Archive: Yes to the Basement, All Things Rat; others please
Title: Winter, Fire, and Snow II: Precipitation part seven
Author: Merri-Todd Webster
Rating: NC-17 for smut!
Feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Warnings & Spoilers: Teensy SR-819 spoiler.
Comments & Thank-yous: I don't know when you'll see the rest of this segment! But heartfelt thanks to JiM, as ever.
Winter, Fire, and Snow II:
Precipitation part seven
by Merri-Todd Webster
(5 January 2000)
Walter Skinner was cold, and tired, and a little hungry, and scared, although he refused to articulate his fear to himself. Scared of what he was going to come back to; scared enough that he wasn't going to try his key in the lock, he was going to knock on the door of a house of which he was half-owner and hope they let him in.
There was a pause; then, Mulder opened the door.
He was dressed in his bathrobe and had a serious case of bedhead, but he must have been downstairs. He didn't look like a man who's just been tumbled out of bed, interrupted in the midst of sleep or sex, by an unexpected knock on the door; he looked awake, and frightened, and happy. And beautiful.
Mulder stared at Skinner. Skinner stared at Mulder. "May I come in?" Skinner asked, after a moment.
Mulder stepped back, not saying anything but making a big gesture with the hand that wasn't still on the doorknob. Skinner stepped inside, saw Krycek sitting on the couch, dressed in sweats, and then was hit by a whirlwind of Mulder.
Arms that hugged him, chest and hips and thighs pressed to his, heat thawing his cold, and Mulder's hand clutching the back of his neck, Mulder's lips roaming the side of his face and his throat and whispering unintelligible syllables of joy. Walter wrapped his arms around Mulder and held on tight, his face buried against his lover's shoulder, breathing in the scent he had missed for so long.
The embrace was broken by a solid thudding noise--the sound of Alex Krycek shutting the door against the cold. Mulder had left the door hanging open while he grabbed Walter. Mulder grinned foolishly, probably realizing what he'd done. Skinner stared challengingly at the younger man who'd probably replaced him in his own home.
A few tense breaths passed. Then Krycek held out his hand, palm open. "Welcome home, Walter."
Skinner looked down at the open hand held out, and up to the sober green eyes of his rival, moss-green eyes fringed with thick black lashes. He looked down at the hand again and reminded himself that this man had two hands, not just one; that he had not infected Skinner with nanocytes and held the power of life and death over him; that he had given Mulder his truth, his past, his sister. All this in the blink of an eye, and then he shook Alex Krycek's hand.
Skinner let Mulder take his coat and hang it up on the coat tree, trailed into the kitchen with the other two men so Mulder could make coffee and tea and cocoa and God knows what else. In these peaceful days, moments of crisis seemed to bring out the Susie Homemaker side of Mulder; if the world is coming to an end, well, at least we can have something to eat and drink. It was oddly reassuring to see an empty tray of pecan twirls sitting on the counter, waiting to be thrown away.
Alex drank one cup of tea with them and then excused himself, saying he needed to wash up and then go run some errands. He promised to be back in the afternoon for the get-together.
"Scully's coming over, with Michael. And the Gunmen, and a few other folks. Potluck dinner. I've got a ham, and Alex says he can make a green bean casserole."
Skinner tried to wrap his mind around the idea of Alex Krycek, conspirator and assassin--if not torturer armed with nanocytes--making green bean casserole with french-fried onions on top. It wasn't easy. He sipped his coffee. He could hear the shower running, upstairs. Mulder sipped his cocoa. Walter could tell he hadn't been sleeping well. He looked hollowed out, tired, thin. Yet he looked good to Skinner's eyes simply because his happiness at seeing Skinner was plain on his face, and because Walter hadn't seen him at all in so long.
Walter jumped when Krycek stuck his head in the kitchen. "I'm outta here. You all need anything?"
"We're low on cranberry juice...." Mulder glanced at Walter; Walter was the cranberry juice fiend.
"Will do." Skinner heard Krycek walk to the front door, jingling his keys, and then the sound of the door being opened and closed. Mulder eyeballed him thoughtfully.
"Why don't you go upstairs and change? Put on something comfortable?"
Skinner looked down at his traveling clothes--wool pants, a heavy sweater over a button-down shirt, loafers. Not the clothes of a man who was planning to stay. Not the clothes of a man who was sitting at the kitchen table in his own house. "I... if..."
