Scully smiled, and whispered, "Better behave, Mulder. She
knows her business."
"Now, if you'll follow me upstairs, you'll find six
bedrooms, three bathrooms... "
Before dinner, the agents scouted around the exterior of
the hide away, making note of all ground floor
entrances. The wooded are area around the back and sides
ofthe building had Mulder most concerned.
"We'd better take a look past those maples and fir trees,
Scully. When the other agents get here tomorrow,
be assigned to the perimeter, changing watch."
"Just like the good old days," Scully reminded him. "I'm
glad we're not going to be out there."
"What? You don't like the woodsy smell in the air, the
birds twittering, the... "
"The comfort of chairs and a lit environment are a lot more
appealing to me, Mulder. We may have spent
a few cases out
in the middle of nowhere, and yes, I did camp out when I
was a kid, but I'd be happier not being in
As they walked through the wooded area, they went over
the facts of the assignment. "Okay. Anna
Kelly, age 35,
widow of James Kelly. Key witness to the murder of her
husband. No children. Farentino family
put a contract
out on Mr. Kelly, murdered in his home office as his wife
was coming home from a neighbor's house.
Anna Kelly has
identified Benny Falco as the murderer."
"Okay, Mulder. I've read the file, and the trial is
three days from now. Anna Kelly will be
flown out to
Albany the day of the trial. The Farentino's have
already sent threats through everyone from the
neighborhood grocer to the street cleaners."
"Perfect. Now, I guess it's back to the house. Do you have
a TV in your room, Scully?"
"No, Mulder. Why?"
"Becaue I do, and Night of the Living Dead is on tonight.
I was hoping you might want to watch it."
"Mulder, all I want is a nice, hot bath, and time to go
over the file again."
"We can have the cook make popcorn."
"Okay. But no butter, and I'm still going to my room
early. We may just have our work cut out
Mulder opened the front door for her. "Think I'll grab
a shower before dinner."
"While you're doing that, I'll unpack and let Kersh know
Mulder took a look out the door and glanced at the hot
tub. "Have we ever."
The sun had set, and darkness surrounded the FBI Director's
summer retreat. All lights were on inside
security's sake. Mulder decided to give the property one
last check before heading to his room.
Scully had already
gone to her room to study the profile they had been given
pertaining to the Farentino "family".
There were actually
only five Farentino's in the family, and many other men
were involved in the "Family Business".
Scully became so
engrossed in the file, she almost forgot about her hot bath.
By the time she looked up to check the
time, it was 10:34.
She put the file in her brief case for the night, and ran
her bath. She smiled as the fragrance
of red roses made
their way up from the water. "This is the life," she
Mulder had had a good long walk around the grounds. One
thing that kept entering his mind was the
hot tub. There
was a small house near it where guests could change into
bathing suits, so Mulder decided to relax while
he had the
time. "After all," he reasoned, "Mrs. Kelly isn't due here
until tomorrow." Just to be on the
safe side, his gun was
on a table beside the hot tub if he needed it.
He found a pair of blue trunks that fit him nicely, and
warmed up the hot tub. Water jets would soothe
muscles. As he was leaning back with his eyes closed, he
heard rustling in some nearby bushes. Instinctively,
reached for his gun, and climbed out of the water.
"Anybody there? Identify yourself!" A raccoon ran past
him from under a nearby shrub, He put the gun back and
immersed himself once again in the swirling waters. Just
he had become thoroughly relaxed, the bushes rustled
Mulder climbed out of the water and grabbed his gun.
"Okay, I know you're in there, rodent! C'mon... "
next rustling sounds he heard sounded more like a
much larger animal, but Mulder could not afford to
take a chance
that it could be a member of the crime
family waiting to greet the murder witness. "Who's
in there? Come
out with your hands up!" Then, he knew
there had been someone, not something, behind the bushes.
chase through thick shrubbery, his eyes catching
the moonlight reflecting off of a man's shirt. "Freeze!
