Dreams Come Three
by Ursula

For Dark Cherry, Elaine, who embraced Climb the Highest Mountain against both of our expectations.

Series/Sequel: Is this story part of a series: Sequel to Climb the Highest Mountain


Disclaimers: X Files belong to Chris Carter, 1013, Fox TV et al.

Notes: Star Me Kitten lyric: Dreams come three for the price of one

This story continues from Climb the Highest Mountain in which Kim Cook goes to K-2 to bring back her former lover, the man with whom she shared her husband, Walter Skinner. Walter, cured of the nanocytes, collapses into a coma from a stroke. The nanocytes can restore him to health, but no one knows how to reactivate them but Alex Krycek, a man Walter believes he killed. Walter waked like Sleeping Beauty and greets Alex as his Prince Charming, but life is not like a fairy tale. After the wakening kiss, there is a long road to travel before happiness.

Warnings: Slash, discipline, a male, male, and female relationship

"Hold tight," Alex's rough voice coaxed. "Come on, you can do it."

Walter's right hand gripped tightly around the soft skin of Kim's arm. He was still surprised to feel the strong muscle beneath her silken flesh. His left hand held even harder to Alex's corded steel right arm, Alex's only arm.

Slowly, shockingly, Walter rose to a sitting position. His wife and his...lover weren't helping him at all. They anchored him, but he had lifted himself.

For a dizzy moment, Walter held up, mind rushing with delight. He laughed out loud between panting breaths.

"Knew you could do it," Alex said.

Kim's blue eyes radiated her faith. Walter let go. He swayed but continued to sit up on his own. Carefully, he raised his hand to Kim's neck, drew her close, kissed her plump mouth, sweet as a ripe cherry. He felt the warmth of her tears on his face. Cheek to cheek, he closed his eyes, thanking God that he had this brave bit of a woman.

Alex started to pull away. Walter said, "No."

His right hand brought Alex close as Walter leaned into Kim's support. His thumb stroked the sharp line of Alex's cheek as his palm framed his lover's face. Alex turned his head, kissed Walter's hand, eyelashes fluttering down to shield those speaking eyes.

Feeling shaky, Walter lowered himself back to his bed. Kim tugged back the covers completely. Alex gently unbuttoned Walter's pajama top. The touch and the intimacy of this act stirred his cock to life. Alex's fingers trailed down Walter's shoulders as he slid the top off. Kim tugged down the bottoms until Walter lay exposed in the warm room.

"That Marma stuff again?" Walter remarked.

"That Marma stuff kept you from losing muscle mass to a point that surprised the doctors," Kim remarked somewhat tartly.

"I wasn't saying anything," Walter said.

"Better not," Alex advised, with a wry twist of his own incongruously sweet mouth. "She spanks."

As Kim's familiar touch sought out the points of his body, Walter closed his eyes. His hand quested and found Alex's to curl loosely around it. Occasionally, Kim's manipulations were painful. He could feel life surging through him. God, he was getting an erection. He moved on the bed, reached for Kim. She slapped his hand and said, "When I'm done, if you're good."

Opening one eye, Walter said, "How good do I have to be to get blown?"

"Very," Kim said.

Alex smirked, but his gaze fastened on Walter's groin.

"Then I want it from both of you," Walter bargained.

"Oh, we are ambitious," Kim teased.

"Taking turns," Walter said, "like we used to do."

Ah, Alex's eyes flinched from that and his hand nearly pulled away.

"Are you sure?" Alex asked.

"Sure of what? That I can finish?" Walter replied, knowing that wasn't what Alex meant. "I think I can and I can enjoy trying even if I can't."

A sideswipe of a smile edged across Alex's face.

"One thing you shouldn't doubt," Walter said, as Kim's hands circled the knot of muscles over his shoulders. "I never stopped wanting you, Alex, even when I hated your guts and hated myself for my desire."

The hand clasped in Walter's tried to pull away.

"Don't run, Alex," Kim chided, her knowledge of both of her husband and her lover preternatural. "You promised."

"I did, didn't I?" Alex said. He settled.

The stimulating massage sent life surging through Walter. The gray weight of hopelessness seemed to lift from him with Kim's touch.

"Time to turn over," Kim said.