"You're home, Walt." Mulder's voice was plaintive. "Take off your coat and stay awhile." He offered a smile, a real smile, not a grin, and Walter's heart nearly broke. It had been so long since he'd seen that smile....
Not trusting himself to speak, Walter nodded and went upstairs. He stopped in at the bathroom and noticed his own abandoned toiletries still on the sink, the top of the commode, and in the cabinet, as before. There were a few unfamiliar items amid his own and Mulder's things, but not so many. The damp towel and cloth Krycek must have just used were neatly hung up on the rack.
Hating himself for it, but feeling compelled, he went down the hall to the guest bedroom. The bed was unmade, and a familiar leather jacket was slung across the armchair in the corner. A hairbrush and some other things were spread out on the dresser. There were glossy black hairs--and one shockingly white one--wound in the bristles of the hairbrush.
In his own and Mulder's room, nothing appeared to have changed. The bed was unmade yet strangely unwrinkled--had Mulder only lain there a little while before going downstairs to the couch? Everything he had left, his clothes, his briefcase, his dress shoes, his rarely-worn ties, everything was in its place. The pillows on Mulder's side were dented, but not his own pillows.
The old sweatpants and the paint-stained t-shirt he put on felt good against his skin. In the kitchen, Mulder was frying bacon, and a chorus from _Messiah_ blasted from the radio, which buzzed against the counter, overcome by its own loudness. Walter turned down the volume, and Mulder threw him a glance over his shoulder. "You want some potatoes?"
Mulder pulled frozen potatoes out of the freezer, dumped a big hunk onto a plate, and started thawing them in the microwave. The bacon sizzled, and Walter settled at the table again, taking off his glasses and watching--slightly blurred--the play of muscles on his lover's back and shoulders as he turned bacon strips, stirred up the potatoes. Bacon and onion and coffee and cocoa smells, and Mulder cooking with that intense concentration of his, and it felt so right, so normal.
When Mulder started pulling the bacon strips out of the frying pan and putting them on a plate with a paper towel on it, to drain, Walter got up and set the table. There was a very little bit of cranberry blend juice in the fridge, and he poured himself a glass of that as well as fresh cups of coffee for both of them.
Their plates were almost empty, and a third helping seemed impossible, when Mulder raised his head and asked quietly, "Why did you leave, Walt?"
Skinner sighed, wiped his mouth clean, and tossed aside the crumpled napkin. "You didn't need me any more. You had the truth. You had--Alex."
"Bullshit." Mulder still spoke quietly. "I did still need you, and besides which, needing isn't what it's all about. I wanted you here. I still do."
Walter was silent for a long time, thinking. "I needed to be needed. And it really didn't look like you needed me."
After a moment, Mulder got up and took the empty plates to the sink. Skinner joined him in clearing off the table. It took no longer than before... before Alex, before Antarctica.
Mulder leaned in the doorway of the kitchen. "Why'd you come back, Walter?"
The answer was easy, but it was harder to say the words than he'd expected. He came over to his lover, touched the man's chest, swallowed.
"I realized I needed you."
Mulder's arms slithered around his waist, and Mulder's mouth claimed his, Mulder's tongue sliding past resistless lips, needy, hungry, clever. He tasted of bacon and cinnamon. Walter sighed into the kiss and slid back against the other side of the doorframe, drawing Mulder toward him, against him.
The kiss went on and on, wet, fevered. Walter began to think about taking his clothes off right then and there. Long fingers raised his thin t-shirt, scratched over his ribs, kneaded the muscles of his back. He could feel the pre-cum from his cock starting to soak into the front of his sweatpants.
Mulder finally let him go. "Jesus, Fox...."
They practically ran upstairs. Mulder dived into the unwrinkled bed, dropping his flannel robe somewhere between takeoff and landing. Walter sprawled over him, clumsy with desire, wanting only to feel skin on skin, Mulder's leaner, barer chest against his own.
He took charge of the kiss this time, practically fucking Mulder's mouth with his tongue, licking his cheek and throat like a salt-starved deer, and Mulder's hands were making his clothes go away as if by magic. So sweet. Suddenly a firm hand curled around his cock, and he bit deep into Mulder's neck without meaning to.
Mulder cried out, but it wasn't pain, exactly. Walter licked the bite, sucked on it, thrust his cock into Mulder's hot, knowing grasp. A wet whisper filled his ear: "Fuck me, Walter. God, I want you to fuck me--it's been so long...."
