Cruel To Be Kind: 2. Psycho


Mulder sighed and  rubbed his eyes wearily. It had been a long night and the day was only just beginning. The sheriff grinned at him through the bars of the cell.


“You stopped shouting then?” he asked. Mulder sighed.

“Yes,” he muttered. “Seeing as how you won’t listen to me.”

“I was listening.” The sheriff told him. “You’re with the FBI, you were investigating something in these parts and you ran into a spot of trouble. Now you can listen to me. I run this area, nothing happens here without my say so and you didn’t take the time and trouble to introduce yourself to me nicely before causing mayhem and upsetting folk. So I’m not happy with you, lad. Now I can’t take on the FBI and I can’t charge you, but I sure as hell can make things difficult for you.”

“Difficult?” Mulder looked up wearily. How could things be any more difficult?

“That’s right, son. I’ve just rung your office and spoken to your boss.”

“You have?” Mulder looked up, two emotions wrestling inside him. His first, immediate response was one of joy to hear his loved one spoken of, his second was one of trepidation as he realised he was in trouble.


“Yes. He didn’t sound too happy neither.” The sheriff smirked.

“No, he never sounds happy.” Mulder commented. Except sometimes when you got your tongue right under his balls and flipped them gently he thought to himself, then he swallowed that thought back down. In boss mode, Skinner rarely sounded happy. He was a permanent bear with a sore head. It was only at home that he was transformed into a happy bunny by some miraculous process that Mulder had never fully understood.


“Well he sounded very unhappy.” The sheriff stressed. “He told me to send you back on up to Washington but I said, no can do!”

“What?” Mulder looked up. “You can’t keep me here. I’m a federal agent.”

“That’s right, sonny. However, if I let you go, you’ll get off scot free and after you’ve upset all the folk around here with your UFO nonsense I don’t think that’d be right. So…I thought to myself, how can we make sure that this lad gets what he deserves? And then I thought, how about if we tell this boss of his that the only way he’s getting his agent back is if he comes down here and fetches him himself? That sound good to you? A three hour drive here, a three hour drive back with you in the car? I reckon any normal boss would be a mite put-out by such an arrangement and I can guess who they’d want to take it out on!” He grinned at Mulder who put his head between his hands and groaned deeply.


Assistant Director Walter Skinner turned up some hours later. It was clear that he hadn’t exactly hurried himself and rushed straight on down. Mulder took one look at his boss and lover and sighed. He looked mad. Not mad in that he had gone bright red and was shouting, but worse, he was mad in that quiet, threatening way that made Mulder shiver and want to curl up and die. Please don’t be angry with me, Walter, he muttered to himself. I love you, I don’t want you getting riled. Please….


“Agent Mulder.” Skinner looked at him as if he was something he’d trodden in as the sheriff opened the cell door. “I’ve had to cancel two meetings so you’d better have a very good explanation for this, Mulder.” Skinner said tersely. The sheriff smirked and Mulder clenched his fists.


“Yes, sir,” he mumbled, looking his boss in the eye and trying to detect any discernible trace of love or affection or even anxiety but there was none. He found himself getting angry inside. He’d been gone for 3 days and he’d spent half the night locked up in a prison cell. Wasn’t Walter even the smallest bit concerned about his welfare or maybe he just didn’t care. With a sulky pout he pushed past his boss as he left the cell, giving the sheriff a look of hatred as he did so. The sheriff grinned and chuckled.


“There really was no need for me to come down here.” Skinner said grumpily to the sheriff. “You could have just packaged him up and sent him home with his tail between his legs. It wouldn’t have been the first time,” he commented sourly. Mulder looked at the ceiling.


“Well that may be the way other sheriffs run things but I’m not like other sheriffs.” The man smiled. “I value courtesy and good manners and if something’s got lost and got itself into mischief, I think it’s only right that it should be delivered back to who it belongs to personal like. It’s what we do with stray dogs hereabout.”

“I’m not a goddamn dog!” Mulder snapped, losing his grip on the situation.

