House Arrest



“Good morning.” Mulder said, emphasizing the word “morning”. He flicked on the lamp, and glanced pleasantly at his watch.


“You’re making a point. I can tell.” Skinner shrugged off his coat, and slammed the front door shut behind him. “Well, what is it?”


“You’re a bright boy. You don’t need me to explain what my point is. The facts speak for themselves. You said you had to work late…”


“I did have to work late.” Skinner growled, throwing his briefcase down, and disappearing into the kitchen. Mulder heard Skinner open a drawer, and slam it shut with a curse.


“I’m not disputing that you were working.” Mulder shook his head, following the other man into the kitchen. “Although wedid have a date.”


“And I told you that  I couldn’t make it.” Skinner slammed a cupboard door shut, looking for a clean mug. “Damn, why couldn’t you have done the dishes while you were hanging out here like a…like a…”


“Like a boyfriend waiting for his lover to show up? Hmm, I don’t know. Maybe because it isn’t my apartment, it’s not my mess, and if you were ever here for more than five hours out of every twenty-four, you could do your own dishes.”


“Skip the lecture, Mulder.” Skinner snapped. “What the hell are you doing here anyway? I told you I couldn’t make tonight. Do you have any idea what time it is?”


“Yes. I do. It’s nearly three. As I know for a fact that you left home this morning at 5:30, that means that you’ve been working for almost twenty-four hours straight. I warned you this morning that you were overdoing it. I told you to be home, and in bed, by midnight. You promised, and, as I recall, I said I’d be checking up on you.”


“You’re not my mom.” Skinner made a face as he washed up a coffee mug, and dumped two heaping spoonfuls of coffee into it. Mulder took the mug away from him, and emptied the coffee back into the jar.


“I bet you’ve been drowning in coffee all day. I suspect that you’re feeling jittery, irritable – more so than usual,” Mulder smiled sweetly, “and that you have a bad headache. Drinking even more coffee is not the answer to a caffeine overdose.”


“Oh yeah?” Skinner said belligerently. “I’m not in the mood for all this goddamn crap, Mulder. Now give me the mug back, or I’ll break you in two.”


“You might – if you could see just the one of me. But you’re already seeing two of me, so if you were to succeed in your threat, there’d be four of me. Each one nagging you. Is it really worth it?”


Skinner swayed for a moment, blinking, and staring at his lover.


“Sometimes you make no sense.” He muttered, pushing past Mulder. He threw himself down on the couch, and turned on the television.


Mulder intercepted the remote, and turned the television off.


“Bed.” He whispered silkily in his lover’s ear.


“I can’t. I’m not tired. That is…I’m too tired…does that make any sense?” Skinner looked up at the other man beseechingly, and Mulder felt a wave of worry and anger, as he took in his lover’s appearance. Skinner’s face was, quite literally, gray with exhaustion. There were dark rings under his eyes, and he was haggard.


“Christ, you look like shit.” He muttered. “And yes, it does make sense. Hell, I’ve been there, done that. Nobody could ever accuse me of being the best sleeper in the world. Not until I started sleeping with you that is.” He smiled fondly. “But you have to sleep. You can’t go on like this. How long has it been? Three weeks?”


“I haven’t been counting.” Skinner replied tersely. “I just do what has to be done.”


“Even if you kill yourself in the process? The crisis has passed…” Mulder began.


“Yeah, but I still have all the paperwork to clear up, the reports to read and sign off, the agents to…”


“It’s not urgent any more!” Mulder cried in exasperation. “They caught the terrorists, and they aren’t going anywhere for a very long time, thanks to all the evidence they so obligingly left for your agents to find. So everyone can rest easy. Jesus, let up on yourself a little, will you?”


“Not until it’s finished.” Skinner said stubbornly. “I have a job to do, a responsibility…”


“And what about your responsibility to yourself?” Mulder demanded. “You’ve been driving yourself into the ground over this one. I know it was important, I know that the Director has been breathing down your neck, and I know that the goddamn President has been breathing down his neck. But you’re just one man, and you are entitled to a break for more than three hours out of every twenty four!”


“Back off, Mulder. You’re way out of line.” Skinner’s eyes were angry behind the weariness. “We agreed a long time ago never to discuss work at home, and vice versa. You’re just pissed because I stood you up.”


Mulder stared at him, open-mouthed.


“And you really must be out of it to even think that’s why we’re having this conversation. I care about you, Walter, and I’m not going to let you kill yourself like this.”


“I’m sorry.” Skinner caught his lover’s hand in his own. “I, uh, I am tired. And, um, I just can’t face climbing up all those damn stairs to get to bed.”


Mulder’s expression softened.


“Tell you what, I’ll give you a hand.” He offered.


“A hand?” Skinner raised a suggestive eyebrow. Mulder sighed.


“Relaxation is what you need, not hot sex.” He scolded. “Now come on. I’m going to run you a bath, and put you to bed, which is where all good little assistant directors should be at 3 a.m.”
“And what about special agents? Where should they be?” Skinner asked, holding out his arms, to allow Mulder to heave him off the couch.


“Snuggled up to their boss, where they belong.” Mulder grinned, and kissed Skinner sweetly on the lips. “Come on, big guy. Time for some R & R.”


He helped Skinner walk up the stairs, and deposited him in the bedroom, then he went to run the bath. He returned to find Skinner lying flat out on the bed, fast asleep, still fully dressed.


“So much for being too tired,” he murmured, looking down on his exhausted lover. “Come on, sleeping beauty. Let’s see if we can make you more comfortable.”


He undid Skinner’s tie, and unbuttoned his shirt, pausing to plant a soft kiss on the hollow of the other man’s throat.


“You are one sexy bastard, even half dead,” he murmured, easing his lover out of the shirt, and then moving down to undo his belt. Skinner shifted, and muttered something in his sleep. Mulder smiled, and unhooked his lover’s glasses, leaving them on the nightstand.


“But I was right. You do look like shit. Something has got to be done about it, you stubborn old mule. And if you won’t do anything… then I suppose it’ll just have to be up to me, won’t it?” He grinned, pulled off his lover’s pants, disposed of his briefs, and rolled his naked body under the sheets.


“This requires some thought.” Mulder sat down on the bed for a while, gently caressing his lover’s head while he considered the problem, and then, suddenly, in the darkness, he gave the most evil grin.




Skinner grunted, and rolled over, then he grunted again. He opened his eyes, and tried to make out the time on the clock on his nightstand…only to find that it had disappeared. He closed his eyes, and tried to take in this information, then opened them again. He reached out a fumbling hand to find his glasses, and, putting them on, he squinted at the nightstand again. No, definitely gone.


He sat up, and glanced at the other side of the bed. No Mulder. Had his lover even been here last night, or had that just been his over-tired mind playing tricks on him? Skinner struggled wearily out of the bed. Had he undressed himself? He wondered, reaching for his robe. He didn’t remember undressing…and where was his robe? It wasn’t hanging from the door where it usually was, and it wasn’t on the chair, where he sometimes threw it. Hmm.


Sleepily, he made his way over to the window, and twitched the drapes aside a fraction. Damn! It was broad daylight out there, and he had meant to be in the office early this morning. Damn, damn, damn. He could kill Mulder for this. It had to be Mulder. He launched himself over to the closet, opened the doors, and found that it was…empty. Empty?


“MULDER!” He roared, hearing his voice bounce back off the closet walls, and echo around his ears, making his already painful headache even worse. A few seconds later, his lover’s head appeared around the door.


“You called, sir?” He smiled sweetly.


“Where are my clothes?” Skinner demanded. “And my robe? And what exactly has happened to my clock, and what time is it? And what the hell…” he glanced at his wrist, “have you done with my watch?”


“Are you hungry?” Mulder ignored the list of questions. “I went out shopping. You have even less food in your apartment than I do in mine. Did you know that?”


“Mulder.” Skinner advanced on the other man, his face grim.


“I’m making you an English breakfast, just like I used to eat at Oxford. I’ve got bacon and eggs, and I thought you might like some French toast, and mushrooms. Of course the cholesterol count is probably horrific, but seeing as Scully isn’t here to nag, we might as well indulge ourselves and die happy.


“Mulder.” Skinner put out a meaty hand, and gripped his lover firmly around the neck. “I want my clothes, and I want my watch, and I want them now.”


“If only it were that simple.” Mulder smiled helplessly, spreading his hands in a gesture of mock defeat.


“What do you mean?” Skinner yelled. “Of course it’s that simple! I’ve had enough of this childish game, Mulder. I’m late for work and…” Skinner trailed off in surprise as Mulder burst into a fit of helpless giggles.


