TITLE: Kachexia
AUTHOR: Sin [sin@darkmage.net]
DATE: 15/12/2001
PAIRING: M/K in thought, not deed.
ARCHIVE: RatB, DitB. Anyone else, just ask.
RATING: PG-13 - Mainly for the use of good old fashioned Anglo-Saxon terminology.
SPOILERS: Probably everything, but only in vague reference, and besides we all know that Alex is alive and well and running a B&B in Canada! =)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own them! Honestly, I don't know who they are. I've never seen them before in my life, Officer, but they forced their way into my home and made me write!
THANX: To Indy for being the persistent little bugger that she is and encouraging me to write and to Kirstie for the beta and everyone else who read this and gave me feedback during the process. You know who you are.
NOTES: The title comes from Greek, meaning bad bodily health or state. My first XF fic - Wheeeeee!

I'm finding my way back to sanity again
Though I don't really know what i'm gonna do when i get there
I take a breath and hold on tight
Spin around one more time
And gracefully fall back to the arms of grace
     "Breathing" by Lifehouse

I always thought that sanity was a subjective state. If you think you're sane, then you are. And it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks, because they have no idea about the things that you have seen or have had to do to get to where you are now. And if you believe, after all these experiences, that you're sane, well, you're the best judge right?

I guess you're wondering why I am being so existential, aren't you? Didn't think I had it in me, did you? Well, fuck you. Just because I've had to live on the knife's edge of life and death with no care in the world except my own ass and who I am going to double-cross next for the last few years, doesn't mean I'm stupid. Doing my job well and taking pride in my work, even if it does involve murder, betrayal and the opportunity to beat up FBI agents and play with people's heads, doesn't mean that I'm an intellectual thug as well.

I listen. I think. I even, occasionally, take the time to read when I don't have some alien monstrosity breathing down my neck or someone trying to blow me up. Besides, one of the desirable criteria of my job description was a college education. While they wanted someone malleable, they also wanted someone who could think laterally and be flexible if things went to hell. Those last two I've always had in spades, and they've been something that's saved my skin on more than one occasion, especially when *they've* been that one little step ahead of me. But, the first, well I've always been a perverse little bastard, even as a kid. And while I can be manipulated and deceived into believing something for a time, I've never been one to take anything completely at face value. Eventually, I always have to dig deeper. It's something that *they* really hate, because it causes trouble.

And not just for them.

I can't tell you the number of times that pain in the ass trait has gotten me into strife. What, you want a list? Where do I start? The beginning, I guess. There I was fresh faced and ready to believe the crap they were feeding me about honour, country and patriotism, and then one single moment of clarity, of perception, had me trying to work out the why of what they wanted me to do, instead of just doing it.

I am such an idiot at times. You know, I forgive you for the surprise over my philosophical bent earlier, it was probably justified. I mean, there have been times when I must've come across as a complete incompetent. But it only lasts for a while. I guess at heart - and I know it is still in there somewhere, though it's probably gone into deep hiding to get away from the shit that I have managed to inflict on it in the past few years - I'm a bit of an idealist. It was like I said to Mulder that day, I really do want to believe. I want to believe that there are people out there that do good and, I guess, I wanted to be one of them. I don't know if what I do now would count as good, but I guess I can only hope that the promise of the future that my current efforts will ensure will be enough.

Now where was I? Oh yeah. Idealist. I'm a sucker for a good story and I believed what they told me, that Mulder was a danger and that he needed to be reined in before he got himself, God and Country into trouble. More fool me. I've learnt a lot since then and I've lost whatever naivete I still possessed at the time. God, I look back now and I can't believe what a fool I was. It's sickening really, I was so incredibly gullible. Nona warned me that it would get me into trouble.

What? You thought it was a case of 'poor, little Alex, abuse as a child must have lead him to this path'? Boy, are you ever wrong. I really was telling the truth when I told Mulder that my parents were Cold War immigrants. You know it's surprising exactly how much truth I've told Mulder over the years. Not that he'd actually realise that unless it hit him on the head. Then again, considering the number of times he's suffered from head injuries that's probably not true either. Bit him on the ass, maybe.

But anyway, my childhood. Normal childhood, actually. Mother, father, sister, cousins, relatives, friendly neighbours, dog called Spot. Actually, his name was Bear. He was a beautiful long-haired German Shepherd. He died when I was fifteen, and we never did get another dog because no one could replace him. It's been twenty or so years and I still miss him. See, I told you there was a heart inside here somewhere.

