TITLE: Supermarket Sweep 
AUTHOR: Fiona
E-MAIL: nurseowens@clara.co.uk
Visit Fi's Place: http://www.nurseowens.clara.net/index.htm

DISTRIBUTION: Anywhere as long as my name is attached, 
but I would like to know where so that I can visit.
SPOILER WARNING: Post-Existence
RATING: PG-13
CLASSIFICATION: V,H
KEYWORDS: MSR
SUMMARY: While Scully relaxes, Mulder learns the hard way. 
(Companion piece to 'Limited Edition')

Spooky Award 2002 Winner: 1st place for best KidFic
(With thanks to everyone who voted for me)
~~~~~~~~~~

Supermarket Sweep


Scully straps Will into his car seat and turns to look at me.
She's tired.

"Are you sure you don't mind?"

"Scully, it's fine.. you go and take your bath. You know you won't 
get any peace if he stays here with you."

She smiles and wraps her arms around my waist, squeezing gently. 
Placing a quick kiss to my shoulder she pulls me over to the 
refrigerator to retrieve the shopping list suspended between two 
Looney Tunes magnets.
I know from experience that now would be a good time to head for 
the door before she starts on the 'Scully grocery decree'.. 

"Don't forget the milk.. and no full fat cheese this time."

Too late. I roll my eyes. "Okay".

"Make sure that you get the banana puree because he didn't like 
the apple.."

"Scully, I won't.."

"Diaper bag is by the front door, and don't forget.."

"Scully! Get in that tub before I *put* you in it."

A frown creases her forehead.
"But Mulder you will remember to.."

I bring my mouth down onto hers, a little more forcefully 
than I had planned but it shuts her up. I can feel her 
smiling against my lips.

"Tub. Bubbles. Go." I whisper, patting her bottom as she 
reluctantly shuffles towards the bathroom.

"And no more cereal" she mutters over her shoulder, absently 
raising one hand in farewell.

With the list tucked safely into my pocket I heft the 
car seat from the table and pick up my keys. 
Will looks up at me with heavy eyelids. 
With any luck he'll fall asleep in the car and I'll be able 
to get this trip over with before he wakes up.

------

Scully has scrawled 'Publix' at the top of the list, 
but this place was closer. I don't think she'll mind.
Will certainly doesn't as he's been the center of attention 
since aisle three.. thanks to a couple of newlyweds and 
several members of the blue rinse brigade who 'cooed' and 
'ahhhed' over him until I was tempted to go for my gun.

What *is* it with older women and babies?

Fortunately for me, he managed to save the day by 
wiggling his little diaper-clad bottom and farting 
loudly in their direction.
I'm not sure what he's been eating but the odour created 
a hell of a lot of personal space.

Scully would have died with embarrassment if she had been 
with me, but I high-five the little guy as I steer the trolley 
around the corner and laugh out loud. 

It's our first outing alone as father and son, and
I'm actually enjoying myself.

Luckily I can remember most things on the list without 
having to look at it, so for a while I just methodically 
trundle up and down the food sections picking out items 
while Will chatters nonsense.

Eighteen items. 
Which means I'm missing four. 
Retrieving the crumpled piece of paper from my son's fist, 
I scan down to the bottom to discover that the inventory 
ends with 'low-fat spr...' and a ragged tear made by wet gums.

A quick glance at Will reveals the remainder of the paper 
and the words '..ead' 'rice' 'pasta' and something beginning 
with 'D' which has fused itself to his tongue.

"Dammit!" 

Fishing around in his mouth with my pinky finger I manage to 
recover most of it, along with copious amounts of saliva and 
some regurgitated milk.
Ewww..gross.
The ink has smudged and stained my fingers and to my horror my 
son now has blue lips. Small trails of blue drool slide down the 
corners of his mouth and he looks like a miniature vampire. 

Finding a tissue in my pocket, I lean over him and try to 
wipe it off, but it won't budge. Poor little fella.
Suddenly I'm overcome with guilt and plant several kisses 
on his cheek to make myself feel better.

"Owww!" And get a black eye for my trouble.
How can one tiny foot carry such a powerful kick?
Dabbing the soiled tissue to my temple reveals a spot of 
blood, and I make a mental note to fix it before Scully 
catches sight of me.
Gotta cut his damn toenails too.

