Touching Home by Frances Hayman
Classification: Story, Angst
Finished August 4,1997
Spoilers: "Beyond the Sea". This story takes place
sometime after "One Breath" and before "Memento Mori".
Summary: Mulder and Scully get iced in at Scully's mom's
house, where they both receive some much needed TLC.
Rating: G
Disclaimer: The X-Files and its characters belong to Chris
Carter, Fox, and 1013. No copyright infringement intended.
Other characters belong to me.
Distribution: OK to post as long as my name stays with it.
Special thanks to my sister Erin for input, especially for the

Touching Home by Frances Hayman

It had been a long day at the end of a long couple of weeks.
Scully ran a hand through her red hair, trying to tame it in the
brisk winter wind. Cold wetness fell on her hand and then her
face as she looked up to see snowflakes drifting down.

"Great," groused Mulder, "now we'll probably get snowed in."

"I don't think it's supposed to get that bad, Mulder, but I think
we better get going soon, just in case the roads get messy."

"Well, then, what are we standing around here for?"

"As I recall, we were waiting for someone that was supposed
to have information about, ahh, what was it again?"

"It was supposed to be about a UFO sighting, I think," said Mulder,
rubbing his hand across his face. "He should have been here
two hours ago. That's the last time I let Frohike set me up to
meet an 'informant'."

"Yeah, right."

"At least without checking it out with Byers, too." Mulder leaned
back on the park bench. "I'm tired, Scully. Let's go home."

"You don't have to tell me twice," said Scully. She pulled her coat
tight and headed toward the car. She paused when she realized
Mulder wasn't following. "What's wrong, Mulder? Change your
mind already?" She turned around. Mulder was still sitting on the
bench, but now he was leaning forward with his palms pressed
against his forehead. She walked quietly back to his side. "Are
you okay?"

"Yeah, I think so," he said without moving his hands. "I've just got
a killer headache."

Scully put her hand on her partner's shoulder and squeezed gently.
"Come on. I've got some aspirin in the car."

Mulder got slowly to his feet, letting out a long breath and rolling
his head around on his shoulders. He followed Scully to the
car. By the time he got there she was holding two aspirin in
one hand and a cup of what had once been iced tea in the other.

"At least the tea should still be cold."

He chuckled and took the tablets and cup from her. After he
had swallowed the tablets, he looked back at Scully. "What
time are you supposed to be at your mom's house tonight, Scully?"

A stricken look came across her face. "Oh, no. I forgot." She
quickly looked at her watch. "I'm supposed to be there in an hour.
There's no way I can make it back to the Bureau and then to her
house in time. And with the weather looking like this, I probably
couldn't make it after that anyway."

"What's the occasion, Scully? Can't you just do it another time?"

"No, I can't, Mulder." She looked up at him. "Today is Mom and
Dad's anniversary. I just don't like her to be alone on their anniversary
since Dad died."

"Oh," said Mulder quietly.

"I guess I'll have to miss it this time, though."

"Well, we could make it to your mom's house if we leave right
now, that is, if you and she don't mind me being there, or I could
just drop you off --"

"You really don't mind coming with me to Mom's?"

"Of course not, Scully. But I'd be intruding --"

"No, you wouldn't, Mulder. Mom's always glad to see you.
But you might get bored with all our reminiscing."

"I don't think so, Scully. I never got to meet your father. If
you don't mind sharing those memories with me, I'd really
like to hear some of them."

Scully looked closely at him. He really meant it. "Okay,
Mulder. I'll call Mom and let her know we'll both be coming."

Mulder pulled the keys out of his pocket and walked around to
the driver's side.

"What are you doing, Mulder?"

"I was going to start the car. I'm kinda cold, and it is the only
way we're going to get to your mom's house."

"Oh, no. You just told me you had a 'killer headache',
remember? I'll drive."

He started to protest, but she was already in the driver's
seat, adjusting it so she could reach the pedals.

"Are you just going to stand there with your mouth open,
or are you going to get in, Mulder?"

