Title: Leprechauns' Lair
Summary: Mulder and Scully spend St. Patrick's Day in the woods.
Category: MT, X-file
Two weeks exclusive with VS15.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.
SOMEWHERE IN THE WOODS
MONDAY, MARCH 17th, 2008
"I can't believe you dragged me out here, Mulder," Scully complained as they trudged through the woods, looking for the car.
"I'm sorry," he said, clearly discouraged.
"Too little too late," Scully told him. "And now we've got to get out of here and spend St. Patrick's Day waiting at the airport."
"I said I'm sorry," he told her, but she just kept walking. "The X-file was legitimate. You even said so yourself. Skinner signed off on it."
"I'll agree with you that something's been stealing valuables and most likely using an escape route in the woods—"
"Only gold valuables," Mulder interjected.
"Okay, someone's been stealing only gold valuables and using an escape route in the woods, but that doesn't mean there are leprechauns, and it doesn't mean that walking through the woods will do anything to help us catch the man, Mulder," Scully said, exasperated. It had, after all, been an overnight stakeout, and they were both exhausted.
"A thief using an escape route in the woods doesn't explain the children's sightings."
"But the holiday does," Scully told him firmly. She turned around. "You dragged us out here in the woods to hunt leprechauns, Mulder, on the lead of a few children—"
"An entire fourth-grade class of children."
"On some 9-year-olds' testimonies, who during their St. Patrick's Day picnic thought they saw a leprechaun."
"The teacher substantiated it, too, Scully. You read the reports."
"I'm not arguing about this, Mulder. I agreed to one night, and we're done. No leprechauns showed up in this 'hot spot' you dragged us to."
He frowned. "If this is about missing the parade—"
"It's not about missing the parade! It's about missing our day off, that happened to coincide with a holiday, because you decided to get us assigned to a case! A case that didn't hold any merit!"
Mulder's shoulders drooped slightly, as he repeated, "I said I was sorry."
She exhaled, and turned around. "It's alright. Let's just find the car, and get out of here."
They started walking again, when suddenly shots were fired. Mulder dropped to the ground with an 'umph' and Scully got down, drawing her weapon and aiming for the direction of the noise. Another shot came in her direction and she actually heard the bullet whiz past her head. She couldn't see the perp, though, and so she couldn't return fire.
The fire stopped, and she slowly edged toward Mulder, but heard behind her, "Drop the weapon, now. I've got a clear shot at his head. Drop the weapon or I'll kill him."
Scully had no choice but to comply. And when she did, she heard a bag dropped and objects jingle inside. She was approached from behind and the perp kicked the gun away. Mulder wasn't moving.
The perpetrator showed himself when he walked around Scully and turned Mulder over. There was very clearly an entrance wound in his back, but no exit wound. He was out, and Scully said calmly, "I'm a medical doctor. If you'll let me—"
"Shut up," the man said. He had dark brown hair, slicked back sloppily, and wore a gold chain around his neck. "You two are cops?"
"FBI. If you keep me from helping my partner, it's a federal offense. You've already assaulted a federal officer—don't make it worse—"
"I said shut up!" He yelled, and raised his weapon to her head. "You don't have a clue what you stumbled on, bitch. You and your partner are witnesses, and it don't matter what condition he's in when I put a bullet through his brain." He cocked the weapon. "Maybe I'll start with him and make you watch…"
But before he could get a shot off, there was a deafening bang to Scully's left and a neat hole formed right between the perp's eyes. He dropped, instantly dead.
Scully looked to her left to assess whether Mulder was in further danger from their savior, and saw a man with achondroplastic dwarfism, about four feet tall, lower his shotgun. "Are you alright?" He asked in a slight Irish accent, clearly concerned.
"My partner's been shot. Come over here, I need your help," Scully ordered.
"Aye, one moment. Seamus, Kelly, Eileen, over here, now."
Three small children, all achondroplastic dwarfs, ran out of the woods and toward who Scully presumed was their father.
"Got a bit more help for ya," the man said, and squatted near Mulder, next to Scully. "You're a doctor—how bad is it?"
Scully raised an eyebrow, but surmised he had heard the conversation between her and the gold thief. "Keep the kids back. I don't want them touching him until I say so."
"Back two feet," he ordered his children.
Scully turned Mulder gently, and examined the wound. She had already checked his breathing, and his pulse. "He's breathing, his pulse is weak but there…bullet entered near his kidney." She looked at the man, and asked, "What's your name?"
"Patrick Finnegan, me friends call me Fin."
"Alright, Fin, I need you to take your shirt off. We need to stop this bleeding. Then you need to send your kids to the roadside with my cell phone and have them dial 911. Can you do that?"
"Aye, I can, but I've got a better solution."
