Welcome To The Harem

Before Love Forever by Rev. Anna
Summary: How Skinner and Sharon first met.

Title: Before Love Forever
Author: Rev. Anna
Classification: SR
Rating: R (for language)
Keywords: Sharon/Skinner, Pre-X-file
Disclaimer: 1013 owns Sharon and Skinner. Everyone else is mine. So
Spoilers: One Breath, Avatar
Summary: How Skinner and Sharon first met

Approaching Love Forever
By Rev. Anna

August 25, 1970. Sharon circled the date on the calender with a red
marker. Red letter days needed to be noted. She tossed the calendar
into the suitcase then snapped the locks as her mother's words
echoed in her ears.

`Oh Sharon, there's more to college than getting a degree. Use
your time in New York to grow up. Find a good man. Your life will
be so empty if you don't.'

A small bitter laugh escaped her lips as Sharon thought about her
mother. Lillian Washaw. The quintessential First Lady of the
church. Pastor's Wife Extraordinaire. Always smiling. Always
cheerful. Always the willing worker. And always, always, always
putting the needs and desires of her husband and sons before her
own. And her daughter's.

Sharon learned early that she was expected to follow her mother's
example. Anything she was taught, any knowledge imparted to her was
always done with one end in mind: to enable her to be second to any
man who came into her life. She grew up watching with increasing
bitterness as her father and brothers claimed the lion's share of her
mother's affection and attention.

When feeling diplomatic she questioned those expectations earnestly.
When she was in touch with her anger she protested against them,
loudly. But whether angry or diplomatic, her opposition was always
met with dismissal or stern warnings.

"Whistling girls and cackling hens never come to a good end," her
father chided wagging a cautionary finger at her with one hand while
taking a lemonade his wife had poured for herself with the other.

"Sharon," her mother warned when they were alone. "Good girls do not
cause scenes. No good man wants a woman prone to scenes and
hysterics. Just look at your Aunt Marjie."

Sharon's mouth had dropped open at that. She was always shocked by
her mother's older sister, but deep down she secretly admired her
too. Marjean Washaw could out drink, out cuss, out smoke and out
think any man in the county.

"Aunt Marjie doesn't have hysterics," Sharon said resentfully.

"No but she causes scenes and makes a spectacle of herself in other
ways. Oh I know you admire her. You see her mannish ways as
something to be imitated. But sweetheart they're not. Deep down
Aunt Marjie is a very angry and lonely woman. Is that what you want
to be when you grow up? Angry and alone?"

'Grow up?' Sharon had thought. She knew she was angry and alone on
her ninth birthday. When she was twelve she knew if being happy and
not alone meant always being second to a man, she'd take anger and
loneliness every time. By the time she was eighteen she had made it
clear to all the boys her age she was not interested in any of them.
Her mother despaired of her getting a husband and hoped that she
might meet someone in college.

"Your father and I met while we were in college," Sharon sneered,
mocking her mother as she packed her bags. "I don't see how that's
anything to shout about."

"Well not every man is like your father or the rubes you've grown up
with," her Aunt Marjean said.

"There isn't a man alive who has what I want," Sharon answered.

"Don't be too sure of that honey. He may be out there. The main
thing is don't be afraid of being alone. You can screw up quite
nicely on your own. You don't need anyone's help. Least of all some
codependent male who only wants you for two things."

Sharon threw her arms around her aunt's neck.

"I'm going to miss you so, Aunt Marjie."

"Well then I'd say my going away present is right on time."

Her aunt handed Sharon a poster sized photograph of herself standing
with one foot on the belly of the man she had just beat in a
wrestling match. With a cheroot dangling from her lips and her arms
crossed over her chest, she glared into the camera with a look that
said "Who's fucking next?" Sharon laughed with delight as her aunt
described it.

"It was taken at the moment of victory when I got John Stewart to say
uncle. Best wrestling match I ever had."

"Aunt Marjie, you're the best."

"And only a phone call away. Day or night. Collect."

Sharon displayed the poster proudly on her dorm door. She then
proceeded through her freshman year leaving enough scorched earth and
casualties behind her to be declared an unofficial front of the
Vietnam War.