"Getting in, now, sir," he said.

By the time he was belted in, Scully had called her mother.

"What'd she say?"

"She said she'd be very glad to have you with us tonight,

He smiled and let his head fall back against the seat.

* * * *

"Mulder, wake up. We're here."

"Waking up, sir," he said groggily.

"How's your headache?"

"A little better."

"Good. Come on. Don't want to keep Mom waiting. We're
already half an hour later than I'd hoped."


"The roads, Mulder. While you were sleeping it started sleeting
and the roads are pretty slick. I hope we can make it home

Margaret Scully opened the front door and was waiting on the
porch as they approached the house.

"Hi, Mom," said Scully. "Sorry we're late. The roads are getting
a little icy."

Margaret embraced her daughter warmly. "I heard on TV that
they may be closing some secondary roads until they can get all
the salt trucks out. I'm just glad you two made it all right." She
turned to face Mulder. "And I really am glad you could come,
too, Fox," she said, putting her arm around him. "Come in out
of this nasty weather. I've got supper all ready."

"Mom, you didn't have to cook. I thought we were going out
to eat tonight."

"Not in this weather, Dana. Not that I don't trust your driving,
it's all those other people."

Mulder opened his mouth to comment, but before he could say
anything, Scully warned him. "Not a word about my driving,
Mulder. Not a word." He closed his mouth and grinned.

"I wasn't gonna say anything, Scully. Really."

"Yeah, right."

Mrs. Scully laughed as she shut the door on the cold, wet night.
She really was glad that Fox had come. He just might be able
to keep them from ending the night in tears.

* * * *

"You should have seen her, Fox!" said Mrs. Scully, pouring
coffee for the three of them. "She had Jimmy McKenzie yelling
uncle in no time!" She laughed and shook her head. "You know,
he still makes a wide berth around Dana to this day."

Mulder was laughing so hard he was crying.

"It wasn't that funny, Mulder," said Scully, slightly embarrassed
by the story from her childhood.

"Oh, yes it was, Scully! I can just see you punching the snot out
of Jimmy for saying you pitched 'like a girl'!" He started laughing

"Well, I was a better pitcher than he ever thought about being,"
said Scully smugly. She turned to her mother. "He does still
avoid me, doesn't he?"

"I guess he learns fast, Scully," said Mulder. "I mean, now
you could beat the snot out of him, shoot him, and arrest him!"

"But Daddy sure wasn't happy with me when I got home that
night," said Scully, remembering the rest of the story. "As I
recall, I was grounded for a week for fighting."

"But he let you play in the next game, didn't he, Dana?"

"Yes, he did." She paused for a moment, looking back to the
memory. "I'll never forget him standing near the first base line,
cheering so loud everyone could hear him as I touched home
to make the winning run." She took a deep breath and looked
at her mother. "I was sure he was staying close, just to make
sure I didn't go after Jimmy again."

Mrs. Scully smiled as she looked at her daughter. "He was,
Dana. But what he couldn't tell you then, was that he was proud
of you for sticking up for yourself. He told me after that incident,
that if he had ever had any doubts about your ability to take
care of yourself, they were gone." She paused, the mood becoming
more somber. "He really was very proud of you, Dana, always."

Scully's eyes filled with tears as she grasped her mother's hand.
"I know, Mom, I know."

"I wish I could have met Captain Scully," said Mulder. "He
probably wouldn't have liked me, though."

"At least, not until he was sure I could 'beat the snot' out of
you, Mulder," said Scully, her shining eyes twinkling. They
all laughed again.

Scully looked at her watch. "Oh, my! I didn't realize it was
so late. We better get going."

"Dana, why don't you and Fox stay here tonight? I really
think the roads are too bad, and both of you look exhausted."

Mulder stood and walked to the window. He let out a slow
breath. "I think I have to agree with your mom, Scully. Come
take a look."

Scully walked over to stand beside Mulder. The view out the
window showed an icy wonderland. "I think we're going to
need an ice pick just to unlock the door of the car," said Scully.

