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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
she protested as she looked at an image of a dead cow in all its glory.
“I am not going back to Texas!”
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.”
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.
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.
know this is almost identical to what we found in Chaney, but these events have
taken place in Nebraska over the past two weeks.”
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.”
I won’t tell you, but we have a 12:05 flight out today.”
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.
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.
a nice trip?” She just couldn’t
resist that line as Mulder sat on the floor, a shocked look on his face.
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.
was fast, but Scully’s eagle eye was faster.
“Mulder, are you all right?”
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
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?”
will be perfect.” She gathered her things.
“You might want to put some ice on that if you get a chance.”
Dr. Scully, but the pain is almost gone.”
I’ll see you at 10:15 then?”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
too, had opted for casual. If they
were going to be slogging through pastures her high heels would be completely
out of place.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
night, Mulder?” It was obvious he hadn’t slept much and he looked almost
could say that. I had a little trouble sleeping, which you know is nothing
you sleep at all?”
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?”
skimmed over his notes. “Mulder,
you’re still assuming that this is the same group we encountered in Texas.”
don’t have any proof of that yet.”
will after you do the autopsy. A
word of advice, don’t order pizza today.”
it be all right to order a fruit plate for breakfast?” she huffed.
guess, as long as Ronnie Strickland doesn’t deliver it to the table.”
agents decided to eat in the motel restaurant.
Scully ordered her fruit plate and was quite surprised when Mulder only
ordered toast and coffee.
Her question puzzled him.
usually order a huge breakfast when we’re in the field.
Are you sure that toast and coffee will hold you until lunch?”
I’m feeling a little off this morning. Lack
of sleep, I guess.”
looked him over carefully. “Are
you sure you aren’t coming down with something?”
don’t think so, but thanks for your concern.”
doctor, turned FBI agent, strongly resisted the urge to feel his forehead.
“I am concerned. You
really don’t seem yourself.”
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.
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.
do you mean?”
you charmed this big, manly SUV out of that rental agent, I would think that
you’d want to at least drive it.”
still trying to clear my head. I
should be ready to go after another cup of coffee.”
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.
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.
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.
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
he was forced to lean against the car until the ensuing nausea and
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.”
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.
Mulder, I’m so glad you’re back. I
was about to come looking for you."
is it, Mrs. Clay?” he asked, dreading the answer.
partner, Agent Scully, was hurt. The
sheriff took her to the hospital.”
stupid kid the sheriff hired to help out around here threw open the door to the
morgue and knocked that woman clean out.”
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.”
flipped the lock mechanism. “Thank
you, Mrs. Clay but I’d feel a lot better if I could see that for myself.”
course, you would,” she smiled and made her way to the passenger seat.
unlocked the motel room door without taking his right arm from around Scully’s
let me go!”
until you’re safely in bed.”
really isn’t necessary,” she huffed.
ER doc says it is.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
raised her head slightly as he entered the room then sank back into the pillows
with a groan.
Mulder has just the thing. I’ll
be right back.”
limped into the bathroom unaware that Scully was watching every awkward step.
is your ankle still hurting?”
stopped dead in his tracks almost spilling the water he carried.
“Um . . .”
Although his name didn’t ordinarily sound like a threat, her tone of
voice certainly suggested it.
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.”
as Mulder was about to give in, his cell phone rang.
Scully stared impatiently as he talked.
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?”
I’ve had worse headaches after a day of paperwork.
Go, but I’m taking a rain check on that ankle exam.”
Scully. I’ll be glad to show you
my ankle as soon as I get back.”
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.
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.
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.
happened?” Scully demanded, focusing on her partner’s splinted right ankle.
heavier than he looks,” the older man wheezed, holding his hand up to let her
know that he needed to catch his breath.
my ankle,” Mulder supplied, his voice slurred.
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.”
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.
okay, Mulder. My head doesn’t
feel too bad right now.”
sank back down and was asleep within seconds.
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
fine. I think I probably just need
to eat something.”
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.”
are kidding, right?” Scully inquired, a look of surprise on her face.
covered her eyes with her right forearm and groaned.
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.”
you,” she sighed.
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.”
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.
How’d I get here?” He
tried to sit up but thought better of it when his stomach started doing
or short version?”
version for right now.” He took a
deep breath to calm his stomach.
Nacke brought you here after you were released from the ER.
Ring any bells?” Scully
rose to a sitting position in her bed.
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.
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.”
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?”
I feel much better but I need to tell you something.”
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.”
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.
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.
looked back to Scully. “That’s
what I wanted to talk to you about,” she whispered.
