Mon, 01 Sep 97

Title: George Jacobs Elementary School
Author: Susan Proto
Category: Story, Angst, M/S/SK Friendship, hint of an X-file
Rating: PG13 for language and theme
Spoilers: Duane Barry
Summary: Mulder is called in on a case for his expertise on alien
abductions and hostage negotiation, while Scully is called in for her
expertise in keeping Mulder sane.

Archive: Yes

Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully & Skinner belong to 10/13 productions and
Chris Carter. I'm just borrowing them. I won't keep them. At the end of
the story you can have `em back, I swear, (unless you *want* to give `em
to me.) All other characters belong to me, and if Mr. Carter wants to
borrow them, all he needs to do is ask. <grin>

Part 1/12

George Jacobs Elementary School
Greenwich, CT
September 22, 1997
8:00 a.m.

They filed in one by one or two by two at first. Then, as the time came
closer to the sounding of the bell, they began emerging through the door
in packs of threes and mobs of four and five.

"Hey Mrs. "G," what's for lunch today?" asked the small but sturdy
youngster.

"I'm not sure, Devan," she replied, "why don't you look at the menu
calendar that's attached to the clipboard and then fill out the lunch
count sheet for me?"

"Oh, okay." She watched as he began his laborious task. Devan was going
to be a challenge this year. He finally started to read sight words last
year, and had a long way to go before being on
grade level in his reading ability. But, she had determined from the
second day of class, this child was a plugger. He was the type who would
keep plugging away until he got it. She had liked Devan right away.

"Hey everyone, we need to get this lunch count form filled out. Come and
sign up if you're buying lunch, please!" At that, two thirds of the class
jumped out of their seats to sign up for lunch.
"Common people, it's the third week of school already. Doncha think we
could at least _try_ and remember to sign up for lunch as soon as you come
into class? Pretty please??" She had a small smile on her face as she
made her plea.

She knew it was hard for these guys to remember the new routines. After
all, it's only been eight weeks since they were in their third grade
class, following third grade rules. Now they were in fourth grade, and
in a whole new world. But she knew for the next couple of weeks they
would still be just "overgrown third graders" and would need reminder
after reminder to follow the routines and rules of Mrs. "G's" classroom.

Mrs. "G." You wouldn't think "Gianinni" would be so hard to pronounce.
Well, it wasn't, not really, but for some reason the kids felt it was cool
to be able to call their teacher Mrs. "G." And it wasn't a big deal.
Heck, she felt it was cool that her kids would think it's cool to call her
Mrs. "G."

"Mrs. Gianinni?" (Well, not all of the kids thought it was so cool.) Karen
looked anxiously at her teacher. "Mrs. Gianinni, do we have gym today?"

"Check the schedule on the wall, Karen."

"Oh Mrs. "G," I'm in big trouble," she said with just a hint of a whine.

"Why are you in trouble, Karen?"

"We have gym today and I forgot my sneakers and Mr. Jenkins will kill me,"
she said breathlessly.

"I don't think Mr. Jenkins will kill you Karen. I think he will make you
sit out of gym, that's all."

"Can I call my mom to bring me my sneakers?" she pleaded.

"Karen....___"

"Please, please! I promise, I won't ask again. I'll remember them from
now on, I promise."

Taking the phone pass off the bulletin board by her desk, Sara Gianinni
handed it over to the much relieved child.

"You're the best, Mrs. `G' !!" and Karen took off for the school office.
(*Okay, so it's cool to call me Mrs. "G" when you get what you want,* she
mused to herself.)

Sara surveyed the class, realized most of the eight , nine and ten year
olds were actually now in their seats and ready to begin the day. "Okay
ki-diddles, we have one very pressing item of business to take care of
before the end of the day, so don't let me forget, okay?"

The children looked curiously at her so she continued. "Open House for
your parents is in two days. You guys need to complete your most
beautiful and enticing invitations for your parents so they'll be
desperate to come to it, and you also need to write your letter for them
to read and respond to when they do get here."

"My mom can't come, so do I have to do one?" asked Alberto.

"Yes, Alberto, you do. It's good practice for your penmanship and writing
skills, and besides, what if Mom can make last minute arrangements to get
her work schedule changed and ends up coming. Don't you want her to have
a letter to read too?"

"Yeah, but she won't come. She don't like coming to school."

"Well, I'm not so crazy about it on Monday mornings either, Alberto," Sara
replied with a slight chuckle. It was just enough to defuse the dark mood
Alberto was in. "Anyway, I am looking forward to meeting all of your
parents and having them meet me."

Sara began to write on the board the instructions for writing the
invitation and letter while the school's morning news show played on the
monitor. The children were watching somewhat attentively when Sara heard
a child call out.

"Yes?" she responded.

"Mrs. "G," someone's father's at the door," said Sammie. She was the
epitome of a tomboy in action and deed, but definitely not in looks. She
reminded Sara of the character from The Little Princess with her
beautiful, long, wavy brown hair that was brushed back in a half pony
tail. It always amazed Sara how Sammie Thompson managed to play soccer
as well as she did with all of that hair flying around her face.

Sara Gianinni looked up to see there was, indeed, a father type looking
figure at the door. She saw he was Hispanic, which meant he could be the
father of any one of eight children in her class. She had yet to meet all
of her student's parents since it was so early in the year. Which Daddy
was this one, she wondered?

"Hi. May I help you? I'm Mrs. Gianinni," she said extending her hand.
She noted he didn't accept her proffered hand, as he was holding a large
canvas duffel bag with both hands. She put her hand down by her side.

"I'm want to see my daughter." He said it quietly with only a hint of an
accent.

Sara looked around the classroom for any signs of recognition from her
students, but saw none. "What's your daughter's name?" she asked.

"Elena. Her name is Elena Ruiz." He started walking into the classroom,
surveying it up and down, left and right.

"Excuse me, Mr. Ruiz?" she hesitated, suddenly not comfortable with this
man in her classroom. "Mr. Ruiz, I don't have an Elena Ruiz in my class.
I think you need to go down to the school office. I'm sure they would be
happy to help you locate your daughter."

