TITLE: Revelations
DATE: 01/05/2002
AUTHORS: Jennie & Jami Wilsen
DISCLAIMER: LOL! Right...like they'll get any money out of US, poor penniless slashers that we be.
FANDOM: X-Files
PAIRING: Mulder/Krycek
ARCHIVE: RatB, DitB, WWOMB, others please ask.
FEEDBACK: Yes, Jamiwilsen@hotmail.com, JennieeMcG@aol.com
OTHER WEBSITES: Our pages at RatB: http://www.squidge.org/~terma/, and our sites: http://fullhouseslash.slashcity.net/hosted/Jennie.htm#other, http://www.saradadevi.com/jami/slash.htm
SPOILERS: Post-Existence, so pretty much everything up until then.
RATING: PG-13 (amazingly enough), for language and slashyness
SUMMARY: (Yet another) M/K Christmas Carol
NOTE: Jennie wrote Alex, Jami wrote Mulder
BETAS: Teri and Satina


Mulder's Apartment
2360 Hegal Place
Circa: December 25, 2001 1:03 AM

What the hell?

I look around. My stomach drops to about basement level when I realize where I'm standing...

Mulder's apartment.

As if I don't have enough trouble on my plate!

Of course, I DO realize that I'm dreaming - but why THIS? Why HERE? Why HIM???

Fuck it all, anyway.

He's on the sofa. Big surprise there, gang. Where else would he be sleeping?

A twitch from him. He sighs, mumbles something I can't quite make out, rolls onto his side. And opens his eyes. Of course, he spots me immediately. Frowns. Shakes his head. Sits up and blinks slowly. Stares at me in disbelief.

//Yeah, Mulder, here I am. I'm a ghost - come to haunt you!//

"Krycek," he spits at me. "You're dead, you sorry sack of shit."

I smirk. Can't help it - a knee-jerk reaction to his tone - and shrug with all the carelessly contemptuous attitude I can muster. "I sure as shit appear to be in hell," I say, looking scornfully around his living room.

"That makes two of us," he answers.

Fucker.

"What do you want now, Krycek?"

"From YOU? Not a single fucking thing, Mulder."

"Go back to hell, then. Get out of my dream."

"Keywords there, Mulder, are: MY. DREAM." I'm getting really cranky long about now. "As this is YOUR dream, you can damn well wake the fuck up and leave ME alone, dammit"

Pissed off at everything - my unconscious mind, his mind, conscious and un, the unfairness of it all - I stalk over to the door and depart. Slamming said door emphatically behind me.

>>> SHIFT <<<

Krycek Household
Brighton Beach, New York
Circa: December 25,1968:

"Alexei!"

"Yes, Mama?" Six-year old Alex speaks timidly, doesn't quite meet her glare.

"Get your useless ass up and bring that large gift behind the tree to your little sister." She smiles fondly at the younger of the two children.

The Father says nothing. Watches indifferently as the boy struggles to do as ordered. The box is heavy and awkward, but Alex persists and finally sets it in front of his sister.

She ignores his efforts on her behalf and squeals delightedly. "Oh, Mama, Papa - thank you SO much!"

'Mama' looks upon her with soft eyes. "Thank Santa, sweetie. You must have been a VERY good girl this year. Why, look at all the lovely gifts Santa brought you!"

And indeed, the child is surrounded by opened presents, gaily-colored wrapping paper scattered all around her.

Alexei has only three gifts - a writing tablet for school - "Your teacher," his mother had admonished when he opened it, "says your penmanship needs more work." - and an economy-sized package each of underwear and socks.

He hadn't argued or complained. Had simply held one of his few presents against his chest with both arms. Said, "Thank you, Mama. You are very kind to me."

"Boy," growls his father. "get into that kitchen and bring me a cup of coffee."

Silently, Alexei sets his tablet aside and heads out of the room.

>>> SHIFT <<<

Mulder's Apartment
2360 Hegal Place
Circa: December 25, 2001
2:13 AM

"What the fuck was THAT?" Mulder demands.

"Damned if I know." And damned if I'll show him how much it hurts to have you see that ugly and very typical scene from my childhood. "This is YOUR dream. YOUR sick and twisted psyche at work, Mulder."

