Title: A Place To Smile
Author: Jennie
Feedback: jennieemcg@aol.com
Websites: http://fullhouseslash.slashcity.net/hosted/Jennie.htm#other and http://fullhouseslash.slashcity.net/hosted/Jennie.htm#other
TotalParts: 1
Status: Complete
Pairing: M/Sk/K
Rating: PG for language
Spoilers: Existence, I suppose
Archive: RatB, DitB and Fries
Summary: After it's all over, Krycek tracks down Skinner and Mulder.
Notes: Thanks to Teri and Em for the last minute beta jobs. Written for Ursula on her birthday.
Disclaimer: Not my characters - if they were, I'd treat 'em a hell of a lot better than you-know-who does.


A Place to Smile
by Jennie
For Ursula on her Birthday

They were pretty easy to track, actually. Gotta admit that I was surprised by that - I mean, Mulder IS the second most paranoid person on the planet (yours truly being the first). And, no one ever accused Skinner of having an overabundance of trust for his fellow man. Particularly one-armed men named Krycek.

Yes, it's me - and, no, I am NOT dead. Don't bother to ask how or why, just trust me, I'm definitely alive and kicking.

The thing is, this business of being a presumed dead man is pretty damned wearisome. I've had to become even more careful and suspicious than ever. Always on the move, blending into the crowds in whatever city I find myself passing through.

And that's another thing... I am so fucking tired of dirty, roach infested, anonymous 'hotels' - rooms by the hour, in most cases - that I'm about ready to lose what little is left of my mind.

So, here I am, in West Bumfuck, Ohio - watching them. I've been here for a couple of days now, just scoping out the lay of the land. And, let me tell you, it's looking pretty fucking good to me.

They have a farm, Mulder and Skinner. Not huge, fifteen acres, maybe. From what I've seen, Skinner takes care of outside maintenance and the animals - yeah, they have a bunch of dogs, a horse, a couple of broken down old mules and a llama.

I'm figuring the llama HAS to be Mulder's.

Speaking of Mulder - I don't see a lot of him. I assume it's because he spends his time writing. Heard not too long ago that his first sci-fi novel had sold for a damned good price, considering it's his first effort.

I wonder if any of his readers will ever know that it all really happened?

I'm jealous. Can't help it. I'm tired and lonely and I would pay almost any price to have a home. A place I could be me. Someone to share that place with. More than anything in the world though, I want a reason to smile.

And, every time Mulder comes out of that house - to bring Skinner a cold drink or just to visit for a couple of minutes - the bastards share a smile that tells me that they have everything I've ever dreamed of having for myself.

Damn them.

Here comes that cat again. For some reason, the thing seems to have taken a liking to me. Every time I set up a new blind to watch them from, the cat turns up in short order. I guess she's not so bad, as cats go. She doesn't hold the past against me, doesn't ask questions and she's warm and soft to the touch.

I'm a little closer to the house today than usual. It's early spring and the trees are leafing out, so every day there's a little more cover. I'm down wind of the dogs, so I'm not worried about them. Skinner's busily painting the garage and Mulder is making regular appearances to bring cold beer and - if the scowl on Skinner's face is any indication - to offer advice and instruction.

As if Mulder ever painted anything in his life. Shit.

And so the day passes. They're inside for the evening, and all the shades are closed, so I'm just about ready to head back to my no-tell motel when Mulder steps out onto the porch.

"Alex," he calls.

::THUD::

That was me having heart failure.

"ALEX!" He yells this time.

Stepping down off of the porch, he heads in my general direction, still calling my name. "Aaaa-lexxx, tuna for dinner."

All becomes clear as the cat stands up, shakes herself and starts walking out of the underbrush, twitching her tail at me in farewell. She picks up speed and trots past Mulder, headed directly for the kitchen and the promise of tuna, I assume.

Mulder just stands there staring in my direction. I am, of course, frozen in place, almost afraid to breathe. I know he can't see me - couldn't possibly see me.