"No. My daughter will come here. They will bring her to me here." He
spoke the words quietly, but with a force that sent a chill down her
spine.

"Mr. Ruiz, I don't understand. Who will bring your daughter here." Sara
asked, looking around the room willing her students to sit as quietly as
possible. She was afraid. She wasn't sure why, but Sara knew she and the
children were not safe with this man in their classroom. "How will
anybody know you're here waiting for your daughter?" she asked.

"They know where I am. They always know. They took her, and now they
have to bring her back to me. They will find me here. They will bring
her here," he said in an even toned, but stern voice.

Mr. Ruiz unzipped the large red and black duffel bag. He pulled out two
of the largest handguns she had ever seen in her life. Sara then realized
this was the first time she'd actually seen a gun that wasn't in some
police officer's holster. Mr. Ruiz then began to take out boxes and boxes
of ammunition. He was obviously prepared to shoot a lot of rounds, but
Sara prayed it was all for show just to scare anyone and everyone. She
knew he was succeeding with at least one person.

"Mrs. `G'!!"

"Karen!" Sara cried out.

"My mom said she'd ____"

BANG!

"Oh my God!!"

End of part 1/12

Part 2/12

FBI Building
Washington, DC
9:27 a.m.

"Agent Scully, thank you for coming up so promptly," Assistant Director
Walter Skinner said. "Please take a seat."

Dana Scully sat down in one of the two chairs that faced the AD's desk.
She felt a little strange sitting down next to the empty chair.
"Yes, Sir. Kim said it was urgent. Is it a new case?"

"Scully, has Agent Mulder returned from his personal leave yet?" he asked.

"Mulder requested this past Friday, today and tomorrow, so no, he hasn't
returned yet. Sir, does this have anything to do with Mulder. Is he___?"
Scully's voice started to raise in panic. Had something happened to her
partner? Is this what this meeting was all about?

"No, Scully. As far as I know, he's okay. I was just wondering if he was
still in Greenwich visiting his mother."

"Yes Sir. I spoke to him yesterday morning, and he was staying with her
since she was feeling a little under the weather. She had called and
asked if he might spend a couple of days at her house."

Fox Mulder didn't always get along with his mother. Too many family
secrets that led to too many family crisis's and traumas were the root of
their precarious relationship. However this time she reached out to him,
something of a rarity, actually, so he felt obligated to help her out.

"Sir, I don't understand what Mulder's being in Greenwich has to do with
my meeting with you now," Scully said.

"I have to renege on his personal days. I have to pull him back in for a
case."

"What? With all due respect Sir, you can't do that! His mother's ill, and
he went through all of the proper channels to request some leave time.
For crying out loud, this is the same man who has to be ordered to take
vacation time every year. The one time he requests it and is granted it,
__you're__ going to take it back from him?!!" By this point, Scully's
voice was beyond her professional demeanor, she was screaming, loudly.

At any other time, Walter Skinner would have had grounds for suspension if
an agent spoke to him in the manner that Dana Scully was addressing him.
But she was right, and he knew it. Mulder never took a vacation until he
was forced to do so, and he rarely visited his mother voluntarily. This
was an unusual occurrence, and he felt awful about having to pull him back
in, but he had no choice. He hoped Scully would agree with him without
too much of a fight, not that she would ultimately have any choice in the
matter.

"Scully, there's a situation. The local Bureau and law enforcement
agencies have made a special request for Mulder and you. They remember
reading about the two of you and the Duane Barry case." Scully shuddered
slightly at the mention of Barry's name. The beginning of her three month
memory loss began with that man.

"It's a hostage situation?" Skinner nodded. "Sir, unless you're going to
tell me there are little gray men holding a bunch of people in their space
ship, there is no way you're going to convince me Mulder is the __only__
agent who can handle this case."

"No little gray men there... not yet anyway."

"Sir, what are you talking about?"

"Raphael Ruiz, age 39, Hispanic male, originally from Guatemala. He had
an eight year old daughter, Elena, disappear last year from their home,
while she was living with her father, mother and grandmother in the United
States. He claims she was abducted by alien beings, and the grandmother
was a witness.

"He is now insisting his daughter will be returned . He is also insisting
his daughter will be returned to the specific place where he is now
holding hostages." Skinner took a breath and waited for Scully to absorb
everything he said so far.

"Who is he holding hostage, Sir?" she asked.

"Sara Gianinni, a forty-two year old, white female, elementary school
teacher...and her twenty-three fourth grade students at the George Jacobs
Elementary School in Greenwich, Connecticut."

"Oh no."

"Scully, he's already shot one child."

"Oh shit."

"There's a private charter ready to fly you out to Westchester Airport.
There'll be a rental waiting for you so you can drive to Greenwich to pick
up Agent Mulder."

"When are you going to call Mulder?" she asked.

"Scully, I would rather you tell him in person. Please." He looked at
her intently and then removed his glasses to rub some of the tension away
from his eyes. "Look, I know this is going to be a hard one for him to
handle.

"Shit," Skinner hissed as he continued, "it's going to be a God damned
bitch for him to deal with. But I don't know who else I would want in
there to save those kids and their teacher, and I don't know who else but
you to send to keep him together in one piece."

She took the file, as thin as it was, from his hands. She looked inside
and saw a few faxes of descriptions of what was known to have happened so
far. These details were very few and very sketchy at best. When she
turned to the next several documents, her breath caught in her throat.
They were fax copies of the individual pictures of all twenty-three
youngsters and their teacher.

"They look so young," Scully noted.

"Actually they are," the AD responded. "Those are the pictures from
beginning of last year. They attach a new photo each year for
identification purpose, but since it's still so early they won't be taking
this year's school pictures for another couple of weeks."


Scully noted that Sara Gianinni was tall and heavyset, with lovely,
expressive eyes and a beautiful smile. The children were a multitude of
colors. Scully found herself surprised to see so many different ethnic
groups represented in this one small class.

When she thought of Greenwich, she thought of only those stereotypical
rich white men and ladies of society who owned yachts and million dollar
homes. The children's dress was as eclectic in colors and styles as their
skin tones. Some had their best party clothes on while others wore the
style of the day in their colorful oversized tee shirts.

