Cruel To Be Kind:3. London


Fox Mulder lay back in his seat with a sigh. It was going to be a long flight and it was going to be just him and Walter all the way to Heathrow airport, London. He was going to enjoy himself. Walter crammed his big body down in the narrow seat next to his lover and smiled.


“Hey, sleepy. Don’t close your eyes just yet. There are some papers I want to go through with you first.”
“Okay, boss.” Mulder grinned. They were attending a conference on serial killers in London and he was going to be giving a paper on Eugene Tooms.
“Not your average serial killer to be sure,” Walter had mused when he told him. “But still. It’ll give them all something to talk about!”
“You bet.” Mulder had winked.


“And I think I’d better accompany you. Just to keep you out of trouble you understand.” Walter smirked.


“To say nothing of a few days break in one of the most happening capitals of the world?” Mulder asked.


“Nothing at all. I have no intention of going out sight-seeing or visiting loads of theaters or dining out in different restaurants every night with my beautiful lover, well away from the prying eyes of people who know us…” Walter mused, a sly smile on his lips and a mischievous glint in his eye.


“Stop! It’s turning me on just thinking about it!” Mulder groaned.


So here they were. On a flight, just the two of them, with Walter in lover mode not boss mode which was just how Mulder liked him best. He sighed and smiled at his lover as Walter tried to get comfortable, flexing his broad shoulders and getting out a sheaf of papers.


“Sit up, Agent Mulder. Don’t relax yet. Plenty of time for that in the hotel!” Skinner grinned and Mulder sat up with a sigh and began to leaf through the file Skinner handed to him, casting a resentful glance at his boss as he did so. If Skinner was going to be businesslike for the entire journey then this wasn’t going to be any fun at all! Finally a couple of hours into the flight, Skinner let him relax and they both leaned back and fell fast asleep, their fingers touching lightly.




“So!” Walter took a deep breath of British air, “This is London, England!”
“Looks like it.” Mulder spared the airport a cursory glance and then rummaged in his bag for his passport.


“Home of red buses, black taxis, men called Clive and Roger, chimney sweeps, outrageous dancing cockneys and a nation obsessed with corporal punishment!” Walter grinned.


“What?” Mulder looked up in surprise.


“Just kidding. Not a chimney sweep in sight!” Walter smirked. Mulder frowned at him.


“Don’t you start any of that, Walter,” he muttered. “And there had better not be a paddle packed away in that case of yours.” He pointed at Walter’s sleek, satanic black luggage which made his own look like a battered old rucksack left over from his student days and tied together with bits of string. In fact that was exactly what it was.


“Waste room on a paddle? When I had all my expensive leisurewear and a selection of my trademark crisp white shirts to pack?” Walter exclaimed. “Don’t be silly. Besides, I’ve brought several of my thickest leather belts and I’ve heard wonderful things about what you can buy in British sex shops…”
“Shut up.” Mulder made a face. “It isn’t a joke. It’s become a sick side of your personality, Walter and frankly one I think you should seek some help with. There’ll be plenty of psychiatrists at this conference so maybe you should talk to one.”


“Don’t whine, Fox. You know I only do it for you.” Walter smiled confidently and headed off towards customs.


“For me???” Mulder trailed along after him, his luggage falling apart in his hands and a selection of his ties falling to the floor.


“Now, where’s the elevator?” Walter looked around briskly, anxious to be shot of the dull airport and hitting the bright lights of the big city. It had been a long flight and he wanted to stretch his cramped legs.


“There.” Mulder pointed to a sign saying “Lift.”
“Lift? Lift?” Walter frowned. “Are you sure?”


“Yes, lift. I used to live here, remember?” Fox sniffed, pleased to be one up on his infuriating lover. He pressed the button and they waited for the lift to arrive. “There’s all sorts of little differences like this. Pants for example.”
“Pants?” Walter enquired, looking down at his expensive chinos.


“Yes. If you drop your pants here you’ll be arrested for indecent exposure – they’re underwear, not trousers!” Mulder grinned. “And they don’t eat the same foods either.”
“Ah yes. English cuisine. Revolting by all accounts.”