“What?” He shook his lover. “What are you laughing at?”


“You…” Mulder gasped. “Do you know, there was a time when that tone of voice would have scared the shit out of me. Not any more though, Walter. I know you’re just my big cuddly bear who wouldn’t hurt a fly.”


“I might hurt a fox, though.” Skinner replied grimly. Mulder knew how much he hated all that “snuggle-bunny” type talk.


“Nah.” Mulder dislodged his lover’s hand from around his throat, and drew the other man into a reluctant embrace. “Not you. I know you too well, remember. My Mr. Softie.” He ignored Skinner’s growl of protest at the name, and kissed his lover’s pursed, unresponsive lips, then nibbled on his earlobe. “All right then, tough guy. Have it your own way.” Mulder smiled, disengaging himself. “I’ll be downstairs, getting breakfast. Why don’t you take a shower, and then come down?” And with that, he disappeared.


“Mulder!” Skinner shouted after him. “Mulder, come back here!” But there was no reply.


With a sigh, Skinner looked around the bedroom again. No clock. No watch. No clothes. Still, he could phone in, talk to Kim, tell her that he had a very small personal problem to “sort out”, (a Skinner euphemism for “beat the hell out of “) and would be in very soon. He sat down on the bed, and reached for the phone…


“MULDER!” He yelled. “Where the hell have you put the phone?”


What the fuck is he up to? Skinner thought to himself resentfully, as his last question went unanswered. If he thinks this is going to help me relax and unwind, he is so wrong. I hate surprises. I hate being out of control. I hate…He went through a litany of things he hated, and found that it was quite a long list once he had started. Dogs with stupid little coats on them, he muttered to himself, as he got in the shower and turned the water on. Men who think that ties in nauseating shades of purple and green are stylish, (he made a face in what he hoped was the general direction of the kitchen). People with pierced tongues, people who call up and ask if you want to switch to a new long distance telephone company…The tantalizing smell of bacon and eggs wafted up the stairs towards him, distracting him from his list. Hmm. He was famished. When was the last time he ate? He tried to think back, but honestly couldn’t remember. Yesterday, at lunch time, he thought. Yes, Kim had brought him a sandwich, and he’d…put it in his drawer and forgotten about it. Yesterday morning then. A bar of chocolate at about 11 a.m.


His mouth watered in eager anticipation of his breakfast, and he finished off in the shower, and stepped out, reaching for a towel…


“MULDER!” he yelled. “MULDER!”


“Make it quick. I’m cooking the eggs, and you know you like them over easy, instead of fried hard.” Mulder leaned against the door, panting slightly from running up the stairs two at a time. Skinner blinked at his lover crossly.


“How did you know that?” He asked.


“Walter, I’ve been your lover for nearly a year. There are lots of things I know about you. Eggs are the least of your little secrets.” Mulder explained patiently.


“Hmm. Well then, you’ll also know that I like to dry myself with a TOWEL, after getting out of the shower.” Skinner said, enunciating the word “towel” slowly and clearly, so that there could be no misunderstanding. “In fact, I believe that most people like to do that.”


“So they do.” Mulder nodded earnestly. “Which is why I provided you with this.” He waved his hand at the small towel that was slung over the towel rail.


“This?” Skinner held it up. He could just about fasten the skimpy towel around his waist, but it didn’t do more than cover his vital parts, leaving the rest of his long, muscular body fully exposed. “This isn’t much more than a washcloth!” He protested.


“That’s right. But it’s big enough to do the job. Unless you wanted me to lick you dry. Could be fun.” Mulder looked at him with bright, anticipatory eyes, and Skinner wasn’t sure whether he was joking or not. “Oops, no. No time. I can smell something.” Mulder smiled at his lover, and then disappeared out of the door.


Skinner frowned, his eyes narrowing.


“Damn you, Mulder,” he muttered under his breath. “Damn, damn, damn. I knew something like this would happen if I let a paranoid, delusional, half-wit subordinate into my life. Damn. This must be why they have rules against this sort of thing at the FBI. Damn again. Double damn. Damn!” He aimed a kick at the bathroom door, and stubbed his bare toe against the wall. “DAMN!” he wailed out loud. He dried himself with the inadequate towel, then wrapped it around his thighs, and limped out into the corridor and down the stairs, berating himself for his lack of willpower in being unable to resist the smell of breakfast that was luring him like a siren song.


He took a deep breath, and tried to ignore the ignominy of entering the kitchen clad only in a very skimpy towel, like some sort of porn magazine centerfold.


“Just in time.” Mulder smiled at him serenely, and gestured to the table. “Sit down. Breakfast is served.”


“I’m not hungry,” Skinner lied. His stomach chose that very moment to contradict him, letting out a blood-curdling rumble.


“I think we have evidence to the contrary,” Mulder grinned.


“Even if I am…I cannot eat dressed like this.” Skinner gestured at his nearly naked state.


“You mean, ‘undressed’ like that!” Mulder corrected him. He sat down, and picked up his knife and fork eagerly.


“Whatever.” Skinner sat down sulkily. He had a sudden idea, and glanced up at the clock on the microwave…but it just flashed 00:00, as if the power supply had been cut off recently. Damn! He muttered under his breath.


“It’ll get cold,” Mulder warned, slicing into a mushroom, and covering it in egg yolk.


“I told you. I can’t eat like this,” Skinner snapped.


“Why not?” Mulder smiled.


“I might…I might drop egg down my chest,” Skinner spluttered, waving at his hairy torso. “It’d get all tangled up.”


“Hmm. Well, I think that’s what showers are for,” Mulder winked. “Or baths. You never did make it to the bath last night. We could have one together.”


“Is that it? You intend to hold me prisoner here, and force me to have sex with you constantly?” Skinner bristled angrily.


“Who said anything about sex?” Mulder took a swig of orange juice. “I think I mentioned a bath, or a shower. I never mentioned sex. Of course, if you insisted, I’d definitely consider it,” he grinned, and chewed on another mouthful of bacon.


“I’m going to eat because I’m hungry.” Skinner said, ignoring the fact that he was contradicting what he had said just three minutes previously. “But when I’m done, you and I are going to have a long talk about boundaries.”


“Okay.” Mulder smiled again, and poured his lover a glass of orange juice.


“You know, what would finish that off nicely…” Skinner said, pushing back his plate a few minutes later, “is a nice cup of freshly brewed coffee.”


“Sorry.” Mulder kissed his lover’s ear affectionately as he took his plate away. “No coffee. You’re on a coffee de-tox.”


“Since when?”


“Since I placed you under house arrest.” Mulder smiled at Skinner’s look of incomprehension.


“You did what?” He demanded.


“Come now, Walter, you work in the FBI. You understand the concept of ‘house arrest,’” Mulder told him, putting the plates in the sink, and coming back to the table to sit down.


“Maybe I’m not quite familiar with the concept as it applies to Assistant Directors, and their soon to be ex-lovers.” Skinner growled.


Mulder grinned, and reached out a finger to caress his lover’s ever-so-slightly protruding lower lip. Imitation was, of course, the sincerest form of flattery.


“Let me explain then, my big, furry cuddlekins.” He leaned back just in time to avoid his lover’s swipe of disgust. “Okay. Here’s the deal.” Mulder’s tone had changed, and he was suddenly business-like. “If you won’t take care of yourself, someone else is obviously going to have to do it for you. That someone, is me. Let’s face it, nobody else would dare. Now, Kim’s been worried about you for days and…”


“Kim spoke to you about me?” Skinner asked, astonished.


“Well, yeah. Kim and I are great friends. We talk about you all the time. That’s what secretaries are supposed to do behind their boss’s back. Talk to their boss’s partners.”


“But…but…Kim knows about us?” Skinner spluttered.


“Oh yeah!” Mulder laughed. “Shit, Kim practically got us together!”


“She did not!” Skinner protested.


“Walter, she was matchmaking us for months before we finally stopped dicking around and faced up to it, man to man. She used to call me, and let me know when you were taking a break, so that I could meet you accidentally-on-purpose in the canteen, or on the way to the Coke machine.”


“Those meetings weren’t accidental?” Skinner asked, bemused.


“You are so endearingly naïve,” Mulder sighed, and shook his head. “No, Walter. They weren’t.”


“Shit.” Skinner looked as if he’d been hit by a truck. “I thought you had to be pissed. Every time you took a break you’d end up running into me, and having to make small talk. I was getting embarrassed about it – thought I was screwing up your coffee breaks. Shit.” He gazed thoughtfully into space. “And Kim…?”


