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Not A Word Wasted

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Not A Word Wasted

Not A Word Wasted

by Flutesong

[Story Headers]

Title: Not a Word Wasted

Author: Flutesong



Keywords: M/K Slash

Spoilers: The end of season seven, Alex survives the garage, then AU.

Rating: Adults Only

Summary: Everything, some humor, and maybe the kitchen sink, adults only

Warning: Adult Themes /Slash /Language

June/July 2007

Not a Word Wasted

Alex looked around and wondered if he would have been better off dead.

There were children grizzling to the left of him, children sobbing to the right of him and several with ominously quivering lips in front of him. The sky was about to burst from its gray dome and pour for the remainder of the afternoon from hell. He had begun to call it The Afternoon From Hell when it had been scarcely a quarter after ten that morning. He could see which way the day was going by then and that things were not going to be better by lunchtime.

Alex tried to coax the children in front of him to relax, but that made the tears flow faster, "We're hungry Mr. Alex," They cried, more or less in unison.

What he wanted to do was to yell very loudly and tell them all to shut up that he wasn't the one who forgot their lunches, and his. That had been the pubescent girl with the green and purple stripes in her hair. Less than an hour ago, these same crybabies had been thrilled to have the weird teenager on the hike with them. They had explained, multiple times, about how someone named Tonks, in a favorite book, had purple hair too, and changed it to green upon occasion. The teenager had known all about that character and had merrily rehashed the books with the kids and never thought about the backpack full of sandwiches and juice boxes she had left, she thought, by the last park ranger's hut and bathrooms.

Alex looked around in vain for edible berries or apples, but they were in the Kennesaw Mountain State Park. He did not think apples grew in Georgia and there were no peach trees to be found either, only pines, lots, and lots of pine trees.

"Okay, okay," He said in a loud voice that was just shy of yelling. "It's less than an hour's walk back to the hut and the food. If everyone would stop crying, we can go and get it." They cried louder and made no effort to get going. "I think," He said craftily, "That the rangers have ice cream bars there too."

That caught the attention of some of the crowd, and they started to tell the others to go. Several of the little ones, who should have been too young to go to summer camp at all, in Alex's newly found opinions about the subject, gathered around him more closely, one even daring to put up her arms and ask him to carry her because she was so tired.

Alex frowned and the girl backed off a few steps. "We will march," He said, "and someone will start a song and we will all sing." After less that a week with these urchins, he had learned that everything had to be said in the Royal We, because the children did not take kindly to orders that `they' should do things independently.

The teenage girl looked at him helplessly. "Sing." He ordered.

She grimaced, almost in tears herself and said, for the ninety-ninth time, "I'm so sorry, Mr. Alex. I didn't mean to leave it there."

"Just sing!" He growled.

She rolled her eyes and he had a fierce longing for his gun, while he wondered how anyone survived their teenage years to become adults without being shot.

She started, in a loud voice of uncertain tonality, "My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump. My lovely lady lumps (lumps)
My lovely lady lumps (lumps)
My lovely lady lumps (lumps)"

The children screamed with laughter and gathered around her, "Humps! My humps!" They all yelled.

Alex caught her eye and nodded to the track in the woods they had been following. She began to dance her way back the way they had come.

They progressed, screaming and laughing along the track. Since the song was almost obscene, he wondered how the small demons knew it.

By the time they progressed to,
"You can stand under my umbrella
You can stand under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh eh eh eh)"

He was sure he should have let the Skinner, Mulder, or the aliens kill him for real. A bullet in the head would have been less painful.

He watched his/its body fall for the final time. Skinner lowered his gun; Mulder walked passed him and went on his way. After Mulder pulled out of the garage, Skinner looked around, with a grim set to his jaw. He noticed the security cameras and groaned. They were placed a little too high for him to reach. Nevertheless, in his usual pedantic fashion, he got in his car and drove up to each column, stood on the bumper of his car and ripped them off their pivots.

When he was done, he came back to Alex's body. Alex was surprised that he didn't kick it or spit on it. Skinner simply stared down at him for a long moment. With a grunt, Skinner bent down and hoisted the body over his shoulder, firefighter's style, and shoved it into his trunk.

Alex, from his hidden perch in the cab of the emergency tow truck, which was always parked near the exit in the FBI underground parking lot, smiled grimly. Skinner was in for a big surprise the next time he opened the trunk. All he would see would be a small metal rod, with a distinct resemblance to a spinal disc. Alex debated whether he wanted Skinner to understand that this was the key to the super-soldiers reanimation or not. Given a day or so, it would flesh out again and be a being, not a human being, but a living entity nonetheless.

Alex watched Skinner drive out of the garage. He took a deep breath and smoothed the material of his new jacket over the flesh of his new arm. He had not agreed to the arm replacement, but they had insisted. It was payment for arranging for Mulder to go after Scully and thus, lead them there without loss of time. That they already had other plans to trace Scully in play, didn't matter, they were methodical beings and Alex knew that was why they would probably triumph in the end. No emotions meant no ties or lack of motivation to get things done.

Alex shrugged; they would have gotten to Scully without his help he rationalized. He wondered if they would keep her and the baby prisoner or simply kill her and Mulder too, when he arrived. As far as he understood, the baby was the end product of a multi year experiment. The baby was a first generation human-alien hybrid. It would look human; medically, it would test as human. But, by age three or so, it would become aware of its mission, follow its preprogramming, and join up with the others like it, eventually, becoming an army.

There were still a few bugs. If the baby was treated with a large dose or two of magnetite, the infinitesimal alien fragments, which would grow and take over the human DNA, could be rendered void.

Alex now knew that many test subjects from earlier generations had been tampered with along the way. Mulder had a bit of alien in his makeup, added to his mother's womb when he was still a lump of multiplying cells. Mulder's sister had had more additions and died young.

Alex wanted to feel free. He was no longer in hock to anyone and he had no more assignments to complete for the super-soldiers. They had their own hierarchy and Alex wasn't in the loop. Mulder would rescue Scully somehow, that's what he, the hero in his in drama, did. Skinner would believe himself free of the threat of the nanos, although he had not found the handheld device on Alex/its body. And Alex had no more connections to any of them.

He looked around the garage and made a vow to live a life from now on in which he did not have to hang out in dim dank places, waiting for angry assholes with guns to show up and blow him away.

Alex sighed, got out of the cab of the tow truck, and went to the sleek black Lexus, which was his retirement gift to himself. It had tinted windows in case anyone was watching the exits, but no one was.

He was a man of the world; free, rich, fully functional and with the rest of his life available to do whatever he wanted. He made it as far as the freeway before he realized he would have to follow Mulder to Georgia and make sure he rescued Scully without getting himself killed.

He drove to National Airport, parked far away from everyone else in long-term parking, and bought a ticket to Atlanta. He hated the thought of leaving his car behind, but it would take too long to drive to Georgia.

He had no way to take a weapon on board, but he knew any number of shady types who would supply him with one in Atlanta, a city with a thriving black market in whatever illegal thing one desired.

The flight was smooth; he went first class and drank vodka tonics on the way. He rented a nondescript beige sedan and headed for west Georgia. Four hours later, he was in time to see Scully in labor, Reyes hysterically trying to deliver the baby and keep the female appearing super-soldier from grabbing it first and running off with it. Scully was having a hard time of it, for all her medical training, having a baby in these conditions was not a piece of cake.

As soon as the baby was delivered, he saw the super-soldiers back off and leave Reyes and Scully alone. Within a few minutes, Alex heard a helicopter land and Mulder calling for Scully as cars of aliens drove right past him without a word.

Still watching through a back window, he saw the tender reunion between Ma and Pa Kettle and the new sprog. Mulder, full of macho fatherly pride rounded up some emergency care medics and had Scully loaded into the helicopter as if she were Cleopatra on her barge.

As soon as he heard the helicopter take off, Alex left, his worry had been for nothing, and he could go recover his precious car and get on with the rest of his life.

Late that evening, Alex plumped the pillows on his first rate, king sized bed at the Hay-Adams Hotel, which was down the street from the White House and boasted politicians and celebrities on its guest list. He had showered and was dressed in the very adequate toweling robe, which the hotel provided. He glanced at the clock. They good looking ebony man of all trades was due. Alex pondered what he would have the young man perform for him. While he had never sold himself in that particular way, he'd been to this hotel and ones like it all over the world on business and not pleasure. He could afford the pleasure now and intended to enjoy it often.

He let the robe slide from his shoulders as he stood in front of the mirror; he flexed his bare left arm and watched its reflection. He waved to himself and giggled. Appalled that he had made such a sound, he frowned and put the robe back on. His emotional control had been iffy these past few days, as he had gone from despair to giddiness over the regeneration of his arm. He'd hated the alien largess getting it entailed, but he could not deny his absolute joy in being whole again.

The expected knock on his door came and he went to open it. He might be retired, but he wasn't stupid, so he glanced through the peep hole, gun in hand, first. It was the young black man. He opened the door. The young man entered and said hello. He posed, and allowed Alex to look his fill.

Alex pointed a finger at the folded bills beside the lamp. The young man nodded, "What's your pleasure?" He asked.

"Undress," Alex said shortly.

The young man undressed, neatly folding his pants and shirt, laying them on a chair, his underwear on top. Alex watched. The boy had a good body, slim, nice skin, vague musculature and almost no hair, except a small, shaved patch above his cock. From where he was standing, Alex could see the boy was clean and smelled of some citrus scent.

Naked, the boy palmed his cock, stretching it out and massaging it until he had elicited a tentative hard-on.

Alex dropped his robe; the boy smiled, bent over the chair, giving Alex a view of his ass, and took several condom packages out of the pocket of his pants. He put them on the bedside table.

Alex sat on the edge of the bed, the boy got on his knees. He ran his hands up and down Alex's calves and between his thighs. Alex leaned back on his forearms, and the boy covered his dick with his hands, running his fingers up and down. Alex was hard. The boy rolled a condom onto Alex and began to suck him. The boy was good at it and Alex sighed.

After a few minutes, Alex pushed the boy's face off his dick. The boy looked at him inquiringly. "Ride me," Alex said softly, just a bit out of breath.

The boy nodded and smiled, he got on his knees, splayed over Alex's body, and reaching behind him, grabbed Alex's cock and held it as he eased his ass onto it.

Alex noted the boy had prepared himself ahead of time. The ride on his cock was tight, but smooth and slippery. Alex envied the boy's ease as his knees flexed as he went up and down on him. "Faster," Alex said gutturally. The boy nodded, bit his lip, and deepened his movements. Alex could see the boy was still only partially erect, but it was nothing to him if the boy got off or not. As the pressure in his loins increased, Alex grabbed the boy's prick, squeezed it, the boy moaned then, and hardened. Alex pushed his hips up sharply and the boy moaned once more. Alex roughly squeezed and pulled on the boy and the boy went faster, pinching his own nipples and then pulling on the nubs. Alex grabbed the boy's hip and holding him steady, he pumped up and into the boy's ass, coming hard.

The boy stopped, looking disappointed. Alex pushed him off. The boy lay on his stomach and panted. Alex sat up, "Go ahead," he said, almost kindly.

The boy turned over, grabbed his cock, and inserted three fingers in his ass from underneath. As soon as he got a rhythm going, Alex picked up the newspaper, which was lying on the table and rolled a section into a tight tube. He went back to boy writhing on his bed and brought the paper across the boy's hand and cock with a hard slap. "Yes," The boy moaned. Alex hit him again. The boy turned over, his hands still working his body. Alex struck the boy's ass until it reddened. The boy was noisy, pleading for more. Alex got a new condom, tossed the used one away, and put it on. Standing at the side of the bed, he grabbed the boy's hips, tilted him, and plunged in. He fucked him hard, the boy spasmed, squeezing Alex from inside his ass. Alex grunted and thrust in again and again until he too, orgasmed.

He dropped the boy, "Get your money and leave." Alex said, and went into the bathroom. His weapons and money was in the room safe, the boy had nothing left of value to steal.

The boy was gone when Alex got out of the shower. The few minutes of relief had been welcome, but meant nothing in the long run. Alex did not usually hire sex; in fact, he rather seldom had sex. The life he had led was not conducive of relationships and every stranger had been a potential enemy or assassin. Alex tugged on some boxers and a T-shirt, still enjoying the luxury of having both arms. The boy had been okay, exciting in a small way. He dismissed the boy from his mind.

He poured a drink from the mini-bar and added ice. In the morning he would make a list of things he wanted to do, he thought sleepily. The drink only half finished, Alex turned off the light and closed his eyes.

The next day, after he checked out of the hotel, he drove past Scully's apartment. He knew Mulder had moved his stuff there and he wanted a last glimpse of the man on his way out of town. Instead, he saw Scully, somewhat distraught and with that clown, Doggett, carrying the baby and entering her building. Curious, he pulled around the corner and parked. He knew the layout of her apartment well and he hid in the bushes on the east side of the building, next to her windows, but out of sight from the street. He heard Doggett's loud voice insisting that Mulder should have found a way to stay with her and the baby instead of running off. Scully, in her best icy voice, insisted that the threat was too high and that Mulder would be back when he had eliminated the danger to her and the baby.

Alex was intrigued. Mulder had everything he wanted right here, Scully as his partner in everything, a kid, and alien super-soldiers to fight. He would have never believed that Mulder would take off.

Maybe being abducted had altered Mulder's priorities, although that hadn't seemed the case a few days ago when he was demanding that Alex tell him a way to defeat Billy Miles. Alex shrugged, scratched an itch where a branch had poked him and went back to his car.

Where would Mulder go to get answers away from his partner, the FBI, and his friends? Alex thought about the long list of contacts Mulder had made over the years, sure he didn't know all of them. He and Diana Fowley had crossed paths a year or so ago, she had been called back to DC to handle the Gibson Praise threat. That kid had been a surprise to the old men for sure. A natural born hybrid, well, that's what he had been told. He didn't believe it for a second. Someone had dabbled in a side project on Syndicate time and made the kid. Spender, as was his nature, meant to take advantage of the kid's special qualities and arranged a lobotomy, which was botched. The kid had run off to communicate with the ETs and tell Mulder all about it. Diana had tried to mitigate the damage, but she lost track of the kid as well.

Alex had always wondered what the kid had read in his mind; the hate he bore Spender, his deep sorrow over the loss of his arm, maybe he had cottoned to the fact that Alex was gay? Whatever it was, he hadn't been around the kid long enough to find out. Mulder had been fascinated by Gibson, had wanted to stretch his theories about the kid's abilities and prove any number of paranormal X Files.

Alex smiled grimly, good old Mulder would have used the kid up, but unlike Scully, he would have never left the boy alone behind a curtain in a hospital ER with every-fucking-body walking around ready to snatch the kid

The kid had been sent secretly to a school for the deaf and gifted out west. Scully had dragged Doggett and Skinner out there, only to lose sight of the Mulder look-alike and put the kid back in danger.

However, Alex knew something Scully did not. Once Spender's brain tissue transplant from Mulder had not worked, he'd gotten to the kid and put him in a lab in Georgia, like the witch in Hansel and Gretel, to fatten him up for the feast. He had been going to harvest the kid's brain and try again. Although Alex was fairly sure the Smoker was still dead, so far as he knew, Gibson was still in Georgia.

Alex drove through a Wendy's and got a large Frosty. Maybe Mulder knew where the kid was, it seemed likely, Mulder was always a step ahead of the old men. It seemed a good bet that Mulder would go to Gibson as a source of information about the aliens and their new playmates, the super-soldiers, not to mention his own brain configuration and its value in the fight.

Alex patted the dash of his Lexus; he would enjoy the drive in his new babe of a car. .
When he took I-75 across the state line from Tennessee into Georgia, it was hot, dry and Alex got the impression that if he went two miles an hour over the speed limit, the Georgia State Police would be more than happy to arrest him and impound the Lexus. He didn't know why he was always jittery driving through the south, but he was. Hollywood movies rot the brain; he thought and shrugged.