“Fish and chips.” Mulder murmured, his mood brightening as he remembered. “Fish and chips is like ambrosia, like heaven. When I was at Oxford we used to go down Harry’s chippy every night of the week and eat fish and chips out of newspaper with salt and vinegar…”
“Ah, your mis-spent student days. The ones you so rarely speak of, Fox. I’m looking forward to finding out so much more. Perhaps being back in this country will jog your memory. I love the idea of a deliciously young and innocent Fox Mulder, studying hard for his degree at Oxford university, embarking on a series of fascinating sexual experimentations…”
“Not.” Mulder said firmly. “I led a completely sheltered life while I was here. Hardly went out the entire time. Got up to nothing whatsoever!”


“Then why…” Walter asked, leaning close and whispering in his lover’s ear, “have you gone all red?”
Mulder flushed a deeper crimson and kicked his lover’s irritatingly perfect luggage.


“I haven’t,” he said, getting into the lift and pressing the “close door” button, hoping it would shut on his lover’s burly frame and cause him some discomfort. It didn’t. Walter swanned through bouncing his enormous case behind him in one huge arm as if it only contained one pair of socks and a toothbrush.


They stayed in a hotel off Charing Cross Road in 2 bedrooms with an interconnecting door.


“Must keep up appearances.” Walter tossed his case onto the couch and took hold of his lover’s face, bestowing a huge, wet kiss on his lips.


“What is the matter with you?” Mulder pulled away. “You’ve transmogrified into another of your strange alter egos, Walter.”
“Transmogrified? Ah, to have an intelligent lover who knows such words. What a turn on! I love it when you talk dirty.” Walter licked Mulder’s ear affectionately. “Lighten up, Fox. We’re in a strange land, we’re on vacation!” He exclaimed.
“I’m not. I’ve got a paper to give. I’m nervous.”
“Nervous? Why?” Walter bounced up and down on the enormous double bed in some delight.


“Well how many serial killers do you know who build nests out of newspapers, live for hundreds of years and feed off human livers?” Mulder asked him. “They’re going to laugh me out of that conference.”
“With me by your side? Assistant Director Walter Skinner of the FBI? I don’t think so.” Walter gave his meanest boss frown and Mulder had to laugh.


“That at least is a comfort.” He sighed, sitting down on the bed beside his lover.


“Come on!” Walter got up again, rustling a brisk hand through Mulder’s hair. “A shower, get changed, then we get on out there, sex machine!” He pulled Mulder up and walked him into the bathroom, undressing his uncomplaining lover and pushing him under the warm water before divesting himself of his own clothing and following on in.


“Gay bars, straight bars, S&M clubs…” Walter flicked through a copy of ‘Time Out.’ “The choice is ours.”


“Well, no to the S&M clubs then.” Mulder told him firmly. “Because you don’t need any encouragement in that direction whatsoever, Walter.”


“Oh honestly. A couple of light spankings and you’re theorising a whole sexual perspective!” Walter groaned. “I’ve never even so much as tied you up in your life and anyway you deserved those spankings.” He held up his hand to stop Mulder’s protests before they began. “Gay bars then. Because I want to dance with you and kiss you.” He smiled. “And nobody knows who we are or how respectable we pretend to be back in Washington. I want to be someone else tonight!” And so saying he marched off in the general direction of Soho.


“Comptons, Brief Encounter, Heaven, Bang, Two Brewers…” Walter read out from the list of gay bars and found one of them, putting his arm around Mulder’s shoulders and pushing him into the darkly lit bar.


It didn’t take them long to be the center of attention. Two such attractive men were bound to cause a stir. They were both tall and striking and Mulder had to admit that his lover was looking totally gorgeous this evening. He was clad in tight black jeans and a plain red shirt and he had even left off his glasses. As for Mulder, he was still nervous about his paper and couldn’t relax. He watched in dull jealousy as the vivacious and utterly un-A.D.-like Skinner held center stage, flirting outrageously with every man who chatted him up. Mulder had his share of admirers but he was unable to compete with his boss. Skinner was on another level entirely, dancing the night away to trashy pop records, the sweat pouring off his bald head and soaking into his shirt.


“Y-M-C-A.” Walter span around the dance floor making ludicrous arm movements as Mulder stared sourly into his drink.


“And he thinks I behave badly sometimes,” he grumbled.


“Come on, Fox. Dance!” Walter yelled. Fox shook his head mutely and watched as a small, exquisitely beautiful punk with fluorescent pink hair, grabbed his lover’s arms and whirled him around. “Show off,” he muttered.


