by Kira

Cause and effect, push and pull.

We move through the world, brushing against other souls, moving them in their trajectory of life.  Sometimes a gentle push, a changed mind here, a different choice there.  Sometimes a heaving shove, sending them careening out of orbit, on wonderful adventures or doomed paths.

We move through our lives, striking others in the course of our existence.  Like avalanche games, where every tumble of the marbles cause a new pattern to form as they fall and strike one another on their journey to the bottom of the playing board.  Some arrive without harm, others are blocked, stuck forever midway down the board.  Trapped until the world is shaken again, freeing them on their journey.

Cause and effect.  Cause and affect.


 Walter looked down at the slumbering man on the other side of the bed, as far away as he could be and still be in the bed, actually.  Well fucked, well loved, sated to exhaustion, Alex was snoring softly.  He always slept curled tightly into a ball.  Walter couldn't figure out how he could move in the morning, when his body seemed permanently locked into the fetus position.

Alex was not a snuggler when he slept, had said something about how sharing a bed in the foster home he grew up in carried distinctively bad memories.  It was too bad, in Walter's opinion, because he liked being on both the giving and receiving end of the activity.  Not that he would ever voice that aloud, mind you.  So he had to content himself with looking.

That didn't last long.  The urge to touch was undeniable.  But, he did it carefully, as with all things involving Alex.

He ran his hand down Alex's back, revelling in the feel of hard muscle, sinewy tendons and silky skin.  Alex was still a beautiful man after these past few hard years, despite the abruptly ending arm, the crisscross of scars that were so faded one could barely see them unless one was incredibly familiar with the landscape of skin that covered the well worn body, .  And Walter made it a point of knowing.  In fact, he reacquainted himself with it on a regular basis.

Sleepy green eyes peered from beneath dense lashes.  "Is it morning?"

"Not quite."

"Hmm."  Alex stretched, rolling over to rub against him, and Walter smiled as his libido leapt to attention, despite the workout of the night before.  "Do you have to work today?"


"Damn."  Alex's sigh sent a warm puff of air ghosting across Walter's nipple.  "I wish you could just quit."

Walter rolled them over so Alex was comfortably pressed between him and the mattress.  "If I quit, then we wouldn't have any guarantee that the amnesty deal will be kept."

"I know you hate the job."  Alex reached up to delicately lap at Walter's lip, distracting him from the thought of work.

"As long as it keeps you safe, I'd do anything."  Walter replied, reaching for the bottle of lube on the table.  Alex smiled, but the pain was evident in his eyes at the sacrifices demanded of his lover.  So Walter slicked his fingers and delved into Alex's silken depths to wipe the regret away.


"...and as you can see the response time of the units were on average twenty nine percent faster with this new technology and we believe that..."

Walter covered a yawn, with what he hoped was an unobtrusive hand.  The meeting had been a bore from the beginning, monotonous droning about budgetary approvals, new response procedures and filing system deficiencies.  Bureaucracy at its finest.

The meeting finally adjourned, leaving Walter in an empty conference room, the long table littered with paper coffee cups and crumpled pieces of paper.  Scrunching his own scribble-filled, meaningless notes into another ball that joined the rest.

"A word with you, if you don't mind, Skinner."

Walter turned to face his boss who hovered in the doorway.  Tailoring his face to a neutral facade of professional interest, he followed the man to his office and took the proffered seat.

"How are things in your department?"  the Director asked without preamble.  "Am I to understand that Agent Mulder is again causing trouble?  You know we can't have that.  Clean it up."

"Understood," Walter replied neutrally.  "Is that all?"

"Not quite.  We need some assurances that Mulder isn't going to pursue his current investigation."


At some signal, unseen but Walter knew it was definitely there, the side door opened.  The smell of Morleys, as familiar by now as the memory of his father's aftershave, preceded the man who slipped into the room.  Walter had seen some horrible things in his years, both in Nam and the FBI.  He had seen bad men do bad things, but it wasn't until he had encountered Spender that the word 'evil' had taken tangible form.