One of the children caught her eye, a tall girl with beautiful long wavy
brown hair. She looked at the list of corresponding names for each
individual in the picture.

"Ohmigod," she whispered.

"I know." Skinner looked at Scully with understanding. "It's uncanny how
much she looks like her, and the fact that her name is Samantha. You're
going to have your work cut out for you. Scully, take care of him."

Dana nodded her head and, with the file in hand, headed out to the airport
to take her flight to New York's Westchester Airport.

End of part 2/12

Part 3/12

Home of Elizabeth Mulder
Greenwich, CT
10:36 a.m.

She stood at the door of the beautiful quaint home and held her hand up to
knock on it. She paused, unsure as to whether she really wanted to do
this. *Couldn't I just pretend I was unable to get in touch with him?*
she thought. Knowing the obvious answer, she rapped gently on the door.

He opened the door. He stood before her in faded, soft jeans, and a navy
blue tee shirt. He wore Nikes on his feet and looked as though he were
about to depart. "Hi." He said upon seeing his partner of the last four
years.

"Hi yourself." She looked up at his 6 foot plus frame from her slightly
over 5 foot 2 and inch height and then pushed herself by him and into
the hallway. Elizabeth Mulder had a lovely colonial cape home, complete
with an exterior that was obviously professionally landscaped and an
interior that was just as obviously professionally decorated.

"So, partner, what brings you here? Missed me that much, eh Scully?" he
said teasingly.

"Mulder, whenever you're away from me I _always_ miss you," she retorted.
*If he only knew how much truth there was to that statement,* she thought
to herself.

Mulder looked at her with his mouth agape. Normally he would have a witty
comeback, preferably something that was a double entendre, but the
seriousness with which he perceived her remark took him aback. *If only
she really were serious about missing me,* he thought. *Every time I'm
without her, I feel a piece of me is missing I'm imagining things. She
doesn't mean anything by it.* He sighed and looked at her.

"So, really, why are you here?" he asked, in an effort to get his mind
back to reality.

"Skinner sent me. He has to renege on your personal days."

"What!?! Oh for crying out loud, Scully! That's bullshit!"

"Mulder, wait___"

"No, I will not wait. Damn it, these are the same people that have been
pissing and moaning every year that I don't take enough time off, and
then when I finally do, and through legal channels to boot, Skinner's
gonna take it back from me??! I don't think so, Scully. I don't think so
at all."

He was fuming, and Scully realized he had every right to be angry. But
she also knew that as distraught as he was now, seeing the file in her
hand was going to tear him up even more.

"Mulder, please listen to me. I gave Skinner the same argument not an
hour or so ago. He really didn't want to do this to you__."

"Yeah, I'll bet," he interrupted.

"He really didn't, Mulder, but he didn't have a choice. He needed the
best agent for this particular assignment and that happens to be you."

"Sure, fine, whatever. Damn it, what time is our flight?" He felt
defeated. "Do I have time to make arrangements for my mom. She really
isn't feeling very well."

"We're not flying anywhere, and I've already phoned the Visiting Nurse
Services to come in and stay with your mother," Dana replied.

"Oh. Well, thanks. So where are we driving then?"

"About fifteen minutes across town," Scully replied.

"Scully, what the hell are you talking about?"

"There's a situation right here in Greenwich, Mulder. They need us to get
there as soon as possible." Scully handed him the thin file and waited
silently, ready to pick up the pieces

End of part 3/12

Part 4/12

George Jacobs Elementary School
Sara Gianinni's Classroom
Greenwich, CT
10:40 a.m.

"Mr. Ruiz," Sara said calmly, "Karen needs a doctor. We have to get her
to a doctor before she gets very sick." Sara used whatever material
scraps she had in her arts & crafts box to try to soak up the blood oozing
from the child's shoulder. It didn't seem to be life threatening yet, but
she certainly would benefit from immediate medical attention. Plus, it
would be one less child's life Sara would have to worry about.

"She will see a doctor later. Right now, we need to wait for them." Mr.
Ruiz was adamant about all of the children remaining in the classroom with
him.

Sara had always wondered if the Public Address system worked in reverse.
She was well aware of how she could hear the voices of the office staff
when then made announcements over the "PA" (invariably during an exam or
during a particularly important Reading lesson,) but she always wondered
if the office staff could reverse the process and hear what was said in
the classroom. At this moment, she prayed with all her might that,
indeed, they could.

"Mr. Ruiz, tell me about your daughter." Sara figured if they could hear
them, perhaps the man would give them some clues as to how best to deal
with him.

"My daughter is the most beautiful child. She has long, shiny black hair.
Long like you, sweet girl," he said while looking directly at Sammie.
"She has big, dark, dark mahogany brown eyes, with the longest eyelashes
I've ever seen." He paused, silently envisioning his daughter.

"She sounds like she was a beautiful girl, Mr. Ruiz."

"She _is_ a beautiful girl. You will see her today. They will return her
today. Here. This is where they said they would return her," he said more
agitated.

"Who, Mr. Ruiz? Who told you they would return Elena here, today?" Sara
asked softly. She didn't want to antagonize the man, but she felt
compelled to get as much information out of him as possible. *Please let
them be listening to us, please,* she prayed.

"The gray ones. The gray ones took my daughter instead of me. They had
always taken me, never my brother, or my sister. Just me. I never
expected them to take my daughter. How could they take my daughter? I
told them they could take me, but to leave my daughter alone. They didn't
listen to me. They took her, but they are going to return her to me.
They promised and they told me it would be here."

Sara looked at Mr. Ruiz intently. He didn't alter his story, no matter
how many times he told it, though the fact that _he_ had always been taken
in the past was a new revelation. She wanted to think he was crazy, but
though he was anxious it was certainly not with regard to the tale he
told. That he seemed very sure about. No, he was nervous about the gun
in his hand and the hostages he held in his sight.

Sara figured she had to get this man to think that she believed him. She
had to win his trust so that maybe, just maybe, she could convince him
there was a better way of contacting his daughter. If the daughter was
even alive. *Good Lord,* she thought, *what if the child is dead. What if
he__.* Sara wouldn't even allow herself to think of that possibility.

