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Title:  Not My Usual Job Description

Author:  ?  ?  ?

Summary:  When both Mulder and Scully are injured while away on an assignment, Skinner come to town to lend a helping hand.

Category:  MT, ST, M/S/Sk friendship

Disclaimer:  No copyright infringement intended.

Archives:  Written for the June MR open theme challenge.



 Not My Usual Job Description


Trying to balance a cup of coffee, her briefcase and a sack containing her bagel and a Danish for Mulder, Special Agent Dana Scully was pleasantly surprised when her partner opened the door to their basement office.  Wearing a big grin on his face, he took her briefcase and set it gently beside her chair.  It was only after she removed the lid from her coffee and took a generous sip that she noticed that Mulder had the slide projector set up.  Groaning inwardly, she sat down and fished her bagel from the bag.


“Good morning, Scully,” he beamed.  It had been quite a while since he’d had to dig out the projector and he was enjoying it tremendously.


“And good morning to you too, Mulder.  So, what’s up?  I haven’t seen this equipment for quite some time.”  She fished around in the sack and latched onto the Danish.  “Here, take this before I change my mind.”  A slide show first thing in the morning usually meant that they’d be on a flight out of town before the day was over. 

“Well, Scully.  I don’t want to say too much until you have a chance to look over everything.  Thanks for the Danish, by the way.”  He took a big bite from it and turned back to the projector. 

Scully took a big sip of her favorite Starbuck’s brew and steeled herself for the worst.  Mulder dimmed the lights and the first slide lit up the room. 

“Mulder,” she protested as she looked at an image of a dead cow in all its glory.  “I am not going back to Texas!” 

“Who said anything about Texas?  This cow died in Nebraska but it is the same circumstance.  Exsanguinated.  As well as this one, and this one and that one.” 

Mulder was in his element as he clicked the control.  The next picture was that of an older man, pale as he could be, with two puncture marks on his neck.  He advanced the slides again to reveal a middle-aged man in the same condition. 

Scully began to check her calendar.  Surely this was April Fools day and she was the butt of the joke.  Those photos were almost identical to what they had seen in Chaney, Texas last year.  That group had packed up and left and she had no desire to investigate any further. 

“I know this is almost identical to what we found in Chaney, but these events have taken place in Nebraska over the past two weeks.” 

“Well, at least there are plenty of cattle in Nebraska.  This won’t cause a shortage.  Mulder, don’t tell me that you think that group has relocated there.” 

“Okay, I won’t tell you, but we have a 12:05 flight out today.” 

The tall, slender agent turned off the projector and started toward the screen to stow it away.  Trying to analyze the look on his partner’s face, he didn’t notice the extension cord lying directly in his path. 

Scully loved to watch his graceful, fluid movements so both were surprised when he tripped over the cord and landed on the floor in an ungraceful heap. 

“Have a nice trip?”  She just couldn’t resist that line as Mulder sat on the floor, a shocked look on his face. 

“Wonderful journey, though rather short,” he grinned as he pushed himself off the floor.  Mulder felt a stab of pain in his right ankle and staggered a bit before he regained his footing.  He winced and quickly tried to hide it. 

Mulder was fast, but Scully’s eagle eye was faster.  “Mulder, are you all right?” 

“Yeah, just a slight twinge in my ankle.” He began walking in the limited office space.  “It’s feeling better already.  I just need to walk it off.” 

His partner wasn’t totally convinced but she had to admit that Mulder wasn’t limping too badly.  “Scully, why don’t you go home and pack?  I’ll put the projector away and pick you up at your place.  Would 10:15 be all right?” 

“That will be perfect.”  She gathered her things.  “You might want to put some ice on that if you get a chance.” 

“Yes, Dr. Scully, but the pain is almost gone.” 

“Great!  I’ll see you at 10:15 then?” 

“Count on it.” 

She gave him a lingering look good-bye and left the office.  Mulder could hear her heels clicking until she got on the elevator.  Convinced that the coast was clear, he limped heavily to his office chair and sank into it.  He propped his foot up on his desk and gingerly pulled the sock down.  He was greeted with a palate of red, deep purple and light blue.  “Way to go, Mulder,” he berated himself.  “You are such a klutz.” 

Realizing that he didn’t have much time, he pushed himself out of the chair and put the screen and projector away, all the time trying to think of a way to hide his injury from Scully. 



