Advice to the Lovelorn
Written by Marti

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This takes place in the Exaiphnes universe, about three weeks after Part 1, "Explosive Nature," but I wouldn't call it an official entry in that series, just a diversion as well as a response to a challenge from Rachel. I didn't have anyone beta-read, so any errors, glitches, or misfires are totally my responsibility! If it doesn't seem to be funny, that's because you aren't watching enough late night MTV. :) I suppose it's more of an X-Files fic than H:LOTS, but it was inspired by our own Tim Bayliss.

DISCLAIMER: This story is based on the characters and situations created by Chris Carter and owned by the Fox Network and 1013 Productions. As such, the characters named are the property of those entities and are used without permission, although no copyright infringements are intended.

Fox Mulder lay sprawled on his black leather couch. The room was dark except for the flickering blue light coming from the TV. He flipped through the channels idly, not stopping on any for more than a second or two. It was the first night in a few weeks that he'd had to himself, unscheduled, since most of his time now seemed consumed with work and seeing Tim Bayliss.

Tim Bayliss. He supposed he hadn't really stopped to think about what he was doing since this started; instead he'd just been enjoying it. He'd been a little surprised, in fact, how easily he fell into the rhythm of it. After all, it had been a while since he had had any kind of romantic entanglement. He found that it was nice to talk to Tim at the end of the day, to hear that someone else was dealing with paperwork backlogs, stubborn interviewees, demanding bosses, and all the rest of it. It was nice to have a reason to get out of the city and go up to Baltimore on Friday night to eat crabs and drink beer and hang out watching baseball. And he was particularly amazed how comfortable he felt with their physical relationship. He'd come to like, and even look forward to, the little displays of affection that Tim generously doled out: a quick caress on the back of his neck, or a kiss on his temple. But there were still moments when, lying awake in the middle of the night, he would roll over and be startled to see what was almost a mirror image of himself there next to him.

This is why I haven't thought too hard about it, Mulder decided. It's *weird*. All those years of watching the Playboy channel, all those moments when thoughts about Scully had flickered across his mind, and now what finally satisfied those longings was sharing his bed with a man. Or with this man in particular. Tim Bayliss. He repeated the name over and over to himself until it started to sound like a foreign language.

Okay, he told himself. Don't dwell on this too deeply. It's good, so just leave it alone. He made himself turn his attention back to the television, finally alighting on some sort of call-in show. These are always good for a laugh, he thought. On the screen, facing the camera, sat two men in oversized leather chairs. The one on the left was younger, maybe in his thirties, with thick dark hair and something of a frat-boy look about him. The other man looked about ten years older, thin and blond and impeccably groomed. Across the bottom of the screen, in white letters, it read "Amber, 22, Should she wait for boyfriend to get out of jail?"

Mulder realized he had seen the show a time or two before. People called in with all kinds of sexual and romantic problems, described them in sometimes excruciating clinical detail, and got sage advice and a few wisecracks from the hosts. Most of the audience appeared to be in their early twenties, and Mulder was amazed at the checkered pasts some of them had in the brief span of their lives. Like Amber, for instance, who had been dating her boyfriend only a month before he had decided to drive the getaway car for some friends who were robbing a convenience store, and had gotten himself five years for being an accessory. He wanted her to wait until he got out so they could get married.

Of course you shouldn't do it, honey, Mulder thought. How could these people not know what was in their own best interest? Fortunately, Dr. Drew, the bespectacled voice of reason, always set them straight.

So, Mulder thought drolly. What advice would Dr. Drew have for "Fox, 38, confused about his sexuality?"

Drew: "Fox, go ahead. What's your question?"

FM: "I, uh,...thanks for taking my call, by the way. I know I'm a little old to be --"

Adam: "I'm assuming that's not your real name?"

FM: "Sure, no, actually, you're right. It's not."

AC: "So, what can we do for you?"

FM: "Well, I'm in a new relationship, about three weeks now."

DP: "How's that going?"

FM: "Good. Really good. Better than most have in the past, in fact. That's why I'm a little surprised."

DP: "What's your dating history been like before this?"

FM: "Spotty. A long-term relationship about 10 years ago. A date here and there since then. I have a demanding job..."

DP: "Any other reasons it might be hard to establish intimacy?"

FM: "I don't know...I, uh, well, I do have a close relationship with my partner. The woman I work with."

AC: "I know what Dr. Drew's going for here. Any abuse in your past, parents or anybody else do anything to you as a kid?"

FM: "Not my parents, no. There was a little tension in the family, though. My sister... Wait, we're getting away from why I originally called."

DP: "We're just suggesting that relationship patterns in adult life are often established in the formative years."

FM: "I'm aware of that. I have read a little Freud in my day. But my question concerns the relationship I'm in now."

AC: "What about it? Let's get to the point."

FM: "'s with a man."

DP: "Is that a problem?"

FM: "It's just unusual. I've only dated women before. I thought up until last month I was 100% heterosexual."

DP: "Many researchers argue that sexuality is measured on a continuum. No one is 100% one thing or another. Otherwise you wouldn't have close relationships of any kind with people of the same sex. Do you think you're gay?"

FM: "No, I don't, because I don't think of any other men that way."

DP: "But you're happy? This seems to be a healthy relationship?"

FM: "Well, yes."

AC: "Then what the hell are you calling us for? Just enjoy it. Be glad you're gettin' some. Next caller. Go ahead, Brad..."

Mulder clicked off the TV, tossed the remote to the floor, and reached for the cordless phone instead. He felt a rush of warmth when he heard the familiar voice on the other end. "Tim? Glad you're home. How was your day?"