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— Where's the fucking button? Oh my God...

Mulder is having some issues in opening Doggett's shirt. Let's say that he wasn't the most versatile or fast (or even fit) for the job. The older one laughs, without being apart from the younger one, however; and keeps on giving uncontrolled kisses on his neck and collarbone.

— Now I know what's causing the problem. You. — he keeps chattering, and no later than that, the other one interrupts what he was doing, his eyebrow raised and arms no longer around his body, but crossed over his shirt (now a total mess because of the man).

— Like you can even do it. Let me take it off. — after answering, he undoes the crossing arms and begins to unbutton it easily, leaving Mulder a little mad for not being able to do it the same way. — If you weren't liking it, you could've just said it.

Still, once he heard the comment, the agent couldn't help but start laughing, in a very ironic way.

— Do you want some feedback? — Fox replies a couple moments later, in that unfiltered way he usually answers people. John only bites his lower lip, holding his need to laugh, and throws the shirt on the floor, now getting closer to the other man and about to also lift his.

— I do. It's important to check if I'm doing it correctly. — his smile, something that it was very hard to see by yourself, makes the other one blush, while he takes Mulder's shirt off. They start kissing again, now feeling both their naked skins touching one another. It was awkwardly good, and made them feel alive, electric.

Doggett leads him towards the couch, without taking his hands off his waist and face. Mulder corresponds to any and every gesture, his moans being muffled by the desperate kiss they were still sharing, both of them already short of breath, completely needy.

Once the agent is able to lie down, leaving the other one above him; that's the moment when he stops and starts noticing the details of John's body. The arms, much more stronger than his. The abdomen, reasonably fit, and much more closer than what he would consider to be ideal for himself. He doesn't have any of these features. Probably would never have.

Suddenly, Fox interrupts himself, putting both hands on his boyfriend's chest, who stares at him, confused. His answer is just a shaking head for no and a deep breath, pushing John to the other side of the sofa right away. His face was all red, more due to being nervous than anything else. It was a bad feeling running through his body, something like a shiver. The kisses and caresses, which seemed to be so welcoming before, now are letting him uncomfortable.

Doggett, by seeing the change in the attitude and confidence of the other one, who always seemed to be so sure of what he was doing, decides to stay slient. He didn't know what to say, or even do, but he preferred to leave him alone first. His thoughts were cloudy, and he put both hands on the back of his head, trying to revisit the last minutes and checking if he did something wrong.

When it came to the first dates, and the little everyday things, Mulder had never acted like this. For instance, it wasn't necessarily news to their friends, Scully and Reyes (also FBI agents), that they were dating.

Specially because both had a good sixth sense to realize when something was different.

And because Fox couldn't keep his mouth shut.

— Did something happen? Was it something that I did to you? — the taller one finally is able to speak. His posture hasn't changed, and he's no longer staring at the other one. John sighs, not knowing yet how to approach him. It was true that he wasn't the most delicate person ever, but he wasn't liking the idea of standing still there, totally unaware of what was going on inside of Fox's mind.

– No, no... please, you're... amazing. — the agent tries to change the topic, in a more awkward way than usual, and laughs oddly to himself. The other one doesn't buy the lie he has just heard, and takes his hand, not looking directly to his face, though. He didn't want to pressure him or leave him feeling more uncomfortable than before. Mulder felt ashamed and disappointed for letting himself be dragged for that: it was totally trivial and silly, the outcome of a personal insecurity.

— Okay, so the problem isn't me. — Doggett wanted to be able to rest assured and celebrate for not having caused the problem, but that led him to conclude that it was something worse. And that maybe he wouldn't be able to help. He was so good at solving cases, even the most absurd ones from the X Files, and now he wasn't able to understand what was going on inside of his boyfriend's mind. Boyfriend? He wasn't even sure yet. He felt defeated, above all. — Is it something that I can help?

— I'm afraid not. — Fox concludes, now staring at the living room's carpet for over five minutes. He didn't want to throw everything into Doggett's shoulders, specially because they've just started dating, going out, whatever it was called. In fact, it wasn't like they have met each other for a long time. Things had happened very fast, and even though they had some minor setbacks and grudges in the beginning, a little while later, that turned into something completely different. But the truth was that the sentimental one was Mulder, and the rational one was Doggett. He didn't know how to behave like the other — and neither did Doggett. Him being called crazy wasn't out of nowhere.

— Do you promise that you won't laugh at me, or think that I'm going nuts? — after some minutes of silence, Fox finally says something, and John almost yells hallelujah. He nods, keeping on holding his hand and making circular movements with his thumb over the back of his hand.