“Be quiet, Mulder.” Skinner hissed in a steely undertone. “Right here and now you would do your cause a lot of good by keeping your mouth shut.”

“But I….” Mulder looked into his boss’s eyes and gulped, shutting his mouth.


“Good. Thank you for your concern, Sheriff.” Skinner said. “I’ll take over from here.”

“I’m sure you will, sir!” The sheriff shot Mulder a saintly smile and Mulder took a step towards him only to find his arm grasped in his lover’s iron grasp as he was pulled out of the jailhouse and into the sunlight.


“Get in the car.” Skinner ordered peremptorily. Mulder did as he was told, throwing himself down sulkily in the front seat, dreading what might be coming next.


Skinner didn’t speak as he started the car and headed them off back to Washington. After half an hour Mulder had had enough and decided to take his life into his hands.


“That really wasn’t my fault…” He began. Skinner gave him a glance of absolute venom.


“Agent Mulder we have a long drive ahead of us,” he said. “And I want a report on this incident on my desk tomorrow morning. So I suggest you spend the next couple of hours getting the details absolutely straight in your head. I don’t expect to hear a word from you during this trip.”

Mulder bit on his lip and seethed silently. This was ridiculous. They were alone together, there was nobody to overhear them. Why was Skinner being so nasty to him?

“Walter…” He never got to say any more as Skinner stopped him with one hostile glare.


“Agent Mulder, we’re still on bureau time,” he said briskly, glancing at his watch which read half past two. “I would appreciate it if you would remember that.”

“Yes, sir.” Mulder folded his arms and sank back into his seat feeling completely crushed. He half closed his eyes and allowed his gaze to linger over his lover surreptitiously. He knew Walter was angry and that he was just behaving as he would if Mulder were not his lover, but even so. It was hurtful and it made him feel anxious. He wanted his Walter back, the nice man who massaged his shoulders for him when he was feeling tense and who brought him soup when he was ill. He didn’t like his boss but he adored his lover. It was very confusing.


He fought down the maelstrom of conflicting emotions and allowed himself to relax enough to fall asleep. It had been a very long night.


Walter Skinner turned to glance at the sleeping man next to him as he drove. He adored the way Mulder looked like an innocent child as he slept, all traces of his troubled personality and difficult life smoothed out. He would have liked nothing more than to reach out and fondle his lover’s already ruffled hair but he would not permit himself that pleasure. He had a job to do and he had already compromised it enough by taking Mulder as his lover in the first place. He had no intention of compromising his integrity even further by allowing Mulder to get away with anything he should not. Mulder was a man who needed boundaries or he’d go haywire. Skinner knew that deep down Mulder found it comforting that there was someone who cared enough about him to tell him what he could and could not do. All the same he sighed. Why couldn’t I find myself a regular lover? He pondered. Someone like Scully who never got into any trouble and who was pretty and normal and didn’t have a strange dysfunctional family background and a close relative who had been abducted by aliens. It would have made life so much simpler. But not more enjoyable, he decided. No, there was nothing more enjoyable than Fox Mulder. He was so unpredictable, so abandoned in his quests, so completely open to new experiences and so endearing. Skinner smiled as he surveyed his lover. He was still angry, but he had every right to be in the circumstances. He allowed himself the luxury of touching Mulder’s thigh with his hand as he changed gear. Mulder didn’t stir.


“Wake up, Agent Mulder.” Skinner said tersely as they pulled up.

“What? What time is it?” Mulder looked around blearily. He was hopeless when he had just woken up.


“It’s nearly five o clock. You’d better start work on that report. I want it first thing tomorrow.” Skinner told him.


“But…I mean…” Mulder hesitated. He was due at Walter’s apartment at 7.30 this evening. He wasn’t going to get his report written by then. All the same, how was he supposed to broach this subject without getting into even more trouble? “Um…that is, what about this evening?” he asked in an agonised tone. “It’ll take me hours to write that report. Should I come later? Or maybe you don’t want to see me at all.” He hated himself for saying that but he felt so insecure when Walter was mad at him. It always crossed his mind that this was the end and Walter didn’t care any more, that he’d pushed him too far too often.