“Yes, Walter. Kim and I are old friends. She knew the way I felt about you, and she gave our romance a helping hand.”


“Kim!” Skinner shook his head, dumbfounded.


“Anyway, she’s been phoning me a lot in the past couple of weeks, telling me how you keep skipping meals, you don’t take enough breaks, the case has stressed you out, you’ve had to do more yelling than usual…”


“She thinks I yell a lot?” Skinner looked up.


“Oh yes,” Mulder smiled. “Nice to know that I’m not the only one who’s on the receiving end of that. But she only tells me this stuff because she’s worried about you. Very worried. In fact, she’s at her wits ends with you, but being your secretary, she doesn’t have a great deal of clout on the issue, and she’s intimidated by you.”


“Intimidated? By me?” Skinner looked startled. “Why? I like Kim. We get along well.”


“I know,” Mulder sighed, patiently. “You come across as forbidding, Walter. Lots of people are afraid of you. People who don’t know you, that is. Underneath of course, you’re a pussycat. I know that, you know that, but other people don’t.”


“A pussycat?” Skinner raised a dangerous eyebrow.


“Uh-huh,” Mulder nodded, and rubbed his lover behind the ear. Skinner sighed, and leaned into the caress. “And a guy just needs to stroke you in the right place, in order to be rewarded with a great big purr.” Mulder murmured. Skinner grunted, but couldn’t quite bring himself to pull away. Mulder laughed, and continued.


“So anyway, I told her I’d take care of it. And that’s exactly what I’m doing.”


“By taking away my clothes? Removing phones, and watches, and clocks, and playing around with the microwave?” Skinner demanded.


“The microwave?” Mulder looked up. “Oh, yeah. I forgot about that. Video clock’s not working either.” He smiled. “And I re-set the time on your computer too.”


“Mulder this is absurd. It’s a small apartment. I’ll track down my clothes in no time.” Skinner told him.


“I don’t think so, Walter.” Mulder said getting up, and walking carefully over to the door.


“Why?” Skinner followed, noticing that Mulder was looking distinctly worried.


“Okay. Here’s the part where you have to keep a tight hold on your temper. Alright?”


“Mulder, I don’t have a temper. You do. Now what is it?”


“Just promise you won’t go postal on me,” Mulder stood with one hand on the front door. Skinner watched him, silently, making no promises.


“Okay,” Mulder nodded. “Your clothes, the phones, the clocks, your watch, the large towels, hell, even the sheets, all of that stuff, is in the trunk of your car…in the parking lot…seventeen floors beneath us.”


“What?” Skinner exploded.


“That’s right,” Mulder held up a hand. “So unless you want to go waltzing down there in your birthday suit and an oversized hanky,” he pointed at Skinner’s skimpy towel. “I suggest that you do as you’re told.”


“Or?” Skinner asked quietly, dangerously.


“Or, you’re gonna be naked for a long, long, time,” Mulder smiled, his hand still resting lightly on the door, ready to flee if need be.


“And when, exactly, are you planning on giving me my clothes back?” Skinner asked him.


“Well, that’s the fun part,” Mulder relaxed a fraction, grinning. “You can have them back, item by item, whenever I think you’ve earned them.”


“Earned?” Skinner’s voice was low, and spine-tingling in its chilliness.


“Yeah. By resting, eating well, NOT obsessing about the office, doing as you’re told, and generally starting to take care of yourself again.”


“I am not ill!” Skinner thundered.


“No. But you are run down. You’ve been having one headache after another, and you’ve overdosed on caffeine and Excedrin,” Mulder told him. “You need some time out, Walter, and I’m damn well going to see that you get it.”


Skinner was quick, but Mulder was even quicker. Even as Skinner lunged for him, Mulder was out of the door, and down the corridor. Skinner pursued him for three strides, before realizing that his towel, never exactly securely wrapped around his waist, had now deserted him completely, and was lying next to the apartment door. At that moment, Mrs. Rodgers, who lived opposite, opened her door a fraction to see what all the commotion was about. She opened her eyes wide in disbelief. Then she opened them even wider in prurient enjoyment. Skinner flushed furiously, covering his buttocks and genitals inadequately with his hands, and apologized to her profusely as he returned to his apartment.


“Not at all, Mr. Skinner. Not at all! I’m always saying to my husband that we never see enough of you…” She called after him, chuckling to herself.




Mulder gave it an hour before returning, just to be safe. He found Skinner sitting in his towel on the couch, glaring at the ceiling.


“How are we feeling?” He asked, cautiously. “Are we over our little tantrum?”


We, are feeling just fine. And we, would like our clothes back, before we, do something we both regret,” Skinner told him firmly.


“Sorry. No can do,” Mulder smiled, and edged closer to his lover. “Walter, it’s for your own good.”


“Mulder, did it never occur to you, that by the time I get back to the office, I will have three times the amount of work there, waiting for me?” Skinner said.


“Yes. Of course. I’ve just been speaking to Kim on my cell phone. She’s rearranged all your meetings, informed the Director that you’re ill, and she’s told me that you should delegate more, so she’s arranging that herself.”


“What?” Skinner looked aghast.


“I told you. You take too much on yourself. I know you think that you’re invincible, but you’re not. Now come here.” Mulder held out a hand. Skinner stared at it suspiciously.


“Why? Where are we going?” He asked.


“Walter.” Mulder stood there patiently, and Skinner gave in with a sigh. He allowed Mulder to take him by the hand, and walk him up the stairs and into the bathroom. “Now look.” Mulder wiped some steam off the mirror, and pushed his lover in front of it.


“What am I supposed to be looking at?” Skinner asked him.


“You.” Mulder stood behind him, and pointed in the mirror. “When was the last time you really looked at yourself, hmm? See these…” He touched the flesh beneath his lover’s eyes. “Dark shadows, Walter, too little sleep for too long. And the color of your complexion, the headaches…the way your skin sags…”


“My skin does not sag!” Skinner protested.


“Alright. But you’ve got to admit that you aren’t looking your best. And you aren’t feeling your best either. When was the last time you went to the gym?”




“Or for a swim, or a jog? When was the last time you even played Frisbee with me in the park, and cheated, because you always have to win…”


“I do not…”


“Just teasing,” Mulder smiled. “My point is that you haven’t taken any exercise for a while, you aren’t eating properly, and you’re overworked. Admit that you look like shit, Walter.”


“I…” Skinner stared at himself in the mirror. Tired eyes stared back at him. He certainly didn’t look too good. “Alright.” He sighed. “You win. But locking me up naked in the house won’t get me exercise.”


“You can work out in the lounge,” Mulder told him brightly. “On that exercise machine thing you bought months ago and never unpacked.”


“Naked? You want me to work out naked?” Skinner asked incredulously.


“Why not? If it worked for the ancient Greeks…all oiled up, stretching their lissome bodies, and taut muscles, prior to running their marathons…mmm, who needs porn when you’ve got the real thing, huh?” Mulder smiled over his lover’s shoulder, and gently kissed the area where Skinner’s neck met his back. Skinner sighed, and shivered.


“You’re a pervert, Mulder,” he muttered, as Mulder’s fingers roved down the front of his body, and softly stroked his cock.


“I sure as hell hope so.” Mulder licked his way along Skinner’s spine. “Although I have to say that I worry about your definition of “pervert”, when applied to a man simply enjoying the idea of watching his boyfriend working out in the nude.”


“Ah…uh…” Skinner’s train of thought was interrupted by the presence of Mulder’s fingers stroking his cock firmly.


“Can I take it that you agree to co-operate with the conditions of your house arrest?” Mulder asked.


“Uh…” Skinner backed up against Mulder’s clothed body, as his lover’s caress became more insistent.


“Well?” Mulder asked, pausing.


“Don’t stop…” Skinner gasped.


“Your answer please,” Mulder whispered silkily in Skinner’s ear.


“Yes. Damn it! Yes. I agree!” Skinner sighed as Mulder resumed the loving caress.


“There, see, wasn’t so hard was it?” Mulder laughed, bringing his lover to climax, one arm wrapped around Skinner’s chest, one hand milking his lover’s cock, his lips pressed close to the other man’s neck. Skinner rested the back of his head on Mulder’s shoulder, and stared at his own reflection in the mirror. Little droplets of sweat beaded his wide forehead, and he had to admit to himself that he had looked better. Mulder was right. He had let himself go. His body was stiff and tired, he had a headache that had been pounding away in his temples for so long that he had simply become accustomed to it, and his muscles felt as if they needed a thorough work-out and a long bout of stretching.


“Take another shower, and then back to bed,” Mulder told him, slapping his lover’s bottom lightly.