"What's this all about." Walter had a feeling he wasn't going to like this.

"No worries," Spender smiled as he tapped the ash from the top of his cigarette into the ashtray on the director's desk.  "At least not yet.  We think that it's best that you take all necessary steps to stop Mulder from making any progress."

The case which had been plaguing Mulder involved the abduction of young girls from ten different pre-schools in a thirty mile radius of one another.  Walter hadn't been surprised when Mulder demanded to be put in charge of the task force, and given his drive, Walter hadn't been opposed to the idea.

"You know how Mulder gets," Skinner began, only to be cut off by a plume of smoke.

"Yes, yes we are perfectly aware of Mulder's obsessive tendencies.  But we are also very aware of your desire to keep certain parties out of any potential danger."

Walter felt his stomach clench.  It was only inevitable.  He had been waiting for this day.

"I thought we agreed that the amnesty was..."

"The amnesty will be in effect for as long as we can be assured that our interests are not in jeopardy.  That is not the case at this time.  As long as Mulder gains ground in his current endeavour, we are in danger, and that cannot be tolerated."  Spender inhaled sharply and leaned forward.  "If you intend to keep your lover, "he sneered at the word, "safe, I suggest you take my warning to heart.  I would hate for dear Alexei to meet with an accident." He sat back again.  "Poor boy only has so many arms to go around."

Walter could feel his teeth grinding together from the pressure of his tightly clenched jaw.  The director rose and he took the hint.  He didn't mind in the least being told to get lost.  The further away from Spender, the better.

He resisted the urge to the slam the door behind him and retreated to his own office, instructing Kim to hold his calls and turn away any visitors.  He had to think.


Alex cracked his back with a full body stretch, working the kinks out of his neck.  The last bit of analysis was done on the computer programme he had been working on, and now he could think about dinner.  Something meaty, red, succulent.  Padding to the kitchen, he opened the fridge and examined the contents with a critical eye.  He absently rubbed at his shoulder, wishing the phantom pain would just give up the ghost already.

He managed to unearth two thick steaks from beneath a package of fresh pasta.  The meat was marbled slightly with white streaks, and looked perfect for a quick broil.  Scrounging in the vegetable crisper turned up potatoes and some limp green beans.  Not bad.

Life had settled down quite nicely.  Alex hadn't expected to ever survive the assassination business, but Walter's surprising offer of amnesty and the even more surprising offer of a partnership that went beyond work, had turned his life upside down in the most delightful way.  A full belly three times a day, a full cock at night, three times if he was lucky, a warm bed, and a job that didn't involve guns, stilettos, garottes or bombs.

The opening of the front door no longer sent him scrambling for his gun.  Which was just as well since the most lethal thing around him was the set of stainless steel cooking knives by the sink, which, while messy, would work in pinch.

"Honey, I'm home!"  Walter called.

Alex snickered and continued to chop the potatoes skilfully with one hand.  He leaned back into the hug as Walter moved up behind him and enveloped him with both arms.  He tilted his head back, accepting the proffered kiss.

"Hungry?" Alex asked, rubbing backwards almost instinctively, aligning Walter's groin and his backside for premium contact.


"For *food*, Walt," Alex admonished as Walter nibbled his way down his neck..  He didn't expect the contact to be lost so suddenly, and he turned in concern.

"We have to talk."  Walter looked haggard, the lines between his brows and on his forehead deep and furrowed.

Alex didn't like it when conversations started like that.  The steaks were abandoned, the potatoes half peeled as Walter lead him to the den.  They sat on the small couch, which Alex couldn't call a love seat without laughing at the memory of when they first had sex on it.  He deliberately sat a few inches away, not wanting to be distracted by the comforting touches that Walter was so damn good at.

"What's going on?"  He tried to keep his voice from betraying his nerves.

"I had a visit from Spender today."

Alex looked down at his hands and tightly twined his fingers wishing the smoking bastard's neck was between them.  "And?"

"And he gave me an ultimatum."  Walter refused to keep the distance between them any longer, pulling him over and tucking him against his chest.

"Well, it was just a matter of time.  We knew that."