I miss them all. My mom died when I was in my last year of college. My dad and Tanya are still alive, though I never see them. It would put them in way too much danger. I know that *they* have been tempted to use them as a bargaining tool to bring me in, but they tried that once. The resulting carnage convinced them that it would be an extremely bad idea to try it again. I may be on the run from the law and involved in a global conspiracy, but I do have a couple of friends and some markers that I can call in when I need to.

I think I mentioned Nona, right? She's not my grandmother, no matter that I call her that. Nona's Mrs Pikarov from next door. Our next door neighbour where I grew up. I was friends with one of her grandsons. I used to love going over to her place because it was so completely different from what I was used to. I mean, think about it - first generation Russian-American, living in a working class neighbourhood with a predominance of eastern European immigrant families. And then there was Nona, Sicilian born and bred, with all the fire and passion of her warm-blooded ancestors.

You know, I haven't thought about her in years. But she was right. My gullibility did get me into shitloads of trouble. I wonder if the rest of her predictions are going to come true, because she was spot on about that one and about a couple of other things. If she really liked you, or was worried about you, she'd read your tea leaves to give you a guide as to what your future would hold. She did it for me the day before I went away to school. I thought it was complete bubkis, but it made her happy so I let her do it. Thinking back on it now, I wonder if she had any hint of the complete fuck up I would make of my life. And I wonder if she would understand why I've been doing the things I've done. Would any of my friends and family? Probably not. So, I guess it's good that I haven't seen any of them in over ten years.

You are probably wondering why I am rambling on like this, right? Well it all goes back to the sane thing I mentioned at the being. You know, the one that made you look at me with surprise. I've come to a conclusion about my own personal sanity, from my own perception. I'm pretty sure that I don't fit the bill anymore. There is no way, after all I've seen and all I've done that I can possibly be sane.

No sane person would do the things I have done.

I don't think I realised just how out of control I was until I saw that look on Mulder's face the last time I saw him. I know I said a person can't judge their own sanity by someone else's gauge, or at least, it was something to that effect, but it wasn't Mulder who made me believe that I'd finally lost it. He only made me stop and think. Actually, it was the disbelief in his eyes that did the stopping.

I think I've always counted on Mulder's ability to outthink me or at least to be able to make those intuitive leaps of his and realise my plan after I've gone. I've seen him angrily perplexed and severely pissed off at me, but I've always been able to tell that that amazing mind of his was fitting all the pieces together in the background. What I have never seen before, until that night, was a confused disbelief that overrode the haunted shadows in his eyes. You know, maybe he needs to believe in my actions the way that I have always believed in his? It's something I should probably think about at a later date.

Anyway, I think it was that single look that hit me upside the head like a piece of 2x4 and made me realise just how erratic I'd become. It was almost as if my brain had switched off and I was running on autopilot, just along for the ride. It's not a pleasant feeling, that. Been there before, literally, and I never want to feel like that again. Recognising my own instability, I did the only thing I could do in such an instance.

I ran away.

Well, screw you! You can stop with that look right now! I never said I was a hero, and heroes are the only ones who don't cut and run when the chips are down. My dad's a hero. Nona's a hero. Even Mulder is a hero. But not me. Me, I'm just out to survive and that doesn't give you time to indulge in anything that constitutes heroics. Besides, I didn't really run away. That would have just been too embarrassing for words, and I do have an image to maintain, you know!

So, I did what I usually did. Fed Mulder one last cryptic comment to add to his pile of pieces and did my damndest to make with the shadows and disappear like a wraith. Would that I could make my mind stop worrying over that awareness of mental instability as easily as I was able to make my body blend with the dappled light and shadows. But, as you have probably guessed by now, I failed miserably.

I guess that kind of brings us back to the point where we started all of this, doesn't it? Like an ouroborus eating it's own tail, I keep coming back to this one realisation over and over again. Yep, I can even do historical references. A classical education is a wonderful thing.

I know this probably seems more than slightly unhinged to you - the way I've explained this, the way I've restrained you so that you'll actually listen to me - but I knew that if I didn't you would've either shot me or been on the phone so quick, there would have been dust in your wake like the Roadrunner. But I need you to do something for me. I need you to answer me honestly, because I really need to know.

And you can stop glaring at me like that! It's not like I actually hurt you. Okay, so maybe a few bruises and some lingering queasiness from the sedative, but I could've just pistol-whipped you into unconsciousness, so it was a better alternative, don't you think?

I know I'm insane, unhinged. That I've completely lost the plot and am no longer in possession of all my faculties. I know I'm broken. But, the question that I want you to answer for me is - do you think I can be fixed?

What do you think, Scully? Can Mulder fix me?

Archived: December 30, 2001