"Okay," Walter agreed. He knew Alex was doing most of the lifting, but this time, he was helping not just pulling himself up on Alex's arm. He grunted as he sank back to the bed, this time face down. Kim continued to work. Walter believed that her hands if not her method was magic.

Alex said, "If you wanted to know, you still have the most beautiful ass I've ever seen."

"Glad it meets with your approval," Walter said. It was worth the trouble to angle his head around so he could spy on Alex.

The expression on Alex's face is sensual, soft. There was a sharp edge of lust beneath the dreamy eyed daze.

"God, I want you," Alex said.

Walter wondered about that. He had told his wife and his lover to sleep together, but something told him that they hadn't obeyed. His Alex had always seemed so ready, so randy. It was difficult to imagine him abstaining.

"I want you too, Alex," Walter said. "I can't wait to go home to be myself again. I hate this place. I hate the constant poking and prodding. I hate never having time to myself."

"Yeah, I hate hospitals too," Alex agreed. "It won't be long now before you are up out of that bed. The doctors keep saying you're a living X File."

"God," Walter groaned.

Kim asked, "Did I hurt you?"

"No, of course not," Walter replied. "It's that X-File thing. I swear to God it's a bigger fad than hula hoops were."

A giggle escaped Kim and she said, "Hula hoops?"

"Yeah, hula hoops, they were a fad when I was a kid. Everyone had one or wanted one," Walter said.

"You had a hula hoop?" Kim asked breathlessly, surprising a chuckle out of Alex.

"Yes, where do you think I developed that great hip motion you both like so much?" Walter replied, drawing on a store of pomposity from conversations with Kersh.

"Remind me to thank the hula hoop," Kim said.

"But my point was that since all that information hit the press, all you hear about is X-Files and Mulder," Walter complained.

"Why is it always Mulder?" Alex said with a smirk. His expression changed to a softer smile and he added, "Well, he's happy. I never thought I'd see that day. God knows, he deserves his day in the sun."

The thought made Walter tense. Mulder was healthy and so was his libido. He and Alex always had a current between them. What if Mulder moved on that when Walter was still mostly flat on his back?

Reading Walter's face, Alex stroked his head and said, "I came back for you, Walter. You and Kim, not for Mulder. You don't have to worry about me and Mulder or anyone else. I'm not a kid anymore. I can wait."

"I don't want to wait anymore," Walter said, "Maybe I can't be in you, but I have to have you. It's been too long."

Alex slid onto the bed, taking up very little room. Face to face with Walter, his expression was tender. He smelled like Kim. They must have been using the same bath and shampoo products again. That had always turned Walter on. He remembered one time when he had to meet with Mulder and Krycek. Kim, of course, was present to take notes. Every time she passed him, every time Alex had leaned toward him, he could smell the special blend on him, on her. He saw Mulder sniff the air, look from Kim to Alex with speculation and then suddenly at Walter. Damn the man for his insights and bless him for never saying a word about it.

"I'm finished," Kim said, slapping Walter's ass cheek.

Jumping a little at the friendly smack, Walter gathered his strength and managed to turn over without any help. He grinned in sweaty triumph at his lovers.

"Now, do I get my treat?" Walter asked.

"I'll bolt the door," Alex said, sliding up to his feet.

"Good, because I want to see all of you," Walter said.

Maybe Walter was making up for the times that the nursing home staff, kind and professional as they were, had handled his nude body as if he wasn't in it, as if his body was no more than a piece of equipment to maintain. He knew that Kim never had touched him like that, but as much as he enjoyed her massage, a note of uneasiness always crept into his feelings. He had to be real to Kim. She was the only one he had ever let all the way into his heart.

"Undress each other for me," Walter suggested.

Kim blushed, the color moving from her scarlet cheeks down her neck and to the satin of her chest like the layers of a parfait. Alex's eyes met Walter's, open to him, asking him something.

Not sure what Alex wanted, Walter said, "Please, Alex, Kim, do this for me."

"You haven't seen me since," Alex reminded.

"A work of art's beauty can't be marred by an accidental imperfection," Walter said.

Concern faded to relief. Alex and Kim faced each other. She had been wearing a sweater when she came into the room; to work on Walter, she had laid the outer garment aside to reveal the white tee shirt beneath. Alex's hand trembled when he touched her. She didn't hesitate at all as her fingers flew over his button down black shirt.