He made his way past the signs to the Kennesaw Mountain State Park toward La Fayette. It was a small nothing of a southern town, but in its industrial park, it had a large anonymous concrete building that housed the Syndicate's latest attempts to contain and control the aliens. There is where vats of hybrids, radiation resistant jail cells with alien prisoners in them and a medical ward that could have been on the Enterprise. Ostensibly, it was a hardware development firm, which employed several hundred locals to solder and assemble computer chips. The town was grateful for the employment opportunities as all the cotton mills had relocated overseas and the town had almost died off as a result.

The townspeople accepted the sterile workspace and never questioned why no one was allowed above the second floor. They imagined it was where the serious men in suits met and designed the chips. There was always a flutter of dread through the town when a contingent of Asian men arrived. But, they always left again and nothing was said about moving the business to Taiwan and the town breathed easier.

Alex stopped at a diner on the edge of town. Here he would be checked out and security would give him a pass to enter the building. He was sure the information about his retirement had not reached this facility and he would be allowed inside. The diner had great pancakes and he ate a large stack with pecans and maple syrup.

He hoped Mulder hadn't been hungry, because everyone knew who he was and once he was identified, it wouldn't be long before there was an armed posse sent out after him. Alex was paying the tab when he saw a dusty sedan with Washington DC plates drive by. He ran out, got in his car, and followed the sedan.

Mulder, stopped by a tree on the side of the road, was looking at a map. Alex cruised by and turned at the next corner to go around the block. His car had Maryland plates and that was too close to DC to give Mulder a good look at them. He was hoping Mulder would get in and out of the facility without letting him see he was alive. He wanted Mulder and the kid to be safe, but he fully intended to go his own way once they were.

He waited down the street until Mulder drove onto the street and headed for a perimeter road around the industrial park. Alex approved, Mulder was going to use the delivery entrance to try to get into the building. Alex could safely go ahead and enter the front. He would find a way to help Mulder from inside.

Alex made it through security on the pretext that he had personal messages for one of the directors. Since he knew the director was tethered to a cement block at the bottom of the Hudson, and the people here did not know that fact, he was confident he would be allowed to wait around for a while.

The security guard gave him a pass to roam the building and went back to his monitors. Alex could see one was broadcasting the driveway to the building from the delivery entrance. He told the man thanks and went unhurriedly toward the main hallway, which led to the rear of the building.

He stepped into one of the labs and found just what he wanted, felt squares that were used to rest heated tubes and bottles on. He grabbed a handful and as he approached the security camera nearest to the delivery entrance, he began stuffing them with the black felt, rendering them useless. The ruse wouldn't last long, but it should only take Mulder another minute or two to come in and run to the nearest stairway. Alex ran lightly up the stairwell and used his passkey to open the door at the top, turn the deadbolt that would keep it open and move on down the next corridor toward Gibson's cell. Mulder would instinctively follow the same path, whether he knew it or not, he could sense Gibson these days.

Alex continued, leaving doors unlocked and open for Mulder to follow. Ducking into the doorway of the next room past Gibson's, he waited and watched. Sure enough, Mulder was only a few moments behind him. Mulder twisted the handle on Gibson's door and said, "Eureka!" softly.

Alex watched them come out again; Mulder hoisted Gibson on his back and ran back the way he came. Just as they turned the corner of the hallway, Gibson looked back at stared at the exact spot where Alex was hiding. He made a thumb's up and disappeared on Mulder's back around the corner.

Alex sent good-luck messages silently, walked the other way to the elevator and went back to the lobby, turned in his pass and went back to his car.

He drove away, the windows rolled up and the air conditioning on full blast. He went the speed limit and as he approached the street back to town, Mulder passed him. As he had done in the hallway, Gibson turned his prematurely aged face toward Alex and nodded as they went by.

Alex headed east, returning the way he had come. He intended to drive to Florida and hang out on Miami's South Beach for a while. He contemplated tart Margarita's and expensive drag shows in his near future, and the pretty boys that would naturally be there were the cherries on top.

Back on the highway, Alex let the car go. It was a wild, but quiet animal and responded to his lightest touch. Enjoying the cool air and the Dolby sound system, Alex headed east and then south. He had done what he had promised himself and seen Mulder one last time. With Gibson, Mulder would come to understand his gifts as well as learn how the super-soldiers were vulnerable.

How Mulder would end up, a full time dad to the sprog, or the head of a larger X Files after he saved the world, was not Alex's problem or concern anymore. Mulder thought he was dead, Mulder was fully straight, Mulder hated him dead or alive, and Mulder was unreachable, always and forever. Alex would make a life without the Syndicate or Mulder and he would do his best to enjoy it too. So encouraged, Alex kept an eye out for the state patrol and kept the car at a steady ninety.

The first blowout wrenched the steering wheel almost out of his hands. He was slowing down and making for the shoulder when the second tire blew. He stopped the car, turned off the engine and rolled down the window. The hot, humid air hit him in the face and he hit the steering wheel a few times, cursing.

Alex got out and looked at the tires, of all the things he had done when preparing for the rest of his life, he had not joined Triple A. He'd always felt it was kind of wussy to join or for little old ladies or mothers of a car full of kids. However he had not considered what it would be like to actually own a car he loved. Before, when he'd had car trouble, he'd called for back up or stole another car.

Thank God, he had a legitimate driver's license and registration, which matched his ID. He still got a kick out of using his real name at last. Everything, including a birth certificate was emblazoned with Andre Knjaz'. He would get used to being Andre instead of Alex again. What brought a smile to his face was that his real last name translated into English was prince, not rat or anything like that. The smile went sour as he contemplated explaining how to pronounce his name to the Georgia Highway Patrol. He called information on his cell, told them his location, and asked for a towing service. "Y'all just sit tight," The tow company rep, told him, "we'll be along as quick as we can."

Alex wondered how long `quick as we can' meant.

He waited, took off the black gabardine jacket, the black shirt, and stuffed them in the trunk. His white T-shirt would have to do, because it was hot as hell.

Within the hour the tow truck appeared. The driver was garrulous and wanted to have a lengthy discussion about the Lexus. Alex complied, holding his temper. He needed the tires. At the garage, the driver's wife offered him a tall glass of ice tea and turned the fan to blow directly on him. Only when he paid the bill did she comment on his name, wondering why plain Andy wasn't good enough. Alex reassured her Andre wasn't a sissy name, he smiled at her blindingly, and she smiled back and said she would be sure to tell Fred.

It was late afternoon when he was on his way again. It was several hours to the state line, but he was determined to sleep in Florida tonight. He drove as fast as he dared, happy that Fred's alignment technique was excellent and the car's ride was smooth.

He stayed at the Doubletree Hotel in Tallahassee, disregarded all the million and one items of Florida State University paraphernalia, and ordered room service. About eight hours on I-75 would bring him to South Florida and another hour to the beach. He posed in front of the mirror; going to the beach was going to be just fine with both arms attached. He was pale, but a good sunscreen and gradual exposure would brown him up in a day or so.

He ate a breakfast of fresh orange juice and croissants, got a large coffee to go, and headed out. The day was blindingly bright and hot. Passed Jacksonville, Alex began to see the massive changes Disney World and its environs had made to central Florida since the last time he'd driven through. Strip malls and motels had replaced orange groves; large service stations had taken the place of quaint gas stations with icy Nehi soda machines, and the traffic never let up. Eventually, he came to the orange groves, and what passed for hills in Florida. He found a terrific Latino station on the radio and listened to salsa and mariachi bands as he made headway south.

He pulled into a service station, filled the tank, and parked by the bathrooms. As he was washing his hands, he looked into the mirror. Gibson, wearing a Florida State T-shirt, was standing in the open door of a stall. He was staring at Alex with that strange old-man concentration that made him so odd. Alex stiffened. Gibson pointed to the last stall; Mulder was still in there. Alex frowned at Gibson and placed a finger over his lips. Gibson rolled his eyes and Alex turned on his heel and got the hell out. Backing out of the parking lot, he saw the dusty beige sedan. He would have to keep his wits about him, he thought. Retirement wasn't danger free by any means.

Why the hell hadn't Mulder taken the kid back north where they could fight the super-soldiers and expose the syndicate? Alex groaned. He'd thought he'd left Mulder behind to get on with the heroics and why was Gibson keeping Alex's secrets, he'd never harmed the kid, but he hadn't tried to stop Spender either?

Alex drove on, antsy now that Mulder seemed to be heading south as well. Maybe, he thought, fate was a treadmill, which you couldn't get off. Well, he had gotten off damn-it. He was heading for surf, sun, and sex. He deserved it after the bleakness of the past decade. He was still a young man, with all his limbs, healthy and looking good after everything he'd been through. There was no reason to be sucked back into Mulder's gravity. He was out for himself now, no more fighting or fleeing other people's agendas.

Alex kept his mantra of self-entitlement going, repeating the salient points over and over, as he covered miles of mangroves and sugar cane fields. He kept the windows closed, not because someone could see him if he didn't, but because it was scorching with them down.

The signs for Miami and routes east to the beaches came into view. He took the first one, deciding he would get to the beach and drive to South Beach on Ocean Drive. It would be slower with all the red lights, but he would get to see all the new hotels and glimpses of the ocean on his way.

Much later, as the summer sun set, Alex reclined on the balcony of the Rivera Hotel. It was an Art Deco gem, completely restored in the eighties. He had an ice bucket with a split of champagne, waiting to be opened. He watched the ocean as the tide came in. There were a fair share of bathers on the beach, looking richly golden in the last of the sunshine, and fit, very, very fit and not shy about showing off that fact in bright colored thongs. Alex stirred sluggishly, he'd had a cool shower, dressed himself in light weight chinos and a taupe and green Hawaiian shirt. His dark green flip-flops were by his chair. Somehow, he wasn't ready to hit the beach, or the restaurant or make reservations for the floor show at midnight. He felt strangely deflated after his efforts on Mulder's behalf. He would have to adjust to retirement, that's all, he reassured himself.

He watched the boys walk by on the path from the beach to the hotel. They were all splendid specimens, and he'd been dreaming up this scenario since his endless days in icy cold Russia while he had medical treatments to correct some of the butchery done to his arm. That had been the lowest point in a long list of downers. So, he'd detailed the beach, the boys and the abandonment of South Beach.

Only now, it wasn't fun. He wanted to know what Mulder was doing and why he had strayed so far south and away from Scully and the kid. If he had ever owned a farm, he would have bet it on Mulder and Scully making a go of it together. With the kid, it had to be a sure thing, what Mulder had always wanted, a family to take the place for what he'd lost when his sister had vanished into the night.

Alex popped the champagne cork, if he was going to be maudlin, he might as well be drunk and maudlin. There was a plate of bits and pieces to go with the champagne: salmon on triangles of toast, pate on chunky French bread, and mushroom caps stuffed with cheese and crabmeat, tasting of a garlicky dressing with a hint of cayenne. Life was good, he thought as the flavors burst on his tongue, and the time to repine or be bitter was past. He'd lived to move on, move out and be human again.

Alex sipped and tasted, watched the sunset and sipped some more. He got up and leaned over the rail of his balcony. He was on a corner and from here; he could see the sidewalk outside the hotel. There was already a line of tanned and shiny people waiting at the door to the restaurant, their chatter, and laughter sounding gentle from three floors up. Limos, Mercedes, and cabs, stopped and let out more people, all intent on having a good time.

There was break in the queue and several people pointed and laughed. Mulder, his Armani a wrinkled mess, a five o'clock shadow darkening his jaw, and a frown on his face, with Gibson alongside, walking with his uneven gait, looked ridiculously out of place among the dinner crowd. Just as Alex stepped back, Mulder stared straight up at him, as if he knew he was there.

Alex felt a rush of adrenalin and his heart raced. There was no doubt about it, Mulder had deliberately set out to find him, and he had.

Alex waited in his suite. If the axe was about to fall, dying here was better than actually dying in a garage. It would be a pity to stain the pale carpets though. There was no call from the front desk, which meant that Gibson, Mulder or both of them knew which room was his. Alex allowed a tiny flame of hope in. Maybe Mulder's brain was already on Gibson's wavelength and that is why he had stepped right over the dead clone in the garage, he knew it wasn't him from the start. At least, Alex hoped that was it. He had been royally pissed that Mulder had left him there for dead, with hardly a glance.

Deciding to deal with the situation with savoir-faire, Alex opened the door a crack, sat down and poured himself another glass of champagne, and waited. He heard the elevator open on his floor and within moments, they were at his door. They came inside without knocking, although Gibson was stifling a giggle, which gave away any attempt for them to arrive secretly.

Standing in front of Alex, his gun in his hand, Mulder looked around the room. Forestalling any snarky remark Mulder might make, Alex said, "I'd offer you a drink, but I only have one glass."

Mulder did not smile, "I'm not thirsty," He said in a surly voice. Gibson sat on a footstool and gazed out the window. "What are you doing here?" Mulder asked aggressively.

Alex took his time answering, he handed the plate of goodies to Gibson, who began to eat without a word. "This is phase one of my retirement." He answered.

Mulder sneered. "Oh, yeah?"

"Yeah," Krycek said.

"So you're just going to let the world go to hell while you guzzle champagne and fu..." Mulder stopped himself with a glance at Gibson, who continued to eat undisturbed.

Alex smiled, "Yeah, exactly,"

Mulder sat down in the other easy chair. "Nice view of the beach." He said.

Alex laughed. Mulder frowned. Gibson ate.

Alex sipped his champagne while Mulder cogitated or relaxed. Whatever he was doing here, he hadn't made a move to kill him, and that was good, all things considered.

After a few minutes, Mulder rose and walked around the suite. He opened the door into the bedroom and whistled when he saw the large screen TV by the bed. He used the bathroom and came out marginally more put together, his shirt tucked in and his jacket over his arm. He tried the connecting door to the next room. "Anybody in there?" He asked Alex.

"I don't think so," He said, "it's not the weekend so they aren't sold out."

Mulder faced him and stared at him for long, silent moments, "Get if for me for a couple of nights."

Alex's brows rose, "You know how much it costs here?"

Mulder frowned, "You have plenty of ill gotten gains, I'm sure you can manage it."

"Why should I?" Alex asked letting a little of his irritation at Mulder's attitude to seep into his voice.

Mulder sighed and spoke slowly as if he were explaining things to an idiot, "I had to leave in a hurry and I'm trying not to leave a paper trail in case anyone is looking for me. I'll have money again in a couple of days and Gibson and I are not about to sleep on the beach."

"I could simply make a call and the question of being followed won't matter any more." Alex said snidely.

"You're supposed to be dead, so I assume you don't want to attract attention either. You came and went like a ghost at the Georgia facility; you could've turned me in there."

"That was a goodbye gift," Alex said unhappily. "I was looking forward to a peaceful retirement, not another manic episode with you around. I don't think they would supply me with another body part any time soon."

Mulder sneered again and stared at Alex's arm. "That was your reward for sending them straight to Scully?"

"They already knew where she was going, asshole. They didn't need me to corroborate it."

"But you did for the hell of it anyway." Mulder said angrily and Gibson, silent until now, said, "Stop it." Mulder shut up, Alex looked surprised, and Gibson ate another cracker.

"Call the concierge," Mulder said, ordering Alex.

Alex glared at Mulder and poured the final bit of champagne into his glass.

Mulder crossed his arms and waited.

"Why me?" Alex asked grumpily, "I'm sure you have all kinds of strange fans who would just love to help you."

Mulder smiled, "Believe me, Krycek, you are the strangest person I know. You owe me anyway, so call."

"Humph," Alex muttered, but he got on the phone and arranged to add the other room to his bill." When that was confirmed, and the concierge said he would send up the key, Alex asked for room service. He ordered three shrimp dinners, a large pitcher of ice tea, and another bottle of champagne. Before he hung up, he glanced at Gibson and added three pieces of key lime pie for dessert.

