Title: Snow (1/1)
Author: Goddess Michele
Pairing: M/Sk
Beta: none
Rating: G (aka S for shmoop)
Disclaimer: Not mine, never were, not making money, blah, blah, blah, property of CC, 1013, Fox, blah, blah, blah...
Archive: Go to it, and more power to you, just leave my name on it, please
Feedback: starshine24mc@yahoo.com
Summary: Contest entry, Slashing Mulder Anniversary contest. Originally sent out with my Christmas cards this year, but not widely posted. I think this fits the weather bill, although I have some hot and sunny ideas brewing as well. Be forewarned, this shmoopy slipper extravaganza may cause cavities.


"We should go to the Common. I hear they're taking down the tree tomorrow."

This suggestion was met with a murmured "that sounds wonderful" from Dana, and a hearty groan of disapproval from Fox.

"Come on, Mulder, it'll do us all good to walk off such a big meal." Walter was already moving towards the closet. Dana went to the front door to retrieve her boots, and Fox flopped down on the couch with a dramatic sigh.

Walter threw his navy pea coat on top of him.

Then he helped Dana with her camel-coloured coat, handed her the matching scarf, and tugged on his own black coat and red flannel scarf.

"I'm not going." Mulder's voice was muffled and petulant from beneath the folds of his coat.

Walter rolled his eyes while Dana tried reason.

"It's nicer out tonight than it's been all week, the snowstorm ended hours ago, and the fresh air will be good for you-stimulating, even."

This doctorly advice earned her a sour look as Mulder disentangled himself from his coat.

"Fox..."

One syllable, barely audible, but Walter's whispered growl accomplished what no amount of Scully's nagging would have. Mulder got to his feet, still muttering, though half-heartedly now, and began pulling on his coat.

"That was impressive, sir." Scully had to comment.

"Too bad it doesn't work so well at the office," Walter replied.

"You're funny, old man," said Mulder. "Have you seen my gloves?"

"Where did you leave them?"

A quick search of the closet, desk, refrigerator and convenient gun-table revealed the dark kid gloves resting on the bookshelf by the stairs, and after some helpful suggestions from Scully ("why don't you get the ones with the string?") and Walter ("If you'd put them where they belong..."), everyone was dressed and out the door.

They took Walter's car, and Scully sat in between the two men. She and Mulder got into a heated debate about the existence of extraterrestrials as it pertained to the birth of Christ, which neither one of them won. Then Mulder played with the radio and reached over his partner to squeeze Walter's leg briefly.

In short order, they reached the common, which was brightly lit with Christmas bulbs of all shapes and sizes, from the parking lot where they sat to the edge of the tree line, where the Vietnam memorial wall could just be made out, a dark blur in the darkening distance.

Walter parked the car, but kept it running for a moment while they looked out at pristine white snow, sparkling under the multicoloured lights that had been liberally sprinkled over the shrubs and trees. And in the center of it all stood a huge Christmas tree covered with white mini lights, and topped with a bright gold star.

Even Mulder, for whom December 25 was traditionally the day between December 24 and December 26, was moved by the spectacle.

Walter shut off the car and they all exited the vehicle.

Walter adjusted the knit fisherman's cap on his head, pleased that the wind that had blown in the furious snowstorm of the last few days had abated, and, while still cold, the air was not so biting as it had been. In fact, while dressed properly, he found it actually refreshing.

Scully took his arm, smiling up at him, and they started down the cleared path towards the center of the common, with Mulder trailing behind them, muttering darkly about partners and boyfriends who were trying to kill him, and his plans for revenge.

They walked on slowly, with Scully oohing and aahing at the lights while Walter just enjoyed the walk, feeling very much the gentleman, with Scully's tiny hand tucked in his arm, pacing his long legged stride to her shorter one.

Mulder fell farther behind them, stopping briefly to investigate a bulb that had burned out, then pausing again a moment later to pull his scarf up over his nose and glare uselessly at his partner and lover, wondering how they could possibly be enjoying this. Then he set off at a brisk pace to catch up with them, skidding and very nearly colliding with them when they stopped at the top of a gentle rise in the path.

