Mulder's Tail

By Mary Kleinsmith (

Category: Missing Scene, UST

Rating: PG (but only for language)

Spoilers: Small Potatoes

Summary: How Mulder got from the Locker room to the closet, and then from the closet to Scully's apartment.

Acknowledgments: Thank you to Brenda, Debbie, Sally, and Vickie for all your help! You guys are the best! And Sally, Mulder's ankle is written expressly for you!

Author's Notes: Written for After_The_Fact's Small Potatoes Challenge

Mulder's Tail

By Mary Kleinsmith

He'd managed to render Agent Mulder unconscious, but he couldn't just leave him lying there. The charade would be over if he was found and awoken.

Scanning the locker room, he searched for a means of escape - some way that not only could he get out of the hospital, but he could also get Agent Mulder out, too. Or hidden, at least. There were no other doors or windows that could be opened in this area of the room. Maybe he could just go out the way he'd come in.

Walking cautiously toward the entrance, trying to see if there was anybody else in the room, the shouts from the shower area took him by surprise.

"Hey! Get us out of here! I demand . . ."

"What was that noise? I'm a member of security! You have no right to hold us like this!"

Unsure of what to say, Eddie Van Blundht, under the guise of Fox Mulder, FBI Agent, turned around and went back to the agents body. That obviously was not going to work.

He looked around one more time, walking through the rows of lockers, and finally saw a his salvation. The laundry chute embedded in the wall must take towels from the first-floor locker room to the basement, perhaps to a laundry or pickup area. No matter. It would serve his purpose.

Attempting to conceal the agent's identity as much as possible, he wrapped a towel around Mulder's face, leaving only his nose revealed so he could breath. He'd thought about handcuffing the agent, but a search of his body turned up no cuffs. He remembered the two men in he shower area and realized where the piece of equipment had gone. If he couldn't cuff him, he'd have to make absolutely sure that he remained unconscious.

Agent Mulder was heavier than he looked, but Eddie had the strength of a physical laborer behind him, and his weight to assist that. He quickly hoisted Mulder onto his shoulders and moved him to the chute. He didn't want to kill the man, and Eddie knew that the head was much more fragile than the rest of the body, so he turned Mulder around, feeding his body into the chute feet first. He let go, listening to the sounds as the agent dropped the ten or fifteen feet to the floor below.

Now, he just had to get down there and take care of restraining the agent. Fleeing the room, he ignored the shouts of the two restrained men demanding release.

It took awhile to find where in the basement the chute emptied, but eventually, he found the crumpled body. Fortunately, the laundry didn't go directly into the laundry room, but into a large cart several yards away. Extracting the body from the cart, he dumped him onto the floor. He nudged the agent with his foot, checking for consciousness before leaving the dead-to-the-world man.

Eddie couldn't believe his luck. He found a small utility closet. Whatever the room normally held must have been in use, because the door stood open. It even had a hasp and an open padlock handing from it, perfect for his needs.

Dragging Mulder into the tiny closet, he deposited him into the dark interior and left, returning a few minutes later with somebody's lunch. It had just been sitting in the dingy office nearby, unattended, but was perfect for his needs. A soda, an apple, a sandwich. All good healthy food that would sustain the agent for some time. Despite what people thought, Eddie wasn't totally stupid. He had no delusions that he could maintain the masquerade for very long. Long enough to get out of trouble was all he wanted. Several hours to play "FBI Agent" - and hopefully to get close to that pretty Agent Scully.

He whistled a little tune off key as he left the hospital.


When he came blearily to consciousness, Mulder wasn't sure how long he'd been out. He wasn't sure where he was. He wasn't sure of a LOT of things. The tiny space he was in was dark, but it had the feeling of a closed-in area. Feeling around him, he realized that there wasn't even enough space to stand up. He knew, first hand, because on the one instance he tried to stand, he'd knocked his head on the ceiling a second before he collapsed to the ground because his right leg would no longer hold him up. Pushing himself up against the wall, he examined his ankle. It was sprained, at least, and he wondered briefly how it had gotten hurt.