"It's settled, then," said Mrs. Scully. "I'm just going to pull out
some extra quilts. You two go sit by the fire in the living room."

"You heard your mom, Scully. Let's go sit by the fire."

They walked into the living room, dropped into the soft chairs,
and stared into the flames.

"How's your head, Mulder? You look like it still hurts."

"It does, some."

"I'm sure Mom has some aspirin or something. I'll get you some."

He just nodded and closed his eyes. Mrs. Scully heard the
conversation and eased into the living room to stand beside
Mulder's chair.

"Fox, are you all right?"

"Yes, ma'am," he sighed, "it's just been a long week."

Mrs. Scully laid her hand on his forehead. "You aren't all right,
Fox, I believe you have a fever. And don't tell me it's the fire.
You're not sitting that close."

"What's the matter?" asked Scully as she walked back into
the room.

"Dana, Fox has a fever."

Scully moved to Mulder's side and felt his stubble covered
cheek. She sighed. "Why didn't you tell me you felt this
bad, Mulder?"

"I'm fine. I'm just tired," he said warily, feeling outnumbered.

Mrs. Scully had disappeared momentarily, but reappeared with
a thermometer in her hand. "Shall you take his temperature, or
shall I, Dana?"

"Go for it, Mom. Maybe he won't argue with you."

Mulder opened his mouth to protest and Mrs. Scully shoved the
thermometer in. "Be quiet, Fox, and let us take care of you."

He sighed and slumped into the chair. He was used to arguing
with Scully, but her mother was a different matter. After a few
minutes, she removed the thermometer and read it.

"Just as I thought." She passed the thermometer to Scully.

"Yep. It's 100.5, Mulder." Scully handed him the tablets she
had been holding and a glass of water. "Take these, and get
some sleep. We'll see how you feel in the morning."

Mulder took the medicine out of her hand. "Yes, sir, Dr. Scully."

"Come on, Mulder. You can have Bill, Jr.'s room."

"You mean we're not gonna share?"

Scully glared at him as she turned the light on. "You know
where the bathroom is. Towels are in the cabinet beside the
sink. You should have plenty of covers. If you need anything,
I'll be right across the hall."

"Thanks, Scully."

"Get some rest, Mulder. Hopefully you'll feel better in the

He nodded and shut the door. As he undressed and slipped
into the soft bed, he thought that things could be worse, much
worse. He could be iced in and sick all alone in his dark, little
apartment. Or worse yet, with the Gunmen. He shivered at that
thought. All in all, this definitely wasn't . . . so . . . bad . . .

* * * *

Scully opened her eyes slowly, drawing in a deep breath. The
familiar scents of her mother's house helped her remember where
she was. She smiled and stretched as she got out of bed. The
clock read 10:13am. She shook her head and looked again. Yep,
10:13 all right. She never slept this late. She grabbed her robe and
slippers and walked across the hall to check on Mulder. She pushed
on the partially open door and saw that he was still sleeping.
She quietly closed the door. After a brief stop in the bathroom,
she headed for the kitchen, where the aroma of fresh coffee
was luring her.

"Good morning, sleepyhead," said Mrs. Scully.

"Morning, Mom. That coffee smells wonderful." She poured
herself a cup and sat down at the table. "I can't believe I slept
so late. Good thing it's Sunday."

"I trust you slept well."

"Like the proverbial baby. But then I usually do when I'm here.
I guess Mulder did, too. I didn't hear a peep out of him all
night. That surprises me a little, though. Sometimes when he's
sick, he has nightmares."

"He did have nightmares, Dana. I heard him a couple of times.
When I went to check on him, he thought I was you." She paused
as Scully looked at her with shocked eyes. "He got up a couple
of hours ago and I managed to get some toast and juice in him.
He was still running a fever, so I gave him some more aspirin
and sent him back to bed."

"I don't understand why I didn't hear him. Why didn't you wake
me, Mom?"

