26 October 1998
Shelter from the Storm I
Title: His Safe Place from the Storm
Author: Diana Williams
Email Address: diana@slashcity.com
Rating: PG - No bad words or sex, but central to the piece is a relationship between two men.
Category: V, A
Keywords: M/SK romance, M/S Angst
Spoilers: None
Archive: Yes, anywhere.
Distribution: Fine, just keep my name attached.
Feedback: Always welcome, good or bad.
Summary: On the anniversary of a traumatic event in Mulder's life, his lover provides him shelter from the storm.
Author's Note: This is my first venture from MSR-land to Slash territory, and it really skirts both areas, so 'Shippers and 'Slippers alike may be upset. What can I say - I like angst!
Disclaimer: The X-Files and its characters belong to Chris Carter and 1013 Productions. The quote at the beginning is from "Safe Place from the Storm" by Michael Bolton and Dianne Warren.


His Safe Place from the Storm

"Come on out of the rain and into my arms
Run to me, to a love that's safe and warm
I'll be yours, baby,
Your safe place from the storm"

He stands on my doorstep, dripping wet.

"Hi."

Wordlessly, I stand back and let him enter. I run a quick eye over him, assessing him for damage. None that I can see tonight. None external, anyway.

"Ever heard of an umbrella, Mulder? Wait here."

I fetch towels and my robe, and he strips with the ease of a child. I collect his soaked clothes and carry them into the laundry room.

"Have you eaten?"

Barefoot, wrapped in my robe, he follows me while toweling his hair.

"Jesus, Walter, you are obsessed with my stomach. Are you channeling a Jewish mother?"

The words are light and humorous, familiar words, part of our ritual. They do not hide the darkness underneath, the bleakness in his eyes. What is it now, I wonder? Another betrayal? Another argument with his partner if those icy exchanges lately can be called arguing? Then I glance at the calendar hanging on the fridge and I realize what day it is.

"I take it that means no. Sit."

He drops into a chair in the breakfast area, finger-combing his damp hair, watching as I pull out a saucepan. We are silent but we do not need words. All the important ones were spoken between us long ago; we are comfortable with our silences.

I set the bowl of soup and grilled sandwich in front of him. Comfort food. A reminder of the happier days of his early childhood thirty years ago. Then I wander into the living room, add another log to the fire, turn on the game, settle down on the couch. He hates it when I watch him eat.

A short time later he wanders in, looking absurdly youthful in my too-big robe with his hair sticking up, and joins me on the couch. I reach over to pull him down so that his head is on my lap. He sighs, a little sound of contentment, and one hand curls against my knee. I run my fingers through his hair, still damp from the rain, and pick up my glass. Iced tea, not Scotch tonight. He hates it when I drink.

We watch the game in silence punctuated only by comments about the action on the screen. It is not much of a game, but it is another of our rituals. He needs these, some tangible sign that some things in this world stay the same. Especially on this day.

The news follows, then I turn off the TV and gently tug on his hair.

"Bed."

He lies in my arms, head resting on my shoulder, one leg flung across mine, sleeping the sleep of the sated. I have done my best for him this night, trying to exhaust him completely, to drive him past thought into oblivion. Past the reach of dreams or nightmares. I do not sleep; I will not sleep tonight, not while he is here, an all-too-infrequent presence in my bed. Tomorrow he will be gone, and then I will sleep and dream. Tonight is for him, for his needs. Tonight I will try to keep him safe from the storm.

I would be content to have his vital warmth beside me every night but that is not possible. When I first took him into my bed, I knew that there would not be a happy-ever-after to this story. I am not good with relationships, the day-to-day maintenance they require, and neither is he. And he is too honest to deny that a large part of his heart belongs to another, no matter how damaged the relationship between them is now.

He loves her. There may come a time when he spends this night in her bed, holding her tight, reassuring them both that she is still here, that she is safe. When - if - that day comes, I will let him go with a smile and a heavy heart. He is a cat, and one does not own a cat. For now, it is enough to know that he feels safe here in my arms. That I am the one he comes to when he is hurting, and that I can ease that pain for him. It is enough. It has to be enough.

And tonight, I can keep him safe from the storm.

