It was hot. A blistering Summer’s day. And Skinner was tired. Too many hours spent chewing over this case, examining the leads in meticulous detail, and finally putting two and two together and adding it up to the perfect four that had led them straight to the Quayle brothers.


Luther Quayle. Smart, devious, too clever for his own good. His scientific background, and work in the pharmaceutical industry made him the obvious candidate for the blight that was currently savaging the city. Years before the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo cult released nerve gas in the Tokyo subway in 1995, Luther Quayle had been the first to see the possibilities in chemical terrorism.


Skinner lay in his bed, gazing sightlessly at the ceiling. Luther Quayle. A hot day 15 years ago, and the disused warehouse that Skinner had tracked his prey to. A stake-out. A siege. Yes it had been hot. Yes he had been tired. But had he fucked up?


Martin Quayle. Luther’s twin brother. Charming, charismatic…and criminally insane. Despite lacking his brother’s qualifications, he had, undoubtedly, been the brains behind their scheme. The logic was simple. Hold a whole city to ransom, releasing enough of a deadly toxin in public places to show that you meant business, killing twenty-five people in the process, and then wait for the money to be paid. Twin brothers. Identical twins. Blond curly hair, pale blue eyes. Baby-faced, both of them. So alike and yet so different.


Skinner remembered the shoot-out. He remembered the sound of Martin Quayle’s screams as a bullet from Skinner’s own gun had sunk deep into the other man’s thigh. He remembered Luther Quayle pleading with him for five long hours, to send the paramedics in. And he had refused.


Skinner turned over in his bed, nearly dislodging a sleeping Krycek. He had refused because Luther wouldn’t give up his own gun, and Skinner wasn’t going to send anybody in there to become hostages. A long stand-off ensued. It had been hot. Skinner had been weary, but he hadn’t given in. By the time he finally gave the order to storm the building, Martin Quayle had died, in his brother’s arms.


Skinner examined it again and again, remembering the smell of his own sweat, the trickle of it running constantly down his back. He had been tired, and it had been hot, yes, but he’d made the right decision. He was sure he’d made the right decision. He hadn’t known then that it would come back to haunt him like this.


Skinner closed his eyes, then opened them again, coming to his decision. The decision he had always known that he would make.


Krycek moved his dark head sleepily, and looked up questioningly as Skinner slid out of the massive bed.


“It’s all right. Go back to sleep. Everything is going to be all right,” Skinner whispered, smiling softly, knowing that it was a lie. He grabbed his sweats from the closet and got dressed. Then he tip-toed out of the bedroom.


Something made him pause at the top of the stairs, and instead of going straight down, he prowled silently along the corridor to the open door of the spare room, and peeked inside. Dana’s red hair was spilled out all over her pillow, but her face was turned away from him. Beside her, Mulder lay on his back, one arm slung out, abandoned in sleep.


Skinner noted the way they nestled close, their bodies entwined under the sheets, Dana’s face on Mulder’s chest, his leg sprawled across one of her thighs. Skinner felt a pang of loneliness. He should have been there, lying with them, enveloped in their embrace, but tonight, of all nights, he had turned them away, told them to sleep in the spare room, refused to take his place in their arms.


He watched them as they slept, longing to go over to the bed and kiss them both, but not daring to in case he woke them. He couldn’t face the scene that would invoke, the entreaties, the arguments. Instead he feasted his eyes on them one last time, tracing imaginary caresses over Mulder’s face, stroking Scully’s hair softly.


“I was in the way,” he whispered. “You were being kind. You don’t need me. You’ll do just fine on your own.” He smiled softly, then pulled the door to, and walked down the stairs.


“I thought I told you to go back to sleep,” Skinner said sternly, glancing at Krycek who had followed him down. “Oh all right. I’ll feed you, monster.” He opened a tin of food and watched as the small black kitten devoured it in greedy gulps. “Why on earth Mulder ever thought I needed a kitten to keep me company is beyond me,” he murmured to himself, one idle finger rubbing itself against Krycek’s ear, making the kitten purr. Krycek was a lame rescue kitten. His green eyes and sleek black fur had somehow made the name inevitable.


“He’ll make a perfect apartment cat,” Mulder had told him, upon depositing the mewling bundle in Skinner’s arms a few short weeks ago. “And he’ll keep the bed warm when we’re out of town investigating. I hate to think of you all lonesome in that massive bed.” He winked at his boss, his lover, his friend. “I always see you with a cat, Walter. It suits you. Being such a big pussy cat yourself.”


“Watch it,” Skinner had growled, proving Mulder’s point with a big swat of his paw in Mulder’s direction. Mulder hopped out of the way with a grin, but the kitten had stayed. Of course. Skinner couldn’t remember the last time he had denied either of them anything – in a personal capacity at least. At work they still had their disagreements, and his word was usually final. He was still their boss, and he didn’t give them an easy ride because of their personal relationship. If anything he was probably tougher on them than he was on the other agents he supervised. Home was a different matter entirely. When they were alone together in his – their – apartment, Scully’s blue eyes melted him within seconds, and Mulder had only to press those divine lips against his neck to banish any resolve Skinner might have. Not this time though. It wouldn’t work this time.


Skinner checked his gun, and loaded it, then placed it into his holster. He slid a knife into the sheath under his sock. Another, much smaller gun was nestled against his thigh. The sun was just starting to rise. Skinner gazed at it for a moment through the kitchen window, his back to the door, one hand idly stoking Krycek’s fur.


“It’s a good day to die, Krycek,” he whispered. “As good a day as any.”


“No.” The voice behind him didn’t startle him. Maybe he had been half expecting it. Skinner closed his eyes, cursing Mulder’s erratic sleeping habits.


“Mulder, go back to bed,” he whispered.


“No. I’m not going to let you do this.” Mulder’s voice was firm and low.


Skinner turned around. Mulder was standing in the doorway, his hair tousled from sleep, his eyes wide awake – and troubled.


“Mulder, we both know that I’m going to do it anyway, whatever you say.” Skinner gave a gentle shake of his head.


“No. Stay. Come back to bed. Back to our bed. Please.” The younger man slid his arms around his lover’s body, circling him, making him feel warm, loved. Skinner closed his eyes, basked in the moment for one last time, then firmly disentangled himself.


“I can’t,” he said, his tone serious and uncompromising. “Neither could you if our positions were reversed.”


“I…you can’t…” Mulder looked like a child whose favorite toy had been snatched away by bullies.


“I must. Innocent lives are at stake.”


