Alex was whistling in the bedroom, a melodious tune warbling unconsciously from his lips. I had worried that it was a mistake to bring him here... a mistake to come here without Mulder, but Alex seemed to be fine so far. We hadn't had that talk that Mulder suggested, but maybe it wasn't necessary after all. We were getting along fine.
I was scrubbing a section of wall, wondering what the dark grease spot represented. I couldn't remember if it was where Mulder had crashed into the wall with a pizza or the time Alex had a nightmare and ran into it after I had been rubbing him down with massage oil before we went to bed.
Finally finished with the wall, I opened the closet and peered inside, removing a few cedar chips that escaped from a sachet. Alex came trotting in, with the vacuum and said, "Hey, I'm getting hungry. I think I'll go get lunch ready."
Kissing his sweaty forehead, I cupped his face for a moment, just enjoying the lack of worry in his expression. He looked so young these days almost as if the man I fell in love with had leapt forward in time, skipping the agony of the years between. "All right," I said.
His darting kiss surprised me. He didn't often initiate affection since we all moved in together. I couldn't tell what was going on behind the green eyes, but Mulder thought that Alex was pretty deep in guilt. He said Alex didn't feel entitled to be loved. Mulder often understands our lover in ways that I can't. I don't love him less, but our relationship is different. Part of it is that Alex feels worse about what he did to me than anything Mulder has ever accused him of doing to him.
Secondly, I'm not so sure about it, but I think he's less confident of me.
Frankly, he can manipulate Mulder beyond belief. He never could handle me with so much finesse. Mulder's paranoid, but he's a believer. I'm just plain distrustful and I'm a skeptic by both nature and training. So Mulder got the carrot and I got the stick.
I understand Alex's actions now. Haven't entirely forgiven him, but the connection between us never died. I loved him. I'm not a man who loves easily and I wasn't good at letting go once I let myself love... not even if the one I loved kills me. Not even if he brings me back to life and tries to play me like a puppet. It didn't stop me from shooting him to save Mulder or pleading with god to restore him to life. If you want to know how crazy our lives had been, these weren't the most unusual events in our conjoined history.
You know, I think Mulder meant for us to do some talking which was why he decided to visit Scully the weekend my lease ended. I don't know why I put off cleaning the apartment and moving the last of my things out for so long. Unless it was just the idea of admitting my present lifestyle was more than just a fling.
I admit I often have a hard time coping. When I grew up, closeted wasn't even a word you thought about. It was nearly the only choice. I didn't marry Sharon as protective coloration; I loved her. I don't want anyone to think that I didn't. I adored her in my own way and we were good together sexually. My body was never very good at bothering to pick the gender that turned it on. My mind might say straight and narrow, but my dick and my heart had other opinions.
Mulder turned me on from the start. He was the bad boy that I had to try to rein in, but his antics secretly thrilled me. Fox reminded me of James Dean, the way he handled himself, the way he would smolder. God, Mulder did that well, all that dark heat behind those topaz eyes. Every once in a while, he'd rake his eyes approvingly across my body and I thought I just might have a chance. I always did have a thing for James Dean.
About my other lover... our first meeting was just an incandescent night after a party. Sharon had thrown me out and I was angry, looking for something to take my mind off my failing marriage. I went to visit Reno, an old 'nam buddy. He took me to a party and it was a small one, intimate. I looked across the room and saw a young beauty clad in black silk and leather, posing like a centerfold. Guys were elbowing each other out of the way to get at him. I decided I'd be the one.
My eyes fixed in his direction; I'd stalked across the room like I was a twelve point stag. I saw amusement in his eyes and a challenge. I muscled through his admirers and asked him to dance. I'm not much on dancing as performance art, but I pride myself on my slow dancing. I know just where to touch, just how to look, and what not to say. I knew the right point to let our hips touch, to make sure he knew what I had.
