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Title:  Fruit, Friendship and W.C. Fields

Author:  ????

Category:  MT, M/S friendship

Summary:  Mulder’s tardiness for an appointment, a PR assignment, and a grieving teacher all come together to put Mulder and Scully in jeopardy.

Rating:  PG 13

Archives:  Please ask first.  Written for the MR July fic challenge.

Disclaimer:  I just checked and I still don’t own them.  Don’t worry.  No money changed hands.

 

 

Fox Mulder had definitely seen better starts to his day.  He swore under his breath as he waited for the shower to warm up.  He had been forced to get up at 5 AM and answer a phone call from Frohike, who wanted him to meet a man who supposedly knew all about the plans for impending alien invasion and colonization.  Mulder’s short friend stressed that it was urgent and mumbled something about the future of the world being at stake.  Why did all of the crackpots choose the early morning hours to communicate, including Frohike? 

Hoping that Earl Ensminger wasn’t a total kook, Mulder agreed to meet him over breakfast at 7 AM sharp at the Holiday Inn-Dulles.  Still mourning the loss of one of the few worthwhile periods of sleep he’d had in the last few weeks, the groggy agent jumped into the steamy shower. 

Mulder consoled himself with the promise of a decent cup of coffee, and an all you can eat breakfast buffet as he frantically looked for his car keys and cell phone.  After a quick search, he found both of them under his briefcase.  It looked like he was going to be a few minutes late.  He sincerely hoped that his informant didn’t leave before he got there. 

It was an easy drive in the early morning traffic and he was able to make up some time as he cruised along the Dulles Toll Road.  Noting that the tollbooth and his exit were coming up in two miles, the FBI agent began to dig in his pocket for the correct change. 

As he got closer he saw that only one tollbooth was open in addition to the correct change only lane, and of course, he didn’t have the needed coins.  Evidently he had plenty of company because the line of traffic was backed up for almost a half mile. 

He finally reached the hotel after adding a few more minutes to his overall tardiness only to discover that Mr. Ensminger had left in a huff.  According to one of the waitresses, the man was livid at what he considered the general irresponsibility of all government employees. 

Mulder’s watch read 7:20 when the restaurant was suddenly overrun with several groups of noisy school children.  He sighed and made his way back to his parked car, still longing for a cup of steaming, hot coffee. 

As he unlocked his car he felt his left shoe stick to the pavement.  A long string of discarded bubble gum greeted him as he lifted his foot.  Of all the hotels in the DC area, his would-be informant chose the one most frequented by out-of-town student tour groups. 

Mulder sighed loudly and walked over to a grassy area to try and remove the gum without touching it.  Despite his rotten luck so early in the morning, he still felt a smile spreading across his face as an image of his partner flashed through his mind.  Scully would have some coffee brewed, hot and ready to drink by the time he back tracked and reached the office.

 

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As soon as Mulder stepped off the elevator in the basement of the Hoover Building, he knew that his day was going from bad to worse.  Normally, the scent of freshly brewed coffee made its way down the hall and it was sadly missing.  “Scully?”  He poked his head in the door, hoping that nothing was wrong.  At the sight of his lovely partner pacing back and forth, he could tell that she hadn’t been able to procure her morning caffeine fix either. 

Scully looked at the silent Mr. Coffee, a sad look on her face.  “I had to pronounce it at 8:02 this morning.  It looks like we’ll have to depend on the kindness of others if we want coffee today.”

 

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The vending machine was only to be considered in an extreme emergency so, armed with two mugs, Mulder hoped that his search for a decent cup of coffee wouldn’t take him all over the building.  As he passed Skinner’s office, he got the distinct feeling that his crappy day was going to shift into overdrive.  Almost as if he’d been waiting for him, the AD stuck his head out the door and invited him in. Mulder groaned inwardly, almost rupturing his small intestine. 

Skinner smiled broadly and directed his agent to have a seat.  Kimberly, Skinner’s assistant, was Johnny-on-the-spot with a pot of coffee.  Mulder gratefully held out his mug and realized that his superior must need a monumental favor from him.  He couldn’t recall ever being served coffee in his supervisor’s office, and the man never smiled unless Scully was there. 