His shirt fell to the floor. Her tee shirt followed. Her full breasts were cupped in a lacy bra. Walter smiled. It took a long time for him to persuade her that expensive pretty underwear wasn't just for first dates. She paused over Alex's belt buckle, smiling over her shoulder at Walter. The pair of them moved in a slow half circle as they pushed off shoes and socks. They had both been wearing black denim. The jeans slid over Kim's short legs and Alex's long ones.

They were so beautiful together it hurt. The momentary shock of Alex's maimed arm passed quickly. The rest of him was just as Walter had loved him. Kim's body was soft, feminine, not a scar or a mark on her creamy flesh. Alex was lean and wild, all man. Together...they were perfection, harmony, completion.

Kim's kiss was certain. She knew him so well and her kiss was like breathing to Walter; he didn't have to think about how they intermeshed. They just did.

Alex's kiss was tentative, an offering he still seemed to think would be rejected. Walter's hand captured his head to keep him close long enough to make it a real kiss.

"Mine," Walter murmured against the yielding lips.

"Yours," Alex replied, voice quavering as he made his declaration.

"Ours," Kim claimed, her arms stretching across both of them.

On either side of Walter, Kim and Alex only fit on the bed by draping over him, not a bad thing by any means. Walter petted whatever parts he could reach, patted the two pert behinds lovingly. Kim moved forward to lift his head, her thighs a pillow for him as Alex knelt on the bed, about to worship his cock. Alex's gaze seemed to stroke over Walter. He rose at the thought of what was going to happen. Alex's hand lifted Walter's cock toward his face. He planted a kiss on the tip, teasing the slit with dart of tongue. Walter could feel Alex's smile around the ring of his corona. Alex tongue licked and his lips trailed over the juncture of Walter's cock head. His hand braced Walter's cock, squeezing lightly.

When Alex looked up, lips shining, eyes glowing, and met Kim's eyes, Kim slipped away to join him, lowering Walter's head so he could do nothing but lay back and enjoy the attention.

His legs spread wide to give them access, Walter felt exposed and vulnerable for a moment, but when they both bent over him, it was everything that he remembered. He shuddered as a lubricated finger probed into him. He recognized Kim's touch. Her hair was soft against his inner thigh, Alex's still too short hair tickled his other side. He felt both of his lover's mouths on him. As he arched up to look, he saw them bump noses, stop, and kiss tentatively. A smile flickered across Alex's face when they parted. Alex bent back over him, his tongue remembering his most sensitive areas. The soles of Walter's feet flattened against the bed as he instinctively pushed toward Alex's retreating mouth.

Both Kim and Alex knew when trading places became more of a torment than a delightful tease. Alex took him deep, proving that capacity hadn't diminished. His lover's mouth and throat formed a straight line to admit all of Walter's cock to the root. They found their familiar rhythm, Alex's breaths shuddering in as Walter retreated, his throat accepting, relaxed, utterly trusting Walter not to choke him.

When his brain stopped bursting into fireworks, Walter stroked Alex's hair. It was hard to catch his breath and he was exhausted, not enough strength left to do anything more than move his fingers gently over Alex's head. He had felt Alex swallow and it seemed to him almost a sacred rite, as if deep inside, he was again part of his lover. All three of them rested on the bed; Kim snuggled into Walter's side.

"I can't wait until you come home," Kim said. "We're going to have everything just the way we dreamed about it being."

"I hope so," Walter replied. He yawned, unable to keep his eyes open much longer.

A moment later, Alex slipped off the side of the bed, nearly falling, and jolting Walter into wakefulness. "What happened?"

"Started to fall asleep," Alex confessed.

"Kim, take this boy home and put him to bed," Walter said.

Kim laughed and said, "I think we had better clean you up a little first or the nurses will know exactly what we were doing."

"Maybe then they would remember that I'm a man," Walter commented.

"I'm sure they noticed," Alex said, patting Walter's groin.

Barely aware of his lover's good night kisses, Walter fell asleep smiling.


"What the hell do you know about this?" Walter snapped. "My legs feel as if they are coming out of their joints."