It was an old game to him; I could see that, but he seemed to like it. He liked it later that night too. We spent the night together at Reno's place. He was good, incredibly good, skin like velvet, kisses so blazing they were damn near lethal. We spent twelve hours making love. I don't use that last phase spuriously. What I felt was incredible. It would be a long time before I felt that way again.
In the morning, he said that he was starting a new job in a month. He couldn't afford a relationship but he'd always remember me. Thirty days later, he trotted into my office with that 302 form. He was a cool one; his gaze merely flickered for a moment before he returned to his officially bland expression.
I had no intention of picking it back up, but he showed up at my place a few weeks into the partnership with Mulder. As I had guessed, they had tumbled into bed with each other. That night, Mulder had given him some big line about breaking it off... that he had a mission in life and couldn't be distracted. I shouldn't even have invited him in, but Krycek could look like a wounded angel. We ended up making love again. It was even better than the first time, but in the morning, we went our separate ways. Mulder changed his mind and wanted him back. Sharon and I got back together until that last time when I signed those papers and freed us both from the endless drama.
Eventually, it was Mulder who needed comforting and I gave it. Alex ghosted through our lives like a hungry phantom until I put his soul to rest. Like I said, I killed him... and Mulder brought him back. I remember looking down at Mulder crouched over him and I said I wished I could take it back. God, I didn't want Alex dead... I just wanted him to be the way he used to be or the way I'd thought he was. I was never certain if I had ever made love to the man I thought was my beautiful young lover or had fallen for a mask that a ruthless double agent wore.
I remember Mulder screaming, "Don't you dare, Alex... "
Mulder healed him. Put his hands on him and there was something crackling between them as if all the hate and love had been converted into raw seething power. Krycek's eyes opened and all the terrible wounds I had inflicted healed. I stood there gaping. Alex was about half right when he uttered that insanity about Mulder being an alien.
Both of them were alabaster white... a cross between the pieta and the fallen gladiator. Mulder slowly slumped, doubling up over Alex's bloody chest. I wasn't sure what had really happened. Whether Alex's eyes opening had been just a reflex or really meant something had happened.
This would be a different story if it hadn't worked. Alex lived. Turned out that we had a lot more in common than I knew. Nanobytes. Nasty little buggers... Scully's still working on the cure for them. Right now, they are disabled, but I'll never feel safe for either Alex or myself until they are out of our bodies.
It took a while before Alex came back physically or mentally. I remember visiting him in protective custody. It was really a pleasant room, no visible bars on the windows and polite guards. The sun would spill across the bed when I opened the curtains. Alex would turn his face away and blink. I think he was trying to die, but his body was too tough and strong for him. He was healing, but he was some place so dark that I didn't think he could come back on his own.
Both Mulder and I tried talking to him, telling him about the blood tests, about the treatment that Marita Covarrubias had brought to us, which disabled the nanobytes. His green eyes remained as opalescent as precious stones and as cold. His face wore a constant weary mask.
Yelling at him only made him look at us with that 'waiting for someone to finish him' expression.
The doctors said he was getting better. Mulder had healed the damage that nature could not. Time had taken care of the rest.
I don't know what made me do it.
Walking in, I found him off in whatever dream world he spent the days. It pissed me off. I took off my clothes and got into his bed, lying on top of him. He turned his face away again, but I forced it back, my lips ravaging his mouth, my tongue flickering into his, claiming him. He couldn't pretend that I wasn't there. If he had protested, I would have stopped, but he merely sprawled beneath me passively. My lips brushed over each trembling eyelid, kissed his petite nose, and then found that hot spot under his chin and to the side of his neck.
He might be able to block my words out, but now I was going to speak to him in a language to which he would have to respond. My hands mapped the myriad textures of his skin, his hair, sought out the lines of his body I remembered so well.
