Gesundheit

Title: Gesundheit

Author: dtg

Rating: PG

Archive: Two weeks at IMTP VS10. Others, please ask.

Summary: “Who brings a thermometer on a cross

country ski trip?”

* * *

Gesundheit

by dtg

Frost crept up the windows in crystalline patterns

that grew more elaborate every time she breathed

against the glass. Outside, the snow was already

knee-deep, with more on the way.

They were snowbound by choice. No phones. No

electricity. A pump next to the sink for water. A

bathroom that was an antique but, thankfully,

indoors. Kerosene lamps for light, and a fieldstone

fireplace that kept the immediate area warm but let

ice form on the sills. The scent of wood smoke and

pine was everywhere.

It was like waking up in a Christmas card.

Mulder had asked her what she wanted for Christmas,

and this was it. A rustic but comfortable hideaway,

as far from D.C. as they could manage in the three

days they had to work with. Nothing to do but be

together, relax and–

>>Ah-CHOOO!<<

It was a very loud sneeze, and it made her jump.

Scully turned from the window in time to see the

down comforter get kicked to the foot of the four-

poster bed. “Mulder, you’re sweating.”

He shot her a look. “No kidding.”

She sat down on the edge of the bed and felt his

cheek with the backs of her fingers, then reached up

to his forehead, frowning at what she found.

“I really know how to make the season bright, don’t

I?”

“You do seem to be glowing.”

That got her his ‘Ha Ha’ look. When she picked up

the thermometer from the bedside table, he stuck out

his lower lip in a fetching pout.

“Who brings a thermometer on a ski trip?” he

grumbled, arms crossed over his chest.

“Not me. I found this one in the cabinet in the

bathroom.” At his horrified look, she added, “I

cleaned it in alcohol, Mulder. It’s fine.”

“Scully, I didn’t bring you up here to play doctor.

At least not this way.”

“I don’t think ‘the other way’ is an option at this

point.”

He opened his mouth to protest, and she stuck the

thermometer under his tongue. “I’m not complaining,

Mulder. You happen to be my favorite patient.”

“And the only one who can still hold up his end of

the conversation.”

“Not for the next two minutes, you can’t.”

They stared at each until the time was up. He was

talking again as soon as she removed the glass tube.

“I had something a little more romantic in mind for

this weekend.”

Scully held the thermometer up to the light and

squinted at the numbers. “Mulder, everything you do

is romantic.”

He huffed at that, and the huff turned into a bout

of coughing that made his eyes water. Scully rubbed

his back until he settled back against the pillows.

“So, do I have a fever?”

“101. Not bad, but enough to make you feel like

crap. You’ve got the flu, Mulder. That’s why it hit

you so fast.”

They had started out early that morning on a planned

daylong trek through the woods. Scully’s prowess on

cross-country skis had clearly surprised him. Waking

up face first in the snow had probably surprised him

a lot more. They had just reached the top of the

first hill when Mulder swayed briefly and pitched

forward into a snowdrift before she could react.

“You should have told me you weren’t feeling well.”

He dropped his head back against the headboard with

an audible thud, then slid down to burrow under the

covers. “Just let me die in peace.”

Scully patted his back. “Don’t sulk. I’ll make us

some lunch.” A muffled groan floated up through the

covers. “Just something light. It will make you feel

better.”

He pulled the blanket back and peered up at her.

“Now *that* would be an x file.” And then he sneezed

again. Twice.

“God bless you.”

“I doubt it.”

“Tempting providence from your sickbed is pretty

risky, don’t you think?”

“I love a challenge. Got any mirrors I can break?”

She stood up. “It’s not quite the same thing.” The

teasing tone she’d intended didn’t quite come off.

Mulder’s smirk vanished. “I was kidding.”

She looked down at him for a long moment. “Yeah, I

know.” She turned her back on his puzzled frown and

headed for the kitchen.

“Scully?”

“I’ll make that soup,” she called over her shoulder

without turning around.

She lit the propane stove and pulled a battered

saucepan from the cupboard, going through the

motions of meal preparation. Her mind was elsewhere.

Why now? He’d been making jokes about religion for

as long as she’d known him. And this one had been

mild in comparison. Almost innocent. She had given

up trying to make him understand what her faith

meant to her. It was outside his experience– and

the only area where his relentless need to believe

failed them both. So why did this time feel so much

worse?

She swiped at unexpected tears. He could have been

dead this afternoon. For a terrifying instant, she’d

thought he was. What if he had been?

“Scully?”

His voice was soft, but its proximity startled her.

The soup can flew out of her hands and its contents

splattered over the countertop and the wall. Mulder

grabbed her shoulders gently.

“It’s okay. It’s me. I didn’t mean to scare you.” He

pulled her close, tucking her head under his chin so

that his too-warm body was pressed against her from

head to foot.

“You shouldn’t be out of bed.” She tried to turn

around, but he tightened his hold just enough to

stop her.

“Scully, what’s wrong?”

A few months ago, she would have put on a smile and

told him a comfortable lie. Things were different

now. She pulled away slightly, and this time he let

her turn to face him.

“We seem to have opposing blind spots, and I don’t

know what to do about that.”

He nodded as if that made perfect sense. “It was the

‘god bless you’, wasn’t it?”

She took a step back. “Do you do that on purpose?”

He almost smiled. “Do what? Know when I’ve stuck my

foot in my mouth? I do learn eventually.” He touched

her face, wiping gently at the drying tears.

That made her smile in spite of herself. He always

seemed to do that when she most wanted to smack him.

“It’s a tender subject.”

Mulder tipped her chin up and waited until she

raised her eyes to his. “I wish I could have your

faith, Scully. I know you don’t believe that.”

“Actually, I do.” She put her arms around his waist

and pulled him close. “I just wish there was

something I could do to help you get there.”

“You still don’t know, do you?” He placed his hands

on either side of her face, rubbing his thumbs

softly over her cheekbones. “You’re my religion.

You’re my faith. But if it meant I could spend

eternity with you, I think I could believe almost

anything.” He kissed her cheek softly. “I can

promise you that I’ll try.”

She turned into his touch and brushed her lips

against his warm skin, bathing her senses with him.

“I think I can live with that.”

* * *

End

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