Kim had been dismissed from this therapy. Walter couldn't stand yelling at her, but he didn't mind yelling at Alex.

Leaning against the far end of the rail, Alex said, "Yeah, it was easy learning how to do everything one handed. I really only got my arm chopped off to piss off Mulder and after all, I had a spare, didn't I?"

Grunting, Walter was pissed off enough to walk the length of the rail to get his hands on Alex. He had just reached his lover when it clicked that he had just walked more steps than he had managed up until now. He hadn't even been aware of the pain only of that hated smirk on Alex's face. He had one hand on the rail and the other on Alex's throat.

"Well, you going to choke me?" Alex asked.

"No," Walter said, "You manipulative bitch, you did that on purpose."

"Yeah," Alex admitted. "I showed you that you could do it. Now, you want to finish me or you want me to help you back to your chair."

"I'll finish you all right, but not in any way that we want anyone to see," Walter said. "And I can walk back to my chair."

He could. Almost, and Alex was there to catch him before he could fall. Walter wanted to believe that from now, this was the way it would be. He could forget the recent past and pretend the Alex he loved and the one that he hated were separate men.

Walter winced. Kim had told him he had to accept everything that Alex was if this was ever going to work. It would be so much easier to send him away. How many times had Alex offered so far? Scully had told him he should take the man at his word. Let Alex go his way to find some new hiding place, to find some new semblance of a life since he would never go back to his Walter O'Reilly identity.

To his surprise, Mulder disagreed with his partner. "You love him and he came back from the dead to save you, Walter. I'd say 'forgive'. I spent my entire life ignoring chances for a normal life. Now that I've won, I can't regret what I did, but if someone loved me like that, I'd grab it with both hands."

"Your life isn't over," Walter had told his former subordinate.

"Neither is yours," Mulder said. "Grab the golden ring, Walter."

How appropriate a metaphor...

Now that his life was going round and round like a pretty fantasy.

As Alex wheeled him to his next appointment, the therapeutic bath that the home allowed Alex to share with him, Walter knew he would never be able to let Alex go. His heart was a traitor that had harbored his lover all of this time, just waiting for a chance to grow again.


"Where's Alex?" Walter asked, as Kim worked on him.

"He promised to help Mulder decode some files he found," Kim said.

"They're spending a lot of time together," Walter said.

"They have a lot in common and Mulder is finding Alex useful," Kim said calmly. "Alex needs to keep busy."

"He could keep busy here," Walter complained.

"Walter, you told him to stop hovering around you a week ago," Kim said.

"I told you the same thing," Walter admitted.

"I gave up listening to you when you try to push me away after I saw how you handled being alone," Kim said, her hands never stopping their work. She moved Walter's legs, flexing them and encouraging him to push back against her surprising strength.

"Scully told me the other day that you are taking boxing," Walter said. He smiled, trying to imagine Kim in silk boxing shorts, a guard in her smiling mouth, and a helmet crushing her red waves of hair.

"Yes, I went in to pay your dues at the gym and Mickey had an ad up for a women's boxing class. His wife is teaching it," Kim said. "It's cheaper than therapy."

"That's what I always said," Walter said. "You paid my annual dues?"

"I paid them last year too," Kim said.

"Thank you," Walter said. Kim had never stopped hoping and praying for him, not during his long months in coma and not since.

"I know that this is hard on you," Walter offered cautiously. "I suppose you think I should tell Alex that I'm sorry."

"Do I have to tell you?" Kim asked.

"No," Walter admitted.

Kim's small hands dug into Walter's muscles, soothing out the knots, sending rushes of energy through him. He closed his eyes, breathing in her scent.

"Will you let me see you box when I'm out of here?" Walter asked.

Kim laughed.

"What?" Walter asked.

"Alex asked me the same thing," Kim said. "This isn't mud wrestling, you know. Emma is one of the few competitive female boxers around."

Hiding a smile, Walter said, "I'm sorry. It's just hard to imagine."

"I'm tougher than you think." Kim said.

"That's impossible," Walter replied. "Because I think there are endless depths to your strength."

Her kiss gave him a benediction for his earlier frustration.


Going home...

