photo: the X-Ray of his ankle, broken in two places, preserved. A morale booster.

Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
mosinging1986
Dec. 13th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, I needed a smile this morning!

Poor Mulder. You know he had to be going crazy, being the hyper creature that he is.

Wonderful way to start off the weekend, thanks!
coast
Dec. 13th, 2008 06:29 pm (UTC)
You're more than welcome! Thank you for reading!
leucocrystal
Dec. 13th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
You would post this just as I'm going to bed, wouldn't you? Must read now anyway, sleep can wait! I'm just so glad to see a new post here. I missed you ladies! :)

You've got a "haw" in there that I believe ought to be a "had," dear.

Back to say: I loved it, of course! These little snippets are always such a delight for me to read. And that was definitely a fresh and clever take on the "always include a photograph of some sort" theme!

Edited at 2008-12-13 03:40 pm (UTC)
coast
Dec. 13th, 2008 06:29 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it. Thanks, Z.
jessie_venna
Dec. 13th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
I am really glad to see you back.
coast
Dec. 13th, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It's good to BE back. We just need to not go another 3 months without posting this time. :)
onpaperfirst
Dec. 13th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)
You made me have to sign out of my other journal and into this one! The things I do for you. Also: "Chicago? I was in Scottie Pippen's wedding!" Okay, now that THAT'S out of the way...

I love that he botches the curb because he's feeling all proud of getting an appreciative honk. And he has to crawl his way over to his phone! How awful and embarrassing and perfect.

catches sight of an orange ribbon of her hair
I love this. I wish there were a compilation of all the ways writers have described Scully's hair.

He perks up immediately, rubbing his hands together like a cartoon villain
Hee. This tickles me.

Thank you for keeping this aliiiiive!
coast
Dec. 13th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC)
Yeah, well, I had to sign out of my other journal just to post this bad boy, so enough of your whining!

Anyhow, you know Mulder, getting all easily big-headed at the slightest sign of appreciation. It's so cute of him. Anyhow, it's kinda for you and m that I kept this in-- you know, falling over the "cement thing" and all.

I'm still not entirely certain about this piece, and almost sent it to you two to look over, but eventually just decided to say fuck it and put it out there.
truemyth
Dec. 13th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Aww, I love comfort!Scully and hurt!Mulder. I want to read about them feeding greasy fast-food to each other. ;)
coast
Dec. 13th, 2008 06:28 pm (UTC)
Heh, I don't think I'll be writing that, but you should! I certainly wouldn't mind reading it! :)
adinfinitum
Dec. 13th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC)
OH MY GOODNESS! I WAS NOT EXPECTING THIS (AT ALL!) AND IT TOTALLY MADE MY DAY!

FDJKSLJKLFDS, basketball and Mulder and broken ankles and Scully bringing him a hamburger and Scully's belly button, FDSJFKLDJSKFLDS, ALL OF IT! I don't even know where to begin!

He sighs. "Feels like, Doc."
I don't know why, but this makes me all wibbley. Which isn't a word, but I'm sure you get what I mean.

"Fractured in two places, Mulder. You nearly shattered your posterior talofibular." "I love when you talk dirty to me, Scully."
ZE. BEST.

Thank you for reviving what is single-handedly my favorite thing on LJ. (I KID YOU NOT!)
coast
Dec. 13th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
Hee, thanks F. I wasn't expecting it either, but we three have been saying, "We can't let this die! Someone needs to write something!" and I'd been sitting on this idea for a while.

It struck me, as I was sitting down to write, just how out of the loop I've been. It was hard at first to find their voices and mannerisms, and I'm still not entirely happy with it, but I like that a lot of these little snapshots are imperfect, as so many of the moments they're describing are, too.

Anyhow, yes! Thank youuuu! (I remember reading all of your comments on here before we were actually friends!)
memories_child
Dec. 13th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
Squee!!

Ahem, so glad to read a new Smile Scully post =D
coast
Dec. 14th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
kylie_kawaii
Dec. 13th, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC)
Yay, an update!!! I LOVE it, its so cute!
coast
Dec. 14th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks for reading! :)
scapersuse
Dec. 13th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
YAYZ, a smile Scully!! This is adorable and perfect.
coast
Dec. 14th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
Yay, thanks!
turtle_dove_1
Dec. 13th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
HA! Loved it. Scully berating him without words, "that miraculous woman" made me smile like nothing else. You win.
coast
Dec. 14th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
Aw, well, I do love winning... but how could you lose with these two? :)
meatfight
Dec. 13th, 2008 10:13 pm (UTC)
EEEEEEEEEEEE I love this project. Although I'm pretty sure that instead of "curb" you mean "little cement thing" or... whatever it was.

Twenty minutes later, lying on his back on the pavement with his arm over his eyes, Mulder hears Scully's engine idle and shut down. The click of her heels draws closer until it stops completely, and Mulder unshields his eyes to look up at her standing above him, holding a fast food bag.
This is perfect and I love it, especially the clicking heels.

Maybe she is kicking some ER ass. Hopefully she is.
I also like this.

"Fractured in two places, Mulder. You nearly shattered your posterior talofibular."

"I love when you talk dirty to me, Scully."

Awwwww, them.

"Mulder, I'm serious," she says, raising an eyebrow. She snatches the X-Ray back and leaves him behind the curtain again.
Everything is so them! You really nailed it, I think.

In conclusion, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
coast
Dec. 14th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
OF COURSE I meant "little cement thing"!

Thank youuuuu, you know how valuable your opinion is to me!
sixpences
Dec. 14th, 2008 01:30 am (UTC)
This is so lovely and so them- I can absolutely imagine Mulder managing to do something that stupid, and Scully reacting with the usual blend of annoyance and concern. I particularly like the final scene- beer-and-movie-night, Scully's bellybutton, and the framed x-ray!
coast
Dec. 14th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
dictatorcari
Dec. 14th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
Oh, I am SO happy this community is back. You have no idea. :)
coast
Dec. 14th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
I'm glad, too! Thanks for reading!
yendrie
Dec. 14th, 2008 07:12 am (UTC)
Aw, poor Mulder! This was a gorgeous piece, as always. I'd missed SmileScully :D And may I say I loved how this time it wasn't Scully smiling at her picture but at Mulder's ankle x-ray? So cute, in a doctorish sort of way ♥ LOVED IT!
coast
Dec. 14th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! I'm so glad you liked it!
zauberer_sirin
Dec. 14th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
I was so happy to see this today.

I'm always amazed at how your Mulder is extactly like the Mulder in my mind.

"Fractured in two places, Mulder. You nearly shattered your posterior talofibular."

"I love when you talk dirty to me, Scully."


This one is so, so nice.
coast
Dec. 14th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
I like when my Mulder matches other people's Mulder. It feels like we're getting closer to some sort of truth about him, in a weird way.

Thank you!
a_is4addiction
Dec. 14th, 2008 11:08 pm (UTC)
Yay! This one is adorable :) Gotta love Mulder's antics.
lady_goblin
Mar. 10th, 2009 01:59 am (UTC)
Your fic made me smile!
estella_c
Apr. 3rd, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
A gorgeous little ust snippet, done with wit and charm. (Wit and charm are underrated.) I so appreciate anything that brings the happiness without dragging in the dumb.
scooly42
May. 22nd, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC)
okay, i am RIDICULOUSLY late to this party but i just wanted to say I LOVE ALL OF YOUR STORIES HERE, GUYS. LOVE.
sciencekitty
Nov. 25th, 2010 02:15 am (UTC)
Awww, them!!! You write the most wonderful Mulder. =)
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )