Heart of Mine

by Blueprint

Title: Heart of Mine
Author: Blueprint
Feedback to: quietdreamerfor8@hotmail.com
Author's Website:
Date Archived: 04/26/02
Category: Hurt/Comfort  
Pairing: Mulder/Krycek      
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Existence
Permission to Archive: yes, but I'd like to know
Series or Sequel/Prequel: not sure yet
Warnings: none
Disclaimer: The charactors Mulder and Krycek belong to Chris as well al know.
Summary: Krycek is alive living on the streets after Existence and Mulder finds him.

This bright sunny place shrilling with children's laughter and the warning tone's of adult's scolding their offspring strikes me with pain when once it would have been a comfort to me. As if all of what this place represents for me consumes in on itself into a razor sharp knife and stabs blindly into my chest, desperately searching for a long ago withered and torn heart. I can picture your face; hard, serious but full of inner beauty and a rare smile that made me smile back no matter what. I was such a fool back then, looking up at you...caring for you. I should have realised it was a road to disaster.

The Smoking Man pushed all the right buttons in me to make me think that what he wanted me to do was the right thing. He told me that by going behind your back I would be protecting you and helping you in your everlasting search for the Truth. He told me to expect it to be hard, to expect that I'd have to sacrifice. I meant what I said when I told you I wanted to believe.

After meeting the Smoking Man Before I knew it I was tied up into a dark and twisted world I could not escape from. I didn't kill your father. I was there to save him and if you weren't there...well. I wish that I could see you again, though I know it to be impossible, just so I could tell you the truth. I know you wouldn't believe me and would probably beat me into a bloody mess rather than listen to anything I have to say, but I still want to just incase there was a minute possibility that you'd believe me.

Strange that you've been so violent to me these last few years though violence is not in your nature. Did I hurt you so badly? The thought makes me feel sick as I straighten up on the bench to stare into the crystal clear water of the small pond in from of me. Once we had sat here together, as partners, as friends? We had met here for lunch to talk over the assignment we were on at the time. The day had been a lot like this one and instead of talking about business we found ourselves just talking and enjoying the day.

So long ago but I can remember that day like it was yesterday. It had been only a week before the Smoking Man first came into my life, so the memory, to me, represents an end. An end to a self that I had respect for, a life that I could appreciate, if not love. I don't know why I came here. Maybe because I dreamt of you last night, though the dream had more an essence of a nightmare than a dream. I had felt lethargic and weary the whole morning and for some inexplicable reason my sleep-deprived mind must have led me here. I smile at my reflection in the water as I realise this is exactly what you do on one of your ever present guilt trips; picking at scabs that refuse to heal. I wonder at that, wonder if you blame yourself for my betrayal, that through some twisted line of thought you'd bring it all done upon yourself. Do you hate me because of that too?

"Excuse me?" A female voice says breaking my thoughts, "Ah, do you have the time?"

I blink, coming back to reality, and lift my head to look at the young woman. I shift the sleeve of my jacket and look at my watch, "it's half-past one," I tell her and she nods and smiles at me.

"Thanks," she says and walks away.

Time for me to get the hell out of here, I think and stand up. I don't know what time I got here but I know I've been here over an hour. I head towards the street to start back to the hotel but once I get there I don't even remember where it is. It's as if my mind has slowed down and rational thought is a privilege I've lost since last seeing you. A tired looking mother gripping shopping bags and leading two young kids brushes past me and turns me to the left. So I walk that way having no direction and no thought other than I wish that I could see you again. It's the sort of wish that you know you shouldn't bother with because it seems so out of reach but you can't help hoping for. I nearly laugh at the image of showing up at your door. If you managed not to fall over in shock first, you'd reach for your gun and fire it before anything else enters you head. Stop dreaming, I tell myself fiercely before my line of thought heads in the directions of `what ifs.' I've already been down that road too many times. What if you forgave me? What if you let me get close enough to be able explain to you? What if you believed me? What if I told you I loved you?

I continue walking, hardly noticing my surroundings as my mind is plagued with memories. Memories that I wish I could forget and ones that I hold close to me and never want to forget. How could I forget that time in you apartment? That time when I leant close to you and kissed you cheek. I wonder if you remember that and what you made of it. You didn't say anything then and your face was blank as I turned back before leaving and saw you watching me. I had spoken to you in Russian before I kissed you, using it half heartedly as an excuse. As if that kiss was nothing more than a Russian tradition, which it wasn't.

I never underestimated you, I knew you would understand what I said so I didn't dare say anything to revealing. I'll see you again, friend. There was a million other things I wished to say but the courage for those lay in a place far out of reach. A horn blaring angrily startles me out of my wondering thoughts and I realise I've crossed a road without looking. Way to go Alex, I think snidely, although there are worse deaths for myself that I've imagined. You could have killed me yourself. You pointed the gun at me and I watched your finger move incessantly in slow motion. Then the resignation in your eyes as your arm dropped and the sudden burning pain as bullets ripped through my body as Skinner fired for you.

You didn't stop him, you didn't say anything, didn't even move as I collapsed onto the hard concrete. I was not surprised as I felt life drift from me, other than the fact you had not shot me yourself. I had known what I was doing and had wanted it ever since I came back and saw the hatred in your eyes when you looked at me. But first I had to save you, save Scully and her baby so I could create a happy ending, even if it wasn't my own.

There was no future after that. I had lost you and the Smoking Man was dead. You wouldn't believe how good it felt to end his life. At first he was a lot like me, putting up sacrifices for the greater good but he soon became corrupt with power and became a danger to your life. I couldn't have that. I tried to clear all of the puppet strings that were tied to you as if it were a way to repent myself.

In the end we are all insignificant playthings of the -almost- invisible forces that surround us. I stop walking and look around, realising I have no idea where I am. It's started to cloud over and the sunny day suddenly turns grey, which is fine by me. Who wants sunshine to remind you of a happiness that doesn't exist? I heave a soulful sigh and look around for a bus stop. Catching public transport is something I've always hated but here and now it's become a necessity. I don't have money to spend on a rented car, let alone buy one. Once upon a time visions of retirement were a comfort, a very long time ago now that I think about it. Ten minutes passed before a bus showed up and I ask the driver if he knows where my hotel is and if it's near his route. He tells me the hotel is about ten blocks for here and sure there's a stop right near it. Well whad'ya know, I think and sit down in an empty seat. Soon I'm back at the musty little run down hotel and in the tiny room that I managed to scrape enough money for. The place smells like old vomit and often in the night sounds of tiny claws trail across the cold wooden floor. Wouldn't you love to know that if I were alive I'd be living in places like this? Not tonight though, I think suddenly and begin to gather my scarce belongings. A razor, an old toothbrush, a few tatty clothes and a wallet. This is all my life has some down to. Wouldn't you be surprised if you knew I kept an old wrinkled FBI issue photo of you in my wallet? I pay at the desk and leave the place quickly, two nights in the place felt like a lifetime. I had no money left and nowhere to go but a part of this is a life I know. How many times have I had to run from state to state to keep you from finding me? For some reason I head back to the park and consider that it's a good a place as any to be spending a night on the streets in.

Mulder blinked open bleary eyes and tried desperately to get rid of the residue of a nightmare that was as routine as his days were turning into. They were taking their toll, he realised stumbling into the bathroom and flinching at his image in the mirror. Why? Why, why, WHY? Why was he having nightmares about seeing Krycek die before him? At the time he had felt relief, Krycek's death represented getting rid of an old and painful past. Now, it was if the man was haunting him with those pained eyes that had never left his from when Mulder had aimed his gun at Krycek, to after Skinner had shot him. There was more than pain in those eyes, it was if Krycek had expected it, as if he wanted it as he reached for his gun. He wasn't stupid, he would have known that reaching for your gun when two other's are aimed at you is an invitation for death. He splashed icy cold water over his face and dried it with a towel that was long overdue for a wash. The only good thing he could see about being unemployed was having no need to make himself look presentable. Everything else he hated, not having anything to do and too much time to sit around and think. The last thing he wanted was to think at the moment. He didn't want to analyse himself for fear of what he might find.

He could tell Scully was worried for him but she hadn't said anything to him yet. Often he had ended up at her house in the middle of night in an attempt to get some sleep. He soon realised that Scully was attempting to start a new and better life and felt guilty about making her worry over him. It had been a month since he'd seen her last though she rang nearly every day and tried to convince him to come over or let her come and see him.

Surprisingly, John Doggett had turned up at his door one afternoon. Mulder had told him to leave but the man was as stubborn as himself and pushed his way into the apartment.

"You look like shit Mulder," he said and gave a disapproving frown when Mulder laughed, that turned to worried frown when Mulder suddenly collapsed to the ground.

He had picked him up and dragged him over to the couch before Mulder even realised what had happened. Ever since then the man wouldn't leave him alone and was prone to paying surprise visits laden with food and other things, which Mulder would swear had come from Scully. He could understand why she didn't come himself. After all she had a baby to look after. Mulder made his way slowly into the living room and dropped onto the couch and flicked the TV on in one motion. There wasn't anything on but he needed something to occupy his mind. Flicking the channels he found he couldn't settle on anything and switched it off in frustration. He considered going out somewhere but wondered where exactly there was to go. He didn't want to see anyone, let alone have to talk to anyone and make 'pleasant' conversation. Something he had never had a skill for.

