Summary: Alex shouldn't keep things from his lovers.
Alex looked at his lovers. Asleep, good. Quietly and swiftly Alex slipped out of the large bed the three men shared and padded softly down the stairs. Lifting a small picture of a lighthouse, he reached into a small canvas pocket; it was so small and slim that unless you knew it was there, you would miss it. Inside was a small black key. Taking it, Alex opened the small room under the stairs. It was only a cubbyhole. Not very big for the lanky young man, but Alex had noticed it was meant as a small bathroom, a place to wash your hands basically, and he managed to get a small amount of hot water piped in. Sitting on the floor he locked the door and carefully took paper and jars out of a cabinet.
* * *
Fox rolled over and reached out for Alex, he was cold and Alex had more warmth than he knew what to do with. When he realized his hands felt nothing but cold sheet, he opened his eyes. Sighing he rolled over and started shaking his other lover.
"Hmmmph, foxxx... alexei..."
"Whereas I'm glad you're dreaming about us, Walter, our Alex isn't here."
Walter's eyes opened, "What do you mean?"
"He's not in the bed, I don't know if he's still in the house. He promised, Walter, he promised he wouldn't run away anymore. I haven't hit him for a long time. I'm going to therapy but still... what..."
"Fox, quiet. He said he wouldn't leave again, he means it. Calm down, maybe he went to the kitchen or he went out to get something. Let's check the house." Walter got up and pulled on some sweatpants, handing boxers to Fox. They started up in the attic, which had become an office for the three of them, and looked around. Trying to keep Fox calm was a mission in itself. Skinner had them walk the house, room by room.
Walter looked at Fox, who was looking a little lost. Taking a deep breath, he looked around the room, there was something wrong, something out of place. Frowning he looked at the floor and saw light where there shouldn't be. Brushing Mulder's shoulder, he pointed to the light. They followed it to a small door. A door that had been locked. Alex told them when they moved here that he had lost the key a long time ago but that it was only a storage area. Now there was light coming from underneath the door where it didn't quite meet the floor.
"I know you still have your lock pick set and you will NOT use it on this door. If Alex is in there, he's doing something private and you will respect it. Understand?"
"Yes." Fox looked down, surprised that Walter had known that he still had his lock pick set. "Now what?"
"We wait for him to come out." Walter said as he settled down to wait for Alex to come out, wrapping one arm around Fox, they snuggled on the cold wood floor.
* * *
Alex finished his latest piece. Smiling, he picked it up. The red was Fox and the brown was so Walter. He still hadn't decided what color to use for himself but until then a light grey suited him. It was a good day today, when they went out sailing of all things. Alex never used the dock or the boat for anything, they were just there. Useless and sitting there, then Walter took them out... the water was wonderful. Every time they had a wonderful day or even a horrible day, Alex came in here to create the memory so he wouldn't forget. For when he couldn't even remember whom he was working for at the time, or where home was, he could remember these times with Fox and Walter. Turning off the light, he opened the door.
* * *
Fox heard the faint click of a light switch and poked Walter. Seeing Walter had heard it, they stood up and walked over by the door. Slowly the door opened, and their lover, mate, favorite rat stepped out. Walter wrapped his arms around Alex's waist and Fox slipped around front to kiss him.
"Alex, don't do that! We thought you left... well Walter didn't but I did."
"I promised I wouldn't." Alex replied.
"I know but I woke up and you weren't there. I got worried. I..."
"Fox not everything is your fault. I just come down here to... relax."
"So that's why you have paint on your fingers? You come and paint in this?" Fox waved towards the little room.
"Damn thought I got it all off." Alex felt his hand being lifted and Walter rest his head on his shoulder. Slowly Walter turned Alex's hand one-way then the other.
"Alex, wouldn't it be easier to paint in the kitchen during the day?"
"Ummmmm... yeah. It would."
"Good, then let's move your stuff there now, so you can paint when you want in the kitchen." Walter kissed the paint-stained hand and moved away. Flicking on the light, he saw the pictures left to dry by Alex. All of them were on large sheets of heavy paper. The ones that were dry were rolled up in tubes, but the ones pinned to the wall to dry were amazing.
One seemed to be a boat on a river or lake but the lake was flecked with silver and gold spots like stars. The boat was a featureless gray with a gray man standing on it. In the front of the boat, dancing, was a large bear with warm eyes and a fox, who looked like he was ready to play a trick on someone. The sun wasn't yellow but orange and warm, like the fire they sometimes built in the library. The sky was green as grass and the leaves of trees.
"Alex... this is wonderful, what type of paint did you use?"
"mfindktpatint." Alex mumbled.
"What?" Walter turned to look at his lover, who was blushing furiously.
"Finger paint," Mulder said. "But doesn't that flake off?"
Walter and Alex looked at him, in amazement. "You can..."
"Understand him like that, yeah, unfortunately. That's how he talks after his jaw swells." Mulder walked past Walter and stared at the painting. "Can we move it? To the bedroom?"
Alex stared at his lovers. They honestly didn't think it was childish for a grown man to finger paint?! Shaking his head and laughing a bit, he looked at his lovers again and burst out laughing at their twin looks of bewilderment. When he caught his breath, he looked at them. "I add a fixative so they won't flake off and you don't think it's strange that I..."
"Finger paint Alex? Nah, you got slim fingers and they are perfect."
Alex blushed again.
"Though, I have to admit I thought you would paint a jade green dragon for yourself."
"Why a dragon?"
"Because you are, Alex." Walter stooped down and found a jar of green, exactly the color he wanted. Pulling off the top, he waved Alex over. Taking Alex's hand, he dipped the fingertips into the paint. "We have no grey men here, beloved."
Alex stared at the picture, and then with small movements, he started painting. "Real, not fantasy."
Walter nodded, and started loading Fox with several jars of paint and grabbed some of the unused papers. "If you want Alexei, you can use this room to dry your paintings and store them."
"Yeah. OK." Alex continued to paint.
Walter smiled and waved Fox from the room, working around Alex they managed to move the paints, and unused sheets of paper to the kitchen. On their last trip, they saw Alex cleaning his hand and Fox walked over and unpinned the picture that Walter liked so much. Moving it carefully upstairs, the three men took their time planning where to put it; eventually it rested above their bed. Tired, the three men slipped into bed and slept just as the pale rays of dawn entered the room and shone on the dancing brown bear, the laughing red fox, and the painting green rat.
Archived: June 14, 2001