Title: "For Better? Or Worse?"
Author: Angela W.
Category: MSR (Mulder/Scully married)
Rating: R
Summary: Mulder and Scully have been married, and
continuing their work on the X-Files, for almost a
year when Scully begans to have some disturbing
Timespan/Spoilers: I'd put it sometime after Season
Seven in the "real" X-Files world. In my fanfic
series, this comes after "Redemption". Only spoilers
are for the cancer arc eps of Seasons Four and Five.
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me.
They are the property of Chris Carter and 1013
Feedback: If it's nice or contains *CONSTRUCTIVE*
criticism, feedback is valued. If you just don't like
the idea of Mulder and Scully being married, and doing married-type things, don't read the story!

Part 1 of 2

F.B.I. Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were
on a case in Alabama when the symptoms first appeared. They had an early morning appointment with a witness who was going to meet with them when she got off the graveyard shift at the hospital where she worked. However, when the alarm went off at five, Scully was hit with an acute wave of nausea as soon as she slid out of bed.

Brushing past her husband, she raced into the bathroom and barely made it in time. When she finally stopped retching, he gently smoothed her hair away from her face and handed her a damp washcloth. "You okay, Scully?"

"Ugh! Yeah, I think so."

"It was probably that Mexican food we ate last night," Mulder said. "The restaurant was a pretty
hole-in-the-wall joint."

"I know," she agreed. "And, yes, I was the one who
suggested Mexican food, even though it's not exactly a regional specialty of the Deep South. But considering that I've already had my comeuppance - literally - don't bother with the 'I told you sos'. Are you feeling all right?"

"I'm fine. You want me to go on the interview alone?"

"No, I'll be okay."


Scully did seem to get better as the day progressed.
She was able to eat a light lunch and do some analysis work at the locak police lab in the afternoon. By the time she met her husband for dinner - at a nice, franchised national-chain restaurant this time - she felt fine. But they had a meeting with the local cops after that and, although it was not even 10 p.m. when they returned to their hotel room, she could barely keep her eyes open.

"You feeling bad again, Dana?" Mulder asked.

"Not bad, really," she replied with a yawn. "Just
incredibly tired. Which, considering we've been up
since before dawn, is hardly surprising."

"I've seen you pull days a lot longer than this and
still be going strong at midnight."

"Well, maybe it has something to do with the fact that we've actually solved this case, or at least think we have. During an on-going investigation I can usually run on adrenalin, but this wouldn't be the first time I've crashed once a suspect is in custody."

Scully brushed her teeth and changed into her
nightgown, then climbed into bed. Mulder spent a few
minutes jotting down notes for their report to Skinner while the case was still fresh in his mind, then joined her. He wasn't particularly sleepy, but there were other things for a man to do with his wife in bed.

Mulder pulled Scully into his arms and slid his hand
underneath her nightgown. He got a kick out of the
nightgowns she wore when they were travelling on
bureau business or visiting one of her family members. Although outwardly much more demure than the ones she wore when they were at home, she never wore anything underneath them.

Scully sighed as her husband slid his hands along her
thighs, then gently skimmed her bottom before
beginning to stroke her back lightly. "You like that?" he murmured.

"I LIKE it," she agreed, "but I don't think it's
affecting me the way you're hoping it would."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, it's making me even more relaxed. I'm enjoying
it, but I think I'm right on the verge of falling
asleep. Sorry," she whispered.

"It's okay," he said, kissing her cheek and reaching
up to switch off the light. "You go on to sleep,


The next morning, Mulder slipped out of bed early to
go for a run. Scully heard him leave, then decided to
go ahead and take a shower while he was gone. However, as soon as she got out of bed, she was hit with another attack of nausea. This one wasn't as bad as the previous morning; she didn't actually vomit, but she definitely felt queasy.

As they travelled to the airport, flew back to
Washington and spent a couple of hours working in
their basement office, Scully noticed the same
symptoms were repeating themselves in the same
sequence as the day before. Her nausea had subsided by lunchtime and during the mid-afternoon to early
evening hours she felt fine. Once again, however, she
was absolutely exhausted several hours before her
normal bedtime. And, as much as she loved her husband, the only thing she wanted to do once she climbed under the covers was sleep.