Skinner heard himself growling as he bit the other side of his lover's neck. Mulder had lost it, lost it all at once with that unexpected bite, and Skinner was losing it himself now. He yanked open the night-table drawer so hard it flew out and fell on the floor, spilling condoms and Cruex and God knows what else. Mulder didn't even laugh; he just moaned as Walter shifted on top of him, their cocks rubbing together like two sticks about to make a fire.
The first touch of his slick fingers to Mulder's asshole made Walter gentle. His hands were too large to be careless of this touch, no matter how often he did it... and it had been a while. Mulder, on the other hand, was wild with impatience, whimpering and trying to shove himself onto the thick fingers that eased their way into his body.
"Easy... easy... I'm gonna fuck you... it's all right...." Walter whispered, mindlessly, his eyes fixed on the younger man's face. He decided to forego being careful of his fingers in favor of being careful with his cock.
A condom, a lot of lube, more lube still, and he dragged Mulder into position so that he could hold the man's hips, not let him thrust up, take it in too fast, and hurt himself. Mulder was whimpering more loudly, more demandingly, just like always; when he bottomed, he really bottomed, surrendering all inhibition, all control. With slow, delicate shifts of his weight, Walter moved forward, and down, and in, into his lover's body.
One word, ground out between clenched teeth. Mulder was tighter than ever, and so hot, he had forgotten what a furnace his lover's body was, the sweat glistened on Mulder's belly and chest, his eyes glittered between his lashes... so good. This was home: not the house, not the kitchen, not the bedroom or even the bed, but Mulder. Mulder was home. And if God was good, he was still home to Mulder, as well.
All the way in. Walter's grip on his lover's hips relaxed just a little bit, and Mulder, feeling it, took advantage of it. Walter, drowned in heat, felt the younger man withdraw, and then thrust up hard. Mulder's groan of pain/pleasure vibrated through him like a blow, and there was no holding back any more; he fucked Mulder hard, savagely, fusing their bodies with a passion that was anger and grief and doubt as well as desire, not even thinking to touch Mulder's cock--though that didn't stop Mulder from coming.
The silence between them, afterwards, was deep and cool and white like the snow outside. Walter felt chilly, thought about turning the heat up but didn't want to leave the bed. Thought about holding Mulder, but was afraid to try.
Mulder had turned over, facing away, when Walter pulled out of him. Walter was surprised when he turned back and wormed his way up under the older man's arm, pillowing his head on Walter's chest. One hand wandered up and down from shoulder to thigh.
"Go ahead, Walt. Ask me."
Walter took a deep whiff of Mulder's scent. The tang of his hair, the sweat of their two bodies, the grassy odor of Mulder's come. "Have you been sleeping with him?"
"No." Hazel eyes rolled up and fastened on his face. "Not even in the literal sense. Alex has been living here since you left, more or left. We haven't had sex."
Mulder's fist thumped into the bed just inches away from Walter's body. "Because I'm married to you, dammit!" He sat up, throwing aside the covers with wild clumsy gestures like a little boy having a tantrum. "Or does this mean something different to you? We live together, we co-own this house, we come home to each other every night--that's what we had for months, years, before Krycek showed up! Isn't that marriage? whether or not it's got a legal back-up?"
Walter could say nothing. He simply looked at Mulder, Mulder furious now and scornful, hiding his hurt behind the scorn, and laid a hand on his knee. "I came back," he said at last. "Because I needed you. I need you. Does that count?"
Tears were glimmering in the hot hazel eyes. "You left me. What does that say? Did you leave because you found out I wasn't--real?"
Appalled, Walter realized he'd missed the point entirely. He'd never thought of how it would look--idiot that he was, he figured Mulder would take his note at face value, knowing he might not be good with words but would tell the truth as best he could. He sat up and wrestled his lover close, fighting Mulder's resistance with sheer brute strength and tenacity.
"No. Never that. I meant what I said, Fox--I left because I thought you didn't need me. That's all it was. It was--my weakness, not yours. Not you, never you."
He felt Mulder sobbing noiselessly against his chest and rocked him back and forth, wishing he himself could cry so easily. Wishing the grief and guilt he felt didn't make him close up even more than normal, shut his throat on the words of comfort that needed to be said. Until the front door opened, and a familiar raspy voice called out, "Mulder? Skinner? I'm back."