"Tell me more about Elena, Mr. Ruiz. What did she like to do?"

End of Part 4/12

Part 5/12

George Jacobs Elementary School
Principal's Office
Greenwich, CT
11:08 a.m.

Marie Brockton wondered just how the hell they were going to deal with
this ordeal. In all of her years as principal in various school sites,
she had never encountered a situation like this. The hostage negotiating
team from the town's police department were here, as were some FBI agents
from Hartford, Connecticut. They were flown in by helicopter as soon as
they received word from the local police.

At this point they were waiting for another pair of federal agents from
Washington, DC. Apparently they were experts in the field of hostages and
dealing with crazy people who felt that aliens were taking over the world
as this poor loony toon felt. Ms. Brockton looked up to see a pair of new
faces.

One belonged to a petite, red headed female wearing a smartly tailored
suit and sensible, low healed shoes. The expression she wore was serious,
but intensely aware of who she was surrounded by.

The young man was another story entirely. He was tall and lanky, though
the expensive charcoal gray suit fit him well. The tie he wore was
certainly some kind of fashion statement, though Marie Brockton was not
exactly sure what the Escher designed tie with interlocking space crafts
and alien beings could be saying.

He didn't walk with the same confidence his female counterpart had; while
her posture was tall (well, as tall as five feet something could be.)and
square, he walked almost hunched and his shoulders were rounded.

But the most noticeable difference between the two were their facial
expressions. She, though serious, had flushed cheeks and alert eyes,
whereas he looked impassive and had a chalky white tinge to his skin. But
his eyes were what caused Marie Brockton to be concerned, for his eyes
showed a mixture of sadness and fear.

"I am Marie Brockton, principal of the school," she said offering her
hand.

"How do you do, Ms. Brockton, I am Special Agent Dana Scully and this is
Special Agent Fox Mulder," she said while responding to the handshake.
Next, the Hartford agents introduced themselves, as well the local police
and hostage teams, to the Washington agents. It was Dana Scully who
interjected the next question.

"Would someone bring us up to speed on what the situation is now? The
file we have is rather sparse and sketchy at best."
The Hartford agents brought Mulder and Scully up to speed, including the
fact that the rest of the school had been evacuated as quickly and quietly
as possible.

Unfortunately, with the number of parents that needed to be contacted,
word had somehow gotten out to the general public, and the media were
already tying up telephone lines. It was only a matter of time before
reporters would be camped outside of the school.

Since the classroom faced the rear playground, and not the street, the
police were optimistic they would be able to contain any reporters and
gawkers to the front of the building, out of sight and earshot of the
perpetrator. The local force had already begun putting up police
barricades, to which both Mulder and Scully nodded in acknowledgment.
They had noted with relief such precautions were being taken when they
entered the building.

"What about the hostage's family members?" asked Mulder.

"We have them at the Board of Education building which is only about three
minutes away on one of the main streets in town, Greenwich Avenue."
Mulder nodded slightly in recognition of the street. "They were quite
determined to stay here, but of course we couldn't allow it. It was not
an easy order to carry out though," explained Lt. Brian Ellis of the
Greenwich Police Force.

"No, I'm sure it was not, Lt. Ellis," replied Mulder.

The only new information was that the child who was shot, Karen Jackson,
was holding her own. The agents had access to what was going on in the
room by auditory means only. The PA system was set to keep the microphone
on in the classroom, allowing the agents to monitor what was being said.

"How's the teacher holding up?" Scully asked.

"She seems to be doing an excellent job of keeping calm and getting Ruiz
to talk," replied Agent Jerry Andrews.

"Sara Gianinni is a veteran educator. She's been teaching at our school
for the last sixteen years," added Ms. Brockton.

"How are the children holding up?" asked Mulder.

The other Hartford agent, Agent Allison Marks, replied, "They've been
amazingly quiet, Agent Mulder. With the exception of the little girl who
was hurt, the children have not spoken out or cried out." Mulder nodded
in response.

Marie Brockton watched Fox Mulder's reaction to Agent Marks' observation.
He was seemed to give a sigh of relief, almost as though he were holding
his breath but hadn't realized it. She was told by the Hartford agents
that a special team was being called in to help with the negotiations.
She wondered what roles Agents Scully and Mulder would play in the
negotiations. Marie, for some reason, felt a niggling thought about Agent
Mulder,... something seemed familiar about him but she wasn't sure.

"Have you tried to contact them at all yet?" asked Scully.

"No, we felt it best to monitor the situation until you got here. Mrs.
Gianinni seemed to be doing what we would be trying to do anyway, so
figured it best to wait for you guys," replied Agent Andrews.

"I need to get in there. I need to see him, so I can talk to him face to
face," Mulder said abruptly. Scully's head jerked up immediately, and
then purposely avoiding Mulder's eyes, she looked at the school's
principal.

"Is there a phone in the classroom with which we could speak directly to
the perp, Ms. Brockton?" Scully asked.

"Scully, a phone is good to start with, but someone's got to get inside
that room to assess the situation," Mulder began.

"You are not going into that classroom." Scully was adamant.

"Then would you please tell me why the hell it was _me_ that was needed
for this particular case?" Mulder responded through clenched teeth.

"Because you're the one who will get them out," Scully replied in a
balanced tone.

"Then let me do my damned job, Scully," Mulder proclaimed. Then in a
smaller voice, meant really only for her ears, "Stop trying to protect me
and let me do my job. Please." He paused before looking over at the
school's administrator.

"Ms. Brockton, is there some kind of phone system we could use to contact
them?" he asked.

"Yes, there is an intercom system. We can buzz them and there's a phone
that can be picked up." Mulder indicated to the principal to buzz them.

The sound could be heard in stereo, via the confirming tone in the office
itself and the one heard via the public address system that monitored the
classroom. Everyone listened and waited. It was Mr. Ruiz's move.

End of Part 5/12

Part 6/12

George Jacobs Elementary School
Sara Gianinni's Classroom
Greenwich, CT
11:53 a.m.

"Mr. Ruiz, that's the intercom. Someone in the office is trying to
contact me. I need to go over and answer it," Sara said carefully, but
with an even determination.

