Title: Hot Tub
Rated: PG-13, V.
Category: Casefile, UST
Spoilers: None. Season 7 is the setting. Summary: Mulder and Scully prepare to guard a key witness in an organized crime murder.
Feedback: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Archive: Gossamer, Ephemeral. Others please ask. Disclaimers: Mulder, Scully, Kersh, The X-Files are owned by Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and Fox Studios. These characters are begging to be kept alive, and no one gives me money to do that. It just wouldn't be the thing to do. Bah!
Author's Note: Whether the Director of the FBI has a summer house in the Adirondacks or not, this is only fiction, and I have taken poetic license by saying he does. The use of his name was to add a touch of authenticity to the story, and nothing more.
UPSTATE NEW YORK.
SEPTEMBER 13. 1998
The drive to the Adirondacks had been somewhat rough. It was hurricane season, and although the roads were flooding in places, trees were uprooted, wires down, there was a job to be done by The FBI. Agents Mulder and Scully had been assigned to guard a murder witness, and that would be done come hell or high water.
Upon arrival at the safe house, Mulder and Scully surveilled the place before entering the house. The case was very high profile and dangerous.
Scully marvelled at the splendor of the mountains, the trees, still fully in leaf, preparing to change color, and the hot tub.
"Hot tub, Mulder? Since when did the FBI have a safe house equipped with a hot tub, change house, and a huge main house?" Scully touched the edge of the hot tub as if to check that it was real.
Mulder smiled wwarmly. "Well, it belongs to the Director. It's his summer retreat. Scully stared at him incredulously. "What?"
"Mulder, how did we get Director Mueller's Resort for a safe house for Mrs. Kelly, and when is she arriving?"
"Mrs. Kelly? Oh, yeah. We promised to protect her until the trial. Well, after I fixed Kersh's flat tire, I told him to put in a really good word for us, or I'd tell the guys he's a pantywaist who can't even change a tire, and then... "
Scully began to laugh. "Blackmailing Mulder, is so illegal, yet so appropriate in his case!"
"I'm so glad you agree! Oh, and Mrs. Kelly arrives the day after tomorrow. That gives us plenty of time to get to know the place, and check for any holes the murderer's people may find."
Scully turned to stare at the house. "You don't think they'd come this far... "
"Scully, we did, and through sheets of rain, around blocked roads, and we're here. "We should check the inside of the house. I want to know all the ins and outs of the place. Anna Kelly is the only one who can testify and we will keep her safe."
"Then let's get started. Wouldn't want mobsters knowing this house better than we do."
Mulder rang the doorbell. A uniformed elderly woman opened the door. "Fox Mulder, FBI, and my partner, Dana Scully."
"Oh, yes. We've been waiting for you. I'm Mrs. Blanchard, housekeeper. Come in!" The woman paused, smiling warmly. We'll do the tour."
Scully was surprised. "Do the tour?"
"You need to know where everything is, where every hallway leads. This is the foyer. Behind those two hardwood doors is the parlor. Down the hall here, the dining room." She opened the doors to a huge room with twenty chairs neatly surrounding a long dining table. "Those French doors. We keep them locked with the curtains drawn whenever we need a little extra-- you know."
"Yes," Mulder smiled. "No sense being sitting ducks. Are there French doors from the parlor as well?"
"Yes, and by the way, you'll want to check around outside the house, so after we go upstairs, you can look for any possible vulnerabilities."
"You're an FBI agent, aren't you, Mrs. Blanchard?"
"Retired. But I do like to keep the old skills active." The woman was charming and serious at the same time, but she grinned slyly, adding, "I even profiled the cook."
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 windows and entrances. The wooded area around the back and sides of the 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, they'll 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 well-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 the woods."
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 for us."
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 we've arrived."
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 just for 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 mused.
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. "I can watch Night of the Living Dead anytime."
He found a pair of blue trunks that fit him nicely, and warmed up the hot tub. Water jets would soothe his weary muscles. As he was leaning back with his eyes closed, he heard rustling in some nearby bushes. Instinctively, he 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 as he had become thoroughly relaxed, the bushes rustled once more.
Mulder climbed out of the water and grabbed his gun. "Okay, I know you're in there, rodent! C'mon... " The 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. He gave chase through thick shrubbery, his eyes catching the moonlight reflecting off of a man's shirt. "Freeze! FBI!" The man kept running. Mulder knew someone was in fromt of him, likely a Farentino. What he had not counted on was right behind him. There was a burning pain that could mean only one thing: he had been shot. He turned to fire in the direction of the shooter, and managed to kill him. He felt weak and leaned against a tree. "Damn!"
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!? Mulder!"
Mrs. Blanchard came running out of the kitchen. "What's going on?"
"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 and see what's happened!"
"Damn right I will." Scully ran out the door with gun and csll phone. She saw that the hot tub was running, 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 was none. Mulder?"
"Over here." He didn't really want her to know where he had been shot. He imagined the ribbing he'd get every time they chased after some other criminal. Then he pictured himself walking down the hallway of the Bureau, 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 been shot!"
"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 the area for anyone else. Then she turned to her partner, doing the best she could to hide a smirk. "Okay, I guess you're off of this case. An ambulance is on its way. Don't worry, I didn't tell Mrs. Blanchard a thing about this. 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 New York for the trial."
"Yeah, well, just remember to send my clothes to the hospital. I think this little number has had its day."
"Yeah, but you look kind of... athletic, in a boyish way."
At that point, the paramedics arrived, and lifted Mulder onto a stretcher, while others, along with the 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 got four more men coming tomorrow... "
"Yes, someone going after Mulder was shot, Mulder killed another man. Four more agents arrive in the morning. I 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 the waiting room waiting for word of his condition.
She turned to see a red-haired gentleman in scrubs. "How's Mulder?"
"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 Graham."
"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 he wakes up."
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. I called Kersh, we have the bullet, and the hitman's photo and prints were faxed to the Bureau. What were you thinking 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. It's bad 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 he's 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 even a 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 and entered 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 be here 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 Washington. 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 repeated it. My gun, Scully?"
"I don't think you'll need it, Mulder. Why?"
"I think I might need it."
"If you insist. It's on the dresser. You don't think... "
"No, Scully, I don't think I'll be walking around the grounds. But I think it's a good idea to have it close just in case someone gets in when they're not supposed to."
"All right. Tell you what, if you eat what's on your plate, and I know you will anyway, I'll bring your gun 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 coffee?"
"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 window. 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 really 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 witness, 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, Sir."
"That was Kersh. It seems our charming friends, the Farentino mob, have known for quite some about the plan. Mrs. Kelly will not be staying here, and as this was not a secure connection, he couldn't tell me where she would be staying. Our job here is done. We go home today, and the other agents stay as planned, just to see that the 'family' thinks she's still here or about to be here."
"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 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, he's got us right where he can see us." Scully stood. She had a look of resignation on her face. "I know, get out the toilet brushes. I'll pack our bags and we're gone. This time, I'm driving."
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