Doorstep
by Elizabeth Gerber
Rating: PG
Category: VRA
Keywords: SLASH M/SK
Spoilers: none
Summary: Mulder appears on Skinner's doorstep in need of help. This is a hurt/comfort PWP.
Archive: Ephemeral, Gossamer, MulderTorture, X/Slash--yes, please. Others just ask first. Also found with a bookcover image at my slash page: http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/Chelsea/1334.
Feedback: Yes, please, to elixia@mindspring.com.
Disclaimer: The characters depicted within belong to 1013, Fox and Chris Carter.
Note: This is just a really silly h/c fantasy of mine. The characters may not even be in the best of character, and the situation may definitely not make sense. Just relax and go with it.
WARNING!! This story contains love and physicality between two men. Don't read this if that bothers you.


The rain was pouring down outside on that Saturday evening in February, so I was particularly enjoying my decision to stay home. I was sitting in my favorite chair with a good book and a finger of single malt to chase away the chill. When my buzzer sounded, I fervently hoped they had the wrong apartment.

I pressed down the button and spoke, "Yes?" There was no response, and I wondered if the damn intercom system was acting up again. "Hello?" I tried again, and finally got a response.

I could barely hear it, but the voice definitely said, "Walter." It sounded like Mulder. Sighing, I pressed the button that would buzz him into the building and waited for him by the door.

Five minutes went by. No Mulder. No ding from the elevator. I figured it was probably some kind of damn joke, but I grabbed my keys and tucked my service weapon into the back of my jeans. I rode down the elevator and turned towards the door, expecting to see Mulder standing there with a smirk on his face.

I couldn't see anyone at first, but as I got closer, I could see a small shape on the floor. Someone huddled on the floor. Mulder!

I crouched down next to him, and he hadn't even noticed me yet. He was thoroughly wet from the monsoon-like rain outside and shivering with cold. No wonder considering that he was wearing only a t-shirt and jeans. No jacket. No sweater. His arms were bleeding from several cuts, the blood mixing the water dripping down to the floor.

I put my hands on his cold arms and shook him a little. "Mulder? Hey, Mulder?" He raised his head to look at me then, and I nearly gasped at what I saw. Bruises marred his wet, pale face, and his eyes shone much too brightly. I didn't know what the hell had happened, but I needed to get him upstairs.

"Come on, Mulder, let's get you upstairs." I pried one of his arms from around his knees, and placed it over my shoulder. I pulled him to his feet, and he seemed to find a little bit of balance to help me get him through the door and to the elevator.

Standing in the elevator, with him propped between me and the corner, I reached over with one hand and moved a lock of wet hair out of his eyes. He only blinked and looked at me emptily.

We barely made it into my apartment when he crumpled to the floor, shivering. Leaving him where he lay for the moment, I spread a blanket over my couch. Then I picked him up like a child and laid him down.

His injuries didn't look to bad, so I figured my first order of business was to warm him up. I peeled the wet jeans, boxers and t-shirt from his thin body and covered him with another blanket. I retrieved a pair of sweats and a towel from my bedroom, so I could dry and dress him, and picked up my first aid kit on the way.

I dried off his long legs and cleaned and bandaged a bad scrape on one knee before pulling my oversized sweat pants onto him. The cuts on his arms and chest had stopped bleeding, so I just cleaned them with alcohol and pulled my sweatshirt over his pale, bruised torso.

His hair was still wet, so I propped him up with a pillow and worked on rubbing away the dampness. He winced when I hit a sore, raised lump on the back of his head, but that was the only reaction he had to me. He continued to look straight ahead, nothing but blank pain in his eyes.

Once his hair was tolerably dry, I moved the pillow to the end of the couch and laid him back down. I cleaned and bandaged a cut on his cheek, but then I didn't know what else to do. I didn't think he was seriously injured, but then I'm not a doctor.

I sat down on the edge of the couch by his head and started running one hand slowly through his hair, careful to avoid his injuries. "Mulder," I spoke to him in a soft, low voice, "Mulder, are you in there? Mulder, I need you to talk to me so I know you're okay."

He didn't respond, but his breathing got a bit quicker. I decided to continue and make it an ultimatum. "Mulder, it's okay, I'm just worried about you. If you don't talk to me, I'm going to have to call Scully. If she's not home, I'll have to take you to the hospital."

I hated to manipulate him like that, but the tactic worked. He moaned softly, "No, please, no."

"Good, Mulder," I encouraged him, "Come back to me then. Show me you're okay."

