The X-Pies

by Courtney Gray

[Story Headers]

*Fiona's Bakery & Inn* was humming with activity. The pies were fresh from the oven and settling nicely into their designated places on the shelves...

Skinner was an apple pie that could always be trusted, higher up on the shelves, but never at the top. Rather, he was squarely in the middle, visible to all who came into *FB&I*. Tried and true, dependably tasty, the bakers relied on his leadership and the guests and customers usually turned to him first. His crust was always impeccably golden, not a stray crumb to be seen, every air slit precisely spaced, with his edges uniform and never too brown. Yes, he had his occasional flaky moments when he would walk on the wild side: a touch of cheddar in his crust or the one time he'd tried on a Dutch crumb topping. It had been...liberating, the feel of cinnamon streusel stroking his granny smiths. But, at the core, he was all-American. He had his standards and, unless the special occasion warranted, he played it strictly by the book. Unlike some of the other pies around him. He cast a wary glance down at a dark and smoky corner of the shelves...

The Rhubarb pie was not a big seller. In fact, the other pies couldn't understand how it managed to remain on the shelf. Yet, it always seemed to show up, even when they were sure it had been dispensed with once and for all. The other pies didn't like it. It was tart and biting. Its appearance was not at all appealing: a bloody red fluid seemed to bubble up through its slits like a cancerous poison. Its crust was always soggy, and it had a strange, almost tobacco-like aroma that made the other pies edge away from it as far as they could. The Rhubarb, who refused to even give its real name, squinted at the other pies through its seeping slits, its nearly burned edges rising arrogantly. It sneered at Skinner and the rest of the pies, confident of its place. The bakers owed him, his recipe handed down in secret from great-great grandmother to great-grandmother, to grandmother, all now dead. Yes, the recipe had been warped over time, but it only made him more essential, more powerful. He would use the bakers' nostalgia and guilt-ridden, sentimental memories to maintain his position. *FB&I* would never be rid of him!

The lattice covering on the Berry Medley Pie was shining with enthusiasm. Now that *Fiona's Bakery & Inn* had finally installed free Wi-Fi in the little caf, the pie was at last getting the kind of recognition it deserved. Its three very distinct berries, inseparable and invincible together, were a sweet-tangy hit with the young and hip laptop crowd that gathered to share tech talk and gossip, along with the Inn's guests and the walk-in customers. The Lone Piemen, as the berries called themselves, were no longer quite so paranoid about the other pastries conspiring to banish them from their midst. Their medley was 'cutting edge' and they were proud of it. Though they never would have believed it at first, they had found their place in *FB&I*. In fact, they had even formed a fond attachment to one of the other pies: a quirky, smartly mouth-watering fellow. He was...cool. Some of the other pies, particularly the Rhubarb, said he was crazy and not to be believed. But, the Lone Piemen felt a kinship with him for that very reason. In addition, one of the three berries had also developed quite the crush for the lovely pie on the shelf just above them. Sadly for the little blueberry, she never seemed to notice...

Scully felt the strangely malevolent gaze of the Rhubarb pie as it swept over her. Oh, there was definitely something wrong with that pie. She bristled slightly as its watery gaze lingered on the tips of her topping. She was a Heavenly Lemon Meringue Pie and she would not be ogled by the likes of that slimy, dubious pastry. She liked wearing lots of topping; it made her look taller. She knew she was attractive; why, with her special graham cracker crust, she was even low fat. She could only pray that she was never placed any closer to that nefarious Rhubarb. Not that she couldn't take care of herself. She might look delicate, but she was as tough, and maybe tougher, than all of them. Well, except perhaps for the apple pie. Skinner was always so solid and strong; he seemed more attractive with each passing day. With a sigh, she shook off the thought, making her meringue jiggle, and focused on the pie that was almost like a touchstone, albeit a frequent trial, in her existence. Even though they had often been side by side, it seemed lately as if they were a universe apart. She simply couldn't pretend to agree with his wild and crazy notions anymore. Yes, he was a brilliant recipe, truly one of a kind. And that was the problem. She was uncertain about him. And Scully wanted, needed...stability. Sadly, she knew deep in her filling, that she could never find it with the Coconut Dream Pie.

Mulder blew a fleck of toasted coconut off his gourmet scalloped crust. He didn't like the ordinary crimped crusts the others preferred to wear. He was a special recipe, after all. It was more than just the touch of genuine coconut extract. His ingredients varied every so slightly with every iteration. On occasion, he even contained a dollop of Amaretto. Mulder knew that the baker considered him the most creative and innovative of all his pies. Today, he was on a different shelf. He had new ground to investigate and explore. The others ridiculed him for his never-ending search for the true essence of pie. They said he didn't know what he was talking about. Even the Heavenly Lemon Meringue, his dearest Scully, looked at him with doubt in her pan. She kept telling him there was no True Essence, and that he should realize that there was always a proper formula, an exact recipe, which had to be applied to everything. Even though he tried to show her, over and over again, that phenomenal pies existed everywhere that actually came from no recipe at all, she refused to believe. His cream weighed heavy on his crust and he fought against the despair that seemed all too near. The Berry Medley backed him, but they were considered as oddball as he was. And Skinner, despite his sympathetic support, couldn't mask his skepticism. Oh, if only he could find another pie who believed...

