Walter checked his watch. Ten minutes had passed by since the last time he checked. He watched the seconds tick off for a minute before he walked over to the window and looked out at the darkened sky. A huge storm front had moved in earlier sending torrential rains and thunder across the valley. He had arrived at the safe house a few hours before and spent the time showering and starting coffee and a fire. Something as minor as rain shouldn't have kept his lover away although there was many times Walter wished something would at least slow him down. But it seemed the job was never through.
Everyone worked hard, doing their best to bring the last of the Consortium labs to an end, but Alex worked the hardest. Walter often wondered if his young lover would ever find personal forgiveness for his part in the beginning. The team had forgiven him to the point of accepting him as co-leader in the great silent war, following his orders as easily as they followed Mulder's. Alex, however, went after each assignment like it was his personal duty to bring the last dregs of the consortium to their knees. The war was running them all ragged and each one on the team had to learn to harden their hearts against the atrocities they discovered. Walter thought they all could use a rest. That his and Alex's love could use rest.
A rumble broke through the pouring rain and momentarily the two headlights headed up the driveway blinded Walter. Stepping out the screen door, he paused at the edge of the porch and waited patiently on the front steps, resisting the urge to run into the down pour and meet his lover halfway, deciding it wouldn't do for both of them to be drenched.
Alex jumped out of the old jeep and bounded up the front steps, stopping in front of Walter. They stayed silent and just drank in the sight of each other. Suddenly Alex shook is head vigorously, sending droplets of rain in all directions including all over Walter. When he finished a huge grin spread across his face and his hair stood in spikes all over his head.
Weakened by the brilliance of his lover's smile, Walter gave into his need to have Alex in his arms. He reached out and pulled Alex to him. Alex smelled of smoke, sweat, dirt and rain, but to Walter his fragrance was better than the most expensive cologne on the market. Walter needed this. Alex needed it. They needed a day of rest before they both started falling apart.
Walter pulled back, taking Alex's face in his and looked hard into his green eyes. Alex waited. After all they had been through and after being in Walter's bed for the past year, he knew the ritual and grudgingly accepted it. Walter needed to see for himself that he was okay.
But Alex had his own rituals when it came to Walter. In Walter's arms he found a release he never believed he'd ever find. He could let go. Let go of the past, the war, and all the ugliness of life he had been drowning in. For a night, he would stop trying to save the world and his soul. For one night he could just be Alex.
Walter treated him like a religion. Their love was a sacrament; like a lost man making a pilgrimage to Talpa to find salvation at the altar of the Virgin; like a benediction nailed to the door of his heart, Walter would kiss him back to an innocent time long left behind and all but forgotten until the surrender would wash over them leaving their souls clean.
"Walter?" Alex murmured. His hot breath in Walter's ear sent shivers down Walter's back. Walter held Alex tighter as if his grip loosened any, Alex would disappear.
"Walter?" Alex asked again, a little more urgency in his voice. "Walter, I need to breathe."
"Breathing's overrated," Walter mumbled as he reluctantly eased his embrace, but he didn't remove his arms. Alex looked up into Walter's warm brown eyes. The heat burned through him causing his body to shiver with the marked difference between the warmth of Walter's gaze and his cold rain soaked clothes.
Walter tilted his head slightly, contemplating the perfect angle to capture Alex's lips in a passionate kiss. 'I'll show you breathless, boy.' Walter mused. He knew he had succeeded when Alex became boneless in his arms. Walter very slowly ended the kiss and gently let go of Alex. Alex swayed, his eyes were glazed over and his swollen lips slightly parted, leaving him with an adorable sex-stupid expression. Walter thought it was a good look for Alex.
He turned and stepped inside the house. Walter held the door open for his lover waiting patiently and amused. When Alex didn't move, Walter said, "It's cold, you're wet. Don't you want to shower and get warm?"
"Come inside Alex and get warm."
" 'K" was the only response Alex muttered as he moved pass Walter inside to the warmth of the house. Walter gave him a quick smack on his sodden jean covered rump as he passed.
"Alex, go shower. I put some clothes out on the bed for you. Come downstairs when you're finished and we'll have some supper."
Alex trudged down the hallway to the small bathroom. After turning on the shower, he struggled out of his wet clothes, tossing them in a pile, except for his jacket. The jacket got an honored place on the doorknob until he could find somewhere to hang it to dry out.
The shower heated up fast and Alex sighed as the scalding water hit his flesh. For the first few seconds he shivered under the onslaught until his body temperature caught up with the water.
The hot water soothed his tired muscles and relaxed him enough that the memories flooded him without preamble.
The memories still seemed fresh, like it had happened that morning rather than over a year ago. He and Walter had been finding sexual release in each other's arms for a while, but the day he had seen hard nosed ex-marine, ex-Assistant Director, all around ultra-macho Walter, cry over the body of a little victim of one of the Consortium labs, things changed. That night instead of a good hard fuck, Walter had just held him.