Fuck, fuck, fuck. Not only am I still here - we're sitting at opposite ends of the couch... watching my past on the television! IN COLOR!

I must be in hell after all.

I should have gone over to Scully's for Christmas Eve. She'd invited me but I turned her down. I didn't feel up to facing her family, particularly with the baby on display, so obviously the center of attention. I get sick of the cooing over William. He'd tell them it turns his stomach too, I'm sure, if only he could talk. Poor kid.

This is very disturbing. Why am I dreaming about Alex Krycek? And since I know I'm dreaming, why can't I dismiss him? He won't leave me alone. Even when I'm asleep.

For some reason, even though I know it's only a dream, I can't shake the feeling that... this is actually Krycek's spirit. His ghost.

Scully would tell me 'it's only a dream', but as I glance over at him, he sure looks... like himself. He's wearing that blank face that makes his eyes talk. The smirk is gone. I'd prefer to be dreaming about - anyone other than Krycek. I sigh and turn back to look at the TV.

"So. What's it like being dead?" I ask him, in an attempt to make conversation.

Krycek smirks at me. "You'd know more about that than I, wouldn't you?"

My hands are itching to wipe that smirk off his face - permanently. I don't bother to get up though. I know he's doing it deliberately to get a rise from me. He's going to be disappointed. But then I see what's playing on the television, and I get a very sickening lurch.

>>> SHIFT <<<

Mulder household,
Chilmark, Massachusetts
Circa: December 24, 1973:

"Fox, will you help me decorate the tree?" Teena Mulder is hanging ornaments on the pine branches of the tree in the Mulders' living room.

Twelve-year old Fox doesn't reply, pretending he hasn't heard her. He merely moves his book closer to his face.

"Fox," Teena calls. "Come here."

With a sigh, Fox puts down the book and walks over to her. Without a word, he picks up a red glass bauble and begins to look for a suitable place to hang it. He doesn't look at his mother.

"After we're done, I'm going to bake cookies," she says.

He still doesn't reply, and doesn't look at her.

"Fox," Teena complains. "Will you please do me the courtesy of looking at me when I talk to you? What's the matter with you?"

Fox is standing still, staring at the bauble in his hand. Slowly, he murmurs, "Sam loved the red ones."

Ignoring him, Teena says, digging through the box and dragging out a length of tinsel, "You can help me put the star on top, too."

"Mom, I asked Santa to bring Sam back with him. Do you think he might?"

His mother knows Fox is too old to believe in Santa Claus, and that he's obviously bringing up a painful subject best left alone since Samantha's disappearance a month before. She leans close to the tree, concentrating on draping the tinsel across the branches. "Your father will be back later. I think he's bringing something for you."

Fox stops, his eyes wide, and looks over at her. "Is it Sam?"

Teena breaks down and exclaims angrily, "Would you please stop, that Fox!" Her hands trembling, she drops the length of tinsel, and rushes from the room, heading into the apparent safety of the kitchen.

Fox looks down at the tinsel for a long time, then bends down slowly to pick it up and drape the tree himself. His mother doesn't come back, and he finishes decorating the tree, alone.

>>> SHIFT <<<

Mulder's Apartment
2360 Hegal Place
Circa: December 25, 2001
2:44 AM

Krycek lets out a breath. "Well, that was... enlightening." He looks over at me. "That must have been rough," he says gently.

The note of compassion in his voice is unbearable. Angrily, I mutter, "That actually happened. So what we saw before must've been from your past, Alex."

Krycek turns away and stares resolutely at the TV.

"In fact," I thoughtfully continue, "this is part of your haunting, isn't it? Jesus, even as a ghost, you can't find anything better to do than bother me."

Krycek sneers, "I'm not dead, Mulder."

Turning, I take in his expression - I do believe he thinks he's still alive. "I have some bad news for you, Krycek. You're dead. You died - I saw it happen."

"That's the funny thing about those alien healers," Krycek murmurs. "They keep resurrecting people. I guess it's a hobby of theirs."

Scoffing, I say, "Yeah, well, it's still MY dream. And I'm-"

He lifts his hand, bringing his finger to his lips. Shaking his head, he says, "Mulder, just - quiet a minute. There's... something coming on."