Scully was amazed to see her partner pull up in front of her apartment at 10:15 on the dot.  Grabbing her luggage, she locked up and was out the door before Mulder was able to get out of the car.  She signaled him to pop the trunk release and she threw her bags in. 

Once inside the car Scully noted that he had changed to casual clothes.  Mulder looked hot in whatever he chose to wear, be it Armani or a flannel shirt and jeans.  A pair of Doc Martens completed his outfit. 

She, too, had opted for casual.  If they were going to be slogging through pastures her high heels would be completely out of place. 

Mulder was glad that he was able to get by without a suit.  He had changed as soon as he got home and selected the Doc Marten boots to keep the swelling down and give his injured ankle some support.  Tripping over that extension cord had really done a number on that joint and it wasn’t the first time he’d hurt it either.  Before he left he downed several ibuprophen tabs and threw the rest of the bottle in his suitcase. 

He really wanted to connect these new deaths to the group from Chaney, Texas.  He had to hide his injury from Scully at all costs or he could kiss this assignment farewell. 

Walking to their gate at the airport was pure torture.  The ibuprophen wasn’t helping but he’d just have to make do.  He thought he noticed Scully staring at him several times and vowed to try harder not to limp.




After a very uncomfortable flight both agents were tired and somewhat dismayed to find the Lariat rental booth was on the opposite end of the terminal.  To top that off there wasn’t a baggage cart in sight, so the two weary agents had to hoof it, dragging their bags behind them until they saw the familiar sign. 

In keeping with their prior bad luck their reservation had been lost.  Mulder turned on as much charm as possible but they still had a thirty-minute wait.  By the time he wrangled a free upgrade to an SUV and it was delivered, Mulder was more than happy to let Scully drive. 

Since it was so late the agents decided to check into the motel and contact the local law enforcement first thing in the morning.  After a quick room service meal Mulder and Scully made plans to meet for breakfast and retired to their rooms for the night.




Mulder sat on the side of his bed and stared at his injured ankle still encased in the boot he’d put on earlier in the day.  Knowing that it would swell if he removed the boot, he opted to sleep in his clothes.  Maybe he could take a very quick shower in the morning and get the boot back on before the swelling got too bad. 

In the meantime he needed sleep.  To add insult to injury the pain was causing him to run a fever.  The suffering FBI agent removed his belt and shirt and lay down on top of the covers.  That would just have to do.  He was too tired to turn the bed down. 

Sometime around 2AM, Mulder decided that the night would never end.  After downing a few more ibuprophen tablets, he pulled out the files on Chaney, Texas and the current deaths.  He took several pages of notes and made a list of things for Scully to check when she autopsied the latest victim and reviewed the ME’s findings on the earlier death. 

The clock read 5.AM by the time he was finished.  Since a run was completely out of the question he decided on a very quick shower.




The quick shower and ensuing struggle to get his boot back on left Mulder tired enough to fall asleep again.  He was roused from a fitful slumber at 7:30 AM.  Knowing it was Scully he called out for her to come in while he went to the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth.  He almost went down to his knees when his injured ankle protested mightily.  After several minutes of intense pain he was able to pull himself together.  With only a very slight limp he threw open the bathroom door and greeted his partner. 

“Rough night, Mulder?”  It was obvious he hadn’t slept much and he looked almost ill. 

“You could say that.  I had a little trouble sleeping, which you know is nothing new.” 

“Did you sleep at all?” 

“Yes, for a few hours.  I made productive use of the time I was awake though.”  He handed her a sheet from his yellow, legal pad.  “Think you can look for these things when you do the autopsy?” 

Scully skimmed over his notes.  “Mulder, you’re still assuming that this is the same group we encountered in Texas.” 


“We don’t have any proof of that yet.” 

“We will after you do the autopsy.  A word of advice, don’t order pizza today.” 

“Would it be all right to order a fruit plate for breakfast?” she huffed. 

“I guess, as long as Ronnie Strickland doesn’t deliver it to the table.” 

The agents decided to eat in the motel restaurant.  Scully ordered her fruit plate and was quite surprised when Mulder only ordered toast and coffee. 

“What’s up, Mulder?’ 

“Huh?”  Her question puzzled him. 

“You usually order a huge breakfast when we’re in the field.  Are you sure that toast and coffee will hold you until lunch?” 