He had shouted until his throat was raw to no avail, grateful at that point that Van Blundht had left him a can of soda, even if it was flat due to being left open for so long. That was his first indication of how long he'd been confined. Finally, he found a stray beam of light, and by shining it just so, he could see the dial of his watch. Amazingly, it had been almost four hours since he'd entered the locker room looking for a man disguised, at the time, as himself. Was he still wearing that disguise? Was he out there living his life right now?

He knew he should try to stay awake, the pounding in his head telling of the injury. Possible concussion, Scully would say, or maybe a definite one. Yet the darkness, the pain, and the total absence of any stimulation dragged him down into it's warming caress.

When next he awoke, it wasn't by nature, but by the man shaking his shoulder, a man in a dark blue uniform with a name pin on his shirt.

"Mister, wake up!"

"Huh?" Mulder answered, foggy.

"You've got to get up and get out of here. What the hell are you doing in my storage closet anyway?"

"Mmmm. . ." he thought for a moment, getting everything straight in his mind. "I'm a federal agent. Somebody knocked me out and locked me in here."

"Well, that explains how the padlock got latched. I was just coming to put the floor scrubber away for the day. Boy, finding somebody in here sure took me by surprise."

"No more than it did me," Mulder admitted in a half smile as he crawled out of the hovel.

"How long have you been in there?" the janitor asked.

Looking at his watch again, Mulder reported, "about six hours now. I've been screaming forever."

"Well, the only people other than me who come down here are the laundry staff, and with al the machinery and equipment running, it ain't easy to hear a person's voice. I'm real sorry abut that."

"It's okay - I know it's not your fault. Just help me out of here, okay?" He reached out a hand, which the janitor took questioningly.

"Are you hurt? Maybe I should call a doctor . . ."

"You're all the help I need for now," he said, levering himself to his foot. "My leg must've gotten hurt when the perpetrator moved me down here. If you could just give me a hand . . ."

"Sure." They moved, slowly but surely, to the maintenance elevator. Once on the hospital floor however, the janitor brooked no argument in getting a doctor to check out the federal agent.

"If I didn't get a doctor to check you, I'd be risking my job. This is a hospital, after all."

Resigned, Mulder went along while the friendly janitor got him into a wheeler and wheeled him down to the emergency department. Mulder noticed him blush as he talked with a pretty nurse behind the desk.

"Hi, Len. Nobody down here called you, did they?"

"No, Sheila. This here is . . ."

"Special Agent Fox Mulder, ma'am," Mulder inserted.

"Agent Mulder," Len continued. "Somebody attacked him in the locker room and locked him up in the basement. He's got a heck of a bang on his head and something is wrong with his ankle. Think we could get one of the docs to look at it?"

"Sure. The hospital administrator would have a cow if we didn't. Take him into two, and I'll send Dr. Willoby in right away. I'm going to have to alert security, too, you understand," she said, addressing Mulder now.

"Of course. I'll be glad to give him a full statement, though he's never going to believe it." Len took the agent into cubicle two, settling him before wishing him well and going on his way.

It was, surprisingly, less than ten minutes before a doctor found his way into Mulder's cubicle. "Well, Agent Mulder," he said, glancing at a medical chart. "I understand you've had a little mishap."

"At least that, Doctor."

"So where are you having pain?"

The doctor quickly diagnosed a very slight concussion, and sent him to X-ray to verify that his ankle was merely sprained and not broken. The doctor gave him instructions as a nurse wrapped the joint snugly in a heavy Ace bandage.

"If you experience slight headaches, try Extra Strength Tylenol. Anything too severe, and be sure to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. The ankle doesn't look too bad, but stay off it for a few weeks and it'll be fine. Rewrap it as necessary, and elevate it if it becomes especially painful. Do you have a set of crutches?"

"Yes, I do," Mulder answered, conveniently neglecting to mention that they were back in his apartment in Arlington.

"Well, use them."

Just then, there was a tapping on the divider as a face peered around the corner. Mulder cringed - he knew that face.

"May I come in?"

"Sure," the doctor said. "I'm just finishing up with Agent Mulder, then he's all yours."

"Agent Mulder," the security guard said, extending his hand. "We didn't get an opportunity to be introduced earlier, but I'm Sam Krane. I'd just like to get a statement about what happened to you today."