— I would never do that. Why are you asking? — he replies, feeling a little bit betrayed. Okay, he had already done that. Only a few times. Fine, probably many. But it wasn't on purpose, or with the intention of mocking him.

— Because every time that I say something that you find it absurd, you start laughing ironically from me. — Mulder sighs, and Doggett shakes his head negatively. He knew, in a way, where this was going.

— So you do know that it's absurd before you even tell me what's happening. You're getting better at it. — unfortunately, he wasn't able to avoid his laughter, which comes afterwards, and Fox couldn't help but feel disappointed.

— Nevermind. Forget it.

Once he stands up, stretching himself to grab the messy shirt that was on the ground, John holds him again by the hand, turning him so that they could be facing each other. The man feels his entire face lighting up in a bright red tone again, his mouth briefly opened in surprise. The blue eyed man keeps on staring at him, almost without blinking.

— Are you going to keep me from leaving? — he tries to regain his confident tone, without barely success at it.

— No. If you really want to, you can go. But I need an explanation first. You can't just leave me hanging out to dry. And I'm worried sick about you. Because, well... you know I care about you very much, and I do like you. You know that it's hard for me to say that, specially...

Doggett is caught off guard by the spontaneous kiss Mulder gave him, once he holds his face with both hands. Slowly, he corresponds to the act, while pushing his boyfriend to an embrace. As quickly it had started, it has finished, and Fox stops himself, thinking about what he's going to tell him.

— Okay. I... I feel insecure about how much you actually like me. — he confesses, and Doggett was about to start screaming about how fucked up his idea was, but Mulder gave him one look which asked him to calm down and shut up.

He tries to do as he told him, or more specifically, looked at him.

— I just... I don't feel enough for you. I feel ugly and desposable, not even close to desirable, and since you liked Monica before, I just feel so fucking insecure and... damn it, I... — Fox was totally out of words, about to cry his heart out. John didn't let go of their embrace, holding his head against his chest and playing with his messy hair.

— Hey. Can you look at me for a second? — he asked, and Mulder obeyed his request, still trying to hold his tears back. — You can cry if you want, it's okay. And I'm so sorry if I did anything that could trigger this kind of suspicion in you. I understand it, but your insecurities have no sense at all. Monica is great, but you know she's a lesbian.

He nooded, feeling a little bit embarrassed. Him feeling like that towards Doggett wasn't fair, specifically because he was very supportive. Until a few months ago, as far as he was concerned, he was straight. John, however, had been totally sure of it for a long time. He helped Fox in understanding how he was feeling, without telling him how he felt about him in order to give some space. The results have shown that the "approach" worked, since Mulder felt a lot more secure about it now.

— Okay, fair enough. But you're not understanding, I...

— Let me just interrupt you for a second. — Mulder looks angrily at him, and Doggett gives him a weak smile. — I'll be simple: you don't think you're that special, you are not that confident about yourself as you used to be towards Scully, I get it. But it's because you're discovering a new side of you. I'm aware of it for many years now, and it's tough. And I can reassure you that you're an amazing person. And I feel very happy around you.

Mulder and Doggett spend some time in that position, as if both of them were processing that scary amount of feelings inside of them, bursting. Both of their hearts were racing in their chests, probably Mulder's was the fastest. Doggett felt a little bit overwhelmed, more concerned than anything else. If he could, he'd certainly hold Mulder in his arms until the end of time.

The other one wouldn't make a single complaint about it. Not after all they've been through. Losses, life and death situations, always being put at risk, afraid of everything and needing to be brave. That's what the FBI asked from its agents. But at what cost?

That's the question they've been asking themselves for years in a row.

— I see. — Fox finally makes a statement, reaching to John's cheek and giving it a brief kiss. — I'm so sorry. It's just that everything feels so out of control, and I'm so afraid of everything that's happening. It's amazing, but it's also very fucking scary.

— I know, Fox, I know. — his boyfriend replies. — But no matter what, I'll be here, always. Okay? We'll work it out. Protect each other.

— Okay. — he stops himself for a bit before talking again. — Can we... uh... try it again? — once he asks that question, he tries not to blush, giving the blue eyed man a shy, but full of second intentions smile.

Doggett laughs loud and wholeheartedly, shaking his head vigorously as a "yes", while again taking Mulder to the sofa, already giving him loads of kisses through his face and neck.

— Of course, Mulder.

— I didn't even have to ask, did I?

— Not at all.