“You’re innocent too! Let me come with you at least. I’ll get dressed…”


“Mulder – no.” Skinner put a finger over the other man’s lips. “I’ve spent all night thinking about it, considering it from all the angles, but the truth is that I don’t have a choice. I didn’t have one when I went to bed last night, you know that, and I know it. I just needed to work it through in my head.”


“We could put a wire on you, I could follow you…”


“Mulder.” Skinner put his hands on the other man’s shoulders and squeezed gently. “It isn’t worth the risk. Don’t you think I haven’t considered all those options? But he’s too clever to be fooled – I know him. I got inside his head once, remember? If he thinks it’s a trap he’ll kill me and release the virus.”


“He’s going to kill you anyway!” Mulder protested. “And then he might just release the virus for the sheer hell of it!”


“I know that,” Skinner sighed. “But it’s a risk I have to take. I don’t think he will though. I’m what he wants. I think my life will satisfy him.”


“When he takes it…when he eventually takes it…” Mulder’s eyes were dark and intense, full of a fear that Skinner had never seen in them before.


“What do you mean?” Skinner asked cautiously, hoping that Mulder hadn’t come to the same conclusions as he had, alone in his – their – bed during this long, dark night.


“I mean that before he kills you, he’s going to hurt you. Big time.” Mulder took hold of Skinner’s face in his hands. “He doesn’t just want you to die. He wants you to die in pain. Like his brother did. I read the psychiatric reports, Walter. Luther Quayle spent five hours holed up with his bleeding, screaming, twin brother and there’s only one person he blames for that. Do you really think that he’s going to give you the courtesy of a swift bullet through the temple, Walter? Do you?” Mulder’s tone was raised in desperation. Skinner glanced anxiously at the ceiling, worrying about Scully.




“She’s asleep. Finally,” Mulder shook his head. “She took the first shift – 12 until 3. I took the second, 3 until 6. We thought you might try something like this, despite all those promises and reassurances you gave us last night, and despite what you said to SAIC Williams. Let’s go and call him now. See if he can talk you out of this…” Mulder started walking away, but Skinner pulled him back.


“Mulder, no. I’m not talking to anyone. I’ve made up my mind.”


Mulder’s face crumpled, and his eyes filled up with tears.


“That’s a cheap shot, Mulder.” Skinner drew back, angry at the emotional blackmail, and stunned by the array of weapons in Mulder’s extensive armoury. Any minute now he was going to mention…


“Dana.” Mulder whispered the name softly, and Skinner flinched as if he had been physically hit. “What do you want me to tell her when she wakes up? That you were too much of a coward to say goodbye? She really believed you last night you know, when you said that you wouldn’t walk into the arms of that madman. I know she believed you…because otherwise she wouldn’t be upstairs sleeping. She couldn’t sleep if she seriously thought you’d take this crazy option…”


“Mulder…” Skinner glanced at his watch. “I don’t have much more time. His deadline runs out in less than four hours. So, I give myself up to him, or hundreds, maybe thousands of people die. Just let me go. Please.” He pulled the other man into an embrace, hugged him roughly. “You don’t really need me, Mulder. Neither of you. You were just being kind. You’re complete as you are, the two of you. Hell, that’s all most people have! We’re the odd ones out here. Three is definitely an odd number!” He drew back, and looked into the other man’s eyes. “You’ll do just fine without me. Both of you,” he said confidently.


Mulder gazed at him doubtfully. “You never answered my question,” the younger man whispered. “You know he’s going to torture you first, don’t you? You do know that?” Mulder’s voice was wavering.


“Yes. I know that,” Skinner nodded. “Now are you going to promise not to follow me, Fox?”
Mulder’s head jerked up at the unexpected use of his first name. “I wasn’t…that is…” he lied unconvincingly.


“Yes, you were. And you’re trying to keep me talking now so that Williams has a chance to get here. My guess is that you phoned him as soon as you heard me moving around down here. Well?” It was his AD voice, and Mulder jumped to hear it here, in this place, where his lover had only ever been Walter.


“Yeah,” Mulder shrugged.


“Nice try, Mulder.” Skinner pushed past the other man and walked towards the door. “But it won’t work.”


“I always thought…” Mulder chased after his lover, insinuated himself between Skinner and the door. “I always thought that I could twist you around my little finger. I guess I was wrong. I guess you just let me think that.”


He moved forward for a kiss, caught Skinner’s lips passionately with his own, and raised his gun behind Skinner’s back, preparing to bring it crashing down on his lover’s head, but Skinner was too fast for him. Sensing Mulder’s intent, he slipped sideways out of the embrace, and banged Mulder’s head solidly against the wall. Mulder blinked in surprise, then sank to the floor, losing consciousness.


“Sorry, kid.” Skinner smiled ruefully, and picked Mulder up, carried him carefully over to the couch and deposited his limp body on it, running a gentle hand through Mulder’s hair. “But there was no way you weren’t going to follow me. Forgive me.” He planted a tender kiss on Mulder’s head, and then, after glancing around his apartment for one last look at his life, he silently left the building.


Skinner drove for two hours, checking the map. He knew what he was doing and he knew where he was going. More than that, he knew what he was going to. His death. And before that…Skinner clamped down on that thought. Luther Quayle had escaped from prison less than a month ago, but he had already caused 18 deaths, releasing a deadly virus in public places in four different states, increasing the concentration each time so that it killed more people. He had only one demand: give me Walter Skinner, the man who killed my twin brother. Skinner sighed, pulling the car over to glance at the map once more. Nobody would guess that this was where Quayle wanted to meet him. He was sure that they’d try the obvious places first – the warehouse where Martin had died, the apartment the two brothers used to share, but not this place, not this remote cabin in the woods. This was where Skinner had first tracked them to, fifteen years ago, and where he had pursued them, all the way to the warehouse. They wouldn’t look here. Or if they did, it would be too late. Five hours. Five hours was all he had, from the moment that he walked in that cabin door, to his death, screaming in agony as Martin Quayle had screamed his way to his death fifteen long years ago.


He pulled his car up behind some trees on the remote country road, checked once more that he hadn’t been followed, and then, with a deep breath, he got out of the car and walked towards the cabin. It was big – and unlit. Skinner wasn’t fooled. He could smell Luther Quayle. He knew the man was here, just as he believed him implicitly when he said that he’d already planted a capsule containing the virus in the city’s water supply, and that one touch of the button he wore on his wrist would release it, killing thousands.


Skinner checked his guns, and the small knife he carried. He would go down fighting, but he didn’t for a moment think that he’d be fast enough to strike Luther down before he activated the virus. It wasn’t worth the risk.


Skinner approached the door of the cabin, and slowly raised his hand. The door opened, as if by magic, before he even touched it. Glancing up, Skinner saw the camera hidden in the tree beside the house.