The tree was even larger than expected close up, towering over them, nearly turning dusk to daylight with the amount of light it was generating.

Scully gave a little gasp and put a hand to her mouth.

"I've seen it dozens of times," said Walter, "and it's always the same. Beautiful, but it's a rugged beauty, demanding, even. I never tire of it."

Scully didn't reply, just looked up at the tree for a moment more, then looked back to where Mulder was standing, gazing intently, not at the tree, but at the man in front of him. She pulled her arm from Walter's, and caught his attention, which she promptly directed towards Mulder with a shift of her eyes. Then she purposefully moved away from him, following the path again, which circled around the tree.

Walter looked back at Mulder, caught him looking, and growled, "C'mere."

Again, a single word to generate an immediate response. Mulder moved up beside him. Walter stepped behind him and thrust his hands deep into the pockets of Mulder's coat. Automatically, Mulder glanced around, but found that they were for all intensive purposes, alone, and he leaned back with a sigh. He reached into his pockets and squeezed Walter's wrists affectionately, and Walter kissed him on the cheek.

"Merry Christmas, Fox."

"Thanks. You, too."

They stood a moment longer like that, relishing the closeness, until they heard a distinct, out-of-tune voice warbling "Away In a Manger."

Mulder laughed aloud and pulled away from Walter as Scully came around the tree.

"You missed your calling, Scully," he said, "You could be knockin' 'em dead in Vegas."

"I did that once. You missed it."

Walter glanced at her quizzically as she bent to scoop up some of the fresh snow from the side of the path.

"Christmas snow," she said in reply to his look. She held it up in front of the two men. "You make a wish on fresh snow under a Christmas tree, and it's guaranteed to come true. It's like a magic spell, or something."

"Magic?" Walter was skeptical, Mulder, surprisingly, more so.

"Sure. Watch." She held up her hand, declared, "I wish long life and happiness for us all!" then blew as hard as she could on the snow, causing it to fly up and into the faces of the two men watching.

Walter stepped back quickly, but Mulder lunged forward instead.

"Christmas snow! I'll show you Christmas snow, Scully!"

She backpedaled frantically away, laughing, and nearly tripping as she came off the path and found herself in deep, untrodden snow. Mulder followed her and immediately floundered in the snow, struggling to find his footing. Scully stopped to try and catch her balance, and Mulder crashed into her, driving her to the ground with a cry.

They slipped and skidded in the deep powder, rolling and laughing, until they came to a breathless halt in the snow, with Mulder lying on top of his diminutive partner, smiling, then laughing aloud as Scully giggled infectiously.

Sparkling snowflakes were caught gleaming in Scully's red hair and on her eyelashes.

Impulsively, Mulder dipped his head and kissed a snowflake off of her cheek.

Scully stopped laughing, but a warm smile remained, and her blue eyes fairly glowed. They gazed at one another and time stopped, not in an alien abduction way, but in a made-for-TV-movie way. They kept smiling, loving each other in their way, as best friends do when they complete one another, and neither of them wanted the moment to end.

The moment ended when a snowball the size of a man's fist hit Mulder on the side of the head with enough force to knock him off of Scully and face-first into the snow. He sat up abruptly, sputtering and cursing, looking to Scully like he had been dipped in confectioner's sugar. This thought sent her nearly into hysterics, and she covered her face with her hands, giggling madly.

As Mulder stood, a thought formed, and he glanced suspiciously over at his lover.

Walter still stood by the tree, hands behind his back, grinning ferociously at the Christmas lights, doing his best to look completely innocent, and failing spectacularly.

Mulder brushed ineffectually at the snow now covering him, then turned to give Scully a hand up.

The second snowball took him high on the back of his head, and he dropped Scully back into the snow with a yell.

Walter was still smiling at nothing, now whistling tunelessly through his teeth, and rocking slightly on the balls of his feet, studiously avoiding looking over at his two agents, his friend and his lover.

Scully had struggled to her feet, her laughing threatening to upset her balance all over again. She clambered out of the soft drifts until she was standing solidly on the scraped and plowed footpath again. Then she turned to Mulder and said,

"Powdered donut is a good look for you, Mulder." Then she ran, with her partner in hot pursuit, both of them laughing again, Mulder yelling dire threats that failed to threaten at all.

