Title: Life's Little Quirks...Part One Author: Nikita
Pairing: M/Sk and more to come...
Series: It's me, isn't it? 1/?
Summary: Poor Mulder...he's in 'trouble'...(again)
Disclaimer: I found them hiding under my bed...obviously I invited them to join me... I don't own them...yet.
A/N: Once more the mpreg gods have told me they demand another X-Files sacrifice...I offer my Mulder most humbly. Pairing(s) still in limbo, may actually swap around and/or join together. I'm thinking at least M/Sk, possibly M/K...maybe even M/Sk/K...and Doggett's trying to bribe me into joining, too...we'll see. Nikita makes the rules here, boys... : ) This story definitely smells like another long series in the making...sound good?
Mulder retched into the wastebasket, heaving one last time before wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. He had nothing to throw up in his stomach, but it continued to churn as he swallowed uneasily, leaning back into his chair. Two months. He'd had this sickness for two months and it didn't appear to be going away.
At first he'd though it was the case he'd been working on, the mutilated bodies he'd investigated in Montana. The results of botched alien experiments that have been dumped back on Earth for god-knows-what purpose. The bodies had reminded him disturbingly of his own recent experiences and he'd passed the daily worshipping of the porcelain deity off as a mental and emotional sickness, not physical. But two months...that was just too long, and it was far too consistent - every single morning: from the time he woke up until about 9 in the morning.
Closing his eyes, he focused within; yes...the nausea was easing, finally. Like clockwork...he was suddenly hungry - famished. As if he hadn't just been puking his guts out over the wastebasket. Digging into his desk, he pulled out the bag of sunflower seeds. Not enough. This kind of hunger called for chocolate! Pulling out a Snickers bar, he tore into it.
"Healthy breakfast choice, Mulder. Geez, slow down will you?"
Mulder looked up sheepishly as Scully closed the door and set a cup of coffee on his desk. "Hungry" he mumbled around a bite.
"I see. You look like a lion ripping into a gazelle. How's it going down here, anyway?" Scully pulled a chair over to his desk and sat down with her own coffee mug. She might not be his partner anymore, but she still came down to check on him every once in a while. Mulder supposed he should be grateful...
And he was...but he missed her. Desperately. John Doggett was a damn hard worker and he was reliable - Mulder could trust him to watch his back. But, the man was even more of a skeptic that Scully...and...well, he wasn't Scully. Years of a good strong partnership in which the two nearly read each other's minds was hard to give up. Even if he did feel a bit better about Scully's safety as she worked in the labs now.
"Fine. Quiet actually..." He licked his fingers and tossed the wrapper into the trashcan, which was luckily empty or his secret would have been given away. He pushed the can under his desk anyway. Out of sight, out of mind.
Scully and he made chitchat for a few moments before Doggett finally came in with a stack of paperwork. Mulder watched out of the corner of his eye as they exchanged a few words at the door. He wasn't sure, but he had strong suspicions about the two of them. He knew Doggett was interested in Scully, but he wasn't sure how much of the attraction was mutual. Nor how far it had gone. Scully often seemed a bit uneasy around the other man...
Another day...another morning spent in the corner stall of the bathroom attempting to stifle his gag reflex.
Mulder kneeled before the toilet and squeezed his eyes shut. God, he was tired...so tired of this... He heard the door open to the bathroom and scrambled to his feet.
Shit, Skinner. Apparently he'd been hiding in here too long. Mulder flushed the toilet and left the stall. He felt light headed and the floor swayed dizzily before his feet. Staggering against the wall, he became aware of hands clutching his arms.
"Mulder? Are you hurt? What's wrong? Mulder?!"
Mulder woke to a paramedic taking his blood pressure. He managed to wave them off with some excuse about not eating recently and a headache. Signing a waver, he got them to leave but he couldn't avoid the stern eye of his boss across the room.
"Why haven't you been eating?"
Ugh, geez, he didn't want Skinner acting like a mother hen...even if it was a mother hen that looked more like he was going to kick his ass than tuck him into bed with a bowl of chicken noodle soup. "Oh...I've been busy...it slipped my mind. I'll be sure to eat lunch. Sorry I took a header on you in the john." As soon as he said it he realized the sexual connotation of his words and averted his eyes. Whoops. "I mean...sorry I-"
"I know what you mean, Mulder" the other man interrupted, but he didn't sound angry. Mulder risked a glance and saw that the A.D. was biting his lip...apparently to keep himself from laughing. Relieved, Mulder grinned a bit. He'd been so careful never to bring up the subject before this...
Skinner sighed and dropped his hands from their crossed position and sat down on the couch next to him. They were in Skinner's office, which was the closest private spot available from the bathroom Mulder had collapsed in.
"I was worried about you. You left the meeting so quickly and you looked green. When you didn't come out of the restroom after a while...I thought you might be sick - turns out I was right."
"I was just a bit sick...from not eating. I'm fine now."
Skinner looked at him closely for a long minute, making Mulder squirm slightly under the scrutiny, before nodding. "Time for an early lunch - or a late breakfast. My treat." Skinner got up and grabbed his jacket while Mulder started to protest.
