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The Same Boat

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There wasn’t even anything good on tv to distract from the pain. Day time television was so stupid, it was mind numbingly so, but frankly that did nothing for the rest of his body. His feet rested in the coffee table and he was slouched with his back against the cushions. This posture wasn’t helping at all but he was too miserable to care.

“How’s the weather today, Jim?” the newscaster on tv asked.

“Fuck you, Jim.” Mulder said angrily, changing the channel.

There was a western on. It was one of the same tv movies his sister loved. He decided to leave it on. He glanced towards the bottle of pain medicine. How long had it been since he’d last taken some? Probably not even an hour. Why was god so cruel? Well, he didn’t believe in god…but life was cruel.

The phone rings and he groans loudly. It was probably his mother. When she did call him it always seemed to be this time, like she knew.

“How are you, Fox? Do you need me to send you some money?” she’d ask.

“No I don’t need any money.” He’d tell her, but he’d still find a fifty-dollar check in the mail within the next week.

Maybe he won’t answer. He sighs and grits his teeth when it rings again. Hating himself just a bit, he snatched up the phone.

“Hello…” he keeps his voice tight, hoping his mother will think he’s too busy to talk.

“Mulder…” It’s Scully. He practically sighs with relief.

“Oh hey.” He smiles. “What’s up?”

“Are you busy?” she asked.

He glanced towards the tv and then towards the kitchen. He’d been thinking of making tea, but that required moving. Everything he could do today required moving, so it was safe to say he wasn’t doing any of it.

“Nope.”

“Are you alright?” she must have sensed the tenseness in his voice.

“It’s…” he wants to tell her. If anyone would understand, it’d be her. Of course, he wasn’t one to assume people’s internal organs, but he was pretty sure she had a similar issue once a month. “It’s nothing important.” He chicken out.

“Oh, okay…well…” she sighs.

“What is it?” he sits up, despite the pain. “Is something wrong?”

“I was wondering if you could do me a favor…” she starts. No. Why god. Moving…Maybe he should tell her what’s wrong. Even if she didn’t have personal experience, she was a doctor. She at least had to know his pain through reputation. “I normally wouldn’t ask, but it’s kind of a big deal…”

“What do you need?” there was no way he could say no now.

She tells him and he immediately gets to work. He grabs his medicine off the table and tosses it into a shopping bag. He then went to the kitchen and grabbed his favorite mint tea. It was supposed to be good for the pain.

Finally, grateful he’d splurged for a large box, he grabbed the tampons. He briefly considers changing clothes, but decides against it. After all, he doesn’t have that much executive function.

***

She’s watching the news at her apartment too. She lets him in and quickly shuts the door behind him.

“Nice shirt…” she smiles.

That’s why he’d wanted to change. He didn’t care what anyone thought except her –and a shirt that said “I love Bigfoot” on it was grounds to be mocked for weeks.

“Yeah, yeah.” He shook his head. “Do you want the stuff or not?”

“Thank you, you’re a lifesaver.” She really sounds like she means it.

“It’s no big deal.” He puts the bag on the coffee table and gets the tea out. Her kitchen is a lot cleaner and more organized than his, so it’s easy for his to find the kettle and start the water.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked somewhat nervously.

“What?” He drops the teabags in the mugs before glancing her way.

“How much do I owe you for the stuff?” she asked again.

“You’re making this sound like a drug deal.”

“Well you went to the drug store, right?”

He leans up from the counter and looks at her. Even on days off she normally dresses like she’s got business –but not today. Her sweatshirt is too big. It goes down by her knees and the sleeves cover her hands like mittens. It’s rather adorable.

“No…I uh. I already had this stuff at my place.” He turns away again. He can’t look at her when he says this. “For…personal use.”

He doesn’t watch her face. He keeps his back to her as she makes the tea. He hears her sort through the bag and then go to the bathroom. He takes the tea to the living room and sits on her couch.

When she comes out she doesn’t sit next to him. The two of them have been too close for comfort since they met, so this really hurts. It hurts worse than cramps.

“Mulder, what did you mean by personal use?” she asked quietly.

He groans and slips his feet off her coffee table and onto the floor. He can’t deal with this. Maybe he should just leave.

She stands by the couch and looks at him. He feels so warm under the collar. Why had he wanted to tell her earlier but not now? Because she’d look at him differently. Everyone did. In a weird way, he kind of assumed she already knew on some level but just never brought it up.

He reaches into the bag and takes the medicine out. “You got backache, muscle aches and headache?” he asked, reading directly from the label.

“Yes…”

“We’re in the same boat, kid.” He still doesn’t look at her. He keeps his eyes ahead on the tv. Weather reports show sparse showers.

She leaves the room again. He stands up, wanting to be gone when she comes back. He’d have to stop at the drug store and replace all of his stuff, though.

“Here…” she walks back in carrying the large comforter from her bed. She lays it on the couch before looking at him quizzically, wondering why he’s standing. “Sit down.” She tells him.

He sits and she drapes half the blanket over him before she climbs under the other half. Her hip is against his and it makes him want to cry. Though, that could just be his condition.

“You know, you didn’t have to bring all of that stuff. I already have medicine.” She hold up her own bottle.

“Same brand.” He smiles and holds up his bottle again.

“Same boat.” She says softly.

“Same boat.” He agrees and they tap their medicine bottles together as if clinking wine glasses.

***

“This tea is the best.” He tells her now that they’re settled with their mugs.

“I’ve heard mint is good for cramps but I’ve never tried it.” She takes a sip. “It’s nice.”

“We’re not expecting any sunshine this weekend, sorry.” The weatherman reports from the tv.

“Fuck you Jim.” Scully says bitterly and they both laugh.

Now that he knows for a fact that they’re in similar situations at similar times, he knows she won’t mind if they suffer together. Maybe next time he’ll bring a movie or something. Though nature sucked, it was nice to have someone in the same boat.