"Dana, this is something more serious than the
after-effects of bad Mexican food, isn't it?" Mulder
asked as lay beside her.

"I do seem to have caught some kind of bug," she
admitted. "Probably just a mild case of the flu."

"I don't think you should go into work tomorrow."

"We'll see. Tomorrow's Friday. I'd like to go in, be
with you when we make our formal report to Skinner.
That way I can have the whole weekend free to relax
and recuperate with a clear conscience."

"Have you thrown up anymore?" he asked.

"No," she answered honestly. "Just that one time
yesterday morning." She didn't feel it was necessary
to alarm her husband by telling him that she'd been
quite queasy for most of the morning.


The symptoms came and went over the next few days.
They seemed less severe over the weekend, when their
stress levels were down. However, Dana noticed
something else unsettling as they made love on Sunday
afternoon. When Fox suckled her breasts - an activity
that normally ranked as one of her favorites - the
sensation was painful rather than pleasurable, and she had to ask him to quit.

Monday morning brought a new X-File, this one taking
them to Kentucky. It also brought a resurrgence of the symptoms. Her nausea was especially bad on their
flight out, even though turbulence was minimal.

"As soon as we get home, you're calling your doctor
for an appointment," Mulder said.

"I guess you're right. I keep thinking I'm almost over this - whatever it is -  but then the symptoms come back," she replied.


Because they were working closely with the agents from the Lexington field office, Mulder and Scully had taken the precaution of registering in separate hotel rooms with connecting doors, just as they had done in the years before their marriage. The precaution was especially needed because one of the agents, a man named Welch, had gone through the academy with Mulder and the two of them had never particularly cared for each other.

"What's wrong with your partner, Spooky?" Welch asked
when Scully got up from their early morning briefing
for the second time.

"Scully's got some kind of bug, I think," Mulder
replied. "She started feeling bad last week. I thought maybe having the weekend to rest up would put her back on her feet, but I guess not."

Agent Adams, a man in his late 50s who was partnered
with Welch, opened his mouth as if to say something.
But when Mulder glanced at him, he just shook his

All four agents worked hard long into the night. When
Mulder and Scully returned to their hotel, she was
obviously exhausted. Mulder didn't bother with the
rigamarole of spending a few minutes in his room
first, although neglecting the ritual of mussing the
bed and putting a couple of personal items in plain
view would be something he'd soon regret.

Mulder and Scully were both in a deep sleep when the
pounding on a door in the corridor jerked him
instantly awake. "Hey, Mulder, wake up!" It was
Welch's voice. "We got another one."

Mulder quickly slipped through the connecting door and opened the door leading from his room into the
corridor. He saw both Welch and Adams standing there.
"Okay, okay, hold on. Let me get some pants on and
then I'll go wake up Scully."

Without replying, Welch pushed his way into the room.
He took a quick glance at Mulder's obvious
sleep-disheveled state and a longer one at the
pristine bed. Then he crossed the room to the
connecting door that was still partially open.

"Hey, Agent Scully's sleeping in there! You can't
just," Mulder began. But before he could intercept the other agent, Welch had slipped through the door and flicked on the lights.

By the time Mulder and Adams had made it to the
doorway, Welch was staring at a  sleepy Scully sitting up in bed. "We've got another one, Agent Scully."

"If everybody will get out of here, let me get
dressed, I'll join you gentlemen in less than five
minutes," she replied.

"Agent Adams and I will wait for you in the lobby,"
Welch said, a small smile flickering at the edges of
his mouth. "As for your. . .partner, pretending that
you need to be modest in front of him would be an
insult to everybody's intelligence, wouldn't it?" To
punctuate his words, he let his gaze deliberately go
from the side of the bed that still bore the imprint
of Mulder's body to the desk chair where Mulder's suit coat was folded across the back. Then he turned and left.

Mulder was quiet for a moment after the other agents
had left. He sent up a silent prayer of gratitude to a deity he wasn't sure he believed in that his wife had been too tired for lovemaking when they returned to the hotel. At least they were both clothed, after a fashion. He had on a T-shirt and boxers, she was
wearing a sleep shirt that was down right modest and
there was no lingering smell of sex in the air.

Scully sighed. "He's going to report us, isn't he?"