"Go," Mr. Ruiz responded.

Sara stood up and walked over to the intercom on the wall and picked up
the white telephone. In a voice that trembled only slightly she said,
"Sara speaking."

"Hi Sara, it's Marie. We've got the best law enforcement team on the east
coast right inside my office, dear. I'm going to put one of them on now.
You're doing great Sara. We can hear you through the PA, which I'm sure
you've always wondered about."

Marie heard Sara chuckle slightly which to Marie was a great relief.
Sara will be just fine. She's a smart, intelligent woman with a great
deal of common sense. She'll be fine.

"I'm going to put one of the agents on the phone, dear. Hang in there."
Marie Brockton offered the phone out to the agents. Mulder was the one
who took it.

"Hi Sara. I'm Agent Fox Mulder with the FBI, but everyone just calls me
Mulder, okay?" He heard her whisper an okay, so he continued. "First, is
there anyone else wounded besides..- (Mulder glanced quickly at the
folder) besides Karen?"

Sara responded in the negative. "Good. Now, tell him I want to talk to
him, Sara. Tell him to come to the phone, okay?" Mulder heard Sara relay
the message. There was no discussion, but footsteps could be heard via
the PA and the intercom system.

"What do you want?"

"We want to bring in a doctor for the little girl, Karen. We need to
clean her wound so she won't go into shock. If you want us to help you,
you've got to let us help the little girl," Mulder told him in a quiet,
but firm voice.

"Come." He hung up the phone.

Now it was their move.

Mulder looked around the office. He informed the occupants that Raphael
Ruiz had invited him to join him in the classroom. He looked at one of
the paramedics that was dispatched to the school.

"I need you to put some bandages and antiseptic together for me to bring
in the classroom," he said.

Scully looked over at him in total disbelief. "Mulder, what are you
doing?"

"I'm getting ready to go in to talk with the Mr. Ruiz. What do you think
I'm doing?" he asked tersely.

"Mulder, I think you're forgetting that _I'm_ the agent that has MD after
her name, not you."

She turned to the paramedic and informed her she would like to familiarize
herself with his medical kit so she would know what was available when she
went in to treat the child.

"Scully, you're not going in there." She didn't look at him. She figured
if she looked directly at him, he would realize that she heard the remark,
and Scully decided she wasn't planning on dignifying the remark with any
response.

He reached over to touch her shoulder, and she immediately flinched and
knocked his hand away. "Scully, you can't go in there."

"Mulder, this is crazy! Of course I'm going in there. A little girl has
been shot for crying out loud. How could you think I would not go in
there with you."

"Scully, may I speak with you in private, please. Now." Mulder placed
his hand in the small of her back and guided her out of the school office.

Marie Brockton stared at the two agents as they departed the room. She
then looked at the two Connecticut agents assigned to the case. "What in
heavens name was that all about?" she asked.

"Well, Agent Mulder has a reputation as being a little... um," Agent Ellis
started.

"Unconventional might be a good way to describe it," completed Agent
Marks. "Fox Mulder has never been one to follow the book, but he and his
partner have extremely high solve rates."

Marie Brockton wanted to believe these were the best people for the job,
but she had to wonder. Those two hadn't agreed on anything since they
walked into her office. Yet, at the same time, they seemed to anticipate
every word the other would say.

And there was still something that bothered her about this Fox Mulder
person. Why did she feel like she was missing some information on him.
Why should she feel that way?

George Jacobs Elementary School
Main Corridor
12:17 p.m.

"What the hell do you think you're doing, Mulder?" Scully was trying to
maintain her control, but if he didn't give her some kind of a reasonable
answer, she knew she would explode.

"I'm trying to do my job. The job that I was pulled off of my personal
leave to do. The job that I had to leave my ill mother for. That's what
I'm doing." Mulder was tense. He spoke with his hands balled up into
fists, alternately releasing them and clenching them down at his sides.

"Since when does doing _your_ job preclude me from doing _my_ job?"
she asked tautly.

"I won't let you go in there, Scully," he said softly. "I _can't_ ."

"For crying out loud, Mulder, why not?!" she said in an exasperated tone.

"It's too dangerous."

"What? It's too dangerous? Mulder, we're God damned FBI agents. Our
jobs _are_ dangerous!" she shouted at him. Scully could not believe what
her ears were hearing. This was too irrational, even for her often
lunatic partner. Then a thought occurred to her.

"Mulder, there's a huge difference between me going in that classroom with
you with us providing backup for each other and you going in there by
yourself, which is what you had planned to do in the first place." She
looked at him as though she had just scored a point. He couldn't argue
with her on this, because he had to know she was right.

His next words were spoken so softly, had she not been aware of his mouth
moving, she might have missed hearing the words.
"I won't take the chance of losing you again. I _can't_ take that
chance."

Scully willed herself to look at Mulder without a lens of anger. She saw
something on his face that made her gasp inwardly. *Oh God, he's falling
apart before my very eyes, and I haven't been paying attention carefully
enough to pick up the pieces. I was so worried about his reaction to the
children because of Sam, I forgot how he could relate this whole scenario
to me... and my disappear-- my abduction.*

"Mulder, listen to me. Please," she said in a soft, conciliatory voice.
"This is _not_ Duane Barry, Mulder. Raphael Ruiz is not
Duane Barry. He is not going to kidnap me. Please, Mulder." She cupped
his chin and turned his face towards her own. She wanted to make eye
contact, but he kept averting his gaze.

"Mulder, look at me. Please, look at me." Finally, they stared intently
at one another."

"Just as you want to do the job you've been trained for, I need to be
allowed to do the job I was trained for. I'll watch your back Mulder, and
I know you'll watch mine. That's what partners do for each other. I
promise you."

He looked into her eyes and he tried to focus on her strength. He wanted
so desperately to believe that he could keep her safe; that no harm would
ever come to her.

"Scully, I don't know what I would do if I lost you. I don't want to be,"
he whispered, and then gasped, "but I'm so scared."

"We can only control what we can control. We do the best we can under any
given situation. Think how scared that poor woman is for herself and her
students. Think how scared those kids are, and that poor little girl who
was shot. Mulder, she's in pain, and she's scared too.

