Author: Josan

Date: July 21, 1999

Summary: Skinner thinks about dressing.

Pairing: Sk/?

Rating: PG

Archive: ArchiveX, Gossamer. Any others if you ask: just so I know where this is travelling to.

Comments: jmann@mondenet.com

DISCLAIMER: These are the property of CC, Fox and 1013, but let's not forget that imitation is the greatest form of flattery.




by Josan


It always surprised him how the putting on of clothes was so different than the taking off.

When he got home at night, he couldn't wait to take off the smells and stress that permeated his clothes, to replace them with the comfort of home clothes. Off duty clothes.

Taking off rather than putting on.

Taking off was so much simpler than putting on.

Easier on the nerves. Easier on the spirit.

Easier on the soul.

Putting on required a girding of the mind, not just the loins.

Underwear first. A symbolic protection for the genitals. To keep them tucked in, away from harm. Safe.

Undershirt. First line of defense, of camouflage. Needed to maintain that cool-under-fire look. To absorb the sweat that his body's mechanism emitted even if he had the reputation of not sweating under any circumstance.

Tucked into the underwear to function as that first layer of protection of his inner self.

Pants next. The beginning of the next layer.

Always pressed. Always with a razor-sharp crease. To go with the image of razor-sharp efficiency demanded by the position. No softness permitted anywhere. Especially in the outward appearance.

Socks then shoes. Both dark. Rarely noticed. Like the darkness that the day sometimes brought. That would also have to go unnoticed.

Shoes polished to a sheen. He needed that, not just as a reflection of professionalism, but as an additional deflector of potential attacks. A shield.

And the mindless rhythm of the morning polish with the shoe brush helped him move along the transition of home to work.

The shirt. Always white. With the possibility of minor tones. But very minor. Another shield for deflection. Another layer of camouflage. Of efficiency. Of protection of his inner self. Another layer to hide behind.

In the mirror, he watched his hand slowly button, bottom to top. Groin to throat. Always in that order. Only for the white shirts of work. An upward enclosing. Like the zipper in a body bag.

He watched himself tuck the ends into the pants, smoothing down any wrinkles, verifying that there was nothing to detract from the sleek line of armourment.

The belt. The first of the manacles. Encircling him. Holding him together. Cinching his self to him.

The wristwatch, strapped on. Another manacle. Holding him prisoner to Time. To Efficiency.

The tie. Dark. Sober. A reflection of the seriousness with which he faced the day.

Loosely around the neck. He wasn't ready yet for the final manacle.

He added the suit jacket. Settled it as a heavy coat of mail on his shoulders. Checked the line of it, the fall of it in the mirror. One of his final lines of defense.

His last was the glasses he placed carefully on his face. The slight prescription helped him hide the last exposed site of his feelings. A tool not just for seeing clearly the things he had no choice but to see, but a bulwark for the windows of his soul.

He looked himself over in the mirror. All armour on. Nothing of his real self visible to the outer world. He reached to knot the last of his voluntary manacles.

A hand appeared from behind him.

A chin came to rest on his shoulder.

A face stared at his in the mirror.

Heavy-lidded green eyes held his as they watched the face rub a stubbled cheek along his smooth one.

The naked body behind him rubbed along his, fixing ist scent onto his armour. An aromatic holy oil as extra protection for the trials ahead. Which would wane throughout the day but would occasionally come to him, a reminder of other things.

The hand took up an end of the tie and slowly, carefully knotted it in proper dimensions.

His hand came up and rested on his lover's.

Together, they tightened the noose around his neck.