Title: Life's Little Quirks, part 4
Pairings: M/Sk, M/K (and a tiny bit of D/Sc)
Summary: The truth comes out and lives are changed...but what exactly is the truth?
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, they own me. Otherwise I might have a life of my own. Not that I'm complaining...
Warnings: M/M slash, mpreg, angst, h/c, relationships, love triangles and scheming aliens. All the really great stuff. : )
Author's Notes: Ah, yes, the long awaited: Walter finds out the truth scene. This chapter was difficult to write because I wanted so much information to come out and be resolved - I don't want to drag out the discovery scenes because I have so much more of a story to tell...so, I hope this is satisfying enough, because I want to move on and reveal more information about Mulder's pregnancy in the next chapter and I needed all three of our heroes to be on the right track for that to happen.
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Previously in part 3:
Mulder leapt to his feet and whirled around. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a dark figure in black leap out from behind a tree.
Alex Krycek was reaching out, running towards him. Mulder automatically reached for his weapon, but he had left it in the cabin. He looked again at the man racing towards him, but Krycek's hand seemed empty.
He was pointing behind Mulder. At that moment he realized the threat was not the man before him, but a being behind him. As he turned to face it - the world suddenly went black.
Alex watched in horror as Mulder crumpled in the hands of a large alien bounty hunter. Screaming his rage, he whipped out his stiletto as he leaped at the alien. There was a fierce struggle, but the hunter was at a disadvantage with the dead weight in his arms hampering his movements.
With one great thrust, Alex buried the weapon in its neck and jerked back, away from the bubbling green acid that poured from the small hole. Mulder was silent and still in his arms as he pulled the man away from the rapidly dissolving body.
"Mulder?! Damn it!" He tugged the body up and over his left shoulder, prosthetic pressing the legs to his chest as he hiked towards Skinner's cabin. His eyes continued to scan the forest for further threats.
Walter whistled as he walked up the path back to the cabin. The fishing had been good and he was quite pleased with the string of fish he'd brought back for lunch. As he approached the cabin, he paused at the sight of the back door wide open.
"Mulder?" There was no answer. He inwardly cursed himself at leaving the cabin without his gun. Pulling out the long hunting blade from his bag, he cautiously entered.
There were traces of mud on the floor - boot prints, and there was a knocked over lamp in the living room. The lamp made him dismiss the idea that Mulder had simply forgotten the door. He softly crept towards the bedroom door, where he had left his gun.
The door was slightly ajar and there was a figure on the bed, wrapped in blankets, Mulder's nose just distinguishable above the covers.
"Hold it, right there." The voice behind him was low and dangerous; Skinner recognized it instantly.
Alex Krycek stepped out from behind the bathroom door, hand holding the familiar and hated object of Walter's obedience: the palm pilot.
"What have you done to him?" he growled, knife still gripped tightly in his hand.
"I saved him. Drop the knife. Now."
Walter hesitated. Not so much for himself, but for Mulder. If he dropped the knife, he'd have no way to protect his lover who might be seriously injured.
"Mulder still needs our help, Skinner. Drop the knife and I'll let you go to him. If you don't, I'll kill you and deal with him myself."
The knife dropped with a dull thud as Walter walked over to the bed, eyes flicking between Mulder and the man in the corner. As he reached his side, Walter gently pulled back the blankets. Mulder didn't move and his skin seemed flushed and feverish, but he could see no obvious wounds or blood.
"What happened? What did you do to him?"
"I did what should be 'your' job. I protected him. You're doing a lousy job, Skinner. Mulder is still at risk and yet you leave him to go off fishing?! I should just finish you now."
Skinner growled, but managed to tamp down the anger enough to answer. "And I'm supposed to believe that 'you' care about his welfare? Why is he in danger? What do your people want with him now?"
Krycek stepped forward, hand still brandishing the palm pilot. "I work for no one. The consortium is all but dead. It's the colonists that we must deal with now. They're looking for him and you led him right into their trap even after I took steps to keep him from it."