“Welcome, Agent Skinner. Please, do come in.” The metallic voice rang out next to his ear, making Skinner jump. He swallowed, pushed the door open the rest of the way, and stepped inside.


He was in a geek’s palace. The place was full of equipment. State of the art. Bought with stolen money – Luther had already committed two robberies.


“You’ve been busy, Luther,” he murmured.


“Yes. I wanted everything to be just right for when you finally showed.” Luther couldn’t keep the tone of glee from his voice, which rang out, amplified, all around the cabin, but there was still no sight of the man. “I’ve been waiting for you for a long time, Skinner. Fifteen years…fifteen long years.”


“Killing me won’t bring Martin back,” Skinner said, going through the motions without any expectation of success.


“I’m not doing this for justice.” Luther’s voice was hard and icy. “I’m doing it for revenge, Skinner. Plain and simple. And you know what they say about revenge…”


“That it’s a dish best eaten cold?” Skinner suggested.


“Oh yes. That’s right.” Luther laugh rang out. “And in your case, Skinner, it’s stone cold. I’ve had fifteen years to think about what I’m going to do to you. I considered all the deadly poisons, the diseases, the disfiguring effects of certain substances…but they all lacked a certain…immediacy.”


Skinner jumped as a light came on, illuminating a figure at the far end of the room in its narrow beam. He stood quite still, his hand hovering over his gun.


“No,” Luther said in a conversational tone. “When it came down to it, I decided that nothing would satisfy me quite as much as fist on flesh, of skin and bone being torn and twisted. Old fashioned? Maybe. Unsophisticated? Probably. But the only thing that would do, Agent Skinner. Or…I hear you’ve been promoted. Assistant Director Skinner it is now, isn’t it? Congratulations.”


“Thank you,” Skinner murmured ironically, inclining his head.


“You’re welcome.”


Skinner could just make out Luther’s head, and the shape of his body, but the other man was cast in shadow, so he couldn’t read his expression.


“Move to the left a little,” Luther instructed. Skinner considered this for a moment, and then did as he was told. “Good. Now, I want you to remove the gun under your arm, and the other one you have in the leg holster around your thigh. Then you can throw me the knife you keep in your sock,” Luther instructed pleasantly. “My security cameras are finely tuned. They’ve picked up everything. I’ve been tracking your car for some miles on my remote security sensors. I’m glad you came without a wire. That would have been tiresome, and would undoubtedly have necessitated me releasing this,” he pointed at a box he wore strapped to his wrist. “Go ahead, Skinner. I’ve given you an order. Do as you’re told. Disarm.”


Luther watched impassively, as Skinner reached inside his jacket for his gun, laying it carefully on the floor. Then the knife. Then, slowly, the other gun, the small one – only he didn’t lay that down; instead he palmed it, then brought it up swiftly, firing three shots at Luther before a sudden sharp pain in his ankle felled him. Looking down, he saw that a crossbow arrow had pierced his ankle all the way through. Glancing to his left, he saw the missile that had fired the deadly weapon, obscured in the dark shadows of the cabin. Luther was unharmed. He let out a hollow little laugh.


“Good try, Skinner. I thought you’d try something of course. A man like you doesn’t go to his death without some reluctance. That’s why I took some precautions…” He flicked a switch and the cabin was suddenly bathed in light. Skinner saw what hadn’t been visible before – Luther had been standing behind bullet-proof glass. Untouchable.


Skinner crouched, his hand clutched to his wounded ankle, gasping from the pain of the injury. The arrow was still lodged in his flesh, the barbed tip poking out of one side, the blunt end from the other.


“Nice to see you…hobbled. No thoughts of escape now,” Luther smiled, moving towards his victim. “A rat, caught in a trap. How fitting.”


Skinner glanced up at his captor, his face registering shock. Luther’s baby-faced features had not worn well. He looked far older than his 45 years. There were bags under his eyes, and a scar down one cheek.


“This?” Luther gestured to it. “I got this in prison, Skinner. The prison you sent me to.”


“You killed people. I’m an FBI agent. Of course I was going to track you down. It was my job,” Skinner gasped, still clutching his ankle.


“Oh it was more than a job to you, Skinner. It was personal.” Luther knelt down in front of his prey, smiling. “You got into my head, you dug your teeth into me and wouldn’t let go. I couldn’t shake you off, could I? You were always one step behind, harrying me. And then you worked out the best way to get to me. You shot Martin.”


“I didn’t do that to get to you!” Skinner protested. “He was firing on us. I didn’t have any choice.”


“There’s always a choice, Skinner,” Luther murmured. “Now, which hand was it?” he asked.


“What?” Skinner blinked, staring up at the other man.


“The hand you used to shoot my brother. Which one? You’re right handed I believe, so the right one?”


“Yes,” Skinner said through gritted teeth.


“Good. You’re doing well. Come over here.” Luther drew away, beckoned Skinner over to a table. Skinner did his best to follow, hopping along in a way that reminded him suddenly, and ludicrously, of his pet kitten.


“Quickly!” Luther’s voice snapped impatiently. “Place your hand on the table. That’s right.” Skinner complied, closing his eyes, not wanting to consider what was coming next. Nothing happened. Finally, he opened his eyes, to find Luther smiling at him.


“I want you to watch. Keep your eyes open,” Luther said. He laid a chisel and hammer on the table. “I’m going to break your fingers. One by one,” he told Skinner matter of factly, chaining Skinner’s wounded ankle to the table. Involuntarily Skinner removed his hand from the table, some instinct for self-preservation kicking in. “Or you could leave,” Luther offered. Would you like to leave?”


Skinner took a deep breath, images of Mulder having his finger broken a year or so ago springing into his mind. If Mulder could take it, then he could too.


“If I agree, would you hand the virus over to the police?” he asked. Luther smiled.


“I said I would. If you came here. If you gave yourself up to me. I said I’d hand it over. I gave my word,” he whispered silkily. “Of course, it depends on whether or not you trust me.”


Slowly, Skinner replaced his hand on the table. He didn’t trust this man but he was out of options. It was a risk, but it was one he had to take.


“Wise choice,” Luther nodded agreeably. “Let’s start then, shall we?” He laid the chisel against Skinner’s index finger, then placed the hammer on top of it and took aim.


Skinner screamed.


“I heard your wife died,” Luther paused on the fourth finger of Skinner’s right hand. “But you still wear your wedding ring. How sweet. On the wrong hand though. Why is that?” He glanced at his captive. Rivulets of sweat poured down Skinner’s face. His hand was bruised and distorted, the broken fingers already starting to swell.