“Feeling left out?” Mulder looked up at the huge blond god who was smiling at him.


“Your boyfriend? He’s not paying you enough attention. I’ve noticed.” The Nordic god grinned, showing a set of perfect white teeth. “Why don’t you come and talk to me?” And so saying he picked up Mulder’s drink and took it off to a quiet corner of the bar. Mulder followed on glumly, not feeling like socialising when his lover was about to be seduced by small pink-haired people.


“I’m Sven.” The god said, holding out a hand. That was the last thing that Mulder remembered.


Skinner paced around the room irritably. He had been up half the night waiting for Mulder to come back but there was no sign of him. He was worried. Had Mulder been captured by Cancerman? Abducted by aliens? Had he returned to the U.S. in a huff because Walter hadn’t danced with him? He glanced at his watch. It was now nearly 7 a.m. and still there was no sign of him. He wished he was back in Washington – then at least he could have sent a couple of agents out to look for his errant lover. Here he felt so helpless. At last he knew he could delay no longer. He made a brief phone call to the police who assured him without snickering that they’d look into it sometime soon by which Skinner inferred that they meant sometime next week.


“A grown man, missing for 5 whole hours? And you last saw him where, sir? Oh there. The gay place isn’t it? Yes, sir, very serious…” the policeman had murmured, without so much as a trace of a humorous cockney accent. All in all it was very annoying. Skinner pulled his red shirt off and headed for the shower.


Still no sign of him at 8 a.m. and Skinner realised with some trepidation that if Mulder wasn’t there to deliver his paper then he would have to deliver it for him. Damn him! Damn, damn, damn! He was dressed for work in his crisp white shirt and striped tie, looking quite immaculate and forbiddingly angry, glaring at everybody who passed by his breakfast table. A small child wandered by and Skinner scowled at him, reducing the toddler to tears. Get a grip, man, he told himself sternly. He left the table, his breakfast untouched and made his way back to the elevator or lift or whatever the stupid Brits called the damn thing.


“Damn.” He said again as he waited, glancing at his watch for the millionth time. Mulder’s paper was scheduled for 11a.m.


“Damn indeed.” A man next to him smiled. “Damn and bloody hell and bugger and…”
“Excuse me?” He glanced witheringly at the man.
“I’m late too.” The man said. “I thought I’d join in with the swear words. You’re American aren’t you?”
“Due at the conference?”
“Yes.” Walter tried to be less unfriendly but it was hard when he felt like this.


“Some tedious nonsense first thing, but the second paper should be good. That fellow Mulder. I’ve heard a lot about him.”
“I expect it’s all true.” Skinner commented sourly.


“My name’s Roger Hawthorne.” The man held out a hand.


“Roger Clive Hawthorne?” Skinner asked wryly.


“Yes! How did you know?” Roger smiled.
“Just a guess.” Skinner shrugged.


“But my friends call me Bunny.” Roger grinned. Skinner gave him a suspicious look. He decided that he didn’t like Britain.


Roger accompanied him down to the conference room and introduced him to a friend of his, Murray “Mad Hatter” McGuire. Skinner felt more and more like an alien in a strange land with each passing minute. However had Mulder got on here with these peculiar English people and their bizarre nicknames? On the other hand, with a name like Fox, and a nickname like “Spooky”, maybe he had fitted in just fine.


“Can’t wait to see Mulder.” McGuire confided.


“You and me both.” Skinner muttered.


“Do you know him?” McGuire asked.


“I’m his boss.” Skinner grunted. And when I get my hands on him….he thought to himself grimly.


“Oh, really. Well I’m delighted!” McGuire laughed. “I used to teach Mulder at Oxford. What a little gem he was!”
“Was he?” Skinner looked askance at McGuire.


“Oh yes. A complete handful as well. Quite brilliant of course but I’ve never known a student able to sulk like that boy!”
“How did you deal with that?” Skinner asked, interested.


“Only one way to deal with it!” McGuire told him with a knowing wink. “Probably not something they encourage in the F.B.I though!”
“Tell me.” Skinner leaned forward, eagerly.


“Well in England we find a short, sharp shock usually works best if you get my meaning!” McGuire grinned at him and for the first time that morning, Skinner found himself smiling.


There was still no sign of Mulder by 11 a.m and Skinner got up in fear and trepidation to deliver the paper for him. It was a testament both to his stern frown and his demeanour of fierce belligerence that nobody dared to crack a smile as he aggressively intoned the details of the Tooms case. When he had finished, a sea of hands rose to ask questions.