"What trap? What steps? Quit speaking in riddles."
"The case in Maine - the abductions that are being reported in the area. He's being led back to their ship, but I intercepted his calls. And then where do you take him? Maine. They must've picked up his signature somehow."
"Why? Why do they want him back? Why now?"
Krycek's arm dropped to his side, palm pilot still in his hand, but he seemed to slump slightly in defeat. "I don't know yet. They want 'something' from him."
"I have a theory..."
The weak voice from the bed startled both men as they quickly looked down at Mulder.
"Fox? Are you all right?" Skinner asked as he helped Mulder sit up against the headboard.
Krycek made a sound in the back of his throat, but he seemed interested in a response as well.
Mulder waved him off and cleared his own throat. "I'm fine," he rubbed his temples and squeezed his eyes shut. Krycek watched this closely and Mulder slowly looked up at him, gazing back just as intently, their eyes locked - they were both silent. Walter watched this uneasily, aware that 'something' was taking place between the two of them, but uncertain of exactly 'what'.
Mulder blinked and looked back at him, his hazel eyes seemed dulled with pain. "I'm all right, Walter. But it seems my telepathic abilities are returning. As they did when the artifacts were near me. And I think it was the same...before Oregon. They had disappeared after I woke up in the hospital, but they've come back for the third time."
Walter swallowed heavily over a sudden lump in his throat. "Is it...is it the same? You hear voices?"
"I hear your thoughts. And Alex's. But that's all for now. I'm not sure what would happen in a crowd or in the city. I have to really concentrate at it. I have to be 'listening' to hear you."
Alex. He'd called Krycek, Alex. And the other man had noticed if the smirk was any indication. Walter repressed the jealousy and tried to focus on the situation at hand. Fox squeezed his hand.
//I love you, Walter. There's nothing to be jealous about.//
Skinner jumped at the voice in his head, his mouth hanging open. "Fox..."
//It's me...it's okay. I figured it was the easiest way to get you to believe me...//
"I believe you. Is this why you think the colonists are looking for you?"
"No....or rather, I don't think that's all of it," Mulder said aloud in a tired voice. "I've been keeping something from you. Something I was afraid to even think about, really. But I'm going to have to face it now... There's something...odd...about my body."
Krycek stepped closer, his knee brushing the bed. Mulder glanced at him, but didn't otherwise react. Skinner wished the man would leave, but Fox shook his head slightly at the thought.
"What is it, Fox? You can tell me anything."
Mulder sighed and tried to sit up straighter on the bed, tugging his hand as if to pull away. Walter hung on, though and squeezed it reassuringly.
"All right...Walter, I'm pregnant."
"Damn it!" Doggett swore as he stuffed the cell phone in his pocket. He still couldn't get through to Mulder, wherever he was and the case wasn't going well. Four more people were missing and it was beginning to seem like Mulder was one of them. He was going to have to contact Scully again.
Dialing her number, he tried his best to regain control of his temper.
"Agent Scully - "
"Have you heard from him?" she interrupted, much to his irritation.
"No, that's why I'm calling."
There was a brief pause before she answered. "That's it. I'm going over to his apartment and see if I can find anything. You check the office and keep trying his cell."
John opened his mouth to respond, but she'd already hung up. Damn, the woman was tenacious when it came to Mulder. What would it be like to have someone feel that way about him? His wife sure hadn't.
Mulder watched anxiously as Walter's face showed a series of emotions: confusion, shock, incredulous humor and then blank.
"Huh?" he finally said.
Mulder opened his mouth, but Alex beat him to it, snickering with derision.
"He said: he's pregnant, Wally. You knocked him up. You know...put a bun in his oven-"
"Alex." Mulder's voice was low and dangerous as he glared at the snarling man in the corner. He really wished Alex would leave just then - he was only making the whole matter that much worse. Yet at the same time...he didn't want Alex to go anywhere. There was something about the idea of him leaving...disappearing...that made him every bit as anxious as the thought of Walter leaving.