Walter watched them approach with something like parental indulgence, then stooped to pick up more snow.

This last snowball caught Mulder square in the face, and there was no question of where it had come from. As Scully cowered behind him, Walter doubled over with laughter at the wet cat look of disgust that had come over his lover's face.

Mulder stood in front of Walter, glaring, panting and brushing snow.

"Scully?" he called out, his gaze never leaving Walter's.

"Mulder," she replied from behind his lover.

"You're my friend, right?"

"Always, Mulder. You can trust me." She looked out from behind Walter again, and Mulder looked at her, willing her to understand. And she did.

She ducked as Mulder ran forward suddenly, pushing his lover backwards hard, causing him to lose his footing, fall back over Scully, who turned sharply like a ninjababe in a John Woo film, and crash unceremoniously into the snow with a startled "oof!" as the air was knocked out of him.

They pounced like lion cubs, and as snow rained down on him, Walter was dimly grateful to have left his glasses in the car. They were new, and he didn't need Mulder breaking another pair.

He struggled, but half-heartedly, knowing that even with the odds against him, he could easily escape. It was more fun to throw snow back at them, trip Scully and make her giggle, and grab Fox by the arms to pull him down on top of him.

Scully kicked snow on them, then sobered, recognizing a moment when she saw it.

Tugging her scarf free to wipe at her face, she warned them not to be too long, then headed back down the path towards the car.

"Scully has amazing timing," said Mulder.

"Dana's an amazing woman," Walter agreed.

Then there were no more words, just two mouths greedily sucking warmth from one another, two men rolling their bodies back and forth in the cold white snow, two hearts beating in a tandem confirmation of love and lust.

They wound up with Fox on his back and Walter looming over him.

"Fox, I love you," Walter said, and he meant it.

"Walter..." Fox began, eyes darkening with emotion. Walter held his breath, wondering if this would be the day his lover said the words. He had no doubt of the depth of Mulder's affection for him, but the younger man had never articulated his feelings with words.

"Walter, I hate snow."

Walter laughed and stood and held out his hand.

"Let's go get warm," he said.

 


 

Title: Lots of Snow
Author: Goddess Michele
Fandom: X-Files
Pairing: M/Sk
Spoilers: Anasazi, The Ghosts Who Stole Christmas
Rating: PG13
Beta: Shane, the man who says it's "like", not "love", and "winter", not "season".
Disclaimer: Boring but necessary disclaimer: C.C., Fox and 1013 own them, I'm just borrowing them for fun, not profit, and I promise to return them only slightly bruised, and maybe crying a little, but they liked it!
Feedback: starshine24mc@yahoo.com
Archive: put it wherever you like, just leave my name on it
Summary: Anniversary Contest Entry-Weather Category-apparently, even with spring just around the corner, I'm still cold. I think this is turning into a trilogy.(The next one'll be new, I promise)


"Skinner."

"Doesn't anyone just say hello anymore?"

"Hey."

"Hey. I didn't know if you'd be home."

"Just got in. How is it going there?"

"Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?"

"Is the good news that you're packing even as we speak and you'll be home by midnight?"

"Not even close."

"All right, bad news then."

"Snow, Walter. Lots of snow. Lots and lots of snow."

"Here, too-just starting."

"I hate snow. I hate being cold."

"And here I thought you plastered yourself to me at every opportunity because you loved me. I may as well be a hot water bottle."

"Whatever works."

"My ego's bruised."

"You'll live. You'd better."

"That sounded needy. Miss me?"

"Fishing for compliments, Walter? That's not like you."

"It's been over two weeks, Fox."

"Now who's needy?"

"So if snow is the bad news, what's the good news?"

"Changing the subject? All right, I'll let it go this once. The good news is SAC Kish finally took his head out of his ass long enough to listen to what I've been saying since Scully and I got here."

"And?"

"And, we found the kid. She'll be okay, but we had to use near terminal force to get her away from the perp, who never would have had her if Kish had paid attention. Anyway, the bastard's in a coma down at the county general-damn, it is really coming down out there!"