In her Italian class someone had mistranslated Dante's "All hope
abandon, ye who enter here " as "abandon all hope of entering her."

"That's not over the gate of hell. That's over Sharon Washaw's
bedroom," Wallace Michaels, a recent Washaw casualty quipped.

"Just so long as you know," Sharon snapped back without missing a

All the laughs and applause were on her side and, as a sign of
triumph, a group of women had T-shirts made with Sharon's Aunt
Marjean's picture on the front of it and "Just so long as you know!"
printed on the back.

The majority of her freshman year, Sharon kept mostly to herself,
reading, walking on the grounds of the campus, going to class, and to
an occasional concert or special lecture.

The one group she did join was the sorority her mother and aunt
belonged to when they went here. And she only did that because her
mother begged her to.

"It was nice and full of dykes when I was in it," Marjean said. "But
when they took your mom in I knew things were changing, so I can only
guess what it's like now. You know Lil thinks it'll turn you around."

"Make her more like her. I know. There is one cool woman in it.
Andrea Skinner. She's the one who had the T-shirts made up. I think
she's a legacy like me."

"Skinner, huh? I recall a Catherine Skinner in my day. She was the
first woman I ever saw wearing a labris."

"What should I do?" Sharon whined. "They don't really want me but if
I choose to pledge they can't turn me down. And if I don't pledge
I'll never hear the end of it every time I come home."

"Fuck it. Join 'em. It's something you can put on a resume if you
need to."

So in 1971 Sharon began her sophomore year by joining her mother's
sorority, but only made token appearances at mandatory events.
Sharon hadn't made an appearance at the last five parties so she knew
she was due. That's why she happened to be with her sorors tonight.
And since the party was being given by Andrea Skinner she agreed to

"Good!" Andrea said. "I want the place wall to wall bodies. Walter
was always a wallflower before he went to Vietnam, but he's been
absolutely reclusive since coming back. His folks thought a little
R&R in New York might bring him out of his shell before he has to
return and finish his tour."

"Maybe he just wants to be alone." Sharon said.

"It may be what he wants, but it ain't what he's gonna get," Andrea

"I repeat: maybe he just wants to be alone."

"Being left alone ain't the Skinner way, dearie. The family plan is
to socialize and party away whatever demons are tormenting him or
kill him in the process."

Well Walter Skinner sure looked like he wished he were dead as he was
introduced to all of them. Although he was only nineteen, Sharon was
stunned by how haggard and almost dead his brown eyes appeared to her
when Andrea introduced them. Much to her surprise something deeper
than empathy stirred in her as they shook hands. And much to her
dismay and growing annoyance she found herself spending most of the
night being eyeballed by him. He hadn't so much as said boo to her
but even as Andrea introduced him around to the others he didn't take
his eyes off of her.

Finally they both ended up at the drinks table at the same time. He
refreshed his glass and took up his observation of her close up.

"Just what do you want?" she asked in the most acerbic tone she
could. He shook his head and held up a hand in surrender. When he
spoke his tone was gentle, sincere.

"Don't worry, Sharon Washaw. I'm a look don't touch type. Besides,
what I want you haven't got."

"Oh yeah? And just what is that?"

He smiled sadly and said, "Trust in men."

Sharon was startled. She stood there stunned, not knowing how to

"See?" he said. "You're safe. I can't take from you what you
haven't got."

Sharon watched him walk away, a grudging smile appearing on her
lips. She turned and looked out at the back yard. It and the yards
of the neighboring houses beyond stood empty; their wonderful silence
calling to her invitingly.

She took her drink and stepped out onto the back porch, looking up
at the stars, trying to pick out some of the constellations of
spring. But all she could see was the light that had come into
Walter Skinner's eyes when he spoke to her. For a brief instant she
caught a glimpse of the shy boy he must have been and wondered what
had happened that caused him to seek refuge in the deadness that lay
in his eyes.

Loud voices turned her attention back to the party behind her. It
was Andrea and her cousin having it out in the kitchen.

"No Walter, I am not letting you leave just to go back to my parent's
guest room and those nightmares you've been having."

"How are you going to stop me?"