“I don’t expect you to be late this evening.” Skinner told him. “I don’t see why I should be put out at all because of your behaviour.”

“Well then…how…?” Mulder stared at his lover, quite perplexed. If he didn’t upset his boss then he was obviously going to upset his lover. Which option did Skinner want him to choose?


“You can get up at 5 am to complete your report. I’ll make sure the alarm is set for you.” Skinner told him tonelessly. “Now get to work, Agent Mulder.”

“Yes, sir.” He got out of the car and sloped off to his office to begin the report.


He arrived at Skinner’s apartment exactly on time. It didn’t seem wise to risk upsetting Walter in either boss or lover mode. He couldn’t be entirely sure what the reception might be. He still remembered that time a couple of months previously when Walter had put him over his knee and given him a spanking with his belt. Well that wasn’t going to happen again! No way! They had to find a way of dealing with their problems in an adult manner, through rational discussion and talking and being sensible, Mulder thought to himself. Then he chewed on his lip, trying to remember the last time he had ever been rational and sensible. He found it hard not to lurch from one emotional response to another and sometimes wondered why a calm, unemotional, self-contained man like Skinner bothered with him at all.


“Hello!” Skinner was smiling as he opened the door. Mulder sighed. Was it better, he thought to himself, to be the sort of person who travelled the world on an uncontrolled rollercoaster of emotion and outburst or the sort of person who could calmly put parts of their life in a box and bring down the one labelled “Friend and Lover” as easily as they could pack away the one labelled “Snarling Angry Boss.”?


“Hi.” He responded cautiously, edging his way into the apartment. He noticed with some relief that Skinner wasn’t wearing a belt. That was a good sign. Or was it? He looked anxiously around the apartment to make sure that it hadn’t already been removed in preparation for his backside to be turned into reddened, glowing beacon of pain and discomfort. No, there was no belt to be seen anywhere. He heaved a sigh of relief. He hated being spanked.


“I’ve only just got back.” Skinner told him, kissing him. “I didn’t have time to get any food in. Shall we call for a take-out?” Mulder glared at him. Was he having a go? Making a dig about having to work later than he had anticipated because his day had been screwed up by inconsiderate agents? But Walter was just standing looking at him quizzically, no sign of reproach in his eyes. “Fox?” He queried. “Chinese maybe?”

“What? Oh, um…no. Pizza?” He suggested.

“Alright.” Skinner ordered two pizzas and then went over to the couch where Mulder was flopped out in a state of exhaustion. He rubbed his lover’s neck and kissed his hair. “You look tired. And you smell.” He wrinkled up his nose. “Why don’t you take a shower?”

“Will you join me?” He asked hopefully. If he could just get Walter undressed, he could do that thing with his tongue and then he’d know that Walter really did love him and wasn’t just toying with him right now before throwing him out with the garbage.


“I’ve just had a shower.” Walter told him with a smile.

“Yeah…but not with me!” Fox tried to leer seductively but as he leaned over he realised just how much he smelled. Nothing seductive about body odor, Mulder he told himself.


“No…it’s tempting…but I’ve got a bit of paperwork I’d like to catch up on. Why don’t you make yourself all pretty then we can talk.” Skinner said. Mulder glowered and got up in a huff, feeling rejected. Walter was still making a point about not getting his work done today. Well screw him! Mulder stalked off to the bathroom angrily. Skinner watched him and sighed. Fox was always like this when he’d got himself into trouble. He oscillated between defensive tantrums and helpless insecurity with unbridled ferocity until he spun out of control. Skinner wondered how he could best resolve the situation.


