Title: Not My Usual Job Description
Author: Waddles 52
Summary: When both Mulder and Scully are injured
while away on an assignment, Skinner comes 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
Feedback: I would love to hear from you.
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
"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
"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
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
"Okay, I won't tell you, but we have a 12:05 flight
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
"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
"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
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
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
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 5AM 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
"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
"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
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. The FBI agent was forced to lean
against the car until the ensuing nausea and
"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
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
"Your partner, Agent Scully, was hurt. The sheriff
took her to the hospital."
"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
"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."
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.
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
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
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
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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"I don't think the medication is agreeing with him,
sir," Scully reported, beginning to look a little
"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
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
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 one time 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
"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?"
Skinner held out his hand and Mulder gripped it
"Thanks for helping us, sir. I'm sure you'd rather
be doing anything other than looking after two puking
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
"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
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Scully," Mulder stated,
rubbing his eyes. "I'm awake."
"Sorry, Mulder. I didn't mean to wake you," she
"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
"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
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
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
"I'll see that the director sends them a personal
note of thanks when we return. A little PR never
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
"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
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
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 be waiting for you."
He slid into his vehicle still grinning and headed
back to the office.