“Yeah, I’m feeling a little off this morning.  Lack of sleep, I guess.” 

Scully looked him over carefully.  “Are you sure you aren’t coming down with something?” 

“I don’t think so, but thanks for your concern.” 

The doctor, turned FBI agent, strongly resisted the urge to feel his forehead.  “I am concerned.  You really don’t seem yourself.” 

“It’s nothing that a good night’s sleep won’t cure,” he assured her.  Mulder hated to lie to his partner but he really couldn’t admit how much pain he was in.  Scully would cart him off to the ER so fast his head would spin.  He really needed to find a connection between Texas and Nebraska.  Once he had his proof he would gladly go the doctor. 



Once again, Scully noted how out of character Mulder was behaving.  He sent her ahead to ask for directions and when she got back he was already in the car, in the passenger seat to boot.  “What gives, Mulder?”  She climbed into the seat and turned to look at him. 

“What do you mean?” 

“Since you charmed this big, manly SUV out of that rental agent, I would think that you’d want to at least drive it.” 

“I’m still trying to clear my head.  I should be ready to go after another cup of coffee.” 

Scully gave him the once over again.  She knew that Mulder wasn’t his usual self but she just couldn’t put her finger on it . . .yet!  She vowed to get to the bottom of it before the day was over.




After talking to Sheriff Nacke and one of his deputies, Scully went to the back of the building to perform the autopsy.  Mulder had to settle for some very hurried directions to the two RV parks in the area.  After a truckload of cattle overturned on the town’s busiest street, the sheriff and his men were needed as wranglers and couldn’t supply anyone to accompany an FBI agent who wasn’t familiar with the area. 

The first site didn’t turn up anything out of the ordinary.  The second location had evidently been abandoned during the night.  According to the local newspaper carrier, it had been thriving only the day before.  After questioning him and the letter carrier, Mulder was able to determine that Ronnie Strickland, Sheriff Hartwell and friends had lived there for almost a year. 

Mulder was so frustrated that he started to kick the left, front tire of his vehicle and he would have if his injured ankle hadn’t screamed in pain at the sudden movement.  Instead he was forced to lean against the car until the ensuing nausea and dizziness abated. 

“I give up,” he muttered as he carefully slid into the car.  “Time to admit to Scully that I’m in pain even if she does haul my ass off to the nearest medical facility.”




The sheriff’s secretary scurried to the office door as soon as she saw Mulder drive up.  She was beside the car before he even had his seatbelt unfastened.  An uneasy feeling settled in the pit of his stomach when he saw the concerned look on her face.  He quickly hit the power button to lower the window. 

“Agent Mulder, I’m so glad you’re back.  I was about to come looking for you." 

“What is it, Mrs. Clay?” he asked, dreading the answer. 

“Your partner, Agent Scully, was hurt.  The sheriff took her to the hospital.” 

“What happened?” 

“That stupid kid the sheriff hired to help out around here threw open the door to the morgue and knocked that woman clean out.” 

“Where’s the hospital?” 

“Unlock the door and let me in.  I’ll show you the way.”  She patted him gently on the arm.  “Agent Mulder, she came to after a few minutes and started complaining that we were fussing over her for nothing.  I think she’s going to be just fine.” 

He flipped the lock mechanism.  “Thank you, Mrs. Clay but I’d feel a lot better if I could see that for myself.” 

“Of course, you would,” she smiled and made her way to the passenger seat.




Mulder unlocked the motel room door without taking his right arm from around Scully’s shoulders. 

“Mulder, let me go!” 

“Not until you’re safely in bed.” 

“This really isn’t necessary,” she huffed. 

“The ER doc says it is.” 

Scully opened her mouth to reply and Mulder put his right index finger against her lips.  “Don’t say it.  Don’t even think it.  This time I’m going to be your nursemaid and the first thing you’re going to do is get those cute, little buns into bed, per the doctor’s orders.  Now, you go on and put on your pajamas and I’ll be back in a few minutes to tuck you in unless you need some help getting undressed.”  He waggled his eyebrows at her. 

Scully just stared at him.  She had intended to stand her ground against him but one look at his face convinced her to follow his directions.  Besides, this could be fun, especially if she gave Mulder a dose of his own medicine.  She smiled as she carefully made her way to her suitcase. 



