Title: Life's Little Quirks, part 7
Pairings: M/Sk, M/K (and a tiny bit of D/Sc)
Summary: Life at the Skinner/Mulder/Krycek home has its moments.
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, profanity, mpreg, angst, h/c, relationships, love triangles and scheming aliens. All the really great stuff. : )
Author's Notes: When I get inspired - I really get inspired. Who knew I'd post another part so soon? Gotta go with it while the Muse is speaking to me...
Like it? Tell me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for more? Check out my stories, recs and links at: www.koukla.net/nikita_slash
"...[I]f a woman carrying a single baby feels like there is no more room inside her at eight months, imagine what a mother carrying twins must feel like after only six months." Dr. DiLeo, M.D. 'Expecting Twins.' www.babyzone.com
Doggett watched out of the corner of his eye as Mulder shifted in his chair with a weary sigh for the nth time that day.
"Why don't you go home?"
"What?" Mulder barely spared him a glance; he seemed focused on his own aches and pains.
"I said - go home. You're tired, achy-"
"...and not to mention bitchy. It's been a long day. Go home."
Mulder finally spared him a look, but it was more of a glare as he slammed a file down on his desk. "I don't need you telling me what to do, too. I get enough of it from upstairs and at home, thank you very much."
He had to resist smiling at that; Mulder was an independent man by nature and the constant 'help' by Skinner, Scully and Krycek was obviously driving him insane.
"They're just worried about you. Scully told me you're health is rather delicate and that you're not taking very good care of yourself."
Mulder rolled his eyes and leaned back in his chair, rubbing at his temples. "Oh, don't even get me 'started' on Scully...she watches everything I eat and then pokes and prods me until I'm black and blue all over. Last night she took at least a pint of blood and various 'samples'..." he shuddered.
Doggett found himself shuddering, too, in sympathy. "Well, I can't imagine pregnancy is easy on 'anyone', much less a guy. All the more reason to go home now and get some peace and quiet while everyone's at work."
Mulder smirked at that. "Ah, but you're forgetting my shadow. Alex is always there..."
"He's still staying at your apartment?"
"Walter cleaned out the den and we put my old bed and dresser in there. I think he likes the waterbed - he's kinky."
John laughed, "Well, it was 'your' bed."
"Yeah, but I never could figure out where it came from..." Mulder stretched and winced with pain. "You know...I guess I'm going to take your advice for once. My back's giving out on me. It's all this sitting and hunched over the desk all day."
"I think you're lucky Skinner let you come in at all the last couple of months. He's really pulling some strings with Kersh to let us stick with desk duty lately. Well, I'll be sure to tell Scully you left early - I'll get brownie points for making you take care of yourself today."
The pregnant man grinned evilly at that. "Oh, what happens when you rack up enough points?"
John felt his ears turn red as he returned his attention to his reports. "Just go home, Mulder..."
Mulder's laughter rang in his ears as the other man left the office.
The hall that led from the basement to the parking garage seemed to get longer every day he made the trip. His back was killing him...going home to take a long hot bath was sounding better and better with each step.
Mulder resisted the urge to place his hand at his mid back to relieve the pressure - it was just too telling of a sign if anyone saw him. He was using Walter's somewhat larger trench coat to help him hide the bulk that was quickly growing around his midriff. At almost six months, he was definitely beginning to show.
He hid out in his office all day behind his desk. Doggett ran all of the errands and hardly a soul ever saw Mulder at work at all besides his partner, Scully and Skinner.
Walter wanted him to stop coming into the office - he was too big and one glimpse of Mulder without his camouflage and desk in front of him and his secret would be out. Mulder had pointed out that (as his whole career proved) people believed what they wanted to and refused to see the unexpected, even when it was staring them at the face. So a rather large man waddling down the hall would be seen as just a rather large man with a weight problem - who would ever imagine he was pregnant?
But the sad truth was - Walter was right. He needed to take a leave of absence now. If not for the fear of discovery, then because he was quickly becoming a liability at work. Doggett was chained to the desk because of him and should the need arise for John to have to do field work - he'd be working without a partner to watch his back. It was unfair to his partner...and unfair to his children if he continued to jeopardize their health.
Scully was seriously beginning to scare him with her little medical facts and jargon on the risks of carrying twins. It was bad enough that she was always on his case about getting enough rest and eating healthier, but now she was giving him information on multiple pregnancies and it wasn't all pretty.