"He wants me to stop Mulder."

Alex tried to ignore the warm hands that relaxed his suddenly tight muscles.  "Fuck."

"That's what I thought, too," Walter sighed, bending to nuzzle the short soft hair.

"Well.  I guess that's it, then." Alex sighed.  He watched as Walter frowned and tried to loosen the grip of his arms around his waist.  He struggled to his feet, momentarily off balance.

"What the hell does that mean?" Walter demanded, eyes confused.

Alex smiled but it was tinged with sadness.  "All good things come to an end.  You can't let those kids just be taken.  Mulder's got to find out what's going on."

He trailed his fingers along Walter's jaw line.  "I'm not very hungry.  If you want the steaks, they're ready to go, just put them under the broiler and turn on the burner under the potatoes."

Trying to quell the feeling of pain in his chest the thought of his happiness once again coming to an end, he went upstairs and curled into a ball on the king-sized bed.   He felt Walter join him, spooning behind him, for the first time ignoring his request for space.  He closed his eyes, not wanting to give in to the stinging moisture.

Walter hugged him close and began to talk softly in his ear.  "I wish that I could have been there in the beginning.  To help you when you needed it."

Life didn't work out like fairy tales.  There was no happily ever after.  Besides, Alex had learned at a young age that the only one who would look out for you was you.  When he was a boy and his mother was slowly being beaten to death by an irate boyfriend, no one cared.  And when he did tell someone, they told him to stop being so fanciful.  When he tried as a teenager to get help from the police to stop the pimps from hounding him on the streets, they turned a blind eye, leaving him at the absent mercy of the johns.

"I'm not going to let them hurt you.  No one is going to hurt you."  Walter's hand briefly caressed the scarred stump as he whispered his regrets.  "I wish I could have taught you trust."


Our lives intertwine with others, threads twining together in the great tapestry of life.  The patterns cannot be seen by us, for the greater picture is beyond our ken.  Single strings run uninterrupted, weaving forward through the weft of the fabric of the universe.

But sometimes, the weaver of the universe listens to the dulcet chords of the vibrating strands and will take two strands in a almost infinite number of strands and will knit them together just so...


Walter stretched, opened his eyes and groaned.  Every muscle was aching, and the bright light from the window hammered into his brain.  This was the last time he let Alex convince him that gymnastics in bed was a good idea.

He rolled over to pull his lover close but his questing hands met only empty space, not even the residual warmth of where a body had lain.  Alex was gone.

"Shit!"  Bounding out of bed, he threw on the clothes abandoned by the bedside and staggered out of the bedroom.  And then walked back through the door into his bedroom..

Except, this wasn't his bedroom.  It didn't have the dove grey walls, or the large bed.  A smaller bed, a double at the largest, was pressed against one wall, garish wood panelling covering the walls.  It was like a seventies nightmare that never died.

"What the fuck?"  He stepped out of the room again, this time taking in the hallway.  It wasn't the hallway to his house.  In fact, it wasn't really a hallway.  It was more of a space joining the bedroom to the livingroom.  Which was filled with beanbag chairs, a couch that hurt his eyes and  a lava lamp resting the shelves, crammed to near bursting with books of all shapes and sizes.

Exploring the rest of the place didn't take that long as his three bedroom split level had somehow transformed into a crammed one bedroom apartment, lacking air conditioning, and with a stunning view of the brick wall of the adjacent building.

He went to the bathroom, almost not looking at the mirror but having to know.  If the apartment had changed, what about him?

Unfortunately he was still balding.  He was as well built, and nothing had changed.  It was his body.  There was no difference.  Except for his clothes.  In his rush to find Alex, he had tossed on the clothes at hand without much thought, and now, looking at his reflection decked out in a loudly checkered shirt with flared collar, along with the tightly fitted-around-the-ass bellbottoms, he couldn't help but shake his head.  Good god, how had he ever survived the seventies?

The bulge in his back pocket turnout out to be a wallet, and he quickly pulled out the id contained within.

Steven McPherson.

