Title: A Ring Means Eternity
Email address: Peach1250@hotmail.com
Warnings: This story contains explicit m/m sex.
Rating: PG13 for language
Archive: It's yours if it's posted to your list.
Disclaimer: The characters of Skinner, Mulder, Krycek, and the X-Files belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and the Fox Network. No copyright infringement is intended; no money is being made.
NOTE: This story is part of the Triad Universe. Thank you Mort for the idea of giving the meanings to the flowers used. I must also credit most of the prayer in this, to a book called Same-sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell. A very interesting book especially for anyone who thinks the church has always been homophobic. For Ursula's Nick's birthday challenge. Beta by Jessabelle.
"Fox, I want to talk to you about something."
"What did I do now?"
"Nothing. I just needed to talk to you about this while Alex is gone."
I immediately wondered what was going on. We had only brought Alex home from Russia a month before and today was the first time he had gone out without one of us with him. I had hoped Walter was past worrying that he would disappear on us again.
"He won't be long, Walter. He just went to the store."
"I know. I've been thinking about something and I wanted your opinion before I talk about it with him."
"Walter, you're making me nervous. What is it?"
"Fox, how would you feel about having a commitment ceremony and exchanging rings?"
I wasn't expecting that one, so I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I stalled by asking him a question.
"You do mean the three of us, right?"
"Of course, I do. There's no way I will ever let either of you go."
The idea began to grow on me. And the more I mulled it over the better it sounded. That would be one more link in the chain to make Alex feel safe.
"When do we propose?"
Walter whooped and picked me up, all the air left my body in a rush; but it didn't matter because he was kissing me. Nothing else matters when that man kisses me.
By the time Alex returned we had worked out a plan for each of us to ask him separately. The reasoning being to let him know it was something we both wanted with him, not just Walter making the decision and me going along with it.
We decided to do it on date night. Walter had come up with date night early in our relationship. Every other week he took one of us on a 'date'. And once a month Alex and I had a date alone. Alex and I had started going out bi-monthly but decided that once a month plus the time we had alone when Walter worked too late was all we needed.
So that would put me asking him first since our date night was only a couple of days away. Then came the discussion about rings.
"Walter, I don't think either of us should incur the full cost of rings."
"Should we buy them and split the cost three ways?"
"I'd like to buy you each a ring and wear one from each of you as well."
"They would need to be fairly narrow, wouldn't really give room for them to be engraved, Fox."
"I need to carry you both with me all the time more than I need words that I'll only see once."
Walter nodded and pulled me close again. When Alex got home he just grinned at us lying all sweaty and sticky on the sofa.
The next day I went out shopping, alone. The jewelry store clerk flirted with me until she heard that I was looking for wedding bands.
"Did you want to see engagement rings as well, sir?"
"No, just wedding bands. The best you have."
"Platinum is the best but it is also the most expensive."
"The price isn't important. I'm only doing this once."
"If you'll follow me then."
She led me to a case near the back of the store and I sat on the chair she indicated. She pulled out a tray of rings and I bent slightly to look at them. Reaching down she pulled out one.
"This is one of our most popular styles. Ladies like this one for the diamond cut pattern."
I smiled at her, "That's nice, but I don't think Walter and Alex will want anything that feminine."
"Oh – well – let me see."
I turned back to look at the tray of rings to allow her to get herself under control. Reaching down I plucked out a slender band with rolled edges. Slipping it onto my finger I turned it this way and that to see how smoothly it moved. Holding my hand out from my body I tried to picture it on Alex's hand.
Turning on my chair I scanned the room.
"Would you ask the dark haired man to join us for a minute?"
"Paul, could you come over here for a minute?"
He nodded and crossed the area quickly.
"Hello, sir, how may I assist you?"
"Will you put this on? I want to see how it looks on your hand."
He looked puzzled but took the ring and slipped it on his finger. I reached out for his hand and turned it so the light hit the band.
"Thank you. I'll need this one in a size ten."
I went back to looking at the rings as the male clerk wandered off. The one I picked for Walter was the same 4mm size as Alex's but had a brushed finish to it. I gave her Walter's size and waited for her to check to see if they had both in stock.