Skinner sighed heavily and extravagantly, opening his mouth to argue, but then he caught sight of Mulder’s expression in the mirror, and closed it again. Occasionally, just occasionally, Mulder allowed the tough, uncompromising side of his personality to show, and this was one of them. Sometimes, he wondered if this was what made them such a well-suited couple. His own strong, tough-guy exterior, hid, as Mulder had rightly pointed out, a pussycat, whereas Mulder’s offbeat, heart-on-his-sleeve persona, hid a streak of pure steel. People were often surprised to find that what they saw was not always what they got.




Much to his surprise, he slept. When he awoke, he surmised that it was late afternoon, but he wasn’t sure. He stretched, realizing how many of his muscles were knotted up, and snatched up his towel, before making the trip downstairs to the lounge.


Mulder was kneeling in the center of the room, amid a sea of nuts, bolts, screws, and what looked like the remains of a major air crash.


“Mulder?” He stared at the mess. “What the hell…?”


“It’s your exercise machine,” Mulder shrugged apologetically. “I thought I’d get a head start on putting it together. Only…”


“Mulder, you know how useless you are at putting together self-assembly items,” Skinner sighed.


“It’s the diagrams,” Mulder complained. “How can they expect any normal person to decipher these silly little pictures?”


“I never have any trouble with it.”


“I rest my case,” Mulder grinned and kissed his lover. “I’m glad you slept.”


“How long was I…?” Skinner began. Mulder held up a hand to stop him.


“Stop worrying about the time, Walter.”


“I was wondering about that.” Skinner knelt down, and started sorting all the screws and bolts into separate piles. “What is it with the whole time thing? Why did you take away all the clocks?”


“Because I want you to get back in touch with your body. That’s the only clock you need to be listening to right now. I don’t want you worrying about what time of day it is, or how many hours have passed. I just want you to eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, and, uh, make love whenever you damn well feel like it!” Mulder grinned.


“Hmm.” Skinner frowned distractedly at the varied parts of the exercise machine, spread out in front of him. “God, Mulder, if you’d only kept everything in the packaging it came in…” He muttered, sorting through the equipment to find what he was looking for. He saw it by Mulder’s left knee, and clicked his fingers at it.


“Scalpel, doctor?” Mulder handed him the item, smiling at Skinner’s look of rapt concentration. How anybody could actively enjoy constructing complicated machines with the aid of cryptic diagrams was beyond him, but his idea of torture was Skinner’s idea of a fun afternoon, so he threw himself into the activity without any complaint. He was just pleased that he had found something to distract his lover from thinking about the case he had been working so hard on.


Skinner was surprised to see that it was dark when they finally finished. And he was hungry. Starving. He stretched out his long body, and winced.


“You need a massage.” Mulder smiled.


“You offering?” He leered.


“Later.” Mulder got to his feet. “Do you want to test it out?”


They stood there, proudly surveying the exercise machine.


“Nah,” Skinner sighed. “It was exhausting enough putting the damn thing up. I’ve got a headache. This is the point at which you tell me that you’ve hidden the Excedrin too.”


“That’s right,” Mulder smiled. “You’re on an aspirin de-tox. Your headaches are a symptom of stress, overwork, and poor diet. Once we sort those out, you’ll be fine.” Mulder smiled. “Now, let’s have something to eat. I’m going to go and order a take-out, as my cooking skills have already been overworked today. What are you in the mood for?”


They settled on Thai food, and Mulder made his way to the door.


“One thing, Mulder,” Skinner said. Mulder looked back questioningly. “I’ve been very good, haven’t I? Taking that nap, putting the exercise machine together. So haven’t I earned some clothes?”


Mulder nodded.


“Yes, Walter. You’ve been very good. I’ll bring you back a reward.”


He disappeared down to the parking lot. Skinner smiled to himself, and sat down on the couch. At least he’d get his dignity back soon. He’d given up trying to keep the towel fastened around his waist, and had discarded it. Soon he’d be able to snuggle into his briefs, and then he could stop worrying about various sensitive parts of his anatomy flopping around, and getting caught in doors.


“Here.” Mulder returned a few minutes later, crossing the room to solemnly hand him… his tie.


“What’s this?” He asked dangerously.


“Your reward, Walter. You wanted an item of clothing?”


“Mulder…” Skinner lurched to his feet, all his muscles protesting the sudden movement. “You know that I was thinking of my briefs, or a pair of boxer shorts, or even my pants, or a shirt. What the hell am I going to do with a tie?”


“Wear it?” Mulder suggested helpfully, placing the tie around his lover’s neck, and lovingly knotting it. “There. Fabulous. Wish I had a camera.” He stepped back, and admired the striped tie as it hung down the naked chest of his resplendently nude lover. Skinner sighed, and ran a hand over his weary eyes.


“Sometimes, it is very probable that I hate you, Mulder,” he murmured.


“Don’t say that,” Mulder pouted. “I was just about to offer you a massage.”


“A massage?” Skinner’s mood brightened as he imagined scented oils, and candles, and a long, lingering, erotic, massage from his lover’s talented fingers.


“Why not? The food will be about an hour. Time to straighten out all those kinks in your back and neck,” Mulder smiled. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed the way you keep wincing. Now come on. I’ve brought a towel up.”


He laid it on the floor, and pointed Skinner onto it. Skinner settled himself down with a sigh, and closed his eyes, then opened them again as the smell of liniment assaulted his senses.
“What the hell…?” He squealed.


“Good for muscle aches,” Mulder told him, sitting astride him and starting to rub. “And you have plenty of them, Walter. It’s going to take me some time to straighten them all out, so hold tight.”


His fingers dug mercilessly into Skinner’s back, and Skinner let out a gasp of protest at the pain.


“Nasty one there.” Mulder squeezed along his lover’s flesh until he heard a popping sound, and then he tried another spot. “Hmm, knotted up so tight I’m surprised you could stand upright, let alone walk.” Mulder commented. “You should NOT have ignored these warning signals, Walter. Don’t do it again, please.” His long fingers spidered over Skinner’s neck and back, finding every single sensitive area with unerring efficiency, and smoothing out the knots, cheerfully ignoring his lover’s little cries of distress as each one was dispatched.


Skinner squirmed and wriggled under Mulder’s expert touch. He had no idea how long this torment lasted, but when it was finally over, he just lay there, panting weakly.


“Now I really hate you,” he groaned.


“Don’t be a baby, Walter. A big, tough guy like you.” Mulder smiled, wiping his hands on his shirt and finally getting up off his lover’s back, allowing him to move. “You’ll feel much better for it.”


“But when?” Skinner moaned, struggling to get to his feet. Mulder whisked the towel away before his lover could grab it, and motioned Skinner to the couch.


“You sit down. I’m going to get the food.”


“Aren’t they going to deliver?”


“No. I could do with a breath of fresh air. Just because you’re under house arrest, doesn’t mean I have to be.” Mulder smiled. “Now be good while I’m gone. I’ll only be ten minutes.” He bent to kiss his lover’s cheek, and was rewarded by Skinner moving his head slightly so that he caught his mouth instead. “Pussycat.” He murmured to himself, moving towards the door.


Skinner was lying sprawled out on the couch, his tie still rakishly in place, when Mulder returned.


“Mr. November.” Mulder grinned.


Skinner stared at him, one eyebrow raised, questioningly.


“You look like a calendar pin-up. “FBI Office Boys – Unclad,” maybe. “Mr. November is everybody’s favorite Assistant Director. By day, he wears starched shirts, and prowls the corridors of power, snarling, while at night, he likes nothing better than to display his naked charms to his most brilliant agent, wearing only his tie…” Mulder stopped as the book flew across the room, narrowly missing his right shoulder. “Hmm, is that any way to get your underwear back?” He asked, disappearing into the kitchen to serve out the food.


Dinner, Skinner had to admit, was delicious. And he had forgotten what an interesting and amusing companion Mulder could be.


“How long has it been since we just hung out like this, enjoying ourselves?” He asked, dreamily, helping himself to a fourth serving of green chicken curry.


“Too long. I keep telling you that you aren’t a single man any more. You have to make time for a partner in your life, Walter.” Mulder laughed out loud as Skinner dropped some curry into his lap.


“Ow.” Skinner scowled. “If I’ve burned myself…”


“Don’t be silly. It’s barely lukewarm.” Mulder disappeared under the table, and took care of the spill with his tongue. “There, see. There are some advantages to eating naked.” Mulder smiled brightly upon his return.