After wishing, hoping, suffering for this day, Walter felt like a gutless wonder. He had ignored the nurse's early morning visit to try to get him ready for discharge. His clothing still sat on the chair where Kim had put it last night. He had risen to relieve his bladder, but hadn't showered.

"Walter?" Kim asked. "Did you want help in getting dressed?"

"Kim, it's too soon," Walter said. "I think the doctors were right and I need a few more days, maybe even another month."

"I see," said Kim.

Mulder's voice invaded his space. "Walter, what are you going to say next week? That you need another week? Another month?"

"Everyone said I was pushing too hard," Walter ground out between clenched teeth.

"Because you wanted to go home," Mulder said. "Change your mind? What would motivate you to get out of that bed? Want me to tell the rat bastard to take a hike?" The voice changed to a sultry husk. "You want me to take him off your hands?"

"No!" Walter shouted, sitting up too quickly. He swayed in bed dizzily. When his vision cleared, he saw Mulder's sardonic smile. He'd been had by a pro.

"Okay, I'm going," Walter said, slowly swinging his legs over the side of the bed. Making his way to the shower, Walter grabbed his shaving kit. He waved a hand at his suitcase and said, "I won't need anything else out of there."

"I'll bring it to the car," Alex said.

"Don't skip out on me," Walter said.

"I won't. I gave my word. If I leave, I'll tell you I'm going," Alex said.

What could Walter say? He knew he was pushing Alex away and pulling him close in close succession. He just hoped he managed to keep from saying words that would send Alex away for good. He promised himself that things would be better when he was well and could make love to Alex the way that he needed to do.


By the time they reached the house in the suburbs that Walter had bought right after marrying Kim, he was exhausted. It made no sense as all he had done was take a shower, move from the hospital wheelchair to the car, and then walk into the house. He refused to use the wheelchair for the short distance although he allowed himself to lean on Kim.

Waking up after his nap, Walter was aware of Kim's copper hair shimmering against a pillow. She was curled up asleep, her arm thrown over him. Where was Alex? Looking around, Walter was aware that there was no trace of his lover in this room. He had just assumed that Kim and Alex had been sharing this bed. The guest room was set up with a double but it was a small room, intended more as a nursery for an infant than a real bedroom. The room intended as a full sized bedroom held Walter's home office.

Listening carefully, Walter could hear someone moving around in the kitchen, the soft clatter of utensils and pans barely audible. Alex must have started lunch. Lurching out of bed, Walter found his chair waiting for him. Someone must have been moving like a cat...or a rat to set it up without waking him. Transferring to the chair, Walter pushed it along, glad that the doorways were wide and that this was a rambler style home.

Alex was at the stove, stirring noodles into what smelled like Kim's homemade soup base. Walter saw one of Kim's Tupperware containers in the dish drainer. All of the Cook females had a thing about Tupperware. Kim was the only one whose social life didn't revolve around it, but even she couldn't get out of the blackmail orgies called Tupperware parties. Walter personally felt that it was the nearest thing to organized crime that was embraced by suburban females, but he had fond feelings for the stock bases and prepared soup ingredients Kim kept in containers.

"So Kim has been domesticating you?" Walter asked.

Turning toward him, soup ladle in hand, Alex looked quizzical. He said, "I always knew how to cook. A well-trained secret agent should be able to fit into any background."

"You never cooked when we were together," Walter said.

"Kim wanted to cook back then; she wasn't brought up to realize men could cook and clean," Alex said. "I think she's learned the truth since she married you. She always says that you spoil her. Besides, lately, she's been so tired I've been doing the cooking."

When Alex turned around to tend to his soup preparation, Walter said, "I didn't see any of your things in the bedroom."

"Yeah, I took the small bedroom," Alex said.

"Leaving Kim to sleep alone?" Walter asked.

"I slept with her a few times, when she asked," Alex said. "Just slept, Walter."

"I don't think that it will work that way, Alex," Walter said. "It wasn't like that before. It started out being you and Kim. I was the afterthought."

"You were never the afterthought," Alex corrected. "You know I was pissed to find out you shoved her away after I left," Alex said. He turned around and added, "I never let them find out about us. I've done some rotten things in my life, but I didn't give that to them."

"I know," Walter said, "But at the time, I didn't know what to believe."