Mulder nodded. "I'll talk to Agent Adams. He's the
senior partner. Maybe he can persuade Welch, but I
doubt it."

Scully sighed again. "Seems kind of ironic, doesn't
it, that we get busted on a night when we weren't
even. . ."

Mulder gave a small smile at that. "Yeah. Hey, you
feeling okay?"

"Not really. Maybe I can accidentally-on-purpose puke
on Welch's shoes."


The next night, when the case had been wrapped up,
Scully went straight to bed and Welch went off
somewhere. Probably to alert somebody at headquarters
that Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, both
members of the bureau's X-Files Investigative Unit,
had a relationship that was more personal than F.B.I.
protocol permitted between personnel in the same
division. Skinner already knew and had agreed to them
continuing to work as partners as long as they were
discreet. But they'd just blown that sky-high.

So Mulder was left alone with Agent Adams at the field office. "About last night," Mulder began, "Agent Scully hasn't been feeling well. You saw some of her symptoms yourself yesterday morning. I thought she might get worse during the middle of the night. It just seemed prudent to be where she could wake me
easily if she needed me to take her to an emergency
room or something."

Adams sighed. "Welch has it in for you for some
reason, Agent Mulder. He's already informed me he
plans to contact headquarters with news of your
indiscretion. For all I know, that's what he's doing
even as we speak."

"And you?" Mulder asked.

Adams sighed again. "If I'd been the only one to
witness it, I'd figure that what went on between two
consenting adults in the middle of the night was their business, not the bureau's. But if I'm asked to either confirm or deny my partner's story, I'll have to say that even though you seemed to have been sleeping, the bed in the room registered to you hadn't been slept in. And that I saw some of your clothing in the room registered to Agent Scully."

"I understand," Mulder said.

"For what it's worth," Adams added, "I'll also go on
record as saying that it had been obvious to me
earlier in the day that Agent Scully was feeling
unwell. Also that both of you had on a fair amount of
clothing when we came in. But I don't think it's going to help you and your partner much, son. The bureau's a stickler about even the appearance of impropriety between male and female agents. Even if you were just sleeping in the same bed with her so she could wake you easily in the event she became sicker, that's still enough for them bust up your partnership."

Mulder nodded. He, of all people, couldn't ask another agent to be part of a cover-up.


It was Friday afternoon when the agents arrived back
in Washington. Mulder took Scully home and brought in
their bags while she phoned her doctor for an

"He can see me first thing Monday morning," she told
her husband as she hung up.

"I'm going with you."

"If it will make you feel better. But it's probably
just some sort of virus. May have even run its course
by the time the weekend's out."

"That's what you said last weekend," he reminded her.
"Hey, I'm going to swing by the office for an hour or
two, fill out the paperwork and check in with Skinner. Why don't you just stay here, maybe take a nap?"

Scully agreed with Mulder.  And that scared the hell
out of him. Because he knew his wife had to be feeling really bad in order to let him make a solo report to their boss.


It was just after five when Mulder knocked on
Skinner's door, but the older man was still seated at
his desk.

"Agent Mulder. Come in. Where's Agent Scully?"

Mulder closed the door, then sat down across from the
A.D.'s desk. "I need to talk to you about that. Scully is sick again."

Skinner stared at  him for a moment. "Do you mean her
cancer's come back?"

"We don't know. She's got a doctor's appointment first thing Monday morning, so neither of us will be in then. Right now, she's home sleeping."

"How long has she been sick?"

"A couple of weeks. At first we thought it was just a
mild case of food poisoning from a hole-in-the-wall
restaurant we'd eaten at. Then she thought it might be some sort of flu. But the symptoms keep lingering.
Scully says that it's probably nothing, that I'm
overreacting, but. . ."

"Take as much time as you need on Monday, both of you. But let me know as soon as you can, okay?"

"Of course. Here's our report. The case was actually
relatively straight forward, as X-Files go. I'll be
glad to answer any questions you have concerning it in a moment, but there's something else I think you ought to know. I mean, you'll know soon enough anyway, but I thought I owed you the courtesy of telling you myself before you received an official report from the agents in Lexington," Mulder said.

A small smile lurked at the corner of Skinner's mouth
as he asked, "What did you do now?"

