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View From the Outer Office, The: The Blessing Way

by Lara Means

     Subject: [glass_onion] NEW (XF):  The View...: The Blessing Way (1/1) by Lara Means
     Date: Wednesday, October 02, 2002 1:15 AM

     TITLE:  The View From the Outer Office: The Blessing Way
     AUTHOR:  Lara Means
     E-MAIL:  LaraMeansXF@aol.com
     WEBSITE:  http://larameansxf.tripod.com
     CLASSIFICATION:  V
     RATING:  PG
     ARCHIVE:  NO to Gossamer, Spookys; I'll submit
     directly to both. YES to Ephemeral.  YES to mailing
     list auto-archives.  Anywhere else, please ASK.
     I'll say yes; I just like to know where the kids
     are at the end of the day.
     FEEDBACK:  Please?
     DATE POSTED:  10/01/02
     DISCLAIMER:  I don't own them.  Heck, I don't even
     own my name. It all belongs to 20th Century Fox.
     No infringement intended.
     SPOILERS:  Anasazi, The Blessing Way.
     SUMMARY:  Like any good assistant, she's aware of
     things.
     AUTHOR'S NOTE:  This story is the third in a series
     of post-ep/missing scene fics centering on Kim,
     Skinner's assistant. Each is self-contained.  If
     you like, you can read the first two, "The View
     From the Outer Office" and "The View From the Outer
     Office: Little Green Men," at my website (as soon
     as I update it; till then, they're at Ephemeral or
     Gossamer).

THE VIEW FROM THE OUTER OFFICE: THE BLESSING WAY written by Lara Means

There's a lot to be done when an FBI Agent dies, whether or not that death is in the line of duty. The Agent's direct superior is charged with notifying the next of kin. We supervise any necessary investigation, including an autopsy. We arrange to have the body transported. We assist with arrangements for the funeral or memorial service. We send flowers where appropriate.

Actually, Agent Mulder's status is listed as "missing, presumed dead." His body hasn't been recovered yet, although from the details in Agent Scully's report, I don't know how he could've survived. But his uncertain status has thrown the normal procedure off-track.

Mr. Skinner contacted his mother right away, of course. Poor woman -- Mr. Skinner told me that Agent Mulder's father had just died, and now she had to plan a funeral for her son as well. I've spoken with her to offer any help she might need, but she was a bit cool toward me. Too much to process all at once, I suppose.

Mr. Skinner strides in from the hallway, in a hurry. "Kimberly, could you come in, please?"

"Of course, Sir." I grab my pad and pencil and follow him into his office, closing the door behind me.

He's standing behind the desk, so I take my place in front of it. "This is highly confidential, Kimberly. It doesn't leave this office."

"Yes, Sir." I know him well enough by now to know he doesn't make a point of confidentiality without good reason.

He seems to consider what he's about to say for a moment before he pulls something from his pocket and hands it to me. It's a tape, like the ones I use to back up my computer.

"I need that put someplace safe. Locked up, preferably." I nod, wondering whether my desk is secure enough or if it should go in the filing cabinet. Mr. Skinner pauses a moment, then reaches into his desk drawer. "And I need you to hold onto this."

He hands me a sealed envelope -- the front of it reads, "TO BE OPENED IN THE EVENT OF MY DISAPPEARANCE OR DEATH -- WALTER S. SKINNER." I look up at him, frowning.

"It's nothing, really. Just a precaution." Another pause. "But if anything happens to me... that goes to the Director."

"Yes, Sir," I whisper, a bit humbled by the responsibility he's given me.

"Agent Mulder's... what happened to Agent Mulder has set some things in motion. I need you to be aware without being involved. That's for your own protection. Can you handle that?"

"Yes, Sir." I can feel my heart pounding in my chest now --he's starting to scare me. I think he senses that, and he gives me a gentle smile. His whole face changes when he smiles.

"I don't mean to frighten you, Kimberly. There's nothing drastic going on, I just... I want you to be prepared."

I return his smile and nod. He knows I'm on his side and I'll do whatever I can to help him. He sits then, and we're back to business as usual. I head for the door when his voice stops me.

"I'm expecting Agent Scully. Buzz me when she gets here."

I nod, closing the door as I go.

Agent Scully. God, what she's been through, losing Agent Mulder like that.

The few times I've seen her since she got back from New Mexico, she's been stoic. She's never one to be overly friendly --she's nice enough, always polite, but we're not great pals. I would've thought she'd show a little more emotion over her partner's death, especially considering the way he died, but maybe she just doesn't want to give the gossip-mongers any ammunition.

I've locked the computer tape and envelope in the fireproof filing cabinet -- it's the most secure place in the outer office -- and have just returned to my desk when Agent Scully comes in.

"Good morning, Agent Scully."

"Morning, Kimberly. A.D. Skinner's expecting me."

I nod and pick up the phone to let him know she's here. He wants her to wait a moment, so I motion her to a chair. I get a chance to really look at her -- the dark circles under her eyes, the ragged manicure -- and I know now that Agent Mulder's death has affected her more than I thought.

"Agent Scully? I was very sorry to hear about Agent Mulder," I tell her.

She smiles sadly. "Thank you, Kimberly."

"I was stunned when I heard the news."

"So was I."

"I liked him," I say, and she raises an eyebrow. "He was always nice to me. Some of the agents see me as just an obstacle between them and the Assistant Director. Agent Mulder saw me as a person. You do, too."

She gives me another sad smile, then seems to retreat into herself. Usually when agents are waiting for Mr. Skinner, I continue with my own work -- for some reason, I can't seem to shut up today.

"Have you heard anything about a memorial yet? I talked to Mrs. Mulder yesterday, but -- "

"It's a bit soon, I think. We haven't even... we haven't found him yet."

Good lord, Kim. Open foot, insert mouth. "You're right, I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking."

She looks at me for a moment, her expression softening a little. "No, Kimberly, you were thinking. And I appreciate it."

Just then Mr. Skinner buzzes me, and I send her into his office. I have a minute to myself, to think about what's going on.

Just a few days ago, Agent Mulder attacked Mr. Skinner in the hallway for no apparent reason. Then he and Agent Scully took off for New Mexico without telling anyone. And now he's missing, presumed dead.

Mr. Skinner said Agent Mulder's death set things in motion. That I need to be aware. But it seems to me like things were in motion before he died.

Whatever's happening, I hope it's not too dangerous for Mr. Skinner. That letter he gave me really troubles me.

And I do wonder what's on that tape...

END


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Extreme gratitude as always to IWTB for unwavering support and encouragement. Thanks, too, to Kristen and the Harem Wives for keeping me aware of Kimberly in the first place.

Written by Lara Means - http://larameansxf.tripod.com Lara's Favorites: A Rec Site - http://recsbylara.tripod.com CharlieFic: The Forgotten Scully - http://www.geocities.com/charliefic XFMU: Doggett & Reyes Fic - http://xfmufic.tripod.com X-Infinitum: Monthly Challenges - http://beyondthex.tripod.com


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