So far, the afternoon had been uneventful.  Scully had dozed off and on and Mulder looked at his watch and decided it was time to go next door and check on his patient.  He rapped lightly on the open connecting door before going in. 

It was getting more difficult to walk without limping but he vowed to grit it out.  Scully didn’t need to worry about him right now. 

Scully raised her head slightly as he entered the room then sank back into the pillows with a groan. 

“Headache worse?” 

“A little.” 

“Dr. Mulder has just the thing.  I’ll be right back.” 

He limped into the bathroom unaware that Scully was watching every awkward step. 

“Mulder, is your ankle still hurting?” 

He stopped dead in his tracks almost spilling the water he carried.  “Um . . .” 

“Mulder.”  Although his name didn’t ordinarily sound like a threat, her tone of voice certainly suggested it. 

“Well, maybe a little.”  He handed her two Tylenol tablets and the glass of water.  Scully swallowed them, put the glass on the nightstand and patted the bed next to her.  “Have a seat.  Take your boot and sock off and let me have a look.” 

Just as Mulder was about to give in, his cell phone rang.  Scully stared impatiently as he talked. 

After he hung up he turned to face her.  “Scully, it was the sheriff.  Two men fitting Hartwell and Strickland’s descriptions are down the road looking around an old, abandoned house.  He’s on his way to pick me up.  Do you think you’ll be all right for the next hour or so?” 

“Mulder, I’ve had worse headaches after a day of paperwork.  Go, but I’m taking a rain check on that ankle exam.” 

“Thanks, Scully.  I’ll be glad to show you my ankle as soon as I get back.” 

“Count on it.”




Scully sat up and looked at her watch, surprised that she had slept for five hours.  That was odd because Mulder was supposed to wake her every few hours.  “Mulder?” she called. 

She threw the covers off and reached for the phone when she didn’t receive an answer from next door.  She dropped it back into its cradle at the sound of someone at the door.  As she moved to get out of bed a loud knock sounded.  Wary, she made her way to the door and stood on tiptoe to look through the peephole.  

The petite agent quickly opened the door, surprised to see the sheriff almost carrying Mulder.  After dragging him to the spare bed the lawman eased the agent down. 

“What happened?” Scully demanded, focusing on her partner’s splinted right ankle. 

“He’s heavier than he looks,” the older man wheezed, holding his hand up to let her know that he needed to catch his breath. 

“Broke my ankle,” Mulder supplied, his voice slurred. 

“One of the steps at the old Anderson place had rotted through.  Agent Mulder fell and dislocated his ankle.  The doc said there was a hairline fracture too.  They had to almost knock him out to get it back in the socket.  Sorry I didn’t call but things were pretty hectic.” 

Mulder tried to sit up.  “Sorry, Scully.  Just give me a minute and I’ll get your medicine.”  It was obvious that he was still under the influence of the drugs he’d received at the hospital. 

“It’s okay, Mulder.  My head doesn’t feel too bad right now.” 

Mulder sank back down and was asleep within seconds. 

A wave of dizziness washed over Scully causing her to stagger.  The sheriff steadied her then led her to the other bed.  “You two are in fine shape, aren’t you?” he fussed as he helped her lie down. 

“I’m fine.  I think I probably just need to eat something.” 

Sheriff Nacke looked at her doubtfully.  “While we were at the hospital Agent Mulder received a call on his cell phone.  Your boss, Mr. Skinner, was a bit concerned that neither of you had checked in.  When he heard what happened he said he’d be on the first available flight out here.  He’s going to look after you two until you’re able to travel.” 

“You are kidding, right?” Scully inquired, a look of surprise on her face. 

“No, I’m not.” 

Scully covered her eyes with her right forearm and groaned. 

“Mrs. Clay should be here any minute.  She’s going to stay with you until Mr. Skinner gets here.  Agent Mulder isn’t in any condition to be up and around until he sobers up a bit and from the looks of you you’re a little green around the gills.  Just relax and let us help.” 

“Thank you,” she sighed. 

“Now, as soon as Mrs. Clay gets here, I’ll go out to my vehicle and get Agent Mulder’s crutches and x-rays.  The doctor splinted his ankle up and said not to put any weight on it until he sees a specialist when he gets home.  Oh, I’ve got his pain medicine.”  He pulled a bottle from his shirt pocket.  “’Course, I doubt he’ll need anything until he sleeps this off.” 