As he looked back at the other man sitting next to him, he began to fear that that was 'exactly' what Walter would do. His lover continued to sit unnaturally still next to him. He hadn't even reacted to Alex's taunts; he was still staring at Mulder with an impenetrable expression. His mind seemed awash in conflicting emotions so strong that Mulder couldn't read the other man's thoughts.
"Walter?" he asked cautiously. Skinner blinked and his eyes drifted down to Mulder's belly without speaking.
"Look- I know this sounds insane and you don't believe me, but-"
"I believe you" Walter said quietly, his eyes still focused downwards.
"You do?" now it was Mulder's turn to stare incredulously at his lover.
Walter looked up with a small smile and chuckled, he reached over and grabbed Mulder's hand and squeezed it hard. "I don't know how or why...but I know that it's true. I believe you..."
They were staring at one another intensely for several minutes before they heard a cough.
"Ahem...well, I hate to break up this lovely little scene, but aren't you two the slightest bit curious as to HOW?" Alex's voice was rough, but Mulder saw only casual disdain when he looked up at the younger man. Mulder tried to listen to his thoughts to see what he was thinking, but Alex's mind was blank...as if he had thrown shields up.
"I'm not sure how, actually. And no, Alex - he couldn't have 'knocked me up,' if my symptoms are anything to go by I was pregnant at least a month or two before we were - before we got back together."
Mulder noticed that Alex seemed to relax at this bit of news, his eyes lost a bit of their flinty coldness and he sat down on the edge of the bed.
Walter, on the other hand, looked...sad. As he 'listened' to his lover's thoughts he realized his lover regretted that it wasn't his child. And he definitely didn't like Alex sitting where he was. His thoughts had turned to lunging for the palm pilot still held in the other man's hand.
Mulder decided that the standoff occurring over his head really needed to be neutralized. If they were going to figure this thing out, he needed both men at peace - or at least a truce.
"Alex." The younger man looked up at him again and Mulder found himself gazing into green eyes once more. They were so mesmerizing...their intensity...the fact that he was somehow shielding his thoughts from him made him want -- something. "I want you to give Walter the palm pilot."
Alex shot to his feet. "No."
Walter stood just as quickly, leaning over the bed. "Give it to me!"
The two traded insults and Alex's thumb was threateningly close to the pilot's controls. Mulder rubbed wearily at his temples before shouting: "Damn it! Stop, both of you!"
There was a sudden silence as both stared down at him.
Mulder threw back the covers and swung his legs down, intent on standing up. Walter moved to help him, but Mulder waved him off, wanting to do it himself. He stood, albeit shakily, on his own two feet and glared at the two of them.
"Walter, Alex did save me today - no matter what his motives, I believe we can trust him to that extent. And Alex, either hand over the palm pilot or put it away - there is no need to threaten ANYONE here. We've got enough to deal with from the aliens, I need to be able to trust the two of you not to kill each other."
Neither one of them had the grace to look apologetic, but Alex did put the palm pilot into the inside pocket of his leather jacket. Walter continued to watch the other man and both waited awkwardly for Mulder to continue.
"Thank you. Now, if no one minds, I'd like to clean up and eat something. Walter, you stink of fish - go take a shower. Alex and I will make some breakfast and then we'll all figure something out."
42 Hegal Place
Scully knocked briefly before letting herself into Mulder's apartment. It was empty. She kept her gun out as she cautiously stepped into his living room; the apartment was silent and still - the air musty as if it had been shut up for a long time.
There was no response as she slowly took in the state of the apartment. The coffee table held a few scattered magazines and papers, but nothing important. Seeing his answering machine blink rapidly, she pressed play. There were 28 messages in all, several were from her or Doggett and there were a few from the lone gunmen. Most of them were recent, but a few were as old as a week ago - why hadn't Mulder erased them by now? Glancing at his desk she noticed it seemed cleared off and there was a faint layer of dust.
