George Jacobs Elementary School

by Susan Proto

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 9/12


George Jacobs Elementary School

Principal’s Office

2:45 p.m.


Scully delivered Karen to the waiting paramedics. She apologized for leaving their medic kit in the classroom, but felt it might be a good idea to leave it there just in case. Mr. Ruiz, she reported, appeared to be someone with whom they could reason, until he was pushed to far. He had definite ideas on what he wanted to do in this situation, but they were able to convince him to let Karen go.


Karen’s parents were retrieved immediately from the Board of Education Building and brought to the school in order to accompany her in the ambulance to Greenwich Hospital. Scully wished the youngster well, and returned to the other agents and officers in the office.


"What’s going on now?" Scully asked.


"I’m not sure. It sounds like Ruiz has been mumbling, but we’re having trouble making out what he’s saying. Listen. Can you understand what he’s muttering about?







George Jacobs Elementary School

Sara Gianinni’s Classroom

3:07 p.m.


"I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have….. I know I shouldn’t have. But the doctor, she said the child was in pain. She was just a little girl. But I shouldn’t have let her go… Ay, I shouldn’t have let her go…"


Ruiz was becoming more and more agitated by the minute. As soon as Sammie closed the door behind Scully, he jumped up and starting waving the guns around the room.


Mulder motioned for Sammie to sit down as soon as possible, and looked at Sara Gianinni in an effort to let her know that this wasn’t unexpected. Ruiz was obviously experiencing a form of "buyer’s remorse."


"Mr. Ruiz, you did the right thing," Mulder stated quietly. "Karen is going to get the help that she needs. You did a good thing."


Ruiz continued to pace around the small desk that held all of his ammunition. He was muttering to himself, over and over again, and waving his guns around the room. Suddenly, Devan called out, "Mrs. Gianinni, I gotta go. I gotta go real bad."


Sara was wondering when the dam would burst, so to speak. These sweethearts, who normally would have asked to go to the bathroom every hour on the hour, had not asked to leave the room once the entire day. She had to get this man to let these children use the facilities, or there was going to be one more trauma for these kids to get over.


"Mr. Ruiz, the children need a bathroom break. Please, if you don’t let them go to the bathroom, they will have an accident, and that would be very embarrassing for them. You don’t want to embarrass the children, do you Mr. Ruiz?" Sara requested.


Ruiz didn’t answer her. He remained quiet, until Sara added, " It will also stink to high heaven in here if we don’t let them use the john."


"They go, but they got to come back. If they don’t come back, then I will have to shoot someone. I don’t want to shoot anyone, but I will if they don’t come back." Ruiz continued to pace back and forth, distraught and with arms waving about. "They go one at a time."


"Okay Devan, you go first, but you must come back dear, okay?"


Devan nodded quickly and ran out of the classroom. There were a couple of police officers outside the room, but the child screamed he needed to go to the bathroom. The cops let him go, but when he came out they grabbed him. Devan managed to get away and was right near his classroom door. He was so close that he saw Sammie standing up, probably getting ready to be the next child to use the facilities.


"No, I have to go back into the classroom. Let me go! I gotta go back in the classroom!" Devan screamed.


Ruiz was listening to the commotion outside the room. He wanted to know why the boy wasn’t back yet. He wanted to know who was out in the hallway with the child, and who was screaming.


"What the hell is going on out there?" he screamed.


"I don’t know," Mulder said loudly. "I don’t know, but they’ve got to stop whatever they’re doing and let the kid back in the room." Mulder hoped the cops in the hallway were wired, or at least had walkie talkies. (*What the hell are those idiots doing out there,* he wondered. *They’re gonna get someone killed.*)


*If that boy doesn’t come back in here now, I’m gonna have to shoot someone. I mean it. I don’t want to, but I’m going to do it!" Ruiz was now striding backing and forth at a rapid pace. His face was contorted and Mulder was trying desperately to keep an eye on him and the door at the same time… Sammie was still standing by the door. (*Oh God, Sam, get away from the door,* Mulder willed.)