She continued to harp on about the necessity of constant vigilance in monitoring pregnancies involving twins. The number of risks involved were numerous: one of the twins might get more of its share than the other, and therefore their growth rates might not be the same, and then there was the risk of umbilical cord entanglement, preeclampsia, lack of space and abnormal positioning at the end of term... The list went on and on and he didn't want to hear anymore of them.
As if he didn't have enough on his mind dealing with aliens, mutations, and the fate of the world falling on the successful birth of his children.
Yes, now that he stopped to consider it, he definitely needed a break...
Mulder was never so happy to see the inside of an empty apartment in his life. There was no sign of Alex - an unheard of event. The man had tailed him everywhere he went for the last two months. Work was generally considered Walter's domain and it was far too dangerous for Krycek to hang around, but the moment he entered their apartment building, he was on Alex's turf.
No answer. He was relieved - finally a moment to himself. His lovers took good care of him and he appreciated their concern and help...but he was used to being by himself. He was, by nature, a loner. No matter how much he might crave love and acceptance, he needed his space. And he wasn't letting this chance pass.
He knew exactly what he was going to do: take that hot bath alone in peace and quiet. But as he leaned over to turn on the tap, he was struck by a worrying thought. What if he couldn't get out by himself? The last time he'd taken a bath, Walter had had to help him a bit. It wouldn't do to be trapped in here. His lover wouldn't be home for several more hours and who knew when Alex would get back? Alex...that gave him an idea.
The room was neat as a pin. There was no sign of dirty clothes, scattered papers or stray shoes - Alex must be as much as a neat freak as Walter was. The bed was a neatly made, crisp sheets, and a soft folded blanket. It looked wonderful. The few times he'd used the bed, he'd enjoyed the cushy water effect it gave and he hoped the temperature control would make it almost as warm and therapeutic as a bath.
Lying down was a bit tricky since the bed swayed with his weight and shifting. Laying flat on his back was often uncomfortable with both babies squirming around inside so he tried to shift on his side. As he struggled into a comfortable position, he realized his mistake - a waterbed gave him even less leverage than a bathtub. Getting out by himself would be even harder, if not impossible.
"Shit," he muttered to himself. One of the babies poked him in the kidney. "Am I going to have to watch my language already?" he asked mildly. He finally found a comfortable position and relaxed. The babies quieted and he absently stroked his stomach as he drowsed.
His children...but even more accurately - his sons.
Last month they had finally found out the babies' sex on the ultrasound. Both twins were confirmed to be healthy, active 'boys'. Mulder had been stunned at the thought of raising two sons of his own, and from the looks of both Alex and Walter's faces...they were pretty amazed, as well. Walter had torn off his glasses to wipe at tears as he crushed Mulder's hand in his own.
His lover was definitely in touch with his paternal side. He'd already begun to buy little matching outfits and as a special touch for Mulder's sake - two junior sized basketballs and jerseys. And every night since, he said goodnight to his sons through Mulder's belly. It was touching that Walter didn't single out only his own genetic son, but considered both to be his children.
And Alex...? Actually, he wasn't quite sure 'how' Alex felt. He had a hunch that he was hiding some rather powerful feelings behind the heavy mental shield he carried around Mulder, but he'd yet to see any proof of his feelings towards his son. Yet at the same time, he guarded Mulder and the babies' safety with fanatical zeal.
As always, Alex was insisting on being an enigma. It was frustrating, but so far Mulder had let the younger man have his space and his privacy. The whole situation was rather shaky emotional territory for the three of them and it was best to safeguard the truce that reigned in the apartment...
It wasn't long into his pseudo nap that his hunger arose and he found himself digging into Alex's bedside table. Knowing Alex, there had to be some chocolate in there somewhere. Never mind that Scully wouldn't approve - what she didn't know wouldn't hurt her - and hopefully him.
"Ah ha! The good stuff..." Mulder crowed as he tore open the wrapper. Ghirardelli dark chocolate with raspberries - his favorite and Alex's, too, apparently. Walter didn't have much of a chocolate tooth, but he'd noticed that Krycek would always accept a square of chocolate or a piece of chocolate cake when offered. It was rather pleasant to see that they had something in common, however small.
He finished the bar quickly enough and reached back in the drawer to search for more. His fingers brushed a stiff piece of paper and his curiosity got the better of him as it always did. It was one of the ultrasound pictures from his last visit. Both boys had shown up rather well on the monitor and there were some notations on size and positions made by Scully.