“Go to hell,” he muttered.


“Of course. Won’t we all?” Luther smiled, and tugged the ring off Skinner’s finger. “A keepsake,” he murmured. Then, he raised the hammer once more. Skinner started to scream before the blow hit home.


The floor was hard and cold beneath him. Skinner lay, half-conscious, listening to the sound of the wind pounding on the door of the cabin. He wasn’t sure where he hurt most – from the pain in his hand, his ankle – or his ribs, where Luther had kicked him, several times, as he lay chained to the ground. The chain was wrapped around the wrist of his broken hand, and his wounded leg. Skinner could feel the pain throbbing in time to his beating heart. The cabin was in darkness, shutters obscuring the windows, and Luther seemed to have disappeared. Skinner remembered the other man standing over him, losing that icy, vicious calm for a moment, and kicking his captive until Skinner had lost consciousness. When he had woken, Luther was nowhere to be seen. Skinner guessed that Luther was angry with himself. He’d planned this for fifteen years. He had wanted to inflict his torment slowly to ensure that his victim remained conscious, and thus suffered all the more. He hadn’t anticipated that he would lose control, descend into a frenzy of kicking and stamping on his hapless victim that had resulted in the other man passing out.


Skinner opened his eyes and lay staring at the ceiling. What a place to die. Out here. Alone. Always alone. Fifteen years ago it had been different. Fifteen years ago he had such high hopes. He had been married to Sharon for a few years, they had been trying for a baby. That was before the long years of infertility treatment, followed by a series of miscarriages, which had built a wall of silence between them that neither of them had been able to breach. Not for want of trying. Married for all those long years, and yet still alone within that marriage…and after Sharon’s death. Alone once more. Until…


A spasm of pain passed through him, and he rolled onto his side and retched. The movement hurt his broken hand, and the sharpness of that pain overwhelmed him. He arched his back and whimpered his agony in the silence of the cabin.


“You’re awake then.” Luther walked back into view and Skinner flinched, expecting some new pain. “I was wondering…” Luther took the ring out from his pocket and played with it, holding it up to the light. “About this. It looks like a wedding ring. You wear it on the right finger, but the wrong hand. I don’t think you remarried after Sharon’s death.” Luther knelt beside his prey, noticing Skinner’s shock. “Oh yes, Walter Skinner. I know all about you. I’ve studied you for fifteen years. I know more about you than you know about yourself. So, I think that this ring is a love token. From your new woman, maybe?”


“You’re way off target,” Skinner growled, and then he laughed. “Way, way off target.”


“Am I? I think you’ll tell me though. I’m intrigued. Who gave you this ring?”


Skinner shook his head, mutely, then seconds later he screamed as Luther trod slowly, and deliberately, on one of his broken fingers. “I’ll ask you again. Who gave you the ring?”


Skinner bit down deliberately on his lip, his face covered in sweat.


“So stubborn. Just like you were fifteen years ago during that stake-out. Other men might have given in under the pressure, but not you. Never you.” Luther got up, and wandered around his victim in a tight circle, pondering to himself as he went. “Shall I tell you what I think?” he asked, conversationally. “I think the ring was given to you by your new lover.”


Skinner laid his head quietly on the cold floor, and stared at the ceiling.


“No,” he whispered.


“Yes. Oh yes.” Luther stopped his pacing, and moved in close. So close that Skinner could smell the other man’s breath. “I think you decided that you couldn’t marry again, that nobody could replace Sharon. But your new woman wanted a sign of your commitment, so she gave you this.”


“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Skinner shook his head.


“Yes you do,” Luther smiled. “Her name is Dana Scully. She’s small, but boy, is she beautiful. I can see why you fell for her, Walter. Am I right?”


“No.” Skinner clenched his good fist.


“Yes I am.” Luther laughed out loud. “Are you understanding things any better now?


“No,” Skinner ground out, his mind racing, understanding all too well.


“She’ll be here soon, Walter. She followed you. I made sure of that. And when she arrives – that’s when you’ll know what it’s like to lose someone you love.”


“NO!” Skinner roared, his desperation lending him strength as he pushed himself up from the floor and launched himself at his captor. Luther grappled with him for a moment. He was considerably smaller and weaker than Skinner, but he wasn’t wounded or chained. He soon managed to fight the other man off, and pulled away from him, a grim smile on his face and a small trickle of blood running down his lip.


“You’ll pay for that,” he remarked, dabbing at it with his handkerchief. “Or at least she will. How will you feel when I torture her, Skinner? I’ll make you watch as her pretty white skin becomes stained with her own blood. I thought I’d shoot her in the thigh, let her bleed to death. How does that sound, hmm? Does it sound familiar?”


“She won’t be coming.” Skinner shook his head.


“No? What makes you so sure?” Luther asked, crouching just out of reach.


“Because you’ve got it wrong. She doesn’t love me. She’s in love with someone else.” Skinner said, despairingly. Luther seemed intrigued by his tone, edged closer, looking deep into Skinner’s eyes.


“You really do believe that, don’t you?” he mused.


“I know it’s true.” Skinner nodded, his dark, pain-filled eyes clearly reflecting the knowledge. “She’s in love with someone else. With Fox Mulder. I’m just…their friend. They belong together. I’m nothing. I’m just…in the way…they took pity on me…” Skinner laid his head back down with a disconsolate crash. “It’s the truth,” he murmured, remembering hands and lips caressing him in the darkness. Three people. It didn’t work. It wasn’t right. He wasn’t wanted or needed. They were just being kind. For a while it had been so beautiful. He had been happy. Maybe for the first time ever. Yet it hadn’t been real.


He had been touched, honored even that they had welcomed him into their lives, their bed, that they seemed to care. He had enjoyed being fussed over by Mulder, had loved the long walks he used to take with Scully, talking quietly about everything and anything. When Mulder was around, things were more frenetic, and seemed to involve spurts of physical activity (usually frequent and mind-blowing sex), followed by long periods of lounging around in his apartment, doing nothing at all. Skinner smiled to himself, remembering the way Scully had brought with her a dozen or more potted plants when she and Mulder had first moved in. It was her nightly ritual to go around watering them all, one by one. He thought of the times when Mulder would lie with his head in Skinner’s lap as they listened to music together. He recalled evenings he had spent doing paperwork, with Scully seated at his feet, nestled between his knees as she read a scientific journal. Mulder would be watching television, arguing with somebody onscreen, holding a running commentary that Skinner half listened to out of one ear. Then to bed. Those beautiful nights spent with these two people, whom he loved more than he loved life itself. He had been a fool. Because of him, Luther intended to lure Scully here, put a bullet in her pale flesh, hurt her…


“No,” he whispered. “No.”