Gibson smiled at him and took off his sneakers, kicking them under his chair.

Mulder took off his dress shirt, "Got an extra T-shirt?" He asked Alex, and went to the suitcase on the dresser in the bedroom.

"Hey!" Alex said loudly, "Get your own clothes."

Mulder laughed and went into the bathroom. After a moment, Alex heard the shower. "And your own shower, too," He murmured.

Gibson stopped eating and picked up the remote to the TV. "What do you want from me?" Alex asked in a surly voice.

"He has a dirty mind," Gibson said, jerking his head in the direction of the shower. "So do you." He turned on the TV, "and you're both thinking about the same things." He said and turned up the volume.

Nonplussed, after a moment Alex said, "No way."

Gibson nodded while he chewed another cracker, "Way." He said and began to channel surf.

The concierge came to the door, as he was handing over the key and the registration form, he saw Gibson. "Do you want an extra cot?" He asked.

Mulder, fresh from the shower, his hair sticking up in tufts answered, "No, we won't need it."

The concierge nodded, totally unmoved, asked Alex to return his pen and left.

Alex tossed Mulder the key. Mulder opened the connecting door and then unlocked the one to his room. It was a standard room, sumptuous, but only one room with a large bed, not a suite. Without a word, Gibson switched off the TV and went into the other room. He jumped on the bed and turned on the TV loudly.

Mulder sat down to put a pair of Alex's clean socks on, "I'll sleep on your couch," He said.

"Sure, fine, whatever," Alex muttered, quelling the urge to throw the empty champagne bottle at Mulder's head.

Mulder smiled mockingly, "Temper, temper."

Alex picked up the champagne bottle; at the same moment, there was a knock on the door. A young waiter rolled in the cart with the food. "Just leave it," Alex growled, signing the tab and adding a generous tip. The waiter glanced at Mulder and raised his eyebrows when Gibson came in the room, but all he said was, "Yes, sir," And left.

Without a word, Gibson transferred the plates and the flatware to the small round table by the balcony door. He poured three glasses of ice tea and left the champagne alone, sitting in its ice bucket.

"Let's eat," Mulder said, rubbing his hands together and going to the table.

The meal began quietly. The shrimp was fresh and the cheese and garlic mashed potatoes gave off a delicious aroma. Gibson, eating as if he hadn't seen food for days, nonetheless, had excellent table manners. Mulder popped a shrimp in his mouth and chewed slowly. Alex refused to watch him and started on his salad.

"So, Krycek," Mulder swallowed and spoke. "Why the subterfuge in the garage? And, what the hell was your doppelganger blathering about?"

Alex ate another shrimp. He wasn't going to answer, he wasn't going to explain anything at all. Whatever bizarre mood Mulder was in, and his even more bizarre attitude of bonhomie, Alex didn't trust him an inch. He should be in DC with Scully and the sprog, sneaking around trying to find out how to annihilate the super-soldiers, not here dining off Alex's money, and purporting that he was going to sleep on Alex's couch, not to mention wearing his socks.

Mulder smiled wryly and shrugged. "I know anyway," He said smugly.

"Can I have the pie now?" Asked Gibson, the food on his plate inhaled rather than chewed, and quite empty

Alex passed him a piece of pie. Gibson got up, went into the next room with the pie, and turned the TV on very loud.

"He really likes TV," Mulder said.

Alex continued to eat his dinner.

Mulder sighed and ate some more as well.

Mulder dumped all the used dishes on the cart and put it in the hallway. His face serious, Mulder sat on the couch and looked at Alex. "Krycek," He began. "I got reliable intel, which said that I had to be apart from my son or that the aliens would kill one of us. I want to know why."

Alex didn't want to look at Mulder, he remembered the beseeching face and the puzzled eyes from years ago. Back then, he'd made the mistake of thinking Mulder's apparent vulnerabilities meant that he was weak or irresolute. Mulder had been up in his face many times since then and there was nothing but anger and hate in his eyes and a fist to the gut along with it. Alex smoothed the crease in his pants, "I think you have already guessed most of it and that's why you sought out the wonder boy. The baby Scully gave birth to is also a wonder boy, or at least, a potential wunderkind. The super-soldiers have taken control of everything that was once in the Smoker's and the Syndicate's domain and they want these babies raised to some list of requirements of their own. As your brain healed while you were on the ship, they realized you would be able to sense the baby's abilities and influence him. They do not want you to do that. Beyond that, I am unsure. I do not know their plans, and I do not know if these beings have loyalties to anything but themselves. They could be doing all this to facilitate an invasion or doing everything to prevent one and take control of the planet for them."

Mulder stared, "How did you get to retire?"

Krycek smiled wryly. "I am of no use to them. They are confident about interacting with all the human players in the Purity project. They are unemotional types, but for all that, they aren't killing people randomly. I think they saw my actions over the past few years as positive to their goals. I brought the vaccine to the states, the old men tested it, and with that last bit of information, the scientists were able to finish the job on Cassandra Spender and perfect the hybridization. They are some kind of hybrid themselves. Ironically, I think the old men created these Frankensteins and have now paid the price for it. I was not going to kill you, Scully, or the baby, they understood that, and I became unreliable. So, they, umm, fired me and called it retirement. I did not ask for my arm to be restored, I never wanted an alien to touch me again. Once Scully was full term and more, they wanted me to intercept her for them. I would not, but they had more ideas, made one of their own take on my face, and do what I would not. They held me hostage while you were on the ship and regenerated my arm." Alex's face became animated, "Can you imagine Mulder, those techniques available to everyone, which can perform medical miracles?"

Alex shrugged, "I went to the hospital to give you the antidote to stop the process into hybrid. Skinner and Doggett found me there and weren't willing to hear an explanation. I'd managed to give you one dose when it turned to hell and I had to get out of there. By the time he unplugged you from life-support, it had worked enough to allow Scully's antiviral to do some good and take you the rest of the way back to human. The supermen captured me again and kept me until you and Skinner were in the garage. They deposited me in the cab of the tow truck to watch what happened. They were confident one of you would kill me. And so, Skinner did kill me and cleaned up after you left. They told me I was retired and to stay out of their business in the future. It wasn't as idle threat, these guys don't make idle threats. And here I am. And here you are and you're going to get me killed for real this time."

Mulder seemed to brush off the danger to Alex. Alex wasn't surprised, Mulder always brushed off immanent danger to anyone but Scully. To be fair, he did not consider it for himself either, although that was small comfort. "If these soldiers are hybrids, how can they be stopped? They reanimate after being wounded or left for dead, they look like everyday people, and they communicate well enough to seem to be the people they once were. One of them fooled Doggett for a long time."

Alex grimaced; fooling Doggett was not an especially difficult thing, in his opinion. "There are lots of them, Mulder. How many, I do not know, but they took whole platoons from Desert Storm and changed them. There is an earth-based metal that destroys their programming and makes them melt, literally. How much is needed to accomplish this, I also do not know. It is magnetite, found mostly in desert regions and the more the area has been exposed to radiation, like New Mexico and the nuclear tests there, the better it works."

Alex sighed and looked out the window, the ocean and the sky were both dark now, but he could see white foam where the waves broke. "Now that I have signed my death certificate, Mulder, do you mind leaving me alone to enjoy my last hours?"

Mulder rubbed his forehead, "What are you doing here, Krycek?"

Alex stared at Mulder, astonished. "I wanted to party and celebrate my retirement, Mulder. I'm gay, which I think you realized when you saw my destination. I've never had the chance to come here since Miami Beach has been revitalized as a party place, a gay party place." Alex smiled as Mulder's face colored up. "Come on, Mulder." He chided. "This cannot be a surprise to you."

Mulder looked at his clasped hands and took a deep breath, "So," He said with a smirk, "If I'd fucked you all those years ago, would you have still betrayed me?"

Alex jumped up, "You are such a bastard, Mulder. Fuck me, as if. Everything is a joke to you, isn't it? Well, laugh it up while you can, because those Frankensteins are going to win and you won't be laughing anymore." Alex stormed into the bathroom, aware he was behaving like a drama queen and not caring that he was at all. He slammed the door hard enough to make Mulder wince and Gibson to turn up the volume on the TV in the other room.

He took another shower, determined to dress and go to show after all. Mulder was welcome to talk to the walls if he wanted to. Alex was not going to hang around and be ridiculed.

He scrubbed his head roughly, he'd find a beauty to pass the time with and go to his room. Mulder could wait up for his return in vain and maybe he and the kid would be gone in the morning.

Thus fortified by his anger, Alex finished his shower, rummaged through his suitcase for black pants and a silky black shirt. He put on black boxers and socks to complete the outfit. He made sure he had his credit cards, several condoms, and some mints. He had to get his boots from the sitting room. Mulder watched him silently and Alex picked up the room key, glared at him as he left.

Unbeknownst to him, Gibson muted the TV and said, "That went well," to Mulder in a very dry, very adult voice. Mulder didn't reply, but after a moment Gibson said, "Oh, that's a new one, Mulder and really nasty too."

Mulder put his shoes back on, hand combed his hair and said, "I'll be back, don't leave the room or let anyone but Krycek or me in.

Gibson turned the sound back on, "Good luck," He said as Mulder closed the door.

The club downstairs was bursting; the noise vying with the music and the bare torsos vying with pants so tight they looked like they were spray painted on lean butts and long legs. Mulder hadn't been in a place like this since his short tour on Vice Crimes as part of the VCU, when he was a new agent, and it hadn't been a gay club then either.

After reeling through the crowd for a few minutes, Mulder found a stool at the bar and ordered a beer. He took along swallow and surveyed the club. The stage show hadn't started, and a band was playing on the stage. No one was actually dancing between the rows of tables, but there was enough rubbing, touching and flirting action to raise the temperature without the humid nighttime air coming in the constantly opening and closing door. Mulder pegged the crowd into types. The fag hags always dressed in butch outfits, drinking the hard stuff and smiling at their gay friend's jokes. The twinks, prancing around from big man to bigger man, looking for a date, the obvious doms and subs, the former in muscle shirts and the latter in pastel colored shirts and downcast eyes. Finally, the usual gay guys, who were well groomed, well dressed, and studiedly not seeming anxious as they sat alone at the bar or at the tables for two alone. There was a sprinkling of tourists, too, gawking at the sight of so many gay men openly enjoying themselves.

His eyes found Krycek at the other end of the bar, two pretty twinks competing for his attention and trying to wipe the frown from his face. Other than a brief moment or two, thinking about Krycek's looks and availability this afternoon, Mulder had never studied the man as a potential lay, not even when they had actually worked those few weeks together. Mulder had lived in the closet a long time, determined to make his mark in the homophobic Bureau and desperately wanting to prefer women instead of men. He had succeeded. No one, no matter what else they bitched about him, had ever implied or inferred he was queer. That it had taken seven years to sufficiently work up the desire for Scully, he brushed off as a normal thing considering her attitude towards him for years.

Their time in the sack had been minimal even after they had started their affair. She was always uncertain and uptight about being discovered at work and being written off as his dolly instead of the serious scientist she really was. Mulder had appreciated her physical attributes without being overwhelmed by them. He thought that rather disappointed her, she had counted on him being deliriously happy and grateful. Right before his abduction, they had spoken of her taking it easier and possibly transferring to a less demanding section of the FBI. She had thought it was so she would be more available to him and likely to be asked to marry him. He had known this, and thinking he was going to die of a brain mass fairly soon, he had not disabused her. He had thought he might very well have married her before the end, but the abduction had changed his plans.

Coming back from the dead and buried had changed him. He was deeply interested in her pregnancy, not entirely ruling out some kind of medical miracle, but more certain that she had been helped along by unseen forces to become pregnant. She had assumed he was the father, and she had dropped almost all of her scientific skepticism in exchange for the possibility of the child. He thought that maybe he was the father, either naturally or because they had used his DNA. It didn't matter to him, she was his partner and the only family he had left. The baby would be welcomed by him and given financial support if he was not available for actual parenting time.

The months without him had made her decide she would make a good single mother and when he was back, she never mentioned marriage again. She still relied on him, of course, but she had added Skinner and Doggett into her equations as well. In spite of her fear of the super-soldiers, or perhaps despite the odds, she was very happy with the baby. He wished she had not used William as his name, he was undecided still about his father's culpability in the project, and her brother truly hated his guts, but he was her baby and she chose the name. He was happy enough to call him Will instead of Bill or William.

He had his put financial affairs in order once he recovered from the abduction. She was given a monthly allotment, whether he was around or not, and he had named her guardian of his estate and named the kid as his heir. Thus situated, he had been determined to go once the baby was born. That he had been forced to leave made it more interesting and certainly hid his personal agenda. Not that he had hoped for more problems, or to put her or the kid in danger, but he was itching to go out on his own.

He had taken a long look at himself after the abduction. He was forty and he had fought the good fight for longer than he cared to count. The fires of youth had not so much dimmed as were beaten out of him with constant lies and disbelief by those he held dear and needed to believe in him. He wanted to be truthful to himself, and the truth was he longed to burn again with passion, to experience all the desires and meet all the needs that had gone unmet for years.

Escaping from the situation with the baby and Scully might not be heroic and he did intend to find a way to destroy the super-soldiers, but he had felt an enormous relief once he was on the road.

He had not so much found Gibson and Gibson had found him, sending him an unmistakable SOS powered by brainwaves. Once they were together, he knew this was the way toward his goal of overcoming the super-soldier threat, as well as to learn more about his own capabilities.

He had known it was not Krycek who died in the garage. He had only figured it out when Krycek was waving his gun around and mouthing platitudes that made no sense. When Skinner had shot him dead, Mulder had had no surge of feeling and he knew he would have had that surge if he thought it was Krycek there on the floor. He hadn't hated Krycek anymore. For good or ill, Krycek was one of the inevitable constants in his life.

When Krycek had paved the way for him at the lab in Georgia, Mulder had had an epiphany. Like Scully or Skinner, Krycek was part of his life, part of the mystery and part of the solution. Without judging, Gibson had told him which direction Krycek had taken after the lab, knowing Mulder wanted to follow.

Here he was, discovering that he wanted to understand what Krycek had been and what he knew about the project and more insistently, Krycek had lit the fire of long disused desire. Mulder could hardly sit still and watch Krycek decide between the pretty boys or worse, chose to have them both. He'd made a tactical error when he had implied Krycek would have been subby to him in the old days. He doubted Krycek had really ever been a sub to anyone and meant it.

Mulder finished his beer and pointed to the bartender for another. But God, he thought, he wanted Krycek, wanted to have him naked and willing in the big bed upstairs. Krycek was at least a few years younger and it showed. Mulder shifted on the barstool and felt the weariness from the sum of the last several days. Maybe Krycek thought he was too old or unattractive to consider as a lover. There was no doubt, that now that he really saw Krycek, the man was quite beautiful. How he had missed that for years was ridiculous.

Mulder sipped his second beer slowly, waiting for Krycek to notice him, waiting for Krycek to understand the inevitable nature of their relationship, and waiting for Krycek to acknowledge it.

Alex felt Mulder's eyes on him. They were more tangible and hotter than the boys in front of him were. He wouldn't have to pay for sex tonight, unless he went upstairs with Mulder. Then, he would pay with his soul. He shivered and the blond in front of him smiled, thinking it was his hand on Alex's knee that made him shiver. Alex wasn't going to let anyone have the upper hand over him again. Certainly, that's exactly what Mulder would want, would do to him. One taste of Mulder and he would be addicted and addictions made you crazy and willing to do anything for one more taste.

Alex could almost feel Mulder's weariness. He wanted to tell him to go to bed and have a good night's sleep, which he needed more than starting a fool's affair with him. The kid had said Mulder was thinking sexual thoughts about him. Alex had been amazed. As far as he knew, Mulder was straighter than straight. There had never been the slightest `tell' of anything different. Alex was determined never to play poker with Mulder, especially strip poker. Mulder would have him bare-assed and begging if her weren't very careful.