"Have you forgotten who you're talking to? This is Andrea. I'll
wrestle your damn ass to the ground and hogtie you if I have to.
You're not leaving."

"Come on Andie. Just accept that the Save Walter project is a
failure and let me go."

He nodded in the direction of the crowd, laughing and drinking in the
living room.

"No one will miss me. I'm sure my absence might be a welcome relief
to your guests."

"You must still be smoking that shit you and your buddies get high on
in Nam. The Save Walter project is just beginning and it ain't over
until I declare victory."

"God damn it why can't you all just leave me alone?!"

"Because we love you! That's why! And when someone you love has
been royally fucked by life, you don't leave him alone!"

A long hard silence followed and Sharon sneaked stealthily up to the
back door, hoping against hope they had left. But they hadn't. They
were standing their ground, glaring at each other, not blinking.

"You wouldn't really wrestle me to the ground would you?" Walter

Sharon watched Andrea step over to her cousin and take his face in
her hands.

"In a fucking heartbeat," she answered, giving him a kiss and a hug.
Sharon watched as Walter melted into his cousin's embrace. Once
again that funny unfamiliar feeling rumbled in her gut and moved to
regions further south.

"Jesus," she breathed, stepping back to regain her composure. "What
the hell am I feeling?"

"Now let me see," Andrea said as she glanced into the living, scoping
out the territory. "Who's unoccupied? Hey! Where's Washaw?"

"Bitch on the back porch at twelve o'clock. Unless she's done us all
a favor and drowned herself in the pool."

Sharon cringed as she recognized the drunken voice of Wallace

"Shit," Sharon swore.

"Zack, put a muzzle on that dick head brother of yours before I kick
his sorry ass out of here," Andrea snapped.

"Sorry Andie," Zack called back as Andrea dragged Walter out onto the
back porch and over to the corner where Sharon who was trying to make
herself invisible.

"Sharon Washaw. Walter Skinner."

"You already introduced us," Sharon said coolly, trying to recoup.

"Warmer Washaw. Turn on the charm."

Sharon paused. The sight of Walter surrendering to his cousin's
caress, the light that had sprung in his eyes when he spoke to her at
the drinks table made a lump form in her throat. She wanted to say
something nice to him. Wanted to comfort him too. But the specter
of her mother fawning over her father and brothers rose up before her
and she immediately began building a wall around her heart.

'No. I will not let myself be turned into my mother,' she thought.

"Come on Washaw. Say something nice just to prove you can." Andrea

Sharon chewed her lip a minute then said, "You have a nice shaped
head. It'll serve you well since you'll probably be bald by the time
you're 30."

"Well, that's a start anyway," Andrea said. "I leave him to you."

And with that she was gone and they were alone.

"Heredity's a bitch," Walter responded. "But you're not."

Sharon's lips twitched into a reluctant smile.

"Actually you're off by five years."

He went over and leaned against the railing, looking back at Sharon.

"My father went bald at 25. I'm trying to cultivate a Yul Brenner
vibe but secretly I'm praying that baldness will be sexy by the time
I'm 50."

Sharon laughed in spite of herself and joined him at the railing.
She placed a hand on his shoulder and felt an involuntary tremor
shudder through him and her. She removed her hand and took a deep

"Since you've probably been out here for some time, I'm sure you
heard everything Andrea and I said."

"Yeah, I did."

"Look," he said with pointed exasperation. "You do not have to get
on the Save Walter band wagon. I don't need any fucking pity or a
pity fuck."

"Well don't worry, Walter Skinner. You're safe with me since I don't
have any fucking pity and I don't do pity fucks."

Now it was Walter's turn to laugh in spite of himself.

"Truce?" he asked extending his hand.

"Truce," she answered shaking it.

Neither said another word. They just stood next to each other, her
left arm resting against his right.

"Hey!" a drunken voice shouted. "Where's GI Joe?"

Both Sharon and Walter turned in surprise to find a drunken Wallace
Michaels descending upon them. He put an arm around Walter's
shoulder as if to congratulate him.

"Pal, you are a poster boy for the Marines. Enlisting on your
birthday to make Vietnam safe for democracy. That's dedication."