Looking back quickly at the TV, I see that something is happening. Misty swirls of white fog parting, revealing -

>>> SHIFT <<<

New York City
Times Square
Circa: December 25, 1978:

The day has long since faded into night. Lights - bright, cheery lights still illuminate the area. Strings of lights and spot-lit billboards, advertising everything from the latest scents to Broadway's most popular shows... and people everywhere. Everywhere, people are walking past him - driving past him.

The walkers are very careful to avoid his eyes, particularly the nervous tourists. Every so often though, a car slows as it passes, the driver studying the 16-year old Alex carefully as he slouches against a doorway, watching them with his best come-hither look.

He's hungry. He's cold. He's tired. He needs to find a trick tonight so he can eat, find a place to collapse later, sleep.

A limo pulls to the curb. The darkened window slowly lowers. Alex squints, but can't make out the features of the occupant of the back seat. He can feel coolly appraising eyes on him, though.

With a cocky grin, he approaches the vehicle. "Wanna play?"

A plume of cigarette smoke wafts out of the window. "Price?" Asks a strangely oily and raspy voice.

A chill runs down Alex's spine. He leans down and meets the prospective trick's eyes. Cold. Unfeeling. Frightening.

Still... he really needs to make a few bucks tonight. "Whatcha lookin' for?"

"A tight ass and a closed mouth."

Alex pauses. Thinks. Shrugs and says, "Well, I usually get a hundred, but, in honor of the day, I'll only charge you seventy-five."

The man in the car nods and flicks his cigarette butt out of the window at Alex's feet. "Get in," he says.

>>> SHIFT <<<

Mulder's Apartment
2360 Hegal Place
Circa: December 25, 2001
3:26 AM

Oh SHIT.

DAMN!

Could I possibly be more humiliated?

No, I couldn't.

Mulder opens his mouth.

Okay, maybe it could get worse.

"Mulder... If you say ONE word I will rip your fucking TONGUE out."

For once, he has the good sense to keep his trap shut. Shifting uncomfortably on the sofa, he clears his throat. "You don't suppose this dream allows us to have a little drink - just to... um, well, just to numb us a little before the next round?"

Krycek doesn't answer.

My thoughts are racing. I want desperately to ask him what happened, and to press him for answers. I've never known much about Alex Krycek's past. After what I just witnessed though, I'm consumed with curiosity. Strangely, although I now have all the ammunition I need to completely rip into him, lay him bare and shred his composure, I don't want to. He's vulnerable at this moment and is fully expecting me to move in for the kill, take advantage of my newfound knowledge. Little does he know that for the first time, I actually...

Feel for him.

I don't think its pity. Or even compassion. I just feel... sorry. I didn't know. I never knew. I never realized. I feel sorry he had to go through that. Sorry that things turned out the way they did. Sorry that I never knew or understood. And then it occurs to me. He's very upset about having to sit here with me. In my dream. MY dream...

Maybe this is more than just a dream. Maybe he isn't dead, and he is not a ghost after all. Which would mean that his unconscious is sharing my dream with me tonight... which would imply that he is alive somewhere.

I glance back at him warily. He still looks pretty upset. I lick my lips. "Alex? Uh, are you - alive? I mean, actually living still? You weren't kidding about Smith's group?"

He sniffs and looks down at the floor, then back at the TV. "I never said it was Smith's bunch. But yeah, it was."

Okay. I guess that's all I'm going to get out of him on that issue. But the television is showing something that looks familiar and I groan. It's Quantico. In fact, it's me at Quantico...

>>> SHIFT <<<

Quantico, Virginia
FBI Academy
Lecture Hall
Circa: December 15th 1991:

I'm watching myself from the inside, almost like being trapped inside my own skull. I'm watching from behind my own eyes as the Past Version of me stands before the fresh-faced students. All of them bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, gathered in the room to hear my lecture. I'm talking about understanding the psychological and behavioral motivating factors involved in violent crime. I'm drawing on the case studies of various lunatics who have exhibited anti-social acts of violence and murder, including cannibalism. They appear riveted.

Well, some of them do.

Uh, very few of them, actually. Most appear to be fighting to stay awake.

