“Agent Doggett – can I see you in my office right now?”
Doggett looked up in astonishment. Skinner’s tone was sharp and ice cold. The statement wasn’t a question as much an order. This was totally unexpected. In the time since Doggett had been called in to replace Skinner’s favorite agents, Mulder and Scully, he’d felt only support and sympathy from his superior, and now suddenly, this distancing. Doggett searched his mind to find a clue as to what he might have done to offend Skinner.
“Yes. Walter. Sir.”
His order given, Skinner turned on his heel and left, apparently expecting Doggett to follow.
It was a new sensation for Doggett, this being ordered about like a rookie. From the start, he and Skinner had been able to work well together. They had the same background, they had even served in Nam at roughly the same time. Doggett had begun to take Skinner’s support for granted, but he couldn’t help admiring this new forceful Skinner. The man was after all an FBI legend, just as the mysteriously departed Mulder and Scully.
Doggett couldn’t force down a mental image of how Skinner’s muscles would ripple underneath the suit, as he walked quickly, aggressively ahead. What was wrong with him? Ever since as far as he could remember, he’d had to fight down these unwanted feelings of attraction for other men. Before and after his marriage. From time to time, he’d run into these authoritative, aggressive men of his own age and be lost again.
This was madness. Doggett knew for a fact that Skinner was seeing Mrs Margaret Scully, agent Scully’s mother. Obviously there was no chance the man would return his feelings. Even if he did, how could they continue working together if their attraction for each other was openly revealed?
When they’d first started working together right after Mulder’s and Scully’s disappearance, Skinner had been subdued, almost as if in mourning. It had been easy to find a pleasant, normal rapport between them. Just like in the old days. Two old warriors bonding as friends.
While Doggett was struggling with himself, they had ended up outside Skinner’s office. Skinner nodded absently to the girl sitting behind the desk, overlooking, or guarding the office. This was the secretary who screened any potential visitors to the great man’s private sanctum.
Outside Skinner’s office, Doggett took a few seconds to collect himself. This was a difficult moment, not only had he antagonized Skinner unwittingly, but also, the incident had robbed him of his professional detachment. He needed to cool off a little before facing the confrontation.
To stall, Doggett exchanged a few words with the secretary. The girl smiled reassuringly. She had seen many agents in the same predicament, or so she thought. Most recently it had been Mulder. Over the three years she’d been working there, she’d even seen the infamous Krycek walk by on a few occasions.
Unable to postpone the meeting any longer, Doggett took a deep breath and entered the office.
Skinner was sitting behind his desk, his chair slightly turned towards the window behind him, impatiently drumming the desktop with his fingers. On hearing the door open and close he turned to face his visitor, fixing him with a merciless stare.
“How nice of you to spare me a few moments of your valuable time.”
Doggett squirmed uncomfortably under the chilly gaze. He felt like a fresh new recruit facing his commanding officer after committing some unforgivable offense. The feeling didn’t help at all. If anything, it was making him more excited by the second. If he couldn’t think of a distraction, Skinner might even pick up on his state of mind.
“Anything wrong, agent Doggett? Am I keeping you from some important meeting? With your lovely partner maybe?”
“No, sir. Agent Reyes is looking into the current case. She’s doing fine on her own.”
“Really? I have heard from several different sources that you’re having problems cooperating with our female agents.”
“In what way?”
This was news to Doggett. Who had dared to complain? Wasn’t he treating those women with perfect respect? At long last, Doggett’s temper was stirring.
“Who told you that? Is it that Radcliffe bitch in accounting? I was just making a joke. She should know better.”
“Agent Doggett. Need I remind you of our policy concerning using these gender-specific derogatory terms about minority groups? My reports come from several different sources, as I told you.”
“Agent Reyes isn’t complaining. At least I hope not.”
“Agent Reyes is remarkably quiet about your work together.”
“With all due respect sir, I thought you’d understand. I’ve noticed the way you address your secretary and the girls in the steno pool.”
Skinner pushed back his chair and stepped out from behind the desk. He moved closer to Doggett who involuntarily took a step back.
“Going somewhere, John?”
The sarcastic tone and the insinuation caused Doggett to blush. He hadn’t blushed since second grade. To avoid this embarrassing fact showing, he turned slightly away from the AD.