“Too late.” Luther polished his gun in anticipation, checking his aim, pointing the gun at the door. “Her car just pulled off the road. She’ll be here soon. She was at your apartment when you left. Her apartment. She lives there with you, doesn’t she? And occasionally this Mulder guy drops by to visit.”


“That’s not the way it is,” Skinner told him, truthfully.


“She’ll have called him, but she had to leave when you did, in order to follow you. He’ll be…about fifteen minutes behind her. Plenty of time for me to do what I have to do, what needs to be done.”


“No,” Skinner murmured.


“We’ll see.” Luther slammed the magazine into the gun, and held it to Skinner’s head, laughing. He released the safety catch and went over to the other side of the room, giving himself a clear view of the door.


Skinner lay, waiting. Listening. He heard the car draw up, then silence.


“See. I knew she’d come,” Luther crowed. “And do you know why?” Skinner shook his head wearily. “Because I called her cell phone the minute your car showed up here – remember, I have a tracking device in your car. And in hers too, of course. I told her to follow you and asked her to keep the line open. She’s heard every word you said, every scream you’ve uttered. It’s a two hour drive. Two hours spent listening to you scream. I wonder how she felt about that? I cut the connection a few moments ago so the little woman won’t know what she’s walking into.”


There was a sound of footsteps outside, and then the door opened. Slowly. Skinner yelled out a hoarse warning, fighting against the chain, struggling to get between Luther and the door as his enemy took aim and… paused. Mulder stood in the doorway.


“Where’s the woman?” Luther demanded roughly. “I don’t want you. I want her. He has to suffer. It has to be someone he loves. Where is she?”


“She’s right here,” a voice behind him said. Luther whirled, gun in hand, but he was too late. Scully’s gun smacked him hard across the jaw, sending him flying. She stood astride him, her jaw set in a straight, hard line, fire seeming to emanate from her eyes. “And boy, is she mad,” she growled, kicking Luther hard between the legs, and slamming her gun against his jaw again. “Really mad!” she hissed, delivering another savage blow.


“The virus…” Skinner gasped but Luther had been too winded by the assault to activate the device on his wrist, and Scully reached forward and plucked it from him, her gun held to his forehead.


Mulder ran forward, reaching Skinner and gazing at him anxiously. “Are you okay?” He took in Skinner’s bruised face, and broken fingers, the blood seeping from his ankle and staining his sweatpants.


“I’ll be okay. I’ll be fine,” Skinner murmured. “Scully…how did she…?”


“She was small enough to squeeze through one of the back windows,” Mulder told him, kneeling beside his lover and lifting him gently into his arms. “Small but deadly – that’s our Scully!”


Luther lay on the ground, staring up at Scully with a dazed expression on his face.


“You see you got it wrong, Luther,” she told him, bending over him and searching him for hidden weapons. “I didn’t give Walter that ring. Mulder did. From both of us.”


Luther’s eyes were glassy and unfocused. “I don’t understand,” he muttered.


“No. People don’t tend to, as a general rule,” Scully told him. “But we belong together. Three. Not two. And not one. Not one all alone.” Scully glanced at Skinner meaningfully. “Three,” she said firmly. She handcuffed Luther’s wrists behind his back.


“I’m glad it’s him she’s mad at and not us,” Mulder whispered to Skinner. “Are you sure you’re all right? Shit…you have no idea what kind of a drive we had getting up here. Scully was so mad I thought she’d crash the car. When he…” Mulder gently pulled Skinner’s hand into his own, examining the swollen fingers tenderly. “I didn’t want to listen, but Scully said we had to know what was going on, so we were prepared when we got here. It nearly killed me, Walter.” Mulder cradled the other man in his arms. Scully ran across the room, her blue eyes spitting furious venom.


“You said you weren’t going to do this! You sneaked out…” she scolded, unlocking the chains that bound Skinner, and gently easing them off him. “I told Mulder that you wouldn’t lie to us. I said that you’d keep your promise! He was right. I was wrong. I am so…” she broke off from her angry speech, her eyes filled with tears. “I thought we’d lost you,” she whispered, taking his head between her hands and kissing it gently. “You’re wrong you know,” she gently examined his fingers and ankle, with cool, probing hands. “Without you…we’re incomplete. You’re not some sort of optional extra. You’re the center of us, Walter, the core. You make us whole. Mulder and I, we feel the same. Don’t we, Mulder?” She glanced up at her companion.


“Yeah,” Mulder grinned. “Even if you do knock us around a bit.” He rubbed his head gingerly.


“If I hadn’t, you’d have floored me with your gun,” Skinner murmured. “I’m sorry though. Are you okay?” He asked anxiously.


“Yeah. Scully threw cold water over me. That woke me up quick enough!” Mulder laughed. Then his face became serious and he pulled Skinner close, taking the other man’s good hand in his own. “There is no question of pity,” he whispered. “I mean, did you look in the mirror recently?!” He kissed each of Skinner’s fingers. “You are more than just a friend. A lot more,” he said sincerely. “How long before we manage to get that into your thick skull, huh? You belong to us, and we to you. That’s just the way it is. It’s possible to love more than one person at the same time, you know.”


“Yes. I do know.” Skinner glanced from Mulder to Scully and back again. He started to shiver violently and Scully exchanged an anxious glance with Mulder.


“It’s shock. I’ll get you a blanket from the car. You’re cold.”


“No.” He caught her hand. “Not any more. I feel warmer now.”


She smiled, tentatively. “Well I can’t do anything for you here,” she said, “except for some first aid. Mulder will help you up, and I’ll drive you to the hospital. Then you are coming home with us, and I am not letting you out of my sight for the next two weeks, Walter Skinner.”


“Yes, ma’am,” he grinned sheepishly. There was no arguing with Scully when she was like this. He had a feeling that the lectures had only just begun. Mulder shot him a sympathetic look.


“Usually it’s me on the receiving end,” he murmured, placing two strong arms around Skinner, and gently pulling him off the ground, slinging one of the other man’s arms over his shoulder. “I’m glad someone else is in the hot seat for a change.”


“And as for you,” Scully moved back to their prisoner, and held her gun against his head. “You’re coming with us. Get on your feet. Now!”


Scully paced the hospital corridor anxiously.


“Scully you’re making me dizzy. Stop it.” Mulder protested finally, beckoning her over to where he sat. “He’ll be fine,” he whispered in her ear. “Stop worrying.”