It was positively odd, escorting Mulder out of the office, one hand on his elbow lest the man take another tumble. He'd resorted to ordering the younger agent into joining him for a meal. Mulder kept his eyes on the floor as they headed towards the elevator. Was it the attention they were garnering or was the man 'that' reluctant to going out to lunch with him?
It was only once they reached the nearby caf that Mulder perked up. Ordering a bacon cheeseburger, fries, and milkshake, he ate every bit with great relish. Skinner hid a grin at the sight of Mulder licking ketchup from his fingertips. It was a damn erotic sight and Mulder was blissfully unaware of his exhibitionist behavior before his boss - well, superior and former boss. Of course...that thought reminded him that he'd once been a bit more than just his former boss...
"Are you going to finish that?"
Skinner glanced down at the remaining french-fries on his own plate and shook his head, pushing the plate towards Mulder. "Nope. You can't 'still' be hungry..."
Mulder shrugged and reached over for more. "Guess I found my appetite."
"Apparently. So, how's it going down in the basement?"
Mulder grimaced as he popped the last french-fry in his mouth. "Everyone keeps asking me that lately...fine. Not quite the same without Scully...or you. Kersh isn't quite as understanding or willing to listen to some of my theories as you can well imagine."
"Watch your step with him, Mulder. I think he's dirty...very dirty. He blocked us every step of the way when we were looking for you."
Mulder nodded, eyes flicking back to the table and Skinner regretted bringing up the subject. He wondered how Mulder was handling his abduction experience...those months he'd been missing had been particularly difficult to deal with. The funeral had been brutal - Scully had needed him to be strong and he'd had to hide his own feelings beyond friendship... And after they'd dug him up...god... seeing the man in the hospital bed - looking like a corpse...and then the choice that he'd been forced to make...
He could only thank god that Mulder had somehow benefited from his choice...that in turning off the life support, they had somehow managed to kill off the alien within. The fact that Scully lost the baby a few days later anyway had been a terrible blow.
"I'm keeping my eyes open...anyway, thanks for lunch." Mulder wiped his hands and stood. The sudden feeling of loss in knowing he had no further excuse to sit and talk with Mulder spurred an impulsive idea.
"How about dinner after work? There's a great new Greek restaurant down the street I've been wanting to try."
Mulder paused in the act of pushing the chair under the table. "Dinner? Are you trying to fatten me up?" he joked.
Walter nervously stood up as well, focusing on pushing his own chair in and grabbing the check. "Well, someone has to see that you eat...and well..." he fumbled, feeling unaccountably flustered at such a small awkward moment.
"I'd be glad to" Mulder said, smiling.
Dinner led to coffee and dessert. Mulder ate a large piece of baklava, licking his lips with delight. Skinner was relieved to see that Mulder's appetite had held...and if anything, expanded. The best part, though, was the honey that glistened on that plump bottom lip.
" - are you listening to me?"
"What?" Walter blinked and drew his eyes back up from Mulder's lips to his eyes.
"I asked if you were listening to me, but don't bother - obviously you weren't. Are you feeling all right?"
"Fine. Sorry, I was just...lost in my thoughts. Mulder, do you ever think about our relationship?" s
Mulder raised both eyebrows and set down his fork at this. Steepling his fingers together, he set his chin on them. "Well, I was under the impression that we 'didn't' have a relationship. You were pretty adamant about that, if you remember."
Skinner winced inwardly; he deserved that. They'd spent a few nights together. Mainly when Skinner had felt the need - the urge...in the end, he'd broken it off, stating that he couldn't in good conscious continue a physical relationship with a subordinate. It had been a lie, mostly. In truth, he'd felt...edgy. Nervous about being in a relationship that seemed to be growing into something more than he'd originally planned. His thoughts had become consumed with Mulder: their nights together, Mulder's laugh, the way it felt to lie in bed next to him...the passionate lovemaking... The feelings that had stirred within him were so foreign to him - nothing he had ever felt with Sharon. And the feeling of being lost in a relationship like that...it had disturbed him. So he'd put a stop to it...before it could become something more.
"Yes. I remember" Skinner looked into hazel eyes and saw great sadness there.
He'd been thinking of himself at the time. And now...he wondered just how much he had hurt the other man. Somehow he'd never really considered the possibility that Mulder would have felt the same way about him...that he might want something more. Cutting him off like that...
"But...I think I made a terrible mistake..." Skinner clutched his napkin beneath the tablecloth, trying to keep a hold on his feelings. Diners all around them chatted and clinked their utensils, oblivious at the sudden quiet tension that fell upon their table.
Mulder continued to stare at him quietly, chin on his fingertips. Slowly, he raised his head and dropped his hands onto the table, one reaching out to him, palm up. Walter dropped his eyes to stare at it and slowly...carefully...reached a hand up to take it. He looked up at Mulder, swallowing with difficulty. Did this mean...?
Mulder smiled gently and clasped his hand hard. "Maybe we could try again..."
That night, after they had made love, Skinner watched the other man sleep, light from the moon, gleaming a soft pearly light on his features - making him seem otherworldly.
Leaning down, he kissed his way down Mulder's torso...trailing the kisses down to the stomach, where he placed one last lingering kiss on Mulder's stomach...wondering why he felt such a tender gentleness at that very moment. Resting his head there lightly...he dreamed...
To be continued...
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