A Regular Day by m. butterfly
A Regular Day
by m. butterfly
Rating: R for 4-letter words, m/m interaction
Spoilers: Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Archive: Please ask first
Summary: Mulder wallows in self-pity on his birthday. Well, for a while, anyway.
Author's notes: In my twisted little XF universe, this occurs *before* Biogenesis <shudder> and the start of Season Seven <bigger shudder>. It was beta'd by the incomparable and witty Lucy "Speed Demon" Snowe, and written expressly for my dear friend and webmistress Elizabeth Gerber, whose birthday also happens to be October 13. Enjoy, darling!
Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine; they all belong to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions and Fox Broadcasting. This is a work of fiction intended only for private enjoyment.
PS: I don't want to give you *work* on your birthday, so you can put this up on the website whenever you've got some extra time. <g>
A Regular Day
by m. butterfly
Crystal City, Virginia
October 13, 1999
"Shit! Oh, shit!"
"Unh? Wha--whatsa matter?"
"Gonna be late!"
Half awake, Fox Mulder grabbed a handful of air as Walter Skinner charged out of bed and into the bathroom. It was still dark, and Mulder had no trouble reading the glowing green numbers of the digital clock.
"For Chrissakes, Walter! It's six o'clock in the morning!" He kicked the blankets off his naked body and stretched sleepily. "Come back to bed. I've got *something* for you," he warbled as he looked down at his groin with growing fondness.
The toilet flushed, and an equally nude Skinner poked his head into their bedroom, electric shaver in hand. "Can't, babe. Gotta 7:30 meeting with the Director and AD Wilson." Then he was gone.
Mulder sat up, the right side of his face cock-eyed from being crushed up against a muscular body for the past several hours. "How come you didn't tell me about this last night?" he whined over the annoying hum of the razor.
"Cuz you were dead to the world when I got home," Skinner called out. "Didn't wanna disturb you."
Mulder was hardly pacified. "You should have. You know I don't mind." He was being peevish and knew it, but didn't care. "Why didn't you set the alarm for 5:30, then?"
The buzzing stopped, but the quiet was broken an instant later by the sound of running water. "You'll have to come in here if you want to talk to me, Fox."
Ah-hah! So *that* was Skinner's game this morning. Well, sex in the shower was fine with Mulder.
He high-tailed it into the bathroom, where the older man was just stepping under the hot spray. Mulder relieved himself, then joined his lover. Well, *tried* to, anyway.
"Fox!" Skinner scolded, peeling Mulder's hands off his cock and balls while a hardening lump of flesh snugged up against his ass. "I don't have time for this now."
But Mulder was persistent and pressed his mouth against the back of Skinner's neck. "Then why'd you invite me in?"
"To *talk*. That's all." He turned off the taps and slipped out of Mulder's wet grasp.
"Damnit, Walter! You're serious, aren't you?"
He tossed Mulder a towel as he dried himself off with quick, efficient strokes. "If I'm late for this meeting, I'll be in deep shit. They're still watching me like hawks, you know. Look, why don't you go back to bed for a while? You could use the rest."
Mulder rubbed at his hair half-heartedly. "Yeah, I guess I'm not getting any younger."
He stomped out of the bathroom, flung himself down on the rumpled king-sized bed, and idly watched Skinner get ready for work. Seeing that magnificent body disappear part-by-part behind layers of cotton and wool did nothing to improve his mood.
When he finished dressing, Skinner sat down on the bed beside Mulder and tried to tame the tangled hair with his fingers. "I'm sorry. I really am. I promise I'll make it up to you tonight."
Mulder melted as a big hand worked its way down from his head to his cheek. He leaned into the caress, practically purring. "You'd better, or I'm gonna tell the Director how badly you treat your subordinates."
The AD chuckled and gave Mulder a brief kiss. "Right. Gotta go. I'll try to sneak down to your office and see you later. Maybe this afternoon. Okay?"
The younger man waved his hand dismissively. "Yeah, yeah. Go."
Skinner was half way out of the room when he abruptly stopped and turned. "Oh, God! Fox?"
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Yeah. Happy fucking birthday," Mulder muttered to himself after Skinner had gone. God, what a difference from last year, when Mulder had had to fly to Detroit on the morning he turned 37. Yet Skinner had roused--and *aroused*--him in plenty of time to make love. Twice.
And even though he'd had to work instead of spending the rest of the day with Walter, Mulder hadn't had time to feel sorry for himself because Scully had taken to dinner, given him a thoughtful gift--the whole nine yards, basically.
Now wide awake, Mulder clicked on the TV, finally settling on CNN. He stared at the flickering images for about five minutes before deciding that he was a complete asshole. Skinner had taken him away the previous weekend to celebrate their first year together, and just now had promised him a romantic evening. How selfish could a guy get?