"It wasn't what I wanted, but I had this idea that I was so smart," Alex admitted. "I thought I could get in there, get the goods on Spender, and get out. I was going to come trotting back into your life with enough information to keep the wolves from our door. Instead, Spender framed me for Bill Mulder's murder. Made damn sure that I could never get Mulder or any of you to listen to me. You don't have to believe any of that. It doesn't matter any more."

It made sense to Walter. One of Alex's primary traits was that cocksure self-reliance. He was always so sure that the world was his oyster. Walter had to wonder when Alex finally figured out that he was a game piece not a player.

"You're right in one way. It doesn't matter," Walter said.

Alex shoved the soup off the burner, scraping it loudly and sloshing some of the contents of the pan onto the pristine stainless steel surface.

"Fuck," Alex growled, "Kim will kill me if I scorch any of this onto the burners."

Alex's shoulders seemed to jerk with more force than needed to scrub the stove clean.

Walter said, "Don't jump to a conclusion, Alex. I didn't say I didn't believe you. I said it didn't matter. I love you. I wanted you back the moment I saw you in my hospital room."

"I'm surprised that the shock didn't kill you," Alex said, his motions slowing to a stop. He carefully returned the scrubbing sponge to its place and came to kneel in front of Walter's chair. His head went down. His forehead pressed hard enough to hurt them both against Walter's legs.

Walter's hand ruffled Alex's hair, rumpling the cap of mahogany hair and the smoothing it back in place. "We're going to make this work," Walter said. "With everything that's happened, with all the pain, the horror, and the grief we've given each other, there has to be a reason why you were the one who had the key to saving me."

"I wouldn't have come back for anyone but you and Kim," Alex said.

"I know," Walter said, "And I believe what you said, Alex."

Alex's head moved upward. He gazed up at Walter, hands against Walter's knees. "Thank you," he said.

Walter traced Alex's face again, his touch feather-light over the pure sharp line of the cheeks, the silly sublime nose, and the soft indentations framing the mouth. He could feel the beginning of whiskers.

"You need a shave," Walter said. "Want me to do it?"

Eyes uneasy as if Alex thought he might be implying that he was incapable of taking care of his own needs. Walter said, "You always looked so sexy with your face held up to me, your eyes closed, so sweet and trustful."

"Haven't had anyone shave me since I was in the hospital...except once in Tunisia. The lice was so bad they shave off everyone's hair, every bit of it," Alex said.

So there was another story that remained to be told.

Walter said, "The way I imagined this was that we would sleep in one bed."

"You've been thinking everything out?" Alex asked. He smiled.

"It's what I do," Walter replied.

"I guess it is," Alex said.

There was a long silence.

Walter was starting to wonder if some ancient curse of silence had fallen upon his lover.

"I can sleep in your bed now that you're home," Alex said. "Kim and I thought it should wait."

"I'm not fragile," Walter said. "You know I always liked thinking about you two together."

"But you're married now," Alex said.

There were always time that Walter had turned the table on his surprising lover. This seemed like the right moment to exercise that talent.

"You want us to marry you too?" Walter said.

The quick lift of the eyes followed by Alex scrambling to his feet said that Walter still had his gift.

"Walter, you can't..." Alex said.

"Maybe not under the law, but the way Kim and I see it, we want you to be our husband," Walter said. "We want to make an honest man out of you."

"Mulder would say that would take a lot of doing," Alex replied.

"Fuck Mulder," Walter said.

"Yeah?" Alex teased.

"No," Walter corrected.

Alex's kiss was long and deep. They were still kissing when Kim came into the bedroom, wearing one of Walter's old dress shirts, the tails so long on her small body that they reached her calves.

Looking up to see Kim smile, Walter said, "I just proposed to our lover."

"He won't be able to wear white," Kim replied. She kissed both of them before going to inspect the soup. Sniffing the air, she said, "You must have spilled something on the burner, Alex."

"I cleaned it promptly," Alex said, scrunching his nose.

"Okay," Kim said. "I was just wondering. It's not as if I was going to spank you for that."

"Oh, damn," Alex replied. "That takes the fun out of making a mess."

It felt like old times.


An ache in Walter's legs woke him early. He heard the paper boy outside. He may as well drown his misery in the greater misery of the world. Hopefully, someone had remembered to set up the coffeepot.