Late into the night, Walter finally started speaking. His voice was thick with emotion as he began his tale.
"I have two brothers. We're real close in age, and although we knew our mother loved us, we knew she wanted a daughter. My junior year in high school, mom got pregnant. The doctors were worried because of her age, but mom wouldn't listen to their advice. Jolena was born and was the picture of health. She had bright blue eyes and a head full of cornsilk curls. My brothers and I doted on her. She should have been spoiled, but her sweet nature prevented that."
"I was in the hospital, waiting for my orders to go home from Vietnam when I got word. Jolena had been chasing rabbits and ran into the dirt road going by the house."
"The one thing that had helped me get through the war was a little picture of my sister." Walter had then leaned over Alex and retrieved his wallet off the bedside table. He dug for a minute and then pulled out a battered color photograph. Switching on the lamp, he handed the picture to Alex. Jolena had a smile that lit up a room and was infectious even in an old photograph. Of course, it wasn't the same little girl they had found that day, but the blond curls, the large blue eyes were eerily similar.
"I missed my sister's funeral, since the hospital still hadn't released me. I never felt like I truly let her go. Said a proper good bye."
Walter had taken the picture back and placed it reverently back into his wallet. But instead of stretching back down beside Alex, he paused, hovering above Alex. The kiss that followed was soul wrenching, Walter seemed to be searching for redemption in Alex's lips. They had never kissed before, just got to the 'good' stuff. But after that kiss, Alex knew there was no going back, he could no longer imagine not kissing Walter because while Walter might have been searching, Alex had found his redemption.
Their lovemaking had turned into a communion of souls. A rite of passage they both crossed to without hesitation. As Alex had listened to Walter's breathing, he formulated the plan. Always before, the victims were mass buried, the team not having the luxury of proper burials, but for Walter, he decided this time would be different.
Walter's voiced broke through Alex's trip through his memories. The water was starting to cool. Alex stood watching the water swirl down the drain until he heard Walter ask, "Sweetheart, did you fall asleep? I'm coming in." They had seen each other at their worse, knew each other's body like their own, yet Walter still insisted on proper etiquette and wouldn't just barge into the bathroom.
"I'm okay, Walter." Alex still didn't use a pet name for Walter, but he admitted if only to himself, he loved it when Walter did. He grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his waist. Pausing before the steamed up mirror, he contemplated whether to shave. Recalling Walter had said once he like the feel of the facial hair against his thigh and it was worth a little burn for that feeling helped Alex decide to forgo shaving for the time being.
Walter was waiting for him in the hall. Alex paused long enough to plant a chaste kiss on Walter's cheek before continuing on to the bedroom, where Walter had some clean, dry clothes waiting.
After dressing very slowly for his audience, Alex turned to Walter with a big grin and ignoring Walter's obvious arousal, and asked, "What's for dinner, I'm starved."
The only word to describe the way Walter approached Alex was stalked. Like a big beautiful cat confident that his prey wouldn't bolt, Walter moved in for the kill. Alex's world went black as Walter proceeded to continue the kiss he has started on the front porch. He once again stopped when Alex went limp in his arms.
Walter gently eased Alex onto the bed, lightly stroking up and down the stubbled jaw but did nothing more. Alex's thick eyelashes fluttered open and glazed green peered up at Walter in expectation.
"I've got potato soup and cornbread waiting in the kitchen," Walter said with a grin. He patted Alex's stomach, "Let's get you fed, wouldn't want you fading away."
Walter walked away, a distinct swagger to his step. Alex watched, admiring the view before deciding Walter needed to be taught a lesson. He eased off the bed, making sure none of the worn springs squeaked, before in one smooth motion he tackled Walter, throwing them into the hall.
The tables were quickly turned and Alex soon found himself pinned against the wall, a strong knee pressed between his legs and pushing aggressively against his groin. He couldn't help the involuntary groan that escaped his lips as he bucked into Walter's knee trying to get more friction.
"I thought you were hungry, boy?" Walter hissed into one well-shaped ear.
Alex's hips bucked frantically against Walter's knee. "Please Walter, no more teasing."
"Teasing, what was that little performance in the bedroom called?"
"I...uh, Walter, please."
"Say it, boy. Tell me what you want."
"You know what I want," Alex replied not caring that he sounded desperate.
"Then say it." Walter increased the pressure from his knee and lifted a little. Alex's moan came out more like a whine delighting Walter even more. He leaned in and whispered, "Say it."
Walter gave one more shove and lift with his knee before letting Alex slump from the sudden lack of support.
"After dinner, we have all night and tomorrow." Walter tossed over his shoulder while strolling triumphantly into the kitchen.
Alex stared in stunned silence after his lover. He adjusted his crotch to a more comfortable position within his tight jeans. He wanted to be mad; he was certainly frustrated. But he couldn't justify being mad, knowing what he had to tell Walter. He sighed, it was no use putting it off any longer, he only hoped it wouldn't ruin the rest of their evening.