Right. Let's get on with this and get out of here.
Low-fat spread, rice and pasta. Haven't a clue what the 'D' was, 
but I think he swallowed it. Ah well.



There's a very attractive brunette sitting at checkout nine.. 
just the sort of woman I would have flipped over during my 
collage years. With no customers to serve, she waves at Will 
and flashes me a dazzling smile. What the hell.. no harm in a 
little flirting is there?

"He's so adorable!" She gushes, leaning forward to touch his 
hair, "I love babies.. how old is he?"

"This is William, he's almost four months.."
My eyes take an involuntary trip to her large breasts which 
are struggling to be free of the tight pink top she is wearing.
Oh man.

Will catches me staring and gives me his version of the Scully 
eyebrow, bashing my knuckles against the trolley with his fist. 
Tough luck buddy, I saw them first.

"I'm Rachael.. nice to meet you." 

"Fox Mulder.." 

My idiotic smile becomes harder to maintain as she reaches 
across the counter to daintily shake Will's tiny hand and then 
my own, causing her bustline to jiggle about under the thin 
material.

My son is suddenly mesmerized.
I'm hoping he isn't considering lunch.

"Are you hurt?"

"Huh?" My eyes struggle against gravity to meet her face.

"Your head.. are you bleeding?"

A quick swipe of my temple with my fingers reveals congealed 
blood with a suspicious blue tinge. "Oh it's nothing, just 
a scratch."

I have *got* to get out of here. 

The speed at which I throw the groceries onto the conveyor 
belt seems to amuse Will, and I'm glad of the distraction.
I want to go home, have a cold beer and persuade Scully 
to sit with me in front of the tv. 

After a bath, she's usually relaxed and sleepy, and her body
is warm and fragrant. That big old toweling bathrobe always 
has a tendency to slip off her left shoulder, revealing 
creamy skin that feels silky beneath my lips.. With any
luck, I might be able to...

"That will be $36.24 sir."

"oh sure.. thanks." While I'm fumbling for my credit card
I notice that the lovely Rachael has already packed my 
groceries into two large paper bags and deposited them 
into the trolley behind Will. She's also coughing and 
moving her chair backwards, and it isn't until I reach 
over to grab a pen that I realize why.

"I think he needs changing.." she suggests helpfully, wafting
her hand daintily in front of her face.

And then it hits me.
The full bodied aroma of my son's bowels.
Jesus. It's the sort of stench that could taint milk.

I glare at Will. "Uh, I'll do that" I smile, trying not 
to choke on my words. The little monkey is grinning at me,
raising one fist in victory. 
I'll bet he never does this to Scully in public.

The trolley shudders on three wheels as I make my way to the 
restroom in record time, and Will actually looks frightened.
He's not the only one. 
I'm really not looking forward to this.

The mother and baby room is pink and smells like talcum powder
and disinfectant. Will squirms on the changing table and kicks
his legs defiantly, making it very difficult for me to get 
at his diaper.
"You're not helping, you know.." I sigh, "Let me get this
off and you'll soon feel better.." 
Talking to him seems to help because he suddenly stills 
and looks up at me.

I know that look.
This is going to be bad. 
I close my eyes. And my mouth.

The sticky tabs part company and there's a dull thump as the 
sodden diaper hits the counter. Steeling myself against the 
pungent fragrance I open one eye.

Oh God.

Then the other.

It's green. 
My son has green shit.
Is that normal? Why isn't Scully here when I need her?

Okay, I can do this. Grabbing his ankles I use the clean edge
of the diaper to wipe his bottom clean, which isn't easy.. this
stuff has all the properties of toxic velcro. 
For a moment it feels like my eyes are bleeding until I remember
that I'm still holding my breath. There isn't even a damn 
window in here so I need to get this over with as quickly 
as possible.

Gratefully disposing of the mess I congratulate myself on 
a job well done. Scully always insists that his skin be 
allowed to 'breathe' for a few minutes, so I lean 
over to kiss his forehead and lift him from the table, 
holding him up in front of me. My heart melts when his tiny 
hands tweak my nose and he chuckles happily.

"Feeling better now buddy?"

I bounce him up and down on the changing mat and then bring my
mouth to his belly, blowing a loud raspberry against his soft skin.
He loves that. It's something I learned from watching Scully.
