But A Momentary Smoke
Lying in a bed, bright lights shining in his eyes, Walter Skinner knew it was reaching for him. It, the big one, that shook him in its bloody jaws at age twenty in Vietnam. Then, it had let him go, to wonder, 'Why me? Why did I survive?'
Two or three times, Skinner felt the panting, drooling jaws of death snapping at his heels when he was an agent in the field. Now, this, after an ordinary day in the office and a stress relieving workout in the gym, he could feel death devouring him. It hurt. It felt like something was devouring him from the inside out. It was like a cancer killed in hours instead of in weeks.
Skinner could see the nurses already looking away, avoiding meeting his eyes as if death was a thing that leapt from one soul to the next, vectored by personal contact. The sheets were cool to the point of feeling icy against his heated, hurting skin.
Dana Scully, tender, tough, always hopeful Agent Scully, was in the room. She said, "Sir, there's something I'd like to try. It's a treatment called therapeutic plasmapheresis. It requires filtering all of the blood in your body. It's a radical procedure, and there is a danger that your body might go into shock."
Skinner blinked up at her and whispered, his throat so dry that it ached to speak, "I'm in your hands. I think I owe you an apology, Scully. You and Mulder."
Scully raised one of her perfect brows. She had used cinnamon-colored eye shadow today and there was a hint of perfume, something light and spicy that smelled pleasant amidst the odors of disinfectant, piss, and despair that pervaded the hospital. Scully was so pretty, so kind to be with him here. She said, "Sir?" Her eyebrows inflected her questioning voice.
Skinner replied, "I've been lying here thinking. Your quest should have been mine."
Scully asked, "What do you mean?"
Skinner sighed, his words seemed hollow to him and unreal, yet he had to speak them. He said, "If I die now, I die in vain. I have nothing to show for myself. My life..."
Scully reassured, "Sir, you know that's not true."
His thoughts were weary, scattered, and he could see that Scully was only humoring him. Skinner tried to gather his errant ideas and said, "It is. I can see that now; I always played it safe. I wouldn't take sides. Wouldn't let you and Mulder pull me in."
Scully's soft hand patted him. For some reason, Skinner wondered how he really felt about her. Was she merely a friend or was it more? Why was he confused? He needed to have loved someone. You should have loved someone before you died. Scully's tender voice said, "You've been our ally more times than I can say."
Guiltily, Skinner said, "Not the kind of ally that I could have been. I remember now."
Scully asked, "What?"
"I couldn't see his face, he had a beard," Skinner said, struggling to remember a figure that he had barely seen at the time and, to which, he had not paid much attention. Scully's blue eyes blazed with intensity, She commanded, "Try."
His words and his thoughts would not come to order. Skinner said, "He was at the gym and at the hospital. He killed that man who tried to run me over and he was at the FBI when Orgel approached me." Skinner pictured an oddly poignant figure, some feline grace in its movements. He knew those eyes and he knew that body.
Scully's face was near as she intensely asked, "He was following you?"
Skinner answered, "The tape. He's on the surveillance tape."
His breaths were liquid, his lungs labored as if a ton of rocks lay upon his chest.
* * *
Another room, people rushing and, Scully, still faithfully with him, Skinner struggled to live. But why? Why bother? He needed someone. He needed a reason to live.
* * *
One more breath... 'Hold on! Hold on! Damn it, I don't want to go.'
Skinner knew that somebody was waiting for him. There was someone who loved him and, whom he loved, but for some reason, he couldn't see the face. Harder and harder to breath, floating above his body, hating the swollen veins, the burst capillaries, Skinner moved away from his flesh with disgust. His body looked like that of a deep sea-diver, dying of too sudden decompression.
Now, Skinner followed the light, followed it until topsy-turvy, he tumbled and tumbled, screaming.
* * *
Was this his apartment? Part of him confirmed that it was and he saw familiar belongings. He knew where everything was. Yet, some part of him said, 'I never lived here.'
Someone was at the door. It was Mulder, grinning in maniacal fashion. He shoved a man through the door; it was Alex Krycek, clad in battered jeans, an olive colored sweatshirt and a brown leather jacket that had seen better days. Krycek stumbled; he ducked his head in a strangely fragile and frightened manner. He looked around; his eyes were furtive and haunted.