"You didn't hear him because you were so exhausted yourself,
Dana. And I didn't wake you because you needed to sleep as
much as he did. I won't be a bit surprised if you end up sick, too.
Besides, I've been taking care of sick men for longer than you've
been alive, young lady." She walked around the table to stand
behind Scully's chair. Leaning over, she hugged her daughter
tightly. "And how do you feel this morning?"

Scully looked up at her mother and smiled. "Better rested than
I have all week. Thanks for taking care of Mulder for me, Mom."

"No thanks necessary. That's what mothers are for. Now what
would you like for breakfast?"

* * * *

After breakfast, Scully showered and dressed, then went back
to the kitchen to help her mother with lunch.

"What can I do to help, Mom?"

"You can sit down and talk to me while I finish chopping these
veggies for the soup."

"Homemade soup, Mom? Mmmm. Your soup is the perfect
thing on a day like this."

"I thought you'd like it. Now tell me what all you've been
up to."

"Oh, you know me, Mom. I work, I go home, I work. If it
weren't for all the, ah, interesting cases we have, my life would
be completely boring."

Mrs. Scully laughed. "Have you talked to your brothers lately?"

"Not in a couple of weeks."

Mrs. Scully launched into tales for her sons and their families'
recent exploits. By the time she finished, the soup was nearly
done and a couple of hours had passed.

Scully looked at her watch. "I better go check on Mulder. The
aspirin has probably worn off by now."

"It has," said Mulder as he stood in the kitchen doorway rubbing
his eyes. Scully looked around. He was wearing gray sweat pants
and a worn blue T-shirt. His hair was sticking out in all directions.
He stepped in and collapsed into a chair.

"How do you feel, Mulder?" asked Scully.

"Don't ask."

"That bad?" She circled the table to stand behind him. She
put her hand to his rough cheek. He was warmer that he
had been last night. "Your head still hurt?"

"Yeah," he said, closing his eyes.

"Anything else? Any nausea?"

"Not really. Well, I feel a little nauseous, but mostly my head
just feels like it's gonna explode."

Scully tilted his head up and gently touched his forehead
and cheeks just below his eyes. "Does it hurt here?"

Mulder just nodded, eyes still closed.

"Mulder, I think you may have a sinus infection. If you
do, we'll have to get you some antibiotics and decongestants.
Mom, do you have any cold or sinus medicine?"

"I think so, Dana." She went to a cabinet and began rummaging
through its contents. After a moment, she pulled out a bottle
marked "Sinus Tablets". "How about this?"

Scully turned the bottle around and read the ingredients. She
shook out two tablets and handed them to Mulder. "This
should help."

Mrs. Scully set a glass of juice in front of him and he threw
back the tablets. "I hope so, Scully. This headache is getting
very old."

* * * *

"Mom, does Jenna Michaels still live down the street?"

"She sure does, Dana. Why don't you give her a call?"

Scully flipped through her Mom's address book. "Masters,
Meacham, Michaels. Here it is. Jenna Michaels, MD."

Just as she picked up the phone, the doorbell
rang. "I'll get it, Mom, " said Scully. When she opened the
front door, she found Jenna Michaels standing on the porch.

"Jenna! I was just about to call you!"

"Must be getting psychic!" said Jenna with a shrug and a twinkle
in her eye.

"Come in, come in," said Scully.

"Actually," said Jenna, "I saw the car with government plates in
your mom's driveway on my way home last night. I was hoping
it was you, and that you'd still be here this morning."

The pair walked into the living room. "We kinda got iced in last
night and decided to stay," said Scully.

"We?" asked Jenna with a suggestive grin.

"My partner and I, Jenna. No big deal."

"Right," said Jenna. "So where is he, this 'partner' of yours?"

"He's asleep, I hope."

Jenna caught the concerned look that Scully cast down the
hall. "What's the matter, Dana?"

"Nothing serious. Mulder was complaining about a bad
headache yesterday, and by last night he was running fever.
He still has the headache and the fever. I think he has a sinus

"Want me to take a look at him?"

"Would you mind?"