As I waited I wandered over to look at earrings. Miranda's birthday was coming up soon. I'd decided on a pair when she came back to let me know that she had Alex's ring in stock but would need to order Walter's.
"Sir, is there anything else I can get you?"
"Yes, I'll take these earrings. My daughter-in-law's birthday is coming up."
Her eyebrows rose but she made no comment. I handed her my credit card and waited for the purchases to be rung up. Heading for home, I was quite pleased with my afternoon.
Of course, by the next night I was as nervous as any man who ever proposed. I was still fussing in the bathroom, Alex long since dressed and gone downstairs, when Walter cleared his throat. I turned to look at him.
"Don't be. He'll say yes."
"To you, maybe."
"Fox, he loves us both."
"Loving me doesn't mean he wants to make me any promises."
"What kind of promises?"
We both jumped and turned to him, guilt written on both our faces. He frowned.
"What are you two up to?"
Walter looked at me and then made a 'go ahead' gesture with his hand.
"Well, since the cat's out of the bag…I was going to ask you to marry us."
The green eyes widened as his mouth dropped open. "M-m-m marry?"
"Actually, have a commitment ceremony with us." Walter was smiling gently at him as his voice rumbled with his emotions.
Alex turned and ran from the room.
"Fox, you're faster than I am, catch him!"
The last part was said to my back, I was already on my way after him. He was half way down the block when I caught up to him.
"Alex, come back to the house so we can talk about this."
He stopped and turned to look at me. "I don't like being teased. If you didn't want to go out with me tonight, all you had to do was say so."
"Wait a minute. How did you come to that conclusion? And why the fuck do you think we're teasing?"
"Fox, I've accepted that you both still want me around. I know you love me, not the way you love each other, but you do have feelings for me. But you don't really expect me to believe you want to declare that in a ceremony?"
I reached into my pocket and pulled out the ring box just as Walter came to stand next to us.
"This one is yours. They didn't have Walter's size so I had to order it. I was hoping that each of you would give me a ring as well."
Standing there on the sidewalk in front of our neighbor's house, I opened the box and held it out to him.
"Alex Skinner, will you do me – us - the honor of becoming our husband?"
He looked down at the ring, no doubt taking in the fact that it was purchased in one of the high-end shops, then he looked up at me. From there he looked at Walter. We waited for him to decide.
"You're sure? Because you'd better be, there won't be any going back. Once, forever."
"We're very sure, Alexei."
"Let's go home."
"Wait!" Alex had turned toward the house and I was still standing with my hand out. He looked back at me.
"Does that mean yes?" I needed to hear the words.
"Yeah, that's what it means."
Walter grinned as he grabbed Alex's hand and reached for me with his free one. We ignored the curious glances as we walked back to the house.
Date night was forgotten as Alex took us both to heaven. That bed rocked as he moved between us, buried to the hilt in me as Walter took him from behind. I knew there was a difference to him that night; that night he tore down the last bricks in that wall. That night for the first time we had *all* of Alex.
As we collapsed in a sweaty heap on the bed I heard the neighbor's dog howling and giggled. We woke the next morning glued together.
We let Scully and Miranda plan the flowers and other decorations. The guest list was small, just Kim, Scully, the Gunmen and of course our family. I was dressed and downstairs before Fox and Alex had even finished their shower.
I smiled as I watched Scully and Miranda fussing with the flowers on the patio. The two looked like sisters and sometimes squabbled like them as well. I walked over to them, smiling.
"Everything looks wonderful, ladies. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you doing this for us."
"As if we'd let the three of you take care of the important things. The food should be delivered soon." Scully's eyes ran over me as she spoke.
Miranda moved forward and adjusted my tie. "I've got the best looking fathers-in-law on the planet."
"Two of them are anyway. I still wonder what they see in me."
"Don't go there," I growled at her.
She giggled before turning back to the table. The centerpiece looked beautiful. I caught the odor as she picked it up.
"Is that cedar?"
"Yes, it is."
"Isn't that unusual for a wedding?"
"Dana and I picked these for the meaning. Cedar leaf means 'I live for thee'. Very much how we see the three of you."
"And what does the ivy mean, or is that just for filler?"