Somehow he always saves his biggest smiles for her, but now that
I'm a pro at this changing game I think I may have gone up 
in his estimation. 

"See? Your old Dad can handle a diaper too, Will."

There's another chuckle followed by a sudden torrent of piss that 
narrowly misses my right ear.

"Fuck! Dammit Will!"

Leaning to hold him over the basin, I watch with dismay
as I try to aim the wide arc of urine in the right direction. 
It's going everywhere, on the floor, up the walls and
perilously close to the groceries. 

"Fuck!" I sigh, and then say it again a little louder
for good measure, cringing when I hear Scully's voice 
in my head berating me for swearing in front of our son. 
<He's at an impressionable age, Mulder!>

Gradually the torrent subsides and then stops, and I give 
him a gentle shake over the plug hole to avoid any drips.
A lazy grin settles across his face. 
"Uck!" he gurgles, and I roll my eyes.

"Don't you dare tell your mother about this!"

"UCK!"

"Enough! Let's get you home."

I know that later I'm going to laugh about this, but right now all 
I want to do is get out of this hellhole and hand him back to Scully.
Because in my head I can feel the cogs turning, digging up a 
recently forgotten memory involving the location of a diaper bag.

<..is by the front door Mulder.. and don't forget..>

Yep, I forgot.
Crap. 
My son has no clean diaper, baby wipes, powder.. or
any of the other Mommy paraphernalia associated with that
missing bag.
NOW what do I do?
I will not panic.
Think, dammit!

Paper towels? No, not strong enough.
Toilet paper.. ditto.
I sigh heavily, knowing that I'm going to have to make certain
sacrifices if I'm going to get out of here.

"You're not going to like this kiddo.."

Will's eyes widen when he feels the cold water rushing
over his ass and he takes a huge breath in before screaming
blue murder. By the time I've dried him as best I can with
a scratchy hand towel his voice could shatter glass.

"Okay! Okay! I'm sorry buddy! All done now!"

I don't think he's ever going to forgive me for this.
All I can see in front of me are two icy blue eyes, 
a red tear-stained little face and a quivering lip 
big enough to balance a book on.

Turning him over, I stand close to the counter to 
stop him rolling off while I strip to the waist.
Standing naked in this small room it suddenly occurs 
to me that if I'm discovered like this I could be arrested, 
but the only thing I have to construct a makeshift diaper 
with is the t-shirt I'm wearing.
So be it.

With my sweater and jacket back in place I lay the tee
flat and begin to line it with the paper towels. 
Not an easy task as motormouth Will is grabbing them 
with both fists and attempting to insert them up my nose.
I think it's official: my son hates me.

Alright, now for the moment of truth. 
As soon as his little round bottom is plopped into
the center of my creation I grab the hem and tug it
up between his legs, then reach around the angry flailing 
limbs to tie both sleeves around his middle...

"Uck! Uck! Ooooff!"

*Tight* Gotcha. I smile. Take that, kiddo.

Hey, it actually works. Now as long as he doesn't lose
any bodily fluids in the next thirty minutes, I think
I'm safe. And he's finally stopped bawling, thank God.
On with the blue bodysuit, carefully over the new diaper 
and voila! Perfect.
No Will, please don't wriggle..if you keep that up I'll
be back where I started.
Wait, I have a solution. Deep in the dark, fluff-ridden
depths of my pocket there's a tie. It's an old Marvin the 
Martian model, circa 1987 I think.. but it's just the 
thing for holding everything in place. 
Three times around his tummy with two knots is sufficient, 
although he's now so huge he barely fits into the car seat.

Wonderful. He looks like a cartoon character who has 
swallowed a whole lifesaver. Complete with blue lips.
Scully is going to freak when she sees him.

Fatherhood definitely isn't my forte, and seeing my son's
subdued expression as we walk back through the store
sends large daggers of guilt through me.
He'll probably need a shrink when he's twelve.
I can't help it.. I know I'm being manipulated by those
soulful baby blues, but when he looks at me like that..

"Hey buddy? You want a toy?"

As if he doesn't have enough already. 
But surely he deserves a treat after what I've just 
subjected him to? Oh God, I'm so sorry Will.



Driving home, I'm surprised how successful a Tickle me Elmo
can be. At first I thought he might be frightened by it,
but so far he's been chucking along with the damn thing 
for the past five miles, and it's music to my ears.