Damn, I REMEMBER that day. I remember giving that talk.

I always fancied myself as a great orator. I cannot believe how boring this lecture sounds. Jesus. I am practically squirming with embarrassment as my voice drones on and on, until I suddenly recognize a face in the crowd of Academy students...

Alex.

My God, he looks nearly the same as he did when I first met him. Makes sense, he was just out of Quantico when he was assigned to me, to replace Scully after they transferred her to the Academy at Quantico. I guess he really did graduate from the Academy and enter the FBI through normal channels. Somehow, I'd always assumed he was a plant.

I don't remember noticing him. No, I'm certain that I didn't take note of him back then. So why am I seeing him now, from behind my eyes? Maybe a part of my photographic memory does recall his presence, and that's why I'm now able to examine this. Or maybe that is why I'm being forced to endure this dream.

It's starting to feel like a nightmare. A nightmare I can't escape.

He's staring at my lecturing self. His eyes are wide and he looks enraptured. Like he's memorizing every word, as he studies me carefully.

I snort to myself. No doubt he had orders to watch me, scope out his target.

Wait a minute. He's not even taking any notes. In fact, now that I think about it, he looks like he's -

Jesus Christ! He's - he's watching me with a glazed look of adoration. He's infatuated.

I can feel myself moving through the lecture, going over the material. I remember how bored I was at the time, to have to be spilling pearls of wisdom before all these students who used to laugh at me behind my back. Yeah, 'Spooky Mulder' was always light entertainment.

And the young student Alex is sitting there, in a suit that is even less flattering than the ones he used to wear when we were partnered together. And he is practically drooling on his shirt. This couldn't be more obvious than if he had gotten up, walked up to the front of the room, and started scribbling 'Alex Krycek loves Agent Fox Mulder' on the chalkboard, little hearts drawn around the words. How incredibly funny and yet embarrassing.

This is enough. I've had more than enough. I don't want to see any more. I want to wake up, get out of this. Why the HELL can't I wake up?

And why won't I shut UP? I never even change my tone of voice! How pathetically amusing.

Through it all, young Alex is watching my every move like a stalking cat watching a mouse. No, actually he looks rather in awe. I think I know why he always had that disturbing quality of hero-worship around me, when he was partnered with me. Shit. This is not good.

My eyes alight upon him - through the eyes of my lecturing self. Flustered, he blinks and looks away, looks down, then back up at my lecturing self as my gaze moves on, oblivious of his reaction.

Fuck. It's so obvious. He had a crush on me. With that realization, I can feel myself falling backwards, disorientation sweeping over me as the vision fades.

>>> SHIFT <<<

RevelationsMulder's Apartment
2360 Hegal Place
Circa: December 25, 2001
4:02 AM

I'm sitting on the couch as before, as if I hadn't moved. Pursing my lips thoughtfully, I consider the best way to handle this. I look over at Krycek.

He doesn't look back, but his cheeks are red and he looks angry. He looks more than angry, in fact. His expression is one of someone having to endure painful humiliation.

I clear my throat and say, "Well, that must have been incredibly dull. I had no idea I was so boring, back then. Have I gotten any better, you think?"

Better?

Has he gotten BETTER?

I am definitely going to KILL the fucker.

"What?" Mulder asks innocently confused by my angry stare.

Jesus, the man is an insensitive idiot! "Mulder, really... 'Have I gotten any better'?"

"Oh." He blushes and looks at the floor. "I didn't um, mean it that way, Alex. I was talking about being boring..."

Suure. And I'm the Queen of fucking England.

"So... you're uh... you know... gay."

Okay. That is IT! I'm gonna kill him - and then I'm gonna kill him AGAIN.

Seeing the murderous intent in my expression, he raises both hands in a sorry attempt to plead for mercy. "Alex-"

"DON'T you dare call me that. You do NOT have any fucking right to call me by my first name!"

"Okay, okay... Krycek, I - ah - I'm sorry, okay? I didn't mean any insult. Really. I just... well, you know how prone I am to saying the wrong thing. And, I know I shouldn't have asked you about-"

FUCK! "YES, I'm gay, Mulder. YES, I once found you attractive."

