Hearing another thump from the first floor, Fox Mulder looked up from his book and listened for the heavy footfalls to start up the staircase. When they finally did, he lay his book on the nightstand and set his reading glasses on top. Shoving off the covers, he swung his legs over the side of the bed and padded barefoot into the bathroom to start the shower. Stepping back into the bedroom he came nose to nose with Alex Krycek. "What took you so long?" he asked.
Not rising to the bait, Alex sighed wearily as he struggled to pull his right arm from the sleeve of his leather jacket.
"Let me," Mulder said, moving to help. Their reunions were always tense and awkward, but there was something about the way Alex was holding himself that pinged Mulder's radar. Hugging Alex's jacket to his chest, Mulder bit his lip as he took in how much weight the other man had lost in the last couple of months. Keeping his thoughts to himself for the moment, Mulder said, "The water should be hot by now. Why don't you go have a shower? I'll go downstairs, hang up your jacket, get your bag, and warm up some soup for you."
"Not hu-" Alex's hoarse voice trailed off into a cough.
"Just a little, okay? Or would you rather I give Scully a call?" Mulder threatened.
"Your choice," Mulder said.
"Soup," Alex whispered.
"Don't worry, I didn't make it. There's this great diner in town. Everything is homemade, you're gonna love it," Mulder said brushing Alex's hair from his forehead. "You're freezing. Go get warmed-up, I'll be up in a bit."
Alex nodded as he shuffled off to shower.
Way too malleable, Mulder thought, frowning as he watched him go. By the time he got back, not only was Alex out of the shower, but he was also curled around Mulder's pillow, dressed in a pair of Mulder's threadbare sweatpants and one of his old Redskins' sweatshirts. Setting the bowl on his dresser, Mulder slid into bed and careful of any injuries, spooned himself around Alex. Kissing his neck, he stroked the bare skin of his belly.
Alex mumbled something unintelligible; Mulder wasn't even sure it was English, though it sounded like a reprimand so he settled for, "Sorry, go back to sleep." When Alex didn't respond, Mulder figured he already had.