The confines of *FB&I* continued to bustle with activity as pies were taken off the shelf and replaced, the flow of customers and guests never slowing as the busy noon hour began.

The tempting aromas of baking pies and brewing coffee filled the air. The head baker came out of the backroom with a tray in his hands and headed for the glassed-in pie shelves.

Skinner watched as the baker approached. Hmmm, a new pie. It looked very fresh, almost too...pretty to be real. Black and white should look rather dull, yet this one was altogether dazzling. Skinner's apple slices churned in their juices. He ignored the churn and zeroed in on the sense of Radical Change that suddenly charged the atmosphere. Ah, but, would it be a change for the good, or for the bad? He'd have to keep a very close eye on that pie.

The Rhubarb's weepy slits opened a fraction as it stared at the pie on the baker's tray. He'd never seen it before. My, my, but it was very tasty looking indeed. He definitely wanted to get to know that firm young thing much better. He would have to find a way to have it placed beside him. Yes, a cunning plan began to form deep in the Rhubarb's mushy crust.

On the upper shelf, the Lone Piemen chattered amongst themselves as they eyed the new arrival. It looked very slick. The coloring was dramatic and eye-catching. It appeared young and silky, yet they sensed a dangerous vibe beneath the innocence. The pie may seem pristinely black and white, but they were certain there were many shades of chocolate beneath its outer layer. Life at *FB&I* was getting more interesting with each passing day.

Scully wasn't very happy to see a new pie in the case, especially since it looked like the baker was placing it beside Mulder, in her former spot. Chocolate pies could be deceptively charming, luring customers on with their deep dark beauty, leading them to excess and ruin without a qualm. But this one was even worse. This was a Chocolate Silk Pie with fresh whipped cream and a froth of dark curls. She'd never seen curls so long on a pie! Her lemon trembled slightly as a wave of jealousy rushed through her. She immediately chastised herself. This was ridiculous and terribly unfair of her. She had no basis for distrusting the pie, just because it was...was...

Beautiful. It was the most beautiful pie Mulder had ever seen. He couldn't take his eyes off it as it was carefully placed on the shelf beside him. Damn, those ebony curls were luxuriously long and he could almost smell the sweetness of its freshly whipped cream and the richness of its Valrhona, for there was no doubt that its chocolate was out of the ordinary. As the baker adjusted the Chocolate Silk Pie, their crusts brushed against one another. Mulder felt a sudden, hot stirring in his coconuts. He'd never felt so...attracted to another pie before, not even to Heavenly Lemon Meringue. It was...unsettling. He had to stay cool, he told himself; his cream demanded it.

One of the thick curls on the Chocolate Silk dipped shyly in greeting. Call me Alex, the pie told him in a velvety, cocoa rich tone that made Mulder's crust tingle. To Mulder's surprise, Alex knew him by name and seemed genuinely in awe of him. The Silk obviously had no idea of how deliciously gorgeous he really was himself. But what shocked the Coconut Dream even more was Alex's revelation that he was aware of Mulder's Quest. While I was being assembled, I heard the other pies talking about you, Mulder. They doubt your theories. They say you're irrational with your transcendental ideas, that you're nothing but a spooky dreamer, but they don't understand the value of your pie. They're not in your league. No pie is. They're afraid you'll unearth secrets that could change the very nature of baking as we know it. Their fears will always hold them back. But, I think you're brilliant and I...I'd like to learn more. I...I want to believe.

Mulder gazed searchingly at the shiny dark curls. Could it be that he had found a kindred pie, a true partner at last? A part of him, the dough-deep cynic, said that he shouldn't trust the kid, that it would only lead to a cracked crust and smeared filling down the road. It urged him to snub the Silk, to end any possible relationship before it could begin. Yet, his innate instincts shouted at him to give the kid a chance, that if he did, it would lead to the forging of a bond that could surmount any obstacle in their path. Coconut and Chocolate...together? Yes, he thought, it could be unbeatable.

Mulder let a few flakes of coconut land gently on the Chocolate Silk's creamy border. I'm...pleased to meet you, Alex.

And a legendary alliance was born.

--The End--


 

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Title:  The X-Pies
Author:  Courtney Gray   [email/website]
Details:  Standalone  |  G  |  10k  |  01/18/09
Pairings:  Mulder/Krycek
Category:  Humor, AU (Alternate Universe)
Summary:  Anthropomorphic crackfic after a long and hungry day!


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