Mulder sighed. "We got busted. By the Lexington
agents. We'd registered in separate rooms with a
connecting door but, of course, we were only using one of them."

"The other agents caught the two of you, um," Skinner
hesitated. In other circumstances, Mulder might have
enjoyed the spectacle of his unflappable boss being at a loss for words.

"All we were doing was sleeping. Scully was too tired, too sick for anything else. I think it was pretty obvious, though, that we'd been sharing the same bed."

This time, it was Skinner's turn to sigh. "Maybe it's
for the best, Agent Mulder. If your wife is going to
be requiring medical treatment, you're most likely
going to want to be able to publicly acknowledge your

Mulder nodded. "Maybe you're right, sir."

Skinner took the report. "Go on home, Mulder. If I
have any questions about the case, I'll give you a


When Mulder arrived home, he was surprised to see
Scully up and sitting at their computer.

"I thought you were going to take a nap."

"I did, for a while. Then my Mom called; she was
checking to see if we were back in town. I told her
we'd come over for dinner after Mass on Sunday."

"That'll be nice," Mulder said. He meant it, too.
Despite the antagonistic relationship that stand-up
comics claimed between men and their mothers-in-law,
Maggie Scully was one of his favorite people.

"Want to know what I'm doing now?'


"I logged into some medical data bases, entered in my
symptoms. There are several possible diagnoses, but I
assure you none of them are life-threatening."

"Such as what?"

"Well, the most likely is some sort of flu; just like
I've been telling you. Some of the symptoms could also indicate mono, but I think we can probably rule that out."


"It's highly contagious. You'd almost certainly be
infected by this point as well."

"Any other possibilities?"

"Several. Most of them are self-limiting or easily
treatable. A few are chronic, but not fatal."

"Go on."

"Well, okay, some of my symptoms could indicate
adult-onset diabetes. Diabetes can't be "cured", but
the symptoms are easily manageable through diet
regulation and, when necessary, insulin injections.
Lots of diabetics live until their 70s. Also, do you
remember a disease that got a lot of press about 15
years ago, called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?"

"Sure. Wasn't it nicknamed Yuppie Flu?"

"That's the one. Although sufferers could be of any
age, gender or walk of life, the majority of victims
were just like me: women in their thirties with high
stress jobs. There's no real cure for it, but nobody
dies from it and the symptoms usually come and go."

"I'm still going to worry until you're checked out by
an actual doctor who's familiar with your medical

"I know. But let's try and enjoy the weekend, okay?"

He nodded.


By Saturday afternoon, Scully's symptoms seemed milder and she had a suggestion for that evening.

"Let's call the guys, see if they want to meet us at
that Chinese restaurant near their place."

"Are you up to that?" Mulder asked.

"I'm feeling fine right now. Besides, we've been out
of town so much lately, we haven't really seen the
guys much."

"Dana, if you tell me you're getting lonely for
Frohike, I'm going to be jealous."

In response, Scully stuck her tongue out at her
husband and dialed the phone. She reached the Lone
Gunmen's answering machine and suggested they all meet at the restaurant around seven. When Mulder and Scully arrived, however, only Frohike and Byers were there to greet them.

"Hi, guys," Scully said, kissing both of the men
lightly on the cheek. "Where's Langley?"

"Believe it or not," said Frohike, "he has a date."

Scully gawked at him as she sat down. "You're kidding! I didn't know any of you ever went out on dates! In fact, I thought you didn't even KNOW any women other than me!"

"Langley does this once in a while," Byers explained.
"He'll hook up with some woman in a cyberchat room and arrange to meet her for coffee or something."

"Usually the woman takes one look at Langley and runs
off in the other direction, screaming," Frohike added.

"There was that one woman, about a year ago, that he
actually went out with three or four times," Byers

"Yeah, a couple of nights he didn't even come home,"
Frohike said.

"Do you two ever go out?" Scully asked. She was
honestly curious. For the first time, it dawned on her that she didn't really know much about the personal lives or family histories of these men who had been such good friends to her for so many years.

"Not here in Washington," Byers said. "But I'm the
oldest of six children - four sisters between me and
my little brother - so when I go home to Pennsylvania
for holidays and weddings and graduations and such,
one of my sisters usually has a friend she wants to
set me up with. And I usually go. It's a pleasant way
to spend an evening and it helps reassure my family
that I'm not gay. Which, in case you've ever wondered, I'm not."