"NO!" Sara screamed, and Mulder turned around to see Ruiz pointing the gun toward the doorway. As Sammie stood, frozen in her spot, Mulder leaped towards her to knock her out of the way.




"Oh God, no!" cried out Sara. "What did you do? What did you do?!"




George Jacobs Elementary School

Principal’s Office

3:34 p.m.


"What the hell was that?" cried out Scully. She looked around the room and saw the dazed expressions of the occupants. "I said, what the hell was that?!"


"It was a shot fired," replied Agent Marks.


"Do we have confirmation of that from upstairs?" asked Agent Andrews. Allison Marks merely nodded.


"Shit." Scully knew, she just knew that somehow it was Mulder who took a hit. She didn’t have a clue as to how she knew it, she just did. "I’ve got to go up there."


"No way," stated Lt. Ellis. "There’s already been two shots fired today, with at least one injury. Let’s try to get an assessment of the situation before we go running in like the cavalry, okay Agent Scully?"


"He’s been hit," Scully said dully.


"Who’s been hit?" asked Andrews.


"Mulder. He’s been hit," she repeated in the same monotone voice.


"Agent Scully, how could you possibly know that?" asked Agent Marks.


Just then one of the officers from upstairs called down on the walkie talkie. In the garbled tones of electronic voice, the officer informed the others what Scully already knew. "Officer down."


Allison Marks and Jerry Andrews both stared at Dana. Dana returned their gaze and merely said, "Yeah, I guess I really am ‘Mrs. Spooky.’" Then in a more animated voice, "Now I _am_ going up there."


"Not until we try to make contact first," said Lt. Ellis. This was still his jurisdiction, and he was damned if he was going to let a bunch of Feds make foolish, impulsive errors. "Marie, could you try ringing the room up on the intercom?"

Marie Brockton nodded and went to the phone. She pushed the button down several times, waiting, and hoping someone would pick up on the other end soon.


End of Part 9/12


George Jacobs Elementary School

by Susan Proto

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 10/12


George Jacobs Elementary School

Sara Gianinni’s Classroom

3:59 p.m.


Ruiz began pacing back and forth frantically. Many of the children were crying in hushed tones. It had been many hours since they heard the gunshot that hit their classmate, so this repeat performance unnerved them again. Sara Gianinni was trying desperately to see what the damage was, and if her student, Sammie was hurt.


"Sammie, are you okay?" she asked across the room.


"Shut up. Just shut up!" screamed Ruiz. He moved toward her in a menacing manner, pointing the gun right at her.


"I have to find out if the child is all right, Mr. Ruiz. She may be hurt." Sara made a move to get up from the floor, but Ruiz pushed her down.


"You stay there. Don’t you move." Ruiz paused, as if debating what he should do next. Finally he asked, "Little girl, you hurt?"


"I got a little cut on my arm, but I’m okay. But Mrs. Gianinni, I think Agent Mulder’s hurt."


"I’m okay," reassured Mulder, through gritted teeth. "I’ll be okay. No big deal, sweetheart, okay?" He looked directly at Sammie, and tried desperately to hide the pain he was in so as not to scare the child.


"Mrs. Gianinni, Agent Mulder’s leg is bleeding, a lot."


"Agent Mulder, how can I help you," Sara asked.


"I could use something to wrap my leg up with to try to stop the bleeding a little."


"I have some burlap," she said as she began to rise.


"Sit down!" screamed Ruiz. "You don’t get up!"


"Mr. Ruiz, I have to get some kind of bandage for Agent Mulder. His leg is bleeding and he needs to cover it, so I _am_ getting up now." And upon saying it, she did. Ruiz watched her very carefully as she walked over to the supply closet to get the burlap.


Sara cut the large pieces into thirds and handed them to him to wrap his leg. Sara grimaced slightly when she saw him rip away his pants leg from the wound.


