Blue Moon in July
by m. butterfly
Rating: PG for m/m affection, coarse language
Category: M/Sk
Spoilers: One Son, X-Files: Fight the Future, SR 819, The End, slight foreshadowing for Biogenesis
Archive: Sure--just ask; I'm friendly enough
Summary: The Lone Gunmen meet Mulder's new "chickadee"--who happens to be a *cock*.
Author's notes: This is part of my ongoing "Resuscitation" universe, occurring shortly after "Wishes" (all 8 drawn-out parts) and *before* "Blood, Ink and Tears." These and other stories can be found at my website. BTW--I must apologize for my current obsession of having the boys kiss in public. I've joined a 12-step programme, and have just 11 more steps to go.
Acknowledgments: Love and thanks to Susan and Sergeeva for their continued support and inspiration, and beta goddess Lucy Snowe for her trust and patience.
Disclaimer: The characters of Fox Mulder, Walter Skinner, the Lone Gunmen, the Cigarette Smoking Man, Alex Krycek and Dana Scully are the property of Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and Fox Broadcasting. No copyright infringement is intended and, like all of my hobbies, this one doesn't earn me a dime.

Blue Moon in July
by m. butterfly

The bell buzzed obnoxiously.

"They're here!"

Byers and Langly joined Frohike at the monitor, scrutinizing the security camera feed.

"Told ya," said Langly, pointing at the electronic image of one of the two men.

Byers shrugged. "Look, Mulder said he was bringing a 'friend.'"

"Don't be so naive," Frohike snorted as he headed for the entrance to their lair. "We all know what that's a euphemism for." With seasoned fingers, he undid the mind-boggling series of locks and swung the heavy door open. "Welcome, gentlemen."

"Frohike," Mulder acknowledged. "Byers. Langly. You all remember Assistant Director Skinner."

It had been a while since the Lone Gunmen had actually seen Mulder's boss, but there's no way in hell they could have forgotten him. He'd been Mulder's favourite subject for months now. And even though the Special Agent had never elaborated on the status of their relationship, it was obvious--well, to Frohike and Langly, anyway--that he and Skinner were much more than friends. Just when you thought you really knew someone...

Frohike looked up at the big man and dipped his head once, keeping his arms folded tightly across his chest.

"Dude." Langly started to wave, then thought better of the idea and ran his fingers through his straggly hair instead.

Byers was the only one who offered his hand. "AD Skinner."

Skinner accepted the greeting with a silent but respectful nod. This was his first--through likely not his last--visit to LG Headquarters, and it was everything Mulder had promised it would be. And more. He couldn't resist looking around the gadget-cluttered room, and was blissfully unaware that everyone was staring at him.

"Uh, guys," Mulder stammered, "I thought you dragged me down here to show me something important."

One by one, the Gunmen tore their gazes away from the casually dressed man at Mulder's side. He seemed taller to them, somehow. Broader. Maybe it was the cutoffs and sandals that did it. Hell if they knew.

"Uh-huh," Frohike muttered. "Come on."

Mulder caught Skinner's eye and placed a hand on the small of the AD's back, indicating he should follow their diminutive host. Byers and Langly noticed that Mulder's palm remained glued to Skinner's navy polo shirt as they trailed after Frohike.

When he reached his workstation, Frohike plunked himself down and set his stubby fingers to dancing across the keyboard. As an image began to download, he grunted shortly and got to his feet. "We thought you might be interested in this," he said to Mulder, offering a seat to the younger man.

Eyes glued to the computer screen, Mulder tugged at Skinner's arm. "Here, Walter," he said as he handily manoeuvred the bigger man into Frohike's chair. "Have a seat."

Behind them, the Gunmen had finally noticed the plain gold bands Mulder and Skinner were wearing on the ring fingers of their left hands. Byers and Langly traded knowing glances and some not-too-subtle sign language. Frohike glared at his partners and cleared his throat. Loudly.

But Mulder and Skinner never heard him. They were completely engrossed in what they were watching.

"Shit," Mulder said in a low, quiet voice. "He's still alive." He put an arm around Skinner and bent down until his chin was resting on Skinner's solid shoulder, then touched the screen with his index finger. "There's his goddamned cigarette."

Skinner finally spoke up. "Makes me wonder who else--"

"--didn't die in the hangar fire," Mulder finished.

"Krycek," they said together, looking directly into each other's worried eyes. Their noses were less than an inch apart.

Abruptly, Mulder straightened and turned to Frohike. "How old is this? Where's it from?"

"Yesterday. Tunisia."

"Is it legit?"