Glumly, Walter glanced at Alex and Kim. Last night they had made love. He had wanted to top Alex, but his legs had been bothering him. Alex claimed that he had always loved riding Walter's cock the best anyway. He hadn't even bothered to make the lie sound sincere. He'd always preferred being on his back, his legs wrapped around Walter's shoulders.

It still had been good, but it could have been better. His legs started to hurt and the pain must have telegraphed as Alex had worked his ass muscles cleverly, spurring Walter to finish before him. It had always made Walter feel good to make Alex come first. Not that Alex was left lacking. Walter had still managed to finish him with his hands.

Afterwards, Walter had to ask for his pain medication for the first time in several days. He could tell by the guilty expressions that Kim and Alex would be treating him like rice paper until he could assure them he was healing. He wasn't even sure why his legs always hurt the worst. All of his body had been subjected to the same inactivity so why were his legs the least cooperative part of him?

Leaning on the chair, Walter scowled at it. He hated it and chose not to go out except for his doctor's appointments. When he could walk on his own two feet, that would be soon enough. Pushing the chair aside, Walter stiffly walked out of the bedroom. He leaned on the hallway wall as he made his way towards the door.

The lawn was white with frost. Alex had sanded the porch and most of the sidewalk but the newspaper boy had managed to miss the porch and the walk. Holding onto the railing, Walter knew he shouldn't trust his still uncertain steps to the wet lawn.

Imagining himself having to go back in and wait for one of his lovers to get the paper spurred him to idiocy. He carefully stepped out. It wasn't bad. A step more. That was fine. He leaned stiffly down, feeling a tight spot in his thigh where he had too enthusiastically pushed upward into Alex.

The plastic wrapped newspaper in his hand, Walter triumphantly returned to the stairs. Crossing the threshold, he stumbled and fell heavily, letting out a yell. He couldn't get to his feet even when he rolled to the wall and scrabbled up to his knees using it as a crutch.

A moment later, Alex had his hand under Walter's shoulder, lifting him. Pain and frustration hit ignition point. His fist rose upward with nearly his old strength and caught Alex on his delicate chin.

Walter would have been proud of the strike in the gym. Alex tumbled to the ground, rolling back on ass, legs flying back as if he was trying a backward somersault or as if offering himself to his lover.

Regret set in immediately.

Looking up at Kim's face, her lips set in a firm line, her blue eyes shaded by her scowl, Walter winced. He said, "Alex, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it."

Rubbing his injured chin, Alex said, "I know. I remember the feeling."

Son of the bitch had to be so forgiving.

Kim said, "Alex, help Walter to our bed. I'm going to get some ice for your jaw."

Side by side on the bed, Walter and Alex exchanged glances. "She's pissed," Alex said.

"I was able to determine that on my own, Alex," Walter said.

"I'm not too happy with you either," Alex commented.

"I understand that," Walter said.

"Not just because you punched me," Alex said. "What the hell were you thinking? We could have opened the door and found you lying out there with a broken neck."

Wincing, Walter pictured just that. It wasn't the way you want to see anyone you love.

"I'm just so tired of being like this," Walter said.

"You're coming back day by day," Alex said. "You're going to be fine."

"I don't feel as if I'm ever going to be fine," Walter said.

Sitting down on the bed, Kim handed Alex the ice pack. "Let me look at you, Walter. I want to make sure you didn't hurt yourself."

Her hands investigated Walter's knowingly. He closed his eyes. She knew his body as well as he did, perhaps better.

"You always did hit harder than Mulder," Alex commented. "I'm going take some aspirin."

As Alex slid out of bed, I said, "I wasn't even thinking about who it was. I might have hit anyone who touched me at that point."

Green fire glared from Alex's suddenly pale face. He asked, "You might have hit Kim?"

Walter wanted to say 'No', but he wasn't sure. He was finished with lies. He said, "I don't know, but I can't say it wasn't possible."

"Fuck, if Kim doesn't paddle your ass, I will," Alex said.

Walter believed him.

By the time that Alex had returned, Kim had gone from worried to angry. She said, "Alex is right. What you did was not reasonable. You didn't even think about anything but proving to yourself that you didn't need us. How dare you?"