"There's really not much to say. I came into he hospital looking for a suspect, and trailed him to the locker room. The suspect cannot be identified by appearance, which is where you and the other man came in. I searched the locker room, and was taken unawares by the subject who knocked me out. The next thing I knew, I awoke in what I eventually found out was your janitor's storage closet. I suspect, based on my leg, that I was tossed downstairs somehow. Did you see the suspect leave the locker room?"

"I think so, but I gotta tell you, Agent Mulder. This man could have been your identical twin! When he left the locker room, I had no idea it wasn't you. And your partner, that red-haired lady, couldn't either, I'm sure. They walked outta the hospital like they'd done it a thousand times."

"He left with Scully?" Mulder asked, becoming alarmed. Eddie Van Blundht had a proclivity for seducing women, there was no doubt. And because he could be anybody they wanted him to be, he was usually successful. Would he try anything with Scully?

"Yeah, I heard them say something about there being 'no case here' and that they were going home. I presumed that meant back to Washington."

"Damn!" Mulder said, jumping down from the cot onto his one good leg. "I've gotta get out of here."

A cab took him from the hospital to the airport, his leg screaming at him the entire way. He prayed for something to deaden the pain more thoroughly than the Extra Strength Tylenol he bought in the airport shop on his way to catch a shuttle to DC. Having driven, Scully and Van Blundht had a head start on him, but the plane would get him there fast. He glanced at his watch - they still would have been back in DC for several hours.

"Shit," he muttered, realizing that he couldn't take a plane. The ticketing agent was insistent that he provide a photo ID, when the only ones he had were on their way to the country's capital. He still had his money clip, but these days, they wouldn't even rent you a car without a credit card.

That damn Van Blundht had taken his cell phone as well, but there was a bank of pay phones every few yards in the airport. He grabbed the first available one, asking them to bill the call to his home phone number. Finally, he heard he sound of the call being connected.

"Assistant Director Skinner's office." It was Kim.

"Hey, Kim. Is AD Skinner still in? This is Agent Mulder."

"Yes, he is, Agent Mulder. Shall I put you through?"

"Yes, please. This is kind of urgent."

Soon, the "hold" music stopped with a click.

"Assistant Director Skinner."

"Sir, this is Agent Mulder. I need some help, sir."

"Two sirs in one phrase, Mulder? What have you gotten yourself into this time?"

"I'm in West Virginia, Sir. This is going to be a little hard to explain, sir, but the suspect, Edward Van Blundht, disguised as me, took my ID, wallet, cell phone, and abandoned me here. I don't know all the scientific specifics, but he has the ability to look just like me. I can't rent a car or catch the shuttle to DC because I don't have a credit card or driver's license. Also, there's no telling what appearance he's taken now that he's back in the city."

At the silence, Mulder could practically feel his superior's disbelief. "Sir, it's the truth - you have to believe me."

"Amazingly enough, Agent Mulder, I do. I believe Van Blundht is still masquerading as you. I had you, well what I thought was you, and Scully in my office earlier today to go over your report. I knew something was off, but I never dreamed . . ."

"How did you know?"

"He made the mistake of writing the report. He has the reading and writing level of a twelve-year-old, and the lack computer knowledge not to use the spell check before he hands it in. When I thought it was you, I couldn't figure out why you'd make such mistakes. Now, however . . ."

"Now, you know. You believe me." Mulder sounded surprised. "So how do I get home. A cab will cost a fortune!"

"Where are you right now?"

"I'm at the airport."

"Good. Go to the Hertz desk. I'll call them and have them give you a car, charged to the Bureau. Get home as soon as you can, Agent. Meanwhile, I'm going to put out an APB on Van Blundht."

"For all the good it'll do," Mulder added. "Oh, could you please call Scully? Let her know what's going on? I don't want him to take her by surprise."

"I'll do my best, Agent." He heard his boss hang up, and did the same, looking around for the "ground transportation" signs. It was a long walk for somebody doing it on an injured leg with a pounding headache, taking Mulder twice as long as it normally would have. When he got through the line and had his rental keys in hand, he was grateful to find that the car had cruise control. He could break with his left foot, but the gas pedal was going to be difficult. He'd manage, though.

At the bureau, Skinner ordered Kim to put out the APB while he, himself, first tried the X-Files office and then Scully's cell phone. There was no answer at either number, so he dug through his rolodex until he found her home phone number. There was no answer there as well, but he set it aside to try later. She must still be en route.