"C'mon, Krycek," he says in a tone only slightly louder that normal. "You too."

Well, hell.

Fuck.

Damn.

I stand up and step out into the open. I just don't have the energy or the will to run. Not any longer. If it's going to end here and now - well, at least it'll be over.

"Dinner's almost ready," he says in a disturbingly casual manner. "You might as well join us."

What the FUCK is going on? Shouldn't he be, at the very least, surprised to find me alive? On his property? Why isn't he pointing a gun at me, or beating me up, or yelling for Skinner?

I stare at him, stupefied for a moment, then step forward. "Do I have to eat tuna, too?"

"No," Mulder snorts with laughter. "That's just for Alex-the-cat. YOU can share our roast beef."

What the hell? Might as well have a decent meal before one or the other of them kills me. I shrug and walk towards the house, Mulder ambling along beside me as if it's an every day occurrence to find a not-so-dead, dead man on his property.

We reach the house, just as Skinner opens the door. "'Bout time you came out of the damned bushes, Krycek," he growls at me - not threatening, just his normal you're-being-an-idiot-why-do-I-put-up-with-you growl.

The cat is weaving around Skinner's ankles making clear her displeasure at the fact that the promised tuna hadn't yet been served. And, it occurs to me...

"Alex?" I point at the cat and stare accusingly at Skinner. "You named a female cat after me?"

He shrugs. "Actually, Mulder named her."

I turn my eyes on Mulder. "Well?" I finally ask when he avoids my inquisitive gaze. "Why 'Alex'?"

"It was her eyes," he mumbles. "Green, like yours."

Still won't look at me, though. "And..." I nudge him verbally.

Skinner laughs. "She has an unfortunate tendency to just turn and bite the hand that's petting her. The first time she did that, Mulder decided on the name."

Huh.

Holding out his hand, Mulder points to a faded scar. "That's where she got me," he informs me gravely. "I'd been trying to find a name for her, kept thinking 'Alex' - 'cause of the eye color - kept trying to come up with something else. Walter, uh, he didn't think you'd be too pleased when you found out I'd named her after you. But, when she bit me that day, well, the name just stuck."

Whoa. Walter didn't think I'd be happy, WHEN I FOUND OUT?

They'd been expecting me?

I feel a sudden and overwhelming need to sit down. So I do - on the floor.

They kneel on either side of me, Alex-the-cat decides that if they're gonna starve her to death, she's gonna die comfortably and climbs into my lap. Without conscious thought, I run my fingers through her soft fur.

"You knew?" I ask in a low tone. "How could you know?"

Skinner puts a hand on my shoulder, Mulder leans a little closer on my other side. "We knew," Skinner rumbles. "We've known all along."

Mulder nods. "And we've been waiting for you."

Well, that explains why they were so easy to find. But-

"Why?" I whisper.

"Because you belong here," says Mulder, putting his arm around my shoulders.

"I can't... I don't... " SHIT! I'm so fucking confused. Scared. Tired. They wouldn't be setting me up - would they?

Give the pathetic, lonely assassin-traitor-spy a little hope, then yank the rug right out from under his feet.

With one hand, Skinner gently grasps my chin and turns me to face him. "Alex, you're tired. You've been running for over ten years, now. Come in, have some dinner and stay awhile."

Awhile? What does that mean: 'awhile'?

Skinner reads the question on my face and smiles at me. "As long as you want, Alex. We bought this place for all three of us. Took you some time to get here, but its not a bad place. We like it - you will, too. If you give it a chance."

"But- " I start to protest.

Skinner shakes his head at me. "No 'buts', Alex. The past is over and done with. We've started over in this place and now we're asking you to do the same - start over. Here."

"With us," Mulder adds.

What do I say? What CAN I say?

I settle for a simple, "Yes."

And then I smile.


Archived: September 15, 2001