I mean, how dysfunctional could you get? Mulder thought to himself without any sense of irony. What sort of man could change so suddenly, so completely? He got into the shower and allowed the water to stream all over him. It wasn’t normal though, he pondered. In fact, it seemed symptomatic of some wider personality disorder. I mean, if Walter had two separate and distinct personalities then maybe there were more, ones he didn’t know about. Supposing Walter were also a serial killer? An A.D. at the FBI by day, a bisexual sexual athlete on Wedneday evenings and weekends, and an axe murderer on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was entirely possible. Mulder chewed that over thoughtfully, putting his psychological profiling skills to good use. Yes, indeed, the more he thought about it, the more likely it was. Walter was obviously a man with multiple personalities…he was a menace, probably a danger to the public…Fox came to with a start. There was someone in the bathroom with him! He could see a shadow moving outside the shower curtain…the sound effects from “Psycho” flashed instantly into his head and he let out a hoarse cry, ducking the blows of the knife he was sure was waiting to fall on his unprotected naked body and sliding out of the shower sideways.


“Fox?” Walter was looking at him, bemused. “Are you okay?”

“What are you doing in here?” Fox yelled accusingly, crouched on the floor staring up at his lover.


“There weren’t any towels. I used the last one. I was bringing you one.” Walter held it up slowly and carefully, so as not to further antagonise his clearly distressed young lover.

“Oh.” Fox grabbed the towel and wrapped it round his waist. “Well don’t creep and skulk!” He said angrily. “I don’t appreciate being spied on and crept up on and very probably murdered with a big knife.”

“What are you talking about?” Walter was astonished.


“I’m talking about you having some sort of multiple personality problem. And being the sort of person that probably murders people on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays!” Fox told him angrily.


“Alright.” Walter took a deep breath. “I’m going back into the other room. And you’re going to get dressed in some clean clothes and then you are going to come out and explain yourself. And this had better be good, Fox.” Walter told him coldly before turning on his heel and leaving the room.


Mulder edged out into the lounge a few minutes later feeling a bit silly.


“I’m sorry.” He said, going to kneel at Walter’s feet and sighing, placing the other man’s hands on his hair because he knew that Walter liked to fondle his hair. “I’m a bit tired that’s all. I think my imagination got the better of me.”

“I don’t like being taken for some sort of psychotic killer in my own bathroom.” Walter told him, removing his hands from Mulder’s head and getting up, leaving Mulder staring folornly after him.


“I’m sorry,” he mumbled.


“Do you want to make me angry with you? Is that it?” Walter asked, pacing around the room in a way he usually saved for his office.


“No.” Mulder got up and went to sit at the table with a sigh. “It’s been a bad few days. I screwed up…you got mad at me, and you wouldn’t talk to me for that entire car journey and I hate it when you ignore me and I’m in trouble and you are not going to like my report, no way, and that means I’m in more trouble tomorrow and I’d…I’d rather get it over and done with now I think. I hate having things hanging over me. And I hate it when you’re nice to me when you’re obviously really mad at me. I’d rather you just….”

“Yes?” Walter asked quietly.


“I’d rather you just got mad at me now and we had an argument and then I wouldn’t have to worry about it any more.”

“Alright, I am angry with you but I don’t want to have an argument. I want to have pizza and I want to have sex and I want to have conversation but I don’t want an argument!” Walter exclaimed. “You know, Fox, I think there is only one way to resolve this situation to everyone’s satisfaction.”

“What’s that?” Mulder looked at him, then realisation dawned and the color drained from his face. “No way. No, no, no. You are not doing that to me again. Not ever. It hurts!”

“Yes, but it seems to work. Afterwards you stop behaving like a spoilt child and I get my lover back.” He advanced towards Mulder, a stern look on his face.


“No!” Fox made for the front door. “There is no way I am letting you hit me again,” he said.

“That’s a shame. I bought a paddle specially too.” Skinner told him seriously.


“You did what?” Mulder’s mouth opened, astonished.

“Well it worked so well last time that I thought we should be prepared. And I don’t want to keep wearing out my nice leather belts on your backside.” Skinner told him.