"Of course not, Dana. I see this stuff all the time. And if he
needs them, I've got antibiotics at my office."

Scully smiled at her friend. "Thanks, Jenna." She paused. "Are
you in a hurry?"

"Not right now."

"Why don't we let Mulder sleep a little while longer, and have
some of Mom's homemade soup."

Jenna smiled. "I was hoping that was what I smelled. Lead
the way."

The two friends spent the next hour catching up and enjoying
Mrs. Scully's soup. The mood was broken when Scully heard
Mulder coughing.

"I guess he's awake," said Scully. She led the way to Mulder's
room, pushed the door open slightly, and peered in. Mulder
was curled up under the covers, lying on his side, his back to
the door. Another bout of coughing racked him.

"Mulder, are you awake?"


Scully smiled and walked into the room. She sat on the bed
behind him and put her hand on his shoulder. "How do you

"My head's not hurting quite so bad, but now I'm choking on
all this stuff draining down the back of my throat." He turned
over and saw someone else in the room. He raised his eyebrows.
"Is my misery so entertaining that you have to invite guests?"

Scully shook her head and sighed as she looked at Jenna. "He's
just a bit melodramatic at times." She looked back at Mulder.
"Mulder, this is a friend of mine from med school, Jenna Michaels.
Jenna, this is my partner, Fox Mulder."

"Nice to meet you, finally, Mulder. I've heard a lot about you."

Mulder gave Scully an odd look. "What have you been saying
about me, Scully?"

Before Scully could answer, Jenna volunteered, "Oh, I've heard
a little about you from Dana, but most of what I heard came from
her mom. And don't worry, most of it was good."

"Ookaay," said Mulder. "Nice to meet you, too, Jenna. I'm afraid
you're not catching me at my best," he said as he struggled to sit up.

"Actually, Mulder, that's part of why she's here. Jenna's in private practice
here, and I asked her to take a look at you."

"You're not a proctologist, are you?"

Jenna laughed. "No, not today. I'm in Family Practice, so I do a little
of a lot of things." She moved closer to the bed. "Dana says you've
had a bad headache. Where does it hurt?"

"Right here and here, mostly," said Mulder, putting his hands across
his forehead and cheeks. "It's not quite as bad since I took
that sinus medicine, but now I think I'm drowning."

Jenna smiled sympathetically. "At least it's draining some,

Scully moved out of the way to let Jenna examine her partner.
After she was done, she looked over her shoulder at Scully.

"I think you're right, Dana. He has a sinus infection. We
need to go to my office and get him some medicine."

Scully walked to Mulder's bedside. "Go back to sleep,
Mulder. We'll be back in a little while."

Mulder tried to gather the energy to protest, to say that the
roads were probably still too icy, but all he could do was
nod as his eyelids got so heavy they fell shut.

* * * *

"Welcome to my domain," said Jenna ceremoniously, ushering
Scully into her office. They were standing in the waiting area
which was tastefully decorated in tans and blues, with wildlife
prints adorning the walls. A large fish tank sat in the middle
of the room bubbling comfortingly.

"What do you think, Dana?"

"I like it. It looks more like someone's living room than a
doctor's office waiting room. Mulder would love the fish
tank. Maybe you can give him some hints on how to keep
fish alive for more than a couple of weeks at a time."

"My best advice is to have someone else take care of them.
The guy from the pet store maintains everything for us. All
we ever do is feed them."

"Good answer. Maybe Mulder should start with that 'feeding'
part though."

Jenna laughed and shook her head. "Come on, let me show
you the rest."

She led Scully through the reception area and two exam rooms,
then into her office. Jenna went around the desk to sit in her
chair. Scully paused and grabbed at the door frame. Jenna
turned around to see her friend's face go pale.

"Dana! What's wrong?" she asked, rushing to her side.

Scully's grip on the door turned her knuckles white. "I, uh, just
got a little dizzy for a second." She shook her head, trying to
clear it, but quickly decided that was a bad idea when another
wave of dizziness hit. Jenna helped her to a chair and she sat


"Yeah," said Scully, taking a deep breath. "I don't know where
that came from."