Who the hell was Steven McPherson?  He was, apparently.  Walter tried to tuck the folded leather back into the pocket up gave it up as impossible.  So after tossing it down on the kitchen counter, he wandered back into the living room, rubbing the back of his neck with worry.

Okay, reality check, he mused, new apartment, new clothes, new identity, same body.  Date, find out the date.  On the floor by the door was a newspaper, new and unread given its pristine state.  Snatching it up, he scanned the front page.

September 23.  Right day.



He closed his eyes and opened them again, willing himself to be back in the house wrapped around his lover in good ol' 1999.  But it wasn't to be.  He scanned the news

Second Assassination Attempt on President's Ford Fails.    President Ford?

Double shit.

On the upside, the forecast was bright and sunny for the rest of the week.

He tossed the paper aside and turned in a circle, trying desperately to understand what the hell was going on.

There was a loud thump on the wall of the living room, jarring him out of his contemplations.  Another one rattled the pastel water colour and was accompanied by shouts.

"....stupid bitch...not again..." came a deep bass rumble.

"..stop!...No, Frank!  Please..." cried a higher soprano, clearly afraid.

A soft tapping at the door played in counterpoint to the wall shaking thumps.  Striding to the door and yanking it open, Skinner looked out...and down.

A small boy stood in the hall, wide and fearful eyes staring up at him.  Small teeth chewed nervously at the lower lip and his green eyes blinked back tears that threatened to fall.

"What can I do for you?" Skinner rumbled.

"C-c-can you help my mum?" the boy asked, his voice light and high.  "I asked everyone else, and they won't come."

He ducked his head back towards the other doors in the hallway which remained resolutely closed despite the cries and thuds which could be clearly heard.

He crouched down, bringing him to the boy's eye level.  God, the kid couldn't have been more than seven, Walter thought with shock.  "What's you're name?"

"Alexander.  But my mum calls me Alex."  He shot a worried look towards the door of the other apartment.  Then he looked back at the big man before him, leaning in conspiratorially.  "I don't think she'd mind if you called me Alex too," he whispered.

Walter's thought processes had been derailed when the boy said his name.  The vivid green eyes, the shock of closely trimmed dark hair, with one lock falling determinedly over the forehead.  The thin face a stamp of what would be the man.  Whatever the hell had happened, it had put him in a position to help his lover to be, and what other answer could there be?  He'd question the how and why later, when the cries had stopped next door and he could sit down and think.  For now, it was the time for action.

"Please help her." The boy could barely hold back tears anymore and Walter put hand on the thin shoulder.

"Alex, you go into my apartment and stay there until I come and get you, okay?"  He stood and gently herded the boy into the hallway and then into the living room.  "Stay here until I come.  Just me, you understand?"

Alex nodded, sitting down on the worn couch and hugging his middle with both arms.

Skinner shut the door behind him as he went into the hallway.  He pounded on the door across from his apartment, a plan forming in his head.  The door creaked open, the chain allowing only it to reveal a few scant inches.  An elderly woman peered out nervously.

"Mr.  McPherson," she said.  "What are you doing banging on my door."

"Could you call the police please?  Tell them that there's a domestic disturbance at apartment," he glanced over at the number, "Three twenty five.  And tell them to hurry!"

"Is that nasty man back again?  That tramp ought to know better than to invite strange men over," The woman behind the door said.   Walter counted to three.

"Please, just call the police."  He could see her roll her eyes, but she nodded and the door closed in his face.

Walking over to apartment 325, Walter listened at the door.  The sound of glass breaking mingled with the sound of a woman crying.  God, of all the sorts of crimes he hated, abuse was the worst.

Without warning, he turned the doorknob and pushed open the door rapidly.  In the apartment which mirrored his, or rather Steve McPherson's, apartment, a man paced the narrow confines of the living room, crunching the remains of what appeared to be a vase.  The flowers were scattered across the tattered carpet in a parody of a love scene.

A young woman, in her early twenties at most, cowered in the far corner.

"Stupid bitch.  Teach you not to ignore me," the pacing man muttered.  Seemingly unaware of Skinner's presence, he stalked toward the woman, brandishing his fist.