Barely conscious of walking over to him, Skinner punched Krycek so hard that he could have sworn that he felt the man's backbone. Krycek gagged, making that peculiar whistling sound that people emitted when their windpipe was closing. Skinner loved the power, the sensation of dragging Krycek across the floor, throwing him to the concrete floor of a balcony and chaining him to the rail. Was he mad to do this, fouling his own den?
Later after Agent Mulder left, Skinner sat on the couch with a drink in his hand. He swirled the Scotch in his glass then tossed it back. A moment later, he poured another drink and drank that as rapidly. It was Dutch courage, freeing him from his conscience. He knew what he wanted. Krycek owed it to him.
Skinner went back out to the balcony, dragged Krycek into the room by his hair. The man stumbled and cried out. Skinner loosened his grip and caught Krycek against him, face mashed to his legs. A shiver of anticipation went through Skinner. With a grin, he jerked the man up. He was heavy, surprisingly so. He looked as if he should weigh no more then Mulder, but his density was greater; he was compact rather than rangy. Skinner dragged Krycek into the bedroom and pushed him on the bed.
Skinner kept smiling as he took off Krycek's boots, socks and jeans. He released the cuffs and waited to see if Krycek would fight. The man trembled and looked at Skinner, long lashes quivering and those lovely eyes, brimming with tears. He was so pretty. Skinner turned the beautiful face to one side and then to the other, Mulder's marks were upon him, bruises, but Skinner would mark him too.
Breath catching, Skinner ordered, "Stand up". He loved the way Krycek looked, wearing only his leather jacket and the olive sweat shirt, his cock, tucked tight against his body with fear and cold; his long legs naked and trembling.
Skinner took a deep breath and said, "Turn around."
Oh, yes, the rounds of that ass, so smooth and hairless, indentations of muscles sculpturing the hemispheres ... Skinner had to touch, to bunch that flesh in his hands, relishing that sharp terrified breath that punctuated his actions. He rubbed, parting the flesh, thumbs almost penetrating, surely bruising.
Krycek's voice, hollow and young, pleaded, "Please, sir, please."
"You ask so prettily," Skinner said, "What are you asking for, Krycek?"
"Don't! Don't!" Krycek pleaded.
Laughing, Skinner slid the jacket down so slowly. He took his time, watching the dark wet stain of swear spread over the dark olive of the sweatshirt, creating an outline of the spine. Skinner let Krycek's jacket fall on the floor. He lifted the shirt just a little and leaned down to kiss the ripple of spine, pressing the cold metal of his gun along the sharp center of the back. Krycek made a small sound.
Stepping away, Skinner said, "Turn around!" Krycek didn't obey. Skinner smirked and drew back his hand; the slap resounded. It left a clear pink outline of his palm on the white silk of Krycek's ass. Skinner used a soft voice, really more threatening than his shout, "Turn around, Krycek."
The young man turned, he reached his hands to cup and cover his genitals. Skinner said, "No, Don't cover up. I want you to take off your shirt for me now."
Krycek nodded, his eyes sending a silent plea to Skinner that he ignored. Krycek drew the shirt over his head, revealing the smooth chest, the tiny roses of his nipples, the sweat of fear, the mark, already a rich purple where Skinner's fist had branded that tantalizing flesh. The shirt dropped to the floor and Krycek looked at it, face slightly turned. The hands, forbidden to cover his privates, trembled in fists at his side.
Skinner said, "Go to the side table. Take out the little case in there."
Krycek's eyes finally flashed defiance, but he looked at the gun and he swallowed, movement visible down that white, long throat. He hung his head in defeat and plodded to the drawer, took out the case, and opened it unbidden.
Letting his voice soften, Skinner directed, "Now, kneel, put the condom and the lube on the bed."
Skinner couldn't breath. It was subjugation; the line of the back was perfect, and the swell of the buttocks was enticing. Drawing a deep gasp of air into his lungs, Skinner said, "Legs further apart, lean on your forearms, head down, that's it, perfect."
The image was etched in his mind; he knew he would want to remember this. Opening the lube, Walter held the quivering buttocks apart and pushed in one finger.
"Nnna-oh" Krycek muttered.
Skinner said, "Yes, yes," His fingers stretching, penetrating, raping and then the slide of his latex-clad cock into the impossibly small opening. The head shaking in negation, the sweat dripping, the cries escaping from his captive, who was fighting to be silent. Deeper and deeper into passion, claiming him and the realization that it was not enough. He needed to slake his desire, biting on the neck to hear Krycek scream, and then his great, blunt hands choking, choking...