The man kept running. Mulder knew someone was in
fromt of him, likely a Farentino. What he had not
on was right behind him. There was a burning pain
that could mean only one thing: he had been shot. He
to fire in the direction of the shooter, and
managed to kill him. He felt weak and leaned against a
Scully was just getting out of the bathtub when she heard
the shots. Quickly, she grabbed a white
terry cloth robe,
put on some shoes, and ran down stairs. "Mulder!?
Mrs. Blanchard came running out of the kitchen. "What's
"Mulder. Have you seen Mulder? There's been gunfire!"
"I haven't seen Agent Mulder since he went out to look
the place over. I suggest you get out there
"Damn right I will." Scully ran out the door with gun
and csll phone. She saw that the hot tub
but there was no one there. "Mulder?"
"In here! Scully!" After he called out, Mulder slumped
to the ground, leaning on his right hip.
Scully saw the man who had shot Mulder, and he was
unconscious. She checked for a pulse. There
"Over here." He didn't really want her to know where
he had been shot. He imagined the ribbing he'd
every time they chased after some other criminal. Then
he pictured himself walking down the hallway of the
hearing "Spooky ...shot in the keester... "
Scully scurried into a clearing, and found Mulder. "He's
dead. What happened to you?"
"Well, the man I was chasing got away. The dead man
shot me in..."
"In where, Mulder? Let's see..."
"No. Call the EMS, and get some back-up here from the
regional office. Call Mrs. Blanchard and
tell her more
agents are coming in."
"Yeah, I'll do that after you let me know where you've
"I won't laugh, Mulder! Quick! Tell me!"
"My ass... left side. And yes, I'm bleeding a lot."
"All the more reason to call the EMS." Scully remained
calm and made her calls, as she looked around
for anyone else. Then she turned to her partner,
doing the best she could to hide a smirk. "Okay, I
you're off of this case. An ambulance is on its
way. Don't worry, I didn't tell Mrs. Blanchard a thing
I just told her you were going to hospital."
"Thank God for small mercies. Scully, looks like they
really want to get this woman."
"I'm afraid so, Mulder. When she arrives here, she
probably won't be going outside until they fly her to
York for the trial."
"Yeah, well, just remember to send my clothes to the
hospital. I think this little number has had
"Yeah, but you look kind of... athletic, in a boyish
At that point, the paramedicas arrived, and lifted
Mulder onto a stretcher, while others, along with
coroner, examined the dead man."
Scully identified herself, gave a brief summary of the
evening's events, then headed for the house.
Mrs. Blanchard had been waiting in the foyer. "What's
happpened? Was someone shot? Now I hear we've
more men coming tomorrow... "
"Yes, someone goingafter Mulder was shot, Mulder killed
another man. Four more agents arrive in the
need to get dressed. Can you do me a favor?"
"Pack some clothes for Agent Mulder, while I get ready.
Then, lock all the doors and don't pick up the phone
till I get back here."
"Certainly, Agent Scully. There's some hot coffee in
the kitchen if you need it."
"Ho, thank you. There's no time for that. But I'll
call you when I'm coming back, so you can
make me one
then. It looks like an all-nighter."
By the tine Scully arrived, Mulder was anaesthetized
and the bullet was being removed. Scully paced
waiting room waiting for word of his condition.
She turned to see a red-haired gentleman in scrubs.
"He should be awake in a couple of hours. We want
to keep him overnight for observation."
"I'll stick around, just the same. We'll need the
bullet for evidence, Doctor..."
"Graham. Vic Graham."
"Do you have any information on the man he killed?"
"No. There was nothing on that man. He's in the
morgue. He's a John Doe, for the time being."
"We can find out. I'll go down, get the medical
examiner to send the Bureau his photo and fingerprints.
We pretty well know where he's from. Thanks, Doctor
"Al in a night's work." The man could see the weary
look on Scully's face. "Agent Mulder can be released
tomorrow if he has somewhere to recuperate."
"I'll make arrangements, then. Well, I hope this is
the only problem we have. I'll be here when
Mulder awoke to see Scully nodding off in a chair.
"Scully... " he whispered.
Scully awoke and stretched as she stood. "Well, so
far so good. You'll be released later today.
