Author: Josan

Date: June, 1999

Summary: Skinner ruminates while doing laundry...like we all do.

Pairing: Just Sk, basically

Rating: It's all in your head anyways.

Archive: Archive X, Gossamer: anyone else, please let me know. Thanks.

Comments: jmann@mondenet.com

DISCLAIMER: Okay, CC and 1013, but I like them too.


by Josan


Usually Skinner did laundry on Saturdays.

However, ever since Mulder had more or less moved in, Saturdays were taken up with *other* activities. So laundry was done whenever he could fit it in.

They'd been pretty busy over the last two weeks, but now that Mulder was out of town with Scully on some X-File, Skinner took advantage of a free night to catch up on household chores.

Like the laundry.

As usual, he gathered all the items that needed washing together.

This required a bit more work than it used to. *He* liked to keep all his used clothing together, in the hamper. Mulder, on the other hand, tended to make little piles of stuff, here and there.

So, he went hunting. Found socks and underwear, both of theirs, ferreted away under the couch. Probably from one of those times when they didn't make it to the bedroom. A t-shirt of Mulder's pushed back under the cushions. A tie, one of those cartoony ones, behind the TV.

In the downstairs hall closet, he pulled out Mulder's gym bag. Experience had taught him to keep his head back when he opened it. Old gym socks, jock strap, shorts and ratty old t-shirt were all permeated with the smell of rancid sweat. Even the towel stank.

The swim suit didn't, only because the chlorine in the pool killed all odours, along with the elasticity of the suit. He made a mental note to buy Mulder a new one. And *not* one of those narrow red speedos. No one was going to look at his boy that way but him!

Upstairs, in the bedroom, he pulled more socks, several unmated, from under the bed along with a couple of paperbacks, an empty glass, a dirty dinner plate with a crusted over remainder of last week's pizza. Jes! He was worse than a pack rat!

From hard experience, he checked behind the dresser and wasn't surprised to find a shirt and a sock.

The chair in the corner was laden down with a couple of pairs of jeans, three henleys, a very dirty white sweater - which belonged to Skinner who had not worn it for at least a month. Shit! What was that *purple* stain on it? Whatever it was, it had better come out in the wash or Mulder was going to find himself shelling out for a replacement. Damn! He had liked that sweater!

He found the mate to the sock from behind the dresser under the bookcase in the opposite corner. What...Oh, yeah, must be from the night Mulder did that scrumptious strip routine. Skinner caught himself smiling at the memory. He tossed the sock onto the growing pile by the bedroom door.

In the closet he took off their hangers a couple of pairs of khakis, one of jeans, sweat pants and tops. All his. From the floor, he picked up one pair of dressier slacks, impossibly wrinkled, another pair of jeans, and the pants to one of Mulder's favourite suits. Which he folded properly and put onto a hanger ready to be sent to the cleaners.

In the bathroom, he emptied the hamper of his things, added the towels to the pile. With practised economical movements, he stripped the bed, remade it. He wrapped all the clothes in the sheets and carried the whole downstairs to the laundry area.

Where he separated "the colours from the whites, the heavy from the lights", as his mother had taught him. She had been a firm believer, long before the time, that men should have no excuse for not doing their share of household tasks.

While the tub filled, he went through pockets, pulling out a fountain pen from one of Mulder's flannel shirts - he'd lost the thing last weekend and had thrown a caniption fit about how he had looked *everywhere* and couldn't find it. He tossed the sunflower seed casings into the garbage.

In the jeans pockets, along with more casings, he wasn't surprised to find the occasional tube of lube. He had learnt the hard way to hunt those out of the wash. Not that the actual washing was a problem, but one had once gotten into the drying cycle and had leaked out all over the clean clothes.

There were also many small pieces of paper, most of them covered in undecipherable writing. Sometimes even Mulder had no idea what was written on them. Skinner had learnt not to throw these away, but rather put them into a small box that had once contained writing paper so that Mulder had the option of going through them himself. Not that he ever did. Now and then, he made a pretence of looking over the contents, but usually just threw them away. Still, it wasn't worth the grief for Skinner to be the one who tossed the scraps out. No siree, he had also learnt that the hard way.

And to check the pockets of anything for kleenex. Mulder had had a cold a month back, had produce the most incredible death scenes outside of soap operas and Charles Dickens. Kleenex still had a way of showing up, always in a dark load so that the little remnants of white fluff glued themselves to the clothes. Skinner didn't really mind being the one responsible for the laundry, but he did resent having to wash the same clothes twice because of an errant bit of kleenex.

He had given up try to mate Mulder's socks before washing. There was always an odd number of them. But, over the weeks, they usually managed to get themselves paired off. Except, once he'd found a couple of seed casings in the toe of an unmated sock. The mate to that one had never shown up.

He did check for missing buttons and rips and tears. He was trained well enough both by his mother and the Marines to resew trailing or missing buttons back on, to repair small tears in clothing. Mulder's training had been different. His mother couldn't be bothered with such things: they were either large enough to be sent to the tailor's, or else tossed into the rag pile. One of the advantages(?) of being raised with a fair amount of money.

The bedclothes required a bit more attention than they had when he'd been living alone. To begin with there were more of them to wash at one time than there used to be. Some of Mulder's nocturnal habits, like arousing him in the middle of the night - Mulder still occasionally had problems with insomnia which he resolved by engaging in sex - often meant that neither he nor Mulder had the energy or was awake enough to clean up after coming. Which made for sticky sheets. And Skinner hated sleeping in sticky sheets.

So, Mulder had gone out and bought four complete sheet sets so that he, Skinner, would stop bitching about that. Which in itself was a good idea, except that they added to the wash load. Which *he* did, not Mulder. He flicked them out before dropping them into the tub. You never knew where seed casings could be hiding.

Actually, when he thought about it, since Mulder had moved in, the work load had increased. There was a lot more washing to be done. More of a mess to clean up. Mulder cooked only if they wanted to die of food poisoning or try and eat carcinogenic charred things with no identifiable parts.

Not to say that he didn't do his share. He did do the dishes. Had no objections to washing the kitchen and bathroom floors. Took things to the dry cleaners and remembered to pick them up. Never complained about what food there was in the place. Had no problem with producing his share of the meals on the condition that they be take-out.

Never bitched if he, Skinner, brought home piles of work for the night or the weekend. Probably because Mulder had his own piles to work through.

Let him grouse all he wanted about office politics, the stupidity of memos from the "Upper Floor", the insanity of cut-backs. Just as he listened to Mulder's ruminations on life, liberty and the pursuit of X-Files. Though, he did have to admit, Mulder's bitching was far more enjoyable to listen to than his own. But Mulder did listen, knew when to say something, knew when to shut up.

Skinner was in the process of folding sheets when he felt a presence. Slouching in the doorway was a grubby, bewrinkled, tired-looking Mulder.

"Hi." His voice was raspy with fatigue.

Skinner finished folding the sheet. "I thought you weren't due back till tomorrow."

Mulder rested his head against the door frame. "Caught an earlier flight. I didn't want to sleep alone again tonight."

Skinner smiled as he pulled his lover into his arms.

Laundry wasn't such a high price to pay after all.