"But we have the power to control this, because we _know_ how to deal
with this type of situation. We're _both_ trained to cope in these types
of crises. I want you to do your job, Mulder, but you have got to let me
do mine too. Neither of has a choice in this. Do you understand?"

Scully touched his shoulder with a firm tenderness. He placed his own
hand on top of hers and squeezed it gently. He gazed back at her
intensely serious blue eyes, and through a silent communication that they
managed to develop all on their own, let her know everything was now all
right.

"I'm not sure who that other guy was, but your partner is here now,
Scully."

"Welcome back partner. Let's go do our job."

End of Part 6/12

Part 7/12

George Jacobs Elementary School
Principal's Office
12:36 p.m.

Mulder and Scully walked back into the school's office with a new air
about them. Marie Brockton noticed it instantaneously. Agent Scully
appeared calmer, more relaxed, but definitely focused on the job at hand.
It was Agent Mulder, however, that seemed to have transformed totally
before her eyes. He seemed to have grown a few inches as he appeared to
stand taller. His eyes, once weary and frightened looking, now shared the
same intensity of his partner's.

Agents Andrews and Marks both stepped forward and handed each of the
agents a bullet proof vest. Scully took hers and began to hook it in
place. Mulder merely looked at his.

"Put it on."

"I don't think our perp will appreciate the lack of trust," Mulder said
wryly.

"I don't really care what _he_ appreciates. Put the damned vest on,
Mulder." Scully shot a glance at him. He put the vest on.

Marie Brockton watched this short, heated exchange with wry amusement.
Though she was well aware of the seriousness of the situation, any kind of
release of tension was welcomed, and watching the interplay between Mulder
and Scully was just that, a welcomed release of tension. Marie knew those
two kids behaved like "two old married farts" without them even realizing
it.

Then suddenly, realization hit Brockton. She finally knew what was
familiar about Fox Mulder. "Agent Mulder, before you go upstairs, do you
mind if I ask you a quick, personal question?"

Mulder looked at the older woman before him. She was in her late fifties
to early sixties. He assessed that she was close to retirement age, but
nowhere near retiring. She was tall, and though not slender, she had a
healthy build. Mulder figured she played tennis and possibly swam. She
had the long torso of a swimmer. She also appeared to be unthreatening,
so he nodded his head for her to make her inquiry.

"Do you have family residing in town?" she asked.

"My mother lives in Greenwich," he replied.

"Your mother. Her name wouldn't by any chance be Elizabeth, would it?"
When he nodded in affirmation, she smiled. "Agent Mulder, your mother and
I have been neighbors for about three years now. We even go swimming at
the health club together, but I haven't seen her lately, what with the
start of school. This time of year is hectic, and well today...."

"She's been under the weather for the last few days, which is why I was in
town in the first place. I live in the DC area, but I've been in
Greenwich for the last couple of days helping my mother out." He let out
a small sigh, and appeared to shrink again before Marie Brockton's eyes.

Mulder felt so frustrated. This school was the last place he wanted to
be. His mother had finally reached out to him. She was actually seeking
something, , his support, his caring, from _him,_ and then duty called.
He would have loved to have told Scully to tell Skinner to go to hell. He
would have loved to have told Scully to take the file and shove it up
Skinner's ass.

But then he had looked at the file. And he had looked at the pictures.
And he had looked at that one picture. When he had seen that one, he had
actually felt a little light headed. He had remembered Scully reaching
out to him to help steady him. And then he remembered having to go
explain to his mother why he had to leave. He had felt so badly, because
it had felt like he was betraying her again.

He still remembered her face when he told her. *Wonderful curse, this
photographic memory of mine,* he thought. If she had looked hurt or
upset, he thought he could have dealt with it, but she showed no reaction
at all. She had put up that proverbial wall, just as she always had when
he did something that didn't meet with her approval.

Elizabeth Mulder so rarely showed him any kind of emotion, *Oh, let's just
call it what it is. Dear Mom rarely showed any kind of love or affection
to me, if ever,* he realized to himself. So, when she had made the call
and asked him to help her out, he had practically fainted from shock.
This was as close to a showing of need and emotion as he could ever
remember. So, when he had to tell her of his need to be elsewhere, it
felt like he was denying her, and he felt guilty about it. Very guilty.

Mulder, if he were able to think rationally about his parents, might have
realized that in normal families, there would have been an immediate
understanding that emergencies are an inherent nature of his job with the
Bureau. But Mulder did not come from a normal family, and no amount of
rational thinking would stop him from trying to come to grips with what he
considered a betrayal of his mother's trust.

"Agent Mulder? Agent Mulder, I asked if you would like me to call her to
find out how she's doing?" Marie Brockton repeated. She was a little
concerned about his sudden change in demeanor again.

"Oh. Sorry. Yes, thank you. I'm sure my mother would appreciate
hearing from you," Mulder answered.

"Do I need to keep the details of this situation from her?" she asked.

"It would probably be wise to not say anything specific to her about the
hostage situation," interjected Lt. Ellis. "We really don't want the
media getting a hold of this, and the more people who know about, the less
likely we'll be able to contain it."

"Lt. Ellis is right. You don't really need to mention me. I'm sure she
would just like to hear from you." Mulder spoke in even tones, but there
was definitely a hint of emotion sneaking through too.

Meanwhile, Agent Marks gave Dana Scully the once over. "You got
everything you need?" she asked.

"I think so, Allison. You'll still be monitoring us over the "P.A."
system, and there's always the phone intercom for two way communication,"
replied Scully.

"What about you Mulder," asked Agent Andrews. Jerry Andrews was
concerned. He'd had the opportunity to work with Mulder once in the past.
The thing about Mulder that had impressed him at that time was his
uncanny ability to stay totally focused. When everyone else was ready to
call it a night, give up or just collapse, he was the one who would remain
on call, thinking about the case, the evidence, the next move.

Jerry Andrews was not seeing that same agent on this case. Something was
bothering him, something or some things were keeping his head from
becoming totally involved in this case. And anything less then total
involvement could prove dangerous. Not just for the hostages, but for his
partner. And, of course, for himself.