"Walter?" he asked quietly as he entered the kitchen. Walter was already ladling out two big bowls of soup.
"Sit, I'll get some butter for the cornbread." Walter grabbed a potholder and reached into the oven, retrieving the warm golden cornbread. He placed in the center of the small wobbly table before sitting down.
"Oh, what do you want to drink? We have water and water." Walter smirked at his bad joke, but the smile faded at Alex worried expression. "What is it, Alex?" he asked, sitting down and moving his chair closer to Alex.
"Walter," Alex paused gathering his thoughts, knowing it would be better to just get it over with. "We have a raid planned for tomorrow. I have to be there."
"Why?" Walter asked, again scooting his chair, but this time away from Alex in an unconscious effort to distance himself from the disappointment.
"Walter, you know why. Each and every lab we raid brings us one step closer to ending this."
Walter shook his head and took a deep drink of his water. "No, Alex. Why do you have to be there? Why can't Mulder or Doggett take the lead on this one? Damn it Alex, when are you going to take a break?!"
Alex tried to stop his lover's tirade but it was too late and he knew it. This had been building for a while, each new mission, Walter would suggest letting someone else lead. All of them took time outs, even Walter. But he couldn't or wouldn't, when he was honest with himself.
"When is there going to be a time for us?" Walter stopped and put his head in his hands. "God, Alex. You have me sounding like Sharon. That was just one of the many reasons our marriage failed. My inability to put our relationship first. Sharon always felt second to my job."
Alex moved to stand behind Walter. He leaned down and put his arms around the broad shoulders. "I promise I will sit out of the next raid, but I'm already committed to this one. Next time, I won't go."
"Don't Alex. Don't make promise you can't keep." Walter pulled on Alex's arm until he got the message and allowed Walter to maneuver him into Walter's lap. Walter held him tightly, his head buried against Alex's chest.
Lightening ripped through the sky followed only by seconds with thunder booming overhead. "The rain is going to make the raid difficult. At least promise me you won't take any unnecessary chances.
"I won't. I promise. The front is moving through this valley fast. It should be gone by morning. If not, we will have to cancel, anyway. The roads were already flooded earlier and if the rain keeps up, it will make them impassable," Alex said as he planted a sweet comforting kiss on Walter's head.
Walter lifted his face enough to kiss Alex properly, before patting his favorite rump and said, “Let's eat, so I can enjoy what little time I have with you tonight." He didn't mean for it to sound mournful, but the sadness of once again only spending a few short hours with the man he loved spoiled the good humor he had built up all day in anticipation.
They finished their dinner in silence, both to afraid to risk the topic coming up again. Alex leaned back in his chair and patted his stomach. "That was good, Walter. You'll make a fine wife someday."
"Is that a proposal?" Walter answered with a mischievous grin.
"Maybe," Alex replied with his own smile. "Let's go to bed and negotiate."
"Hmm, you best watch yourself. I didn't make Assistant Director without knowing how to be a top notch negotiator."
"That's what I was hoping," Alex tossed over his shoulder as he exited the kitchen. When Walter didn't follow, he peeked back in to see what was keeping him. "You coming?"
"Not yet, but soon, very soon," Walter quipped. At Alex's mortified groan at the bad play on words, he waved his hand for Alex to leave and said, "Let me clean up, I'll be there in just a sec."
"Okay, but don't be surprised if I start without you after all that teasing early."
Alex quickly stripped off his clothes, tossing them carelessly on the floor and dived onto the bed. The sheets smelled of fabric softener and felt clean. The bed springs creaked as he bounced into the middle and settled down to wait for Walter.
He was so tired. Alex idly thought about actually starting without Walter like he said, but decided that for just the few minutes it would take Walter to finish in the kitchen he would rest his eyes.
Walter entered the bedroom, removing his shirt as he walked. When he tossed the shirt to the floor, his eyes came to rest on his young lover, sprawled out in the middle of the bed. Feathered lashes were spread across Alex's cheeks and his mouth was slightly parted. Walter turned out the light and removed his jeans before climbing into bed. He gently shifted Alex's head onto his chest and pulled the covers up around their shoulders.
Thunder rolled across the sky loud enough to shake the house. Walter's eyes immediately opened and he felt Alex tense up in his arms. Walter stroked his hand through the soft hair resting on his chest and murmured, "Shhh, it's just thunder."
"I knew that," came a sleepy response followed by an equally sleepy, "What time is it?"
"Around six a.m."
"Damn, I thought the storm would have passed through by now."
"I think it's a second front, just go back to sleep."
Alex snuggled down tighter against Walter, rubbing his stubble against a peaked nipple. He wasn't sure if it was the chill in the room or Walter was getting in the mood, but Alex wasn't about to waste an opportunity. He could feel a shiver pass through Walter's body and knew he had been on target.
"What are we going to do all afternoon?" Alex asked, his voice dropping to a seductive whisper.
"I'm sure we'll think of something," Walter said as he pulled the covers over their heads and proceed to show his lover exactly what he had planned for the day.