Alex shifted on his stool, which the blond took as encouragement. Alex was thinking it was not a good idea to dwell on being bare-assed anywhere near Mulder. He flicked the blond's hand off his knee and the boy pouted. He wanted to say, `kid, if you want to see a real pout, go ask the tired guy how to do it.' No one pouted better than Mulder did. Mulder had the hangdog look down pat. He'd used it a million times to get the best of someone, to get someone talking, confessing and seeking absolution if they could only get him to smile.

Alex wasn't going to spend his time working for that smile. No sir, he was free and he intended to stay free. He would be like that feather at the end of Forrest Gump. He would float around and around on the breeze and life would take him places. Unlike Gump, he would understand and appreciate the good things he encountered. No more dank alleys, no more greasy garages, oily silos, or bitter cold Russian forests, he was done with that life. Mulder and his pouty mouth, gold standard morals and idealistic hopes, could go hang.

Alex favored the brunette with a slow smile and he came closer. A bit more refined than the blond, he merely rubbed shoulders and didn't presume to touch Alex directly. Alex's smile grew, he liked coy boy-toys, and they always made a lot of noise in bed. He thought that if he had been a rake in the eighteenth century, a straight rake, he would have enjoyed despoiling coy virgins. Alex shrugged and the brunette moved closer. There probably hadn't been any more coy virgins then than there were now. Only romantic novels tried to prove otherwise.

"Do you have a room?" Alex whispered in the brunette's ear.

"Not here," The brunette said, "I'm at the Coast Inn, a couple of blocks up the beach."

Alex remembered passing the place earlier. It was not, in fact, on the beach, but several blocks inland and not part of the renaissance at this end of the beach. But, it would certainly be better than his room upstairs. "Let's go," Alex said with a smile. The boy preened and sneered at the blond, who looked dejected.

Alex refused to look at Mulder until he was at the door. Even with half a room and dozens of people between them, Alex could feel Mulder's eyes burn him with cold contempt and hot desire. He let the kid lead him out the door.

Mulder put down his empty beer bottle with a loud bang on the bar; he tossed a couple of ones by the bottle and headed outside. He was going to follow Krycek and ensure that he and the brown-haired twit parted company way before they reached a room with a bed or an alley with a wall or a lifeguard's hut, or anywhere else for that matter, where they could be alone.

Alex knew Mulder was following them. After a few minutes, the kid realized it too. "Is he your boyfriend?" He asked Alex.

"No," Alex said shortly and put an arm on the boy's shoulder.

"Is he a stalker?" The kid asked.

"Don't worry about him," Alex said, "He's an old acquaintance who suddenly wants to nose in on my life. It is way, way too late and I am not interested anymore."

"He seems determined." The kid said and took out his passkey.

Alex felt a frission of fear and arousal. Mulder has always been into watching sex with his collection of porn. Alex thought about Mulder watching him and the twink through the window, seeing Alex sink his dick into that taut young ass. He pushed the kid up against a palm tree and kissed him. The kid was all cooperation, and by the time Alex moved on, he had to run to keep up, panting all the while.

For the first time tonight, Alex was aroused and actually interested in fucking the brunette. Mulder would get the idea that he was superfluous to Alex's future happiness and go away. His mind full of the idea of being on exhibition for Mulder's eyes and knowing Mulder wanted him, made his heart race and sweat break out under his arms.

The kid's room was on the second floor. It was a ubiquitous hotel room, unlike the suite he was paying big money for and not using. But, it would certainly do the job.

The kid, obviously excited, asked Alex if he wanted a drink. He had a bottle of cold white wine in the tiny room fridge. They drank it from plastic water cups. Alex sat in the one armchair in the room. As soon as he had finished his glass of wine, the kid came up to Alex and straddled him.

Alex waited a beat, as if Mulder was at the door and trying to come in and break up the party. There was no knock at the door, no soft click of the lock, no sudden ringing of the telephone. Alex relaxed and let the familiar, if sporadically experienced, dance of sex begin. The brunette was excited and openly pleased to have Alex there. His kisses were practiced, after all, he wasn't really that young, but all the same, they were anxious. Alex helped the boy take off his shirt and his own. Alex felt the thrill of having both arms anew. He swore to himself that he would never let that euphoric feeling be taken for granted.

The kid was appreciative and made haste to cover Alex's smooth torso with kisses and light scratches. He unzipped Alex's pants, and pulled them down. Alex stretched his legs out so the pants were at his ankles. The kid wormed his way between Alex's legs, but after the beginning of an adept blowjob, Alex stopped him. Lazily, Alex said, "I don't want to do any of the work tonight," and gestured for the kid to ride him as he reclined in the chair.

The brunette quickly divested himself of his pants, fished a condom out of his pocket and put it on Alex's erection. He climbed on muttering, "I don't need anything but your cock and I need it so bad."

Alex smiled and helped the kid situate himself. The kid was lovely, the wine had been passable and combined with the vodkas at the bar and his touch of Mulder anxiety, Alex was more than ready to give the cutie as much of his prick as the kid could handle.

As the kid lowered himself on Alex's erection, Alex closed his eyes. Almost at once, he saw Mulder, frowning and biting his lip. The scene got bigger, they were running into Central Station, no, they were running from the horsemen, no they were running after Billy Miles and there was blood and guts and oil everywhere. Alex's eyes snapped open. "Go away, Mulder. Get lost." He whispered under his breath and the kid thought it was praise and sank all the way down, enclosing Alex in a tight, warm sheath of flesh.

Alex wanted to give in and let the sex and a feeling of wellbeing engulf him, but Mulder was there at the edges, taunting him, hitting him, and calling him a slut and a coward. Alex sighed as he softened, "Sorry, kid," He said and replaced his cock with a couple of fingers. The brunette didn't seem to mind, he kept fucking himself on whatever Alex made available. Alex let the kid do his thing, already bitterly regretting he'd started the whole thing and more than that, somehow allowing Mulder to intrude and ruin it.

The kid rode his fingers fast and hard, but Alex hardly registered his passion. He knew he was being an absolute cad, but the kid would never understand Mulder's lure and place inside Alex's head, no matter how he tried to explain it. So he didn't, let the kid come and began to excuse himself and apologize.

The boy threw himself on the bed, "Don't worry, it's okay," He said as he recovered his breath. Uncannily, he added, "I guess your non-stalking, non-boyfriend is on your mind."

Alex paused to look at the kid and saw him for the first time with any clarity. He was young, twenty-something, lean and fit. He had regular features and brown eyes. He had some character in his face too. Not quite the vapid, thoughtless twink Alex had pegged him as being.

Alex zipped up, bent over the kid, and gave him a real kiss, which tasted of regret and apology.

"It's okay," The kid said again, smiled, "It's all you strong, silent tops that are the real drama queens, you know."

Alex went out and closed the door quietly behind him.

Mulder was waiting, sitting beneath a palm tree at the front of the hotel. As Alex walked by, Mulder got up and fell in step beside him.

"Do you think Gibson has fallen asleep in front of the TV yet?" Mulder asked mildly.

Alex grunted; he wanted to know how Mulder had projected himself into his mind. He knew Gibson and the others with his alien attributes could read minds, or at least emotions. However, actual mind control was something he had not heard of being possible.

At a stoplight, waiting for the traffic to go bye, Alex asked, "What are you thinking, dragging that kid around?"

"You know he can identify when an alien is nearby and he can do the same with those bastard super-soldiers. I need him to help me find a way to destroy them, or at least, give me a theory about how to do it. He can tell me what they fear or avoid and who they report to." Mulder said and crossed the street.

Alex sighed, this is exactly what he wanted to avoid. If he told Mulder what he knew and the Frankensteins found out, he was not going to like the repercussions. They would kill Mulder too and Gibson. With Scully's baby alive and well, and others they had created on the way, they didn't need anyone screwing things up and they would not tolerate Mulder's heroics.

Mulder stepped onto the curb and waited for Alex to catch up, "I'm not going to let them win, Alex." He said seriously.

Alex grimaced, he was tired now and dispirited. He had planned to enjoy himself and instead, he was embroiled in Mulder's plans again. "I do not want to help you. I have nothing more to add to what you already know and I am going to enjoy my retirement for as long as possible. I know you care about the vast billions of people out there and unaware. I do not care." Alex spoke convincingly, bolstering himself at the same time.

Mulder frowned and when they reached the next corner, he grabbed Alex and pushed him against the wall of a bank. "Say what you want to distance yourself, keep on running away, and fuck every twink between here and Timbuktu. I will be right there and in the end, you will help me and we will eradicate these bastards and head off the invasion. Whatever else you are, Krycek, you are still human and want to stay that way. Who is to say if you don't help me that you won't be first in line for the hybrid tanks?"

Alex shook him off angrily and reversed their positions against the wall. "You listen to me Mulder, I am out, and I got out alive. That's all I need to know. I am not going to be your sidekick now that Agent Scully is breeding hybrids, or Skinner is hanging by his fingertips to keep his job, or even those Gunmen friends of yours who risk exposure every other day finding out stuff for you that others want to keep secret. You," Alex said with a shove, forcing Mulder to bang his head on the wall. "You are bad news, you are a death warrant, and I have already been there and done that. This is my life so get the hell out!"

Mulder suddenly relaxed beneath Alex's hands. He sighed gustily, "Okay, okay, I hear you." Mulder said. He rested his head against the wall and closed his eyes.

Alex, who had expected Mulder to throw a punch or two, felt uncertain, Mulder was never amenable to anyone else's agenda.

Alex let go, at the same time as Mulder surged forward. Alex ended up in Mulder's arms once again and up against the wall. "Remember this when you're in Timbuktu, Alex." Mulder kissed him. He kissed him as he used to punch him, with force, single-mindedness, and a whole lot of ego. Alex struggled, but it was a lie and both of them knew it for what it was.

Lips to lips, both of them tall and lean and equal; Alex felt it all as if he were coming home to a place he had only imagined existed somewhere in the big cold world beyond his grasp. He almost laughed, thinking his grandmother, had she ever-considered homosexuality as a viable life choice, would have said they were well matched. Mulder was grinding his hips into Alex's hips and the kisses were scorching his lips and tongue and he was out of breath and out of fight and most of all, out of his mind.

An ambulance went by, flashing lights and piercing siren, and they parted. Alex rubbed his face and Mulder, breathing hard, yawned hugely. Mutually, they walked to their hotel in silence. The club was still swinging, the floorshow was getting laughs, and applause and Alex didn't notice. He and Mulder were in the elevator, on the way to his luxurious room and they weren't fighting, he wasn't in cuffs and there was a door, with a lock, between his room and where Gibson should asleep by now. Mulder yawned again and Alex let his randy thoughts fade. He was tired, Mulder was tired, and Gibson, in the other room, locked door notwithstanding, would be a silent third.

They entered the room, the connecting door was open, but the TV was off and Gibson was a lump in the blankets. Mulder closed the door softly, "I'll take the couch," He said, exhaustion showing in the slump of his shoulders and his voice more toneless than ever.

"Okay." Alex said, equally soft and sat down to ease off his boots.

Mulder bushed his teeth with a finger and Alex's toothpaste, splashed water on his face, and grabbed the extra blanket from the shelf in the alcove. By the time Alex had used the bathroom and brushed his teeth, Mulder was asleep on the couch in his boxers, T-shirt, and Alex's best pair of black socks.

Alex lay in the cool dark bedroom, listening to Mulder breathe. It was a revelation to spend peaceable time with Mulder. He had never done so before, lies and subterfuge making the simplest of communication fraught with tension in the old days. Alex did not think Mulder believed in the power of love any more than he did, so he was at a loss to understand why Mulder was so sure he would help him. Alex sighed and closed his eyes, they sex would be great, of course and Mulder's wry humor matched his own, but that wasn't enough to risk his life again, was it? Alex yawned, he would think about it in the morning.

He and Mulder woke to a blast of Loony-Tunes music from Gibson's room. Obviously, the boy had been awake for a while, because the connecting door was open and the last of crackers were gone. Gibson came in their room, his uneven gait more awkward without his shoes on his feet. He looked how Alex felt. His hair was standing up in spikes, his T-Shirt, which he had slept in, was wrinkled, and covered in small food stains, and even from a distance of ten feet, Alex thought the boy had not showered the night before, because he smelled like a goat.

Gibson came to a stop and sniffed his shirt, "It's not that bad, Alex." He said.

Alex groaned, "It is." He answered.

"Breakfast first, please." Gibson said.

"Use the phone and get coffee too." Alex murmured and pulled the blanket over his head. He wanted to put off any confrontation with Mulder for as long as he could.

Mulder sat up on the couch, rubbing his head and scratching his chest. "Geeze, Gibson, it's barely seven." Mulder complained.

"I'm hungry," Gibson replied. "And besides, you were having a horrible dream."

Mulder looked puzzled, "Was I?"

"Yes," Gibson said shortly, and began ordering room service. He ordered pancakes for all of them, and bacon and coffee and toast. Alex came out from under the blanket, "Whoa, Gibson, we're not that hungry."

Gibson smiled slyly and for a moment, looked like any normal teenager who was irritating the adults around him, and enjoying it.

Mulder yawned and stood up, not at all self-conscious in his boxers, with his half-hard dick tenting them in the front.

"Don't talk to Alex," Gibson said to Mulder. "He's not a morning person."

"Who could have guessed," Mulder said, loudly and laughed when Alex covered his head once more.

Mulder went into the bathroom, and the shower came on. "Do I have enough clothes left to dress both of us?" Alex asked rhetorically.

"There's a store down the block," Gibson said. "They have beach stuff, T-shirts and shorts and things like that."

Alex frowned at Gibson, "Don't you know better than to ever shop in a tourist trap? A five dollar T-shirt will cost twenty because it says Miami Beach on it."

Gibson frowned back, "Don't be a cheapskate, Alex. You have plenty of money, even for twenty dollar T-shirts."

"I am not a cheapskate," Alex complained, "If I was, would you have snored your head off in a three hundred dollar a night bed?"

Gibson snorted, "You can't fool me, you know." He said wisely.

"Fuck off," Alex said under his breath.

"I heard that," Gibson smirked.

The shower turned off, Mulder came into the room with a towel wrapped around his waist and started rummaging in Alex's suitcase. His back was lean, brown and covered in water droplets. Alex thought about offering to dry his back.

"I head that too," Gibson said.

Alex stared at Gibson, but Gibson stared back, unwaveringly. "You don't scare me." Gibson said.

Alex rolled his eyes and Mulder laughed. "Where's the coffee?" He asked while he dropped the towel and put on a pair of underwear.

"Have you always been an exhibitionist?" Alex asked in a dry voice.

Mulder looked startled, saw Gibson pointedly staring out the window, and had the grace to redden. "I wasn't thinking." He muttered.

"Ha," Alex said and there was a knock on the door.

A different young man delivered the breakfast, but he stared at the open doors, the unmade beds, and the blanket on the couch and raised his brows. No one favored him with an explanation, so he had Alex sign the check and left.

After breakfast, Mulder took Gibson to the beachwear shop and they returned with a large sack. Gibson went into the shower.

Mulder sat down with Alex for a last cup of coffee. "I left in a hurry, you know." Mulder said.

Alex nodded.

"I didn't have time to organize a money source or new identification. Scully has my Power of Attorney, and I instructed her to use it for her and the kid, no matter what happens to me."

"So?" Alex asked in a bored voice, determined to stay as uninvolved as possible, knowing all the while that it was already a lost cause.

"As I said last night, I need you to front me for a few days. The Gunmen are arranging things, you know, a cell phone, a laptop, and money, but it will take a while."