"I never thought you were," Scully said truthfully.

"Are you still carrying a torch for Suzanne?" Mulder

"I'd rather not get into that," Byers said stiffly.

"You ought to just let it go, Byers," Mulder said.
"This is sage advice, coming from a man who spent the
better part of a decade living like a monk because he
quote refused to cheat on unquote a woman he wasn't
even sleeping with!" Byers snapped.

"Yeah, well, we might not have been having sex, but at least we had a relationship!" Mulder answered. "We saw each other almost everyday, talked to each other, even touched each other. I'm not pining my life away for a woman who quite likely doesn't even remember me!"

"Whoa, back up," Scully said. "I assume you're talking about us?"

"Well, yeah, of course," her husband replied.

"You actually said that to the guys? About not
cheating on me?"

"Yeah," he admitted.

"Mulder, that's so sweet!"

"Why don't we move on to Frohike's lovelife, or lack

"Lack thereof is a right," Frohike agreed with a small smile. "Other than you, Scully, I don't really know any women. Unless you count my Aunt Virigina."

Scully smiled. "I remember you mentioning her once.
Your Aunt Virginia who lives in Virginia. Are you
close to her?"

"Fairly so. She never married; so she tends to side
with me when I'm trying to convince my Dad that just
because I've never married, my life isn't miserable."

Scully smiled again. It was nice to talk to the guys
about something other than conspiracies and computer
traces. She'd have to discuss Suzanne with Mulder more when they got home.

The meal passed pleasantly enough until just at the
end. Suddenly, Scully felt herself in the grip of an
almost overwhelming attack of nausea. "Excuse me," she muttered, then got up and literally ran to the
restroom. She made it as far as the sink before losing her entire dinner.

Mulder stayed at the table with their friends. "Was it something I said?" Frohike asked.

"No," Mulder said, his voice tight. "She's sick. She
has been for the past couple of weeks. She's got a
doctor's appointment set for first thing Monday

"Do you mean. . .has her cancer come back?" Frohike
asked gently.

"I don't know. She keeps assuring me that it's just
something minor, the flu or something. She'd been fine all day today, and I was almost beginning to believe that maybe she was getting over it, but now this."

"What are her symptoms?" Byers asked.

"The two main ones seem to be nausea, especially when
she first wakes up in the morning, and extreme

"It sounds like," Byers began, but then shook his
head, "never mind."

"Let us know what the doctor says, will you?" Frohike

"Of course," Mulder agreed.


On Sunday, Mulder skipped his usual morning jog to
attend Mass with his wife. It wasn't something he did
often, but when Scully's health was in jeopardy he
believed in hedging his bets and covering all his
bases. Then they drove over to her mother's house.

"Fox, I want to tell my Mom that I haven't been
feeling well."

"Okay, but why?"

"Well, when I first got cancer, she was really hurt
that you knew before she did. She said she had a right to know when the health of her only living daughter was in jeopardy and I guess she's right. Especially since you told the guys last night."

During dinner, Scuully casually mentioned she had a
doctor's appointment the following morning and gave
her mother a brief rundown of the symptoms she'd

"Dana, I think you're," Maggie began and then, stopped suddenly.

"What, Mom?" Scully asked.

"It. . .sounds like something I experienced when I was in my 20s and 30s."

"Something you had more than once?" Mulder asked.

"Yes," Maggie agreed. "If it's the same thing, it's
definitely a self-limiting condition. Nonetheless, you ought to see a doctor."

"What did you have, Mom? Certain conditions can be

"I'd really rather not say, Dana. I'd hate to raise
your hopes in case what you've got is more serious.
Just let me know what you doctor says as soon as you
can, okay sweetheart?"

"Of course, Mom."


When they returned home, Scully gave a huge yawn. I'm
going to take a nap. Why don't you come in the bedroom and cuddle up with me? You can read or watch TV or something."

"Sounds good to me," Mulder agreed.

Scully was asleep practically as soon as her head hit
the pillow. Mulder grabbed a magazine from the bedside table and was soon absorbed in one of the articles.