"He got me from behind, so the exit wound is in the front of my leg. They always look a little worse then the entry wound," Mulder tried to sound casual, as he began to wrap his thigh with the burlap. Each time he had to move his leg, he felt shooting pain up and down his thigh. When he finished wrapping his leg he was perspiring heavily. He looked at Samantha.


"Sammie, let me see your arm," Mulder said. Sara wanted to take a look too, but Ruiz became visibly anxious and agitated again and ordered her to go back to her seat. Mulder nodded towards Sara, and Sara understood his intent. (*Go sit down, Sara. The last thing any of us need right now is for Mr. Ruiz to get angrier and shoot someone else.*)


"Oh God, Sam, you’ve been shot," Mulder cried out in hushed tones. Though it was only a superficial wound, Mulder felt horrible. He felt he had let this child and her teacher down.


"It’s okay, Agent Mulder. Really. I get "worst" cuts playing soccer." Sammie gave Mulder a reassuring smile. Mulder was about to ask her about the soccer games when his attention was drawn away the intercom phone.


"That’s the phone Mr. Ruiz. Do you want me to answer it, or do you want to talk?" asked Sara.


Ruiz was moving about the room in an agitated, angry state. He was throwing books and supplies on the floor as well as pulling plugs out of their wall sockets with his left hand and swinging the gun around in his right. He was becoming more and more out of control.


Sara repeated her question, but when she received no answer she looked to Mulder. As a way of answering, he attempted to get to his feet, but was promptly hammered in the face with the butt of the gun and knocked back down. Mulder gingerly touched the area of attack and discovered a fairly deep gash in his forehead and winced in pain.


"Ruiz. Ruiz, I’ve got a question for you," Mulder managed to ask. When Ruiz made eye contact Mulder continued. "Do you have any other kids?"


Ruiz stopped in mid motion. He answered, quietly, "No, Elena was my only child. My only child."


To which Mulder sighed, "Thank God."


Ruiz was, at first taken aback by Mulder’s remark, but then anger returned. He moved over to Mulder quickly, and kicked him in the side hard, all the while screaming at him, "How could you say that? How could you be so cruel to say that?"


"Because sometimes it’s harder on the ones left behind," Mulder whispered as he held his sore right side.


"You were left behind, weren’t you?" Sammie asked tenderly.


Mulder looked at this young incarnation of his long lost sister with awe. How could she have sensed that? Mulder’s eyes welled up and as Sammie reached over to touch his cheek in comfort, the tears began to fall. Mulder was in pain, that was certain. The only question that remained was from what-- his injuries or his past?


The intercom phone had long stopped buzzing, but there was now a soft knocking at the door. Mulder couldn’t see who was there from his angle, but Sammie got up on her knees and saw it was Scully.


"Agent Mulder, it’s the doctor."


"Scully? Scully’s at the door?"


"It’s the lady with the red hair."


Mulder attempted to sit up as straight as he could, but each time he moved his leg it felt like daggers were piercing his thigh. He was also experiencing one of the nastier headaches he’d ever had in this lifetime. Mulder had to come to the conclusion that he wasn’t going to be terribly helpful in this rescue mission from this point on.


George Jacobs Elementary School

Principal’s Office

4:47 p.m.


When it became clear that no was going to answer the intercom, Scully had made it clear that she was going to go upstairs and she was going to rescue her injured partner and the hostages. She even had a plan.


She asked Marie Brockton what kind of fire alarm system the building had. Marie informed the agent and her colleagues that if there was a fire, the smoke detectors around the building would immediately begin beeping their warning signal. In addition, the regular hall and classroom lights would go out and the emergency flood lights would go on.


That’s what Scully was hoping for. She wanted to create a diversion that would make Ruiz believe the aliens were arriving with his daughter. If the room darkened and then the hallway floodlights came on, that might make Ruiz believe the "grays" had arrived with Elena. That would hopefully give Scully, Andrews, and Marks enough time to grab Ruiz before anyone else got hurt.