“You’re sick.” Mulder pulled open the door and exited, slamming it shut behind him. Walter didn’t pursue him. Mulder sat down outside the door and realised he was trembling. Could Walter be right? Did his behavior really improve after he had been spanked? It certainly always had when he had been a boy and his dad had whipped him. But he hated it! His whole stomach churned with dread at the very thought of being swung upside down over Walter’s great big thighs and paddled as if he were a child. And yet….and yet, afterwards….afterwards Walter wouldn’t be angry with him any more and they could sit and watch TV, or at least, Walter could sit and he could lie there on his stomach and Walter would fondle his hair and kiss him and…


“Well?” Walter opened the door and stared down at him with a frown. “Have you decided to accept your punishment yet or are you going to sit there all night?”

“How did you know…? Oh never mind.” Mulder sighed. “And I’m still thinking.”

“Don’t think too long.” Walter warned. “Because you’re not coming back in here until you agree to accept what you deserve and trust me, I will not appreciate being woken up at 3am to hear that you’re finally ready.”


“Okay, okay!” Mulder stormed finally, getting to his feet. “But I just want you to know that I really hate you.”

“Understood.” Walter opened the door wide and let him back in. In truth he was rather looking forward to having Fox over his knee again. He had enjoyed it last time, but more than that, he knew it was the only way of resolving the torturous emotional turmoil his lover was going through. No matter how much Fox might hate it, he really would feel the benefit afterwards. “It’s for your own good, Fox.” He said sternly. “Now get your trousers off and get over to the couch.”

Mulder stood there for a moment, still wondering if he dared to be rebellious but one look at Walter’s frowning features made it clear to him that it was not a good idea. He undid his jeans reluctantly and removed them, throwing them onto a nearby chair with a sigh and then he walked very, very slowly over to the couch, so slowly that his feet hardly seemed to move.


“I’m waiting.” Walter said ominously. Fox finally got there, his face red and his lower lip pouting frenziedly.


“Please…” He began, then he stopped and raised his head defiantly. “Don’t think I’m happy about this,” he said, trying to muster some dignity. “And don’t think I’m going to apologise or anything.”

“Get over my knee.” Walter growled. Mulder swallowed nervously, glancing at the fierce black paddle Walter held gripped in his hand. “And get your boxers off first. This paddle is going to make contact with your bare flesh, Fox. There is no way I’m letting you get away with anything after the appalling behavior I’ve witnessed today. So get over here.” Mulder slipped his shorts off and laid himself reluctantly over his lover’s knees. There was a long, agonising wait and he tensed, resolving that he was not going to give Walter the satisfaction of hearing him shout and scream as he had done last time. He was going to keep his mouth tightly shut and he was going to show Walter that he couldn’t treat him like this and get away with it. Then next time this situation arose, Walter would realise that corporal punishment was most definitely NOT the answer. He felt Walter’s hand pushing down on the small of his back, then he heard his lover’s arm being raised and he closed his eyes and then…the paddle struck with a sharp thuddiness that the belt had not had. He clamped his jaws shut in the effort not to cry out loud.


Another blow and he counted to 3 in his head, breathing deeply. This was bad. This was worse than anything he’d gone through before. This was worse than getting shot and infected with deadly diseases. He could not stop the low moan that escaped his lips as the next blow landed on his backside.


“How many times are you going to hit me?” He asked suddenly, thinking he could probably pace himself if he knew.


“That information…” Skinner paused and smiled to himself. “Is on a need to know basis. And you don’t need to know.” He said firmly.


“You’re mean and nasty and I hate you.” Mulder yelped as the next blow hit home.

“What did you say?” Skinner asked him dangerously.


“I said you’re mean and nasty and I hate you.” Mulder yelped again, angry with himself for crying out but unable to stop. Another vicious blow made contact with his bottom and he let out a sob.


“Say it again.” Skinner said.


“I…” Mulder stopped. It didn’t seem wise.


“Never mind.” The next blow was so severe he jumped into the air and was quickly pressed back down again by Skinner’s hand.