He blinks. Looks taken aback. "So, I'm not attractive now?"

Where's my gun? I reach into my jacket. It's not there. Reach for my knife. Also not there... "Where's your hand gun, Mulder?" I ask calmly.

"Huh?"

"Your gun, idiot. Where. Is. It."

"Um... why do you ask?"

"Because I need it."

"Why?"

"So I can kill you, you sorry sonofabitch!"

"Uh, Al - I mean, Krycek, I don't think you CAN kill me - not while we're caught in this dream."

"I can sure as fuck TRY!"

He opens his mouth to reply-

And the television screen flickers to life again.

I'm REALLY starting to hate that thing. Maybe I'll shoot IT - then Mulder.

Or visa versa.

Hmmm

>>> SHIFT <<<

Alex's Apartment
2368 Hegal Place
Circa: December 25, 2001:

There are no Christmas decorations. No tree. Barely any furniture in the studio apartment. Alex is slumped down on the threadbare couch, holding a beer and staring sightlessly out the window.

A radio is playing soft jazz in the background, but Alex seems to pay no attention to the music. Until a rendition of "Little Drummer Boy" starts up. He jumps up, stomps over to the radio and angrily shuts it off.

Once again, he sits on the couch, returning to his relaxed pose. Lifts his beer for a swallow and goes back to staring out the window.

>>> SHIFT <<<

Mulder's Apartment
2360 Hegal Place
Circa: December 25, 2001:

Mulder is sleeping on his couch; his breathing is deep and even. The occasional snore rattles through the empty room to join the bubbles from the fish tank.

The phone rings. Mulder rouses and sits up, sleepily. He picks up the phone, his eyes only half-open. "Yeah?"

There is a pause. "Oh, hey. Yeah, hi. Not much. You?"

Another pause.

"Is that William I hear screaming?"

The phone emits squalling sounds and then quiets.

Mulder chuckles. "Yeah, he does. Uh, no, I... No, I wasn't planning to. But thanks for asking me. I appreciate it. Yeah. Yeah, I'm sure. Really. You, too. Okay. Goodnight."

He puts the phone down and sighs, returning to his couch and throwing himself down onto the cushions. After a moment or two of wriggling, searching for a comfortable position, he straightens up, reaches for the remote control, and turns on the TV. Every channel he turns to has a holiday special on, so in disgust, he gets up and starts going through his considerable library of porn videos. Finally, he selects one and shoves it into the VCR.

He slouches back down on the couch and regards the TV screen, which is showing a young man with dark hair, in a suit, working at a bank. A ruggedly handsome man comes up to make a deposit. The screen veers closer to the dark-haired young man; his eyes are green and fringed with dark lashes.

Mulder shifts restlessly and then opens up his pants. As he holds his cock, which is hardening rapidly, he begins to pull on it, slowly.

>>> SHIFT <<<

Mulder's Apartment
2360 Hegal Place
Circa: December 25, 2001
4:40 AM

I sit up, feeling monumentally embarrassed. Krycek snorts at the uncomfortable glance I give him, and turns away. He shakes his head.

"Well," I say, defensively, "I've thought about you too, over the years. And what was all that, before? Where are you, Krycek? Where are you staying?"

He frowns at me. "What? Why?"

He's not getting out of THIS one. "I saw the apartment, the one you're in right now. It's really close by, isn't it?"

Krycek scowls.

I knew it. He's living right under my nose. I sigh. "How far away are you? A block? Two?"

Then the TV flickers and my attention is diverted from Krycek's far-too-distracting face - and his glare. He is NOT amused at being caught hanging around me. Of course, this must mean that Krycek still HAS that crush on me.

The TV screen shows a nice, cozy graveyard scene. Hmm.

Whoa. That is a cemetery actually, and that looks like... Oh. Oh, shit.

I sit up straighter. "Isn't that-?"

My grave. Yeah, a close-up reveals my name... In fact, it's remarkably similar to the headstone I bought for myself when I thought I was dying of brain cancer.

I feel cold. I also feel sick. "Does this mean - that in the future, I'm dead?"

Krycek snorts again. "Everyone dies, Mulder."

I can't help feeling a terrible tug of anxiety. "How long do I have?"