Marks suggest that they have some other officers nearby with high powered flashlights to shine in Ruiz’s eyes as backup. Scully agreed and asked the head custodian to round up a few portable floodlights.


Meanwhile, Marie Brockton decided now was a good time to phone Elizabeth Mulder. She informed, in passing to Scully, that she was going to make the call.


"Why?" asked Scully.


"I beg your pardon?" Marie countered.


"Why are you calling Mrs. Mulder?" she asked.


"Well, I thought it made sense to call the mother of an FBI agent who became injured. We don’t even know how seriously injured he is, so I thought Elizabeth deserved to know she could meet him at Greenwich Hospital."


Scully slowly shook her head and quietly said, "It won’t matter. She won’t go."


At this point Agents Marks and Andrews were aware of the conversation between the two women.


"Agent Scully, that’s absurd. Her son is injured. She’ll probably have to sign consent forms___" Marie argued.


"I’m his next of kin," Scully interjected. "I sign the consent forms for surgery and procedures. Me, not her."


" But why? I mean I can understand while you’re in Washington, it’s probably more convenient. Your job is dangerous, but you’re in Greenwich now, and his mother lives ten minutes away," Marie Brockton reasoned.


"She won’t come. She never does," Scully said with a melancholy confidence. And with that she turned to the other law enforcement officers to hash out the final pieces to their plan. Marks and Andrews both felt awkward having heard the information that just passed by them. They looked at each other with somewhat dispirited expressions, but then got back to work.


Marie dialed Elizabeth Mulder’s number. She heard it ring and on the fourth ring a voice answered, "Mulder Residence." Marie identified herself to the party on the line and then asked to speak with Elizabeth.


"Hello Marie. It’s been a while since I’ve spoken to you."


"I know dear, and I do apologize for neglecting you, but with the start of school, life’s been very hectic."


"I can imagine," replied Elizabeth.


"Elizabeth, I’m afraid I have a specific reason for calling. We’re in the middle of a rather terrifying hostage situation here at school, and the police had to be brought in, including the FBI." Marie paused to take breath, when Elizabeth interrupted.


"So that’s why he left so abruptly. I haven’t been feeling well at all, Marie, and the one time I ask my son to stay with me to help me out, he leaves," she said mildly agitated.


"Well, Elizabeth, it was, well it still _is_ an emergency situation. Your son apparently has a very good reputation in mediating these types of situations."


"It still doesn’t negate the fact that my son chose to put me second." This time there was a definite streak of anger in Mrs. Mulder’s voice.


"I’m afraid I have some disturbing news," Marie began, still somewhat taken aback at Elizabeth’s selfish reaction. "Fox has been shot. We’re not sure to what extent his injuries are, but I’m confident he’ll be admitted to Greenwich Hospital. Shall I call you when they’re ready to transport him over so you can meet him there?"


"Marie, didn’t you hear me? I haven’t been feeling well at. I can’t leave my sick bed. I’ll call the hospital later to find out his condition. Fox is always getting hurt, dear. This is nothing new to me," Elizabeth concluded.


"Well, I guess that’s that then. Good day, Elizabeth." Marie didn’t bother to wait to hear Elizabeth say good bye. She was so angry she slammed the phone down and muttered what was supposed to be under her breath but in actuality was quite audible to all in the room, "What a bitch!"


Scully picked her head up and looked directly at Marie. She observed Marie’s mouth was slightly gaped and her cheeks were flushed. Scully said, "Believe me Mrs. Brockton, this is one time I would have given the world for me not to have the opportunity to say ‘I told you so.’"


Marie’s eyes welled up with tears as she heard Dana’s sad tone. "I’m so angry. How could she treat him like this…. That’s why he said she would be glad to hear from me, and not to bother to mention him. It had nothing to do with the hostage situation. It had to do with _him_. That poor boy." Marie took a deep breath. "It’s good he has you, Agent Scully."


