Author: Elizabeth Gerber
Title: Storms
Total Parts: 1
Status: Complete
Pairing: M/Sk
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: none

Summary: Happiness can come at the strangest of times.

Notes: This is set in the very much present day, June 12, 1999, but is decidedly AU when it comes to events of the show.'Thanks: To the creator of the Smiling Pectoral God archive for the first inspiration to write this.

Warnings: This story contains romance and sexuality (though no sex) between two men. Please move on if that bothers you.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted within belong to 1013, Fox and Chris Carter.

Feedback: elixia@mindspring.com
Webpage: http://skinner.mulder.com


I don't know why we had to fight today, when the weather was finally giving us a break. It's been so damn hot, especially in DC with its bone white buildings reflecting the sun and urban planning that doesn't allow for trees. Wearing a suit in that is torture, with your collar chafing your sweaty neck and your legs trapped in wool. Finally, finally the week-end came, and with it cooler temperatures, a breeze, some leniency from the sun.

We didn't fight all week. Amazingly, with the heat rubbing both of us the wrong way. He bore my occasional sniping remark, and I managed to overlook his few surly indulgences. We just cranked up the AC in our little rented house in Falls Church and kept the blessed peace. We decided that the expense of running the electric bill up was worth it to be able to sleep in each other's arms at night. We need that, that connection.

And do you know what we argued about on such a beautiful Saturday evening? Spiders. Spiders. I hate them. Walter knows I hate them. Mothmen I can deal with. I can leap unnamed government conspirators with a single bound. I fucking hate spiders, and these are not exactly Charlotte's Web material either. These are mutant white jumping spiders. Arachnocricket hybrids that have been performing genetic experiments on themselves under this house since it was built in 1947. 1947. Roswell. I rest my case. Thank you.

So, anyway, the utility room, where I have to go to do my laundry, is infested with these things. I am seriously running out of underwear. I want to go out, buy a bunch of those bug bomb things, gas the hell out of those spiders and be done with it. I think that's reasonable. Walter is a reasonable man. Usually. So he should agree.

No. He's of the opinion that we shouldn't kill the spiders because they eat insects. He likes having them around. He probably thinks we should breed them and give them out for Christmas presents to our lucky friends. He insisted that the pesticides would kill my fish and give us cancer in our waning years.

I told him that if we don't kill those things now, they'll eat us before we get a chance to *reach* our waning years. That earned me a "Not quite, Mulder" look and gratuitous mentions of his experience taking care of a house compared to my years of apartment dwelling.

If what I said then was not so kind, it's only because I'm sick of that rationale. Ever since we moved into this house, he's been in charge, the man of the house. It seems to have escaped his memory that his domestic attempts with Sharon weren't exactly a success, that he was such the man on top of things that he ended up in that sterile box in Crystal City. It's like he fixed a few doorknobs over fifteen years and now he remembers himself as Bob Fucking Villa.

I know I shouldn't have thrown that in his face. I know, I know, how could I have? When I know how much he regrets his failure with Sharon. When I know how much his imperfection hurts him. When I know how happy it's made him to putter around this place making it right for us. I know. I'm a bastard sometimes.

He went silent when I mentioned Sharon, got that pursed look on his face, cut his gaze sideways. When I was finished, he just nodded and walked off. I retreated to the spare room/office to do some research online, but I ended up playing 17 rounds of Samegame. Pathetic.

After a while, I noticed that I didn't hear any more Walter-sounds, but I could hear rain, much-needed rain pattering steadily on the roof. I shut down the computer and wandered off to look for Walter. I wasn't as angry anymore, and I was feeling a bit silly. A bit guilty.

I looked around, and he wasn't in the bedroom or the bathroom. No one in the kitchen or the living room. Nobody warm-blooded in the spider-den. Perplexed, I finally looked out the window and saw him.

He was standing outside in the rain, in the driveway, centered in the circle of light from the motion-detector he installed. He hand his hands in the pockets of his khakis, and he was looking up into the sky. Just looking.