Mulder opened one eye and looked around.  Both eyes opened in surprise when he realized he didn’t know exactly where he was.  His surroundings looked vaguely familiar, but his brain had that drugged, fuzzy feeling that prevented him from processing information at his usual warp speed.  When he turned his head to the right and found two blue eyes staring at him, he recognized the room. 

“Scully?  How’d I get here?”  He tried to sit up but thought better of it when his stomach started doing flip-flops. 

“Long or short version?” 

“Short version for right now.”  He took a deep breath to calm his stomach. 

“Sheriff Nacke brought you here after you were released from the ER.  Ring any bells?”  Scully rose to a sitting position in her bed. 

“Um, yeah.  I’m starting to remember the ER visit from hell.  What did they give me?”  He closed his eyes in an effort to stop the room from spinning. 

“From what I gathered it was a combination of a pretty strong pain killer and a sedative.  Let’s just say that you were pretty relaxed when the sheriff dragged you in.” 

Mulder felt the right side of his mattress settle under the weight of his partner as she sat on the side of his bed.  He opened his eyes again.  “Scully, how are you feeling?  Shouldn’t you be in bed?” 

“Mulder, I feel much better but I need to tell you something.” 

“No, Scully.  You still need to be resting.  I don’t want you to worry about me when you should be concerned about your own health.” 

“Neither of you need worry.  I’m going to take care of both of you until you’re back in DC,” a deep voice informed then from the connecting doorway. 

Mulder did a double take when Assistant Director Walter Skinner entered the room.  Dressed casually in a polo shirt and jeans, he looked rather out of place, especially carrying an ice bucket and several canned soft drinks. 

Mulder looked back to Scully.  “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” she whispered. 

He turned back to look at Skinner, then at Scully again, hoping one of them would fill him in.  He’d obviously slept longer than he thought or was in the throes of a very realistic dream. 

Skinner finally took pity on him.  “Sheriff Nacke answered your phone when I called for a progress report.  After hearing about your situation I figured the two of you could use some help.” 

“Thank you, sir,” Scully replied while Mulder continued to stare. 

“Mulder, you’ve been sleeping since I got here about half an hour ago.  I thought that you two might want something to drink.  I have ginger ale and cola.” 

“I’ll take the ginger ale,” the woman decided. 

“And I’ll have the cola.  It feels like my mouth was stuffed with cotton.”  Mulder sat up gingerly and began to slide toward the head of the bed.  “Ow!” 

“I guess that ankle’s pretty sore, huh?”  Skinner put the ice and drinks on the nightstand.  “Here, let me give you a hand.” 

The older man helped his agent move up and repositioned the pillow under his ankle.  “Sore seems woefully inadequate when describing this pain.” 

“Sheriff Nacke got your prescription filled before he brought you home.”  The AD shook out two pills from the bottle and handed them to Mulder.  “You owe him big time.  He stayed with you at the hospital, got your medication and practically carried you into this room.” 

“Really?  I’ll stop by his office before we leave.  I honestly don’t remember much after they started that IV at the hospital.” 

Skinner handed him the soft drink he’d just poured into a glass.  “From what I’ve heard, you’re pretty funny when you’re stoned.” 

“They made quite a picture when they arrived at my door,” Scully laughed.  “Mulder, you were so loose the sheriff practically poured you into bed.” 

“Well, I’m glad I was able to provide some entertainment.”  He looked around the room.  “Shouldn’t I have a pair of crutches somewhere around here?” 

Skinner retrieved them from their resting place beside the bed.  “You mean these?” 

“Yeah.”  The injured agent carefully began to work his sore ankle over to the edge of the bed. 

“Where are you going?” Skinner queried still holding the crutches. 

“I’d like to go to the bathroom if that’s okay with everyone,” he answered testily. 

“I’ll help you.”  Skinner held on to his elbow as he stood.  “Just put your left arm around my waist.  I don’t want you to use those crutches until the drugs from the hospital wear off.”  He put the crutches back in their place against the wall and helped the younger man across the room. 

After Skinner got his agent back into bed he asked them if they were hungry.  “It’s getting late and the kitchen will close pretty soon.” 