Galvanized into movement by the obvious intent, Skinner crossed the small hallway and was in the living room with a few long strides.  Instincts honed from years of apprehending suspects, he cleanly grabbed, twisted and pinned.   The man didn't know what hit him and barely struggled as he was pressed against the wall in a hold he couldn't break.

Skinner resisted the urge to do some damage, not wanting to offer the cops any reason not to arrest the bastard.  Instead, he calmly held the man and turned to the woman.

"Miss?" She stared up at him, incredible green eyes meeting his gaze is disbelief.  "Miss, are you all right?"

She stood up from the corner.  Gingerly touching the spectacular bruise on her cheek, she stumbled around the destroyed furniture.  "Where's Alex?"she asked in panic.

"He's fine.  He's in my apartment.  I told him to stay there."  He smiled.  "He sounds like a good kid."

She wiped at the tears on her face.  "Thank you.  Thank you so much."

Heavy footsteps sounded outside and two uniformed police officers entered the apartment.

"What's going on here?"  They took in the scene and for a moment it looked like they were going to pull their weapons on Skinner.  "Ma'am, is this man your husband?" one asked, pointing at Skinner.

She shook her head.  "No.  No, he came to help me when Frank starting hitting me."

The taller of the two, lean and long with a full moustache, pulled out his notebook.  "Want to start from the beginning?  Is this Frank?  What's your relationship to him?"

It took them fifteen minutes to sort out the story.  No, Frank wasn't her husband but a man who she had dated before but who wouldn't leave her alone despite her insistence that he go away.  Yes, he had hit her.  Yes, he had broken the furniture.  Yes, he had thrown the glass against the wall.  No, Skinner, or rather, McPherson, hadn't hurt Frank while subduing him, merely stepped in to hold him.  No, she didn't have a relationship with McPherson.  Yes, damn it, she was sure she wanted to press charges.  Did she realize that the odds of getting a prosecution, let alone having him jailed were slim?

"What are you talking about?  He hit her, for god's sake," Walter shouted.

"Sir, this is a domestic incident and the DA is reluctant to involve himself and the department in personal matters."  The other officer, who barely reached Skinner's shoulder, replied.   Walter gritted his teeth as the officers promised to take him and book him, but that they couldn't guarantee that the case would eventually be prosecuted.

When they were gone, Walter turned to the woman who finally decided to sit down, slumping into the only chair left whole.

"Thanks for trying.  It's not the first time.  And it probably won't be the last."  She sighed between sniffles, prodding at her cheekbone.  "But thanks anyway."

"I'll go get Alex." He said, handing her the handkerchief that he found in his pocket.  It looked clean.  He hoped it was clean.  She smiled wanly and nodded.

The boy was still sitting on the couch, but had moved, as the tv was now on and playing a cartoon.  He looked over as Walter entered the room, and jumped up.

"Is my mum okay?" he asked anxiously.

"She's fine.  Frank is gone."

"Good."  Alex nodded decisively.  "I didn't like him." Then as an afterthought,"He stinks."

Walter couldn't help the smile.  "Yeah.  Yeah he does."  He indulged himself and ruffled the short hair as the kid ran by.

He followed and was able to see the reunion between mother and child.  She hugged him close, running her hand over his hair.

"It's okay, honey.  He's gone now."

"Will he be back, mum?"

From the mouth of babes, Walter mused as her eyes met his with the knowledge that escaping from an abuser would be difficult and hard.

"No.  He won't be back.  Now to go to your room and play with some of your toys while I talk with Mr.  McPherson, okay?"  She sent him along with a gentle swat and turned to Walter.  "I can't thank you enough.  It's...difficult to get help."

"Why do you stay here, if its so easy for him to get to you?" The question escaped before Skinner could stop it.

She looked bleakly up at him.  "I've been trying to save up money to buy a bus ticket home to my parents.  I can only get a waitressing job, and the pay's not great even with tips.  By the time I pay off rent, clothes and food for Alex.  There's not a whole lot left over."  She sighed.  "Eventually I'll have enough to get us home."

