29 October 1998
DISCLAIMER: Owned, operated and abused by CC, 1013 and Fox.
RATING: PG M/K/S/Sk friendship(?)
SPOILERS: Ascension, maybe
SUMMARY: Mulder's angsty, Krycek's bleeding, Scully's scowling and Skinner's clueless.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks, Mimi. I'm glad I made you laugh :)
FEEDBACK: Yes, please. luvnick62@aol.com


Macaroni by Frankie

Mulder rushed into the hospital room, stopping dead in his tracks at the sight of the empty bed. He sank to his knees and buried his face in his hands, sobbing uncontrollably.

"Why?" he groaned. "Why him?"

"Sir?" a nurse asked, unsure of what to make of the picture before her. "May I...help you?" she asked, hesitantly.

Mulder looked up at her from the floor and pointed to the bed. "When ... did... this h-h-happen?" he sobbed, shoulders shaking as he started crying again.

The nurse looked at the freshly made bed. "Happen, Sir?"

Mulder nodded, his face streaked with tears.

"Well," she began slowly, "whenever a patient leaves the hospital, it's customary to make the bed for the next patient." She spoke with the patience of an adult explaining something to a small child.

Mulder rose to his feet. "Oh, that's what you call it, huh? 'Leaving'?" His voice hitched.

"Sir?" the nurse asked, wondering how quickly she could make it back to her station and call security.

"Why don't you just say it?" Mulder shouted. "He's dead!" More sobbing. "He's d-d-dead."

The nurse thought for a moment. "Who's dead, Sir?"

Mulder looked at her, eyes blazing. "The man who was here!" He pointed to the bed. "Walter Skinner!"

The nurse smiled and place a gentle hand on Mulder's arm. "Oh no, Sir," she said softly. "Walter Skinner is still alive. You have the wrong room."

Mulder stopped his sobbing and looked at her. Wiping his eyes roughly, he cleared his throat and adjusted his clothes. "Oh." He smiled. "What room would he be in then?"

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Scully was sitting at Skinner's bedside when Mulder burst through the door, face flushed and eyes red. Great, thought Scully, more Mulder angst.

"Scully!" Mulder shouted.

"Shh, Mulder." Scully scolded. "This is a hospital for crying out loud."

Mulder blushed slightly then walked to Scully's side. He looked down at his boss who was sleeping soundly. "How is he, Scully?" Mulder asked, tears welling up in his eyes. "Tell me the truth."

"Well, he's--" Scully was cut off by the entrance of Alex Krycek.

"Mulder, there you are," he gasped, leaning against the door frame, obviously out of breath. "You're a hard man to keep up with." He walked into the room and took a seat at the foot of Skinner's bed, breathing hard. "Why'd you run from me like that?"

Mulder walked over to where Krycek was sitting and punched him in the jaw, sending him reeling onto the floor of the hospital room.

"Mulder!" Scully yelled, bending down to help Krycek to his feet. "What the hell are you doing?"

"It's okay, Scully" Krycek said, rubbing his jaw. "I'm used to it." He looked at Mulder.

"Don't you look at me like that," Mulder growled. He lunged at Krycek again and Scully stepped between them. Mulder still managed to reach over Scully's head and punch Krycek in the face, splitting his lip open.

Scully grabbed Mulder's arms. "What is the matter with you, Mulder?"

"He thinks I have a thing for him," Krycek said dabbing his bloody lip with his fist.

"Well, it's so obvious that you do," Mulder hissed, lunging at the man. Scully's attempt at restraint worked this time.

"I wouldn't talk, Mulder," Krycek said, taunting his ex-partner.

"I have no idea what's going on here but---" Scully was cut off by a raspy voice coming from the hospital bed.

"What happened?" Skinner asked, looking around the room, clueless. "Why am I here?"

Scully scowled at Mulder. "Behave," she whispered fiercely, then turned her attention to their superior.

"You had a bad case of food poisoning, Sir," Scully said, sitting on the edge of the bed and taking the AD's hand.