“Look at me when I’m talking to you.”
Until now, Skinner had been using a relatively polite tone, but from what Doggett could see out of the corner of his eye, Skinner was now getting angry. His skin was flushed and his eyes flamed in a way that made Doggett want to turn and flee. At the same time, it was a highly impressive sight. Doggett had to fight down a vision of Skinner as a bullfighter in the ring, and Doggett, of course, was the bull.
Unable to resist the command in his superior’s voice, Doggett looked back at Skinner, struggling for words, under the steely gaze.
“Walter, I -”
“I’m tired of having to defend my decision to let you and Reyes take over the X files. As you well know, there are powers here at the FBI who want to have them closed down for good. The only reason you’re still here is my protection and the fact that they’re expecting you to fail.”
What? Doggett couldn’t believe he was hearing this. From Walter of all people. He had thought they were friends. If even Walter found his work incompetent and unsatisfactory – He couldn’t let this be left unchallenged.
“While we’re talking about the X files, I could mention what I’ve heard. There are those who say that the ratio of solved cases went up significantly while you were removed from responsibility for the X files.”
Doggett caught himself in time, before repeating the rumors going around about Skinner’s reasons for protecting Mulder. Those couldn’t be true. In fact, some said it was Scully who was the favorite. Though most people were in agreement about one thing. The two agents from the X files seemed to be extremely devoted to each other.
For a moment Skinner seemed to be lost for words. What would happen now? Doggett was about to take his statement back.
“Sir, I -”
Before he could finish the sentence, Skinner grabbed him and pulled him closer. Doggett could feel his hot breath on his skin. Those eyes bored into him with a fire that almost burned him.
“How dare you? Is this how you show your loyalty to me? You -”
At that point, words failed Skinner and he had to pause for breath. He pulled back slightly and began to fumble with his tie.
Doggett felt as if he’d escaped at the last possible second. One moment longer and he’d have – Something he was quite sure FBI regulations strictly forbade. If Skinner hadn’t stepped back when he had, Doggett just knew they would have come to blows and if they had – he wouldn’t have been able to answer for the consequences. Better not open that door.
Skinner appeared to be rallying new strength and took a step forward, again reaching out as if to grab Doggett, but stopped short just before touching him.
“If you ever try something like this again -”
The sound of his rasping breath had a surprisingly stimulating effect on Doggett. This time, he didn’t shy away. He faced his superior squarely. Why should he step back? There was nothing to be afraid of. This was a new assertive approach. Doggett felt he had to answer.
“Sir, I would never -”
“Not another word from you.”
Skinner was now even closer. Doggett fancied he could even hear the hammering of Skinner’s heart right next to his. The AD’s scent was wafting into Doggett’s nostrils. He loved the cologne. Something about it excited him more than any lady’s perfume could. Faced with this overwhelming assault on all his senses, Doggett had no choice but to surrender. He waited, breathlessly, his eyes closed. Would Skinner use his fists on him? Part of Doggett hoped he would. Or – another, deeper part of him wished for a kiss, for any sign of affection.
Doggett felt Skinner’s hands pressing his head against the wall. He was held in a vice, unable to move an inch. Expectantly, Doggett waited for whatever was to come. Pain or pleasure. What was the difference anyway? Surprisingly, Skinner appeared to hesitate, waiting for – what? Surely he couldn’t be hoping for Doggett to make the first move? The first move for what? Don’t be an idiot, Doggett angrily told himself. He took a deep breath.
Suddenly he felt Skinner’s lips against his own, pressing down hard. For a long time they just stood there, tasting each other. Doggett felt every muscle in the lean, hard body pressing against him. Skillful hands reached under his shirt and began to explore his skin underneath the fabric. This was all he could have hoped for and more. Doggett wanted to do something in return. His own hands groped blindly for Skinner’s chest. At first he thought the other man would allow the liberty, but when his intention became clear, strong arms shot out, pinning Doggett’s wrists behind his back, forcing him to submit.
Skinner’s eyes communicated a message to Doggett, and he wordlessly replied. Yes. I’ll do whatever you want me to. Just show me, and I’ll do it. It wasn’t Doggett’s first time with a man, but it was the first time with anyone who meant anything. Skinner’s hands continued with the undressing. Now Doggett’s jacket and shirt were tossed carelessly to the floor, and his superior pushed him to his knees, while backing up against the desk.
