by Josan

Author: Josan
Feedback to: jmann@pobox.mondenet.com
Author's Website:
Date Archived: 05/14/02
Category: Unclassified  
Pairing: Skinner/Krycek      
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Existence? What's that, Existence?
Permission to Archive: You know who you are.
Series or Sequel/Prequel: Belongs to the Zander Universe, which I suppose is also a warning.
Notes: This was my submission to the 8th X-Files Lyric Wheel which had the theme of "endings". Jeenie sent me the lyrics which you will find at the end of the story, such as it is.
Dedication: Jennie, who could have sent me something really awful for the Rubber Ducky song I sent her for
the last Lyric Wheel. But didn't.
Disclaimer: They were originally the property of CC, 1013 and Fox: now they belong to the ages.
Summary: Let's just say that Skinner and Krycek are in it and leave it at that.

He was sitting on the log that had long fallen, its bark worn smooth through years of being used for looking over the valley - among other things.

Walter wondered why he wasn't all that surprised to see the man sitting there. Why, when he came up to the log, the man merely glanced over his shoulder, as though he had been waiting for Walter to arrive.



Walter said nothing more, just stood to the side of the man, letting himself take a long look at the view.

It was as he had often seen it whenever he had come up here in times past.

Winter and the sky was the red that was only seen at sunsets this time of the year. No snow. They were too far south for snow. Yet there was a crispness in the air that felt and smelt winter.

There was smoke wafting out of a few chimneys and the scent of wood mingled with the perfume of the season.

And the moon was already in the sky, up before the sun had fully made its way down for the night.

Walter took a deep breath and let it out with a sigh.

"Krycek, what are you doing here?"

Alex just grinned, moved over so that Walter could sit next to him on the log.

With a slight shake of his head, a rueful smile, Walter joined him..

They sat peaceably, looking at the small town below, its people dealing with end of the day activities.

"I've always liked this time of year," said Alex. "There's a magic in the air. Makes you believe that all the dreams you've had can come true."

Walter nodded. "Up here, everything looks tranquil. Peaceful."

Alex turned to face him. "And is it all a dream? An illusion?"

Walter leaned forward, rested his elbows on his knees and propped his chin on his joined hands.

"Sometimes. Life down there is like life everywhere. It has its ups and downs. Its good and its bad."

"And was there a lot of bad in yours?" Asked almost curiously.

Walter thought a moment and smiled at memories only he could see. "No. No, in my case, there was very little bad. Far more ups than downs."

"I'm glad," said Alex, going back to watching the view. "I did wonder if I was doing the right thing by you. I knew it was the right thing for him, but I wasn't sure it was the right thing for you."

Walter smiled. "I wasn't sure either at the beginning, but it turned out to be the very best thing that ever happened to me." He looked at the man sitting next to him. "Thank you."

Alex shrugged as though it was of no importance, but then he smiled and the sun shone for a breath.

"Krycek, what are you doing here?" Walter asked for the second time.

"He turned out okay."

Walter allowed the evasion. "Yes. More than okay I like to think. But then, I also admit to being a bit prejudiced."

"Was medicine your idea?"

Walter shook his head. "I decided, right from the beginning, that whatever he wanted to do would be fine by me. That my job was to support him as much as I could in his choice."

Alex nodded, giving his approval. "He never wanted to follow in your footsteps?"

"My footsteps? Oh, you mean law enforcement." Walter thought a bit. "Well, there was a time he wanted to be a policeman, but that only lasted until he discovered that operation channel. After that..." Walter shrugged.

"Operation channel? Sheesh, Skinner!"

Walter laughed at the revulsion in Alex's voice. "Yeah, I know. I could barely stand to watch with him there at the beginning. But he was absolutely fascinated by the human body and what could be done to help it. When he was old enough, he volunteered at the hospital and the rest, as they say, is history."

Alex was silent for a few minutes. "Rather poetic irony, when you think about it."

Walter grinned. "Yeah, I thought that once or twice myself."

"He's good at it?"

"Chief of Surgery."

Alex snorted. "Politics."

"More than that. He's humane as well as being one of the best in his field. Doesn't have that god fixation so many surgeons have. Knows when enough is enough. Knows when to stop."

Alex nodded. "That's good."

Walter straightened. "And he has a generous heart."

Alex said nothing, just patted the small lump that raised the left side of his leather jacket, as if checking that the small bear was still safely tucked in tight.

Walter caught the gesture. Unconsciously, he repeated it against the small lump that raised the fine suit jacket, against the small, well-loved bear wearing a leather jacket.

In the valley below, a tall man with dark sable hair was walking slowly out of the cemetery.

On their shared log, both men watched the man as he approached a car where a woman and two children stood, waiting for him.

"Did he ever mention me?" Alex asked, voice a dry monotone.

"His daughter's name is Alexis. When she was born, he asked me if I minded."

"Did you?" Alex stood up.

Walter smiled as he shook his head. "You have any idea what the feminine form of Walter is? Besides," he let the pride slip out, "they named the boy after me. Sergei, not Walter. No one is ever going to call my grandson Wally."

Alex laughed.

"Alex, what are you doing here?" Walter asked for the third time as he stood up.

Alex cocked his head in a way that was so familiar to Walter. He'd seen that gesture used so successfully for so many years, on both men and women, until Jennie had cocked her head back in a similar way and then he had had the added joy of Alexis and Sergei in his life.

He raised an eyebrow in response.

Alex added a grin to the cocked head and Walter found he couldn't stop the smile on his face. "Alex," he said, in the same exasperated tone he had used for so many years to counter the effect of the combined grin and gesture on him.

"I just thought, Walter," Alex's voice was hesitant, wary, as though the grin and the gesture were there only to camouflage his insecurity, "that maybe you'd like some company along the way."

Walter looked at the man the child had become. "You know," he said, voice soft, "I think I'd like that very much."

They both turned to take a last look at the view, at the family standing close, offering silent support to each other before moving to get into their car.

The two men each took a deep breath, smelling the winter air, crisp and redolent with the flavours of the season.

Then, side by side, shoulders touching, they walked off, disappearing into the distance.

Author's note: This is as close as I ever intend to get to the IN DEATH, THERE IS LIFE universe again.

A Winter's Tale
Words and music by Queen

It's winter-fall
Red skies are gleaming - oh -
Sea gulls are flyin' over
Swans are floatin' by
Smoking chimmney-tops
Am I dreaming...
Am I dreaming...?

The nights draw in
There's a silky moon up in the sky - yeah - Children are fantasizing
Grown-ups are standin' by
What a super feeling
Am I dreaming...
Am I dreaming...?

So quiet and peaceful
Tranquil and blissful
There's a kind of magic in the air
What a truly magnificent view
A breathtaking scene
With the dreams of the world
In the palm of your hand

A cozy fireside chat
A little this, a little that
Sound of merry laughter skippin' by
Gentle rain beatin' on my face
What an extraordinary place
And the dream of the child
Is in the hope of the man

It's all so beautiful
Like a landscape painting in the sky - yeah Mountains are zoomin' higher - mm -
Little girls scream and cry
My world is spinnin' and spinnin', and spinnin' It's unbelievable
Sends me reeling
Am I dreaming...
Am I dreaming...?
Oooh, it's bliss.

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