"Never mind the snow, Mulder. Where's Scully?"

"She's with the girl. They both got banged up pretty bad when it all went down."

"Is she all right?"

"The kid?"

"Scully."

"Everybody's fine, Walter. Scully'll take the girl's statement, get stitched up and be back here in an hour or so."

"Are you okay?"

"I know you'll be disappointed, but I have no new and interesting scars for you to play with."

"I assure you I am not disappointed."

"God, I think we're entering the next Ice Age here!"

"Stop being so melodramatic. So, why are you not packing? Sounds to me like the regional office there can handle the final details without you and Scully."

"I told you, Walter. It's the snow. Airport's shut down for at least twenty-four hours, maybe longer."

"Shit."

"Truer words were never spoken. Why the hell does it have to snow anyway?"

"I'll go out on a limb here and say, because it's winter."

"Smart ass."

"That's why I'm an assistant director, and you're stuck in a snowstorm in North Dakota."

"Without cable."

"Poor baby. How will you survive?"

"The same way you do."

"Only louder."

"You've never complained."

"Neither have you. So, no cable, no Scully, no me-"

"Rub it in, why don't you?"

"No, rubbing it in would be telling you I'm sitting in front of the fireplace, scanning channels on the dish, waiting for supper-I ordered Thai."

"Tell me again why you think I love you."

"Have you eaten?"

"Nice segue."

"Answer the question."

"Yes."

"You're lying."

"Yes."

"Order something from room service. The way you're expense accounts usually read, no one will even notice a meal on this one."

"I'm choosing to ignore that comment. I'll be fine, Walter. I'll eat with Scully, when she gets back."

"I'll be verifying that, of course."

"Don't you trust me?"

"Of course I do. I also know you when you're profiling."

"It's a living."

"I wish you were here."

"I wish I was there. I need my hot water bottle."

"More sweet talk. How nice."

"Tell me more about the fireplace-I'm feeling masochistic tonight."

"How can someone from New England not like snow?"

"It's easy."

"Seriously, Fox. I've always liked winter myself. It always reminds me of childhood-skating, sledding, snowball fights-"

"Don't forget searching for your abducted sister and taking it on the chin from your alcoholic father-two of my favorite winter sports."

"Oh, Fox. I'm sorry."

"No, it's not you. It's me. I just don't do the season well. I didn't mean to piss all over your holiday spirit."

"Speaking of which, what are your plans?"

"Plans for what?"

"For global domination, silly. I mean for Christmas."

"I don't plan for Christmas, Walter. It just happens."

"What did you do last year?"

"Last year? Oh, yeah-last year, Scully and I killed each other-and then we exchanged gifts."

"I'll ask the obvious question-"

"How can I be taking to you from a cold hotel room in North Dakota if my partner and I did in fact orchestrate each other's demise?"

"No. What did you get her?"

"A map of UFO hotspots in the greater Washington area."

"Sweet. What did she get you?"

"Porn."

"It must be love."

"That's what she said the last time she shot me."

"I thought maybe we could spend Christmas together."

"Or I could just get Scully to shoot me again."

"Oh."

"It's not like that, Walter. I just don't like Christmas. I get too neurotic-and believe me, I know from neurotic."

"You are the psychologist."

"I usually just work."

"Just so you know the offer's on the table."

"I appreciate it, Walter. I truly do."

"We can talk about it when you get back."

"All right. Hey, I think I hear Scully in the next room. I should go."

"Wait."

"I have to use the phone to order the food you're making me eat."

"In a minute. Go stand by the window."

"Why?"

"Just do it!"

"Ooh, was that a surly Walter Skinner growl, patent pending, I just heard?"

"Mulder, just shut up and get your ass over to the window."

"Yes sir!"

"Are you looking?"

"It's snow, Walter."

"I want you to take a good hard look at it. Now, close your eyes."

"Is this phone sex?"

"Are your eyes closed?"

"Yes! Shouldn't I be naked, or something?"

"No."

"Oh."

"I want you to think about the snow, and the wind, and the cold and-"

"I would not pay 4.95 a minute for this, Walter."

