Title: The Unkindest Cut
Author: Neoxphile
Feedback: neoxphile@aol.com
Disclaimer: borrowed toys
Spoilers: seasons 6-7

Summary: The redhead woke up in an unfamiliar hotel room, alone.

Despite the dirty glass, enough sunlight filtered into the hotel room to make the redhead on the bed flinch. Tendrils of coppery hair had pasted themselves to her ghastly pale face, dampened by the sick-sweat that still dripped from her.

Eventually the woman's hand twitched, and the rest of her body followed it into a semi-awake state. Eyelids fluttered, revealing a pair of bloodshot blue eyes, before clamping shut again.

Though she went still under the threadbare covers that had seen more bodies than a dime-store hooker, she was wide awake. One glance at the fleabag hotel room had her desperately trying to remember how she got there. Fragments of memory darted out of reach, and she was alarmed that her last clear memory was of returning to the table after freshening her makeup, and trying not to choke when someone made her laugh while she downed the last of her red wine. After that, just shards of a crazy dream about trying to talk herself out of something reckless. Work related, she thought ruefully, since everyone else on earth considered her job too dangerous it wasn't too hard to believe that she subconsciously agreed.

Tentatively, she reached a hand out and swept it over the other side of the bed. To her relief, her hand didn't encounter human flesh. She was alone in the bed. If one of her attentive suitors, the kind who'd come out of the woodwork since her supposed heroics the year before, had been responsible for her coming to be in that horrible room, he hadn't stuck around.

Knowing that she was alone made her feel braver, and she started to sit up, only to be hammered back down by a horrific pain low on left side in her torso. It was only when she began to sweat again that she realized that her skin was already slick with it. It wasn't the correct side of the body for appendicitis, but she couldn't fathom what the pain might have been. Had she been gored by an errant bull, stabbed by a wife who was jealous of her husband's fawning over her, impaled by a clumsy waiter?

Another moment later she became aware that below her belly button was bandaged up. She gritted her teeth when pain tried to blind her, but she stubbornly worked up her nightgown so she could get a look. The bandages were strange, reminding her of the BandAids that were touted as being sent to the brave men fighting in Europe, but she couldn't understand what the backing material was made of. To her surprise, it stretched as she yanked on it until pain made her think better of it. She did lift it enough to see the beginning of a neat row of stitches under it.

Overwhelmed by anxiety, her stomach wobbled, and she cast about, hoping to find a glass of water to soothe it. Her eye fell on a pitcher and glass, but next to them stood three other objects. Two were amber colored bottles she mistook for glass until she picked them up and felt how light they were. The other was a note.

Her fingers trembled as she opened the note and read it.

All it said was:
I'm terribly sorry, and I'd never be able to explain.
Penicillin: please take one pill twice a day until they're finished
(they'll keep you from getting an infection), and the other bottle
is pills for pain - follow the label and don't take more because
that's very dangerous, possibly even fatal if you exceed the dosage
by a significant amount. See a doctor if your fever gets above 101F.

There'd been another object, hidden under the note. Reaching for it, she wondered what it was supposed to be. The end of it was shaped like a knitting needle and had a small metal tip, but most of the end and the rest of the wider body was made of the same strange material as the pill bottle. Flipping it over she found tiny instructions printed on it, and dubiously pushed a button on the front of it. She nearly dropped it when a letter lit up on the body. That was too much for her, so she put it back. If someone thought she was going to put that thing in her mouth, they were crazy.

Sighing, she decided to see if she could get out of bed. It hurt, but she managed to make her way to the window. Fortunately it opened easily. Outside a young newspaper boy shouted in the streets about the war going on elsewhere. It made her uneasy, and she thought it was only a matter of time before the US would be sending their boys back to Europe. Of course, she'd thought that since September 3rd of the previous year, too. But now, Italy and Japan were involved, and it was beginning to feel like the war was going to suck in the whole world. Again.

Her gaze wandered back to the strange collection of items on the rickety nightstand, and one hand skimmed over the bandage she'd pressed back into place. The lunatic she'd met on the ship had claimed to be a time traveler. Was it possible?

For a moment she allowed herself some tears born of both confusion and self-pity, but then tried to muster up as much dignity as she possibly could. She had to get dressed, had to go to the front desk and find out where she was, and get on with things. It was what she did.

Fifty-Nine Years Later

"You okay, Scully?" Mulder asked, giving his partner a look of concern when she winced when she stood up. "Did you hurt yourself somehow? Did Tony get a swing in when I wasn't looking?"

"I'm fine, Mulder. Just a little achy today, that's all."

"Oh. Are you sure you're really okay?"

"I said I'm fine, and I meant it." From her tone he could tell that she was beginning to bristle again. It wasn't like he wanted to piss her off, but he'd found himself unable to think of anything else lately whenever she seemed less than cheerful over the last several weeks. Surely she was also dwelling on their failed final attempt to do IVF.

"I've just...worried about you."

"I'm not a basketcase, Mulder."

"Oh, I know that," he replied quickly while frantically trying to think of anything he'd said or done recently that might give the impression that he was worried about her having a breakdown. He was worried, but not that worried.

Her expression softened. "It's okay. I felt like doing some crazy things once we ran out of ova to try with, but I think things will be okay now."

"You do?" Mulder couldn't keep some of the surprise out of his voice.

"Yeah," she said, and he noticed that her hand was pressing against the side she'd favored when standing. "I think that everything will be fine."

For a moment he wondered if she'd done anything crazy, but he dismissed it. That wasn't what she did. "So, ready to go see the luckiest man alive?"

"What, Mulder, it's not you?" she asked archly.

For a moment he wished that he could kiss her, but the timing wasn't right. Soon. Just before he thought of something smooth to say, he tripped over something underneath where their coats were hung. He bent to pick it up. It was a hard cover book. Grey's Anatomy. "This yours?"

"Yes, sorry. I had to look something up."

The End

Author's Notes:
- Sterile BandAids (apparently the ones from 1924 on weren't sterile) were created in 1939, but didn't become common place until after they began to send them to soldiers fighting in WWII
- penicillin went into mass production for the first time in 1944
- plastic bottles were first used commercially in 1947
- if anyone else wondered what Mulder meant when he claimed that 1939 Scully "works for the OSS," it's a reference to the WWII era US intelligence agency, Office of Strategic Services.

Thank you Wikipedia!

Oh, and it *is* actually possible to get pregnant by having your identical twin's ovary/part of one transplanted into your body http://www.slate.com/id/2205149/ http://www.womens-health.co.uk/ovary-transplant.html Scully'd just be a wee bit cutting edge timeline-wise. Maybe she took notes about the consortium doctors after her abduction =)

feedback? Neoxphile@aol.com

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