Alex used to force me to fuck him. I'm not joking. He would show up with that smirk, remind me of the nanobytes and tell me that I had to do anything he said and what he wanted was to bottom for me. Make me hurt him, pound into him until he bled. I gave it to him. Scratched him. Bit him. Hit him while I fucked him and called him names. And he took it all from me. Then he'd get dressed and walk out my door, turning his elusive gaze back for a minute to say I had what I wanted, short of killing him. Fucking bastard! Fucking crazy self-destructive bastard.
Why didn't he stop? It was obvious that he was using Mulder's fist and my cock to punish himself. Why not quit? Why not let us help him?
Even after I found out about the nanobytes, I didn't understand.
But this time, it wasn't fucking. I made love to him an inch at a time, suckling in the rich flavors of him, tasting him all, taking him into myself. My teeth lightly nipped his tender spots as I sucked a morsel of flesh into my mouth. I could feel him fighting me. No, not struggling, he was waging an interior battle to remain still, locked away from the world, but I was resurrecting him. I could feel him trembling. When I looked up, he was blinking rapidly and his mouth, cupid bowed, always incongruously sweet, had opened as he took deep gulps of air.
I avoided the obvious places, not even suckling his nipples. I laved the insides of his elbows, the tender flesh behind his knees. My tongue explored the hollow of his spine, counted the discs of his back. I even treated his feet to this rich sensual consumption. They're ticklish and when I suckled on his toes; he couldn't stand it. His indignant stare glared at me and he said, "Fuck me. Would you just fuck me?"
It was the longest sentence he had spoken since he regained consciousness. I looked back at him and grinned... I looked and felt like I was taking advantage of him. I shook my head and I said, "I don't want to fuck you, Alex."
My kisses and nuzzling traveled remorselessly onward. I mouthed the knobs of his ankles, licked the long calves and went onward until I was at the tender, trembling inner thighs. I kissed the hollows of his pelvis and worked my way teasingly inward until his hand pushed at my head and I heard him say, "Make love to me, Walter. Make love to me."
He hardly lasted more than a moment or two in my mouth, but he wasn't content with that, gasping, "Inside me, please."
It was familiar yet not. I didn't want to be rough. I wanted to lose myself in making love to him, unhurried, savoring the sounds he made, the scents rising from his super heated skin. He was on his back, his legs over my shoulders, his ass enclosing my cock as his head moved against the pillow, tousling his hair, sweat damping and curling tendrils to frame his sensitive face. He licked his lips, hissed between his teeth as I hit the right place for him. He arched, straining to guide me there again and cried out as I succeeded. By the time, I finished; he was coming with me.
After that, he couldn't retreat back into his dream world. He gave it all up to us, unraveling the lies and the half-truths, telling a tale only Mulder would have believed before the events of the last year.
I remember his hand, white-knuckled clutching the rail of the witness booth as he testified. He was exhausted by the end of each day. I would watch the faces in the courtyard, expressions of disbelief, expressions of outrage, and horror. When it was over, he was drained. He'd made his deal well. He had protection, immunity, and a clean slate. He could go anywhere in relative safety, but he looked like a lost child. He had no place left in the world, no one that could understand him, but us.
Mulder made the first move, held out his hand and said, "Alex, you're coming home?"
When Alex took the hand, Mulder pulled him to him, crushing him against his chest. I embraced them both and their hands, unevenly matched held hard to me. At first, we went back and forth between the apartments. Then Mulder said he and Alex needed a place. Mulder had refused to be reinstated. He had finished his mission and now he wanted to live again.
I don't know why I stayed except that Kersh had resigned. Never did get enough dirt on him to take him down, but he looked like a fool at the best. The president himself suggested that he take early retirement. I filled the shoes, but let them know about my personal life. I could tell they were askance about Alex, but I suppose that they accepted my relationships because Mulder apparently transcended his gender and we were heroes by that time. Whatever we did was acceptable.
So I was acting director. I refused to accept the permanent appointment. I wanted to enjoy my life with my lovers in the open and while I was still young enough to do them justice.