About an hour later, Scully stirred and wiggled
against her husband. Oooh, this was interesting, she
thought as she moved her leg against his body.

"Fox, are you looking at one of my Victoria's Secrets
catalogs or did Frohike loan you a magazine last

"I'm reading 'Omni', sweetheart. Why?"

"Well, gee, Mulder, I've always known you got turned
on by little green men, but not usually to this
extent." She stroked him through his pants to let him
know what she meant.

"That's not from my reading material. It's from being
snuggled up next to you."

"Why don't we do something about it?"

"You sure, Dana? I know you haven't been feeling well

"Well, I am feeling kind of lazy. So I think I'll just lay back and let you make love to me. All I'll do is relax and enjoy it."

"You got a Sleeping Beauty fantasy, Dana?"

"Get your gorgeous rear in gear here, Prince

Mulder laughed and stood up to shed his clothes, then
returned the bed and gently but quickly removed
Scully's clothes as well. Then he lowered his mouth to hers for a deep, tender kiss.

"Mmm," Scully whimpered.

"Still want me to leave your breasts alone?"

"Yeah, you'd better."

"You know, sweetheart, they look bigger. And your
nipples are a darker color."

"I'll mention that to my doctor. It could signify
something. But right now I want you."

Mulder moved his hands down his wife's body, drawing
lazy circles on her belly and thighs. He was in no
mood to rush things. Eventually, he let his fingers
wander down to the juncture of her thighs.

After playing with her for a few minutes, while
kissing her cheeks, chin and neck, he scooted down and lifted her legs up over his shoulders. He stared at her, open and glistening before him. She looked
different down here, too. Redder, more open than she'd ever been before. He decided to wait until later to mention it and began to trace her outer folds with his tongue. She squirmed and moaned, but after a few minutes whispered, "Fox, stop."


"I want you in me. Now."

He nodded and slid her legs down to his hips, then
slipped inside her. He went slowly, prolonging the
pleasure for both of them. Eventually, she came to a
shuddering climax, moaning his name. A few minutes
later, he did the same.

As they were cuddling in the afterglow of their
lovemaking, Mulder noticed his wife looking at him
with a strange expression on her face.

"What is it, sweetheart?"

"I'm scared," she admitted softly. "Of tomorrow. Of
what the doctor might say."

Mulder smiled gently. He knew it took a lot for Scully to admit her fears. "I know. So am I. But we'll get through it the same way we've gotten through everything since we first met: together."


The next morning, after the doctor has taken blood and urine samples and Scully had explained her symtoms to him, she redressed and met with Mulder and the doctor in his office.

"Dana, you symptoms are somewhat puzzling. I need to
ask you a few more questions which somewhat personal
in nature," he said, with a glance at Mulder.

"We don't have any secrets from each other," she said, reaching over to hold her husband's hand.

"All right, then. When you came in for youer last
check-up, almost a year ago, you said you weren't
sexually active and hadn't been for several years. Is
that still true?"

"No," Scully replied.  "I became sexually active again - for the first time in a number of years - shortly after my last visit with you. Why?"

"Are you in a mutually monogomous relationship or have you had multiple partners?" the doctor inquired.

"We're married!" Scully and Mulder said in unison.

"You're married?" the doctor asked. "I thought Mr.
Mulder here was your partner."

"We work together AND we're married," Scully snapped.
"Do you have a problem with that?"

"No, of course not," the doctor said. "I'm going to
run a couple more tests; I'll be back in a few

"What was that all about?" Mulder asked as soon as the doctor left the room.

"It sounds as if he suspects I may have contracted
some sort of sexually transmitted disease," Scully
replied. "But that's impossible."

"You're damned right it's impossible! Dana, not only
had I not has sex for YEARS before we were married,
not only did I ALWAYS used a condom before we were
married, I'd been tested. Twice. Once about six months after my last pre-marital encounter and again about six months before we got married. Both times I came back clean."

"I know, Fox, I know. Let's just wait and see what he
has to say."

A few minutes later, the doctor came back with a
somber expression.

"I"ve got good news and bad news," he said. "The good
news is, you don't have anything that can't be easily
dealt with. The bad news is, I apparently misdiagnosed some of your problems when you first came to me several years ago.

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