Doggett was happy to do this for Walter. Nothing would have been too much to ask.
Expectantly, Doggett began to crawl towards the desk, eager to begin to serve his new master.
A wordless command from Skinner froze him to the spot. Again, Doggett responded to the order and remained where he was. He wanted to ask: what can I do to serve you? But he knew he wasn’t allowed to speak.
Something told Doggett he had failed to please. Skinner walked back to him, his hand in his pocket. Doggett waited, for whatever punishment would be forthcoming. Now Skinner stepped behind him. The waiting was beginning to unnerve Doggett. What was his lover planning? Pain didn’t scare Doggett, but this suspense was wearing on his nerves.
Suddenly, a jingle gave him a hint of what to expect. The cool metal of Skinner’s handcuffs against Doggett’s skin caused a shiver of anticipation go down his spine.
His purpose accomplished, Skinner returned to the desk. The meaning was clear. This is your last chance, John. Make it up to me. Or else.
With a touch of his hand, Skinner gave the order and Doggett began to move closer, still on his knees. Closing his eyes, Doggett gave himself over to servicing his lover. To be perfectly honest, this was what he’d been dreaming about all along. Ever since the legendary AD had called him to his office the first time, to discuss the X files.
“Don’t make a mess, agent Doggett. You understand what I’m saying?”
Yes. Doggett knew exactly what Walter was asking. He wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Skinner’s hands clutched the edge of the desktop so hard his knuckles went white. That was the only visible sign of his arousal. The AD’s eyes were closed and his teeth bit down hard. Not a sound escaped his lips.
When it was over, Skinner unlocked the handcuffs and removed them. Doggett watched his superior and read the permission to get up off the floor. By now, there was a dull ache in his knees from remaining in the cramped position for so long.
On his way back to his desk, Skinner picked up Doggett’s jacket and shirt, throwing them into the agent’s face.
“Agent Doggett, dress yourself.”
That was all. Doggett hadn’t really expected any words of thanks, and far less any terms of endearments. What was painful was the chill in Skinner’s voice. It sounded very much as if he resented the entire incident. Doggett had been unprepared for that.
The plea in his voice caused a reaction in the AD, just not the one Doggett had been wishing for.
Skinner turned and faced him again, and for a moment, Doggett thought the other man was going to kiss him. Instead, he received a stinging blow to his right cheek. As if the physical contact had reawakened the desire, Skinner grabbed Doggett for the last time, and sank his teeth into his still exposed shoulder, biting down so hard, Doggett feared the skin would break.
“That would be all, agent Doggett. Just watch your conduct in the future.”
Filled with disappointment, and bewilderment, Doggett hurriedly put his clothes back on. The pain in his shoulder would remind him of the encounter for a long time. He wondered if Skinner’s intention had been to punish or mark him. Whatever the reason, he would carry the experience with him forever, whether or not the bite mark would leave a scar. What Skinner was feeling, Doggett had no idea, but he knew there were no regrets on his part.
There was still a telltale red mark on Doggett’s cheek as he struggled to put the tie back on, making a proper knot, straightening out the shirt. He hoped there would be no obvious creases for the inquisitive to speculate on.
Just as he put his jacket back on, the door opened and his partner walked in. Doggett was glad to be able to direct his anger and confusion at someone.
“Agent Reyes. Have you never heard of knocking?”
“Sorry, sir. I did knock, but no one answered. I was told you were both in here. Sir.”
This was directed at AD Skinner.
“Agent Doggett. This is my office. I deal with any agent who comes through the door.”
The tension in the air was almost tangible. Reyes’ gaze travelled across her partner’s face, taking in the flaming red mark on his cheek. Had he and the AD come to blows? What had been going on in here? She thought the emotional tension approached an almost physical passion.
Since her work on the X files had begun, she’d remarked on the friendship between the two men. And it had warmed her heart to see Doggett opening up to a man he must have seen as an equal. How could the AD turn on him this way? Reyes cast a chilly glance in her boss’ direction. Ever since her first meeting with John Doggett, she’d felt this protective affection for him.
“What can I do for you, agent Reyes? Did you come to see me, or your partner?”
“I came to find agent Doggett, sir.”
“Then take him with you and leave.”