Kersh, we have the bullet, and the hitman's photo and
prints were faxed to the Bureau. What were you
getting into that hot tub?"
"I thought it would... never mind. I know I should have
just made my rounds then headed for the house.
enough I was shot in the... "
"Well, you won't be sleeping on your back for a while.
The doctor says it was a relatively clean wound, but
prescribed some antibiotics as a precaution, along
with the pain killers."
"You need to get a replacement for me, Scully."
"They're sending four more agents later today. It's
after two a.m. Get some sleep."
"What about Mrs. Kelly?"
"She arrives tomorrow, as planned. Don't worry, Mulder.
There's going to be so much surveillance, not
flea could get by this time." Scully pulled the blanket
up to Mulder's shoulders. "Get some sleep."
This was the day Anna Kelly was scheduled to arrive. As
Mulder lay awake on his side, he could see
that the sky
was clear, no sign of clouds. While he looked out the
window at the cloudless sky, Scully knocked
his room, carrying a breakfast tray.
"Good morning, Mulder. I thought you night want some
company with breakfast."
"Scully, you know how I hate being laid up."
"Well, you need to be resting for a few days, so rest up.
Mrs. Kelly arrives at noon, and I expect you to
in bed. Really, Mulder. We're all just as capable as
you. The trial's tomorrow, and the Bureau has a helicopter
scanning the area several times a day. As soon as she's
flown to New York, we are off the hook and back to
So, pancakes, Mulder?"
"Yeah, why not."
"They're really good. Made from scratch."
"Where's my gun?" Mulder dug into the pancakes. When
Scully hadn't answered his question, he
My gun, Scully?"
"I don't think you'll need it, Mulder. Why?"
"I think I might meed it."
"If you insist. It's on the dresser. You don't
"No, Scully, I don't think I'll be walking around the
grounds. But I think it's a good idea to have
just in case someone gets in when they're not supposed
"All right. Tell you what, if you eat what's on your
plate, and I know you will anyway, I'll bring
over beside your bed."
"So, what's the plan for today?"
"Mrs. Kelly arrives around noon, and tomorrow morning
she flies to New York at seven in the morning. Kersh
wants us back in Washington by evening, and he wants the
report the day after tomorrow. Have you tried the
"Yeah. It's passable. I hear something, Scully."
"I think you're right, Mulder. Stay in bed." Scully
drew her gun and carefully made her way to the
From there, she saw a man on his way up a tree near
the window. "FBI! Freeze!"
The man jumped to the ground, but was caught by a male
and female agent before he was able to get away.
"This Farentino family is realy something, Mulder. If
I hadn't been here, you would have been shot."
"Now you know I need that gun, Scully. Try the toast.
It tastes like homemade bread."
"Mulder! How can you just carry on as if nothing had
happened?" Scully walked back to
his bedside and sat
down. "You could have been killed."
"You were here, Scully. I trust you with my life. I'm
not so sure this is the place to bring a key
now that the Farentinos obviously know she'll be here."
"Well, I have to agree, Mulder."
Just then, Mulder's cell phone rang. "Mulder. Yes?
All right. He was? Okay. Yes,
we will. Good bye,
"That was Kersh. It seems our charming friends, the
Farentino mob, have known for quite some about
Mrs. Kelly will not be staying here, and as this was not
a secure connection, he couldn't tell me where she
be statying. Our job here is done. We go home today,
and the other agents stay as planned, just to
the 'family' thinks she's still here or about to be
"Did Kersh say anything about the man who just tried to
get in here?"
"Yeah, he said he was one of Farentino's key hit men.
See? We were decoys."
"Sitting ducks," Scully agreed. "So, that's what we
were out of here?"
"Yesh, back to the salt mines. Fertilizer detail
and background checks."
"Well, I guess after this, you'll learn not to go
climbing into other people's hot tubs. Once again,
got us right where he can see us." Scully
stood. She had a look of resignation on her face. "I
get out the toilet brushes. I'll pack our bags
and we're gone. This time, I'm driving."