Scully responded with a warm smile and, "Thank you, Mrs. Brockton. It’s good we have each other. He’s a _good_ person."


Marie nodded and then turned away to dab at her eyes. Scully returned to the group and finalized their plans.


End of Part 10/12

George Jacobs Elementary School

by Susan Proto

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 11/12


George Jacobs Elementary School

Sara Gianinni’s Classroom

4: 23 p.m.


Scully assessed that everyone in the hallway was ready. She got Mulder’s attention, but saw that he was unable to rise from the floor. She noted his leg was covered with a makeshift bandage and he was also bleeding from his forehead. He appeared somewhat disoriented, but since he’d apparently lost a good deal of blood, this was not unexpected.


Once Scully finished making her medical observations, she took a moment to look at him as her friend. Her heart was breaking, because she knew how much pain he was probably feeling. She was determined that this situation was going to come to a conclusion. As soon as possible.


Scully gave the signal. The fire alarm went off, sending a loud ringing throughout the building. At the same time, the lights were turned off and the emergency flood lights came on. The door was opened with a master key, and the portable flood lights were turned toward the perpetrator.


The lights flooded the room. Children’s cries were heard throughout the room. Sara tried to calm their fears, but the noise of the fire alarm and the visual effect of the extremely bright flood lights were too much for them. On the other hand, Raphael Ruiz became very quiet looking about expectantly.


"FREEZE! FEDERAL AGENT!" Scully took the appropriate stance, while she pointed her weapon directly at Ruiz. Ruiz did not appear to even notice her. He did, however, direct his gaze at the small bundle on the floor in the middle of the classroom.


"Elena!" Ruiz cried out. "My Elena!"


As he started to run toward the center of the classroom, a shot rang out. Agent Marks fired her weapon and hit the perpetrator in the fleshy part of the arm. It did not stop him from going to the small figure who laid in the middle of the floor. Ruiz knelt by the young girl. Her nude body was wrapped in a light cottony blanket. Though she was unconscious, she was alive.


It was Elena Ruiz.


The paramedics placed Elena Ruiz on a gurney, while the law enforcement officers cuffed Raphael Ruiz. Scully went immediately to Mulder and demanded a gurney for him as well. She did a quick check of Sammie’s arm and determined it was just a superficial wound, but she would need to go to the hospital to be checked out as a precaution.


Mulder was looking at another hospital stay and medical leave, with the recuperation period probably requiring some physical therapy for his leg. Scully looked at her partner and just shook her head.


"What?" he croaked.


"What?" she echoed. "You’ve got to be kidding, Mulder," she laughed. "It seems it’s your goal in life to be admitted to a hospital in every city we visit. That’s quite an accomplishment!"


"Yeah, it’s a gift." And with that, Mulder finally and blissfully lost consciousness.


Greenwich Hospital

Room 412

The following day: 1:23 p.m.


Mulder slowly opened his eyes and saw his partner sitting along side of his hospital bed. He felt her hand resting on his arm and reached over with his other hand to give her a gentle squeeze. She looked up from the magazine she was reading and smiled.


"Hey sleepy head. I was afraid you were going to sleep through this entire hospital stay!" Scully was giving him a quick once over with her medical eye, noting his color looked good and his eyes were not dilated. The head sustained a gash that required stitches, but it looked like Mulder escaped a serious concussion.


The leg was another story. Ligaments and tendons were ripped apart, though thankfully the bone remained intact. However, physical therapy was definitely in Mulder’s future. Scully was about to ask how he felt when she heard a knock on the door.


"Come in," she called out. Sammie Atwood walked in with her parents and Sara Gianinni


"Hello Agent Mulder. Can you stand some visitors for a few minutes?" Sara asked. "We won’t stay long, but Sammie was desperate to introduce you to her mom and dad."


"Anytime for my gal, Sammie," answered Mulder. He was delighted to see the child didn’t suffer any serious injuries. "How’s the arm?" he asked.