Would Van Blundht be so stupid as to keep the disguise of Mulder, even when the man wasn't even in town? It was quite possible, given what he'd seen of him, so Skinner placed an additional APB out for "Agent Mulder," including a search of his apartment and for his car. When the real Mulder arrived home in two hours, he'd have to cancel it before the wrong man was arrested.

Unbeknownst to him, it was during one of these calls that Scully arrived home. She was looking forward to having some personal time to herself, and wanted no interruptions. Mulder had been odd that afternoon, and she half expected his easy release of the case to backfire and him to call begging for them to look into this or that in relation to babies with tails, shape-shifting humans, or some other related aspect.

She walked across her living room, checking that the machine was still on and then turning down the ringer on the phone. If there were messages on there, a couple hours without being answered wouldn't do any harm.

Mulder went to his apartment first thing when he arrived home, and as much as he wanted to lie down and rest his leg and head, he wanted to check his apartment. Nothing had been seriously disturbed, but he still had the sense that somebody had been there. In addition, his car was no longer parked out front where he'd left it before taking a fleet car on the case.

First and foremost, however, he needed to let Scully know that the person she'd returned to town with was not him. He tried her phones with no success, so called a cab for the ride to Georgetown.

He'd been beyond shocked when he pulled up in front of Scully's to find his own car sitting there. "Damn!" he exclaimed, jumping out of the cab faster than was prudent for his injured ankle.

Who knew what Van Blundht might be pulling up there, alone, with Scully. He whispered a thank you that her apartment was still on the first floor. No stairs would be necessary. How would he confront Eddie once he caught him - if he did catch him at all.

The only way to be sure to get him was to take him by surprise. Scully would kill him for breaking down the door like some kind of movie hero, but . . .

In just a few minutes, his entire outlook had changed. He'd done just as he'd intended, finding Scully not at the mercy of a man who threatened her, but just about to kiss . . . well, to kiss . . . HIM! And she looked very happy about it.

He had to admit, Scully recovered incredibly quickly to the idea of who it was sitting on her couch, and she now had the man handcuffed and the police on the way. Mulder was still standing, balancing mostly on one leg, stunned.

"Mulder, what's wrong?" she asked as she watched him waver. Rather than answer, he limped a few feet and sat down in one of her dining chairs.

He sat, still panting heavily, as the police arrived and took Van Blundht into custody. As she watched them lead him away, she almost didn't hear the quiet whisper from behind her.

"Scully, you got any aspirin? My head is killing me."

"Did he knock you out, Mulder?"

Mulder nodded. "Back at the hospital, when we were in the locker room. I think he threw me down the laundry chute and then locked me in a closet in the basement."

"You think?"

"Well, I was unconscious when it happened," he half-smiled.

"You need to be checked out, Mulder. You could have a concussion." She was blatantly concerned.

"I was. When the hospital janitor found me, he insisted on it."

"And what did they say?"

"Slight concussion, sprained ankle. Take Tylenol and go to the hospital if the headache becomes unbearable. It's not unbearable, Scully."

"Just so long as the diagnosis came from a professional and not from 'experience,' I'm fine with it. But your foot should be elevated. Let me get you some ice, okay?"

"Okay, just so long as you promise me one thing."

"What's that?"

"Don't ever . . . EVER . . . shut off your phone again." His voice was so serious as he hopped on one foot over to the sofa. "Skinner's been trying to warn you about this guy for two and a half hours."

"You told Skinner about this?" She seemed incredulous. What would their boss think of a shape-shifter?

"Yes," Mulder answered. "And he believed me right away."

Scully was clearly shocked. "He believed?"

"Yes, he did! Is that so hard to believe? Plus, he had first-hand experience with my doppelganger. Funny how he knew it wasn't me, and yet you didn't."

"He looked just like you, Mulder. How was I to know . . ."

"Skinner knew. I guess you just don't know me as well as you like to think."

"Agreed," Scully said, sitting down next to him. "I guess I should remedy that."

And before he knew it, her lips were on his.

"What are you doing?" he whispered when she withdrew.

"I'm getting to know you better . . ." Scully murmured as she moved to kiss him once again.