 


 

26 October 1998
Shelter from the Storm II
Title: Whenever I Remember Loving You
Author: Diana Williams
Email Address: diana@slashcity.com
Rating: PG - No bad words or sex, but central to the piece is a relationship between two men.
Category: V, A
Keywords: Mulder/Skinner romance, Mulder/Scully Angst
Spoilers: None
Archive: Yes, anywhere.
Distribution: Fine, just keep my name attached.
Feedback: Always welcome, good or bad.
Summary: Mulder reflects on his relationship with Skinner.
Author's Note: Companion piece to "His Safe Place From the Storm". The feelings expressed by Mulder regarding his relationships are solely the thoughts of Mulder in *this* incarnation and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author on any future romance.
Disclaimer: The X-Files and its characters belong to Chris Carter and 1013 Productions. The quotes at the beginning and end are from "Whenever Remember Loving You" by Michael Bolton and Gary Burr.


Whenever I Remember Loving You

"When the rain is fallin' and I'm overcome
With the doubts and demons of a love undone
No voice need tell me that you were the one.
Oh I'll remember all my life
A love that set me free.
Whatever comes of you and I,
I will still believe
That once upon a time a dream came true
Whenever I remember loving you."

He looks so different when he is asleep. Younger, vulnerable, gentler. A Walter Skinner that few others have seen. That few are permitted to see. That I have been privileged to see.

I lay propped up on one elbow, studying him in the early morning light and I find myself wondering what he was like as a boy. Did he drive his mother crazy by bringing home strays and wounded animals? I can picture him, an earnest young boy with an injured bird carefully cradled in those large, gentle hands. Taking in stray cats. As he has taken in a wounded fox.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the day that They took her away from me. Correction: the first time they took her away from me. They have been taking her away, again and again, in pieces ever since then. I don't know which hurts more - the physical loss of her or the daily loss of her faith and trust in me. Both. Both hurt like hell.

We don't talk about it. I don't know if it would help if we did. I know what she believes, what she has believed since Kritschgau. If she didn't believe that this was my fault before she does now. Her abduction. Her sister's death. Her cancer. All laid at the doorstep of Fox Mulder's quixotic Quest for the Truth.

I sat outside her apartment for hours last night, watching, hearing over and over in an endless loop her call for help so many years ago. A dozen times I picked up the phone to call her, to reassure myself that she is okay. A dozen times I thought of getting out of the car and going to her door with some lame excuse, just to see that she is here, that she is safe. And I know what I would hear, what I would see - that irritated look on her face, that impatient tone in her voice - "I'm fine, Mulder". She is not fine. Neither am I. And we cannot heal each other's pain.

And so I showed up on his doorstep. And he took me in, grouching at me about my wet clothes. I love his growl; it is a warm blanket of love, and he wraps it around me. No questions, no armchair psychoanalysis, no need to hide myself from him. Here I am welcomed, accepted, cherished. No strings attached. Ah, Walter, how did you know that the way to capture my heart was to let me be free?

He knows why I am here. He knows that I will be gone in the morning. And he knows that one day I will no longer show up on his doorstep, seeking food and comfort like a stray cat. It does not matter to him; he continues to take me in and take me to his bed. And I, selfish bastard that I am, keep taking what he has to offer without anything to give him in return.

What *does* he get out of this? There is the sex, of course, the best sex of my life. The best sex of his life? I don't know, I don't ask; I don't have the right to ask. A stray cat does not ask its current protector if he is the best cat to have ever taken refuge there. Despite rumors to the contrary, I was brought up with proper manners.

Is there a future for us? A little house in the suburbs? *Please.* Even
am not delusional enough to fantasize that, and he has always had his feet firmly on the ground. Whatever we have is here and now. It is enough for me. Is it enough for him? I find myself fervently hoping that it is, that he finds some joy in the here-and-now that will balance out the future pain.

I slip quietly out of bed and retrieve my clothes from the dryer, dressing quickly in the early morning stillness. I am careful not to overstay my welcome. And if I occasionally fantasize about lazy weekend mornings in bed and shared showers, well, I can dream, can't I? No harm in that.

I open the front door and step outside. The storm has passed and the coming day looks like it will be a beautiful one. I find myself humming as I walk down the sidewalk to where I parked my car. And I find myself thinking about the jacket I left hanging in his hall closet. Will he understand the meaning behind that?

I love you, Walter. I will be back.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"It's not that I don't feel the pain as deep as pain can be
But I will not be denied the light
Your love has brought to me.
What you've given me will last forever
I refuse to lose the treasure
Of you inside my heart eternally.
I'll always feel the love we once knew
As long as I remember loving you."