“Hmph.” Skinner conceded between mouthfuls, wondering what time it was, and whether Kim had gone home, and whether the Director had been asking for him, and if…


“Sex.” Mulder said.




“Now. You, me, sex. Don’t think I don’t know that ‘my workload is piling up on my desk’, look.”


“Now?” Skinner stopped in mid-chew. “You want to have sex with me now? While we’re eating?”


“You’ve obviously never seen the movie ‘Tom Jones’.” Mulder grinned. “Food can be very erotic.”


“Yeah, right,” Skinner said in a tone of patent disbelief. “Prove it.”


“You always need proof don’t you? What is it with you and Scully? What did I do to deserve being surrounded by unbelievers? Well, if you want proof, I’ll get you proof. Don’t think this isn’t the story of my life…”


He got up, and returned to the table with a bowl of fruit, a tub of chocolate spread, and some ice cream.


“No way! The ice cream is straight out of the freezer.” Skinner said firmly, his balls contracting at the very thought of something so cold being smeared all over…


“I can’t prove it if you keep interfering.” Mulder gave him a reproving look. “Now you wanted evidence that food is erotic, and I’m going to provide it. Just do as you’re told. For once.” He sighed theatrically. Skinner smirked, and nodded.


Mulder picked up a plum, and ran his tongue over it. Skinner watched.


“Don’t expect me to eat that after you’ve slobbered all over it,” he said.


Mulder stopped and glared at him.


“All right, all right. Shit, some people are so touchy.” Skinner shrugged.


Mulder resumed his licking, nibbling at the skin, and stripping it down over the juicy flesh, peeling it with his teeth, until liquid ran down his chin, red and enticing. Skinner swallowed, fighting an urge to lick the juice off. Mulder delicately nibbled on the plum, then took it whole into his mouth, and disposed of the stone with a flick of his tongue, so that it landed in the middle of Skinner’s curry.


“Oh that is so disgusting. You really can’t think there is anything sexy…” Skinner protested. Mulder silenced him with a wave of his hand. Skinner sighed, and shut up.


Now Mulder took a bunch of grapes, and placed one into his mouth, then he leaned over, and dropped one into Skinner’s mouth. There was something nice about being fed, he conceded, but he wouldn’t have said it was a turn on.


“Close your eyes,” Mulder ordered, and he did so. “Now open up.”


Skinner felt a spoonful of chocolate sauce dissolve on his tongue. He opened his mouth for more, and was surprised by the different texture of the cool, vanilla ice cream, as it slid down his throat. Next another grape, then…hmm, some sort of fruit, he wasn’t sure what. Amazing how different things tasted when you couldn’t be sure what they were. Mulder was seated next to him now, spooning a variety of different choice morsels into his waiting mouth as if he were a baby bird, his long fingers caressing Skinner’s head as he ate. It was nice, yes, but he wasn’t aroused…


“OW!” His eyes flew open as a dollop of something very cold landed on each of his nipples, making them stand up in little points.


“Close them,” Mulder instructed, and he shot his lover a resentful look before complying, and shutting his eyes again. The cold sensation was soon replaced by Mulder’s warm, wet mouth, sucking, licking, and tickling his nipples.


“That’s cheating…” he murmured.


“Is not,” Mulder replied, his voice muffled.


Cheating or not, it was nice. Very nice. He was annoyed when it stopped, and something soft and sticky was spread all over his throat.


“What?” he murmured.


“Ssh.” Mulder licked away the chocolate sauce, his tongue diving occasionally into Skinner’s mouth, sharing the substance with him in teasing little kisses. Hmm, this was nice, this was definitely nice. These sweet, chocolatey kisses were delicious. A man could get quite a taste for them. He marshaled all of his willpower to resist the growing sense of arousal he could feel in his cock. He didn’t want Mulder to think he’d won. Although all this licking and sucking made him…stop that, Walter, he said sternly, getting a grip, and squashing down all thoughts of Mulder’s tongue devoting itself to that particular area of his anatomy. He heard Mulder’s low, throaty chuckle.


“You are such a stubborn bastard, Walter,” his lover said, as if reading his every thought. “But never mind. You can open your eyes now.”


Skinner did so, cautiously, prepared to crow with delight over his “victory”, only to find Mulder peeling a firm, yellow, banana.


“Don’t…” he croaked.


Mulder gave a viciously sultry grin, and pulled down another strip of banana skin.


“No…” Skinner begged, trying to think of trains, and paperwork, and the Director’s florid nose. Mulder ignored him, and pulled down another piece of skin, his long fingers playing with the piece of fruit in a way that was positively obscene.




Mulder gave him a sly, knowing look, and slid the banana into his mouth, caressing it with his tongue, and nibbling the tip. He pulled it out again, and circled it, once, twice, flicking at the long, yellow flesh with his long, pink tongue. Two seconds later, the banana went flying as he found himself pulled into a rough embrace, his lover’s hard, erect penis digging into his thigh.


“I think…someone has all the evidence that they need.” Mulder smirked, sinking to his knees, and replacing the banana with something altogether more tasty.




“I’m sticky,” Skinner sighed, several minutes later, from his position on the rug in front of the fire.


“Yes, you are.” Mulder rolled over, and lazily licked the remains of the chocolate sauce from his lover’s throat. “Time for that bath I think.”


“What is it with you and water? You’re obsessed.” Skinner smiled good-naturedly, running his hand through his lover’s hair. He felt a bit guilty. Mulder had been seeing to his needs all day, yet remained resolutely dressed himself. Hmmm, of course, it could be that Mulder just didn’t want to take his clothes off in case…Skinner stole them! That must be it. He stopped feeling guilty, and felt disgruntled instead. “Couldn’t I have my clothes back now?” He requested.


“No,” Mulder smiled. “However…” he said, relenting, “you did eat your dinner nicely, and you were very good about conceding defeat over the whole food thing…” He grinned at Skinner’s mute expression of protest, “so, I think you can be rewarded.” He got up and disappeared out of the front door, to return a few minutes later, brandishing a sock.


“I’m so grateful.” Skinner said sardonically, putting on the sock and standing there, in his tie and sock, looking, and feeling, ridiculous.


“It sets new standards for sartorial perfection,” Mulder mused, surveying him. “Definitely a good look for you, Walter. Now I’m going to run that bath.”


“Are you going to get in with me?” Skinner asked slyly. Mulder would have to take his clothes off to bathe.


“If you want.” Mulder smiled. “Strawberry or coconut?” He asked.




“Bubble bath.”


“Oh. Strawberry. Reminds me of Scully.” Skinner smiled at Mulder’s look of total incomprehension. “Strawberry hair conditioner. Scully always uses it. Smells divine. Makes me want to get hold of her, hold her down, and sniff at her hair.” Skinner admitted.


“I didn’t know you harbored these feelings towards my partner.” Mulder commented. “I could call her up if you like. Invite her over? Who knows, a nice little threesome might be…”


“Mulder!” Skinner frowned at him sternly. Mulder nodded, and loped off upstairs to run the bath.




There was, Skinner had to admit, something very nice about sitting side by side in a big, corner bath with the person you loved most in the world. He rested his head on the edge of the bath, put an arm around his lover, and hugged him close with a sigh of contentment, a mass of bubbles obscuring both their bodies.


“I think you might have overdone the bubble bath just a fraction.” He murmured, his fingers running lightly over Mulder’s chest.


“There can never be too many bubbles, Walter.” Mulder replied. “That’s a maxim I live by in life.”




“Walter, before you and I got together, you were so macho you’d never even had a bubble bath. You should just accept that you are a novice in the ways of bubbles and leave them to the expert.”


Skinner glanced over to the chair in the corner of the bathroom, where Mulder’s boxer shorts, jeans, and tee shirt were resting enticingly.


“I love you, Walter.” Mulder suddenly murmured.


“Uh. I love you too, Mulder.” He replied, mentally calculating the distance between the bath and the clothing.


“Do you want to know why I love you?” Mulder asked.


“Why? Um, yeah. Tell me.” Of course, Mulder was fast, probably faster than he was, but he had the advantage of surprise…


“I love you because you’re the only person I’ve ever really trusted, in my whole life.” Mulder told him.


“Hmmm. Am I?”


Mulder’s eyes were closed. If Walter were to suddenly get up, lunge…


“Yes. You are. Do you want to know the moment I first knew I trusted you?”


“Yeah. Why not?” Skinner edged his way to the corner of the bath closest to the abandoned clothing.