"Ivy means 'Fidelity, Friendship, Affection'. Again, you three show all those to each other." Scully smiled at me.
Then Miranda spoke, "The Orchids stand for ' Magnificence, Love, Beauty'."
Edward's voice came from behind us, "Lord knows you guys love each other."
I turned to see my son walking toward me looking very handsome in his tux.
"Where's my grandson?"
"Helping his 'Lex dress."
I smiled at the mental image of that. Edward's hand rested on my shoulder as he too inspected me.
"No. Although this will be a strange wedding party."
Edward chuckled, "Why should this be different from the rest of your life?"
The doorbell rang before I could answer him. Miranda and Scully went to show the caterers into the kitchen.
"Do you think Sergei will remember his line?"
"Oh, yes. The little ham was practicing it right up until he fell asleep. And he made me a solemn promise that he would take good care of the rings."
"Well, his 'Lex explained to him that his job was the most important of anyone's. I'd be jealous if Alex showed that much affection to anyone other than my grandson."
"Miranda and I think he's pretty lucky to have three grandfathers who love him so much."
The doorbell rang again and since the girls were busy I went to open the door.
"Are we too early?" Frohike asked.
"Wouldn't matter if you were. Come on in."
"Wow, Walt, you look great in a tux."
"Nice to see you dressing for the occasion, Langly."
"They threatened me."
I chuckled as Byers brought up the rear, with a big package in his arms.
"What's this? We told you all, no presents."
"It's not really a present. It's the computer we promised to put together for Alex."
I nodded. Since we'd brought Alex home all three of the Gunmen had been making an effort to include Alex in the 'family'. When he mentioned during dinner with them that he needed to upgrade his PC they had immediately offered to build him a super PC. Fox and I had been forgotten as they talked gigabytes and RAM.
Edward acted as host and gave them all a drink. Kim arrived as we were talking. She gave me a gentle hug and wished me good luck before Edward pushed a glass into her hand. I was about to go in search of my wayward lovers when they appeared at the top of the steps, Kim's gasp making me turn to look at them.
They walked side by side, each holding on to one of Sergei's hands, as they came down the steps. My heart was lodged in my throat at how beautiful they looked. We'd opted for matching tuxes with the exception of cummerbunds. Fox wore a muted paisley print that seemed to change in color the way his eyes do. Alex's, of course, was emerald green. I had gone traditional with basic black. My grandson was dressed to match his father with a bright red one.
I had gladly gone along with all the trappings because Alex seemed to need to make it as traditional as possible under the circumstances. Now I was glad I had. The light in his eyes made the formal dress worthwhile. Sergei let go of their hands when they reached the bottom of the steps to run to me.
"Papa, 'Lex said I look 'andsome."
"You do indeed. And your dad tells me you know your lines."
"Well then why don't you go find your mother and tell her we're ready to get this show on the road."
He ran off toward the kitchen and I turned to my lovers.
"You two sure clean up nice. I think I'll keep you."
That got me a soft grin and a peck on the cheek from Alex and a swat on the ass from Fox.
We had decided to make our vows in the gazebo. Edward had offered to officiate and we were pleased that he wanted to take an active part. He assured us that he had found something special for the occasion. Fox, Alex and I had each written what we wanted to say to each other.
The three of us joined hands and led our family outside. When everyone was in position Miranda handed the small pillow with our rings tied to it by ribbons to Sergei, who stood next to his father. The ladies were positioned with us, since we'd decided to have best ladies instead of best men. The Gunmen took up positions against the railing.
"My father and his partners wish to welcome you this beautiful day as they make formal vows to each other. If you will all join me in prayer."
I bowed my head, a little surprised. My son and I had not really discussed religion, but I did remember his mother being devout.
"O lord our God, who grants us what we ask for our salvation, who hath commanded us to love each other and to pardon each other our transgressions. Bless, lord giver of good, lover of mankind, these three servants of thine who love each other with a love of the spirit. They have come here today wishing to receive thy sanctification and benediction. Grant them unabashed faithfulness and sincere love. For Thou art the light of truth and eternal life. And to Thee we give glory and praise. Amen."