Finally, his eyes opened, and behind the pain I could see awareness.

"Thanks, Walter."

"What for?"

"Not booting me back out into the rain. You don't owe me anything."

"So you think I would just let you die from shock and exposure? Is that what you think of me?" I worked hard to swallow my anger because he didn't need to deal with that right then. I'd learned that Mulder has a maddening tendency to expect the very least of the people in his life. I hate to think of the experiences that led him to be so pessimistic.

We'd, well, we'd shared a few lonely nights in the past, but there was no commitment asked or given. Nevertheless, I considered Mulder a friend, and I cared for him a great deal. I had no idea if he felt the same way or if I'd simply been a convenient tool to keep the demons away for a few precious hours.

With my feelings better under control, I continued, "Mulder, I found you practically unconscious by the door, half-naked, wet and bleeding. I'd be a monster if I didn't help you."

He closed his eyes again and said very softly, "Thank you."

"Can you tell me what happened, Mulder, can you remember?"

His eyes still closed, he started talking. "It was the stupidest thing. I stopped to use the cash machine, and I wasn't paying any attention. This guy jumped me, and I backhanded him. Think I broke his nose. Then there were more of them. Three or four guys. They took my jacket first--they liked it. They got my keys with it.

"The one who jumped me was holding me around the throat, and the others were pounding on me. One of them got me in the balls, and I fell to my knees. He pulled out a knife and started slashing at my arms and chest. When he was done, he kicked me in the head, and I think I passed out for a while then."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "Jesus, Mulder, how did you get here"

"I don't know. I came to, and they were gone, thank God, but so was my car. I managed to get to my feet, and my sweater fell off of me. I guess they cut it up, and it was all wet. I don't know. The bank I stopped at was off the Crystal City exit, and I just started walking. I guess something inside me knew I would be safe here."

I couldn't help but smile at that. "I'm glad you made it, Mulder. You could have been in serious trouble out there." He looked so young, so vulnerable lying on my couch like that.

"Mulder, I need to know how you feel. I'm sure your head hurts, but can you see okay?"

He opened his eyes and look at me. "Yeah, not blurry. I know what a concussion feels like." A little smile crept onto his face.

"Does your stomach or your chest hurt badly?"

"No, just sore. Nothing's broken. No more questions, okay Walter?"

His voice was so sleepy and so sweet that what could I do but comply? "Okay, Mulder, I guess you'll live. Sleep now, I'll stay with you."

He nodded and immediately drifted off. I changed out of my now-damp clothes into another pair of sweats, grabbed a blanket from my bed, and settled into my chair for the night. I turned out the light and fell asleep thinking about Mulder, about how good it felt to have him in my home again.

^^^

I don't know how much later it was when I woke to the sound of his scream, a harsh, gasping scream that tore me from my dreams. In the dim light filtering in from outside, I could see him sitting up on my couch, breathing raggedly. I stood up and slowly approached him, and as I got closer I realized he was crying.

I reached an arm out towards him and finally got close enough to touch his shoulder. "Mulder?" I whispered, not knowing if he was awake or not. I moved closer and put my hands on both of his shoulders, and he fell into my arms, his head on my chest.

I tightened my arms around his thin back and murmured in his ear, "It's okay, Mulder, wake up. Wake up, I'm here. I'm here. it's okay."

He sniffled then and pulled away. His dark eyes looked up at me, and I could see them shining still with tears. "Stay?" he asked me. "Please? Don't leave me alone again."

"There isn't enough room for both of us. I'll be close by."

"No!" There was panic in his voice, a high, fragile note. "Please, Walter, stay."

I couldn't resist him; I never can. So, I lifted his up and climbed in behind him on the over-stuffed sofa. Adjusting myself with a pillow behind my back, I pulled him back down onto me and wrapped my arms around his chest. He fit in the circle of my arms so well. He wriggled himself a little to get comfortable and then fell back to sleep cradled against my chest.

I didn't get much sleep that night, but he rested soundly in my arms. I could feel the softness of his hair beneath my cheek and his strong legs stretched alongside mine. When the dawn came that Sunday morning, I tilted my head towards the sun-filled windows and gave thanks.

^^^^^^^^^

THE END

Thank you for reading! Feedback would be most welcome at elixia@mindspring.com.

Elizabeth Gerber
elizam@mindspring.com
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I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper, and gasp. All of me is beautiful and valuable, even the "loser" parts. I honor and express all facets of my being, regardless of state and local laws. --from Fox Mulder's Daily Affirmations on IOHO