“We’re not finished yet. Not by a long way.” Skinner declared firmly. There was only one way to go with Mulder and once you started there was no point stopping until you reached the point where he was back to normal. The blows rained down with a hideous thudding regularity now, one after the other, biting his skin. Mulder gripped onto his lover’s knees for support as his body flailed all over the place with every stroke that hit home until he was screaming for mercy in a way he had promised himself he would not. His whole backside seemed to radiate with agony and each further blow just compounded it until he could swear his bottom was on fire. He wished it would stop, he wished Walter wasn’t angry with him and he was suddenly deeply ashamed of the way he had been goading his lover all evening. “I’m sorry,” he cried helplessly. “I am sorry, Walter. I am, I am.” Had he really told his beloved that he hated him? How could he? His Walter, who he adored more than anyone in the world? And had he really, in all honesty, accused him of being a serial killer? Walter Skinner, a man known for his strong adherence to the law and principles of decency and integrity? “Please, please, please….” He sobbed. “I am so, so sorry!” Walter smiled and with another couple of swats for good measure, he finally allowed his lover to get up. Mulder slipped onto the floor and crouched there, his body heaving with sobs and tears streaking down his cheeks. Walter fetched a handkerchief and tenderly wiped them away.


“Now. How do you feel?” He asked. Mulder shrugged.

“I hurt.” He said.


“I should certainly hope so or it would have been a huge waste of my effort. But apart from that?”

“I don’t know.” Mulder sniffed, reaching for his boxer shorts, trying to pull them on and failing.


“Here.” Walter’s cool hands helped to slide his shorts up and then he leaned on Walter’s shoulders as his lover held out his jeans for him to step into. He couldn’t resist bending slightly to kiss Walter’s head. It was so enticing and bald, just waiting there. Walter smiled.


“I’m so annoying…” Mulder muttered, shame-faced. “You shouldn’t bother with me. Honestly, when I look back…”

“Ssh.” Skinner got hold of him and put his big arms around him, drawing him close.


“But really! I just get too angry and scared to think sensibly.”

“Scared? What of?” Walter asked, looking into his lover’s tear-stained eyes.


“Of losing you! And scared of the way you’re so cool, calm and collected all the time, sometimes even when you’re really mad. I’ve never been like that.”

“I love you just the way you are.” Skinner pulled him down onto the couch and he went, wincing as he adopted the only post-spanking pose that was really comfortable, on his front, his long legs stretching along to the end of the couch, his face angled sideways in Skinner’s lap, staring up at his lover.


“I can’t think why,” he sighed.


“Because you’re unique and incredible and amazing and utterly irritating.” Skinner stroked his hair softly and he sighed, comforted and feeling a million times better. How did his lover always know what was best for him? “But did you never think…” Walter said, running his fingers along Mulder’s shoulders and down his back in a gentle caress, “that I get scared too?”

“You? No.” Mulder said honestly. “What would you get scared of?”

“Of something awful happening to you of course! You’re always running off and getting into trouble and there isn’t a minute goes by when I’m not scared that you’ve been eaten by aliens or something. It makes it worse for me when you don’t even tell me where you’re going or you get some mad idea into your head and go chasing after it.”

“You really worry about me?” Mulder asked. “You didn’t look worried when you came to fetch me from that prison cell.”

“We don’t all wander around with our emotions hanging out all over the place for people to see.” Walter told him. “I hate people knowing how I feel. I’m only telling you because I love you.”

“You do?” Mulder grinned and if he had been a cat he would have been purring as Walter rubbed his ears.


“Oh for goodness sake! How many more times do I have to tell you!” Walter exclaimed, exasperated. Mulder smiled to himself because really he couldn’t hear it too many times and it was always nice to force Walter into having to say it.


“What happened to the pizza?” he asked, suddenly feeling very hungry.


“It arrived while you were in the shower. I put it in the oven to keep it warm.” Skinner told him. “Shall I go and fetch it?”

“Yes please!” He moved his head to allow Skinner up and closed his eyes, feeling an ecstatically happy pain throbbing through his body.


“So,” said Walter, sitting down cross-legged on the floor with the pizza and handing Fox a slice. “What are you doing tomorrow evening? Only I’ve just bought this new knife and as it’s a Thursday I thought I might try it out….”




End Part Two


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