Title: IT CAN'T ALL BE ANGST (1/1)
SkinnerKrycek FEBRUARY CHALLENGE: a bit of fun.
Author: Josan
Date: February, 2000
Comments: jmann@mondenet.com OR, if you're getting bounced due to the anti-spam filter my server has added, try jmann@spam.mondenet.com

DISCLAIMER: Yadda, yadda, yadda...I know, they don't belong to me.

NOTE: Belongs in the CHANCE ENCOUNTERS universe.

NOTE 2: For those of you who live without benefit of snow, let me just say that ice on water means skating, snow on hills means skiing and/or tobogganing, and snow on front lawns...well, frogdoggie, Diana Williams and I all know what that's for!
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

"Twelve fucking inches of snow! This is Washington D.C., for Christ's sake: not Washington State. What the fuck..."

Needless to say, Walter S. Skinner, Assistant Director at the Federal Bureau of Investigation was not pleased with this surprise bounty from Mother Nature.

It had been bad enough trying to get to work this morning when there had been only a couple of inches of the stuff. At least his bureau car came equiped with all-season radials. But most of the people on the Beltway in the morning rush just had regular tires on their cars which meant fender benders galore. It had taken him over two hours to get to the office, instead of the usual thirty-five minutes.

He could have stayed home, but no, he had an important meeting scheduled for that morning with some of the Upper Floor and Justice, so he had to go to the office. Only to find that Justice and the Upper Floor had cancelled, without advising him.

Kim, who had finally also made it in, brought him some coffee along with the news that more snow was on its way. Wisely, he sent her home right then and there. Stupidly, he stayed to finish some work.

So here it was four o'clock, in the eerie light of a rare mid-winter storm, and he was stuck somewhere on a street in a city that had so little experience with snow that it didn't even have the machinery required to push it out of the way. He rested his head on the steering wheel and went through his repetoire of curses until he felt somewhat more...well, not calmer, but at least more resigned to the fact that he was not getting home any time soon.

It was going on to seven when he pulled into the driveway of the house he shared with an ex-Consortium assassin. Alex, he was pleased to note, had shovelled the driveway clean so that he could drive straight into the garage. Except that he couldn't. The damn remote wouldn't work. He left the car where it was, got out into the still snowing night and started up the path to the front door.

Something made him hesitate.

A feeling that...someone was watching. He stopped, looked around. There was no one that he could see in the light from the surrounding houses.

He shrugged, chalked it up to the tension of the drive home and took another couple of steps toward the front door and its welcoming light.

He stopped again, sure he had heard something.

He put down his briefcase, pretended to be looking for his keys in his pockets, all the time carefully reaching for the Smith and Wesson he carried on his hip.

He had his hand on the grip when he heard the sound again. He started turning and...

Got hit by a snowball, right on the side of the face. The snow from the disintegrating ball forced his glasses askewered.

He was absolutely stunned. Whatever he had been expecting, this was not it. He stood as the snow slowly slid off his cheek.

And he heard it again, the noise that had bothered him, that had gotten his attention.

The sound of a soft giggle.

He frowned.

Bailey and Sarah. It had to be them. Who else would behave this way? Someone should tell them that throwing snowballs was dangerous. He reached into his pocket, removed his handkerchief, took off his glasses and wiped them clean of the melting snow. He put his handkerchief away, put his glasses back on and turned to confront the girls.

Only to be hit in the chest by another snowball.

Some of the spatters dotted his glasses again.

Skinner was not pleased. He was not in a mood to put up with this. He was tired, stressed. All he wanted was to go into his nice warm house, take off his suit, put on some comfy clothes, pour himself a large drink and vent to his sympathetic lover.

"Girls!" he called out.

Another snowball hit him.

Someone out there giggled.

"Girls!" he bit out.

This time the snowball missed him. Barely.

And with that came the realization that the giggling sounds came from the now bare walnut tree in the front yard, but that the snowball had come from the side of the house.

"Alex?"

Only a muffled giggle answered his call.

With a grimace, he brushed the snow off his coat. Out of the corner of his eye he caught a shadowy form make its way to the far side of the car.

This time he ducked as the snowball came wizzing overhead.

"Alex! For God's sake, what the fu..." He caught himself. Unless he was much mistaken, there were two sets of very acute ears listening to him from the security of the walnut tree.

He stood, legs akimber, fists on hips, glaring into the darkness.

"Alex, what kind of example are you setting. You know that throwing snowballs can be dange..."

A white splatter of snow decorated his right shoulder.

Skinner looked down at the snow that clung to the wool of his coat. He scooped it off, held it in his hand and carefully examined it.

Wet, sticky stuff.

When he was a kid, they used to call this perfect snowball material.