“Yes, sir. Agent Doggett?”
Skinner was glad to see the last of Doggett. The incident filled him with mixed feelings. It had been so long since the last time he’d felt such reckless passion. His attraction for Margaret was different. Those feelings were too confusing to be put in words, but he really loved her and had been hoping for so much more. After this, he was back where he had been when he lost Krycek, and that was a place he had never wanted to revisit, not in his worst nightmares.
No matter how badly he wanted to forget about what had happened between him and John, he didn’t think he’d be able to resist.
When the phone rang, he jumped. Trying to remain calm, he lifted the receiver, but was jolted out of the semblance of composure by the sound of the voice at the other end of the line.
“Walter? Is anything wrong?”
“No, nothing’s wrong.”
There was a puzzled pause at the other end of the line, but there it was again. Her voice that could still move him in ways he couldn’t explain.
“So we’re still on for dinner tonight?”
Unsure about what to make of his suddenly overeager voice, Margaret merely murmured a few words of welcome.
“Then I’ll see you tonight. At 8?”
After hanging up, Skinner remained sitting at his desk, staring at the wall. The thought of losing Margaret was unbearable. For the moment, his emotional dilemma was all but forgotten.
There was something about Margaret that attracted him uncontrollably, and ultimately, he felt that a relationship with her would be far more emotionally rewarding than anything he could share with Doggett.
Still – there were some things the agent could give him that Margaret couldn’t, and something told him Doggett would settle for whatever he was willing to give him.
At 10 to eight Skinner parked outside Margaret’s house. Never before had he been so eager to meet her, but suddenly he felt apprehensive. Although the episode with Doggett hadn’t mattered that much – to him – technically, he had been cheating on her. Hell, who was he kidding, it mattered a great deal, but it was her he loved. If he had to choose between them, he knew who’d lose.
“Hello there, Walter! You seemed to be so far away. Is something troubling you?”
“Oh, hi. No, everything’s ok now.”
Skinner hugged her, maybe a little too eagerly, but it was true, when he was with her everything was ok. Contentedly he went inside, almost forgetting all distressful thoughts. He didn’t notice Margaret’s worried frown.
After dinner they retreated to the living room to have coffee and apple pie. I could really get used to this. He always felt so at home being with Margaret. He pulled her closer and kissed her. She let him kiss her for a while but suddenly he felt her tense up. What was it? Something he had done? Suddenly he blushed. Yes, he had – something almost unforgivable.
“Walter, I think we need to talk.”
“Yes, Margaret, we do.”
“Is there something you’d like to tell me?”
She sounded so sweet and lovely, but at the same time demanding. You must tell me everything, she seemed to be saying. Looking into her steel blue eyes, made him want to confess everything. Well, not everything, but at least about Doggett.
“Margaret, I -”
Skinner struggled with the words. What could he possibly tell her that would make sense? He didn’t quite understand it himself.
When the confession came bubbling forth, she listened without comment. She didn’t know what she had expected, certainly not what this man who she had come to love, was telling her. Skinner and Doggett? They seemed to be such an unlikely couple, she caught herself thinking. Her Walter with another man. How could he do that to her? She couldn’t really comprehend it.
What? When? Why? Her silence seemed to urge him on.
“Margaret, please, I didn’t want any of this to happen.”
“You didn’t really want to have sex with John Doggett, or you didn’t want me to find out?”
Skinner had never seen Margaret this angry. She was magnificent and it made her look sexier than ever. Something about her reminded him of Dana, but at the moment his mind was too busy dealing with this new crisis. The thought was lost. All he could think about was her. A hard slap jolted him out of his contemplation. I guess I deserved that. All of a sudden everything felt completely right.
Suddenly she grabbed him, pinned him down on the sofa and kissed him. She started to tear off his shirt. Skinner could hardly breathe. She was all over him and but just as suddenly she stopped again. He watched her, waiting for her next move.
Margaret started to hit him more and more violently. Her nails scratched his bare chest.
“You shouldn’t have cheated on me, not with him, not with anyone. Don’t ever do that to me again, ever,
She didn’t wait for him say anything. Later she would demand an answer. For now her lips covered his. By now the rest of his clothes had ended up on the floor. She had been betrayed, but fortunately, Skinner knew what to do to make it up to her.