Well at least it *was*. 

Now he's got hiccups and I'm convinced that the laughter 
and excitement coupled with the extra body heat from all 
the additional layers he's wearing will probably result 
in lots of vomit. His face is flushed too.
My arm isn't long enough to reach over to the back seat and
turn off the damn toy and I'm reluctant stop the car when 
I'm so close to home. 
I end up turning on the radio to try and distract him.

"Hey Will? You want to.."

Too late.
The minute I arrive home, kill the engine and reach 
for him, he barfs. Oh Jesus.
Three out of three.


------


He isn't answering his cell phone. It's been nearly
three hours since they left and I'm trying not to climb
the walls. 
I'm about the call my mother when I hear familiar
footsteps along the hall and then a pause before lots
of fumbling with keys followed by swearing.

He's back. 
Smiling, I rush to the front door I fling it open.

"Mul..!"

What the hell?
The two of them are covered in vomit, and looking thoroughly
miserable. Both are pouting and for some reason Mulder has
his sweater on inside out and there are some dubious looking
green stains on his jeans. 
My eyes fly back to Will.

"Mulder! His lips are.."

"Blue, yeah.. I know. Don't worry, it's ink."

My panic subsides a little. I'll ask questions later as I
have a feeling that the explanation may take a little time.

"You forgot to take the bag."

He bites his lip. "I *know* I did."

"Did you remember to buy more diapers?"

There's a groan from Mulder. "No. He ate them."

"What?!"

"He had the list in his mouth.." he sighs and then starts
muttering to himself.."that's what the D was for.."

"Don't worry, we have enough until tomorrow."

He shuffles back towards the front door, head down. 
"I'll go get the groceries."

Alright.. I'll get Will ready for bed then."

Mulder suddenly pivots on his heels and stretches out 
his arm, "Wait! Maybe I should do that!?"

"It's okay, he probably needs changing anyway."

"But I.."

"What? What's wrong?" I look down at our son and then 
back at Mulder suspiciously. "..what happened? Why is he 
wearing your tie?"

He doesn't reply at first. All I get is more shuffling 
and a bashful shrug, followed by a sad smile.

"Uh.. let's just say that I think shopping with the 
little guy should be a two-person event.."

He's backing out of the door faster now. 
"The groceries.." he says gesturing down the hall, "..won't
be a minute, Scully".




When I pull off Will's bodysuit my shoulders shake 
with laughter. Oh Mulder, you're priceless.
He must have used at least twenty sheets of paper
towel and ruined a perfectly good t-shirt, but Will
is completely dry. Amazing.
It takes me almost half an hour to get him settled,
and when he finally gives in and succumbs to sleep,
I go in search of Mulder.

He's sitting on the sofa clad only in boxers.
His hair is damp and he smells shower fresh, but his
expression is gloomy.

"Very ingenious diaper-making Mulder. I'm impressed." 

"Aren't you mad?"

"No, why?"

His large hands scrub over his face. "Because I'm not
very good at this, am I? You've got it all figured out,
Scully.. you're so organized with him and you seem to 
know exactly what he needs. I haven't got a clue."

Oh dear. I can't believe he's beating himself up about
this. When will he ever believe that he's a good father?

"Is that what you think?" I ask as I lower myself onto 
his lap, "..that I have all the answers?"
Long, muscled arms encircle me and he nods.

"You're a natural mother."

"Mulder, did I ever tell you about the time when I lost 
a button from my suit and discovered it in Will's mouth?
I was terrified to think that he might have choked on it,
and I was angry with myself for days."

His jaw drops.

"And how about the awful day I had last week when he 
was sick all over my mother's new skirt and then broke 
one of her family heirlooms?"

He smiles at that, dropping his head onto my shoulder.
"So I'm doing okay?" he asks, kissing my cheek.

"You're doing fine, Mulder". I kiss him back, this time
on his lips.

There's a whispered "Thank you" against my mouth and then he
hugs me tight, raking his hands through my hair.

"Scully?"

"Mmm?"

"Don't tell the Gunmen."

"On one condition."

"Anything."

"Don't ever let Frohike know that he once put
breast milk in his coffee."




End.
-------------