“I think I’d like a bowl of vegetable soup with saltines,” Scully decided.  “Mulder, you haven’t eaten since breakfast and not much then.  You need to put something in your stomach.” 

“I’ll have what you’re having.  I’m really not that hungry.” 

“All right, then.  I’ll call the order in and you two can fill me in on the case while we wait.”  Skinner smiled and picked up the phone.




Skinner put the dirty dishes outside the door.  “Well, agents, I think it’s time we called it a night.  I think you could both use another day to rest before we head home.” 

“Yes, I agree.  That will give me time to speak to the county ME about the autopsy results.” 

“Agent Scully, I don’t believe that falls under the definition of the word rest.” 

Scully opened her mouth to protest. 

“Is there any reason why you can’t talk to him from your office once we’re home?” 

“Well, no.  I just thought I could get a head start on my report.” 

“I thought I might check a few of the neighboring towns to see if any of the people from the RV park might have passed through on their way to wherever they are now.”  Mulder shifted uneasily and just barely managed to keep from crying out in pain. 

“Mulder, you can use that phone in your office as well since both of you will be tied to your desks for awhile.  I agree that the MO here is almost identical to the case in Texas but you’ve pretty much reached a dead end.  Your final report can wait for a few days.” 

“Yes, sir,” both agents agreed. 

“I’ve ordered a cot for myself tonight.  I don’t want either of you moving around without me knowing about it.  Agent Mulder, why don’t I help you get settled in for the night while Agent Scully brushes her teeth and gets ready for bed?”




Skinner turned over uneasily on his cot.  “Stupid things weren’t made for comfort.  That’s for sure,” he thought as he realized he’d been awakened by the sound of someone being sick.  “Crap!  What bonehead in his unit had spent the night drinking that rotgut that passed for whiskey in this God-forsaken place?” 

With the weak, early morning light streaming in around the edges of the curtains, he quickly determined that he wasn’t in his barracks back in Vietnam after all.  “Mulder!” he gasped. 

Scrambling out of bed, he found Scully dizzily holding onto the bathroom doorjamb while Mulder sat on the side of the tub emptying his stomach into the toilet. 

“I don’t think the medication is agreeing with him, sir,” Scully reported, beginning to look a little green herself. 

“Agent Scully, let’s get you back to bed and then I’ll see what I can do to help Mulder.” 

She had barely sat down on the side of her bed when her stomach also began to spasm.  Skinner grabbed a wastebasket and held it for her.  Since Mulder seemed to have settled down, he stayed with the female agent until her dry heaves stopped.  “Better?” 

“Yes, sir.  I have such a terrible headache that it’s making me ill.” 

“I’ll get you some Tylenol after I get Mulder back to bed.” 

During the next few minutes Skinner helped Mulder clean up and put on a fresh t-shirt.  When he had him safely back in bed he turned to Scully and stood by her while she took the Tylenol he handed her.  The AD glanced at his watch.  He hadn’t even been up for ten minutes and he already felt exhausted.  Wiping the perspiration from his head and face with the hem of his t-shirt he sighed and decided to get dressed for the day.




It was turning out to be one bitch of a morning.  Both agents were in pain and nauseated.  Mulder’s pain meds were making him ill and Scully obviously needed something stronger than Tylenol to ease her headache.  Making his way to Mulder’s vacant room he put in a call to the ER.  Hopefully, the doctor could prescribe something more helpful for both of them. 

After leaving a message for the ER doc, he called his office to let his assistant know that they wouldn’t be returning home for at least another 24 hours.  Since both of his agents had been so ill he figured another day of rest was in order. 

Skinner stood in the doorway between the rooms.  Mulder and Scully were both dozing and he thought he might have time for a quick shower.  He decided to wait until the next day to shave, uneasy about leaving his two agents alone for that amount of time. 



Mulder’s stomach was doing a great imitation of a trampoline.  He opened his eyes and tried to figure how many hops on his good leg it would take to get him to the bathroom before his unsettled stomach came up again.  Before he was able to hop once he felt Skinner’s arm around his waist. 

“Feeling sick again?” 

Mulder nodded his affirmation as Skinner helped him move to the bathroom.  After heaving for several minutes without much success he sighed and groaned, “Why don’t I just stay in here?  You could fix a place for me to lie down on the floor and save us all some trouble.” 