“It’s not just that.” Scully’s blue eyes were vivid with an expression Mulder couldn’t remember seeing before. “I’m so angry. Angry with him, and angry with us. And angry with that bastard who…” She clenched her fists, remembering Skinner’s bruised face, and crippled fingers, the way he had gasped in pain when Mulder had pulled him to his feet. She recalled the dark, livid marks on Skinner’s ribs when the ER team had undressed him, and how Mulder had turned away, seeking the isolation of the men’s room in order that he could compose himself again. “After all this time…he thinks we don’t care?” She rested her head against Mulder’s shoulder. “We haven’t made him feel included. We’re so much a pair. He feels that he’s the one who doesn’t belong, that he’s some sort of parasite, living off of us.”


“We’ll show him. We’ll convince him…” Mulder told her, kissing her red hair and holding her tight. “Come on, calm down, Scully.”


“I can’t.” She got up, leaving the comfort of his embrace. “I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve done this, Mulder.” She waved her hand at the corridor. “Usually I sit here waiting for news about you, but somehow, no offense meant, it’s worse when it’s him. He’s always the one sitting at home, worrying about us. This is the wrong way around.”


“I know what you mean. He’s usually the calm one, the one you can lean on. You’re not the only one who’s sat in hospital corridors waiting for news, Scully. Walter always seemed to know the right thing to do. He used to bring coffee, and just…just be there. And listen. That’s when I first started falling in love with the guy.”


“Yeah – it was the same for me. Walter saw me through some dark times waiting for news about you,” Scully smiled ruefully. “Listen to the three of us and our damned medical history!” Her mood changed again, and she slammed the palm of her hand into the wall. Mulder watched her, startled. Scully was usually so self-controlled, so rational. He wasn’t used to seeing her like this.


“I’m sorry. It’s just when anyone, anyone threatens my men…I can’t…I go ballistic,” Scully sighed.


“Your men!” Mulder echoed, chuckling. “Sounds like we’re your harem or something.”


“No. It’s not…” Scully made a face at him, knowing she was being teased. “Call it a misdirected maternal instinct if you want,” she said. “I just hate it when I can’t protect either of you.”


“Protect us? I thought that was Walter’s role.” Mulder laughed again, getting up and wrapping his arms around her.


“Well nobody would ever say it was your role in this relationship,” Scully grinned at him. He pouted.


“Hey, I know my place. I’m just here to lighten things up, and provide the fantastic sex…” he murmured.


“You are so full of yourself.” Scully tickled him lightly, but her smile faded as quickly as it had arrived.


“Dana – Walter’s just a victim of his upbringing. All that conservative shit. Nothing in his life ever prepared him for this weird threesome situation he’s gotten himself into. And of course, he never thought he’d fall in love with a guy either! He isn’t used to being loved at all I think. It doesn’t come easy to him.”


“Then we must make him used to it,” Scully said purposefully.


“You’ve got a plan. I can tell,” Mulder grinned.


“You bet, partner. And I have had enough of hanging around in this damn corridor. Come on.”


“He’s too tired to have visitors. You should really wait…” the nurse began, as Scully entered. Scully shook her head impatiently.


“We’ve already waited too long. Is he asleep?” Scully went and sat at Skinner’s bedside, touching his bandaged hand lightly. He looked tired, and pale. There was a bruise on his jaw and another under his eye. Scully fought down a wave of anxiety, mixed with anger. Damn it! She should have held onto Luther instead of handing him over to the police. She should have kept him for a couple of hours and made it clear to him exactly what would happen to anybody who messed with someone she loved.


“Yes. We gave him some medication…”


“Fine. He won’t get better if we’re not here though,” Scully told the nurse. “From now on, one or other of us will stay with him constantly.”


The nurse opened her mouth to protest, caught the determined glint in Scully’s eye and closed it again, exiting gracefully.


“I’ll let the doctor know…” she murmured.


“Did anyone ever tell you how scary you can be?” Mulder grinned, settling himself down on the other side of the bed and placing his long legs on it, taking Skinner’s other hand in his own.


“Yes. Walter did. That time after we rescued you from the Bermuda Triangle,” Scully grinned at him.


“What did you do to him? Yell at him?”


“No. I kissed him.”


Mulder let out a long whistle.


“Oh well. No wonder he was scared…” He laughed out loud as a cushion from Scully’s chair hit him square in the face.


Skinner woke up feeling groggy. He opened his eyes and wondered why his head hurt so bad.


“Hey, you’re awake.” A pair of hazel eyes were smiling at him.




“I’m here.” Mulder bent over and kissed his lover’s head softly. “And you very nearly weren’t here. Damn fool, taking off like that in the middle of the night.”


“How much longer do I have to apologize for that?” Skinner remarked wryly.


“It’s not apologizing to me that you need to worry about,” Mulder told him. “La Scully is on the warpath and I think she wants your ass. As soon as it’s better of course,” he grinned. “I ought to warn you though. She is in one hell of a…” he paused, noticing the guilt springing into Skinner’s eyes. He was familiar enough with that emotion not to want to inflict it on anyone else. “She’s just upset, that’s all,” he whispered, leaning forward and taking Skinner’s face between his hands. “We spent two hours in the car listening to you being systematically tortured by that guy. We couldn’t help you. Couldn’t do anything except drive as fast as we could. Scully…Scully has this protective thing…” He broke off. “It was kind of her worst nightmare, all right? Remember that when she chews you out.”


“I’m sorry. I had no idea that you could hear any of that…” Skinner cleared his throat. It hurt to talk. His jaw hurt where he’d been punched.


“The worst thing was hearing you say stuff about us not loving you,” Mulder whispered, his tender fingers tracing lines over Skinner’s face, and gently massaging his lover’s scalp in a way he knew Skinner loved. “Because we do. You have to believe that.”


“Yes,” Skinner murmured, but his eyes were sad and distant.


“What do you mean?” Scully paced the doctor’s office furiously. “You said he should be able to come home today. Now you’re saying he can’t? Why?”


“His recovery hasn’t been as quick as we’d hoped,” the doctor shrugged. “Another few days maybe…”


“No.” Scully shook her head. “I’m taking him home today. He’ll never get better in here. It isn’t his body that needs healing anyway. It goes deeper than that.”


“Agent Scully, please. I cannot recommend…” The doctor tried to intercept her as she strode towards the door, but one look from her flashing blue eyes stopped him dead in his tracks.


“I’m a doctor. He’ll be perfectly safe with me,” Scully told him. “I’m taking him home. Now. No arguments!”


“I wouldn’t dare…” The doctor murmured at her retreating back.


“How’s he doing?” Mulder whispered upon returning back to the apartment they shared. Scully shrugged, and glanced over to where Walter sat on the couch, staring into nothing.