Alex took a turn staring out the window at the ocean; it was very green today and although there were many people on the sand, few were in the water. The green water must have carried a colder tide inland and brought jellyfish with it. "I have plenty of money, take what you want, it's in the zipper pocket of the suitcase. Just take it and leave with Gibson."

Mulder sighed, "You don't really want me to do that, Alex. I know you don't. Why are you pushing me away, I'm here and willing, if you haven't guessed by now."

Alex smiled crookedly, "Sure, Mulder. You're here now and for as long as it takes to get me in trouble again so you can run off and let me bleed to death. Don't you get it? I never thought I'd get a second chance to live without those old bastards on my tail. For however long there is to live, I want to live it to the max, not fighting or killing for a cause that is unbeatable anyway. I know you have to do what you have to do; you've spent your life going that way. I want to do my thing, Mulder. I know you can understand that."

"What about the possibility of us?" Mulder asked softly.

"What us?" Alex kept his voice even. "Out of the blue you realize I'm gay and you're gay and that makes us blood brothers? I didn't know you were gay or bi or whatever and if I had known, it would not have mattered or made a difference. You're all excited about getting laid, go find some pretty boy, this place is crawling with them. I am not interested in a relationship with you; I'm not interested in a one-nighter with you either."

"What about sex in the afternoon?" Mulder asked wryly.

Alex did not laugh.

"Come on, Alex," Mulder said in a determined tone, "I don't have to be a mind reader to know you're lying this time. You've run and run from everything for a long time and all it got you was shot dead in a garage. We have something; we have always had something. That is a fact, not a pipe dream, or a sudden case of lust. Well, there is a lot of lust in there too, but that's not the point. You want to do the right thing and now is your opportunity. You don't have to wear a white hat and I won't call you Tonto, but we are a team."

Alex clenched his fists; Mulder was going to be the death of him... again. "What do you want from me? I've told you what I know about the super-soldiers. I don't know anymore." The words came out almost as a whine, but Alex was beyond caring.

Mulder looked grim, "I'm not sorry to drag your ass back into this, Alex. You are as much a part of this conspiracy as the Smoker was, or Gibson or me. It seems none of us have benefited. Maybe fooling with nature and having megalomaniacal tendencies comes to nothing in the end. Hitler ended up shot in the head in a bunker, you know. I want to try to stop them before another thirteen million get roasted in the ovens, because this time it's six billion or so who will suffer."

"But then, you're such a modest soul, aren't you?" Alex asked bitterly.

"If you mean because I believe I can stop it, then no I'm not. Nevertheless, every great liberation stars with one person who says they aren't going to take it anymore. And, I am saying no more."

Alex sighed, he had a headache, and it was still early in the day. Gibson came out of the bathroom, a great gust of steam behind him. His glasses were fogged, but he was clean and wearing a bright Miami Beach T-shirt and day-glow orange shorts. He limped to the bed and put on his shoes.

"Oh, we're going to so inconspicuous." Alex said testily.

Mulder laughed. Gibson stopped tying his shoe and looked up. He stared at Alex for a long minute. He stood up straight, "There's something you should know." He said seriously. Both men gave him his attention. "Mr. Spender, the Smoking Man, is not dead."

The silence in the room was profound.

After a moment, Gibson bent and tied his other shoe. "No," Gibson said to Mulder's unspoken question, "He's not in charge of the project anymore. He's hiding out actually, because they want him dead too."

"Doesn't anybody stay dead anymore?" Mulder asked the room at large.

No one answered.

They made a tentative plan. Gibson and Mulder were convinced that the key to mass producing or dispersing magnetite was being tested in Georgia, not at the lab in Fayette, but in a smaller facility on the grounds of the Kennesaw Mountain State Park. This was a very secret location and run by a few human collaborators who had realized too late, what the super-soldiers would do once they were in power. Gibson described someone whose name he didn't know and Alex thought it might be Strughold, back in the USA after the African bees and pollinated corn experiments were no longer viable.

Alex went out and bought a state of the art laptop, the hotel had wireless service. Mulder was waiting to hear from the Gunmen, once they had security in place. They searched every bit of information on the web about the Kennesaw Mountain State Park. They looked at aerial views and reports on the terrain. Gibson was impatient until Alex suggested that maybe they had a force field around the lab, and that could be blocking his mental possesses.

Late at night, Gibson once more a lump beneath the blankets in the second room, Mulder was searching related sites and Alex was on the balcony staring at the white foam on the sea. Mulder said, "Eureka!" Softly, but Alex heard him and sighed. He started a countdown in his head, 10, 9, 8, and 7; sure that Mulder would be off to the races on a wild horse any minute now.

And he was, "Look Alex," Mulder said, pointing at the screen. "There's are several summer camps at the Kennesaw Mountain State Park, That's our way in, we can sign Gibson up and as his guardians, volunteer to help out, because he is partially handicapped. The Gunmen can get us paperwork and Gibson will go along with it. Once we're on site, either Gibson or I should be able to scope out where the lab is located."

Alex gaped at Mulder, "Summer camp, as in millions of kids, mosquitoes, poison ivy and cabins with no air-conditioning. Are you insane?"

Mulder grinned, "It's the perfect cover." He ticked off a list; we will have legitimate access to the Park, no one could possibly expect infiltration or an attack with the kids around, and they will have curfew at an hour early enough for us to go out afterwards and explore." Mulder was still grinning, "And it's only a few hundred kids, Alex, not millions."

"They will seem like millions," Alex muttered.

"Did you ever go to summer camp?" Mulder asked.

Alex shot him a keen look, Mulder had never asked about his life before and he wasn't sure what he wanted Mulder to know about him. Eventually he said, "I went to camps in the city, you know, sports things and band things."

Mulder's eyebrows rose and his lips twitched, "What did you play. Alex? Clarinet? Oboe?" Piccolo? Mulder was laughing.

Alex glared and Mulder laughed harder, "I know," Mulder said, "You were the drum major in a great outfit with a little cape, white boots and a big baton with red pom-poms on the ends."

Alex flushed and stood up; Mulder was being an asshole. That was nothing new. "At least I wasn't a geeky loner with a big nose and a bigger attitude." He said, revealing knowledge of Mulder's childhood that he had no business knowing.

Mulder stopped laughing.

"I played tenor sax," Alex said, "in the jazz band."

Mulder shrugged, obviously ill at ease with Alex's insight.

"I was cool," Alex added.

Mulder choked back another laugh, "I'm sure you were." He said dryly.

Alex sat down again.

"So we wait a day or two until the Gunmen contact me and set it up." Mulder said and stretched, closing the laptop.

Alex frowned, but he nodded.

"Tomorrow, I'll take Gibson to the beach. Do you have a bathing suit?" Mulder asked.

Alex grinned, "Yeah, but you get your own," he said, "Are you sure you want to take Gibson to the beach here, it's a gay beach, you know, all men with a lot of skin and other attributes on display? You'll warp his mind."

Mulder looked disconcerted, "I hadn't thought about it, anyway, he's only a kid."

"He's fifteen," Alex said seriously, "And advanced brain waves or not, he's got hormones like everyone else. And I seriously doubt he's gay."

Mulder looked harassed. "I'll ask him in the morning." He said with finality.

Alex grinned this time, "And he's just one kid, sure you can handle a whole troop of them in the deep, dark woods?"

Mulder shot him a bird and went into the bathroom. Alex laughed at getting some of his own back.

When Mulder returned to the room, extra blanket in hand, Alex took his turn in the bathroom. It had been a peaceful day, although he had plenty of reservations about going in undercover at a summer camp. He looked at himself in the mirror, celebrated his arm, and noticed he needed to watch what he ate, because he wasn't as active as before and he didn't want to get fat. He rubbed his belly and tried to pinch some flab, but there wasn't enough to make a good squeeze and all he did was hurt himself a bit. He stood sideways and there was no bulge around his waist either. Wearing a bathing suit wasn't going to be a problem.

He went back into the room, Mulder was sitting on the balcony in his boxers, and the lights were off. "Come out here for a minute," Mulder called.

Alex went on to the balcony. "I haven't taken time to look at the beach yet," Mulder said in a soft voice. "It's beautiful."

"Yeah," Alex replied and relaxed against the railing, staring out to sea.

Mulder came behind him, circled his waist with his arms, and leaned his head on Alex's back. "It's been a very long time since I was honest with myself about certain things." He murmured. `While my parents were alive, I would tell myself it was to protect them. But it never was, really. I knew I was always going to be the odd one out at the Bureau and eccentricity was one thing, being a fag was another thing entirely." He stopped and took a deep breath, "So I lied."

Alex leaned his head back on Mulder's head, "I always thought the porn obsession was a bit much," He said with a smile in his voice.

Mulder chuckled sleepily, "I never guessed about you and you never guessed about me, doesn't say much for our paranoiac tendencies, does it?"

"All in all," Alex said softly, "It was better that way. There were enough issues without adding being in the closet. I'm glad you never had to think I would `out' you or anything."

"Yeah," Mulder said with a yawn, "I think Scully would have flayed you alive if she thought you were trying anything."

"Well," Alex said, "She got you in the end, so it's moot now."

"I'm afraid I didn't live up to her dreams," Mulder said and kissed the back of Alex's neck. "I'd like to try and live up to yours."

Alex felt the breath leave his body. Tenderness was the last thing he expected from Mulder. Internally, Alex struggled. Maybe Mulder was romantic enough to believe love changed everything. It was a terrifying thought.

"I never dreamed about you," Alex said coldly. "Well, occasionally I would replay the punches in my head, or the plane ride from Hong Kong, or being lost in the woods."

Mulder sighed, "You're trying to distance yourself again. It won't work, I know you now, you're an open book."

"You should know better than to rely on alien instincts," Alex said.

Mulder chuckled, "There's nothing alien about it," He said and pressed his erection against Alex's ass. "It's just me here, all me."

Alex turned around, "You're so sure, aren't you?"

Mulder met Alex's eyes, "No, I'm not sure. But, I want it to be that way so much, Alex. So many years have flown by while I was dedicated to my tunnel visions of resurrecting my sister and making things okay. I know in my heart she would have been angry with me for wasting so much of my life on impossible causes and ignoring what makes me happy. That's what love, I think, wants."

"What?" Alex asked, although he knew the answer already.

"Love wants the people who you care about to be happy. It's as simple as that." Mulder said and kissed Alex on the lips.

They kissed on the balcony, the sea pulsed its constant rhythm beneath them as the tide came in. The kisses were something else Alex had never figured on. Tenderness, simplicity, honest desire, and passion, he fought it all for another minute or two, but the ocean called to him, its constancy was its siren call to live and love and be happy.

Mulder deepened his kisses and Alex dove in headfirst.

"Alex!" Mulder whispered.

"Yes," Alex answered, and it was that simple after all.

Mulder tugged him to the couch, and still kissing they began to run their hands all over each other. This was not the kind of sex Alex had had recently, in fact, it wasn't the kind of sex Alex had ever had. The mad, hot urge was there, but it was softened by a mutuality that was new, fragile and filled with warmth, and possibly, love.

Naked they continued kissing, rubbing against each other until Alex thought he saw sparks behind his eyes and Mulder convulsed against him. He followed, pouring out his mute passion, because he didn't have the words, or the courage to say what he felt.

Afterwards, Mulder stroked his head and finger-combed the hair off his forehead, and it didn't matter if there were no words spoken, Mulder understood. They nodded off to sleep, crowded on the couch, legs and arms entwined.

If Gibson saw them that way in the morning, he was discreet enough to return to his room and turn the TV on very, very loud, so they could hear it even with the door closed between the rooms.

After a huge breakfast, and a stop at the tourist trap for a bathing suit for Mulder and a thermos for ice tea, they drove in Alex's Lexus and went to a beach a few miles north of the hotel. It was a hot day, and humid, but there was enough cloud coverage to make it bearable on the beach.

Surprisingly, it was a day that the most staid and mild person would call normal. They used sunscreen, but got sun burnt anyway. They dunked Gibson until he spluttered and allowed him to dunk them and had races against the waves. They drank the tea, got ice cream cones that melted before they could eat them and snow cones that dyed their fingers and tongues blue. The sand stuck to the most uncomfortable places and the sun, sea and wind, finally exhausted them, so after quick showers back at the hotel, they all napped with the air conditioner at full blast. Alex and Mulder napped on the big bed and Gibson, loath to let the happy day end, on the couch.

As soon as he woke, Alex made reservations at Joe's Stone Crab restaurant, justifiably the most famous seafood house in South Florida. He reckoned that since they weren't going to take Gibson to see the Drag Show, they should get as much special treatment on the Beach as possible.

They dressed up, a shirt and tie was required, and Alex convinced Gibson to leave the orange shorts at the hotel and wear some khakis instead. Mulder grumbled about fancy restaurants, but he had heard about this one, so he got ready on time. They were expected and were taken into the back room, which had a large plate glass window that gave them an ocean view. The walls were decorated with the pictures and autographs of the famous and infamous who had dined there in years past.

They had fish and lobster so fresh that it practically swam on the plate. The basket of cheese and sage rolls had to be replenished three times before Gibson admitted that he had eaten enough. Alex, his lips shiny with the melted garlic butter from his serving of lobster tails, was half-asleep, sated from the food and wine. Mulder insisted on driving the Lexus back to the hotel. Alex, forced to hand over the keys, spent the entire ride with his foot pressing a hole through the floor, while Mulder raced the car along Lincoln Road.

They sent Gibson to bed, and he went, only rolling his eyes in their direction.

Alex kissed Mulder as soon as the connecting door was shut. He and Mulder had both had plenty of garlic, so it wasn't an issue and Alex didn't give it a thought until Mulder commented on the aromatic breath that came with the kiss. Alex was so surprised at Mulder's show of rectitude, that he began to laugh and had to sit down. He rubbed his stomach and complained he was too full to laugh.

Mulder sat next to him, "Don't start anything you can't finish," He warned in jest and took off his belt, not in preparation to undress, but because he was too full to bear it another uncomfortable second.

Alex put his hand over Mulder's taut belly and squeezed. Mulder groaned, "Oh, god," He said. "I'm stuffed."

"I'll resist such a great straight line," Alex said, still laughing.

Mulder's mouth turned up, "You're too full and lazy to do any more stuffing tonight, tiger." He said and laughed.

Gibson turned on the TV very loud in the next room and the men looked at each other and Mulder put his hand over his mouth and Alex put his hand over his eyes and they fell out laughing some more. The TV was muted and Gibson yelled, "I can still hear you!"

In the end, they got ready for bed, watched the news, and drifted off to sleep, wordlessly agreeing that any more intimate lovemaking required more privacy that they had at the moment.

Alex woke to Mulder muttering, "It's about time." At the computer, he was on a blog site about the European Common Market. Alex came up behind Mulder and looked at the screen. "You have stocks in Euros?" He asked.

Mulder smirked, "Nah," He said. "This is where I can see if the Gunmen have left a message. We have a rotation of blogs and chat rooms that we cycle through, like using the personals in the newspapers in the old days."

"Ah," Alex said wisely, "The old days eh?" And he grinned and kissed the back of Mulder's neck.

By the time Alex had showered and dressed, Mulder was ready with his plans. Gibson stumbled in and breakfast was ordered, Alex and Mulder practically inhaled their coffee, while Gibson made great inroads into a plate of eggs and toast.

"A packet of stuff will arrive sometime after noon." Mulder said. "We're about to become your guardians, Gibson. I'll have money, new ID, and credit cards. We can return my rental car and go in the Lexus."

"And where are we going, exactly?" Alex asked between bites.

"We're off to see the wizard," Mulder said drolly, obviously in the best of spirits now that he'd heard from the Gunmen. Alex shook his head and Gibson rolled his eyes. If Mulder was disappointed in the response, he didn't show it. "We'll go to the Kennesaw State Park, in Georgia. You're enrolled in the Nature Explorer camp, Gibson. We're going to volunteer until we decide you are coping well. The camp management has done this in the past for families of special needs campers.