"And then I want you to think about someone who loves you very much-"

"Walter..."

"And will keep you warm for as long as you want..."

"Oh..."

"My food's here, Fox. I have to go."

"All right. Thanks."

"Not necessary."

"Thanks anyway. And Walter..."

"Yes?"

"About Christmas..."

"Yes?"

"I think I'd like that."

"Goodnight, Fox."

"I'll call you tomorrow."

The end.

 


 

Lots and Lots of Snow
Author: Goddess Michele
Rating: NC17
Fandom: X-Files
Pairing: M/Sk
Spoilers: none
Beta: none
Disclaimer: C.C., Fox and 1013 own them, I'm just borrowing them for fun, not profit, and I promise to return them only slightly bruised, but in that good 'thank you sir and may I have another?' way.
Archive: put it wherever you like, just leave my name on it
Feedback: Yes, PLEASE! starshine24mc@yahoo.com
Summary: Slashing Mulder Anniversary Contest Entry-Weather Category. It's all about finding that warm place...WARNING: intense shmoop, diabetics beware!


It seemed both logical and appealing. A weekend getaway, a convenient cabin, one with a fireplace big enough to stand in, and a chance for safe, quiet conversation.

Walter Skinner couldn't believe it had gone so horribly wrong.

The trip up was a slow one, with snow flurries and slick roads keeping their speed down, but Mulder hadn't complained (much), and he had let Walter concentrate on his driving, only occasionally coming up with some arcane weather statistic that really didn't interest him much ("Did you know that winter was 102 days long in Toronto, Ontario this year, Walter? The average length is forty-two days."). Mostly he just played with the radio, and sang badly when he found a song he liked ("Joy to the world...come on, Walter, chorus...")

They had found the cozy dwelling easily, following Walter's friend's most excellent directions. Unloading the car was done far more efficiently than either man expected, with no damage done despite the snow, which was making the path from car to cabin treacherous ("Good thing you were here to catch me, Walter."). In less time than it takes to tell, they were unpacked and relaxing on the couch, waiting for a simple pasta dish to warm in the oven, and sharing one of several bottles of wine they had brought with them.

Dinner was delicious. The conversation between them was light and unforced, ("You should have seen it, Walter-nothing but net!") and Walter thought, not for the first time, that it was just what they needed, both of them, for their own reasons.

A fire was lit in the massive stone hearth, more wine followed a perfunctory clean up of the kitchen, and a slow sensuous bout of living room lovemaking followed the wine, with the only witness to their passion the snow that continued to fall thick and silent around the cabin. Blanketing the road they had driven, the footpaths they hoped to explore together after the storm, and most of the surrounding foliage, the snow created a heightened sense of intimacy, rather than claustrophobia.

Basking in an almost overwhelming afterglow that he never would have expected to find outside of a cheesy romance novel, let alone experience, Walter decided that the timing would never be better. He could see in every curve and line of his lover's body the same sense of peaceful languor and utter contentment that he was feeling, and he asked the question.

His answer came in the form of another orgasm coaxed lovingly out of him by Mulder, and a string of breathy affirmations from Fox when he returned the favor. They fell asleep watching the storm, limbs loosely entwined.

And when Walter woke in the deepest part of the night, the chill as the fire went out dragging him from his sleep, Fox was gone.

Walter Skinner was not a man prone to panic. He found lights, found clothes, found paper and wood and started the fire up again. He called out his lover's name, and checked every room. Twice. He told himself not to think about the Consortium, aliens, or the snow, which was now hitting the large living room windows with an angry blatting sound as the wind picked up. He told himself not to worry, that Fox was capable of taking care of himself. Even at three in the morning. Even in a snowstorm. Even, apparently, without a coat-it was still hung on a peg by the door.

He took several deep breaths, trying to douse the coal of hot panic he could feel beginning to burn in the pit of his stomach with rational water. And suddenly, he knew what had happened.

Grabbing his coat off of the peg next to Mulder's, he slipped his feet into sturdy hiking boots, and was just about to open the door when he heard a muffled thumping on the other side of it that made his heart leap into his throat. He didn't have his gun.