"I think I do, Dana."

Scully frowned up at Jenna. "What do you mean?"

"Dana, how much sleep have you had in the last couple of weeks?
And what have you eaten? Fast food? Pizza? And I'll bet not much
of that. It's pretty evident that you are physically exhausted." She
shook her head. "Good grief, Dana, you're a doctor. You should
know the human body can only take so much abuse. Why do you
think your partner's sick? From what your mom has told me, he'll
run himself completely into the ground. Looks like you've picked up
at least one of his bad habits."

Scully dropped her head and intently tried to study the patterns in
the carpet. "I guess you could be right --"

"Of course I'm right, Dana. Getting iced in at your mom's house
was probably the best thing that could have happened to both of
you. Now, I'm going to look you over --"

"Jenna, I really don't think --"

"Don't argue with me, Dana. This makes sense. I'm going to
look you over, and if I don't find anything else, I'm going to
recommend that you take off work at least through Wednesday
or Thursday. And I'll find your boss's number and call him if
I have to." She paused and an evil grin split her face. "Of course,
the only thing I really need to do is tell your mother. And don't
think I'm not. Stay with her for the next few days. Let her take
care of both of you."

"Well . . . Okay."

* * * *

Jenna picked up the phone.

"Who are you calling?" asked Scully suspiciously.

"Your mother. To see if she needs anything while we're out.
After all, she probably wasn't planning on houseguests for the
next few days."

"Oh, right. Didn't think of that."

Jenna talked into the phone. "Mrs. Maggie? Hi, it's Jenna.
Yeah, we're okay, well, I am. Hmm? Dana had a dizzy spell
a little while ago." She paused, listening. "Besides being
exhausted, I think she's okay. If you're up to a couple of extra
people in your house, I really think they should both stay put
for the next three or four days." She paused again. "That's
a good idea, Mrs. Maggie. Do you need anything while we're
out? No? Okay, we'll be there in a few minutes." She hung up
the phone, smiling.

"What are you smiling about?"

"Looks like I won't have to call your boss after all. Your mom
has his number, so she's going to call and leave him a message."

"Oh, not that," said Scully, falling back into the chair. "I feel like
I'm in grade school with my mom calling the teacher."

"It's for your own good, Dana."

"But I could have called him myself."

* * * *

Maggie Scully hung up the phone. She had left a message on
A.D. Skinner's voice mail to let him know that Dana and Fox
were going to be out of work for a few days, doctor's orders.
She turned when she heard Fox walking down the hall. Just
after the bathroom door shut she heard retching noises. She
sighed and shook her head as she walked to the bathroom.
Jenna had told her to expect this.

"Fox, are you all right?" She could hear water running now.

"I think so," Mulder said weakly.

Mrs. Scully pushed the door open to see him leaning heavily
on the counter. She got a washcloth out of the cabinet and
wet it under the running water, then reached up to his sweat
drenched face with the cool cloth.

"Think you can make it back to bed?"

He nodded. "Yeah." He turned and made his way slowly to
the bed. Mrs. Scully pulled the covers up around him.

"I'm really sorry to ruin your time with Scully like this," said

"Oh, Fox, you haven't ruined anything. I really am glad you
came. Usually we end up crying for hours. Last night you
helped us remember happy things. And I do believe that if
Dana's father could have met you, and gotten to know you
like I have, he would have liked you a lot."

"Really? You wouldn't just be saying that, would you?"

"Really, Fox."

He sighed, and shifted in the large bed. "I guess Scully and
I will be out of your hair later today, if the roads are clear."

"Oh, no you won't. Not until at least Wednesday."

"Why until Wednesday?"

"Doctor's orders." He looked confused. "Jenna's orders. Seems
that Dana had an episode of dizziness while they were at Jenna's

"Is she okay?" asked Mulder, trying to sit up.

Mrs. Scully pushed him back down. "She'll be fine, Fox. Jenna
seems to think that she's just thoroughly exhausted. I've already
called Mr. Skinner's office to let him know you'll both be out for
a few days."