"Mulder, are you okay to go up there?" Andrews pressed.

"I'm fine."

"Mulder, are you sure about that? I mean we've got a whole bunch of lives
at stake here, and some really young ones at that." Jerry Andrews stared
hard at Mulder, who was returning his gaze with equal intensity.

"Andrews, are you doubting my abilities here?" Mulder asked tersely.

"I'm questioning your focus at the moment, Agent Mulder." There he said
it. Hopefully, it would shake him up enough to at least wake him to the
need to focus more on the case instead of whatever else he was thinking
about.

Mulder looked at Jerry Andrews and felt himself shudder slightly. *Wow,*
he thought, *and they call me `Spooky'* He took a deep, cleansing breath,
and then took a quick glance at Scully to get her take on the exchange.
She was staring back at him, not Andrews. *Shit, she agrees with Andrews.
She's waiting for my reaction to see if _she_ goes through with this
whole damned thing with me.*

"You're right Jerry, I've had my mind on a few other things today. I've
only known about this case since about 9:30 this morning, and I'm still
trying to digest all of the facts. But I am okay. Really. I won't do
anything to endanger the lives of the hostages or my partner. I promise."
Mulder gave Andrews a tentative smile and Andrews seemed to be visibly
relieved. "Okay Scully, got everything you need?"

Scully looked back at Mulder and Andrews. She was glad Jerry Andrews was
satisfied with his response, because if he weren't, he could have easily
requested Mulder to take himself off the case. That would not have sat
terribly well with him, so she was grateful it didn't have to come to
that. So what was it about that exchange that was bothering her?

And then she realized. He promised he wouldn't do anything to put the
hostages or his partner in danger, but he neglected to include himself.
*He never remembers to include himself,* she thought.

End of part 7/12

Part 8/12

George Jacobs Elementary School
Sara Gianinni's Classroom
12:58 p.m.

"Ms. "G"? There's some people standing outside by the door," said Devan.
"Should I let them in?"

"Mr. Ruiz, may Devan go open the door for Mr. Mulder?"

"How many people are there?" Raphael Ruiz asked, as he gripped the gun in
a defensive stance.

"Two," replied Sammie, who was sitting next to Devan. "I see a tall man
and a short woman."

"Anyone else with them?" Ruiz asked.

"No, I don't see anyone else," the young girl replied. She, as well as
most of the other children, were managing to stay calm throughout the
ordeal. This was largely due to the calming influence of Sara Gianinni.
Sammie reflected Ms. "G's" ability to stay in control.

"Let them in," he directed. When Sammie and Devan both rose to open the
door, Ruiz quickly ordered, "NO! Just the girl. You, sit. You, go.
Just open the door and then sit back down with your friend there. You
understand?"

Sammie looked directly at Raphael Ruiz, and nodded. Sara was amazed at
the confidence this child exhibited in the face of this ordeal. She
watched her walk toward the and open it. She quickly moved back away from
the door and returned to sit next to Devan, in full view of Ruiz.

When the young girl came to the door to allow them access, Scully heard an
audible gasp escape from Mulder's mouth. The child really was a dead
ringer for his long lost sister, Samantha, and Scully knew Mulder was
experiencing some anxiety about this entire situation.

*Boy Skinner, when you told me to hold him together, you didn't know just
how on target you were, or did you?* she wondered silently. *Walter
Skinner, I think you know and care about our agent Mulder here more than
you'd like to admit.*

Mulder walked in first and Scully followed him. They both scanned the
room, searching for the wounded child. Mulder saw her toward the center
of the classroom, with Sara Gianinni sitting next to her with her arm
around her in an attempt to comfort. He pointed her out to Scully, and
she started walking toward the pair.

"Who's she?" Ruiz asked.

"She's a doctor, Mr. Ruiz. She is going to help Karen now," Mulder
replied quietly, but confidently. He didn't want to sound threatening,
but he also wanted to exert some control in the situation.

"Oh. I said you could help the child. I didn't want anyone to get hurt.
She surprised me." Ruiz held the gun, but all the while alternately
looked at Mulder and then Scully, who was examining Karen's wound.

"She's lost some blood, but it looks like it missed the bone. It appears
to have been a fairly clean shot. The exit wound doesn't seem too bad,
but I do need to dress her wound. She's going to need to go to the
hospital for antibiotics and fluids." Scully was in full doctor mode, and
rattled off a few more points regarding her diagnosis and recommendations.

"No."

"What do you mean, `No'?" Scully asked incredulously. She was looking at
Ruiz with wide open eyes and a slightly gaping mouth. "Mr. Ruiz,
thankfully this wound is not life threatening at this point, but that does
not mean that cannot change if she doesn't receive treatment."

"So, you're a doctor. Treat her, but I cannot let her leave now.
Everyone must stay here until they return Elena. When they return Elena,
then everyone may go." Mr. Ruiz issued his directive and then became
silent.

Scully looked over at Mulder with a questioning glance. *What now,
G-Man?* she thought.

"Mr. Ruiz, why is it important for everyone to remain? What difference
would it make to the people who took your daughter if Karen left to go to
the hospital?" Mulder asked, in the hopes of getting Ruiz to explain why
they were all there in the first place.

"People? You call them people? They are not people. They're not us.
They don't look like us. You don't know anything. You don't know
anything!" he cried out in anguish.

"They were small and gray, weren't they?" Mulder asked.

Ruiz looked up, but remained quiet for a few moments. He wondered if this
man was making fun of him or if there was a chance he really did
understand. He observed the serious expression on the agents face, and
thought just maybe he found another believer.

"Yes. They were small and gray," Ruiz concurred. "They had skinny long
arms and legs too."

"What about their faces?" Mulder asked. "How were their heads shaped?
What did their face look like?"

Ruiz described the head and face of the grays with good accuracy. He fell
silent again, until Mulder asked him about the time of Elena's abduction.

"It was the evening. I was taking a walk with my wife, my Camila, after
dinner. Elena would usually come with us, but she had a little cold, and
her grandmother was protective of her.

"So Elena stayed inside with her grandmother while Camila and I went for
our walk around the block. There was no moon to light our way. It was a
dark night with clouds, so even the stars were hidden. Suddenly the
entire street lit up. It was very strange, since not five minutes earlier
it was pitch black out.