The assistant director settled in behind his desk and opened a very thick, manila folder.  “As you know, Agents Zambroski and Sutton usually handle the PR work with the local schools for our department.  Agent Sutton delivered a 9 lb., 2 oz. baby boy early this morning and Agent Zambroski was called out of town because of a family crisis. 

Mulder nodded his understanding and prepared to receive some unpleasant news.  He knew that Skinner wasn’t giving him this information just to shoot the breeze. 

“Since you and Agent Scully are not currently working on an open case, I could really use your help to take up the slack.” 

Skinner must be desperate to even consider assigning him anywhere near a school building.  Although he felt like bursting into uncontrollable fits of laughter, Mulder took a sip of the wonderfully brewed coffee and attempted to look interested.  “Just what does this assignment entail, sir?” 

Skinner attempted to explain what Agents Sutton and Zambroski normally did as he handed his field agent the thick file folder filled with copies of information and fun-type exercises for the children.  I know it’s a lot of information to process in a short period of time, but that’s what made me choose you and Agent Scully for this assignment.  You’re both quick studies and if anyone can make this interesting enough for a bunch of kids, it’s the two of you.” 

“Exactly how much time do we have to become familiar with this material?”  Mulder sensed that he needed to cut to the chase. 

“Take as long as you need, but don’t miss your first appointment at Mayfield Elementary this morning, 10 AM sharp.”  Skinner couldn’t help grinning as Mulder consulted his watch.  “I have every confidence in you and Agent Scully.  Now, if there are no questions, I would suggest that you leave shortly.  Traffic can be rather tricky at this time of day.” 

Mulder rose from his chair and shook the A.D.’s hand.  On his way out, he begged a cup of coffee for Scully from Skinner’s assistant, then began to devise a speech to placate his partner as he explained the nature of their new assignment.  As he got on the elevator it dawned on him where the school was located.  He sincerely hoped that she had some change because they were going to need it for that pesky tollbooth on the Dulles Toll Road.  He really didn’t want to be late for another appointment today.

 

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The two harried agents walked into the office at Mayfield Elementary with one minute to spare.  The principal introduced herself and they opted to talk about what was expected from their presentation as they made their way to the classroom.  “The teacher you’re working with today is Earl Ensminger.  He has been teaching social studies here at Mayfield for almost 30 years.  I can guarantee you that his students will be well-behaved and under control while you give your presentation and answer questions.” 

Mulder sincerely hoped that this Earl Ensminger was not the one he was supposed to meet for breakfast.  His thoughts strayed for a few seconds then returned to the principal.  “We feel so sorry for him right now.  He lost his wife about six months ago due to a bicycling accident.  He claims that she was a victim of many alien abductions or some other such madness.  No one believes him, of course.  Thankfully he sets that all aside when he enters the classroom.” 

“Why me?” Mulder asked himself and the spider on the ceiling as the principal knocked on the door.  After a few whispered words with the teacher, the principal wished them well and headed back to the office. 

After reminding them that they were several minutes late, Ensminger invited them into his classroom.  The teacher reminded the class that they should be on their best behavior then turned it over to the FBI agents. 

Mulder took a deep breath and introduced himself and Scully.  He took note of the students who were sitting up very straight with their hands folded neatly in front of them.  He also noticed that Ensminger’s eyes narrowed to mere slits when he told the kids his name. 

A few of the students giggled while Mulder explained that he didn’t normally use his first name.  Another poisonous stare from Ensminger practically bored through the few students who dared to laugh.  The kids quickly quieted down and gave Mulder their full attention. 

Relying on his terrific memory, the FBI agent began his presentation.  Scully assisted him by passing out the handouts.  Approximately one half hour later, Mulder was finished with his speech and ready to answer questions.  Most of the students eagerly raised their hands.  As he scanned the room to pick out a student he noted that one young lady had her head on her desk, apparently taking a nap.  He willed her to wake up before Ensminger noticed her. 