Scully sighed impatiently as she held Mulder's back. She had turned him on his side, and was now applying pressure on the wound with her hand. "What?"
"We've got a place with real medical supplies not far from here. We've also got a fold-out stretcher in that bag Seamus is carrying." He nodded to his eldest son.
"He needs hospitalization. He might have organ damage," Scully argued, trying to control her voice. Didn't this man know how serious this was? Mulder could die. She didn't have time to argue with him.
He took off his shirt and handed it to her, revealing thick red hair on his chest. "Ya need to listen to me, Agent. He won't make it till the ambulance can get this far. It's further to the road than it is to my place. Me wife, she's a doctor. D'ya understand? The two of ya, you can save him."
"He needs surgery."
"We have a sanitary station. It's an outpost."
Scully couldn't help but wonder why they had a 'sanitary' surgical station in their 'outpost' for a house. But she didn't have time to argue. "Fine, do you have a phone?"
"Aye, but ya won't need it till after the surgery. Come on, Agent, we need to hurry. Seamus," he barked. "Take that stretcher out."
The boy complied, and unfolded it to its full length. Then he stretched it out on the ground behind Mulder. Scully wrapped Fin's shirt around Mulder's wound and then eased him gently onto the stretcher. She took the back, and Fin took the front. They lifted him with some difficulty, the stretcher tilted because of the size difference. The kids automatically helped support the bars from the middle. The youngest one, Eileen, couldn't stop staring at Mulder. Scully tried to smile. "It'll be alright," she said, more for herself than for the small child.
Eileen looked at Scully and said in an adorable Irish brogue, "Me mama can fix him up, Agent, don't worry."
"Shannon's a surgeon," Fin said. "You and she can extract the bullet, then we'll call an ambulance when he's outta the woods."
Scully nodded absently. It was only a fifteen minute trek, before they reached the small clearing with a cottage that looked like it had been built by a professional craftsman. They carried Mulder up the front steps and a woman, about four feet tall, opened the front door. "Oh, goodness," she said, in an Irish accent that matched her husband's.
"You're a surgeon?" Scully asked her.
She nodded. "I specialize in nerve damage, and I've got a certification in anesthesiology. Move him over to that table inside, in the sterile section. I've got running water, and soap, we can sterilize our hands in. You, what's your name?"
"Scully, Agent Dana Scully."
"FBI, interesting," the woman said, but Scully's perplexed look was instantly replaced with a concerned one when Mulder moaned, and opened his eyes.
They set him down on the sterile table in the living room and Scully instantly went to him. The children crowded around, but Fin pushed them back to give Scully space. "Hey," she said softly. "Mulder, can you hear me?"
"Mmm," he said, face contorted in pain. "Where…where are we?"
"A cottage. You were shot, Mulder. I think the bullet's in your kidney. We're going to do emergency surgery—these people, this woman is a surgeon. We'll have to give you anesthetic. Do you understand?"
"Mmm hmm," he said, and then looked at the people around him. He smiled. "We found 'em."
Scully couldn't give him a disapproving look for his politically incorrect comment, not with him in this condition. But she was thankful they had no idea what he was talking about.
"Mr. Mulder, my name is Shannon Finnegan, and I'm here to help you. I've got to give you an IV with some anesthetic in it, and then we'll turn you on your side to remove the bullet and close any damage. Do you understand?"
"Yeah," he said, and then coughed, and grimaced in pain. Scully held his hand.
"You're going to be fine," Scully said.
"Me mum's the best," Seamus said. "Ya don't have much ta worry about, Sir."
He smiled. "We found 'em," he stated again before Shannon started the IV, and showed the liquid to Scully.
"Anesthetic. Satisfied, Agent Scully?"
"Yes, do it," Scully ordered her, hoping to speed up this process."
Shannon injected the anesthetic, and then pointed to her sink. "Sanitize yourself, and grab two aprons. I'll get my medical kit. We need to move fast. He's got internal bleeding and we need to close the wound."
Fifteen minutes later they were well on their way. Scully couldn't help but think repeatedly, I can't believe I'm doing this. I can't believe I agreed to this.
But Shannon seemed to know what she was doing. They got the internal bleeding under control, and for some odd reason, they had a bag of Mulder's blood type in their medical supply cabinet.
It took them three hours to close the wound and another two for Mulder to wake up. And by then, Fin had dialed 911 and had explained to Scully that they would need to move Mulder by stretcher again. There was no way a car could make it through the woods, let alone an ambulance.
Scully was exhausted with worry and lack of sleep by the time they got to the roadside. She thanked Fin profusely when she heard the ambulance siren, and it was a daze from there. She thought she fell asleep on the ambulance, and when she woke up, she was in a hospital room with Mulder. He was still asleep. Disoriented, she glanced at her watch to check the time, and got up and stretched. She shook her head, and rubbed her eyes as she sat back down again. Apparently still tired, she fell back asleep.