"How much do you need?"

She stared at him intently.  "Why?"

"Just tell me.  How much?"

"Four hundred dollars."

Walter pulled the wallet out of his back pocket again.  He shifted through the contents and sure enough, his memory served him right.  Why McPherson kept so much money in his wallet, Walter didn't want to know, and didn't care to ask.  Pulling out the bills, and some extra besides, he handed the wad of cash over, or at least tried to.

"I can't take your money!"

"Yes, you can."  He tried to push it into her palm, but she resisted.  So he sank to a level he hated, but couldn't avoid.  "Do it for Alex."

It struck a chord, he could see it in her eyes.  "Please.  Help him get out of here and be somewhere safe."

Her fingers slowly closed over the bills.  "For Alex," she whispered.

"There's enough there for a cab to the bus station," he added.  "Go.  Tonight."

She bit her lip.  "I don't know how I can..."

"You don't have to."

With a side glance towards the room where Alex was playing, Walter allowed himself one more glance at the serious face as Alex moved a hotwheels car around the obstacle of a bed leg.  He was making soft sounds of the car engine.  Walter swallowed and bid farewell to the women.

It wasn't until he was back in the strange apartment that apparently was his that he realized he never found out her name.  He didn't hear it when the cops interrogated her.

He dropped onto his couch, suddenly feeling as if his bones were made of lead.

What had just happened.  How did he get here?  How was he to get back?  The question danced frantically about in his brain, demanding answers yet providing no clues as to their solutions.

His lids slowly slipped down over his eyes, masking his confusion from the outer world.  His shoulders gently slumped and his breathing slowed to a soft rhythm of inhalations and exhalations.


Sometimes, when the patterns of life go so horribly awry, there is nothing to do but to reweave the shredded and torn fabric of space and time.  Sometimes, if one wishes hard enough, and the pain is so great, the effects so huge, the fates heed the sorrowful cries.

When the weave is repaired, life goes on from the mended structure, spinning off into a new path, with new pains, new loves, new joys and new adventures.

Sometimes the pain is less, sometimes worse.   Sometimes the road leads where no one expects, sometimes it may even veer back on its original course.

For Fate is chance.  Cause and effect.  Cause and affect.


Walter opened his eyes and worked the crick out of his neck.  Damn, that would be the last time he fell asleep watching the game on the sofa.

"Walt, I'm home!"  His lover's voice echoed in the hallway, and Walter scrambled to his feet to meet him.

Alex, checking his messages from work, stood in the hallway with his briefcase in hand, suit slightly wrinkled from the drive home, looking exhausted from his day in court.  He looked up from where he hastily scribbled down some information from the answering machine, catching his first glance of Walter.  The line of concentration between his brows disappeared and a smile grew slowly like a sunrise over the mountain ranges behind their house; glorious and blinding at the same time.

Walter held out his arms and was rewarded with the breathtaking hug that was Alex's signature embrace as his lover dropped his work -- literally -- and moved into his arms.

"Missed you," the younger man muttered into the fabric of Walter's sweater.

"I missed you too," Walter murmured as he dropped a kiss onto the top of the dark head.  The days seemed so long now that he was retired and Alex was off fighting injustices all day long.  "Now, what are the plans for this weekend?   I was thinking of inviting the boys over to watch the game.  Mulder's been itching to see that new computer of yours.  Scully's gang of thugs love our backyard to play football in.  What do you think?"

Two horrified green eyes looked up.  "Walter!  My mother is coming over.  I told you that last week!"

He tried to hold a look of surprise, he really did.  But it wasn't possible in the face of the righteous indignation in Alex's face.  The chuckle burbled up from his chest.  As it did, Alex whacked him on the arm.

"Don't do that!  I'm having enough difficulty with the thought of introducing you to her without having to deal with your rather sad attempts at humour."  He gave a shout as Walter slung him over his shoulder, and with a swat on his ass, carried him upstairs.