The sleeping student suddenly came to life and began to make her way toward the door.  Mulder immediately recognized the problem and managed to get the wastebasket in front of her just in time as she began to retch, vomit spewing through the fingers that she had over her mouth like a gross mini fountain.  Mulder jumped back in time to avoid the spray, very thankful that he hadn’t indulged in the all you can eat breakfast after all. 

“Kristen!  Stop that immediately and go to the office. Clean out that wastebasket on your way,” Ensminger barked. 

A stern look from Scully was the only thing that stopped Mulder from grabbing the man and shaking some sense into him.  The other students immediately tensed up, hoping that the classroom guests would keep Ensminger’s reaction to a minimum. 

“If you don’t need me for anything else, I think I’ll take Kristen to the restroom and help her clean up before we go to the office.”  Scully grabbed the soiled wastebasket and shot a glaring look at the insensitive schoolteacher. 

“Good idea, Agent Scully.  Kristen, I hope that you feel better soon,” Mulder nodded. 

The young girl managed to nod back, then hurried from the room, desperate to escape all the attention her upset stomach had caused. 

As Scully softly shut the door behind her Mulder turned his attention back to the students.

 

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Ensminger seemed to grow angrier with each question the FBI agent answered.  While Mulder found it easy to be patient with the class, he began to wonder what the teacher’s problem was.  Yes, some of the questions were silly, but these were 10 and 11 year olds for crying out loud.  Let them be kids for as long as possible before they were forced to get out into the real world where the laughs wouldn’t come as often. 

A few seconds before the dismissal bell rang, Ensminger asked if Mulder could remove the ammunition from his gun and display it on the desk so the students could look at it on their way to lunch.  Although he was somewhat reluctant to do so, Mulder complied with the request and issued a strong warning not to touch.  After setting the safety and putting the ammo clip on a nearby file cabinet the bell rang and the students began to gather around the desk to get a look at a real gun. 

Only a few stragglers remained when Mulder began to put away the extra handouts.  He was so absorbed in that task that he didn’t notice when Ensminger grabbed the gun and shoved the ammo clip into place.  The sound of the clip being loaded got his attention and he quickly turned around to find the instructor pointing the gun at him. 

“Don’t move, Agent Mulder.  You stood me up earlier this morning and I have every intention of gaining your full attention now.” 

Mulder quickly looked around, thankful that the room had emptied so quickly.  Now, if Scully would just stay away for a few more minutes, perhaps he could talk to the man and get his gun back before anyone got hurt.  Those plans were quickly shelved when two boys came back to the classroom, loudly proclaiming that they had left their lunches behind. 

The FBI agent saw the gunman’s hand twitch and yelled for the boys to get help as he quickly positioned himself between the gun and the boys.  No sooner had he shouted his instructions than he felt a terrible pain in his left hip, followed immediately by the sharp report of the gun.  “Oh, crap,” he said softly as he slid to the floor.

 

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Scully had gotten Kristen to the nurse’s office and was washing out the trashcan.  What was wrong with that crazy teacher anyway?  He must’ve really gone off the deep end when his wife died.  At any rate, he didn’t need to be in front of a classroom.  She was sure that her partner would want to have a few words with the principal before they left.  She was washing her hands when she heard several screams and the sound of running feet in the hallway. 

Scully hastily opened the door and found several children that she recognized from Mr. Ensminger’s classroom. 

“He shot him!” 

“Mr. Ensminger has a gun!” 

“Hunter and Chase are in there!” 

Scully quickly caught up with them.  “Who did Mr. Ensminger shoot?”  She had a bad feeling about this and hoped that some small, meaningless incident had been exaggerated into the tale that she had just overheard. 

One of the girls stopped to catch her breath.  “He shot Agent Mulder and Hunter and Chase are still in there.  There was lots of blood.” 

By the time the girls had finished relaying their story, the principal had called the police for assistance and ordered the building evacuated.  Teachers began to emerge from their classrooms to lead their students to the church next door.  Within ten minutes the building was quiet.  Everyone left except the principal, her secretary and Scully. 