A piece at a time, I had moved into the house that Mulder bought. My apartment stood empty, a monument to the vacant misery of my previous life. I paid for it until the lease was up. Mulder found me with the renewal in my hand. He looked at me and said, "What are you hiding from, Walter? You have a home."
He was right. I smiled at him and polished my suddenly fogged glasses. I tore the contract up, two pieces then four and finally I threw the confetti with which I ended up into the air in celebration.
Happiness wasn't something I was used to holding onto for long. It was always something that someone else could control. Sharon with her martyred sighs and sudden rages. Spender sauntering into my life to piss on my parade.
It was a week after my decision that Roland and Bud came into town. They didn't know about Alex and Mulder. I said I would meet them at a bar. We saw the town a stool at a time. Must have hit at least ten places. Last time I had been this drunk ended up in disaster, but I made it home in one piece, having the foresight to take a taxi.
I was wiped but not so wasted that I didn't catch Alex's reaction. He was still feral enough to investigate every odd noise and I suppose the heavy thud of my weight slamming into the door qualified. I was a genial drunk for once and when the door opened to let me see Alex standing off to one side, I was very pleased to see him. I took a staggering step and caught myself on his tee shirt clad shoulder. Even as relaxed as I was, I couldn't miss the way he flinched away from me and stiffened. My idea of handling it was to tilt his chin and press an alcohol sodden kiss on his lips.
A moment later, Mulder was picking me up from the carpet. Krycek's one fist had sliced the air and connected with my chin. I went down like a stunned ox. He's strong my Alex. Mulder looked bemused and Alex's back was disappearing down the hall.
It took a week of constant apologies to coax him back to our bed and he never did tell me what was bothering him. I think he may have spoken to Mulder in confidence or maybe Mulder knew from some earlier time. I'm ashamed to say that the two times I made love to Alex before we became enemies, there wasn't a whole lot of talking, not with words anyway.
We'd made up, although I hid all of the suitcases. Stupid and immature right? As if doing that would stop him from leaving me or throwing me out. Mulder discovered my amusing idiocy when he couldn't find one to pack for his trip. He just shook his head and said, "Talk to Alex while I'm gone."
Losing myself in work is something I do well. Mulder too. Alex is too hyper-vigilant to ever lose himself in anything except in making love. He will forgo his guards in bed but no place else. I had finished the living room, closet, and bathroom before I realized I was very hungry and that I hadn't heard from Alex for a long time.
The kitchen was empty. Alex had said he would make lunch. A plate full of sandwiches stood neatly covered by a square of cellophane. A few vegetables were in a colander in the sink. There were two peaches. I had picked them out at a fruit stand. They were perfect, rosy blushes over gold. One bite and the juices would run down his face. I loved to lick the sweet nectar off his chin, taste peaches on his lips. Peaches were Alex's favorite fruit.
He wasn't in the bathroom. I thought he might have gone to empty the garbage and I checked in the hall. Then for some reason I opened the blinds to the balcony. He sat, pressed up against the rails, his forehead resting on the cold metal. I grabbed my coat before going out. It was damn chilly out there. What the hell was Alex thinking, sitting out there without a coat?
A blustering wind howled a knife blade of cold right through my heavy jacket. The sleet stung across my cheek.
Crouching down, I reached to touch him. He flinched, turning wounded eyes on me. "What are you doing here?"
"It's cold," Alex said.
"Yeah, I know," I answered, irritation I didn't want to show creeping out nevertheless. "That's why I was inside."
"It was very cold in Siberia," Alex returned.
I waited silently to hear him out. He'd never said a word about his past, hadn't even told me whether he was really Russian.
"I was born here, you know. My dad was born in Russia, but his parents immigrated when he was a teenager. He went back when he was twenty-one and fell in love with my mother. He was very intelligent, a poet and a scientist. My mom was a teacher. I barely remember her, just remember she loved to sing and that everyone said I looked like her. She had green eyes too and my hair is the same color. He brought her to America, but he was never happy here. He took us back to Moscow after he finished his PhD." Alex said.