The next morning Margaret felt more relaxed than she had been for a long time. Even if she didn’t like to admit it to herself, she had enjoyed last night, all of it. Margaret didn’t regret a thing, and she sensed that Walter didn’t either. Just before she let him go after kissing him goodbye, she whispered an admonition into his ear.
“If you ever do something like that again, you know what will happen.”
Yes, Skinner knew, and he was counting on it.
For a long time it was enough for him just to be with Margaret. She gave him all he could ever ask for, or so he thought, but after a while he realized that he needed something more. That there was something even Margaret couldn’t give him though he loved her more than anything. He knew what he had to do. He picked up the phone and dialled Doggett’s number.
“Sir, yes, sir. Anything wrong, sir?”
“I need you to bring me a file from the office.”
Why did Walter need a file at this time of the night? But it wasn’t his place to question his superior’s orders.
“If it’s not too much trouble. Maybe I can call someone else. Your lovely partner perhaps? Or is she there with you so I can speak to her right now?”
Now he’d made Walter angry.
“No sir, that’s ok, I’ll bring it to you. No need to disturb agent Reyes. I’m sure she’s already asleep. At her place I mean.”
Great, now I’m babbling.
“I’m on my way.”
“That will be all, agent Doggett.”
Almost an hour later Doggett knocked on Skinner’s door. The rain was pouring down.
“There your are, John. Did I drag you away from something important?”
“No problem at all, sir, but now I have to get going. It’s quite late and -”
“Oh I see. I was hoping we could discuss this case, but if you have more important things to do -”
“No, nothing that important, sir.”
“Would you like to come in then, agent Doggett? It’s getting rather cold. I’ill get you a drink.”
Skinners’s masculine scent filled Doggett with anticipation as he stepped through the doorway.
“You’re dripping on my floor. Get out of these wet clothes, immediately.”
“Now, agent Doggett!”
Without any more hesitation, he took off all his clothes. Skinner threw him a towel.
“Use it. When you’re done, you can join me in the living room.”
Doggett wrapped the towel around himself and followed his master.
“Did I tell you to bring the towel? It’s soaking wet. Take it off.”
Skinner grabbed it and threw it away.
“Look at me when I’m talking to you, John. I can call you John, can’t I?”
“You’re a disappointment to me, did you know that?”
“Sir, I -”
Doggett reached for the towel. He felt so vulnerable. His master was disappointed with him. All he ever wanted was to please his superior.
“You constantly disobey me. I know that you don’t want to, do you?”
“Yes, sir. I mean no, sir.”
“Speak up. Do you or don’t you want to obey me?”
“I want to obey you.”
Skinner pushed Doggett down on his knees and gave him a stern look.
“I want to obey you, master.”
“Don’t you ever forget it. Now, you’ll have to show me that you really mean it.”
“Keep quiet and stay there.”
Skinner turned around and walked out of the room. Doggett kept quiet and awaited everything his master would do to him. He trusted him completely. When the AD returned he didn’t say a word. He just blindfolded Doggett, then grabbed his hands and pulled them behind his back and cuffed him.
“Now John, get your ass into the bedroom.”
Doggett tried to get up. His superior pushed him back to the floor.
“Stay down. And follow me.”
On his knees and with his hands behind his back, he tried to follow his master’s order. He mustn’t be disappointed in me again. Without any warning Doggett felt a stinging slap to his butt.
“What took you so long? Don’t you ever let me down again. Get up on the bed.”
Led by his masters’s masculine voice, Doggett crawled up onto the bed. Again he felt a searing, sharp pain.
“Didn’t I tell you to get your ass in here? I think you need to be disciplined. Lie down on your stomach.”
Skinner grabbed Doggett’s hair and pushed his head down into the pillow. He continued to slap his butt until it was all red and sore, still using his bare hands.
“Have you had enough yet?”
Doggett didn’t reply, secretly hoping for more. This was nothing, he might as well ask Reyes for something like this.
“Didn’t you hear me, bitch? I see, I shall have to make you pay attention.”
Skinner unbuckled his belt and pulled it out.
“Clearly, you’ll have to taste this too.”
Using the buckled end of the belt he started to work on Doggett’s ass and back. Doggett bit the pillow so he wouldn’t scream. It hurt so much, but at the same time he was beginning to feel aroused. Skinner unlocked the handcuffs and took them off. He grabbed Doggett and rolled him over. The sheets chafed against the bruised skin, but the pain was good.