Walter let him down, more or less letting him bounce on the queen sized bed, before pinning him to the bed and capturing his mouth in a searing kiss.  Dazed from the passion, Alex simply melted, going limp beneath him.

"Bad sense of humour?" Walter growled as he undid the suit, efficiently stripping his lover with practised fingers.

"The worst.  It makes Mulder look like a successful stand up comedian," Alex laughed, his own fingers busy at Walter's comfortable sweats.

When they were finally down to their boxers, Walter pulled back to address the most grievous insult.  "You're saying I'm worse than Mulder?" He asked incredulously.  "This calls for an apology."

"Never!" Alex cried, the light in his eyes bright.   The tickling fingers though soon had him breathless and begging for mercy.  "Okay, okay.  Uncle.  You have a glorious sense of humour. The best."

Given his victory, Walter rolled to his side, freeing his captive, who only looked at him with those adoring eyes.

"Seriously though, Walt.  I'm worried about tomorrow.  Mom, she's great and all, but I'm not sure if she's ready to hear that I'm married to a man, even if he is the director of the FBI, and the greatest person I know."

Walter felt a red heat on his neck and face.  He still wasn't used to the glowing ideal which Alex saw him as.   Just as Alex wasn't used to being worshipped and told how beautiful he was.  Their relationship wasn't that new, it had been almost two years since that day Alex had knocked on Walter's office, shy, nervous, but determined to tell his boss about the group of men who tried to recruit him for nefarious purposes.  Thanks to his testimony, what had been dubbed the Consortium had been torn down at the roots, and high profile senators taken out of offices in shame and criminal charges.  Walter's role in the shakedown earned him the director's chair but a year later he took retirement, not caring for the distasteful task of sanitizing the FBI of the corruption.  Alex's bravery had earned him a place in Walter's bed.  No, that wasn't quite right; he was there solely because of his love for him and his returned affection.

Now, snuggling on the bed in their two story house in the midst of suburbia, the inquiry and subsequent indictments were far away  They had weathered the storm and had come out no worse the wear, better in fact.  Alex had decided to leave the FBI and pursue a career as a lawyer, dedicating his life to pursuing lost causes no other lawyer wanted to bother with.  So now they basked in the glow of their love, moving through their life in a state of bliss.

Until now.  Now it was time to meet the parents.  Or more accurately, parent.  Alex's father had left the scene early on, and while it had been rough on him as a child early on, his mother's love and dedication helped him through.  Which made it completely understandable that Alex didn't want to upset her with potentially shocking news.

"Well, if she is as wonderful as she sounds," for Alex had gone on at great lengths about the virtues of his mother, "then I am sure she will accept you for who you are."

"Hmm." Alex sighed and burrowed closer, stroking his hand over the fine expanse of flesh at his fingertips.  "Although, I was more worried about what she would think of *you*.  What with your advanced age and --"

He was cut off as Walter flipped him over onto his stomach.  "Think I'm old, huh?  Let's just see how old you think I am when I'm doing with you," he growled, pressing his rapidly hardening erection between the cheeks of Alex's ass. The cotton fabric of their boxers provided delicious friction, but were an annoying barrier, so he quickly divested them both of the underwear, returning to his position astride Alex's thighs.

The younger man hadn't moved, content to let Walter do his worst.  More than happy to let him do it, actually.

In the end though, it was soft and sweet, long and thorough, tender and loving.  Just like their first time, just like every time.

Spent, sated and bone tired, they lay together, idly stroking skin and caressing limbs.  Impulsively, Walter placed a tender kiss on the soft inner dip of Alex's left elbow, causing a full body shiver to course through them both.

Alex watched him, raised on his elbow with his head cocked to one side.  "Why'd you do that?"

Walter blinked.  "I don't know."

Shrugging slightly, Alex returned to the warmth and security of Skinner's embrace, snuggling in close as was their nightly ritual.  "So.  My mother. What are we going to feed her?"

Walter grinned and tightened his embrace slightly.  Married to a beautiful man, worrying about feeding his in-laws, who would have thought this is where he'd end up after all these years.  It could have been worse, he mused.  It could have been worse.