“I don’t know, Mulder. I just can’t seem to reach him,” she sighed.


“Let me try,” Mulder smiled at her, touching her arm softly. Scully nodded and watched as Mulder went to sit next to their lover.


“Hey, big guy.” He rolled onto his back and lay on the couch, placing his head in Skinner’s lap. “Notice me, Walter,” he pouted. “What does a guy have to do to get some attention around here, huh?”


“You always get attention. Too much.” Skinner smiled, running his hands through his lover’s fine dark hair.


“I love it when you do that,” Mulder relaxed, and allowed Skinner to thoroughly caress his hair.


“Well I love doing it, so I guess that’s okay,” Skinner murmured, lost in thought. Mulder suddenly reached up and removed the other man’s glasses.


“Hush.” He put his finger over Skinner’s lips to silence his protest. “You don’t need to see to keep doing this nice stuff with your fingers. Listen, Walter – Dana was scared for you. She still is. That’s why she’s been going overboard with the lectures. Don’t tell her I said that – I don’t want her mad with me too.”


“She doesn’t get mad at you. She gets infuriated by you,” Skinner said. “There’s a difference.”


“A subtle one,” Mulder nodded. “It’s a subtle relationship. And it isn’t always easy. There aren’t any rules for this three way thing, are there?”


“No.” Skinner stared absently into space for a moment. “Why did you…?” he began, clearing his throat.


“Because we weren’t complete without you,” Mulder cut in, understanding immediately. “I love Scully. Hell, I always have, always will. I told her all the crap about my past, she knew I’d had male lovers before.”


“Yes.” Skinner put his head back, remembering the shock of caressing a man’s body for the first time, remembering the shame and the pleasure, intermingled. It had taken him a long time to just relax and trust his feelings. Now he found Mulder as irresistible as he found Scully, but it hadn’t been easy to admit that, either to himself or to them.


“She used to worry that she wouldn’t be enough for me. I told her that it was the person inside who was important, not the gender, but I know she worried about it. Maybe she thought I’d run off with the first guy who caught my eye. I don’t know when we first knew we were both falling in love with you, but it was about the same time. And she wanted you to join our relationship as much as I wanted it. We need you, Walter. Scully’s right. You are our center. You make us whole.”


“You don’t need me,” Skinner shook his head. “I nearly got you both killed back then. I was an idiot. I spent all night thinking about it and still didn’t come to the obvious conclusion – that killing me wasn’t enough. Luther would want to hurt someone I loved, because that’s how I hurt him. I’m a liability, Fox.” Mulder looked up in surprise. Skinner rarely used his first name, at his own behest. For the first time he realized that internally Skinner always called him by his first name, and that spilled out whenever his lover was under stress, as it had the night before he had left. The realization stunned him. It seemed so intimate, and somehow made the big man sitting next to him even more vulnerable than he already was right now.


“Walter…you’re not a liability. I didn’t figure it out either.” He sat up, and pulled Skinner into his arms. “You’ve been sitting here, blaming yourself for Luther luring us out there? That’s bullshit, Walter. It wasn’t your fault.”


“I should have been more careful,” Skinner shrugged. “Dana could have been killed. You could have been killed, and it was all my fault.”


“Look, you…” Mulder began, but Skinner interrupted him.


“Don’t you understand? Sharon died because of me. She was used as a weapon against me, and she paid the ultimate price. Now it’s going to happen again. It nearly did.”


“Walter this was a one-off! And we’re both fine. Neither of us were harmed.”


“Yeah, all because Luther couldn’t believe that you were involved in the equation – that we’ve got this weird three-way thing going… For all he knew about me, he didn’t know that, didn’t guess that little secret!”


“Exactly.” Mulder took Skinner’s face between his hands, and looked into the other man’s naked brown eyes. “Don’t you see that’s our strength? That’s why we all got out of this alive? Because we’re different. And because people don’t understand. It’s not a weakness, Walter. It’s what makes us, us. Look you haven’t had as much time as I have to get used to this. I’ve known for a long time that I’m not as other men,” Mulder grinned. “I’ve known I like girls and boys all my life, and I knew from the moment I first met you that I wanted you. I just fought it for a long time because I was scared of trusting you. But when you and Scully both became part of my life…it was so perfect. It just felt so right. You felt it too, I know you did. And so did Dana.” Mulder glanced over Skinner’s shoulder to where Scully was seated, on the bottom step of the stairs, listening to the conversation, her face pale and pinched, tears running down her cheeks.


“It’s just that when I felt I was going to die up there in Luther’s cabin, alone, I just knew I didn’t want to lose you. Either of you.” Skinner’s eyes were blurry with tears. He could no longer see Mulder’s face, just a smudged impression of him. He felt a pair of small hands capture his head from behind and bestow hundreds of little kisses on it.


“Oh, Walter.” Scully sat down beside him, and took his bandaged hand in her own.


“What the hell am I going to do with you two?” Mulder grinned, enveloping them both in a group hug. “You know, Walter – Dana’s been beating herself up over not being able to protect you. You’ve been beating yourself up about not being able to protect either of us. Am I the only one who doesn’t have this whole protective crap going?”


“You have a different set of neuroses altogether!” Scully told him with a grin. “But we don’t have time to go into all of those in this lifetime.”


“You had something different in mind for us to do?” Mulder waggled his eyebrows suggestively and Scully laughed out loud.


“As it happens, I do have a plan, yes. As Walter has been gone for several days, I think we should give him a special homecoming present, don’t you?”


“Yeah. Oh yeah,” Mulder grinned. “Scully you go run the bath. I’ll deliver the big guy for some very special TLC.”


“Is that okay with you, Walter?” Scully asked. Skinner nodded, unable to speak. Here, with these two people, it just felt so right. It was where he belonged. He should never had doubted that, never have doubted them.


He allowed Mulder to help him up the stairs, still hobbling on his wounded ankle. Then Scully tugged at his tee shirt, impatiently easing him out from it. Mulder snuggled in behind him, running gentle fingers over the yellowing bruises on his rib cage, acknowledging their existence. His lips pressed into Skinner’s neck and he kissed him there.


“We don’t want to be without you either, Walter,” he whispered. Scully’s fingers undid the drawstring knot of his sweatpants and she swiftly peeled them off him together with his briefs. Neither of them took any notice of his protests that he could get into the bath perfectly well by himself and they helped him in. Scully was soon naked as well, slipping in beside him and nuzzling her lithe, pale body against him. He opened his legs wide, and she sat between them, her slender back pressed against his chest. He gently ran the tips of his fingers over her round breasts and she sighed and leaned back, pressing into his flesh, her hair under his chin.