Skinner seemed to have had enough. He just got off the bed and went into the bathroom where he removed his clothes and got into the shower. When he returned to the bedroom, he found Doggett, exactly as he had left him. Skinner lay down on the bed. For a long time he didn’t say anything. He just watched his new toy. Finally, he seemed to have made up his mind what to do.
Skinner’s full weight pressed into Doggett, causing the welts on his back to hurt even more. Filled with expectation, Doggett closed his eyes, waiting for what his master would do to him, and he didn’t have long to wait. He could feel Skinner moving inside him and he bit his lip to stop the cry of pleasure and pain, but his submission wasn’t enough. A sharp blow to his face made Doggett’s eyes open wide in alarm. What was he doing wrong now?
“Look at me, bitch. I want to see into your eyes.”
When Skinner was done, he rolled over on his back. Gruffly, he acknowledged his slave’s performance.
“You did well. Now you can sleep.”
With a sense of fulfillment Doggett fell asleep. He had pleased his master.
The next morning Skinner woke up to the sound of the phone ringing. As he grabbed for the phone he turned around. With dismay he caught sight of Doggett’s contented features. So it hadn’t just been a wet dream.
“Sir, Reyes here.”
“Yes, what do you want?”
Realizing he was a bit abrupt, he hurriedly amended his question.
“Any new developments on the case?”
“Yes sir, but nothing important. I’ll tell you all about it later. I was just calling to ask you if you have any idea were agent Doggett is.”
Not wanting to be reminded of his own mistakes, he felt his temper rising. Why did she have to be such a den mother? Doggett was after all a grown man capable of making his own decisions.
“Why should I know? I’m sure he’s fine. There’s no need for you to monitor his off duty hours.”
“No sir, I know. I’m sorry to have disturbed you.”
“See you on Monday, Reyes.”
After hanging up Reyes remained standing by the phone, a pensive look on her face. She didn’t know why, but she had a distinct suspicion that AD Skinner was lying. The only question was why. For some reason she sensed that Doggett was in trouble. When she did learn the truth, whoever was responsible would answer to her, regardless of his rank.
Despite the fact that Skinner was quite angry with Reyes right now, he really respected her. She was loyal and efficient. Even if there weren’t any other similarities, she reminded him of Dana. Why did that woman have to call right now? He directed his anger at Doggett, who was to blame for all this.
“Get out in the kitchen and make me some breakfast.”
Doggett looked around for his clothes.
“Did I tell you to get dressed? If I tell you to get me something you will obey instantly. Do I make myself clear?”
Eagerly Doggett hurried out in the kitchen to obey his master.
What Skinner really wanted was to get rid of Doggett as soon as possible. What had he been thinking last night? This was madness. Professionally as well as personally. How could Margaret ever forgive him? He was interrupted in his brooding by the sound of the phone ringing again.
“Yes, what is it?”
“No need to bite my head off, Walter.”
Skinner could hear his voice was close to breaking. Here he was thinking about her and suddenly there she was. Not in the flesh fortunately, but hearing her voice was quite enough.
“I’m sorry, I just had a call from a tiresome agent.”
“Really? Is that all you’ve had?”
Attempting to change the subject he tried to shift the focus of the conversation.
“Did you sleep well, dear?”
“Don’t even bother. Do you think I’m an idiot?”
“But Margaret -”
“Did you sleep well or were you too busy with Doggett?”
“Margaret, I’m sorry. It should never have happened. I don’t know what got into me.”
“Save the excuses for later. Get over here now, and bring your playmate with you.”
“You heard me. Now get a move on.”
After hanging up Skinner hurriedly put his clothes on.
“Breakfast’s ready, sir.”
Doggett seemed intolerably happy.
“Get dressed. We’re leaving.”
As Doggett’s was getting dressed, Skinner gulped down his coffee.
“Where are we going, sir?”
“You’ll know when we get there. Let’s go.”
Doggett thought he had to ask, but it really didn’t matter were they were going. He trusted his master completely.
Skinner on the other hand felt a shiver of anticipation. No matter what the punishment would be, it would be worth it. He was relieved that the matter with Doggett would be resolved one way or the other.