“So…” One of the Brits smirked. “I don’t know about you, but here in the U.K. we tend not to come across mutants all that often. Sure you haven’t been watching too much American TV?”


A ripple of laughter passed around the room. Skinner quelled it with one savage glance.


“My initial reaction to this case was the same,” he said. “But the data is all here on your factsheet. I suggest you look at it and then ask me a more informed question. Next?”


At that moment he saw a sorry figure enter the room, his work suit obviously hastily applied, the tie still half undone and the shirt sticking out of one side of his trousers. There was stubble on his chin and a hang-dog expression on his face.


“Excuse me but Agent Mulder has just arrived.” He announced, ignoring the frantic head-shakes his subordinate was giving him. “He’ll take over now. Won’t you, Mulder!” he barked.


Mulder sighed and nodded, inching his way forward and trying not to look at his boss. Mulder wasn’t sure how he got through the next half hour but one thing he did know – he had disgraced the FBI by his late arrival, his appearance and the condition he was in and Skinner was hopping mad. He mumbled his way through the question and answer session and then followed his boss up to their hotel room, not even bothering to speak, his eyes cast down to the floor.


They were just about to go into their room when McGuire popped up.


“Fox! How are you? Oops. Better not ask perhaps!” He grinned, his eyes raking over Mulder’s dishevelled appearance and taking in Skinner’s fuming, furious face.


“Mr McGuire! Sir…I’m mighty glad to see you,” Mulder babbled, hoping that by talking to McGuire he could delay the inevitable confrontation with Skinner.


“You know…” McGuire looked at Skinner and winked. “I have something I think you’re going to need. Come with me, Mr Skinner.” And so saying he waved them into his room. Mulder watched in alarm as McGuire opened up his case and got out a thick leather tawse.


“Brand new.” McGuire slapped it against his thigh heartily and handed it to Skinner.


“You have a case of this stuff?” Skinner asked, peering at the other items McGuire had with him.


“Oh yes. I’m British. We’re obsessed!” McGuire laughed. “Do you know how to use one of these, Mr Skinner?”
“No, I don’t believe I do.” Skinner gave Mulder a cool glance. “But I’m certainly interested in finding out. If you’d like to show me, Mr McGuire.”
“Certainly.” McGuire arranged a pillow on the bed and took aim at it. Mulder winced and edged towards the door, feeling distinctly unsafe.
“Not another step, Mulder.” Skinner rapped out in a tone of absolute command. Mulder froze. He watched in agony as McGuire went through the mechanics of how best to aim and deliver the blow for maximum effect, his backside already starting to hurt and the tawse hadn’t even been near him yet. Then McGuire got out other items from his case and gave Skinner a lesson in using them as well. Straps, canes, paddles (like he needs a lesson there, Mulder thought grimly), riding crops, the full works. There was no item of torture not brought out, waved around threateningly, its merits thoroughly discussed and technique gone over in meticulous detail. Mulder started to feel like a lamb in a lion’s den.


“So, a cane…” Walter swung the vicious implement through the air. “How painful is this?” He asked McGuire.


“Very. Only to be saved for pretty bad offences. Can cut the skin.” McGuire smiled and winked at Mulder. Mulder winced.


“The strap is a lot milder. Don’t use rubber unless you really have to.” McGuire got out a rubber whip. “The most painful of all. Only for serious misdemeanours.”
“I see.” Skinner fingered the rubber whip and glanced thoughtfully at Mulder. Mulder bit his lip and shook his head, mutely. Skinner glared at him. Finally the demonstration came to an end.


“Well, I’m late,” McGuire said, glancing at his watch, “and you must have a lot to say to this naughty young pup. See you later.” And he ushered them out of his room again. Skinner unlocked the door to his own room and charged inside. Mulder followed on quietly behind, staring glumly at the tawse Skinner still held clutched in his hand. There was no way he was going to get out of this one. He might as well just start undoing his trousers and bending over right now.


“I was drugged.” He said quickly before Skinner could speak. “A man put something in my drink then took me outside and left me in the gutter somewhere, making off with my wallet. I only woke up a couple of hours ago. It wasn’t my fault,” he said defensively.


“It never is your bloody fault!” Skinner yelled.