"Who told you?" Walter asked with no little amount of annoyance. He
tried to shrug him off but Wallace clung to him like a barnacle.

"Andie's main squeeze is my bro and we are like this," Wallace
wheezed, crossing the index and middle fingers of his right hand to
show how close he and Zack were. "Say? is it true you got your
first kill within three months of your getting to 'Nam?"

"Mind your own business," Walter snapped.

"Hey, calm down. I'm a fan. It takes a cool head and a steady hand
to blow a ten year old kid's head off from ten yards."

Walter rose up like a huge bear.

"Shut your mouth college boy!"

This time the shrug worked, nearly knocking Wallace off his feet.
Then without so much as a look back, Walter stalked off the back
porch, through the kitchen and into the living room. Sharon entered
the kitchen just as Wallace, stumbling after Skinner, caught up to
him in the living room.

The drunk turned Walter around and held him still as he slurred on.

"Come on pal," he shouted, giving Walter's arm a shake.
"I'm not one of those anti-war long hair peaceniks, out there
protesting against the war and burning draft cards."

Walter shrugged him off again with a snarl that drowned out the music.

"Who are you to talk? At least they're out there putting their asses
on the line for something they believe in; not hiding out in college
draft deferment programs."

"Hey man!" Wallace protested. "I'm on your side. Gooks.
Chinks. The works. Wipe all them slant eyes off the map."

Stunned into silence by Wallace's words, the party came to an
immediate halt. Several people had put down drinks and risen to
their feet. What they intended to do will never be known because
within a second, Walter grabbed Wallace by the throat, raised a fist
the size of a ham and smashed it into the drunk's mouth, then as
Wallace doubled over, slammed both fists on the back of the drunk's
neck. When he dropped to his knees, Walter hit him hard against the
side of his head finally letting him fall unconscious at his feet
with a thud.

Walter towered over him, not saying a word, trembling with rage. He
looked around at the people, taking in their horrified stares. He
caught sight of Sharon, the empathy he found in her eyes held his
attention for an instant.

She could see anger, confusion, sadness and pain whirling around
behind the glint of his glasses before he spun on his heel and looked
for his cousin.

"Now I am leaving," he said, his voice tight, constricted
when he finally found her.

Andrea nodded and started to reach out and touch him, but he drew
back, his arms held tightly at his sides, not knowing what he would
do if she made contact with him. She dropped her hand and let him

The room parted like the Red Sea for Moses and he passed through and
out the door.

Sharon stepped over to Wallace who was moaning and beginning to come

"If I had a penis I'd piss on you," Sharon said, glaring
down on him. "But since I don't, this will have to do."

She poured the remains of her drink on him, placed the glass on the
table and ran after Walter.

She found him pounding his fist against a crosswalk button, more in
anger than in any attempt to change the light in his favor. She
walked up carefully to him and placed a hand on his back.

He whirled around and grabbed her by the arms, shoving her hard
against the pole. She closed her eyes in pain and prayed he
wouldn't kill her. It took a while but she felt his grip lessen then
finally release.

When she opened her eyes and looked at him, he wasn't looking at
her, just down at his shoes.

"I'm sorry," he said. "Did I hurt you?"

She shook her head no as she answered, rubbing her arms where he had
grabbed her.

"Scared me more than anything. I shouldn't have touched you
without permission anyway."

The light changed but neither crossed the street.

"I thought you didn't have any fucking pity," he said.

"I don't," she added. "But something Andrea said to
you in the kitchen made a lot of sense to me."


"When someone you love has been royally fucked by life, you
don't leave them alone. I don't love you. I don't even know you.
But I know what it's like to be angry and alone."

Slowly she reached over and took his hand.

"It really sucks."

He looked at her.

"I've tried everything to blot killing that kid out of my
mind. A whole year of drugs. Sex. Nothing worked except being
alone. And even that doesn't really work."

Sharon shrugged.

"Well the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be
alone; I will make him an help meet for him.'"

He looked at her confused.


"Genesis 2:18. King James Version. It's the second creation
story in the Bible. It's the one I like."

"What's it mean?" he asked.

She smiled and gave his hand a squeeze.

"It means let's be alone together."