“That time when you showed up at Charlotte’s Diner. Do you remember? After the way I’d treated you, throwing a punch at you, mouthing off at you, pulling my gun on you…you still showed up when I called. I think that’s when I first fell in love with you. I was yours, the moment you walked through the door.” Mulder’s fingers brushed Skinner’s thigh. “And over the years I’ve come to trust you completely. Totally. Utterly. I know, for example, that even though my jeans are just sitting on that chair over there, that you aren’t the least bit tempted to steal them.” Mulder opened one eye, and Skinner started guiltily.


“Of course not.” Skinner muttered. Damn! Busted. Mulder opened his other eye, and smiled.


“Then of course, there’s the fact that they’re my tightest jeans and you’d never get them past those delicious knees of yours.”


“I most certainly wasn’t even considering…” Skinner began, but he didn’t get to finish the sentence, as Mulder splashed over to him, and put a finger over his mouth.


“Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.” Mulder whispered, straddling Skinner, and kissing him firmly on the lips. Skinner gave up all thoughts of escape, and they both disappeared into the bubbles.




Skinner awoke, and stretched. It was daylight again outside. He wondered, briefly, how long he had been asleep, and then decided that he didn’t care. He glanced up to see Mulder staring down at him, smiling.


“I have a present for you, my sleepy hunk of studliness.” Mulder grinned.


“A present?” Skinner yawned, then a glint of anticipation crept into his eyes. “A present?” He repeated, in a sexy growl.


“Not that sort of present. This sort of present. Duh-naaah!” Mulder whisked back the sheet to reveal Skinner’s naked body, which was adorned by one…sock. In a place where socks most definitely didn’t usually belong.


“You’ve put a sock…on my cock…?” Skinner choked.


There was a two minute hiatus while they both threw themselves around the bed, laughing hysterically at the rhyme. Then Skinner felt it absolutely necessary to test just how much he could fill that sock out if he really tried. It was an experiment that Mulder felt compelled to aid him in.


“Time to get dressed.” Skinner remarked, a full hour later. Mulder raised an eyebrow.




“Yes.” Skinner got out of bed, solemnly pulled both socks onto his feet, and then did up his tie.


“You do know that you look ridiculous like that don’t you?” Mulder said.


“Of course.” Skinner replied, standing up straight, and gathering up all the dignity he could muster. “But these are the only clothes I have – so I intend to make the most of them.


“Did I ever tell you, that you are the most stubborn, unreasonable man I’ve ever met?” Mulder asked him.


“Yes. All the time.” Skinner grinned, malevolently. “I thought that was what attracted you to me in the first place.”


“Nah.” Mulder shook his head. “I just wanted to get my hands on your butt.”




It was, Mulder mused, a very pleasant sight, and one he wished he could share with the rest of the Bureau. Assistant Director Skinner, using the “trek” option on his exercise machine, hauling his naked ass back and forth, in a ski-walking motion, the sweat streaming off his bald brow, and down his perfect, muscular shoulders. His tie flopped up and down, keeping perfect time with another portion of his rugged anatomy. Mulder sat back in his chair, sipping his coffee, utterly captivated.


“Have you ever thought of an alternative career as a porn actor, Walter?” He mused. “Maybe you should bear it in mind if things don’t work out at the Bureau. In fact, I think that if I were to videotape you doing what you’re doing right this second, I could retire a multi-millionaire.”


“Hmph.” Skinner panted, making a face. “Aren’t you supposed to be preparing breakfast?”


“I’m feasting my eyes right now.” Mulder replied. “But since you’re being so good, I promise that you can have another item of clothing when you’re finished.”


“My handkerchief, no doubt. I won’t get too excited.” Skinner grumbled.


“No. Your boxers.” Mulder told him.


“Really?” Skinner put some more energy into his work-out. “You mean it?”


“Absolutely.” Mulder nodded. “Scully’s coming around later. You’ll need something to hide your modesty.”


“What?” Skinner stopped, aghast. “Scully’s coming here? Why?”


“To drop off some work for me. I’m not sick remember. I should be at work. And I’m supposed to be writing up a report. Some of us have very strict bosses who aren’t very understanding about little personal crises like this. If I don’t have it ready by the time he gets back to work, he’ll throw a fit. He’s like that.”


“But…she’s bringing it here?” Skinner ignored Mulder’s jibes. “Why? What have you told her? Oh god, Scully knows about us too, doesn’t she?”


“Well of course.” Mulder grinned. “Scully’s my best friend. We don’t have any secrets, Walter. I’ve told her all about you. How you like having that spot behind your ears rubbed. How when you’re stressed you like to take six sugars in your coffee. How you make that little “gnnnhhhh” sound when I tickle your balls. How you like to glare at people in meetings because it distracts you from thinking about having sex with me, which is what’s on your mind most of the time…”


“You haven’t?” Skinner gaped at his lover, horrified.


“Of course not.” Mulder grinned. “Not the bit about the coffee, anyway. I wouldn’t give away all your secrets, now would I, Walter? A boss must maintain some sort of professional mystique after all, and if Scully knew that you were throwing dietary advice to the wind, and overdosing on sugar like that, she’d probably give you a very stern lecture…”


“Mulder…” Skinner growled.


“Walter.” Mulder smiled. “You did want to earn those boxer shorts before Scully gets here, didn’t you? And maybe your pants too? Or your shirt?”


Skinner’s jaw made grinding movements for several seconds, before he finally returned to the exercise machine to continue with his workout.


“Don’t think I’ll ever forget this, Mulder.” He threatened.


“Of course not, Walter. You have the memory of an elephant, and at least one other attribute that puts me in mind of elephants, and I’m not talking big ears here…” Mulder’s gaze lingered lasciviously on a certain swinging appendage, and Skinner blushed furiously.


“Did you want to be buried or cremated, Mulder?” He asked. “Just so I know. I’ll be busy planning your funeral. It’ll be something to distract me from the other fantasy I have. The one where I’m trying out various different methods of killing you.”




Skinner ate his breakfast obediently, although he wasn’t entirely sure that it was breakfast he was eating, and not lunch. Or even dinner. He noticed that the sky was looking suspiciously dark, and suspected that all the little naps he kept feeling the need to take, had in fact been extremely long sleeps. Of course Mulder wouldn’t tell him how long he had slept for, and he had no way of knowing. The trouble with all this relaxation was that once you started, it was hard to stop, and he now found himself falling asleep at regular intervals.


“I’m becoming a zombie.” He grumbled to his companion. “I was getting by perfectly adequately on a few hours sleep a night. Now you’ve forced me to relax, I’ve ended up with some form of sleeping sickness. I’ll probably have to sleep 16 hours a day from now on and it’ll be all your fault.”


“Yes, Walter.” Mulder nodded. “And if you complain one more time, the next item I bring you will be a shoelace.”


Skinner opened his mouth. Mulder raised an eyebrow. Skinner closed his mouth.


“Good boy.” Mulder patted him affectionately on his head. “Alright. Much as I love having you lounging around naked, I think you’ve earned your boxers. I’ll go and get them.”


“You will? You aren’t teasing me are you?” Skinner asked suspiciously.


“Would I be that cruel?” Mulder looked wounded.


He returned a few minutes later with the shorts, and handed them to Skinner who stared at them blankly.


“These aren’t mine?” He said, grimacing, as he unfolded them to be confronted by a lurid picture of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, with the legend “Make it so!” emblazoned across the crotch.


“Yes they are. They’re the ones I bought you for Christmas, remember?” Mulder put his head on one side, a quizzical expression on his face. “Look they’ve still got the gift tag attached.” He picked it up, and handed it to Skinner. “Bringing my two favorite bald guys together in one package.” It read. Skinner fought back a sudden urge to be violently ill.


“Oh yes, I remember…” he murmured.


“I wondered why you never wore them. Then I found them shoved behind the back of your underwear drawer when I was packing up your clothes, and I thought – So that’s it! He’s lost them down the back here. He will be pleased that I’ve found them.”
It was difficult to tell by the expression on Mulder’s face, but Skinner had the distinct impression that he was being baited. He decided not to rise to it.


“I’m so grateful.” He pulled them on, wincing slightly at the proximity of Jean-Luc’s mouth to a certain portion of his anatomy. Mulder stood back, and surveyed him.


“Turn around!” He ordered, and Skinner obeyed with a sigh. Mulder smiled, taking in the delicious sight of the Enterprise ™ disappearing where no man had gone before. Except me, he thought to himself smugly. “Gorgeous.” He proclaimed, kissing the back of his lover’s neck. “Of course I prefer you ‘au naturelle’, but I think that having Jean-Luc nestled in your nether regions is the next best thing.” Skinner worked very hard at not snapping Mulder’s neck in two with his bare hands.