Krycek shrugs. "How should I know?" His lack of sympathy on this matter is rather sobering, after all the interesting glimpses of his past.

I suddenly notice the year on the tombstone. Five years from now. Five years?! That's all I have, after being resurrected, the last time I died? Damn.

Krycek notices how miserable I am and he relents. "We were luckier than most, Mulder. We both had a second shot at life, after having literally died. I mean, how many people can expect that? Besides, this is YOUR dream, here. How do we know that any of this is real?" He sounds unsure, though. As well he might. This 'dream' has already revealed painfully personal secrets we both had hidden from each other, ABOUT each other...

I don't answer him. I'm too busy trying to think about how I should spend the next five years of my life meaningfully.

The television flickers slightly and we're seeing Alex in what must be HIS future...

He's much older. He's sitting alone and he looks tired, not just older but drained. Exhausted. Almost as if continuing on is hopeless; his existence holds no joy or meaning for him any longer.

>>> SHIFT <<<

Sunset Memorial Cemetery
Fox Mulder's Grave
Falls Church, Virginia
Circa: May 21, 2019:

The old man sits staring silently at the tombstone. His shoulders sag - in fact, everything about his posture fairly screams of a weary hopelessness.

A woman joins him. Sits down beside him and stares at the granite headstone, equally silent.

They don't acknowledge each other in any way for a long period. Finally, the woman speaks. "Thirteen years... I can't believe it. He's been gone for thirteen years. I miss him, Krycek. Still, I miss him so much. I try to tell William what a good man his father was, but how can I possibly begin to explain Mulder to him?"

Krycek doesn't answer. He just continues to stare silently at the grave marker. "October 13, 1960 to May 21, 2006. It wasn't long enough, Scully. He should have stayed with us, damn him."

He turns to face her. "Where is William this year? You always bring him."

"College - Oxford, just like Mulder." She smiles tremulously. "He looks more like his father every year."

Alex laughs half-heartedly. "As long as he doesn't act like him. Another Fox Mulder would be... too much for the world to handle."

Scully sniffs. "I suppose so. Still..."

They fall silent again, each lost in memories of the man they both loved. Eventually, Scully rises. "I have to get to work."

"Okay - good to see you again, Scully."

"Yeah," she agrees in a husky voice. "Once a year, whether we need it or not, huh?"

"Yeah."

"Well," she hesitates, looks at him with concern. "I'll see you next year?"

"Sure."

She frowns. "Alex? Is there something you're not telling me? Are you okay?"

"I'm fine."

Both know it's a lie. Scully realizes that it will be only herself and William next year.

Laying one hand on his right shoulder, she gently says, "Goodbye, Alex."

"'Bye, Dana."

Sadly, she departs.

Alex remains.

>>> SHIFT >>>

Mulder's Apartment
2360 Hegal Place
Circa: December 25, 2001
5:18 AM

I sit up with a jolt, shaking. Breathing hard, I put my face in my hands. Fuck. What the hell WAS that? It was so real. Frighteningly real.

And Krycek - damn, he'd looked so OLD. Thirteen years after my death... that would have made him... Jesus, only 56 years old, and he looked as though he'd been carrying the whole world around on his shoulders. Somehow, I don't think he would've been around the next year to come to my grave... And not just MIA, either. Dead. Really dead. Like I would be.

I'm still shaking. I get up and go into the bathroom, splashing my face with water.

I don't want to die. And be buried, again. The dream-Krycek was right: everyone dies. Deep Throat was right all those years ago: 'everything dies...'

Jesus! I curl back up on the couch and shiver. Somehow, I got the impression that Krycek was alive. And well. And that despite the obnoxiously Dickensian bent to that nightmare, it was all real. All of it. Everything we saw was exactly as things had been. Certainly the parts of my past were based on fact - I do believe that everything we saw of Alex's past was true, also. Which means that Alex is staying not far from here. And that I probably WILL die five years from now.

And my son will go to Oxford, and Scully and Alex will congregate over my tombstone every year until...

Shit! This is awful. I feel sick to my stomach and I can't stop shaking. I can change; I will change. I have to. The finality and emptiness of those last few minutes of the dream, seeing Alex as an old man and totally hopeless, it's too horrible to contemplate. Surely there must be SOME hope in the future! I have some time left - I can start with making changes in the here and now, with how I relate with the people I-

The people I love.