Several uniformed policemen spotted them and ordered them out.  Scully had no intention of leaving without her partner.  Flashing her badge, she began to fill the policemen in with what little information she had.

 

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The two boys huddled in the corner, their eyes glued to the gun in their teacher’s shaking hand.  Mr. Ensminger could be frightening enough by himself when the class was too noisy or uncooperative in some way.  With a gun in his hand, he appeared to be the most frightening monster imaginable. 

The teacher’s eyes focused first on the boys, then on the FBI agent lying on the floor.  Blood was spreading rapidly, coating the floor under the injured man.  “Agent Mulder, I’m so sorry!  I just wanted to get your attention because I was afraid you wouldn’t believe me.  I didn’t mean to shoot you.” 

Mulder looked at the blood bubbling through his fingers from the wound in his left hip.  He could feel the path that the bullet had taken before slamming into a rib on his left side.  “I’ll be glad to listen, Ensminger.  I was at the hotel this morning,” he emphasized.  “Got tied up at the tollbooth.  Why don’t you let the boys go?  Then we can talk.” 

The pain in his hip was excruciating.  The round must’ve hit a couple of bones and a blood vessel too, judging from the amount of blood he was losing.  He could feel a terrible weakness bearing down on him, but he knew that he had to remain conscious in order to get the boys out safely. 

“No, Agent Mulder.  I think the boys should stay.  I want to be sure you listen.” 

“Look, gonna be unconscious soon.  Losing a lot of blood.  Let my partner in.  She’s a doctor.  Let her patch me up and then take the boys away.  I’ll listen to anything you have to say, but not gonna last much longer without help.” 

Mulder’s speech slurred and spots began to float in his field of vision.  It was becoming more difficult by the second just to breathe.  He stole a look at the boys huddled in the corner.  They were terrified to say the very least. 

Ensminger knelt at Mulder’s side and moved the agent’s hand away from the wound.  Convinced that the injury was beyond what the simple first-aid kit in the cabinet could fix, he took out his clean handkerchief and pressed it to the wound, placing Mulder’s hand back over it. 

Getting back to his feet, he strode over to the classroom phone and punched in the extension for the office.  “Send Agent Scully in with medical supplies and I’ll release one of the boys.” 

Mulder weakly nodded his approval.  “What happened to your wife?” 

“My lovely wife . . .30 years together was all we had.  We couldn’t have children and all of our relatives are dead.  All we had was each other.  My wife was a multiple abductee.  They took her 15 times, Mr. Mulder.” 

The injured man tried to keep his eyes open.  He had to stay conscious until Scully got there.  “What happened . . . the last time?” 

“She went for a bicycle ride.  It was October 16th, a beautiful Indian summer day.  She wanted me to go with her, but I had papers to grade.  I told her I’d go the next time.  I should have gone with her.  Those papers could have waited.  If I had gone maybe this wouldn’t have happened.  Now, there won’t be a next time,” Ensminger sobbed.  “My wife was missing for three days.  They found her by the side of the road suffering from massive internal injuries.  Her body was still warm, but there wasn’t anything they could do.  Her bike was found in the ditch in perfect condition.  It was plain to see that she hadn’t been involved in an accident, but the authorities ruled it a hit and run.  With no leads to follow, they just stopped looking.  They wouldn’t find her murderers anywhere around here anyway.” 

The older man cried, the gun wobbling in his unsteady hand.  “I’m just so tired of no one believing me, so tired of living without her.” 

“I’m sorry,” Mulder whispered, overcome by the man’s story and the weakness invading his body. 

A loud knock garnered their attention.  Scully stood outside the door with her hands up, a canvas bag slung over her shoulder. 

Ensminger opened the door and ordered her to put the bag on the floor.  After he searched her he looked through the bag.  When he was sure that it contained only medical supplies he motioned her in. 

Scully hurried to her partner’s side.  “You said you’d let one of the boys go,” she reminded him as she pulled Mulder’s hand away from the wound. 

“Yes, I did promise.  Hunter, you may leave.” 