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.
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
you, sir,” Scully replied while Mulder continued to stare.
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.”
take the ginger ale,” the woman decided.
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.
guess that ankle’s pretty sore, huh?” Skinner
put the ice and drinks on the nightstand. “Here,
let me give you a hand.”
older man helped his agent move up and repositioned the pillow under his ankle.
“Sore seems woefully inadequate when describing this pain.”
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.”
I’ll stop by his office before we leave. I honestly don’t remember much after they started that IV
at the hospital.”
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.”
made quite a picture when they arrived at my door,” Scully laughed.
“Mulder, you were so loose the sheriff practically poured you into
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?”
retrieved them from their resting place beside the bed.
“You mean these?”
The injured agent carefully began to work his sore ankle over to the edge
of the bed.
are you going?” Skinner queried still holding the crutches.
like to go to the bathroom if that’s okay with everyone,” he answered
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
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.”
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.”
have what you’re having. I’m
really not that hungry.”
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.
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.”
I agree. That will give me time to
speak to the county ME about the autopsy results.”
Scully, I don’t believe that falls under the definition of the word rest.”
opened her mouth to protest.
there any reason why you can’t talk to him from your office once we’re
no. I just thought I could get a
head start on my report.”
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.
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.”
sir,” both agents agreed.
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?”
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?”
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.
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.
don’t think the medication is agreeing with him, sir,” Scully reported,
beginning to look a little green herself.
Scully, let’s get you back to bed and then I’ll see what I can do to help
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?”
sir. I have such a terrible
headache that it’s making me ill.”
get you some Tylenol after I get Mulder back to bed.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
to get back into bed?”
held out his hand and Mulder gripped it firmly.
for helping us, sir. I’m sure
you’d rather be doing anything other than looking after two puking agents.”
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
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.
he opened the door the AD observed a tired looking man in his mid to late
thirties. “May I help you?”
I’m looking for Agents Mulder and Scully.”
I ask what business you have with them?” Skinner inquired warily.
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.”
to meet you, Dr. Hammond. I’m
Walter Skinner. I’m the one who called. Please
come in.” Skinner offered his
hand in welcome.
on in, Doc,” Mulder invited. “Guess
you thought you’d seen the last of us yesterday.”
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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?”
thank you, sir. I’ve got what I need right here.” She raised her glass of water in a salute.
are you feeling?” the AD asked as he seated himself at the small table by the
better, sir. My head is a little
sore but I wouldn’t actually call it a headache.”
great. Do you feel like eating?”
I think I could manage that,” Scully smiled.
start out with some broth and saltines. Does
that sound all right?”
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.”
to keep you waiting, Scully,” Mulder stated, rubbing his eyes.
Mulder. I didn’t mean to wake you,” she apologized.
a problem. I’ve been awake for a
few minutes. How’s your head?”
bad, actually. How’s your
fix you an ice pack as soon as I order the food,” Skinner offered, rising from
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.
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
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.”
you, Mulder. I was itching to get
out of that stuffy office anyway.”
I’m glad we were able to provide an excuse.”
it gave me a chance to use what I learned in Boy Scouts.
Studying for that first-aid badge was a real bitch.”
Scout?” Mulder smiled.
was an Indian Guide myself.”
rolled her eyes heavenward. She was
pretty sure that Mulder’s scouting experience paled in comparison to the
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.
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.
Mulder took them without too much argument and Skinner told both agents that the
rest of the day would be spent resting and recuperating.
if I can’t work could I at least take a shower and put on some clean
clothes?” Mulder asked.
shower, but I’ll be glad to help you get cleaned up and get some fresh clothes
opened his mouth to state his side.
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.”
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.”
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?”
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.
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.
eavesdropped and was pleased that they would finally be heading home, until he
heard his supervisor making arrangements for a wheelchair.
he protested shaking his head vigorously. “I
can make it just fine with my crutches.”
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
stern look on Skinner’s face convinced him that it would be futile to argue.
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.”
sir. They really went out of their
way for us. We usually aren’t treated this well by the local law
see that the director sends them a personal note of thanks when we return.
A little PR never hurts.”
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
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.”
sir. Could we leave the door
between the rooms open? I’d feel
much better if we could hear Scully if she needs help.”
idea, Mulder. I’ll ask Scully and
be right back. I expect to see you
under the covers when I return.”
gave him a mock salute and began to slowly maneuver himself onto the bed.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
agents broke into laughter.
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
while you can agents. All of that
paperwork that you repeatedly put off will still be waiting for you.”
slid into his vehicle still grinning and looking forward to their return.