Scully held up a hand in frustration. "And if we don't have whiskey? Mulder, there are nearly two dozen of these creatures in here."
"Then we, uh, run?"
"In a professional and calm manner?"
"You learn fast, G-Woman." Mulder edged back a little more and bumped into the corner of a table. "Ouch!" His gun clattered to the floor and he dived down to get it. When he lifted his head, he stared right into the blue eyes of a jackalope. "Scully--"
He glanced up to see the jackalopes had completely surrounded Scully and were nipping at her ankles. She tried to take a step, but a jackalope bit her pants, hanging on for dear life. Mulder groaned as he tried to sit up, but then became aware of heavy weight on his legs. More jackalopes. There was, Mulder realized, absolutely no dignified way out of the situation. Wildly, he kicked off the jackalopes, and then struggled to his feet. Scully, in the meantime, had managed to situate herself on top of one of the tables and was aiming her gun in any which way. A few of the jackalopes were leaping up and down and one actually ended up on the table with Scully; it butted her thigh with its horns and Scully yelped and scrambled back down to the floor.
"Mulder!" she screamed.
And as if in echo, the jackalopes all yelled, "Mulder!"
Mulder put his hands to his ears. "Scully! Run!" He turned on his heel and pushed through the double-doors into the front of the diner, nearly skidding on a grease spot that must have been there for decades. He could hear the pitter-patter of little paws behind him, and then he realized Scully wasn't behind him. A second later, a gun shot rang out and there was sudden silence; the leaping jackalopes hunched, their furry bodies quivering and their heads bowed.
The jackalopes perked up at the sound of his voice, but Mulder sidestepped them, and pushed the kitchen door open, just as Scully pushed through.
"Ouch!" he exclaimed, putting his hand to his forehead.
"Sorry," she said breathlessly. The jackalopes started to move again. "Mulder! Fire your weapon!"
"It gets their attention, makes them quiet for a few seconds--"
Mulder complied, discharging two rounds from his weapon into the wall of the diner. The jackalopes let out a collective wail, and Mulder swore he saw one or two crying. He grabbed Scully's hand and together, they ran out of the diner and to the safety of their rental car. Scully, a scratch running down her cheek, leaned over, her hands on her hips, as she tried to catch her breath. Mulder pressed back against the car, keeping his eye on the diner.
"Looks like we've lost them," Mulder said finally.
"Looks that way." Scully pressed her hand against her forehead. "Mulder," she said, "let's go home."
"Yeah," Mulder said. He looked back at the diner, and then opened the car door for her. "I still have that hotel reservation in Opal--"
"You did promise me dinner and a movie--"
"That's was *if* we didn't see a jackalope, and if I recall, we saw more than a couple of dozen--"
Scully tipped her head to the side and considered. And then that slow spreading smile Mulder adored spread across her face as she gazed at him in the waning light. "You're right," she said finally, putting her hand lightly on his chest. "It'd be a shame to let that reservation go to waste."
Mulder reached up and traced the thin scratch running down her cheek. "There isn't anyone else I'd rather go jackalope hunting with."
Scully smiled as she slipped into her seat.
~ the end
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