The boy didn’t need further encouragement.  He ran from the room without so much as a look back. 

“Mr. Ensminger, you do realize that my partner is seriously injured?”  Scully continued to tend to Mulder whose breathing was sounding worse by the minute. 

“Yes, I’m so sorry.  I only wanted to get his full attention.  I didn’t mean to shoot him.” 

“Well, I’m sure you have his attention but not for much longer.  He needs to be in a hospital.”  She looked at her watch.  Mulder’s ‘golden hour’ was rapidly being consumed by the hostage situation. 

“He said you were a doctor.  Help him.” 

“I’ll do the best I can.”  She brought out a bag of IV solution and a set-up kit.  “I’m going to give him some IV fluids.  That should help some but he’s going to need surgery to stop the bleeding.” 

“Can’t you put some stitches in him?”  Tears continued to stream down his face. 

“I wish a few sutures would solve the problem, but they won’t.  You have me now, why don’t you let Mulder and the boy go?”  Scully suggested. 

“No!  They both stay!  I need a few minutes to think this through.  I had no intention of shooting anyone, you know.  I just wanted to tell my story to Agent Mulder so he could help me find my wife’s killers.” 

“I’ve been trying to find them for almost 30 years.  Don’t you think I would have brought them to justice if there was any way?”  Mulder’s agitated reply drained even more of his strength.  He closed his eyes as his vision started to waver. 

“Mulder, stay with me now.”  Scully pleaded.  “You can rest when you get to the hospital.” 

“Tired, Scully,” he mumbled without opening his eyes. 

“I know, but try to open your eyes for me.” 

With great effort, Mulder complied. 

“I know you’re tired.  The IV should help a little bit but you need to stay awake for me.  Can you do that?” She undid his tie and opened the top 3 shirt buttons so he could breath easier. 

“’Kay.”  The abbreviated word was the most he could muster.  He found himself breathing heavily at even that slight exertion but managed to keep his eyes open for Scully. 

Ensminger began to pace as he considered his options.  In the meantime, Scully continued to evaluate Mulder’s condition.  As she checked the pulse at his left ankle she discovered that their captor had overlooked his spare gun, strapped securely to his lower, left leg.  She waited until Ensminger turned away from them to complete another circuit and swiftly got the weapon and hid it beneath the first-aid supplies. 

Ensminger suddenly stopped and pointed his gun at Scully.  She held her breath sure that Ensminger had seen her with Mulder’s spare gun. 

“Chase, I want you to leave now.  Quickly!” The crazed teacher shouted his instructions when the stunned child didn’t start to move.  Scully nodded that it was okay, and with her permission Chase didn’t waste any time heading for the door. 

“Now, I want you to help Agent Mulder get on his feet.  You’ll leave with him and I’ll follow you.  I intend to turn myself into the authorities.” 

Scully was clearly puzzled.  “Why don’t you surrender first?  I don’t think that Agent Mulder will be able to walk and it would be much easier . . .” 

“No!”  He cut the feisty agent off.  “It must be done my way!” 

Mulder didn’t want to keep Scully around the unstable man any longer than he had to.  With great effort he sat up. 

“You can put him on my desk chair and roll him out, but please hurry.  I’m losing my patience.” 

Scully worked quickly to gather up the first-aid supplies and Mulder’s gun while Ensminger shoved the chair in their direction.  With her help, Mulder just made it to the chair before collapsing into it. 

“Now, you two go on out.  I’ll be right behind you with the gun.  Don’t do anything stupid.” 

Scully nodded and began to push the chair with one hand, while the other tried to keep her partner in the seat.  As soon as the two agents cleared the doorway, Ensminger pulled the door shut and locked it. 

“Mulder groaned.  “No!” 

Before Scully could turn around there was a gunshot.  Its sound echoed up and down the empty hallway.  Standing on her tiptoes, she looked through the glass in the upper part of the door and saw Ensminger lying on the floor, the right half of his head completely blown away. 

“Please tell me he didn’t..” Mulder panted. 

“I’m sorry, Mulder.” 

“Damn it!” 