He had to pull hard on the door to get it to open. Drifted snow and fierce wind seemed determined to keep him inside. The dull thudding noise was repeated, and with a terrific yank, Walter forced the door open.

A flurry of loose flakes, a small avalanche of wind-sculpted sleet and a snow-covered Mulder all blew into the room in the wake of the storm.

Walter slammed the door shut with more force than was necessary, then turned to where Mulder had fallen to one knee, and was struggling with the snow encrusted laces of his running shoe. His bare hands were red and shaking and he was doing a poor job of it, but he carried on valiantly, ignoring both Walter and the clumps of wet snow that were clinging to his sweatpants. More thick flakes coated his sweater and his hair.

Walter watched for the briefest of moments, feeling an overwhelming urge to pick up his bedraggled lover by his cold, snowy shoulders and shake the shit out of him. Relief quickly overcame anger, though, as he knelt in front of Mulder and brushed his hands away from his shoe. He deftly untied the double-knotted lace, feeling snow melt under his nimble fingers. He helped Mulder slip the runner off, then held his hand out for the other foot, noting a wince as he switched from one knee to the other, and a pained hiss that he bit off abruptly as their eyes met.

"Fell," he whispered.

"I see."

"Twice."

Walter got his other shoe off, helped him stand, and began brushing ineffectually at his snow-covered clothes.

"Mulder, you're crazy."

"You're not the first person to point that out, Walter." This was mumbled through chattering teeth, and the trembling of his body dislodged more snow than Walter's best efforts had.

"You're going to catch pneumonia." Without waiting for a reply, Walter pulled both the black v-neck sweater and the white t-shirt under it over Mulder's head, and the shivering increased. Snow-caked pants and socks followed, and he left them on the floor to add to the puddle of snowmelt already forming there.

Then he steered his naked lover towards the fireplace with a warm hand on his cold back, moving slowly enough to facilitate Mulder's limping gait, but quickly enough to keep actual hypothermia at bay. As he pushed him to his knees in front of the warm flames, he noted with some concern the redness of his feet, hands and face, in startling contrast to the paleness of the rest of his skin. He quickly found the blanket they had been using earlier and wrapped it around his shoulders. He dropped a light kiss on wet hair, then muttered sternly, but affectionately, "don't move."

Mulder didn't reply, and Walter didn't wait for one. He scooped up the wet clothes from the doorway, avoided stepping in the cold water they left behind, just barely, and left a dripping trail to the bathroom, where he dropped them in the tub. He grabbed one of the towels off the rack, made a quick detour to the bedroom to pull the quilt from the bed, and then returned to his lover's side.

Mulder had switched to a sitting position, with his knees pulled close to his chest. Walter draped the second blanket over him as well, and used the towel to briskly rub the remaining snow and water from his hair. Mulder wanted to complain; about being babied, about being ordered about, about being manhandled; but his inner twelve-year old was effectively smothered by the rest of his feelings, physical and emotional, which Walter's fussing was warming more than the blankets or fire could ever do. He closed his eyes, felt Walter's strong hands on his head and neck, felt tears pricking at his eyelids, and put his head down on his arms.

Walter disappeared, then returned an unknown time later with tea and a third blanket. He had changed out of the clothes he'd originally put on, having gotten them wet attending to his lover, and was now wearing just plaid drawstring pants.

He silently held out the mug of tea, and Mulder took it, both hands covering the cup, and Walter's hand, just for a moment.

Mulder didn't need to be told his hands were freezing, and Walter didn't say it. Just took the tea away from him, setting it well out of tipping reach, then took cold fingers in his own and rubbed, softly at first, then with more vigor, coaxing blood and warmth into the extremities. He frowned at a small white patch on the very tip of Mulder's ring finger, brought both hands up to his mouth and blew gently on them. Then he kissed the spot, and massaged a little more.

He let go of the other man's hands and gave him back the tea, stretching out on his side next to Mulder and propping up his head with one arm.

Silently, both men contemplated the fire, the storm, the question.

Finally Mulder turned to his lover, who gave him a wry glance and an arched eyebrow.

"Jogging, Fox?"

"Gotta keep in shape."

"At three in the morning?"

"Wanted to beat the crowd."