Frohike rolled his eyes. "CIA satellite transmission, my friend. You tell me."

Barely aware of what he was doing, Mulder squeezed Skinner's shoulder. "Any sign of--?"

"Nope," assured Frohike. "Just Spender Senior here. If Krycek turns up, we'll let you know." He took a step toward Mulder. "I hope this won't ruin your weekend. I guess I should have waited 'til Sunday night to call you."

Mulder ran his free hand over his face. "No, no. You did the right thing, Frohike. We'll be fine." Then he looked down at Skinner, and the two exchanged small, anxious smiles that didn't go unnoticed.

"Well," said Skinner, standing and looking at his watch, "we should make tracks. Thanks for letting us know about our smoking friend."

"We'll keep you posted, man," Langly told him. "But what if, uh, something turns up while you're, you know, away?"

Mulder dug into the back pocket of his khaki shorts and pulled out a glossy brochure, which he handed to Langly. "This is where we'll be staying. I left my cell phone at home."

Shrugging, Langly copied down the inn's phone number on a note pad and gave the brochure back to Mulder. "Looks nice," he said, feeling utterly foolish.

"*We* like it," Mulder said. Skinner coloured slightly. "Shall we, Walter?"

But as the federal agents approached the door, Frohike surprised them all, including himself. "Skinner!"

Intrigued by the challenging tone, the AD calmly faced the small man. "Yes?"

Langly and Byers held their collective breath. But Frohike showed no fear. "I hope you realize how lucky you are."

"For Christ's sake, Frohike!" Mulder stared at him with disbelief.

"It's okay, Fox."

The eyebrows of each Gunmen shot up. *Fox*?!?

Skinner placed a restraining hand on Mulder's upper arm. "He's just being protective, and I don't blame him." He let go of his speechless lover and stepped up to Frohike. "Yes, Mr. Frohike, I know *exactly* how lucky I am. And I'd rather die than hurt him or let anything happen to him."

"You'd better be talking straight--" He winced inwardly at his poor choice of words. "--or you'll have *me* to answer to."

"Deal." Skinner stuck out his hand. "Thanks for your concern. And thanks for all the research you've been doing into nano-technology."

"We're not doing it for *you*." Frohike's back was still up.

"I know, but I appreciate it anyway."

Grudgingly, Frohike unfolded his arms and pumped the outstretched hand.

Skinner then turned to the others. "Mr. Byers. Mr. Langly." There was more handshaking, some mumbled "good byes," and Skinner and Mulder were gone.

"Holy shit, dude!" Langly said once the door had closed behind their guests. "Have long have you had a death wish?"

Frohike waved him away. "I just don't want to see Mulder get his heart broken again, okay? Remember Diana Fowley? Skinner seems all right, but--"

"Uh, fellas?" Byers interrupted. "Come here."

Langly and Frohike ambled over to where Byers was standing. There, on the monitor, Mulder was wrapped around his startled-looking boss. Skinner pulled his head back, grinned at Mulder, and said something that made the younger man smile too.

"What are they saying?" Langly asked.

"How the hell should I know?" Frohike spat. "I can't read lips, you moron. If you'd installed that audio system like I've been telling you for months now, then you'd know what--"

"No time, man!"

"That's because you spend at least 10 hours a day playing Tomb Raider!"

"Oh, like *you* do all the work around here! I--oh, wow!"

The argument stopped as they watched Skinner, who'd been smoothing Mulder's hair, lean in and kiss him. Passionately. Surely the AD knew they were on candid camera. Mulder certainly did. But there he was, kissing Skinner back with total abandon.

Byers was thinking about cutting the feed when the clinch finally ended. The two men separated and Mulder straightened Skinner's glasses, then said a few words. Skinner nodded and put his arm around his favourite agent as they walked out of camera range. The last thing the Gunmen saw was Mulder slipping a hand into one of Skinner's back pockets.

Langly turned to Byers and smirked. "Still think they're 'just friends,' Johnny Boy?"

"Shut up." Byers clicked off the monitor and pushed passed the blonde man. "Mulder's love life is none of my business. Yours neither. Right, Mel? Right?"

"Huh?" Frohike's eyes snapped back into focus. "Uh, yeah. Right."

But for the rest of the evening, Frohike thought about the choice his friend had made, and fervently hoped it was the right one this time. And, conjuring up images of Mulder's beautiful red-haired partner, he couldn't help but wonder if another unlikely pairing was possible.

At least there were *two* men on the planet he wouldn't have to compete with for Dana Scully's fair hand.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
December 13, 1999

Archived: April 10, 2001