Several policemen began to approach.  When Scully indicated that they were safe, two EMTs came around the corner and made their way to Mulder. They began to work on him immediately, taking his vital signs. 

“Whoa!”  The paramedic taking Mulder’s blood pressure and pulse exclaimed.  “His pressure is pretty low.” 

“We need to load and go then.  Excuse us.  We need to get him on that stretcher and out to the ambulance right away!” 

The policemen moved aside so that they could make the transfer. 

“I’ll give my statement at the hospital,” Scully told them.  “I’m going with my partner.” 

No one called her on it and she practically had to jog to catch up with the stretcher as it was quickly pushed up the hall.  One of the EMTs had placed an oxygen mask over Mulder’s nose and mouth, almost obscuring his face.  His eyes were closed and he was extremely pale.  She didn’t want to think about it, but it reminded her of the time he was shot during the Luther Boggs case in North Carolina.  He was barely alive by the time they got him to the hospital in Raleigh.  “Please God, let him make it to the hospital.  Let him live!”

 

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The hospital trauma team took over as soon as the patient was wheeled in.  “What’s the story?”  The doctor who seemed to be in charge asked the paramedics. 

“This is Fox Mulder, an FBI agent.  He was shot in the left hip about 50 minutes ago.  The bullet’s still in there.  His blood pressure was initially quite low in the field . . .” 

The rest of the trauma team continued to work quickly and efficiently while the paramedics gave their report.  Tests and x-rays were ordered.  In North Carolina Scully had looked on in a state of shock.  This time she stood by Mulder’s head, carding her fingers through his sweat soaked hair, bestowing words of encouragement. 

By the time he was prepped for surgery, his blood pressure was up and he was conscious.  “They’re going to take you to surgery in a few minutes,” Scully informed him, cupping his cheek gently in her small warm hand.    

Mulder looked blearily around taking note of his surroundings.  It finally sunk in.  “No, just need a few stitches.” 

“I’m sure you’ll have a few, but they have to find that bleeder and tie it off first, partner and that means surgery.” 

Shaking his head no, Mulder tried to shift his position so that he could see his partner more clearly.  “Ow!  Why didn’t you tell me not to move?  Hurts!” 

“Agent Mulder needs something for pain,” Scully called out to the nurse who was coordinating his care. She squeezed his hand in reassurance, mindful of his IV. 

A few moments later Mulder felt the soothing buzz of narcotics in his system. 

“Better?” 

Scully was still by his side.  At least he hadn’t been mean enough to drive her away just yet.  “Yeah, feelin’ lots better.” 

Scully almost laughed.  The drugs had slackened his jaw muscles, smoothing out the few lines he had on his face.  His dark hair was tousled, adding to the effect.  He looked like a little boy lying there so helplessly, tubes and wires all over him. 

“Take a picture.  Lasts longer,” Mulder quipped.  He had caught his partner staring at him with a big grin on her face. 

Before she could even comment, Scully was asked to stand aside as several hospital workers got Mulder ready to move. 

“Wha’s happenin’?”  The stuff they gave him for pain wasn’t the usual Demerol or morphine.  He wasn’t sure he liked being that out of it, but it surely did make the pain easier to handle.  If he could get his mouth and brain to work together Mulder vowed he would ask her what they put in his IV.  Right now he needed an answer to his earlier question.  The gurney was just about out of the room and he wanted to know where he was going. 

“Where?” 

“I’m sorry, Mulder.  I started watching them unhook all of the monitors and I forgot I hadn’t answered.  You’re going to surgery.  Remember now?  The next time I see you, I’ll bet you’ll be feeling much better.” 

“Yeah, right,” he muttered under his breath as the gurney cleared the door and started down the hall. 

Scully accompanied them to the surgical floor and right up to the big double doors leading to the surgical suites.  “Sweet dreams, partner,” she whispered into his right ear.  “Ill see you in a little while,” she said brightly as the doors swished closed.