She turned on his computer and glanced at the fish tank while she waited for it to boot up. There were two fish floating belly-up. Wrinkling her nose, she turned back to the computer, but she had no success with logging on - Mulder had changed his password again and none of the usual words or phrases worked.
She abandoned the desk and moved on into the bedroom, his room was the same mess the last time she'd checked it, but the closet seemed rather empty of clothes. Checking his dresser, she found a few t-shirts and a pair of sweat pants. The hamper was practically empty as well. Where were all of his suits and casual clothes?
The bathroom was fairly clean, but looked unused, the medicine cabinet was practically empty - no razor, shaving cream or toothbrush. Scully walked slowly back through the apartment and went into the kitchen. Mulder didn't usually keep much food there at the best of times, but a quick inspection confirmed that there wasn't a bit of food in his refrigerator that wasn't moldy beyond recognition.
As she locked up after herself, she frowned in worry. Mulder hadn't been living in his apartment for some time now.
Walter scrubbed briskly with the soap and washcloth. He hadn't wanted to take the time to shower with the threat of aliens in the forest and especially Krycek inside the cabin, but Mulder had looked faintly nauseous from the fish smell.
And now he knew 'why' Mulder had thrown up yesterday morning - morning sickness. The thought made him pause in his washing. Pregnant - Mulder was pregnant. It made his head swim a bit at the oddity, but at the same time it made him smile. The thought of a child - one that might call him 'daddy' made him feel amazingly happy. He'd never seriously thought about kids. Sharon's doctors had told them that she was barren five years into the marriage and he'd taken it in stride at the time. Neither one of them had discussed adoption and he'd been content to let the matter drop. After all, he'd been busy climbing the career ladder and a child would mean more bills, stress and responsibility. Once they'd divorced, he'd told himself that they were lucky not to have any kids to disappoint or fight custody over.
He'd told himself that...but it was only now that he realized he'd been lying to himself.
He quickly rinsed himself off and grabbed a towel as he hurried to get ready. He wanted to talk to Mulder - start making plans and figuring out what they would do. As he dressed, he heard the faint chatter in the kitchen and frowned. Krycek. The bastard had no place here.
Walter walked quietly towards the kitchen, as he neared the door, he stopped, listening.
"You can't be serious about the man, Mulder. What do you see in him?"
"He loves me, Alex. Why are you acting so jealous?"
Peeking around the door, Walter saw Krycek's eyes narrow. "Jealous? Of 'him'?" Mulder's back was to him, but Walter knew his lover was raising his eyebrows at him, and he had a point - Krycek 'was' acting like a jealous lover.
There was a painful pause before Krycek finally responded. "I've been watching you for years, Mulder. Before I was ever assigned as your partner. I never agreed with the consortium, I didn't want to hurt you. I did everything I could to avoid it... I 'know' you, Mulder. I know how you can't sleep at night. Why you can't stand boats, why you can't stand up to your mother no matter how many times she's hurt you. I know about your past and what you need... I know everything and I love you."
Walter gripped the doorjamb painfully to keep from speaking. The bastard 'dared'...but he wanted to hear Mulder's response - he 'needed' to hear Mulder's response to that.
Mulder's shoulders were tense and he set down the pan in his hands, turning to face the other man. "You 'don't' know me Alex. You've been watching me for over a decade? That means nothing. I love Walter. I belong with him. He cares about me and he doesn't betray me." The words were harsh, but the tone seemed sad.
Krycek flushed, opening his mouth to argue. But Mulder wouldn't have it. "No. Just stay quiet. I'm 'happy' Alex. If you really cared about me you'd be happy 'for' me. I like being with him. Spending time with him... I fall asleep in his arms and sleep like a baby most nights. He's THERE for me. You've never been there before..."
Walter felt a surge of warmth at the words and he felt ashamed to have doubted Fox's love. He stepped into the kitchen and Krycek snapped his mouth shut on whatever it was he was going to say and turned back to the coffee maker and poured them each a cup of coffee.