"I'm not a cripple," Gibson said in a surly voice.

"I know that," Mulder replied with a smile, "But this gets us in the area legitimately. Once we find the lab and figure out what to do, you won't have to go anymore."

"How are we going to get in the lab and how will we know if the lab actually has anything of interest or use in it?" Alex asked in a serious tone, the mantle of undercover agent and spy back on his shoulders.

Mulder, too, sat up taller and his face was fully Agent Mulder at his best. "We won't know until we're there. However, if the lab has developed a system or mechanism for dispersing magnetite, we need to get it and take it back to DC. I'll divide whatever samples between the Gunmen and the FBI labs. Scully should be up to helping by the time we get back, her mother is going to baby-sit Will, and Scully plans to be back at work anyway."

Alex frowned, it sounded too simple. "And if the super-soldiers get wind of this? Seems to me they'll kill you for going back to the kid's vicinity, regardless of why you are there."

Gibson spoke up, "I'll know if they find out." He stated. "They communicate like a GPS, so all of them hear all of the plans world-wide. The unchanged aliens can understand it too, and so can I."

"That's all well and good," Alex commented, "But will you know in time for us to get somewhere safe, if there actually is somewhere safe?"

Mulder glanced at Gibson, they nodded at each other, and Mulder turned towards Alex. "I hear them too." He said quietly. "I am not as developed as Gibson and never will be, but I am beginning to be able to filter out the regular crowds of noise and thoughts we all have going in out heads all the time and tune into what the aliens and the super-soldiers are thinking. Their brains are so different than ours that I can pick them up quite clearly."

Alex stared at Mulder, he had expected Mulder to develop his gifts, but he was surprised at how quickly it had happened.

"He can't read minds," Gibson said to Alex.

Alex frowned at the boy, Mulder smiled and touched Alex's arm reassuringly. "It's more like filtering out levels of noise and background sounds. I get flashes of clarity, but the human mind is so complex that even with clear nano-seconds, I cannot determine whole thoughts or secondary emotions. When I hear the aliens, it's completely different, I think it's because alien filtering works on a different part of the brain entirely. Even Gibson cannot explain how it works, just that it does."

"Do they know when you are near as well?" Alex asked.

Gibson smiled, it was almost a cruel smile and completely adult. "No," He whispered.

Alex looked at the kid with new respect and smiled back meeting the sly smile with one of his own.

"Stop," Mulder, said, "You're scaring me."

Everyone laughed and finished eating.

Mulder wanted to stay in the hotel lobby and wait for his package, Gibson wanted to go to a huge video game arcade a few streets away, and so Alex said he would take him there. They walked on the shady side of the street; the bright sun and the heat were almost unbearable today. Gibson stopped by a candy store, inside they were making saltwater taffy, and he wanted to watch and maybe buy some.

After a few minutes Gibson said, "Mulder has a lot of bad dreams."

Alex nodded to indicate he was listening, but he watched the taffy making.

"I have to be careful," Gibson went on. "Otherwise, the noise of everyone's thoughts makes me sick. That's what I practice all the time, how to keep from listening. I don't really pay attention to everything either of you think or feel, so you and Mulder don't have to protect me or shield me."

They watched the taffy being cut into half-inch strips.

"I don't know much about love," Gibson said. "People think about sex a lot, but not love. Love is something they feel and don't examine too closely. I haven't been around a lot of adult couples who love each other, but I think you and Mulder do."

Alex shifted from one foot to the other, uncomfortable with what Gibson was saying.

"It's okay, you know. From what I can tell, love is love, man to man or man to woman, I don't judge which is right or not." Gibson sighed and Alex realized he seldom spoke this much at a time. "We have to stop them." Gibson said firmly. "They will take over the planet and destroy humankind."

"I know," Alex whispered.

Gibson smiled and put his hand in Alex's hand. "You and Mulder are the two strongest adults I have ever met. Those old men from the Syndicate, they aren't strong, Alex. They are evil and have a lot of power, but inside they are not strong and they know it. It's why Spender hates Mulder and is afraid of you."

Alex smiled, he took out a ten-dollar bill, and handed it to the cashier, he got a large box of taffy in return. "You're a good kid," He said and squeezed Gibson's hand. "Want some taffy?"

Their mouths stuffed, they walked on in perfect accord.

Mulder had packed everyone's belongings by the time Alex and Gibson returned. He exclaimed over the taffy, telling them how he used to get some every summer at the shore. He urged them to get a move on and hurried them to the lobby, where Alex paid the bill. Alex followed Mulder in his nondescript sedan to the car rental lot. Gibson got in the back seat of the Lexus, turned on his walkman, and closed his eyes.

They began the long drive back to northwestern Georgia. Once they were on I-75 and cruising at a good speed, Mulder reached over and took Alex's hand. He didn't say anything or start anything, he simply held Alex's hand and stared out the window. Alex blinked the sun out of his eyes before the tears that were in them could fall. Three hours went by as Alex drove and Mulder and Gibson napped. When they woke, Gibson mentioned food, and they stopped at the next exit that had signs for more than fast food.

In the family restaurant, the kind of place Alex hadn't been to very often, he looked around. There were the usual mom, pop, and couple of kids groups, but there were other families eating also. He identified at least two sets of moms, and kids groups and another group similar to Alex's configuration. He saw Mulder was watching the dad, dad, and three kids group too. The older of the two dads, in his late forties or so, caught his eye, after a moment, while he checked out Alex, Mulder, and Gibson; he smiled and saluted with two fingers in a pleasant manner.

Alex looked at Gibson, eating like a stevedore as usual, and Mulder playing with his mashed potatoes and realized they passed as a family too. He smiled back and the older man winked and returned his attention to his own family.

"He thinks you're hot," Gibson said to Alex and Mulder came to attention. "Who, what?" Mulder asked.

Alex smiled, "Nothing Mulder," He said.

Gibson, chewing once more didn't add anything to the statement and Mulder scowled, but seeing Alex was eating calmly, shrugged and returned to his own dinner.

They ended up paying the cashier at the same time as the other gay parent family and Alex said "Nice kids," to the older man. The man smiled, "They're the best," He said and handed the cashier a credit card.

Alex felt the most unfamiliar sensation, and in the car, he turned to Mulder. "The world changed while I was off committing mayhem." He said.

Mulder leaned in and kissed him, "The world changed while I was chasing ghosts, too."

Alex started the car, no more was said, but then, they understood one another perfectly, without wasting another word.

They made it to Tallahassee before finding a motel. It was hot and humid although the sun had set. To Alex, it smelled as if rain was not far off. They registered and got back into the car heading for a K-mart they had just passed. They outfitted Gibson for camp, including everything on the list down to the sunscreen and cream for bug bites. Mulder, after considering that jeans were jeans, even if purchased at a K-mart, bought a couple of pairs and some T-shirts, new underwear and a toothbrush. Alex tossed in socks and a razor and shaving cream. Mulder added condoms and several bags of snack foods as they checked out. At the motel, they got connecting rooms and sent Gibson for ice and sodas from the vending machine. Alex slipped Gibson a handful of quarters; there were a couple of video games by the vending machines. Mulder undressed and claimed the bed closest to the TV. He started channel surfing with a feeling of comfort. This motel was much more like he was used to, cheap, clean enough, and smelling of insect spray.

Alex took a shower; he was more at ease here also, although he wasn't going to say so. He spent a few minutes thinking about whether he was going to let Mulder top him. It wasn't something he enjoyed particularly, hence his preference for twinks, but he doubted Mulder would want to bottom all the time. Obviously, Mulder had not actually had sex with a man in ages. Alex still had to shake his head over how Mulder was so successful in the closet for so many years. In any case, Alex became somewhat aroused thinking about sex with Mulder, whichever way it went. He wondered how long he could reasonably expect Gibson to spend playing video games.

Alex came out of the bathroom; Mulder was watching a game on the TV, a bag of chips already opened, and spilling its contents on the sheets. There were two beds in the room, maybe he should just resign himself to sleeping in the one Mulder wasn't trashing.

Mulder muted the TV, "I don't know anything about you Alex." He said. "I mean the regular things, which teams you root for, what's your favorite food, or color, or actress. Where did you go to college and where are your from, are your parents living, do you have siblings?"

Alex laughed, "We could always go on a date or two." He said.

Mulder smiled, "Tell me," He demanded sweetly.

Alex lay back on the second bed, his hands behind his head. "I like the Raiders and Lakers; potato pancakes with sour cream, black and depends on the movie." He chuckled and continued, "I went to UCLA undergrad and Cal Tech for my masters, which was in industrial design, if you can imagine that. My parents really are cold war immigrants, they came out through Romania in the late fifties on student Visas to help set up hospitals in Cuba, where Castro had just taken power, and they had enough money to get to the Dominic Republic, went to the American Embassy there, and got sanctuary. We lived in Santa Monica, and my parents worked in a clinic there while they were recertified as MDs in the USA. My father was killed when I was nine; he was hit head on by a drunk on the Santa Monica Freeway. My maternal grandmother used every penny and sold everything she owned to get out of the USSR and come live with us. I had two older sisters who spoiled me terribly. The eldest is married with three kids; she is a doctor like my mother and lives in LA. My other sister got into any number of odd things in the seventies; she ended up in an Ashram and went to India to study. She was killed in an earthquake in eighty-four. I was born in sixty-seven, and was recruited by the FBI in eighty-nine. I joined after I finished my masters in ninety-two. They needed Russian speakers and I speak Czech too, which was an added advantage. The last time I saw any of them was right after I left the Bureau. I had them informed that I died riding my motorcycle on the weekend and got careless on a mountain trail. I knew it was too dangerous for me to be anywhere near them once Spender had his claws in me. I hear, from time to time, that they are well." Alex paused for breath, "My sister named her son after me, Andre, which is my real name. He is five now."

Alex had been staring at the ceiling while he talked and was startled when Mulder took his hand. He had not realized Mulder had moved to his bed while he was talking.

"Andre," Mulder breathed and put his hands on Alex's cheeks.

"Andre is dead," Alex said in a toneless voice, making nonsense out of his new IDs and plans to be Andre again. "He died the first time he was sent to retrieve some papers for Spender and had to shoot his way out of a building."

Mulder smiled, "I am getting to know a beautiful man named Alex, a man who had been as lonely as I have been for a long, long time. I think it's time for Andre to rest in peace, don't you?"

Alex felt the sting of tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat, he hadn't cried in more years than he could remember. The first tears fell as Mulder kissed his forehead and the lump ached in his throat as Mulder kissed his cheeks and then his mouth, not with passion, but with forgiveness.

Gibson was rattling the doorknob and banging to be let in, and the moment was lost. Not lost, Alex thought as he went to wash his face, it would be the cornerstone in their relationship, the moment when masks were dropped. Strangely, he didn't feel foolish.

Gibson's hands were loaded with the ice bucket and cans of soda. He had somehow managed to get grimy in the half-hour he'd been gone. Mulder suggested that he wash his face before he went to bed, hinting strongly that bedtime should be right away. Gibson closed his eyes for a moment and opened them when Alex came out of the bathroom. He turned to Mulder, "It's all true." He said.

Mulder looked surprised, but then he smiled, "I know," he said softly, "I did not doubt it for a second."

Gibson smiled and said goodnight, promising to wash up and brush his teeth, for good measure. He closed the connecting door and they heard the TV come on.

"Want a soda?" Mulder asked.

Alex grinned, "Sure."

The game was still on and this time, it was Mulder who raised the volume on the TV. They shared a soda and talked of neutral things, the thunderstorm broke overhead, lending its racket to the noise from the TV. Alex opened the door and they watched the storm sweep the parking lot and bounce off the parked cars. "I like storms," Alex said dreamily, "A storm makes everything stop, that's a lot of power."

Mulder put his arm around Alex's shoulders. A gust of wind and rain blew through the door and into their faces. Mulder kissed Alex's wet cheek and as Alex turned towards him, his lips. "I want you," Mulder whispered.

"I want you too," Alex answered and let the door swing shut behind them as they went back inside.

Mulder wasn't hesitant, Alex noticed, however long it had been for him between male lovers. Alex stopped thinking and let Mulder's kisses drown him and bring them both down on the bed. It was urgent, but slow. Shirts came off and time was spent exploring one another, pants, underwear and socks all drifted away and they slid against one another, lost in warm skin and the scent of arousal.

It is a storm, Alex thought, Mulder is the hurricane, the whirlwind, and typhoon, which blow everything away and leave wet devastation behind. Mulder was on top. His hand was beneath Alex and prodding him, opening him ready for the scourge that was his desire. Alex let his legs fall open and boneless, he sighed as he let control wash away and allowed Mulder to do what he would. The first penetration hurt, Alex was very tight, but he took a deep breath and willed his last vestiges of pride and protection gone.

Mulder was breathing in hot, fast gusts and Alex let himself be buffeted. Mulder filled him beyond capacity and he felt his body stretch until he held all of Mulder tight within him. Mulder moaned, and his whispers were a garbled combination of praise and nonsense. Alex found he loved this out of control lover, that he wasn't afraid of the passion or possessiveness. He, who had sworn never to be owned by anyone again, transferred the power to Mulder with barely a whimper.

Mulder sped up, pounding Alex inside and out, until the frenzy ended in a scorching outpouring of seed and sense. Alex drifted as Mulder came down from his passionate high. Mulder withdrew, but curled around Alex immediately.

"God," Mulder murmured when he was able to breathe again, "you're perfect," Mulder said in Alex's ear.

Alex chuckled softly, "I thought you were going to rip me in two, you're huge."

Mulder smiled smugly, but then frowned, "I didn't hurt you, did I?"

Alex turned to his lover, and ran his hand over the high forehead and nose and generous mouth, "No, I'm okay. I wanted you there, don't ever doubt it."

Mulder touched Alex in return, "You didn't come." He said.

"It doesn't matter," Alex said softly. "Not if you're really going to stay around for later."

"I'll be here," Mulder vowed.

"Good," Alex said and let his eyes fall closed.

Mulder rolled off the bed, threw away the condom, and washed his hands. He turned off the TV and got back into the bed.

They were asleep in no time and the storm blew itself out by morning.

Alex woke in the sudden silence. After a moment, he realized that the high winds and rains had ceased and what woke his was their absence. Mulder was sweating where he was lying mashed against Alex's arm. His left arm, Alex smiled and took his daily thankfulness moment for the return of his arm. Mulder looked peaceful. There was no sign of his usual impatience now. The blankets were down just below his waist and Alex saw the beginning of his crack. There were tiny golden hairs glinting in the soft light at the base of his spine.

Alex ran a finger across that swan's down and Mulder's back was soon covered in gooseflesh. Alex pushed the blankets down, and studied Mulder's ass. It was a fine ass, beautifully shaped, very pale, and hairless. He had a few light freckles scattered across his cheeks and Alex decided to connect them with his tongue. He moved gently and bent over, he cupped Mulder's ass in his hands, pushing in this way and that. Mulder did not wake up. Alex was enjoying these quiet moments, his lover was asleep in his bed, and all of him was laid out for Alex to savor. Alex wetted the tip of his tongue and began a journey, mapping Mulder's ass.

Mulder woke with a soft happy sigh. He tensed until he realized what Alex was doing then he relaxed again. Alex felt Mulder wake and added a tiny soft bites across his ass. Mulder groaned. Alex pushed the blankets and sheets off the bed. He parted Mulder's legs and sat on the bed between them. He ran his fingers up and down the back of Mulder's thighs and Mulder moaned again.

Alex began to play with his own cock, one hand there and one hand on Mulder. When he was aching, he used both hands, one on each cheek and pushed. Mulder got the idea, tucked his knees in under him, and raised his ass in the air and his face on the pillows. Alex reached between his legs and found his hard cock; he tugged it gently until Mulder began to squirm.