"Piece of cake," she responded. "The doctor said I had to sit out of recess for a few days until the stitches come out, but then I’ll be as good as new."


"I’m glad to hear that. Are these your parents, Sam?"


Sammie nodded and then said, "And this is Agent Mulder, Mom and Dad. He’s the one who saved me."


Scully quickly looked over at Mulder to see him shudder ever so slightly at Sammie’s words, the very same words that his own sister, Samantha, cried out to him so many years ago.


"Thank you Agent Mulder for protecting our daughter. She and her brother mean the world to us. We don’t know what we would have done if she had been hurt….," said Mr. Atwood. He reached over and shook Mulder’s hand. Mulder didn’t say anything. He couldn’t, so he didn’t try.


Sara Gianinni echoed Mr. Atwood’s sentiments, and then turned to Scully as well. "I want to thank you both. It could have turned out so much worse, couldn’t it have?" It was a rhetorical question, but the agents both nodded slightly in agreement anyway.


"We just came from Karen’s room. She’s doing beautifully, and should probably be out of here by tomorrow," Sara continued.


"That’s great news Mrs. Gianinni," Scully responded.

"Well, Sammie we need to go now. Agent Mulder needs his rest." Sara and the Atwoods murmured their good byes and turned to leave. Sammie stood still for a moment and then turned and leaned over to Mulder. She stretched her arms around his neck and placed a kiss on his cheek. Mulder returned the embrace and the kiss.

"Thank you," they said simultaneously, and both broke into giggles. Sara touched Sammie’s shoulder and led her out the door. It was not a moment too soon.


Mulder’s expression was rapidly transforming from happiness to sadness. Scully reached over and embraced Mulder. He finally unleashed the tears that had been welling up inside of him ever since he had first seen Sammie’s picture back at his mother’s home. He soon fell into a fitful, but much needed sleep.

End of Part 11/12

George Jacobs Elementary School

by Susan Proto

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 12/12


Greenwich Hospital

Room 412

4:48 p.m.

"Sleep okay, Mulder?" Scully asked.


"Okay, I guess, but Scully, I’m still fuzzy on exactly what happened back at the school yesterday. Was that Ruiz’s daughter?" Mulder asked.


Scully wondered when Mulder would pose that question. "Yes, apparently it was," she said casually. Scully was shooting for an Oscar nomination, because as nonchalantly as she relayed this information, that’s how shook up she felt about the entire incident.


She didn’t have the slightest idea where the child came from. There was so much commotion, noise, and bright lights that it was impossible to establish the point from which the child had entered. Not one of the officers present could account for the child’s sudden appearance. Scully knew there had to be a reasonable explanation, she just didn’t have a clue as to what it was.


Mulder looked at Scully and knew she was perplexed by the appearance of Elena Ruiz. They all were, including himself. There was not one piece of tangible evidence that this child was dropped from space. There was also not one piece of tangible evidence that she wasn’t…….Mulder was smiling, because he knew Scully was stumped.


Slowly, Mulder’s smile began to fade. After a few moments, he said, "I have to make a phone call." He picked up the phone, dialed, and listened to the ringing at the other end. Scully watched as Mulder’s entire demeanor changed before her eyes.


"Mulder, you don’t need to do this, you know."


"I may not need to, but I have to Scully. She’s my mother," he practically whispered in response.


It was almost as though he became twelve years old again. He seemed to lose all faith in himself and in his ability to deal with things whenever he had to speak with her. He waited for someone to pick up and upon hearing the response at the other end, he asked to speak with Mrs. Mulder.


"Hi Mom, how are you feeling?………Oh, still, huh? I’m sorry about that………Well, that’s good at least, I’m glad you like her…….Yeah, I met her at the school yesterday. It’s a small world I guess, but how did you know??……….Oh, she did…………No, I guess she didn’t realize how ill you were feeling………….. Yes, I’m still in the hospital………..No, I won’t be released for another couple of days at least………….I guess a couple of weeks, I’m not sure………… Well, the doctor said I’ll need some rehab for the leg…………………oh,……….. well, okay…………… ……….yeah Mom, I will. Take care of yourself. I’ll call you………..right, bye."