Mulder didn't glance up, simply turned his attention back to the stove where he was scrambling eggs. Walter realized that Mulder must have sensed his presence at the door and knew he'd been eavesdropping. Deciding to ignore what had happened, he put some bread in the toaster and set out the cream, sugar and butter. Krycek sat down with his coffee, eyes focused on his cup without a word.
It was a tense breakfast as they all sat down to the eggs and toast. Well - Mulder ate, his eyes on his plate, but Walter only picked at the food feeling guilty. Krycek ignored them all and continued to stare into his coffee, food untouched at his side.
The tension was thick enough to cut it with his butter knife, but Walter studiously spread margarine on his toast instead. His cell phone chirped suddenly nearly making him drop the knife. Mulder and Krycek looked up with interest.
"Sir, this is Agent Scully...I'm sorry to disturb your weekend, sir..." her voice was nearly frantic.
Walter glanced up and looked into Mulder's eyes. "That's fine, Agent Scully - what can I do for you?"
"Sir, I'm looking for Agent Mulder. Agent Doggett has been trying to contact him for the past two days, but he's not answering either his home or cell phone..."
Walter glanced at Krycek, what had he done to Mulder's phone, anyway? "Perhaps he's simply taking some time off..."
Scully was quick to head him off, "Sir, I went by his apartment - I was worried about him. And from the state of his apartment...sir, I don't think he's been staying there much lately. I'm concerned-"
Mulder looked ready to take the phone out of his hand, but he held his hand out to forestall him. "I understand, Agent. Have you talked to A.D. Kersh?"
"No, sir, but Mulder isn't technically missing unless he doesn't show up for work tomorrow morning -"
"Good. I think we should discuss this in private, Scully. I'm not currently at home, but I can meet you there within two hours, is that acceptable?" He raised an eyebrow at Mulder who nodded.
"Yes, thank you, sir." Scully sounded so relieved that he felt guilty for withholding Mulder's whereabouts even that long.
As he hung up, he looked back at the other men. "All right, Fox, I suppose it's time she found out the truth about us. And the baby."
Mulder nodded with a weak smile. "I would have told her sooner, but I'm not looking forward to being poked and prodded. She'll put me through every test imaginable."
Krycek finally spoke up, "You should take better care of your health, Mulder. You need to make sure both the baby and you are healthy."
Walter resisted glaring at the man for taking the words right out of his mouth. It was hard enough to say, "He's right, Fox."
Mulder waved in mock surrender, "I know, I know...it might actually be worth it just to see the look on her face, though," he added with a grin.
Walter nodded sympathetically on Scully's behalf, "She'll be a bit shocked to find out you're pregnant, I suppose," he said dryly.
Mulder's grin got wider. "No, after the X-Files, I think she'll be more surprised about the two of us."
Krycek stood, clearing his throat. "Your apartment is probably under surveillance, your little disappearance this weekend has likely been noticed by more than Scully and Doggett. And as for the bounty hunter - his disappearance will be noted as well, probably already."
Mulder nodded. "How is it that he found me here, anyway? You intercepted my phone calls to keep me away from the area where they're waiting for me."
"Yes, but Wally here led you close enough - I think they might have picked up your signature, they've had you on their ship before. The experiments..."
Mulder looked away quickly and nodded. "Yes, I guess the best thing to do is to leave now, anyway. They might come back."
Walter watched him leave the room hurriedly and found himself alone in the room with Krycek.
The other man turned to glare at him. "Are you going to let them take him from you again, Skinner?"
"I didn't -"
"You DID. He was standing ten feet away from you and they took him right out from under your nose. And today you were out fishing. Who's going to protect him?!" he yelled.
Walter stalked forward, grabbing Krycek's jacket and shoving him against the wall behind him. "I will," he growled.
To Be Continued...
Next chapter - Mulder discovers more than he bargained for about his pregnancy!
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