"In a snowstorm?"

"I like a challenge."

More silence, not entirely uncomfortable, and Walter sat up and massaged Mulder's feet, which had warmed considerably, although he noted two more of those tiny white spots-frostbite, he supposed, although not nearly as bad as it could have been. Mulder winced as he put pressure on an ankle, but said nothing. Walter touched his knee.

"Did I scare you that bad?"

Heavier silence, pregnant with fear and fat full of expectation. Mulder's throat worked, and he swallowed tears with the last of his tea, then tried to smile at Walter, his eyes sparkling in the firelight.

"The rest of our lives, Walter?"

"Yours won't be all that long if you keep up the late night blizzard jogging." Spoken dryly, but his eyes were dark.

Mulder frowned and answered "thanks," with a sarcastic lilt to his voice. He stretched his legs towards the fire, and Walter rested his head on a blanketed thigh, turning his body until he was lying more or less comfortably, and still able to look up into his lover's face.

"That's a long time," said Mulder.

"I like a challenge." Walter tossed the words back at him, almost playfully, surprising a laugh out of him.

"How'd you get to be such a smart ass?"

"Didn't you know, it's a pre-requisite course for life with you. Scully got an 'A'"

"Nice." His tongue felt fat in his mouth, and he sniffed at his empty cup suspiciously. "You spiked my tea."

"Grand Marnier. I wanted you warm."

Mulder touched the side of his face. "I'm warm."

Walter got up and Mulder took a moment to appreciate the play of firelight across the strong broad muscles of his lover's chest, shoulders and back as the older man relieved him of his cup and took it back to the kitchen.

The domestic sounds of another person moving around another room comforted Mulder, and he admitted it to himself, surprised at the peaceful acceptance of the admission.

Walter returned to the room with another cup of tea, and a snifter half-full for himself, and sat down behind Mulder, handing him the tea and then pulling back the blankets a little to kiss the exposed neck. Mulder responded with a little shiver that had nothing to do with the cold, and leaned back, letting his body shift forward so that when Walter put his arms around him, his head was supported comfortably on the broad expanse of Walter's chest.

Mulder covered Walter's arms with his own, squeezed tightly, then pulled one arm up so that he could drink his tea.

Walter had set his drink aside, and felt no urge to retrieve it. Instead, he just held his lover tightly, pressed the side of his face to the top of his head, and listened to the spits and spats of snow being driven into the windows by the wind. He added warm thoughts to the fire, tea and blankets, wondering if Mulder could feel them, then chuckling quietly at his own folly.

Mulder shifted to look up at him with an unsure smile, which Walter kissed. The smile got a little bigger, so he did it again.

"That's nice."

"Do you want to give me an answer?"

"Tenacious."

"Yes."

"Can I have another kiss?"

"Not what I was expecting, but-" This kiss was longer, deeper, more intense. Walter could taste Grand Marnier and something sweeter as his tongue slid into Mulder's mouth. Both men were left breathless when Walter pulled away. He reached for his glass and took a sip of the sweet orange liqueur.

"I won't wear white."

Walter could swear he felt his heart physically jump in his chest, but he kept his tone as even as Mulder's when he replied, "I don't think white is an option at this point."

"Do you think Scully would wear sea-foam for me?"

Mulder felt Walter's chest shake with suppressed laughter.

"She's shot you before with less provocation than that."

He couldn't argue with that, so he drank his tea instead, wondering if he was starting to feel light-headed from the drink, or from the commitment he knew he was making.

"I think I can feel my feet again," he commented.

"Good deal." Walter finished his drink and wrapped both arms around his lover again and whispered into his ear. "Are we doing this?"

Mulder's voice was soft, but not hesitant. "God help you, Walter, I think we are."

"Good." He let his hands slide a little south, and caught Mulder's gasp on his tongue. "Wanna fool around?" he murmured against his lover's mouth.

"Well, sure," came the reply, "Since you've promised to make an honest woman out of me."

Rich laughter, and another kiss, and it was warm and good, and Mulder knew he'd found a truth he'd never expected, in himself, in Walter, and there was no running away from it.


Archived: 21:25 03/21/01