My lover shivered again and I took my coat off to put it around him. My arms followed. I said, "So you were raised in Russia?"
"Most of my childhood. When I was four, my dad was accused of spying. I don't think that was true. They put him in prison and sent my mother and me to Siberia. When he got out, he joined us at the camp. He used to be so kind, but when they freed him from prison, he was bitter, moody, and cruel. He'd hit us, my mom and me, drink too much and hit us. He would lay into me, call me names, tell me I was a thief and a crybaby," Alex mused. His lashes lay against his pale cheek like broken winged birds.
Not knowing what to say, I moved closer, felt him stiffen and then relax. I didn't know what to do. I always left it to Mulder to deal with Alex's moods just as I left Alex to deal with Mulder's. I wanted to be the bedrock of the relationship; or maybe I was more frightened of feelings than either of them. Leastwise, I let them storm around me and picked up the pieces later. My lips brushed the soft tendrils of his hair as it clung damply to his skull and down around the nape of his neck.
Sagging back into me, Alex said, "Every day, I used to go to sweep the commandant's quarters. I was really little, not very old at all. I don't know why he picked me, just showed up at the hut where we lived and pointed at me. Next thing I know I was trying to push a broom that was taller than me around. He didn't hurt me, but he scared me. He would look at me oddly as if... but he never really touched me. I don't think he did anyway. I don't remember too much from my childhood. Just that my dad made my mom look at me every time I came back. I think he wanted to protect me. I think he really cared. I just kept thinking if I was stronger, brighter, that maybe he would have stopped yelling,"
I was in way over my head. This was all wrong. I had fallen in love and lust with someone I thought was a sexy innocent. Then he became my dark demon of desire. Hell, if I knew what he was to me now; somebody I cared about but didn't know very well except we knew each other's bodies, knew how to make each other sweat, writhe, scream even.
Who the hell was this man I was holding? This man shivering in the cold and dark? I wasn't prepared for this.
Still, I knew enough not to shut him off. I just wished that Mulder or even Scully were here. I let him settle closer, wondering when I could bring up going inside. I was getting stiff.
"I was always hungry. There was never a lot to eat. My mom used to give me some of her food and my dad would get so mad. He kept saying to take some from the commandant, but I was too scared. Then mama got sick, very sick. It was TB; can you believe that? Medicine to cure it and all that, but she was dying. I thought it was because of the food," Alex said, rocking to and fro in a monotonous self-comforting fashion. I wanted to hold him still, make him stop that ominous obsessive oscillation.
"One day, I went to my work and there was a bowl of peaches. I'd only ever had one. They were so beautiful, just like the ones you bought. I swept and I dusted and I kept looking at them. I convinced myself that if mama had one of them that she would feel better. I could be a hero. So I put one in my coat pocket and I ran home. Papa was drunk when I got there. Some of the men had a still hidden in the woods. Wasted food to make the hooch," Alex related bitterly.
His lip curled. I knew he never had more than one or two drinks, but I always assumed that was his self-protective instincts and training.
Huddling in on himself, Alex said, "I went right past him and opened the curtain to the alcove where my parents slept. Mama looked as if she was asleep, not coughing for once. I decided she had to eat the peach right away in case it was missed. I shook her and she was cold. Her hand flopped out of the bed. I shook her harder and harder. I was screaming at her, that she had to wake up and eat that damn peach."
The deep shuddering breath he took just seemed to stop. I waited, conscious of the passage of time, until he exhaled as if his pain was a sharp wound, deflating his lungs, emptying him out until there was nothing left but the skin surrounding a vast hollow. He took a gulping breath and I could feel him shaking.
"She was dead, she was fucking dead and nothing I could do would bring her back. I sat there and I ate the peach, promising myself that I would never love anyone again," Alex said, "and I almost made it."
