Rat and Bear
Snowlocked with Alex.
The killer glares at the snow.
The sun lights his face.
Cue the X Files theme!
“Glaring out at the snow is not going to make it stop falling any sooner or melt away any faster,” Walter stated logically. He had been watching Alex glare at the snow for over a week now.
Walter and Alex had been snowlocked at their ranch for over a month. They weren’t worried about provisions, they were very well stocked. And this wasn’t the first time they were stuck out at the ranch. Being on the edge of a mountain range, it wouldn’t be the last. But this year the snow kept falling without a break. They hadn’t seen the sun in days and it was getting to them. Getting to Alex. And an angry Alex was a very dangerous Alex.
Walter watched Alex stare out of the front windows for a few more moments, shook his head then went off to check in with the sheriff. All the homes out on the periphery were equipped with shortwave radios linked up to the sheriff’s office. It was a safety measure that the town elders had come up with. Every day at a given time the outlying families checked in. Walter reported in. He was given news that the one and only plow in the area would probably reach them in about a week. Walter was then filled in on the town news. After the check-in Walter went to start lunch.
“What’s the news?” Alex asked in a fairly civilized tone as he entered the kitchen.
“Not much. All citizens present and accounted for. And the mayor became a grandfather again,” Walter said in passing while he whipped up an omelette. The chickens were unfazed by the snow and continued to supply the men with plenty of fresh eggs.
“How many does that make?”
“Four,” Walter replied as he lowered the flames under the pan. Walter smirked as he heard Alex grumble about long cold winters with no spring and sex being the number one indoor sport. “Shall I forward your best wishes during my next check-in?” Walter asked, thankful Alex couldn’t see the grin on his face.
“You better not be laughing at me, Skinner,” Alex growled from right behind Walter. Walter turned to face his partner, ignoring the assassin’s posturing, he wrapped his burly arms around Alex. Alex stiffened then relaxed enough to hug back.
“Let’s eat,” Walter softly suggested. Alex nodded and the two set the table for their meal.
“What should we do for the rest of the afternoon?” Walter asked as he stacked an armful of logs by the fireplace in the living room and stoked up the flames. Alex had taken up his post by the window, glaring at the incessant snowfall and silently cursing the sky gods.
“Alex?” Walter looked up when he received no reply. “Alex, are you all right?” Walter asked, standing up to take a good look at his partner.
“Enough of this shit!” Alex shouted as he ran to the door, thrusting it open then wading through waist deep snow to stand about twenty feet in front of their house.
“Krycek! Get back in here! Are you nuts?!” Walter shouted as he stood in the doorway. “What are you doing?!” He continued to shout, waving his hands in the air in frustration. “Crazy fucking Russian rat bastard,” he muttered. “Do you know how crazy you are?” Shouting louder.
“Shut up, Skinner, and get back in the house!” Alex roared above the storm. “Do you hear me?!” Alex screamed at the sky. “Do you fucking hear me!” He stood with fists in the sir.
What next happened, Walter couldn’t swear to. All he knew was that suddenly the snow stopped, it became frightfully silent and then he was blinded by a light. When he could open his eyes Alex was still standing outside seemingly communing with something unseen. But that wasn’t what Walter was concerned about. What got to Walter was that is was warm, the sun was shining in an area surrounding their home for about a half mile radius.
“How is this happening?” Walter whispered to himself as he gingerly walked outside toward Alex. He was about five feet away when he realized that there wasn’t any snow in that half mile. Walter looked down at the graveled driveway beneath his feet and the green grass in the meadow beyond.
“Shhh, just savor the warmth and breathe in the fresh scent of the meadow.” Alex stood smiling with his face turned toward the light. He appeared to be absorbing the light like a plant in photosynthesis.
Walter watched, not daring to intrude but doing as instructed, deeply breathing in the fragrance of the grass and the few wild flowers that suddenly bloomed. Savoring this brief interlude of summer, he felt his whole body relax and rejuvenate.
They stood outside for more than an hour before Walter sensed a change come over Alex. Alex turned and beamed a radiant smile toward Walter.
“Walter, go back inside now,” Alex said softly.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. It’s fine,” Alex assured his partner. Walter took one last look around, inhaled deeply then returned to the house. Alex stepped a little further away from the house before once again looking up to the sky.
“Thank you,” he called out. Just before hurrying back inside Alex picked a bunch of wild flowers.
“In here,” Alex replied from the kitchen. Walter went to the kitchen to find Alex placing the flowers in a vase.
“Was it real?”
“They owe me a few favors.”
“And this is what you asked for? An hour’s worth of summer? Alex you could have asked for anything,” Walter said as he gathered the much calmer younger man into his arms.
“I know. It was a bit selfish of me to waste their time on climate control but I just needed...”
“Well, thank you. And thank you for the flowers. Do you feel better now?”
“Yes, I’m sorry for being such a...”
“I was thinking bitch but rat bastard will work too,” Alex smirked. He knew he wasn’t the easiest person to live with and Skinner certainly proved that he had the balls to put up with Alex even at his nastiest.
“Can I ask how they did it?” Walter ventured as they took the vase into the dining room and placed it in the center of the table.
“Not sure. Some sort of time bubble. They took us forward or back, depending on your perspective, to summer. Time isn’t linear, you know.”
“So I’m beginning to learn. But won’t anyone notice that there’s a significant loss of snow surrounding our house?”
“Look,” Alex said as he pointed to the window.
Walter went toward it and peered out. “They put it all back.”
“Yes, no one will notice. There may be a subtle line of demarcation but even that should be gone by morning.”
“Well, however they did it I hope you thanked them.”
“I did. And thank you for putting up with my moods,” Alex said as they snuggled together in front of the fire.
“My pleasure,” Walter countered.
With their winter blues momentarily cured, Walter and Alex settled in to endure the rest of what old man winter had in store for them.
Cue the closing theme.
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