SEWICKLEY GENERAL HOSPITAL
SEWICKLEY, PA (NEAR PITTSBURGH)
MONDAY, MARCH 17th, 2008
Scully awoke to Mulder clearing his throat. She opened her eyes, disoriented again. "Hey," she said, smiling at him. "What's going on?"
He couldn't help but give her a puzzled look. "You're asking me?" He asked, shaking his head. "All I know is I was shot, you and…the leprechauns!" He suddenly beamed. "We found them, Scully! What are they doing with the perp?"
Scully looked terribly confused. "What are you talking about?"
"The gold thief. The one who shot me. The leprechauns, Shannon—the woman who worked with you during the emergency surgery?"
Scully just stared at him. "Do you have a concussion?"
He laughed. "Memory wipes! Oh, this is classic!"
"I'm gonna go get the doctor."
"No, wait, Scully," he caught her arm as she stood up. "Wait, I'm not making this up. Shannon Finnegan, remember? I was barely conscious, but I can remember all their names—there was Patrick, who likes to be called Fin. There's the boy, Seamus, and then their two little ones, Eileen and Kelly. You don't remember any of this, do you?"
She just stared at him, blankly. "I don't know what's going on, Mulder, but you're starting to scare me."
"They must have put a memory imprint on me, and a memory wipe on you…they looked like normal people though. Achondroplastic dwarfs, but normal. Normal clothes, normally furnished cottage in the woods…the kids, they were all clean-cut and Fin looked like he had a neatly trimmed beard. Don't you find it odd that they had a surgical bay in their house? And my blood type?"
"I'm going to go get the doctor, Mulder," Scully said slowly. "I need to figure out what's going on."
"Read my chart," he insisted. "At the end of the bed, read it. Tell me what it says."
She hesitated, but complied. She flipped through his chart, and shook her head. "Are you sure I wasn't knocked out, or something?"
"Why? What does it say?"
"It says exploratory surgery discovered a successful, recent, and emergency procedure that removed a bullet from your kidney and completely sealed the internal organs, repairing all damage. You received a unit of blood and a standard anesthetic…Mulder, I don't remember any of this! But my name's on the exploratory surgery consent form, and my statement as to the fact you were shot, it's right here."
"See?" He said with a smile. "Leprechauns."
"That's ridiculous. I'm Irish, Mulder, and I don't even believe that."
"Most Irish people view leprechauns as a degrading symbol of Irish culture."
"That's beside the point. I have no recollection of any of this!"
"It was a memory wipe. And I couldn't possibly remember all of that from the state I was in—I must have had a memory imprint. Call Skinner—you probably already told him what was going on. And the perp is probably already in the morgue."
She slowly reached for her cell phone, and walked away from his bed, toward the window. She completed the call, and Mulder heard a series of 'yes, Sir', 'no, Sir,' 'of course, Sir,' and 'I'm not sure, Sir,' before she hung up the phone, and turned to him. "That's incredible. Anthony Giorgio's body was autopsied and the cause of death was a single bullet to the head. Not my bullet. But Skinner just said it was in accordance with my report."
"Told you," Mulder said with a grin.
She shook her head. "I refuse to believe that. I'm going to have them run a blood test on me, make sure I haven't been exposed to some kind of hallucinogen. Don't go anywhere, Mulder."
He just smiled. "Fine by me," he said.
SEWICKLEY GENERAL HOSPITAL
SEWICKLEY, PA (NEAR PITTSBURGH)
MONDAY, MARCH 17th, 2008
Scully returned three hours later, utterly confused. The blood tests had shown nothing wrong…
She walked over to Mulder's bed, where he slept, and smiled when she saw a card there. She didn't know who it was from, though. She picked it up, and noted the shamrock on the front.
Opening it, she was shocked to find a picture of a family. All achondroplastic dwarfs, with a caption on the bottom that said, 'From left: Patrick 'Fin', Shannon, Seamus, Kelly, and Eileen Finnegan.' On the card was written, "Ya owe us some Guinness, Mulder. You're welcome anytime. Just walk into the woods. We'll find ya. The Finnegans."
At the bottom was written in smaller print, 'Shannon thanks you for your help in surgery, Agent Scully. You're always welcome, too. Just remember to believe.'
Perplexed, Scully placed the card back on the nightstand and sat down in the chair next to Mulder. She took his hand, thankful that he was going to be alright. Even though she couldn't explain what had happened, she wouldn't stop Mulder from dragging them into those woods again. She, for one, wanted some answers. And a funny feeling told her that if she was willing to look, the Finnegans wouldn't mind providing some.