He closed his hand tightly on it, opened it and found a nicely compact ball of snow.

He caught the movement from the front of the car to the back. At that angle, Alex would hit him on the left. So, with timing that had irritated his siblings to no end, he turned just as the snowball came over the trunk of the car.

He bent and quickly scooped a pile of snow and was packing it hard as he rose. With a quick throw he had perfected on the baseball field of his youth, the ball went sailing over the trunk of the car and....Thump!

Ah, thought Skinner, gotcha!

He bent and scooped again, made another snowball and threw it before he even straightened. He didn't need the self-satisfied male laughter to tell him he'd missed. But his next shot didn't.

"Hey!"

The giggles in the tree turned to laughter and encouragement as the two men tried to get each other. Skinner had the problem of being easily seen by the light of the front door, but then his night vision was still pretty good and he could make out the darker form that tried to get out from behind the car. And if he crouched real low, he had some protection from the bank of snow that Alex had created when he'd cleared the walkway.

It was obvious from their advantage point that the girls were keeping score: Bailey encouraged Alex while Sarah cheered every one of Skinner's hits.

"He's still three up on you, Mr. Skinner!" she screamed when he managed to get Alex on the back as he made a dash for the better position of behind the tree.

Using a rapid fire routine, Skinner bent, formed and threw, determined to even the score.

The sound of Alex's laughter, the giggles and cheering of the girls made him forget the mood he had been in when he'd arrived.

As he got Alex on the arm he'd raised to protect his face, Skinner's laughter joined the others'. He was breathless from trying to catch Alex while ducking the missiles directed his way. And Alex was having an easier time in the deep snow since he was wearing jeans and a jacket. Skinner's dress pants, his long coat weighed him down.

"Bailey! Sarah!"

Bailey's mother called the girls from the back door. Laughing at the picture of Alex and Skinner covered in snow, the girls slid out of the tree, yelled their goodnights and hurried over next door.

Alex stood up to wave at them, offering a perfect target for Skinner's last two snowballs. He grinned happily: they were even. But then, his grin grew a bit wicked; there had to be payment for that first snowball.

Alex turned to make some comment and realized that that grin did not bode well for him: it might be a very good idea to get away from his lover.

He tried to get to the front door by feinting a dash to the right but then as he went left, a weight hit him mid-chest and he found himself flat on his back staring up at an even more wicked grin.

"Walter," he wheezed, "it was only a joke. I mean all this snow, who could resist."

"You're right, Alex. All this snow. Who can resist?" And rubbed the large handful of snow he had in his hand all over's Alex's face.

Alex squawked loudly. "You're getting it down my neck!" And realized his mistake as soon as that was out of his mouth. "Oh, no! I'm not sitting still for that."

Alex started pushing himself out from under Walter, all the while amassing a pile of snow in his right hand. To stop him, Walter dropped his full weight on his body, reached out to confine the fake hand, holding Alex still.

"Come on, Walter," laughed Alex, "where's your sense of humour?"

"Right here, Alex." Walter grinned and shoved a handful of snow under Alex's collar and down under his sweater to the warm skin of his chest.

As Alex squawked even louder, his right hand came up and Walter found himself gasping as Alex rubbed the snow on his bald head.

In the free-for-all that followed, both men got as much snow onto themselves as they got under the clothes of the other.

The final volley ended when Walter managed to get a handful of cold, wet snow under Alex's belt and into his crotch.

ALex laughed his way through several colourful Russian curses, all the while trying to rid himself of the snow.

"Shit! It would serve you right if I couldn't function properly tonight, you bastard!"

Soaking wet, chilled, skin reddened from the cold and exertion, Walter thought Alex was even more beautiful than usual. He lay back in the snow, watching him mutter to himself, sweeping the snow off his clothes.

"Why are you just lying there?" Alex looked down at Walter who was staring at the heavens, a small smile on his lips.

"I am not just lying here, I'll have you know." And he stretched his arms out onto the snow and slowly began moving them back and forth.

Alex smiled at the big man making snow angels on the front yard. He shrugged, let himself fall backwards next to Walter and joined him.

"Do you think mine will have horns?" he asked, eyes blinking back the snow that was lightly falling from the sky.

Walter only laughed.

He had to think hard to remember the proper way of getting up from making angels. It took him a couple of tries but then he was up and offering Alex his hand. Alex reached up and let Walter pull him into his arms.

Walter's kiss was a simple one. Not a way of arousing, but a way of thanking. Alex rested his cool cheek against Walter's and wrapped his arms around him.

"I get first dibs on the shower," Walter whispered, pushed Alex into the small snowbank and running, grabbed his briefcase, got the unlocked door opened and was in before Alex, picking himself up, came after him shouting, "Like hell, Skinner! Think again!"

****************************************************