He turned up the volume and went into the bathroom to shave. Since he was up, he figured he might as well go to work.
Besides, he was looking forward to seeing Scully and having his partner fuss over him.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Mulder! What are you doing here so early? You okay?"
He frowned down at her. "I'm fine, Scully. Walter had a 7:30 meeting, I couldn't get back to sleep, and there was nothing good on TV."
He scanned the desk where his partner was sitting and noticed there were no steaming Starbucks cups. No brown paper bags filled with danishes or croissants or other goodies, either. His scowl deepening, he glanced at the file folder Scully was leafing through.
"Are those the Morrison autopsy results?"
"Yeah. I don't see anything out of the ordinary, so I think I'll take a look at the body myself."
"Good idea." He hung up his coat, then walked over to the coffee pot. It was empty. Damn. "Uh, Scully?" he said, waving it at her.
"Hmmm?" She looked up. "Oh, sure. I'd love some. Thanks, Mulder."
As he filled the pot with water, mumbling obscenities under his breath, Scully smiled to herself.
He was *so* easy.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Mulder had been right all along: his birthday sucked big time.
Last year's must have been an aberration. There hadn't been a single fuck-up or disappointment.
But today? Today was right on track.
He hadn't gotten laid.
The few people he considered friends--including his partner!--had all but ignored him.
His mother hadn't called or sent a card.
He'd spent the day tracking down useless leads, working through lunch and well into the evening.
And now it looked like he was going to spend the night--most of it, anyway--alone.
Around 5:00, Kim, Skinner's personal assistant, had called Mulder to tell him that their boss was in a meeting with the other Assistant Directors and would be tied up for "several hours." Sure enough, when Mulder arrived home just after seven, Skinner's car wasn't in its parking spot.
He hadn't seen or spoken to Walter since this morning at home.
The frustrated agent locked his mailbox, threw the junk mail in the trash, stuffed the bills into his coat pocket, and headed for the bank of elevators, fully expecting all of them to be out of order. To his astonishment, they weren't. And the one he rode to the 17th floor didn't even get stuck or explode or plummet to the basement.
Sighing, he slunk down the hallway and let himself into the dark, quiet condo. He threw his keys on the hall table and hit the light switch.
And wondered what in God's name Kim was doing there.
And Frohike, Byers and Langly.
"Happy birthday, Mulder!"
While accepting handshakes from Byers and Kim, backslaps from Langly, and hugs from Scully and Frohike (who was unusually skittish about it), Mulder's eyes found Skinner. The AD--comfortably sexy in black jeans and a soft, light grey cotton sweater--was standing apart from the rest of the well-wishers, a guilty smile on his lips, and absent-mindedly twisting the gold ring he wore on the third finger of his left hand.
"Bastard," Mulder said, not without affection.
Skinner shrugged. "I know. Sorry. Just wanted to surprise you."
Mulder snorted. "Car?"
"Sneaky. Fucking. Bastard." Mulder was grinning now.
Skinner grinned back at him. "Yup. That's me all right."
The party guests were watching the exchange with great interest--especially Kim. She'd been touched when her boss had invited her to Mulder's birthday dinner, even though she guessed it had more to do with keeping Dana Scully from being the lone female than anything else. But that was fine, because she really liked Dana. And Agent Mulder. Hell, she was even beginning to like Curly, Larry and Moe. Of course, she'd always had a soft spot for the AD, whom she found more fascinating every day.
"You gonna come in and stay a while?" Skinner teased his lover.
"I suppose I should." Mulder tilted his head toward his friends and then the dining room table, which was set for supper and laden with gifts.
Scully rolled her eyes. "You *are* the man of the hour, Mulder."
"And *you*," he said to her as he hung up his coat, "are just as bad as Walter. Maybe worse."
"I'll take that as a compliment," she laughed. But she meant it.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It was one of the strangest mixtures of personalities imaginable. And they had a marvellous time in spite of themselves.
Kim was warm, Scully mischievous, the Gunmen never more amusing, Skinner the perfect host, and Mulder charming.
While Skinner and Scully excused themselves to finish making dinner, Mulder dashed upstairs to change his clothes. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, he stepped out onto the balcony, where Skinner was barbecuing steak.
"Get back inside," Skinner growled, looking down at Mulder's bare feet.
"I'm fine, Walter. I just wanted to see if you needed any help."
Skinner put down the fork and took Mulder into his arms. "Bullshit. You just wanted a little of this."
"Yeah, well, maybe." Mulder snuggled into the warm embrace. "You know, that was quite a convincing act you put on this morning. Very impressive."