* * *
Screaming as he realized what he was doing, his mind awaking in this madman's nightmare of lust and death, Skinner heard a soft voice, "Walt, Walt, wake up. Wake up, lover"
Oh, God, Alex!
Walter sat up, his sweat roiling down his naked chest, the sheet and blankets bunching at his waist. Alex knelt upon the bed, brow furrowed in concern, eyes shining with his love and hands, his long fingered, sensitive hands reaching to comfort. Skinner drew him close, caressed that beautiful face and pulled him close to kiss him, the familiar taste, a benediction.
When Walter's mouth would let him, Alex said, "My God, Walter! That was some nightmare! What the hell did you dream?"
Skinner didn't want to tell him. He blinked into the light, recognizing this large bedroom, with the floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out upon the garden. His eyes, sans glasses, still recognized the sturdy, honey-colored furniture, the blue star quilt hung on the frame, and the matching blue toned prints on the walls. He sighed, leaning his head on his hands. Alex guided his head up and put his glasses on his face, kissing his nose for a garnish.
Walter smiled at his beloved and said, "I thought you were going to get a night's rest and catch the morning flight."
Tossed his hair back, Alex smiled at his lover. He straightened and began to undress, shedding his suit, a nice heather-gray suit that Mulder had picked out for him recently. Whatever the eccentric agent did wrong (Skinner had a list) picking Alex's clothes was appreciated. Skinner just hoped the man had given up hope of regaining Alex's affections.
* * *
Walter knew that Alex and Mulder had been lovers. He knew that Alex still kept a soft spot for his former passion, but, when the trap had fallen on all of them, Mulder had accused and attacked his lover.
Feeling the same, Walter knew a lot more about how Spender could be. He knew that, at first, it seemed as if you could make a small compromise and survive with your soul intact. Then, bit by bit, Spender would reel you into his power. When Mulder had approached him about the betrayal, Walter had rushed from the FBI building to Alex's apartment. He had found the young agent just as he was locking the door on his brief career as a FBI agent.
The man had been terrified. Walter had used his own experiences to persuade Alex that he had to face the consequences for his actions. He had negotiated the deal that turned Spender and his cronies in as conspirators with a chain of crimes beyond belief.
It took finagling to conceal Alex's part in the events, but Walter had persuaded his superiors that Alex had been working under cover. It was a small lie and, Walter never had cause to regret the moral ambiguity. After they rescued Scully, Mulder was ready to forgive Alex, but by that time, Alex had transferred his love to the man who had saved him. Much as Walter cared about Fox Mulder, there was no way he would have ceded Alex back to him without a fight.
* * *
Alex came to the bed naked; the light glistened on his pale flesh, his dark chestnut colored hair was highlighted, a halo of shining luster, caressed by the diffuse light. He knelt on the bed, waiting, a hint of a tease in his eyes.
Moving the blankets aside, Walter said, "I dreamed that you still worked for that bastard. I dreamed you tried to kill me. Then, I dreamed that I lived in an apartment, some place high up with a balcony. Mulder brought you to my place in chains, and I handcuffed you to the balcony rail. When Mulder left, I dragged you inside and I raped you. I think I choked you to death."
Wincing, Walter waited for his lover to reprove him for such a sickening fantasy.
Instead, Alex grimaced and said, "Meetings all day? Tie on too tight? Lunch served while every one argued?"
Skinner nodded. Alex said, "And I wasn't around to rub your shoulders. See? You just needed me. I knew it. So, Walter..."
That playful rumble, that caressing low tone, went in Skinner's ears and tickled with pleasurable shocks down his spine and jerked his cock erect. Skinner reached to guide Alex down and smoothly turned to frame him with powerful arms. Alex ran a finger down Skinner's chest, from his throat all the way down to where the thick mat of fur tangled down to his groin. "Ya know what I like about you, Walt?"
Laying his glasses back on the table and opened the drawer for supplies. Skinner's fear and tension were released with Alex in his arms. He asked, "What do you like about me, Alex?"
"Everything, just everything." Alex replied.
And as Walter kissed his lover, the ugly phantasm evaporated. Here. This perfect night after perfect night, this was reality.
On to Where There Is Smoke...