Walter's eyes dropped before her fiery gaze. He said, "I am sorry and I do understand. I think you need to take my belt to me."

"I would," Kim replied, jerking her chin upwards. She stood up, hands in fists at her side. It would have been more impressive if she hadn't been wearing her favorite flannel nightgown with ridiculous kittens playing on a field of lemon colored grass. The ribbon she had used to tie back her hair was hanging crookedly from her mostly escaped ponytail. She blew up at a strand of annoying hair and said, "I would except I'm so mad at you that I can't do it right now."

Narrowing her eyes, Kim said, "Alex, you do it."

"What? Me? I don't spank Walter," Alex squawked.

"What makes me the one?" Kim yelled suddenly. "Do you two think that I like hitting you? Well, I don't."

The sob exploded out of her. Her shoulders bowed and she shuddered. Kim fled the room.

Caught between his lovers and not in the way he liked, Alex looked from Walter to Kim in confusion.

"Better check on her," Walter advised.

"You'll stay put?" Alex asked.

"I've pulled my stupidity for the week," Walter admitted. "Go take care of Kim."

Alex left, but he came back in all too short a time. "She's locked in the guest bathroom and she says she's not coming out until she hears the sound of a spanking in progress.

The guest bath was down the hall. Walter winced as he considered how hard a spanking he would have to endure to be heard down the hall.

As if prepared to wait forever, Alex sat on the edge of the bed. He started to put on his prosthesis.

"You're going to have to do it," Walter said.

"I'm not sure if I can," Alex said. "What right do I have to impose discipline on anyone else. How the hell do I know what people should and should not do?"

"Alex, knock it off. You won't let anyone cut you any slack because of your arm; so stop waving this supposed moral infirmity around as an excuse. I'm calling you on your shit," Walter said.

The flash of anger yielded to resigned amusement. Alex took a deep breath and said, "Okay. Let's do this."

Silently Walter and Alex made their preparations. Walter slid back off the sweatpants in which he had slept. Alex finished strapping on his arm and stood holding the belt.

Feelings in turmoil, Walter draped across the bed. His senses were so keyed that a wrinkle in the covers felt like a knife blade. Alex's movements telegraphed like thunder. The rasp of denim from the jeans he was wearing, the echo of his footsteps, and finally the snap of the belt as Alex tried its weight assaulted Walter's ears.

"Ready?" Alex asked, his voice shuddering even as he forced that one word from his lips.

"Do it," Walter said.

It was nothing like Kim. Alex did everything to the best of his ability whatever his feelings about his actions. He had always been strong and his right arm was now fiercely so.

The strike of the belt was like a flash burn. Walter could feel the welt rise around the strike zone. Alex slammed the belt four more times.

"God," Alex gasped. "How can you and Kim do this? It hurts."

It hurt Walter like hell, but he knew what Alex meant. A ragged sound heaved from Alex's chest and he managed to strike twice more.

Walter felt his lover kneel on the bed. Alex kissed his back between his shoulder blades. "I can't anymore," Alex said.

Kim's voice said, "It's all right, Alex. That's enough."

The three of them curled around each other. Kim's arms surrounded Walter, her hands stroked over his broad chest.

"You think we love you for your beautiful strong body," Kim whispered. "I do love touching you, making love to you, but you don't have to be strong on the outside for me."

"I love the way you care about people so deeply. Didn't I see your pain when you worried about Mulder and Scully and your other agents? I love the way you pretend that your kind heart, your loyal soul don't motivate you and that all of your actions are purely professional. I love the way you take care of everybody even when I hate it when you don't take care of yourself. I love your fine precise mind. I love the way you calculate risks and your ability to see beyond black and white. I love you even when you act like an ass, Walter Skinner," Kim said.

"What she said," added Alex, his agile tongue failing him for once.

More deeply than the words, Walter felt the touch of two people who loved him. They weren't Sharon. They accepted him for all his strengths and weaknesses. They knew him in the clear light of day and the sweet warmth of nights.

Walter knew he had a long way to go before his body was healed. There were wounds that still had to mend in his heart, but for now, he was as happy as fate would allow. He had his dreams, a dream that came three for the price of one.

The End


On to Under My Thumb in the discipline category