Sure, I love Dana - I love that son of ours, although he's more Scully's than mine - and I...

I love Alex Krycek. Fuck. How the HELL did that happen? WHEN did it happen?

I'm puzzling over that, trying to remember, trying to place the moment when he crept into my heart.

Laying awake in the dark, hearing the comforting murmur of the fish tank, I realize that it was a long time in the growing and it crept up on me. There really wasn't any definitive moment when I 'fell' in love with him.

I can't blame him, not after what I've seen. I feel like I wasted so much time with anger and resentment. All these years that I've been alone, trying to find answers to questions that I STILL have no resolution on - and probably never will. Every question leads to a greater one. I have to admit to myself that there are no ultimate answers.

I lay awake for a long time before I finally manage to fall asleep again. The pale light of day is already creeping into the room.

Mulder's Apartment
2360 Hegal Place
Circa: December 25, 2001
7:51 AM

As I wake, blearily opening my eyes to the cold, watery daylight weakly showing through my blinds, I realize it's Christmas Morning. And then the memory of that vivid dream floods back into my mind and I groan.

No. God, this is... my life. The first day of the rest of my life. Right here and right now. It's not even eight in the morning, but I don't feel like sleeping anymore.

I sit up, take a deep breath, and shuffle into the bathroom to have a shower. I don't know HOW I know this, but I think Alex must be outside. As I hurry and finish showering, stumbling tiredly out to dry my body, I find myself wondering if it really was him in my dream. It must be. My spider-sense is tingling. Scully would insist that I'm a complete fool, talking myself into believing what I want to.

There really isn't any mental chatter in my head right now at all. Just this insistent, nagging feeling that I really have to go outside, that if the dream meant ANYTHING, he will be there. Because he is alive.

I get dressed and pull on my coat.

As I open the door and then lock it behind me, I can't help thinking that maybe I AM a damn fool, but hell, if I'm wrong, I'm just going out for a walk on Christmas morning.

I leave the apartment building, and I catch sight of a figure standing on the sidewalk. My breath catches in my throat and my heart leaps.

It is. It IS Alex. I can't stop a grin from washing over my face as I walk in his direction. He turns and freezes, staring at me, looking as if he's wondering whether to greet me... or run from me.

Considering all the times I've attacked him on sight, that's hardly surprising.

But not this time. Unable to hide my delight upon seeing him, at this second chance for happiness in my life, and to give it to others, I walk right up to him. He is still rooted to the spot, paralyzed, and doesn't move - merely flinches as I reach out to him.

"I love you," I say, wondering at how easy it is to just... say it. Out loud. To him.

And I pull him into my arms.

Outside of Mulder's Building
2360 Hegal Place
Circa: December 25, 2001
8:25 AM

"I... you..." I sigh heavily, tears on the brink of falling. "I love you, too, Mulder."

He tightens his hold on me. "Alex - can I call you that now, Alex?"

"Of course," I say. "I like it. The way you say my name. Too much - that's why-"

"I know."

And I realize that he does. He understands me. He KNOWS me.

"You... you can call me Fox, if you want."

I can't help my smile at his reluctant offer. He means well, I know that, but- "Not now, Mulder. Not yet. Maybe never. Let's just see how it goes, okay?"

He can't quite hide his relief. God, I love this guy. And, wonder of wonders, he loves me, too. After all I've done to him. To his friends.

This is nothing less than a miracle.

I was hesitant to come here this morning. Afraid. Unsure about just what last night's dream meant.

"Mulder. Last night... the dream..."

"It was real, Alex," he says with conviction. "I don't know how or why - but it WAS real."

Yeah. It was. And this morning... one test left. If this is true. If we're awake, aware, telling the truth then-

Gathering my courage, I lift my head from the spot I've buried it in - his neck. Meeting his eyes, I slowly move closer, parting my lips, wetting them, and making my intention clear.

He smiles.

And then he kisses me.

Arms wrapped around each other, we go inside.

And then...

Never mind.

I think you know what happens next.

*

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Archived: January 11, 2002