"Oh," said Mulder.

"Jenna and Dana will be back in a little while. Try to rest." She
mopped his brow with the cloth again. Mulder sighed and closed
his eyes.

* * * *

"Dana, honey, are you sure you're all right?" asked Mrs. Scully,
hovering protectively over her daughter.

"Yes, Mom." Scully sat at her mother's kitchen table sorting
through several bottles of pills. "How's Mulder?"

"The drainage is making him sick, now."

"I was afraid of that. I hope he can keep all this medicine down."

"Is this all for him, Dana?"

"Yes, except for this bottle. It's vitamins for me. He has his
own bottle of those."

"Dana, why don't you go lie down for a while. I'll make sure
Fox gets his medicine."

"I'll give it to him, Mom. I'll sleep better if I can check on him

"Okay. Just don't take too long."

Scully walked into Mulder's room. He was shivering under the
covers. "Mulder?" she said quietly.

"Hmm? Scully, back already?"

"Yes, got back a few minutes ago." She brushed hair away from
his eyes. "Feeling pretty rough?"

"Oh, yeah. You missed the best part, me puking my guts up in
front of your mother."

"Mulder, it takes a lot more than that to bother my Mom. Can
you sit up for a minute and take this medicine?"

"I think so, but I don't know if it'll stay down."

"One of these pills is for nausea, so it should help you handle it."

Mulder took the offered pills and water. "What about you?
Your mom said you got dizzy at Jenna's office."

"My Mom has a big mouth," said Scully. Mulder raised his
eyebrows. She sighed. "I'll be okay after about three days
of sleep."

"Did you know your mom called Skinner?"

"Yes. Yes, I did." She sighed again. "Makes you feel
sort of juvenile, doesn't it?"

Mulder laughed a little. "I guess it does."

"I'll call later and leave him another message."

"Ah, don't bother, Scully. Maybe your mom can get us a
whole week off."

"Go back to sleep, Mulder."

"You first, Scully."

* * * *

Maggie Scully sat at her kitchen table drinking coffee and
reading Monday morning's newspaper. The phone rang and
she rushed to answer it. She didn't want to wake either of the
sleeping FBI agents in her house.


"Mrs. Scully?"


"This is Assistant Director Skinner. I was calling in reference
to the message you left on my voice mail about your daughter
and Agent Mulder."

"Yes, Mr. Skinner. Well, they came over for dinner Saturday
night and got caught by the bad weather. It was probably lucky
for them that they did. That night Fox started running a fever.
Dana's friend, Dr. Jenna Micheals looked them both over, and
she thinks they are both physically exhausted, and Fox has a
sinus infection as well."

"I'm sure they're in good hands with you, Mrs. Scully. Tell
them to take as much time as they need, but just have Agent
Scully call me when she has an idea when we can expect them

"I'll let her know, Mr. Skinner."

* * * *

Skinner hung up the phone and looked at the man sitting in the
chair in front of his desk. A cloud of smoke hung about him
like a specter.

"I trust Agents Mulder and Scully are all right," said the
cigarette smoking man.

"They will be," said Skinner.

"Nothing serious, I hope."

"Apparently not. They should be back at work by the
end of the week, maybe next week."

"Good. We wouldn't want Agent Mulder's singular quest
thwarted, now would we, Mr. Skinner?" He crushed out his
cigarette and got up to leave. "Always a pleasure talking with
you. We really should have these little chats more often."

Skinner watched the man leave his office. He certainly hoped
that Mulder and Scully came back rested and ready to work.
He was sure their cigarette smoking "friend" had something
in mind to keep them busy. They would need all their strength
to deal with it -- and so would he.

* * * *

The cigarette smoking man sat in his car and answered his chirping
cell phone. "Yes," he said, then paused to listen. "They're taken
care of. They should be out of the way for the next few days."
He paused again. "It should be enough time. It will have to be."
He disconnected the call, and lit another cigarette.


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