“About Scully…” Skinner said, an hour or so later, as he lay on the couch with his head in Mulder’s lap.


“Hmm?” One of Mulder’s hands was gently rubbing itself all over the contours of Skinner’s head, while the other was clutched around the latest issue of “Conspiracy” magazine.


“Does she really know about us?” Skinner asked.


“Yes, Walter. She really knows about us.” Mulder answered, turning a page to reveal a lurid picture of the president morphing into a frog. “Witchcraft at the White House?” was the title. Skinner sighed.


“How long?” He asked.


“Oh, for months. I didn’t tell her. She guessed. Then she spied on us for a while. That’s Scully for you. She noses around until she finds what she’s looking for.”


“Sounds more like you.”


“No. Definitely Scully.” Mulder turned another page. “Satanism at the Senate?” screamed the by-line.


“How did she react?”


“She was very jealous.” Mulder bit on his lower lip thoughtfully, as he read the article.


“Jealous?” Skinner looked worried. “I knew it! I always knew she had a thing for you.”
“Oh she wasn’t jealous of you!” Mulder grinned, his hand poised to turn the next page. Skinner braced himself. “No, she was jealous because of me, because I was the one who finally landed you. Apparently she’d had her eye on you for some time. She was pissed that I beat her to it. ‘Finders keepers’, I told her. Although I think I did offer to share…”


“I might have had something to say about that.” Skinner stated crossly.


“You think so?” Mulder grinned, flicking at the page tantalizingly, until Skinner’s nerves were on edge.


“Oh for god’s sake, turn it!” He exploded. “I want to see what the next absurdity is. ‘Alliteration Attack Assaults America!’ maybe? ‘Devil-worship at the D.O.D?’ ‘Faustian Frolics at the F.B.I?’”


Mulder gave him an odd look. “You know, Walter, sometimes I really wonder about you,” he said.




Skinner hid in the kitchen when Scully arrived. He was sure that if she saw him in his Star Trek underwear, tie and socks, any last vestige of authority he had would evaporate.


“Hi Mulder,” he heard her say. “So, uh, is Skinner around?”


“Somewhere.” Mulder replied.


“Is he any better?”


“Yeah. He just needed some firm handling.” Skinner could hear the grin in his voice. “Not having any clothes helped to keep him grounded of course.”


“You took his clothes away?” Scully sounded astonished.


“It was the only way to make him co-operate, Scully.”


“You mean, he’s around here, somewhere…naked?” Scully squeaked.


“Very nearly. Sit down, Scully, you’ve turned a strange shade of bright purple…”




“I suppose you think that was funny.” Skinner snapped, emerging from the kitchen half an hour later when the coast was clear.


“Yes, Walter. I do.” Mulder smirked. “Aw, don’t look upset, my cuddly bear. Scully won’t tell on you.”


“But how can I sit in a meeting with her now, with any sort of dignity!” Skinner blustered.


“You manage to sit in meetings with me with enormous amounts of dignity.” Mulder pointed out. “And I’ve seen parts of your anatomy that even you haven’t seen. You’re just annoyed that she found out you’re human, Mr Snugglekins.”


“I am not. And will you cut out the terms of endearment!”


“Ouch. ‘The Sting’ of that remark really hurt!” Mulder grinned.


“What?” Skinner frowned.


“We’re playing the movie game right? You have to work a movie title into your conversation? You started with ‘Terms of Endearment’, I riposted with ‘The Sting.’ Go on, what’s next?”


“‘Deathwish’ maybe?” Skinner suggested dangerously.


“Help!” Mulder held up his hands in mock surrender.


“That’s not a film!”


“Yes it is. And a song title. I should get double points for that really. The Beatles, circa 1966.” He prompted helpfully.


“Well if I’d known there were points involved…” Skinner began.


“There we go, Mr. Competitive again.”


“You stopped me before I could get in my film title.”


“So I did. How about you just stop right there, get out your ‘Lethal Weapon’, and we’ll forget all about the game…” Mulder grinned, advancing on Skinner, and leering unwholesomely.


“It was my turn! And anyway, you are so corny. Lethal Weapon!” Skinner protested, shaking his head. “And I don’t want to have sex, I want to keep on playing the game.”


“Hmm, so what’s that suspicious bulge I see in Captain Picard’s mouth then?” Mulder asked.




“Lube! Condoms!” Skinner panted two seconds later, as he ripped Mulder’s jeans off.


“Is that a film title? I don’t remember that one. Who was in it?” Mulder asked, arranging his backside into an inviting hump, and wiggling it. “Sounds like a classic to me. Marilyn Monroe and Rock Hudson maybe? She was the dizzy blonde cross-dressing woman pretending to be a man, he was the tall, dark homosexual who fell for her, not realizing she couldn’t give him what he needed. Which was…”


“Lube! Condoms!” Skinner returned from his quick trip to the bedroom, brandishing the items in question.




“Mulder, I love you.” Skinner said, seven minutes later, as they lay on the rug in front of the couch, fully sated.


“But we only have 14 hours to save the Earth?”




“Double points for me again. ‘Flash I love you, but we only have 14 hours to save the Earth.’ It’s from Flash Gordon, both the movie and the Queen song, and…”


“That doesn’t count! A line from a movie doesn’t count!” Skinner protested.


“It does.”


“Well you never said! You’re making up the rules as you go along. Just like you always do.”


“I thought that was what attracted you to me in the first place.” Mulder winked.


“Nah.” Skinner shook his head, grinning evilly. “I just wanted to get my hands on your butt.”




“In recognition of your personal services, for going beyond the call of duty in pleasuring your favorite agent, and for being the cuddliest Assistant Director in the known universe, I award you this shirt.” Mulder buttoned Skinner’s shirt up for him. “Of course you might like to wear it under the tie, instead of over it, but that’s a personal fashion statement, and for you alone to decide.” He grinned, and bestowed a kiss on his lover’s brow.


“Thank you.” Skinner declared solemnly, glancing down at his now half-clad state. “Mulder, is this nearly over do you think? I’m feeling much better. I’m looking much better. I can go for more than a couple of sentences without having to take a nap. I’m working out, I’ve had too many baths and showers to keep track of, and more sex than any man deserves…”


“And you’re feeling guilty? You’re imagining the work piling up, and Kim frantically fielding calls from the Director and various annoying agents?”


“Well…yes.” Skinner admitted reluctantly.


“Forget it.” Mulder told him firmly, looking him straight in the eye. “All good P.A.’s do 70% of their boss’s work. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. You’re probably superfluous most of the time anyway. You just think you’re in charge. Kim knows she is.”


“That’s good for my ego.” Skinner sighed. “But honestly, Mulder, how many days has it been? It feels like weeks…”


“Uh-uh.” Mulder wagged his finger. “When you’ve earned your pants, and the shoes to put on your scrumptious feet, thenand only then, are you a free man, Walter. And talking of feet, that gives me an idea…”




Skinner lay back on the couch, his feet resting in a bowl of warm water. Mulder sat on the floor, gently washing them.


“Not that this isn’t nice, but they weren’t dirty. Not after all the baths you’ve made me take.” Skinner murmured.


“I need them particularly clean for what I have in mind.” Mulder murmured, tenderly washing between the smooth, honey-colored toes. “You have gorgeous feet, Walter. The finest feet I’ve ever seen on a man. It’s a shame you ever have to wear socks and shoes at all.”


“I’ve been sleeping with you for nearly a year, and now you tell me about the foot fetish.” Skinner sighed.


“Why else do you think I bought you those Doc Martens for your birthday?” Mulder grinned. “Funny – those are another of my presents you’ve never worn.”


Skinner was about to point out that red Doc Martens didn’t go with his workday suits, when his foot was suddenly lifted out of the bowl, and Mulder began to massage it, softly and deftly, with those expert fingers.


“Oh shit…” he whispered.


“I always knew they were sensitive. Beautiful feet like these, they had to be sensitive.” Mulder smiled, leaning into his task lovingly. He raised the foot to his full lips, and gently took Skinner’s big toe into his mouth.


“Oh…shit!” Skinner groaned. Mulder nibbled on the toe for a moment, then licked his way down Skinner’s foot, gently flicking between each toe.


“Shit, shit, shit…” Skinner wriggled and writhed, as Mulder’s tongue caressed the sole of his foot, then his heel, then wound back over his ankle bone, and back up to his big toe again.


“You know…” Mulder murmured, as he relinquished that foot, and started work on the other. “Jean-Luc’s mouth has gone a funny shape again.”




“Is this the infamous report?” Skinner loomed over Mulder’s shoulder, eating an apple, and glancing at the printed out copies lying next to his lover’s laptop.