Stinging slightly, Skinner pulled back a bit and looked Mulder in the eye. "That was no act, babe. I really *did* forget to reset the alarm, and I really *did* have a 7:30 meeting. I had a lot on my mind last night." He rubbed Mulder's back reassuringly. "I just can't lie to you, Fox. Not even over the phone. That's why I had Kim call you at the end of the day about that bogus ADs' meeting. I couldn't exactly tell you that I had a few errands to run for your *surprise* party."
"No, I suppose not." He snaked his arms around Skinner's neck. "Were you *really* too busy to see me during the day?"
"Yes, I *really* was. You don't know how badly I wanted to do this..." He leaned in and pressed his lips to Mulder's.
"More," Mulder panted when Skinner broke the kiss.
"Later. I *promise*. Right now I've got to get these steaks off the grill before they overcook. I think our guests are getting nervous."
Mulder glanced toward the living room as five heads turned away fast enough to cause whiplash.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
After dinner, Skinner brought out a cake complete with 38 candles. Mulder squirmed while his friends belted out Happy Birthday to him, but was surprisingly gracious about it.
The guests had been told that gifts were not required, but they brought them anyway. As it turned out, Kim's--the new David Bowie CD--and Byers--an obscure book about the Kennedy assassination--were the only serious ones.
Frohike gave Mulder an E.T. nightlight, while Langly presented him with a Grateful Dead lunchbox.
Then there was Scully's gift. The colourful bag looked innocent enough, but Mulder almost crawled under the table when he pulled out a large tube of lubricant. *Wild-cherry-flavoured* lube, to be exact.
"After everything today, Scully, I just may have to shoot you."
She patted a bright red cheek. "Then who would keep that cute little butt of yours in one piece for Walter?"
"Scully!" He glared at her, then turned to the chortling Gunmen and Kim, who was desperately trying to keep from giggling. "Don't encourage her, for Godsakes!"
Both amused and embarrassed, Skinner managed to keep a straight face. "Okay, Fox. You're not finished yet."
"Oh, yes I am."
"Relax. Open them. They're from me."
But Skinner was far from being relaxed himself. Over the past year, he'd learned two significant things about his complex lover. One was that Mulder was as much a closet sentimentalist as he was, and had a cardboard box full of matchbooks and other silly memorabilia from places they'd been to together, as well as every love note, letter and card he'd ever received from Skinner.
The second thing that the older man had discovered was that Mulder didn't give a damn about material things--unless it was something Skinner had given him, that is. Especially his commitment ring.
In spite of this knowledge, Skinner couldn't help but be anxious about his choice of gifts. Mulder was still such a fragile and vulnerable soul, and one never knew what could trigger a painful memory or release yet another emotional demon from hibernation.
But Mulder's face lit up like Times Square with every item he unwrapped: courtside seats to the Wizards' home opener; a cream fisherman's knit sweater; the computer games and software he'd been too busy to buy; black leather gloves; new running shoes; the biggest bag of Gummi Bears he'd ever seen; and a card that filled his eyes as he read it to himself.
"Shit, Walter," he said, keeping his head down until he'd blinked back the tears. "There goes my reputation as a cold-hearted prick."
Scully nudged him with a tiny foot. "You stopped fooling us years ago, partner."
His composure mostly restored, Mulder took the warm hand that Skinner offered and looked at his friends. "Yeah, well, you guys really surprised the hell out of me tonight. Thanks. For everything."
"You're welcome," Scully said, then glanced at her watch. "And I think it's time to give you something from all of us."
He stared at her with mock terror and snorted. "Oh, God help me!"
She stood up. "You'll like this one, Mulder. We're leaving now so that you and Walter can play with your new toys. Hope you guys like wild cherry."
Mulder groaned and turned to Skinner. "Who *is* this, anyway? She looks like Scully. She sounds like Scully. But she sure doesn't *act* like Scully."
Smiling, the Gunmen and Kim followed the red-headed pixie to the door, and bade their friends a boisterous good-night.
"Why don't you start the tub while I finish cleaning up down here?" Skinner said once they were alone.
"Uh-uh. If I help, it'll get done faster."
"But it's your birthday."
"I know. And I want you naked--and with me--as soon as possible."
Skinner smiled and drew his lover in for a hug. "You got it, babe. Anything you want."
"You spoil me rotten, you know."
"Yeah, but you deserve it." Skinner tightened his hold. "I hope you didn't mind this little dinner party too much."
"Mind it? It was great. I haven't had an actual birthday party since I was a kid. Before Samantha was taken. It was really nice of you to invite the guys. And I can't believe Kim showed up. Thank you."
Skinner swallowed. "Anytime." Then he patted Mulder's backside. "Let's throw the rest of the cake in the fridge and go upstairs, okay?"
The younger man beamed. "Sounds good to me. Oh, Walter?"
"You *do* like wild cherry, don't you?"
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
October 13, 1999
Archived: April 10, 2001