Good God, I thought, what have I done to him? He's going to drown in the rain like a damn turkey, and it's all my fault. I headed out after him cautiously, the big drops of water dampening my hair immediately.

I didn't know what to say, so I just stood there on the flagstone path watching him. Slowly, he took his hands out of his pockets and turned them upwards towards the sky. It looked so strange, so un-Walter, that I started towards him.

When I got to the edge of the driveway, he turned around and the look on his face--he was smiling. He had this huge, laughing smile on his face. Streams of water were flowing down over his smooth head, and his t-shirt was plastered wet to his chest, but he was grinning at me like he'd won the lottery.

"Walter--" I ventured, questioningly, still lurking under the semi-protection of the trees in our yard. He reached out for my shoulder and pulled me out into the spotlight, into the full force of the rain. It fell warm and heavy, spattering me thoroughly until my hair was soaked.

"What the hell is up with you," I asked, but he just smiled at me again. It was one of the most amazing smiles I have ever seen from him, rivaling even the one on his face the first morning we woke up together. His smile lit up the drops of rain that passed in front of his face. They stood still in the air for his smile and so did I.

"What's up with *you*, Mulder," he laughed. "Look at the house; look, see how nice it is? And do you know what? I get to share this great house with a man I love more than I ever would have thought possible. And do you know what else?" As he said this last, his grin got unbelievably wider. "This man and I are so blissfully happy that we resort to fighting about spiders to pass the time."

I felt so ashamed, so ashamed of wanting to deny him his domestic tranquillity, so ashamed of hurting him in the one place where we can be safe. I looked down, wanting to go on my knees before him in the wet gravel. He pulled me close to him, so close that our wet shirts stuck together and squelched.

He put his arms around me and whispered in my ear, "Just stand still, Fox, just stand still. We just have to be still for a minute and the light will go out." I snaked my arms around his waist and leaned into him, my wet cheek on his wet shoulder, smelling the fresh, clean rain on his neck.

Sure enough, the light went off after a minute. The rain continued as steady as before, but we couldn't see it anymore. As wet as we were, we could barely feel it. I felt absurdly happy, like a child who's run around in the rain on a warm summer night.

"You're crazy, you know that, Walter?" I muttered into his ear, and I could feel his cheek move as he smiled again.

"No, I just love the rain. It makes me feel new. And young. And it's good for the garden, good for growing things. Doesn't it make you feel clean?"

"It makes me feel wet." I tried to deadpan it, but I had to laugh. His joy was so infectious, how could I resist? I pulled away from him, tripping the light, and reached my hand out for his. He took it, and I lifted our joined hands into the air before doing a neat twirl in and out, ducking
slightly under his arm.

He chuckled--almost, I swear, giggled--and tucked a hand behind my back before dipping me back and kissing my rain-wet lips with his. The trees rustled noisily in the breeze and I cocked an eyebrow at him. "Our audience approves."

We righted ourselves and in a moment of simultaneous absurdity bowed to the damn gumball trees. We both succumbed to more laughter, and my sides were starting to hurt from it. I started towards the house, tugging at Walter's hand, and he followed me easily enough.

We stripped quickly in the bathroom, dumping our sodden clothes in the tub to be dealt with later. I shook my hair out like a dog and he cast a mock-askance glower at me before pulling me off towards the bedroom.

The rain had gone through our clothes just enough to leave us slightly damp and chilly to the touch. Our hands slid eagerly over each other's bodies as we rubbed skin to skin to get warm. I sucked the rich mineral elixir of rainwater from his chest, the top of his head, his arms. He was above me, and I tried to slip around him to get to his back.

His hands held my shoulders still, and he lowered his mouth to my ear. He murmured to me, "Just be still, be still," and the low vibration of his voice filled me with contentment, with safety and love and joy. We made love, and he fell asleep with his arms and legs wrapped around me.

I'm where I want to be forever.

I don't know what the weather will be like on Sunday, but I have a feeling it won't much matter.

^^^^^^^^^

The End