“Wait for me!” Mulder jumped into the bath with a splash that brought shouts of protests from the other two, then he picked up Skinner’s arm and nestled himself under it, his hand finding its way down to Scully’s mound.


“Oops…lost the soap…” he teased, pressing his fingers against her opening. She looked up with a wicked smile of pure delight, one of her hands going behind her to find Skinner’s hardening cock, the other reaching across for Mulder’s. They stroked each other gently, up to their necks in bubble bath, soothed by the heat. The door was suddenly nudged open and a few seconds later a small black bundle jumped up onto the side of the bath.


“Krycek.” Skinner smiled in delight and reached out a wet finger to the kitten who ducked away, edging carefully around the bath until he was safely tucked behind Mulder’s head.


“I guess he wants to be close to us,” Mulder chuckled. “He missed you, you know, Walter.”


“He did?” Skinner looked at the black kitten in surprise.


“God yes!” Scully told him. “He followed Mulder around for days just mewling at him. Drove him crazy! He adores you, Walter.”


“Just like we do. Another member of your fan club.” Mulder grinned, turning Skinner to face him and kissing him long and noisily on the mouth.


Scully turned around, and knelt between Skinner’s legs, taking hold of the soap and running it along his chest until it was lathered.


“I can soap myself…” Skinner began.


“Just shut up, Walter!” Mulder told him amiably. “This is our treat. We want you to know how special you are to us, and how glad we are to have you back…”


He took hold of the other man and wrapped his legs around him, holding him down while Scully soaped him all over…lingering for rather too long over a certain part of Skinner’s anatomy with a lascivious enjoyment. Mulder gently kissed Skinner’s neck and nibbled on his ear while Scully soaped. Then she slowly washed all the soap off, scooping up handfuls of the warm water and trickling it over his body.


“Turn over.” She kissed him, and helped Mulder turn their lover in his arms, cradling him like a baby against his own chest, taking care not to hurt their injured partner. Scully ran the soap down Skinner’s back, then gently lathered it over his butt, and between his butt cheeks, while all the time Mulder kissed Skinner’s head, keeping him wrapped tightly between his arms and legs. Skinner moaned as Scully’s little fingers slipped inside his ass, gently rubbing him until he began to writhe in the bath, splashing the water around all over the place. Krycek gave them a look of disgust and retreated to the relative safety of the toilet seat as Scully began washing the soap away.


They wrapped Skinner in a massive towel, each of his devoted agents taking their time to rub down his body, carefully patting his injured areas dry, slowly covering each inch of his naked, golden flesh.


“Krycek wasn’t the only one who missed you,” Mulder murmured, kneeling at Skinner’s feet to dry his toes and ducking his head down to kiss each one.


“No?” Skinner allowed Scully to rub the towel gently between his shoulder blades, leaning his head back as she nuzzled a trail of kisses along his back and down to his butt.


“No.” Scully murmured.


“I think…” Mulder said with a smile. “That it’s time for bed. Don’t you?” He took hold of Skinner’s arm and they escorted him along the corridor to the bedroom they shared with the massive bed that Skinner had had made as a Christmas present to them all last year. Giggling, Scully pushed Skinner onto the bed.


“Lie on your back and close your eyes,” she whispered and he did as he was told.


“We don’t want you to do a thing,” Mulder told him. “This is our treat.”


A hand rubbed itself along the length of Skinner’s cock, while a mouth claimed his for a deep kiss. One lubed finger was busy working its way into his anus, while another was playing with one of his nipples. He gasped, as a wet mouth descended on his cock, making it hard within seconds. He thrust up, to meet that moist, warm mouth, and then groaned as it was taken away…to be replaced by something, someone, heavier. He opened his eyes and gloried for a moment in the sight of Dana’s pale, lissom body as she went down on him, guiding his cock deep inside her. She was straddling him, her knees on either side of his body so that he wasn’t taking any of her weight, and meanwhile Mulder was placing a pillow under his ass as he lifted his hips in time to Scully’s energetic movements on top of him. Skinner knew what was coming next. They’d done this before, although it had taken them a long time and a considerable amount of practice to get it right. Mulder positioned his cock in Skinner’s ass and pushed inside. Skinner moaned, allowing the muscle inside his anus to relax and let Mulder in. This position usually only worked if the recipient allowed their body to go limp, completely acquiescent to the desires of the other partners, and it felt so good to be played with in this way.


Skinner abandoned himself to the sensation of his own hard cock pumping into Scully’s body as she milked him, sliding up and down on his hard length, her fingers playing with his nipples, her mouth occasionally ducking down for a long, sweet kiss. He couldn’t resist playing with her breasts, kneading the pale flesh with his large hands, gently stroking the tips and occasionally she leaned forward so that Skinner could tease her nipples with his tongue, while Mulder, quite literally, kissed her ass from behind. While Scully rode on top of him, Mulder rode him too, his hard cock pounding into Skinner’s ass, and the dual pleasures of both having his prostate stimulated in this way, and his cock enveloped in Scully’s warm body sent him out of his mind with pleasure. He came with a roar, and felt Scully gasp, an orgasm rippling along her body like a tidal wave, leaving her normally pale skin a rosy red color in its wake. A few seconds later, Mulder came too and then they all collapsed on each other in a tangle of sweat and limbs.


Skinner had no idea how long they lay like that, still inside each other, connected as if they were one being. He couldn’t hear or see anything, was only aware of their warm, moist bodies pressed against him, of being part of something bigger and better than anything he had ever experienced before.


“Walter?” A pair of blue eyes looked into his. “Are you all right? We didn’t hurt you?”


“No. God, no!” he exclaimed. “That was…out of this world…”


“Yeah. It sure was.” Mulder’s voice said from somewhere a long way below. “The best ever.”


“Did anyone else…” Scully began, her voice low in wonderment, “have that feeling back there that for a moment we were…one?”


“Yes,” Skinner nodded. “I felt it too.”


“Amazing…” Mulder sighed, his breath tickling Skinner’s thigh. “Now try and tell us that we don’t belong together, big guy.” He slapped Skinner’s butt playfully, then gently disengaged himself and climbed up his lover’s body until he was looking into Skinner’s eyes. “You can’t,” he said softly, claiming a kiss.


“No,” Skinner admitted, taking Mulder in his right arm and Scully in his left. “No, you’re right. I can’t.”


He kissed one dark head and one red one lightly, and allowed the happiness to wash over him in a gentle wave. A trilling purr beside him made him turn his head to find something soft and furry nestled against his cheek. He bestowed a kiss on Krycek as well and the purring went up several decibels in response.


“One,” he murmured. Then he repeated it again. “One.”








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