 

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Three days later Mulder had almost worn out the remote for the TV.  He went through the channels one more time just to be sure he hadn’t missed anything on the five previous trips through the airwaves.  Nope, nothing had changed.  He threw the remote down in disgust and watched it bounce off the covers and come to rest under his bed.  As he began to pull it back up by its cord he was interrupted as two boys entered his room, followed by Scully and Mrs. Todd, the principal of Mayfield Elementary. 

“I found these young men in the lobby,” Scully explained cheerfully.  “They said they had some deliveries to make.” 

“Really?” Mulder asked. 

“Um, we have some presents from our class,” Chase stated as he shoved the fruit basket toward Mulder.  Scully took it from him and placed it on the tray table. 

“And I have some get well cards that we made.”  Hunter stepped forward and gave him a stack of brightly decorated cards. 

“They look very nice.  I’m looking forward to reading them.” 

“We wanted to show our appreciation for the interesting presentation you gave and most of all for keeping Chase and Hunter safe,” Mrs. Todd explained. 

Mulder blushed and mumbled his thanks for the cards and fruit.  He wasn’t used to having praise and gifts heaped upon him. 

“We’ll be going now so that you can rest.  Agent Scully told us that you will be allowed out of bed for the first time today.  I’m sure you’ll need every bit of strength you can muster so we’ll get out of your way.” 

“Yes, I’m afraid you’re right.  Thanks again for thinking of me, and I too want to express my thanks.  Chase and Hunter, you were very brave during that situation in Mr. Ensminger’s room.  The main reason we all got out of there alive was because you didn’t panic.” 

Now it was time for the boys to blush.  Mulder shook their hands as they left. 

“That was nice of them,” Scully commented as soon as they were out the door.  She reached into the fruit basket and grabbed a Red Delicious apple. 

“Hey!  Save some for me!  I’m going to need my strength, you know.” 

Scully peered into the large basket.  “Looks like there’s enough in here for five people, Mulder.  You should have energy to spare.” 

“Mulder snagged a Golden Delicious apple and took a bite out of it.  “Well, you know the old saying . . .” 

“The one about an apple a day?” Scully grinned.  “Is that a hint?” 

“Nope.  Doesn’t work anyway,” he commented as his doctor entered the room.

 

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Three days later Mulder waited impatiently for Scully to return from her meeting with AD Skinner.  He had been released an hour earlier and was anxious to leave.  A big smile erupted on his face when she entered the room. 

“Well, what did Skinner want?” 

Scully began gathering up the things that Mulder would be taking home.  “Oh, nothing much.  He did suggest that we consider volunteering to help out with the school PR program on a regular basis.” 

“Please tell me you didn’t say yes.” 

“I told him that W.C. Fields made it a policy never to work with children or animals and I thought that if it worked for him it would work for us also.” 

Mulder grinned.  He could picture the conversation between Scully and their supervisor.  Scully could be rather convincing when she had to be.  “That’s my Scully.  What did Skinner say?” 

“Oh, something about W.C. Fields not having him as a supervisor.” 

“And?” Mulder asked warily.  This was not going the way he hoped it would. 

“We return to Mayfield Elementary School a week after you return from your medical leave.  This time we get the privilege of working with kindergartners.” 

“Please tell me you’re kidding.”  Mulder began to look decidedly ill. 

“Fortunately, I am.  Ready to go?”  Scully had to turn away from him or else risk laughing uncontrollably. 

“Yes,” he sighed. 

“I had you didn’t I?” she grinned as she turned around. 

“Yeah, you got me good, but beware.  I have a couple of weeks off now with nothing better to do that think of a way to get you back.”  Mulder noted. 

“I’m not afraid.”  She tossed her head with a look of defiance and moved the waiting wheelchair to Mulder’s side. 

“And why is that?”  Mulder settled himself into the chair. 

“I can always change my mind about the kiddy PR.”  She smiled primly and placed the remainder of the fruit basket in his lap. 

“That’s cruel, Scully.” 

“Yep, it is isn’t it?”  She grabbed a pear from the fruit basket and took a big, juicy bite.  “It’s a good thing we’re such good friends isn’t it?” 

“Uh-huh.  Take me home, friend.”

 

 

End