He hadn't realized that Alex had taken a copy. He knew that his and Walter's copy graced the door of the fridge in the kitchen where they could admire it every time they passed.
Alex's copy looked well worn; the edges were faintly creased, but straightened with obvious care. He must have handled the picture quite a bit. Mulder dug deeper into the drawer with questing fingers. What else did Alex keep as treasure?
"What are you doing?"
Mulder started at the voice and dropped the picture. It fluttered down to land somewhere beyond his reach on the floor by the bed.
Alex frowned from the doorway and then stalked over to pick it up. The younger man quickly smoothed out any imaginary wrinkles in the picture before shoving it back in the drawer and slamming it closed.
Mulder felt horribly guilty at his invasion of privacy suddenly. When they had given Krycek the room to stay in, it had been understood that it was Alex's space only.
"Sorry, Alex. I was just looking for some more chocolate. You've been holding out on me..." Mulder brandished the crumpled chocolate bar wrapper as evidence.
"Oh...well, Skinner told me you weren't to have any more chocolate so I thought it was safe in my drawer. Apparently not." Alex seemed to relax a bit, though he raised his eyebrow at the realization that Mulder was lying in his bed. "So...why are you in here, Mulder? Walter kick you out of his room?"
"No, my back hurt and I was hoping the heat and water would help. Only...I can't get up again."
Alex snorted at that, but he held his hand out obligingly. He ended up having to offer more than just his hand. After a few heaves and using the prosthetic as a brace, they managed to get Mulder onto his now shaky legs.
"Oof, thanks. I don't know how I can possibly carry them for another three months...my body's not built for this." Mulder tried to walk to the door on his own, but his knees buckled on him.
"Whoa! Easy, Mulder. You've worn yourself out again today, haven't you?" The younger man insisted on guiding Mulder all the way back up the stairs and into the room he shared with Skinner.
It was obvious that Alex was uncomfortable being in the room, but he helped Mulder lay down on the bed and began to tuck his blankets and pillows around him in a rather expert way.
"No, wait...I have to pee." It was a horribly embarrassing and annoying fact that the babies were continually pressing on his bladder. He was just lucky that he hadn't had an accident while stuck in Alex's bed - he never would have lived it down.
A quick trip to the restroom and a glass of water later, Mulder was safely ensconced in the big comfy bed with plenty of pillows supporting his back and legs and the large TV that Walter had moved for him was turned on at the foot of the bed. Alex made as if to leave then and Mulder was suddenly loathe to see him go.
"Wait, Alex...would you like to watch the game in here? Skinner's got a great TV in here..." He couldn't explain why, but he really didn't want to be alone all of a sudden. Perhaps it was the thoughts he'd had earlier about the medical risks of his pregnancy...or maybe it was the need to get closer to Alex after seeing the picture in the drawer and how much he guarded it.
He must've sensed Mulder's desperate need for company because he reluctantly shrugged and sat down on the edge of the bed to watch the baseball game in silence.
The game was over and the TV show that followed it was horribly banal, but Alex continued to sit quietly on the bed. The pregnant man lightly snoring and he didn't want to so much as reach for the remote lest he wake him. This was one of the rare times he could be so close to Mulder without having to worry about guarding his thoughts or actions.
Mulder shifted in his sleep slightly, one hand on his round belly. Alex's eyes drifted from Mulder's face down to where his hand lay. Reaching out carefully, he lightly laid his hand next to Mulder's.
Ever since he learned that one of the babies was his own he had been in a constant state of happiness and terror. He'd never imagined that he would ever have the chance to have a family of his own. Hell, he never really believed that he would have lived this long in the first place. He was a survivor, no doubt about it, but one could only dodge bullets and aliens for so long before your luck ran out.
He'd never had much of a personal life and his family didn't even bear speaking of anymore. After all these years and everything he'd had to go through - he'd never had anything to lose except his own life. And now suddenly he had a son, waiting to be born. Another pawn in a game that he couldn't control and was only barely surviving in by himself.
How could a man like he ever hope to raise a child? He couldn't guarantee its safety and he was far from a good role model for any kid. Skinner had authority, a good career, solid morals and a stable income. He was a veteran, a boxer, and no criminal record. Any son of his would grow up strong, proud and brave, no doubt.