"We saw this very bright light coming down from the sky. Camila and I
couldn't tell from exactly where it was coming, but we knew this was not
normal.

"We both started running back to the house. We were afraid for Elena and
her grandmother. When we got there, I had to knock the door down. It was
at that moment I saw them."

"Saw them? Who did you see, Mr. Ruiz?" asked Mulder.

"The grays. I saw the little gray men. They surrounded my daughter who
then suddenly started to float up into the light." Ruiz looked as though
he were almost hypnotized by the memory.

"Mr. Ruiz," Scully interjected, "where did your daughter go?"

"With them."

"But _where_ did she go, Mr. Ruiz?" Scully pressed.

"I don't know, doctor. I do not know where they took her. All I do know
is she was gone."

"Mr. Ruiz, did you report this to the police?" asked Scully.

Mulder was getting a little irritated. He wanted to find out more about
Ruiz's observations of that night, but Scully kept interrupting with her
own questions. Ruiz interrupted his thoughts with an answer to Scully's
question.

"Yes, of course we reported it. But do you think they would believe such
a story? I saw it with my own eyes, and I have trouble believing such a
story."

Mulder broke in before Scully could follow up with one of her own
questions. "Mr. Ruiz, how long did it take for the grays to take Elena?"

"I don't know. I don't remember. It did not seem to be a very long time
though. In fact, I remember thinking we had gone out for our walk after
dinner, but when I had next noticed the clock it seemed like it should
have been later."

Mulder's arms started waving about a little excitedly. "You were missing
time, weren't you?" he asked. "You lost time between the time the light
first shone and then stopped shining, didn't you?? Do you remember how
much time? Can you think back to how much time__.

"NO! I cannot think about that now. Stop asking me about time. It
doesn't matter. All that matters is they are going to return Elena here.
I have to wait for Elena." Ruiz was very agitated and started pointing
his gun at random parts of the room.

"Mr. Ruiz, please. You are scaring the children again." Sara Gianinni
spoke up in a calm voice. She had been dealing with this man for the last
five hours or so, and felt angered that all of her hard work in
maintaining a calm and quiet environment for her kids was being destroyed
by this hyperactive FBI agent. She shot him her best "teacher look" and
let him know under no circumstances was he to continue with this behavior.

Mulder looked back at Sara Gianinni. (*Phew! She's good,* he thought.)
He returned her look and indicated with a nod and slight smile that her
message to him was duly noted. Mulder watched the tension leave her body
a little. He knew he nearly blew it, and resolved to regroup and refocus
himself.

"Mr. Ruiz, how do you know Elena is to be returned here, today?" Mulder
asked in a quiet, calm voice.

"I just know. They sent me messages in my head. Elena's grandmother got
it too," he answered.

"What about your wife, Mr. Ruiz? Did she receive a message too?" asked
Mulder.

"Camila died three months after Elena was taken," Ruiz responded in a
monotone.

"I'm sorry Mr. Ruiz. I'm truly sorry." Mulder was sincere in his
sympathy. He knew how hard it was for him to have lost Scully for those
three months. He could only imagine how difficult it must have been, and
still be, for Raphael Ruiz to deal with the death of his wife and his
missing daughter.

"Mr. Ruiz," Scully interjected, "may I ask how Camila died?"

"She had cancer. She was sick for a very long time, but she lost all of
her will to fight when they took Elena." Ruiz sat with tears streaming
down his cheeks as he remembered the slow, painful death of his beloved
Camila.

"Mr. Ruiz, please, this child is in a lot of pain," Scully said. "You
know what it is like to watch someone you love to be in pain. She's only a
little girl, Mr. Ruiz. Please, let her go to the hospital."

Raphael looked over to where Karen was laying down on Sara Gianinni's lap.
Sara was doing her best to comfort the child, but Karen was pale and
beginning to shiver. "She's in shock, Mr. Ruiz. She needs to be in a
hospital. Please, she's just a child, and she's in pain," echoed Sara.

"Take her. You, Doctor, you take the child out. Take her to the
hospital." Ruiz didn't want to be responsible for another person's pain,
especially a child's.

Scully looked over at Mulder in a slight panic. If she left with Karen,
she didn't know if she would be able to get back in. She had to be here
for Mulder, she had to be here to watch his back.

Mulder knew exactly what Scully was worried about, because he was worried
about the same thing. He didn't like the idea of not having another
trained person in the room with him. Though Sara Gianinni was apparently
an excellent person to have around in a crisis, he would rather have Dana
Scully in there with him protecting Sara and her twenty some odd charges.

But he also knew young Karen needed to be in a hospital. He figured he'd
try one other tactic.

"Mr. Ruiz, I think Karen would feel more comfortable if her teacher went
with her to the hospital. She's hurting and scared and I think she should
have someone that she knows and is comfortable with accompany her to the
hospital."

"No. I need her here for the other children," was his reply.

"Yes, but__"

"No. The doctor takes the child or she doesn't go at all."

*So much for other tactics, Mulder,* he berated himself. *Maybe we'll be
lucky and the grays will actually show up soon...yeah, right, and there's
this nice bridge in Brooklyn that I'm sure someone will want to sell,* he
smirked.

"Scully, take the child out of here. Now."

"But Mulder__"

"Karen needs a hospital. Take her out of here, now." Mulder gave Scully
one his patented "everything is going to be just fine, so don't you go
worrying about me" looks.

Scully nodded in acquiescence, but was not happy about the situation at
all. But she also knew she really had no choice at the moment. She stood
up, and with the help of Sara Gianinni, she lifted Karen up. The child
was small and Scully was able to carry her without too much trouble.
*Compared to Mulder,* she thought, *this little one's a picnic!*

Scully looked long and hard at Mulder. She wanted to tell him to be
careful and not take any undue risks and to stay calm and wait for her to
get back into the room before he tried anything radical.

"I'll see you in a little while. Play nice in the sandbox, Mulder."
Scully smiled the smile she usually reserved just for him, asked Sammie to
open the door for her, and left the classroom.

End of Part 8/12

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