Mulder hung up the phone and closed his eyes. He took a couple of deep breaths, opened his eyes, and looked at Scully.


"What did she have to say?" she asked quietly.


"Nothing much. She just let me know the visiting nurse that was sent over was very efficient and reliable and she was working out quite nicely.


"Then she told me she spoke with Marie Brockton and that she was quite annoyed with her for not realizing how ill she’d been feeling.


"Next she asked me about my recovery and how long would it take to get back on my feet. And then," Mulder paused here for a moment to collect himself, "and then she told me to have a good trip back to DC," he concluded.


"Mulder, no. You’re not serious, are you? Oh my God, you are serious. That’s it? Have a good trip? Mulder, you mean to say she’s really not going to drive the fifteen minutes to come and see you? Please, tell me that’s not what she meant." Scully tried so hard to stay calm, but her anger was so overwhelming, she didn’t think she could manage it.


"Yes, Scully. That’s exactly what she meant." Then in a more resigned tone, "Mom doesn’t ‘do’ hospitals too well. She’d always gotten these anxiety attacks when I went to the emergency room as a kid. She’d get them all the time."


"Mulder, just how many times did you have to go to the ER that you would remember your mother having so many anxiety attacks?" Scully asked.


"Let’s just say a few too many times, okay?" Mulder leaned back in tired resignation and closed his eyes again, but this time Scully noticed some tears escaping the tightly shut lids.


Scully didn’t know what she wanted to do first, go and hug Mulder or hang Elizabeth Mulder. She decided to hug Mulder. Mommie Dearest just wasn’t worth the time or energy.


Just then the phone rang. Mulder picked it up and seemed to immediately sit up a little straighter. Scully had a pretty good idea as to who was on the other end of the line.


"Good afternoon, Sir," Mulder responded.


Scully smiled. She knew it had to be their boss. She had kept in close contact with the AD, at his request, throughout the entire hostage siege. When she had first told Skinner about Mulder’s injury she had heard the concern in his voice.


It always amazed Scully that as hard as their boss drove them in terms of following and maintaining FBI protocol, he was always the first one to put himself on the line to defend them. He really was just a big teddy bear, she realized to herself. (*Papa Bear,* Scully smiled wryly.)


When Mulder finally hung up from speaking with Skinner he was smiling. "I guess Skinner’s really okay, isn’t he?" he asked. Scully nodded. (*Yup,* she thought, *definitely Papa Bear.*)


"He’s really okay, Mulder. I think under that tight-assed exterior, is a person who really cares about his people. You know, he was really uneasy about putting you on this case."


"He was? Why?"


"He saw the picture of Sammie too. The last thing out of his mouth to me was a demand for me to watch over you. He watches out for us, he watches out for you, Mulder."


"He does, doesn’t he." It was a rhetorical question, one that he really did know the answer to already.


"And I know I can always count on you to watch my back, right Scully?" This was rhetorical too, and they both knew the answer to it as well.


"There are people in my life who care about me, right Scully?" he asked in a tentative voice. Sadly, this was the one question that _should_ have been unquestioningly rhetorical, yet it was one that Scully knew Fox Mulder needed to hear an answer for.


"Yes, Mulder. You have Skinner, you have the Lone Gunmen, you have my mom, and you will always have me. Always Mulder." Scully grasped his hand at that point and squeezed it gently to emphasize her point. Mulder finally exhaled, neither having realized he was even holding his breath.


And with confidence restored, Scully and Mulder both knew the time was just about right for the next phase of his hospital phase to begin……


"So Scully," he said with a slight chuckle, "when the hell do I get out of here? You know I can’t stand hospitals. Can’t you do something about getting me out of here? Scully, I want to go home…….. Please????………….."


Part 12/12


The end.

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