“Bloody?” Mulder queried.


“I’ve been learning some new swear words.” Skinner informed him. “And I am so angry that I can barely speak.”
“I know, I know.” Mulder traced a pattern on the carpet with his foot. He had been in trouble with his boss before but never with his lover and his boss at the same time. Of course they were the same person, weren’t they? He had never been quite sure. “I didn’t sleep with him,” he said quickly, covering the lover angle as well, just to be on the safe side. He glanced up out of the corner of his eye to see how mad Skinner was and wished he hadn’t.


“Look at you. You’re a mess. Really as assistant director and your supervisor I should….I should…god I don’t know what’s bad enough really. And as your boyfriend I was so worried! I’ve been up all night, worrying! What is it with you, Fox? You want to kill me? Send me to an early grave?”
“No.” Mulder muttered resentfully. “I’m sorry. Are you going to use that thing on me?” He gestured at the tawse.


“You bet I am!” Skinner undid the buttons on his sleeves and rolled them up, revealing his brawny forearms. Mulder felt that familiar sinking feeling in his stomach.


“Please don’t…really. You’re so mad that it scares the hell out of me…” he pleaded pathetically. “And that thing looks really mean.”
“Good. Come here. ” Skinner beckoned him over and he sighed and obeyed, reluctantly, undoing his trousers as he went, anxious not to make Skinner any more angry than he already was. “Why don’t you bend over the back of the couch?” Skinner suggested menacingly. “I think I want to take a good swing with this.” Mulder felt his stomach lurch as he did as he was told, dropping his pants and boxers and biting his lip.


The kiss of the tawse against his bare buttocks was all too familiar from his days at Oxford. He had never told Skinner how Mr McGuire had treated difficult undergraduates. It was all too embarrassing. Somehow there was just something about him that made people want to spank him he thought to himself. Probably people just passing by in the street secretly yearned to spank him as well. I expect it’s my face, he thought mournfully to himself, or the fact that I’m so annoying and get into so much trouble and have this ridiculous lower lip…


It wasn’t a short spanking. It was long and agonising and seemed to involve a lot of grunting on Skinner’s part and a lot of shrieking on Mulder’s. Moreover, Skinner seemed to take a special delight in aiming the tawse in the same spot over and over again until Mulder wasn’t sure he could stand up for much longer. Now he longed for the comfort of his lover’s knees and his hand pressing him down, keeping him in one position. It was all he could do to stop sliding all over the place as he clung on to the back of the couch.


“Please, Walter….” He stammered at last. “I can’t stand any more…really…” He could feel the tears coursing down his cheeks and hoped this would melt his lover’s heart. It didn’t.


“You’ll have to. I’m still angry.” Skinner told him.


“I was drugged, I don’t see how…” he shut up as a glance back at his lover’s face convinced him that talking only made things worse. Could they be any worse? He was sure his backside was thoroughly bruised now, it certainly felt like it. And more than that, he was genuinely concerned that Walter might not love him any more. He hated it when his lover got this angry.
“This is for making me worry all night.” Skinner pounded a blow down with particular harshness making Mulder scream.


“And this is for making me deliver that damn paper to all those smirking Brits.” Another savage blow that took Mulder’s breath away.


“And this is for turning up looking like something left over from last night’s dinner, for disgracing me and yourself.” Skinner delivered this blow so hard that Mulder was dazed by the force of it.


“Please…” he begged but Skinner took no notice, raising the tawse again…and again…and again….




“Fox, wake up!”


“What?” He came to with a start.


“We’ve arrived.” Skinner smiled down on him. “Look, London.” He pointed out of the aeroplane window. “Are you alright? You look like you’ve just had a nightmare.”
“I have.” Mulder shuddered. “You do still love me don’t you, Walter?” He asked anxiously as Walter got up and rummaged around in the overhead luggage locker.
“Of course!” Walter stroked his lover’s arm gently and gave him a look of devotion that allayed all his fears. Mulder ran his fingers over Walter’s big hands, wincing slightly as he remembered his dream.


“And you don’t want to hurt me.” Mulder asked anxiously.


“Why? What have you done?” Walter laughed out loud.


“Nothing.” Mulder told him with wide innocent eyes. Yet, he thought to himself. “You know, Walter…I’m pretty tired,” he said. “When we get to the hotel, do you think we could just turn in and have an early night?”




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