The package of condoms was on the table by the lamp. Alex grabbed one, and put it on. "Hold your ass open," He told Mulder and saw Mulder's prick grow empurpled and leak in large drips onto the sheet.

Mulder didn't open his eyes when he felt Alex caressing him. He simply obeyed whatever Alex's hands wanted him to do. He was very turned on and a lot nervous. He hadn't done this since college and back then only a handful of times. He heard Alex pump his own cock and the scent of arousal and semen filled his head, he groaned.

When Alex pushed him onto his knees, his ass in the air, Mulder could feel his thighs bunch and the muscles begin to tremor. Alex touched his penis and began to fist it and Mulder knew soon that he would be too avid to worry about being penetrated. Besides, he had fucked Alex earlier and Alex had been as tight as a virgin, maybe tighter because it wasn't something he really wanted.

Right then, with that thought, Mulder felt himself melt inside. He wanted Alex in there, all of him, he wanted Alex to split him in two and brand him with an ache that he would feel for a week. In truth, he realized, this is what kept him more or less okay with hiding in the closet for years. He'd worried, when he was young, that he was effeminate and wanted to be filled, to cry out and beg for more.

He felt Alex's finger slide slowly from the end of his spine down into the divide in his ass and finger his anus. How silly, he thought, to have been afraid of this voluptuous need. He spread his knees and when Alex whispered to him, he balanced on his face and upper chest, reached behind him, and opened his ass as far as he could.

Alex watched Mulder offer himself and knew he had never had it like this with anyone else. He put a fingertip inside Mulder and massaged him there. He wanted to ram inside, tear his way in, and fuck Mulder in his own blood. He took a deep breath, he was not going to do it that way, but it took every ounce of his will to not rear up on his knees and conquer Mulder's ass.

Mulder heard Alex growl low in his throat and spread himself wider, he didn't know how else to show him that he wanted this. Alex added a second finger, stretched his hole, and with each small tug felt more of his guts melt until he wanted to be turned inside out and consumed.

The third finger hurt, but Alex didn't stop there, he bent his fingers and pressed with his knuckles and Mulder knew he was open.

"Oh," Mulder cried out, "Fuck me, Alex." He heard Alex catch his breath.

"Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me," Mulder whined in a whisper and pressed back onto Alex's fingers.

Alex, his teeth clenched and every muscle held in check, got behind Mulder on his knees and slowly began to penetrate him. He looked at his cock as it sank inside, the walls of Mulder's asshole tight around him, yet hot and wet inside. Alex let himself in all the way, that wet heat was a give-a-way. Mulder wanted to be reamed, he liked it, and he was a bottom at heart, for all his machismo.

When he was all the way in, Alex paused and felt Mulder flexing his ass around him. He waited, and between flexes, he pushed harder and Mulder jerked and opened even more. "Hot," Alex whispered, "You're a hot, hot hole for me to fuck. aren't you? I know you now, Mulder," He said, echoing what Mulder had said about him the day before. "I know you," He said in a singsong sibilant whisper.

"Tell me," Mulder cried out, trying to fuck himself against Alex's hard stance and not able to do it because he was hampered by his neck and shoulders, which held him in place.

"This," Alex said, drawing back a few inches and surging back in hard. "You want to be my cunt, you love being pussy around my prick, don't you?" Alex let go and fucked him deep and fast and Mulder cried out, "Yes!" and pushed back on every stroke.

It was as if the storm had returned, and Alex was the wind, the rain, and the noise. He pushed Mulder into an impossible position, his ass very high and Alex reached around and squeezed Mulder's cock tightly, making him stop pushing back and immobile between Alex's prick and hand.

"I've got you, Mulder." Alex said in a confident voice. "Fall to pieces, Mulder," He encouraged. "You're mine now, my field to plow and I will, I promise, between you and me there is only this truth." And Alex roughly twisted his wrist and squeezed the head of Mulder cock and Mulder cried out and orgasmed, pulsing out jet after jet of hot come.

When Mulder was done, Alex very deliberately, began to fuck him with short jabs, intermixed with long strokes, pleasing himself in Mulder's ass, as sure as himself as any conqueror ever had been.

They ended up in a heap, Mulder flat on his belly and Alex sprawled half over him and partly on the bed, with one foot hanging over the side.

Alex felt Mulder's shoulders shake and was concerned that he had actually hurt him. "You okay, Mulder?" He asked.

Mulder continued to shake, but after a few moments, Alex heard what he was saying, he sputtered, "Cunt?" More shaking. "Pussy?" And the vibrations continued. "Plow my field?" Alex realized Mulder was laughing hysterically.

Mulder turned over, landing Alex in a squashed heap beside him, "What did you do in high school, Alex, read Lady Chatterley's Lover fifty times?" And he laughed until tears ran down his face.

Alex pouted, he flicked Mulder on the forehead with two fingers, and Mulder said, "Ouch!" in an aggrieved tone.

"That was the best dirty sex talk ever, Mulder." Alex said. "It rose to great heights, was creative and hot as hell. And you laugh, ha! You are a real party pooper, you know?"

Mulder rolled his eyes and started to laugh all over again. Alex watched him for a minute, deciding if he should get up and stalk away or hit him. The room was too small to stalk in properly and he didn't really want to hit him and have to leave the bed. He shrugged, crossed his arms, and stared at the ceiling.

Mulder chuckled and snorted for a little longer, settled down and throwing one long leg over Alex. "Seriously," He snorted, and took a breath, "Seriously, Alex. That was the best sex I have ever experienced. Really."

"I know that," Alex said smugly, and Mulder stroked his arm. Mellowing he conceded, "It was the best for me too."

Mulder turned on his side, and said, "Ugh, it's wet here." But he curled up anyway. "I can hardly wait for what literary gem you'll quote next time." He smiled beatifically and closed his eyes.

"I'll do a Google search," Alex said. "Key words - sex for the dirty minded."

"You do that," Mulder yawned.

Alex watched Mulder fall asleep before he grinned and made a victory fist in the air. Satisfied, he too, closed his eyes and hoped Gibson would sleep late in morning.

Gibson didn't sleep late, but he didn't bother Alex and Mulder either. He went across the street and got breakfast for himself and large coffees for the men. Knocking on their outside door to rouse them, they were both in pants, if somewhat worse for wear, when the door was opened. Alex said thank-you while Mulder inhaled the coffee right away. When they were more awake, Gibson told them he was packed and ready to go anytime, but in the meantime, he would like some more quarters for the games. "I spent the last of my own money on the coffees," He said.

Alex replied, "Pitiful, my heart bleeds" dryly. Nevertheless, he grinned and handed Gibson a ten.

When he had gone, Mulder said, "You're spoiling him."

Alex went into the bathroom, `Now that you've been a father for a week, you've become an expert in child care?" He closed the door and started the shower.

Mulder said. "Smart ass," since the shower had started, he didn't think Alex heard him.

He booted the computer and checked the directions to the camp one more time, satisfied, he went to a chat room about pedigreed cocker spaniels and invited Doggybreath3 into a private chat. He had a long AIM session with the Gunmen, who told him Scully and the baby were fine and she was back at work part-time. They said Skinner had sent them a message to be careful, because he thought they would be watched to find Mulder's location. They scoffed at Skinner, as usual, for being so behind the curve. They asked if he thought Krycek and he could really pass as concerned guardians for Gibson. Mulder said he doubted it so they had decided to go as a gay uncle and his lover. The Gunmen sent rows of LOLs and signed off. Mulder was still grinning when Alex came out of the bathroom.

"What?" Alex asked as he dressed.

"I told the Gunmen we're gay." Mulder said tonelessly.

Alex stared at him, "What did they say?"

"They laughed," Mulder deadpanned.

"I bet they did," Alex replied and started packing his stuff. "I'll get take-out while you shower," He said and left the room.

Mulder wished they had plenty of time to spend alone. He shrugged and went to take his shower.

On their way once more, Gibson talked about summer camps. Since all his knowledge came from deaf kid's recollections, Mulder thought he might be in for a few surprises. They went over the plan until Mulder was satisfied and Alex was not, had lunch and got on the highway that led to the Kennesaw Mountain State Park.

They registered Gibson without trouble, were assigned to a cabin down the path that was reserved for parents and families, and let Gibson go off with his group to examine a fishing hole. Alex stood on the porch of the cabin, "All the amenities," he said dryly.

Mulder gave him a cross look, the shower stall was eighty percent rust, the kitchen sink spewed brown water and the window fans only worked on low. The place had mildew in the corners of the room and smelled of damp animal fur. Finally, there were four cots set up in opposite corners and not one of them wasn't bowed in the middle.

"I think they would rather not have parental help," Mulder said and kicked a cabinet door shut, it didn't stay closed.

"You think?" Alex said and sat on the rail of the porch, swinging his legs.

They met the staff and a very few other parents at dinner. Alex chewed his over cooked hamburgers and thought about the lobster from the other night. The day ended with warm beer and a contingent of roaches that seemed surprised when they turned on the light.

"I hate roaches," Mulder said.

"Be glad you've never had to eat them or starve," Alex said.

"Scully ate a bug once once. We were on a case with a circus and she didn't like their attitude that we were city folks without any guts." Mulder said.

"I can't say I'm surprised," Alex said. "Scully always ripped into any implication that you were lacking. I mean, except for her own brand of disapproval."

Mulder grimaced, "You know," He said, "I was once in a town that was taken over by roaches. It caused mass panic." He started to tell his story. When he got to the part where a scientist insisted that if aliens came, they would arrive as insects, Alex laughed. Mulder nodded wisely and told him about Bambi. However, neither of them mentioned the roaches in the cell in Russia.

The camp leader assigned them duties in the morning. They would not actually be with Gibson's group, but their paths would cross during the day so they could see how the boy was coping. Mulder was given a group of ten to take through the endurance track in the nearby woods. Alex was given a group of all ages to take on a trail to the lake, where they would find fishing equipment ready for their use.

The three decided to share any information about the lab when they got back to camp.

At four that afternoon, Gibson and Alex, who were rather sunburned, and Mulder, with a pulled hamstring, met at the back of the chow tent. They talked over large bottles of water. None of them had found anything suspicious. Gibson said he heard some confusing noise in his head, but could not tell which direction it was coming from.

Exhausted after dinner and thankful that they did not have any evening duties the men went to their cabin and crashed for the night. The same pattern was repeated all week. Mulder heard the noise now as well, but it was strangely confused and disorganized.

Alex, using an untraceable sequence of ISPs, provided by the Gunmen, checked his contacts. The forest was confirmed, an exact location was not available. Alex was out of patience, he thought they should simply get Gibson and a jeep and sweep the area from one end to the other.

Gibson, who was actually enjoying himself, asked Alex to hang on for a few more days. Alex conceded, but warned that another week was all he would wait.

Three days later, Alex looked around and wondered if he would have been better off dead.

There were children grizzling to the left of him, children sobbing to the right of him and several with ominously quivering lips in front of him. The sky was about to burst from its gray dome and pour for the remainder of the afternoon from hell. He had begun to call it The Afternoon From Hell when it had been scarcely a quarter after ten that morning. He could see which way the day was going by then and that things were not going to be better by lunchtime.

Alex tried to coax the children in front of him to relax, but that made the tears flow faster, "We're hungry Mr. Alex," They cried, more or less in unison.

What he wanted to do was to yell very loudly and tell them all to shut up that he wasn't the one who forgot their lunches, and his. That had been the pubescent girl with the green and purple stripes in her hair. Less than an hour ago, these same crybabies had been thrilled to have the weird teenager on the hike with them. They had explained, multiple times, about how someone named Tonks, in a favorite book, had purple hair too, and changed it to green upon occasion. The teenager had known all about that character and had merrily rehashed the books with the kids and never thought about the backpack full of sandwiches and juice boxes she had left, she thought, by the last park ranger's hut and bathrooms.

Alex looked around in vain for edible berries or apples, but they were in the Kennesaw Mountain State Park. He did not think apples grew in Georgia and there were no peach trees to be found either, only pines, lots, and lots of pine trees.

"Okay, okay," He said in a loud voice that was just shy of yelling. "It's less than an hour's walk back to the hut and the food. If everyone would stop crying, we can go and get it." They cried louder and made no effort to get going. "I think," He said craftily, "That the rangers have ice cream bars there too."

That caught the attention of some of the crowd, and they started to tell the others to go. Several of the little ones, who should have been too young to go to summer camp at all, in Alex's newly found opinions about the subject, gathered around him more closely, one even daring to put up her arms and ask him to carry her because she was so tired.

Alex frowned and the girl backed off a few steps. "We will march," He said, "and someone will start a song and we will all sing." After less that a week with these urchins, he had learned that everything had to be said in the Royal We, because the children did not take kindly to orders that `they' should do things independently.

The teenage girl looked at him helplessly. "Sing." He ordered.

She grimaced, almost in tears herself and said, for the ninety-ninth time, "I'm so sorry, Mr. Alex. I didn't mean to leave it there."

"Just sing!" He growled.

She rolled her eyes and he had a fierce longing for his gun, while he wondered how anyone survived to become adults.

She started, in a loud voice of uncertain tonality, "My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump. My lovely lady lumps (lumps)
My lovely lady lumps (lumps)
My lovely lady lumps (lumps)"

The children screamed with laughter and gathered around her, "Humps! My humps!" They all yelled.

Alex caught her eye and nodded to the track in the woods they had been following. She began to dance her way back the way they had come.

They progressed, screaming and laughing along the track. Since the song was almost obscene, he wondered how the small demons knew it.

By the time they progressed to,
"You can stand under my umbrella
You can stand under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh eh eh eh)"

He was sure he should have let the Skinner, Mulder, or the aliens kill him for real. A bullet in the head would have been less painful.

Thankful to be back at the Ranger's hut, lunch bags distributed and quiet restored, Alex noticed something odd as he walked around the hut to make sure none of the rug-rats had gone off on his own. There was a cellar door built into the backside of the hut. Since the area was not known for cyclones, he wondered why it was there. He went a little closer and saw that it was not really a wooden door, but a steel one, faux painted to appear as wood. His heart beat faster and he willed himself to walk away and wait until he met up with Mulder and Gibson later in the day.

The kids were more than ready to go back to camp. Although they were not expected until later, Alex figured the camp leaders could find something to occupy the kids anyway.

He started the singing with This Old Man, and some of the kids groaned, but the little ones knew it and sang loudly. Thus, fortified with lunch, ice cream bars, and a bathroom break, they headed back to camp.

He was released from duty when they got back; the counselors understood enough to realize Alex had had enough of kids for the day. Alex drove his car to the nearest town and found the hardware store. He bought flashlights, a crow bar, a couple of backpacks and walkie-talkies. He had his personal lock picking kit in the car, hidden with his guns and other violence inducing materials under a false bottom in the trunk.

He stopped at the diner in town and ate a well-cooked meal, with real ice in the ice tea and real meat in the sandwich.

He met Mulder and Gibson at dinner, and had them sit with him at a remote table. He described his find and the supplies he had bought. Mulder got excited and Gibson thought that if the lab was far enough underground that might be why he could not hear them clearly. Mulder immediately told the camp leader that he and Alex wanted Gibson to spend the night in their cabin, vaguely depicting Gibson as very tired and maybe coming down with a cold.

After the camp had settled for the night, fortified with the tools Alex had bought and Mulder and Alex armed to the teeth with handguns and rifles, they set off for the Ranger's Hut.

All was quiet as they approached the hut and circled around back. As they stepped toward the cellar door, a beam of light arced across the compound. Alex grabbed Gibson and dragged him out of range. They sat down in the undergrowth to wait and watch. The arc did not return. Mulder picked up a light branch that had fallen from a tree and tossed it into the area behind the hut. The light immediately beamed again. "Shit," They all said in unison and Gibson giggled. "Shhh, Alex hissed.