And Mulder? He was brilliant, witty and an honest man. He had a belief in the goodness of mankind despite all of the evidence to the contrary that he had encountered in his work as an agent and profiler. He had a strong belief in family and no matter what Mulder might think...he'd be a good father. A great one. He wouldn't repeat the mistakes of William Mulder by selling his children out or blaming them for things beyond their control. He wouldn't withhold his love or acceptance on the basis of his child's performance or abilities.
Mulder and Skinner would be better parents than Alex could ever hope to be. His son would be far better off without Krycek as a father.
But he couldn't leave yet and he wouldn't. Mulder and the babies were far too vulnerable. They needed his protection and he would gladly give it for as long as they needed it. He'd bow out when the time came, but for now he was here to fight for them.
A small movement broke his train of thought and he looked down at Mulder's belly once more. There was another kick where his hand laid and he smiled at the strength he felt in that tiny little foot.
It really was a miracle - no matter how sappy it sounded... There was another kick and a flutter of movement, as the babies seemed to shift and turn inside. Alex continued to stare, transfixed at the slight changes in the shape of Mulder's stomach at their contortions.
"Active little buggers, aren't they?"
Alex looked up to see Mulder smiling wryly at him. He started to remove his hand, but Mulder grabbed it and held it.
"No, that's okay. You haven't really felt them move before, have you? They started kicking a month ago and they haven't stopped since. It must be getting pretty crowded in there."
Krycek wondered at the good-natured humor Mulder was exhibiting until he noticed the tension in the other man's eyes.
Mulder seemed to notice his observation. "It's not that bad...but...sometimes, when I'm dreaming...I dream that it's not the babies in my stomach - it's a hatchling. Last night I dreamt that it burst out of my stomach while I was still alive. Like the man I found in his living room..."
That explained the shouts he'd heard from their bedroom last night. He'd raced up the stairs to their door, but Skinner had stopped him from entering, telling him that it was just a nightmare.
Mulder shrugged then. "But otherwise it doesn't bug me too much. Actually, I'm often relieved to feel it during the daytime. It reminds me that they're both alive and healthy. If they'd just stop playing soccer with my spleen, I could actually get some sleep once in a while. And now, I've got to use the restroom again..."
"Krycek seemed awfully quiet at dinner. Did you two fight or something?" Walter asked as he stripped for bed.
Mulder's face was carefully blank as he continued to surf the TV channels. "No. Well, he caught me in his room eating his chocolate and rooting through his bedside table, but otherwise we had a quiet afternoon in this bed."
"Excuse me?" Walter knew that Mulder had to be yanking his chain, but he found himself looking around the room for evidence of their supposed tryst.
Mulder chuckled and tossed the remote down on the bed. "What's the matter, Walter? Jealous? When I got home he wasn't here and I was just trying out the waterbed for my back. I scrounged around for some chocolate and then he caught me snooping. He put me into bed and sat with me while I fell asleep to the game - that's all. Scout's honor." Mulder held out his hand with fingers parted solemnly. The fact that it was the Vulcan salute didn't escape Skinner.
"I have a feeling you weren't a boy scout, were you, Mulder?" Skinner climbed into bed and Mulder shrugged at him before nestling as close to him as his belly would allow.
"No, my dad didn't approve of the boy scouts for some reason. All those good deeds and belief in honor, I suppose... What gave me away?"
"I don't remember Mr. Spock ever getting a merit badge for building a safe campfire, for one thing."
Mulder shifted up to look at him incredulously. "You're a trekkie?"
Walter tried hard not to laugh. "Um, no. But, believe it or not, I do occasionally watch television and I have seen an episode or two."
"Oh." The sound of the disappointment in Mulder's voice as he put his head back down made Walter almost wish he'd lied.
He settled for holding Mulder closer and relishing what little time he got to spend with his lover during the week. "So...you would have wanted to join the scouts? Did you like camping?"
Mulder snickered, "Not really...I just wanted to learn how to tie good knots. Still do...although I wouldn't use them to tie up my little sister anymore... Know how to tie some knots, Walter?"
Skinner felt himself stir at the words. He reached down and grabbed Mulder's wrists, pinning them at his sides. "I don't need to..."
Mulder squirmed and mock-struggled in between gasps and throaty chuckles. As he licked and bit his way down Mulder's body, he couldn't help thinking that he'd make Mulder forget all about whatever happened with Alex on this bed...
To Be Continued...
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