"What? When did this happen?" Skinner asked, bewildered.

"Don't you remem---" Scully was cut off by Mulder as he walked in front of her to speak to his boss. She scowled.

"Sir, it was the potluck lunch we had at the office," he explained. "Do you remember that?" His lip quivered ever so slightly.

Skinner looked up at him. "Yes, I do remember." He thought for a moment. "But I don't remember eating anything that could have made me sick."

Mulder looked down at his hands and started sniffling. "Sir," he whispered. "It was my macaroni salad that made you sick." Unable to hold the tears back any longer, he let loose a flood of sorrow and despair at having poisoned his beloved AD.

Krycek stepped behind Mulder and tentatively placed a comforting hand on the agent's shoulder. Without warning, Mulder elbowed him in the ribs and threw a punch that connected with Krycek's jaw. The younger man fell against the wall and slid down to the floor. Scully jumped up from her place on the bed and ran over to help Krycek, scowling at Mulder.

"Agent Mulder," Skinner said, straining to see Krycek in a pile on the floor, "what was that all about?"

"Well, Sir, he's always coming on to me and I've had just about enough." His bottom lip stuck out and threatened to quiver again.

Skinner rolled his eyes, a sure sign he was starting to feel better. "I couldn't care less about what you do to Alex Krycek. Besides, it's pretty obvious to everybody that your attraction for him is manifesting itself in violence."

Mulder's eyes widened at the AD's statement. "Sir, no, I really...he doesn't...I don't."

"Save it." The man in the bed was looking more like his old self. "I want to know what you meant about your macaroni salad."

"Oh, that." Mulder sat in the spot Scully had vacated and slumped his shoulders. "I-I-I." He couldn't continue as sorrowful, angsty, melodramatic sobs took over. When Skinner started to speak, Mulder put up a finger signaling that he'd be with him in a moment. Eventually the wave of guilt, worry and fear at being fired passed. "As you know, I don't---" Mulder was cut off by Scully.

"Mulder doesn't usually cook and when he attempted to make something as simple as macaroni salad he used mayonnaise that had been sitting in his fridge since long before the Nixon administration and everyone else at the office was wise enough to steer clear when they saw who brought it in but you weren't there and before anyone could stop you you had eaten a great big mouthful and passed out." Scully took a deep breath, happy to finally finish a thought without getting cut off. She ignored the surprised look Mulder shot her way.

"Is that the way it happened, Agent Mulder?" Skinner asked, sitting up and getting completely back into Assistant Director mode.

"That's about it," Mulder said, standing up. When he saw the looks on everyone's faces he said, "What?" Then he remembered his inner turmoil and put a hand to his face. "I'm so glad you're okay, Sir," he sobbed.

Scully scowled at Mulder and walked to the bedside. "They should release you soon, Sir."

Skinner nodded. "Yes. Thank you." He cleared his throat. "I do appreciate all of you coming to see if I was all right."

Scully smiled. "No problem." She scowled at Mulder and left.

"Sir," Mulder said, wiping an eye and then shaking Skinner's hand. "I again apologize for cooking and making you sick."

Skinner grunted a reply, afraid to see Mulder lose it again.

Krycek stepped forward to shake Skinner's hand as well but was grabbed by the lapel of his leather jacket and slammed against the wall.

"I'm warning you for the last time, Krycek. Stay the hell away from me," Mulder growled.

"Yeah, sure, for the last time," Krycek muttered, readying himself for the punch to the gut that usually followed Mulder's threats. The punch connected as sharply as it ever had and Krycek doubled over in pain.

"Goodbye, Sir," Mulder said. Skinner waved his hand in a gesture of dismissal. Mulder glared at Krycek on his way out.

"Bye," Krycek wheezed to Skinner as he walked, bent over, to the door.

"Bye, Krycek."

Skinner heard Krycek's voice in the hallway telling Mulder to wait up. Then he heard a loud smacking sound. He closed his eyes.