“You’re not any trouble, Mulder.  You need to be comfortable and that means you need to be in bed.  I’ve left a message for your ER doctor to call me.  Maybe he can prescribe something different for both of you.”  The AD handed him a glass of water and he took a small sip to rinse his mouth out before handing it back. 

“Ready to get back into bed?” 

“Yes, sir.” 

Skinner held out his hand and Mulder gripped it firmly. 

“Thanks for helping us, sir.  I’m sure you’d rather be doing anything other than looking after two puking agents.” 

Skinner chuckled as he helped Mulder back to bed.  “Well, it’s not my usual job description but I’m always open to new and different assignments.” 

After carefully elevating his injured agent’s ankle, the AD spread the blanket and sheet over him.  A sharp rap on the door drew his attention. 

When he opened the door the AD observed a tired looking man in his mid to late thirties.  “May I help you?” 

“Perhaps.  I’m looking for Agents Mulder and Scully.” 

“Could I ask what business you have with them?” Skinner inquired warily. 

“I’m Dr. Hammond.  I treated both of them in the ER yesterday.  I got a message about a possible medication problem so I thought I’d just stop by on my way home.” 

“Nice to meet you, Dr. Hammond.  I’m Walter Skinner. I’m the one who called.  Please come in.”  Skinner offered his hand in welcome. 

“Come on in, Doc,” Mulder invited.  “Guess you thought you’d seen the last of us yesterday.” 

“I always hope that I don’t have repeat business, but since I’m here I think I may have a few things that might help you feel a little better,” the doctor grinned as he made his way to Mulder’s bed. 

After a brief examination the doctor administered anti-nausea and pain meds by injection and left a two-day supply of oral meds for each of them. 

Skinner stood in the doorway between the rooms and observed both agents resting comfortably at last.  They both looked so young when they were sleeping.  He sighed and went to the empty room next door to order something from room service. 

It was late afternoon before either agent awakened.  Scully was the first to open her eyes.  She looked around the room and saw that Mulder was still snoozing.  “Good,” she thought.  “He really needs the rest after such a rough morning.” 

After taking a few minutes to evaluate her own condition, she realized that she felt much better.  The injections the doctor had administered earlier had really done their jobs.  She reached over to the nightstand for a glass of water. 

In the next room Skinner could hear sounds of movement.  He was at the connecting door in no time.  “Agent Scully, can I get anything for you?” 

“No, thank you, sir.  I’ve got what I need right here.”  She raised her glass of water in a salute. 

“How are you feeling?” the AD asked as he seated himself at the small table by the window. 

“Much better, sir.  My head is a little sore but I wouldn’t actually call it a headache.” 

“That’s great.  Do you feel like eating?” 

“Yes, I think I could manage that,” Scully smiled. 

“Let’s start out with some broth and saltines.  Does that sound all right?” 

“That would be fine, sir.  Why don’t you order the same for Mulder?  He’s moved a couple of times since I’ve been awake so I expect to hear from him any time.” 

“Sorry to keep you waiting, Scully,” Mulder stated, rubbing his eyes.  “I’m awake.” 

“Sorry, Mulder.  I didn’t mean to wake you,” she apologized. 

“Not a problem.  I’ve been awake for a few minutes.  How’s your head?” 

“Not bad, actually.  How’s your ankle?” 


“I’ll fix you an ice pack as soon as I order the food,” Skinner offered, rising from the table. 

Skinner called in the food order and spent the next few minutes helping his agents to the bathroom.  Scully insisted that she didn’t need any help walking and he had to admit that she looked much better. 

Mulder, on the other hand, was still a little shaky from the earlier bouts of vomiting and the pain in his ankle was clearly causing him great discomfort.  Skinner finished making an ice pack and placed it gently on his agent’s swollen ankle. 

“Thank you, sir.  I hate to admit it but the two of us would have been in a world of hurt if you hadn’t decided to drop everything and fly out to help us.” 

“Thank you, Mulder.  I was itching to get out of that stuffy office anyway.” 

“Well, I’m glad we were able to provide an excuse.” 

“Besides, it gave me a chance to use what I learned in Boy Scouts.  Studying for that first-aid badge was a real bitch.” 

“Eagle Scout?” Mulder smiled. 

Skinner nodded yes. 

“I was an Indian Guide myself.” 

Scully rolled her eyes heavenward.  She was pretty sure that Mulder’s scouting experience paled in comparison to the AD’s. 