I heard a soft chorus of amens. Raising my head I smiled at my son. Smiling back he tilted his head to look at his son, then spoke.
"Who gives these men to be joined together for all eternity?"
Sergei's voice was strong as he spoke. "The family and I do."
Alex gave him a thumbs up and he beamed under his 'Lex's approval. Edward turned back to us.
"Dad, will you begin?"
I turned to face Fox and Alex.
"This is indeed one of the greatest days of my life. Some people never find one person to spend their lives with and I have been gifted with two." I reached out and they both took my hands.
"I pledge to you my heart for it beats for you, my strong hands to lift you up if you should fall."
I looked into Fox's eyes, "You, Fox, are my duyugodv ayosdi adanata." (Seeker of truth, soul)
Turning to look at Alex, "You, Alexei, are my atsila galvkawetiyu odanvdv." (Sacred fire, mind)
"Together you are my galv'lati." (Heaven)
I felt a little misty as Walter made his vows to us. We had not discussed them, or practiced them. So Fox and I were hearing them for the first time. I could wait for the translation, his voice and his manner told us of his love.
I waited for Fox to take the next turn.
"Believe it or not I didn't have an easy time deciding what I wanted to say today. Alex, in our time together I have learned much from you. But the most important thing is that shared love does not equal divided love."
He bent to kiss me on the cheek before looking to Walter.
"Walter, no man could ever want to have a more wonderful husband than you have been to me. Our love has brought me the peace of mind I could never find in all my questing for truth."
A quick kiss for Walter then he continued.
"I pledge to each of you, my mind, my soul, and my heart. May we live a hundred years and find each other in an afterlife of love."
Now it was my turn. I felt a small hand touch my thigh and looked down to see Sergei looking up at me with his beautiful brown eyes so like his Papa's. He nudged me and I lifted my eyes to look at my lovers.
"You know I never expected to live this long much less be standing here making vows to you. I spent more than one afternoon surfing the net looking for words. But in the end I decided to just say the ones my heart sings to me each morning when I wake next to you."
Walter's big thumb reached out and caught the tear before it could fall.
"They love me and I love them. This man who stands here before you vows to belong to you both until the end of time. And I also give my word to never leave you again."
Not very fancy but they seemed to be pleased with it. Edward picked up Sergei and the pillow was extended to us carefully. Miranda had attached each set of rings to a different color ribbon and had tied them so a gentle tug would release them.
Walter took the two traditional yellow gold bands and slipped mine on first. I was a little startled when Fox held out his right hand but then I realized they must have decided to follow Russian tradition because of my arm. Fox reached for the platinum bands he'd purchased. Walter's hand was rock steady as Fox slid the band onto his finger. My hand was still a little shaky, so Fox held it securely in his.
Then it was my turn. I tugged the ribbon and the rings lay there. The rose gold gleamed against the white satin. I lifted the one for Fox. His hand trembled this time and Walter reached to hold it steady for me. I smiled my thanks, the ring went into place and I settled slightly. Fox turned his hand to hold Walter's as I slid the ring onto Walter's hand.
Edward's voice sounded a little shaky.
"What has been promised this day will last through the ages. Long life and much happiness."
The Gunmen cheered as the ladies sniffed a little. What is it about women crying at weddings? Like I had any room to talk, right?
Late that night, as we lay in a tangled sweaty heap, I pulled their hands together on my belly and admired the way the soft light of our bedroom made our rings sparkle. Yellow and rose, yellow and platinum, platinum and rose. I decided I like the contrast. Three men, three lives, three colors, perfection.
Walter mumbled something that I couldn't make out with his nose buried in my armpit.
His head rose and he grinned at me. "I said can we get some sleep? You know they have to leave in the morning."
"You don’t think they'll expect us to look well rested, do you?"
"I don't think they'll be expecting that. As a matter of fact, you were so loud I'm sure they haven't gone to sleep yet."
Fox snorted and I nudged him.
"Shut up. You helped him."
"Pretty sassy for a man who not eight hours ago vowed to belong to us."
Walter kissed the end of my nose and leaned across me to kiss Fox. He reached a long arm out and the room went dark. They both settled close to me and I drifted to sleep feeling like the luckiest man in the world.
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