Slowly, Alex began to throw items into the area until they figured out it was keyed to things crossing the grass at more than four feet in height. "Can you crawl that far?" Mulder asked Gibson, pointing to the thirty or so feet of rough grass between them and the cellar door. Gibson said, "Yes."

Alex frowned, they boy was awkward on his feet and he doubted his gimp leg could hold out for thirty feel of dragging. "I can do it!" Gibson said fiercely. "I can push with my right leg and I have some strength in my left."

"Okay!" Mulder whispered. We'll take it slowly and Alex will lead and I will follow in case you need a push."

The strange party of three began to crawl on their bellies across the yard. Just as they got within touching distance, a deer ran close to the hut and the light arced and stayed on as alarms beeped. Alex moved fast, he dragged Gibson under the porch and Mulder rolled in after them. Two men opened the cellar door and came up on the grass. They were heavily armed. They walked around the perimeter, one of them cursed, "Another fucking deer, I don't see nobody."

The other man grunted, sat on the steps of the porch, not six feet from where Mulder, Alex and Gibson were lying and lit a cigarette. They first man joined him and pulled a whiskey flask out of his pocket. He and the smoking guy shared sips and groused about being stuck on night duty. Gibson rubbed his nose, trying not to sneeze. Alex said a quick prayer to the saint of hiding people and pushed a wadded handkerchief into Gibson's face. The guards did not note the small explosion of sound, and Alex breathed again.

After a long time, it seemed to Mulder, the man tossed his cigarette into the grass, stomped on it and they both went inside.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Gibson whispered, near tears.

"No damage done," Mulder replied and patted his head.

"Are we through bonding?" Alex asked in a goaded voice.

Mulder shot him a haughty look, "Can you hear anything, Gibson?"

Gibson sniffed and nodded. There is a hallway from this door to a big room. The guards sit in the big room and watch the monitors. Some of them are asleep and the others are tired. None of them expect anything," He paused. "They've been here a long time, years. No one has ever tried to break in."

"You don't happen to have any tear gas on you?" Mulder asked Alex.

"No," Alex said, but he smirked.

"What?" Mulder said in a soft excited voice.

"I have a grenade," Alex said triumphantly.

"No shit!" Mulder exclaimed.

"You are a bad man," Gibson said admiringly.

Mulder stifled a laugh.

"You stay behind us and don't block the way out." Alex commanded.

"Yes sir," Gibson said cheekily.

"So butch, I'm all aflutter," Mulder muttered and earned a glare from Alex.

Once everyone calmed down, Alex began the crawl to the door. He remembered to say thanks for his arm as he had his locksmith tools in one hand and a gun in the other. He inched his way to the door, Mulder and Gibson silent behind him.

Alex tucked the gun in his waistband and eased slowly to his knees keeping his chest to the door as close as he could. It took him a few moments, but the click when the bolt opened was audible to all of them.

"Show time," Mulder whispered.

"Cool," Whispered Gibson.

Alex rubbed his forehead and thought `amateurs'.

Alex took the grenade in his right hand, his gun in his left and jumped down the steps in one leap. "Clear!" He hissed and Mulder, guiding Gibson came down more slowly.

The hallway was surprisingly ordinary for a super secret lab. The walls were painted industrial green and the linoleum was black and white squares. There was nothing else in the corridor. The door at the end was not closed all the way and a sliver of bright light poured into the hallway.

Alex approached the door. He widened the opening barely an inch. He waved his companions to get behind him. He stood, kicked the door all the way opened, and threw in the grenade, turning at the same moment to cover Mulder and Gibson with his body. The blast was very loud and they heard screaming and cursing from inside. Alex ran into they room, shooting immediately. The confusion was terrible, smoke, ceiling plaster, chairs, and tables knocked all over the place and men and blood.

Mulder dragged Gibson with one hand and fired with the other. He followed Alex across the room to a far door and they ran through it another hallway. This hallway had the appearance of a hospital corridor. The linoleum was shiny and the walls were beige, each room had large door with a number and title on it. Gibson took the lead, with Mulder a close second. They could hear the hybrids and aliens now, in their heads. Alex walked beside them, armed to the teeth. He kept looking behind him in case anyone came after them. They went through a fire door and down another floor. Here they stopped. The door had a face recognition panel for security and a sign that warned anyone without top clearance to stay out.

Alex didn't pause, he ran back down the corridor to a room that had Consultants Lounge, on the sign. He went in and soon came out again with an aged Japanese man ahead of him, while he held a gun to his head.

Mulder and Gibson stood aside, and the man opened the door. There was no one on the other side, just another long corridor with lots of door on either side. Gibson turned to the old man. "They have promised him a return to youth, in exchange for his formula on plasma," He said.

The old man's eyes opened wide and he stared at Gibson. "Who are you?" He asked. No one answered him and Alex motioned to him to keep walking.

A few more steps and Mulder put a hand to his forehead and Gibson slid to the ground. Momentarily nonplussed, Alex held the gun to the Asian's head and waited for an explanation.

"Their signal is very loud," Mulder ground out, rubbing his forehead.

Gibson squeaked, Alex hit the old man in the back of the head with the butt of his pistol and he fell down, out cold. Alex got down next to Gibson, "Are you all right?" He asked.

"The ones in the next lab are failures." He whispered, obviously struggling to speak. "They are in horrific pain."

Alex, his face grim, looked through the porthole type window into the lab. He saw beings that were horrendously malformed tied down on slabs. There must have been a couple of hundred in the vast room. Alex went back to Gibson, "There's an oxygen air lock." Alex stated.

Gibson, rocking in pain, nodded.

Alex went back to the lab and opened the door. He went to a control panel and began to press some levers, a Plexiglas wall came down, blocking off the part of the room with the slabs. Alex pressed another lever and he felt the vacuum seal enable. Last, he turned a dial and sub-zero hydrogen poured from the ceiling vents and covered the test subjects, freezing them to death within seconds.

Gibson was trying to get to his feet and color returned to Mulder's face. "We're okay." He told Alex and went to the lab to look inside. "God," He muttered when he saw the warped things on the other side of the glass. "Were they ever human?"

Gibson said, "They were all homeless men. They were rounded up with the promise of a new shelter and brought here, some of them many years ago. They have been test subjects since then."

"God," Mulder said again.

"They're all dead," Gibson said in a toneless voice.

"I think we did them a favor," Mulder said sadly.

Gibson nodded.

They moved on down the corridor until they got to a door labeled, Metals Testing. The door was locked, but with a normal dead bolt and Alex got it open within moments.

As soon as they were in, it was obvious that this was the place they were looking for, rows and rows of canisters labeled Magnetite, sat on the shelves. Mulder grabbed an instructional manual off a desk and began to skim it. Alex went to a DVD recorder and pressed play.

As the show began to run, all Mulder could think was that it rivaled the old Nazi films of death chambers and the Final Solution. Spender was right at home being the Doctor of Death. After a few minutes, Alex stopped the DVD, "we'll take it and that manual, Mulder. Can you carry one of the tanks?" He said and asked Gibson who had tears in his eyes. "Yes," Gibson whispered, sounding like a young child for once.

Alex patted his shoulder and handed him a canister. He put the DVD and the manual into Mulder's backpack. He and Mulder took three canisters each, from different shelves and hoped that would be enough samples for the FBI scientists to figure out the system.

They walked back the way they came. It was eerily silent. "Do you sense anything?" He asked Gibson.

Gibson shook his head no, panting a little under the weight of the canister.

Alex pushed them into a recessed door as they neared the outer room Alex had blown up earlier. "Wait here." He said and went to look.

The room was empty; there were dead people on the floor or beneath furniture and pieces of ceiling plaster. However, there were no live people left. Alex didn't like it at all. He imagined they were all amassed just outside, weapons ready to shoot them to pieces.

Stealthily, Alex went down the final hallway and climbed the steps; he hoped that if Mulder and Gibson heard gunshots, they would find some other way out. Just in case Mulder really could read minds, he sent him a fervent I Love You. He climbed the last stairs on his belly and peered through the open cellar door. There was nothing there to disturb the woods. Everything was quiet, and Alex could see multiple footsteps in the dirt, all heading away from the facility.

Alex climbed down the stairs and headed down the hallway. Half way down, Mulder and Gibson came walking towards him. "Looks clear," Alex, said doubtfully.

"They're gone," Gibson said. "They weren't going to risk their lives to defend a failed project. None of them knew that super-soldiers were successful and in use outside. Mr. Spender had assigned them here, but he went away a long time ago and all they did here was keep those poor creatures alive. They hated it here."

Alex made them follow him out, Gibson in the middle, all of the burdened with tanks. Alex kept a close watch, and frequently made them stop and listen, but other than the sound of cars starting in the far field, there was no noise and the guards got away and so did Alex, Mulder, and Gibson.

Mulder went and roused the camp leader and explained that Gibson was ill and they were leaving right away to get him back to his regular doctor. The camp leader said he was sorry and went back to bed. Mulder went to Gibson's cabin and the student counselor handed him a bag with the boy's stuff in it.

They drove through the night in Alex's Lexus, music on low and Gibson asleep in the backseat and the tanks in the trunk. Mulder was jubilant; Alex was ambivalent. Once they were back in DC, there was no telling what Mulder would do, although Alex prepared himself for Mulder to return to Scully and the baby.

Western Georgia to Washington DC took sixteen hours. Taking turns, they drove straight through, stopping only for take-out and bathrooms. As they approached the city, Mulder stopped at a Cyber Caf in Woodbridge, Virginia and emailed the Gunmen. He didn't wait for a reply and they continued into the city. Gibson, awake and sick of being in the car, was on the alert.

They ended the journey at an abandoned office complex where they could park in a covered lot. Alex was not amused when he saw Skinner was there. Mulder, touched Alex's shoulder, he's already killed you once, he won't do it again. But he didn't sound convinced.

Gibson said it was clear, no aliens or soldiers and that Scully was impatient to get back to the baby and Doggett was still angry with Mulder for running off in the first place. Mulder went around the car to the driver's side and shielded Alex as he got out of his car. Nonetheless, Skinner, Scully, and Doggett all had their guns aimed by the time they had walked into the garage.

The Gunmen drove up behind them and got out of their car complaining loudly about the location for the meeting, because it meant they had had to drive through the worst traffic of the day. Their chatter helped everyone to calm down.

Mulder brushed aside any questions about Alex's reincarnation and presence. Instead, he explained about the evidence and the Magnetite canisters. Scully was skeptical as was her wont and the Gunmen wanted to run the DVD on their laptop immediately.

In the mishmash of questions and show and tell, Skinner, Scully and Doggett, ignored Alex and rolled their eyes in disbelief when Mulder explained how Alex had helped. The Gunmen didn't care who Alex was, he had gotten the evidence and the test materials there, Mulder was alive and Gibson was adopted as if he were a long lost younger brother.

Alex was silent, but he watched Mulder interact with Scully looking for that special bond that had been there years ago. Kindness was there, if impatient on Scully's part. Mulder still deferred to her, but that shining circle was missing around them. Cautiously, he began to have hope.

Although they did not like it, Skinner and Doggett agreed to share the canisters with the Gunmen and give them the first look and the order to make copies of the DVD and manual quickly.

Mulder agreed to lie low and stay away from Scully or the baby's immediate vicinity. Gibson asked if he could stay with the Gunmen, they were enthusiastic too, so Mulder said okay as long as they never left him alone anywhere.

Skinner did not want to leave Mulder alone with Krycek. He had a lot to say on the subject, but Mulder overruled him on every count and he had to get back to the office. On there way out, amidst high fives and congratulations, Byers handed Mulder a set of keys. No one but Alex noticed.

When everyone had gone, Mulder stretched and yawned. "I need real food and sleep, in that order." He said. "Let's go get both," He added.

"And where are we going?" Alex asked dryly.

Mulder rattled the keys, "I have a new apartment; furnished, according to the Gunmen, with everything, including food and a bed."

Alex shrugged, "Lead on McDuff," He said and Mulder laughed.

"I'll drive," Mulder said and sashayed in front of Alex, his hand out for the car keys.

"Only in your dreams," Alex said and get in behind the wheel.

They went to the new address, it was a gentrified nineteenth century townhouse near Capitol Hill, and the first floor apartment was Mulder's. It was large and spacious, everything redone and remodeled to look antique but with modern features.

Mulder's old couch was in the second bedroom, and in place of the fish tank, was a terrarium with a Gila monster lizard in it. Instruction for feeding and caring for it were taped to the side of the glass and there was a thick book about it on the table.

"You'll have to name this thing, Mulder," Alex said with a sardonic smile. "When it dies it won't flush down the toilet."

Mulder looked at it lying there, "It already looks dead."

"I think they sleep a lot," Alex said, losing interest and went into the kitchen.

By food, Alex thought, the Gunmen meant anything that came in a box or a frozen container and only needed water and minutes in the microwave. Nevertheless, there was fresh bread, milk, eggs and cheese. He found apples in a bag in the bottom drawer.

He tossed frozen lasagna in the microwave and turned it on. There were plenty of paper plates and plastic glasses. A gallon of supermarket ice tea was already cold in the fridge. He grabbed his suitcase and went into the first bedroom. Fortunately, the Gunmen had provided a king size bed, and Alex wondered if they knew something about Mulder's sex life that he did not know.

He showered in a masterpiece of a bathroom. It was huge, for a start, had a separate shower and bathtub and the shower had spigots from all directions. Alex let the water rain down on him and enjoyed it tremendously. Distantly, he heard the microwave beep and turned off the shower. He threw on jeans and a clean T-shirt, no underwear and no socks. He intended to get naked directly after dinner. Mulder could sleep all he wanted later.

Mulder had washed his face and hands in the kitchen sink, "You could've joined me," Alex said.

Mulder smiled, "I'm really hungry," he said.

Alex took the lasagna out of the microwave. Mulder found utensils and poured the tea and they ate.

"It's not bad at all," Mulder said and gestured around the room.

Alex nodded an affirmative.

Mulder stood suddenly, "I'm done," he said. "I'll take a quick shower and meet you in the bedroom." He said and hurried away.

"Sure of yourself, aren't you?" Alex yelled.

Mulder came back to the kitchen door, "Shouldn't I be?"

Alex took off his T-shirt, and began to unbutton his jeans, when he got to the second button and Mulder saw what was there, he gasped. "A quick shower, a really quick shower." He said and went into the bathroom.

They came together in the big bed. Mulder was damp, but neither of them cared. They wriggled and rolled around, laughing at nothing, just being together and alone. Mulder rolled on top, "We're gonna get those bastards and Spender too, soon. Even if it never goes public, I'll know you know and the others believe me at last. For once, I am a step ahead of them and that's all I ever needed." He kissed Alex extravagantly, "Thank you." He said.

Alex held Mulder's face in the palms of his hand. Seriously he said, "We had to die first to get here, how about we find something else to do with the extra life we have now?"

Mulder smiled, "Now there will be time for the real X Files, Alex. I'll get you immunity or restored to the Bureau or something and we'll do it together."

"You're a nutcase." Alex said fondly.

Mulder smiled and rolled them over. He hooked his legs over Alex's thighs smiling all the while, "Fuck me," Mulder whispered, "right now. I put lube in there already."

Alex caught his breath. Was it going to be that easy? Nothing was ever that easy. But he was hard and Mulder was warm and open and he would think about that later.

Mulder cried out as Alex pushed inside. He went in easily this time, and it was hot and slippery and perfect. They fucked as if they had all night and all year all the rest of their lives.

As they fell asleep, Mulder answered a statement Alex made the previous day, "I love you too."

And, Alex felt his heart stutter and begin to beat again to start this second chance at living.



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Title:  Not A Word Wasted
Author:  Flutesong   [email/website]
Details:  Standalone  |  NC-17  |  149k  |  07/04/07
Pairings:  Mulder/Krycek
Category:  Drama, Story, Romance, RST, Adventure

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