Room service arrived and Skinner took on the role of waiter.  Both agents seemed to be hungry and he hoped their upset stomachs were a thing of the past. 

After quickly finishing his broth, Mulder asked if Skinner could bring his briefcase from his room next door.  The AD firmly refused and forced a couple of pain pills on him instead. 

Surprisingly, Mulder took them without too much argument and Skinner told both agents that the rest of the day would be spent resting and recuperating. 

“Well, if I can’t work could I at least take a shower and put on some clean clothes?”  Mulder asked. 

“No shower, but I’ll be glad to help you get cleaned up and get some fresh clothes on.” 

Mulder opened his mouth to state his side. 

“No negotiation, agent.  Now, tell me what you would like to wear and I’ll go next door and get it.  Then I’ll help you to the bathroom where you can sit on the toilet and clean up at the sink.” 

Mulder sensed that it wouldn’t be a good idea to argue.  “I’ve got a pair of black basketball shorts and a gray t-shirt on the right side of my suitcase.  There should be some clean boxers underneath.” 



Mulder exited the bathroom to find Scully gone.  Skinner sat at the table playing solitaire.  “Agent Scully is next door taking a bath.  How about some poker?” 

Mulder rarely had a chance to play cards, but he figured he might be able to provide some decent competition for his boss.  After losing five hands in a row he yawned rather loudly and announced that the pain pills were making him sleepy.  He grabbed his crutches and made his way back to bed, thankful that they hadn’t played for money. 

Skinner and Mulder moved next door when it was time to turn in.  Both agents seemed to be on the mend and the AD decided to call for travel arrangements for the following afternoon.  He was in luck and got a flight scheduled to leave at 5:20. 

Mulder eavesdropped and was pleased that they would finally be heading home, until he heard his supervisor making arrangements for a wheelchair. 

“No!” he protested shaking his head vigorously.  “I can make it just fine with my crutches.” 

“Give your superior a break, Mulder.  I don’t want to throw my back out juggling luggage and trying to catch you if you get tripped up.  You will use the wheelchair.” 

The stern look on Skinner’s face convinced him that it would be futile to argue. 

Skinner hung up the phone.  “We’ll stop by the sheriff’s office on our way out so you two can thank them for taking care of you.” 

“Yes, sir.  They really went out of their way for us.  We usually aren’t treated this well by the local law enforcement agencies.” 

“I’ll see that the director sends them a personal note of thanks when we return.  A little PR never hurts.” 

Mulder smiled.  “Have you ever thought of running for public office?  It seems like you’ve honed your political skills to a fine edge since you’ve been an assistant director.” 

“It’s part of the job, Mulder and not one I particularly enjoy.  So, to answer your question, no, I would not consider running for public office.  Office politics leave a bitter taste in my mouth as it is.  Now, it’s time to take your pain pills and turn in.  Tomorrow will be a tiring day.” 

“Yes, sir.  Could we leave the door between the rooms open?  I’d feel much better if we could hear Scully if she needs help.” 

“Good idea, Mulder.  I’ll ask Scully and be right back.  I expect to see you under the covers when I return.” 

Mulder gave him a mock salute and began to slowly maneuver himself onto the bed.




The travelers were exhausted after the long trip home.  Skinner was instructed to drop both agents off at Scully’s place causing him to wonder once again just what their relationship was. 

Scully explained that her apartment was larger and easier to move around in with crutches but the AD was still skeptical.  He decided to continue with his ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.  As he bade them farewell he ordered them to stay out of the office until the following week. 

Both agents agreed.  As Scully closed the door she pulled her left hand from behind her back.  With a big grin she showed Mulder that her fingers were crossed. 

With an even bigger grin Mulder pulled his right hand from its hiding place behind his back to reveal the same thing.  “Great minds think alike.” 

Both agents broke into laughter. 

Meanwhile Skinner chuckled as he unlocked his car.  He knew that both agents had crossed their fingers.  He figured they would be back in their basement office in two days . . . tops!  He smiled, happy that he could still see through them and looking forward to their return.  The X-Files kept him on his toes, but he loved it all the same. 

“Rest while you can agents.  All of that paperwork that you repeatedly put off will still be waiting for you.” 

He slid into his vehicle still grinning and looking forward to their return. 



The End