“Yes it is. And you can’t read it.” Mulder slapped his hand away as he reached out to take a closer look.


“Mulder, you’re writing it for me to read.” Skinner pointed out.


“Yes. And you’ll get the chance my precious love-bunny. All in due course – which is when it’s signed, sealed, and placed on your desk. And not before.” He peered over the top of his glasses sternly. Skinner made a face.


“It’d better be worth it, and not the normal concoction of mumbo-jumbo and half-truths, then.” He grumbled.


“You don’t like my reports? When I go to such lengths to be so inventive?” Mulder grinned. “You’ll like this one, Walter. It’s about that UFO we saw in New Jersey last week.”


You saw it, Mulder. Everybody else saw a few lights in the sky, and a burnt patch in the middle of a forest, which was suspiciously right next to a military base.”


“Exactly!” Mulder declared with a triumphant flourish of his hand.


“Yes. Exactly.” Skinner shook his head. “Didn’t it ever occur to you that some bored base personnel took it into their heads to have a barbecue in the forest, and let off a few fireworks one evening?”


“Sometimes, Walter, your skepticism is crushing.” Mulder returned to his report. “Now go and do another workout, and if you’re good I’ll think about joining you in the shower afterwards. Oh, and maybe after that, I’ll let you have your pants back.” He grinned, and gave a sly wink. Skinner sighed.




Mulder held up the pants tantalizingly, then whisked them just out of reach, as Skinner tried to grab them.


“You have to agree to some conditions before you can have them back.” Mulder said.


“Conditions?” Skinner frowned.


“That’s right. First of all, you have to agree to listen to me when I tell you that you’re overdoing things, and need to get more sleep.”


“Hmm.” Skinner considered this. “Go on. I want to hear what else I’m supposed to agree to before I give you my answer.”


“You don’t really have a choice.” Mulder told him. “You have to agree, or you don’t get your pants back. Don’t think I won’t keep you here indefinitely until you agree.”


“Mulder, I am fully aware of what you’re capable of.” Skinner sighed.


“Good. Come here.” Mulder held out his hand, and led Skinner into the hallway bathroom. He stood him in front of the mirror. “See how much better you’re looking.” He said. Skinner ground his jaw.


“Oh alright.” He exploded at last. “Much as I hate to admit it, I am looking better.”


Mulder grinned over his shoulder. “And that’s due to my imaginative solution to your health crisis.” Mulder insisted.


“If you say so.” Skinner ground out.


“Good boy.” Mulder pinched his bottom. Skinner’s eyes narrowed.


“And when was the last time you had a headache?” Mulder prompted.


“I think I can feel one coming on right now.” Skinner glared.


“Ah, the glare is back, so you must be feeling better.” Mulder grinned. “Now, back to the issue of whether you’ve earned these pants. I want you to agree to remember that I have your best interests at heart at all times, and…”


“At all times?” Skinner questioned. “I’ll remember that the next time my blood pressure skyrockets as a result of you being caught trying to break into yet another secure military installation.”


“That doesn’t count.” Mulder scowled. “This is about you taking care of yourself. And anyway, breaking into secure military installations is my job. You’d hate it if I stopped doing it.”


“Mulder, trust me. I wouldn’t.” Skinner told him in a heartfelt tone. “And we obviously have different definitions as to what constitutes your ‘job’.”


“As I was saying,” Mulder glared. “I have your best interests at heart, and you can save yourself another spell under House Arrest if you’ll take better care of yourself in future. Agreed?”


“Hmm.” Skinner turned around, and looked searchingly at Mulder for a moment. “Mulder, do you remember that time I drove 250 miles to rescue you from that swamp creature? And the many occasions when you’ve run off without even telling me where you were going? Not so much as a note to me, in either a professional or a personal capacity? Or should I bring up the number of times I’ve been forced to pace hospital corridors awaiting news of your latest injury, and all the time pretending that I was only concerned because you were my agent, and not my lover?”


Mulder stared at him.


“I can see that you do remember. Well, if you want me to agree to your conditions, I’d like you to agree to them as well. Your disregard for your own safety is just as bad as my neglect of my health, and I can just imagine the stink you’d have kicked up if I placed you under House Arrest.”


“Alright.” Mulder sighed. “Point taken. I agree to be more careful if you do.” He held out the pants, and Skinner took them gratefully. “Before you cover Jean-Luc up though…” Mulder eyed Skinner’s underwear with a lascivious smile, licking his bottom lip suggestively.


“Oh god, not again.” Skinner sighed, as Mulder gently rubbed the inside of his thigh with an exploratory hand. “You’re insatiable.”


“Are you complaining?” Mulder asked, bringing his hand up higher.


“Gnnnhhh.” Skinner replied.




He didn’t know how long he had slept for, but he was awoken by the unmistakable sound of the clock radio. He opened one eye. 7 a.m. – the display flashed. Skinner sat up, looking around – no sign of Mulder. He picked up his watch, which was on the bedside table, and strapped it onto his wrist, then made his way over to the dresser. There he found his car keys, and a pair of red Doc Marten’s, with a note attached.


Dear Cuddlemonster,


Your House Arrest is over. However, I thought it might be safer if I was elsewhere when you regained your freedom. If you intend to kill me, please wear this footwear when you do – at least that way I’ll die happy.


Your little foot fetishist,




Skinner couldn’t help smiling to himself. He sat down on the bed in his Jean-Luc boxer shorts, and ran his hand over the empty side of the bed.


“You know, I would never tell you this, but I really enjoyed the past however many days we’ve spent together. And I’ll miss having you around the place, you crazy fool.” He murmured. “But obviously I will have to kill you, and I think I know just the way to do it…”




Kim looked up with a smile as Skinner entered the office. He was humming to himself, and he looked happy and relaxed. His face had lost that gray look, and he was no longer haggard. He looked like a man in his prime.


“Good morning, sir. I hope you’re feeling bett…” she began, then she choked on her coffee as she glanced down at his footwear.


“Morning Kim. Sorry I’m late. I had to run a few errands.” Skinner said brightly, ignoring the look on her face, and trying to pretend that she did not know that he was sleeping with Fox Mulder. He strode over to his office, and took off his coat, hanging it up neatly. “Was everything okay while I was away?”


“Yes, sir.” Kim tried to keep her eyes on his face.


“Good.” Skinner smiled. He glanced at his desk, expecting piles of paperwork, but instead found it looking orderly and businesslike. Damn Mulder for being right about that too! He took a small package out of his coat pocket. “I’ll only be a few minutes, Kim.” He said serenely.


 Mulder sat at his desk, typing furiously, trying to catch up on his work. He heard the footsteps, and glanced over to the door. Two red boots stood there. His gaze traveled slowly up a pair of long legs, and over a muscular torso clad in a crisp white shirt, to a stern, frowning visage. He threw himself back in his chair, putting his arms in the air. Skinner kicked the door shut with some relish, the boots making a resounding thud as they made contact with it.


“I’m sorry. You’re going to kick me to death, right?” Mulder squeaked. Skinner shook his head. “Oh shit, whatreyougonnadothen?” Mulder babbled, backing up against the filing cabinet.


“I’m going to give you…” Skinner pulled out the package from behind his back. “This.” He threw it at his lover, who fumbled to catch it. Mulder opened it, and the tie fell out.


“It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it”? He read, staring at Spock’s saturnine features as they glared out with logical precision against the background of a starfield that decorated the tie.


“To say thank you.” Skinner said, removing Mulder’s sludge colored tie, and fastening the new one firmly around his neck. “I know you’ll want to wear it right away,” he said. Mulder gazed at it with a sickly smile.


“It’s…lovely. Thank you so much.” He muttered weakly.


Skinner grinned, and grabbed Mulder by the shoulders, gathering him into a passionate kiss. Mulder resisted feebly, then gave in.


“Sir!” He protested afterwards. “What if someone came in…?”


“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Skinner grinned.


“Lines from movies don’t count, you said so yourself.” Mulder retorted.


“Don’t change the rules, Mulder.” Skinner told him, turning to go. “I’m on a winning streak with this game.”


“Some people are so competitive…” Mulder murmured under his breath, returning to his report, trying not to even think about the teasing he’d have to endure as a result of wearing this disgusting tie. As if it wasn’t bad enough having a nickname like “Spooky”, without announcing you were also a trekkie in public.


“And, Mulder?” Skinner stopped in the doorway, and turned to glare at his lover with a mischievous glint in his eye as he mentally rehearsed his Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.


“Sir?” Mulder looked up.


“I’ll be back.”


The End




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