The way he looked at me the meaning was clear. It shocked the hell out of me. I knew Krycek had a lot of feelings for Mulder. Me? I knew he liked me to do him. Even after the nanobytes... especially after them.
I loved him, but I always thought he loved Mulder and was in lust with me.
Taking a deep broken breath, Alex made himself turn around to briefly meet my eyes. He said, "Two years later, Spender showed up and picked out some subjects for one of his experiments. My dad and I were in the bunch, but he took a liking to me. I remember him turning my head from side to side and smiling. The smoke... made me feel like throwing up. When we got to the new camp, my father worked for them. Spender took me, educated me, supported me through college, and he... taught me, twisted me, until I thought that the way he thought was the only way there was," Alex said.
Slumped back into my embrace, his one hand holding my arms tightly to him, Alex was silent for a long time. I thought he might have fallen asleep and almost had decided to move him inside when he started to speak again.
"I couldn't find the courage to leave, not after what he did to me for trying. My dad was careless in the lab. Black Oil got him, but Spender had replaced him. If I ever wondered what I could have been, he beat it out of me, not only with his belt, but even more so with his words. I remember him telling me over and over that he saved me. Sometimes, I even believed him when he said I was like a son to him. I even used to get him Christmas presents. Gave him a fucking lighter with his initials the year after I met you," Alex finished his diatribe with a harsh laugh. I could hear how much he hated himself for what had happened to him.
There was nothing I could say to make it better so I could only hold him and rock with him until he relaxed again. Finally, he let me take him inside. We lay down on the bed together, not to make love, just for him to press his face into my chest and me to hold him, stroking his satin hair and his soft skin until he finally slept. I held his weight in my numb arms as a penance and a privilege.
After he woke, I brought the food into the bedroom and we fed each other sandwiches and peaches. I kissed the sweet sticky juice from his mouth and chin and the salt from around his eyes.
"Can I ask you something?" he asked.
"Of course, anything," I answered.
"Can you help me find my mother's grave? She was from Georgia... in Russia. She used to talk about it, always wanting to go home. Can you help me take her? You and Mulder?"
"Of course," I promised.
It wasn't easy to get the permits and make the arrangements. I suggested he might want her moved nearer us, but he said she wanted to go home. Some of the people even remembered her, the most beautiful girl in the village who married the American and went off to live in a fairy tale. We didn't tell them what really happened.
Alex didn't know what Mulder had arranged, but when he saw the grave covered with peach blossoms, his whole face lit and he kissed Mulder right there in front of everyone. No one even seemed surprised. I wasn't going to point out my contribution. It was as gloriously foolish as Mulder's was in all probability. Alex finally noticed the tiny peach tree sapling. He collapsed to his knees and touched it with trembling hands and when he looked up, he was smiling with tears running down his face.
"She's home," was all he said, but I knew he meant that so was he... not in Russia, but home in our hearts, Mulder and mine.
We walked back to our car, his hand in mine and Mulder's arm locked around his waist. We'd come back next year in the spring. Maybe there would even be a peach on that little tree. I asked for hardly cold weather stock, tough, tenacious, and beautiful just like Alex. I had a feeling it would survive and bloom.
By Amanda Ghost
I don't remember when I got cold.
It was when he would lay into me.
Told that you're worthless from five years old.
Is it part of your destiny?
He's standing next to me.
I cannot breathe.
When will I have the guts to leave?
Run away from all that is sacred.
Escaping the shadows over me.
You'll never make it.
It's all that a child believes.
I don't remember when I felt warm.
I was never quite good enough.
I only wanted the simple things like being told you were loved.
He's still supporting me but where's the faith.
Looking in his eyes I sense his hate.
I never cry for sadness.
I cut off from the pain.
I won't forget your madness but I'll forgive you anyway.
He's standing next to me.
I cannot breathe.
When will I have the guts to leave?
Peaches 2: Nectar