Sighing, he got up and reached for his jacket deciding he could at least go out for a walk. He wouldn't have to see or talk to anyone he knew then. Once he got down to the street however all thoughts of a walk dematerialised when he realised it had just began to rain and, looking up at the clouds, he could see there was more to come. Instead he got in his car with no particular destination in mind and drove away from his apartment. Not long after he realised he was in area he knew and a sudden painful memory ripped into him like a bullet. He almost laughed but that would have demanded an energy he didn't have. He pulled over into a supermarket car park and stopped the car. God, I must have Krycek on the brain to end up in this place, he thought shaking his head. Well what the hell, if I'm here I might as well get out. Stepping out he locked the car before walking out of the car park and down the street. He stared stonily at a caf he passed remembering buying coffee there and Krycek telling him he should buy something to eat. He shivered as he stepped out of the cover of the shops and into the heavier falling rain. Still though he walked on until he came to a park and turned into it. Suddenly lightning cracked overhead and rain began to fall in sheets.

Hurrying he headed for a gazebo in the middle of the park. Reaching it he realised a bum was using it to sleep in but he didn't care and stood just in the entrance with his back to the huddled man further in. He stood still, looking out at the rain, the people scurrying for cover and smiled. He'd always loved storms, the rain making everything glossy and shiny, the lightning flashing with brightness and gone in a second, and the thunder that seemed to rattle every building. It was Mother Nature at her finest. The man behind him groaned and Mulder turned to look at him. He couldn't the man's face, just the old jacket and ripped pants. A black bag was below him under the bench and Mulder couldn't help feeling angry with a world where some people's lives only come down to the scarce belongings they can hold on their body and no place to stay, no place to call home. The man shivered and turned over making the jacket over him slip up and covering his face. Strange, the man was younger than he thought, maybe even younger than himself. Funny that he seemed almost familiar, though Mulder wrote it off as coincidence. The man shivered again and the jacket fell down to his chin just as Mulder's heart clenched and his stomach dropped to the ground. For a moment he couldn't breathe and wondered if he was delusional from lack of sleep. He had to be seeing things, this just couldn't be real, it was impossible! Alex Krycek was dead and he'd seen the man die in front of him and he most definitely not lying in the same gazebo he was standing in, in the middle of park that they once...that they once had been in together in far happier times. Mulder, with his legs feeling like jelly and his heart racing stepped tentatively forward. There was no escaping it, this was either Krycek's twin brother that he had never heard about or it was him...

"Alex," Mulder whispered.

I first become aware of being cold and stiff before I look up and you're standing there as if you just stepped out of my dream. Now, I know I'm going insane. I'd been suspecting it for a while, ever since I woke up in their ship after they'd brought me back to life. I thought I was dead until I saw one of them and suddenly felt a painful despair. It felt like some sort of Groundhog's Day thing where no matter how many times I died they'd always bring me back. I blink and rub my eyes trying to get rid of the vision but you're still there and suddenly I'm afraid. Afraid of myself, that maybe I really am crazy. You're staring at me and I stare back.

"It's really you," you suddenly say and I feel my jaw go slack.

Do hallucinations talk? Am I really that far gone?

"I thought you were dead..."

All I can do is stare at you as if my whole body had suddenly gone numb. Could it really be you? Could you have found me?

"Mulder..." I choke out, hardly recognising my own voice and you take a step forward hesitantly.

Suddenly I don't care that there's a possibility that I'm imagining all this, it seems too real. I throw my jacket off and stand up.

"Am I imagining this?" I wonder and you look at me quizzically.

"I was thinking the same thing..." You say softly, looking over me as if making sure I'm all there and not a ghost.

"They brought me back," I blurt out as if trying to grip onto something that's slipping away.

You're eyebrows raise and suddenly your hand is on my shoulder and I turn to look at it.

"I'm sorry," you say and I wonder at the irony of that.

What have you really got to be sorry about when it came to me? Trusting me in the first place maybe. I shake my head and reach up tentatively to take your hand. I'm surprised when you don't pull away. All that time ago you must have known how I felt about you when we first met. I adored you, you were my hero and more than that, I was attracted to you. You didn't seem to be threatened by that though I'm fairly sure you knew. That always made me wonder even though you dismissed my flirtations.

"You have nothing to be sorry about Mulder."

You look at me for a moment and I watch your eyes slowly go down to your hand, which I'm still holding.

"I think maybe we both have things to be sorry about. It seems to me that we're here together, now, for a reason don't you? Maybe because we both still have wounds of the past to heal? Maybe I'm here to help you?"

I'm astounded at this new side of you that I've never seen before. Not directed at me anyway.

"Maybe," I whisper looking at my feat.

I had never believed in fate before but this seemed like a good place to start. Did you really mean to forgive me? After all that I have done? Then I remember my thoughts of yesterday, of what I would say to you if I ever saw you again.

"I didn't kill you father," I say suddenly and drop your hand ready to receive a punch but surprisingly all you do is nod.

"I know," you say and I stare at you. "After you...were shot and we found out the Smoking Man was dead we discovered more information about my father...He...He killed himself as you said.

"And Scully's sister..." I start to say but choke on the words.

You look at me for a moment as if contemplating something, "you stop her death."

I nod weakly, "if I had he said," I take a breath, "he said he would kill you and Scully and everyone I ever cared about."

You look slightly surprised at that but nod anyway. "I will never be able to forget what you have done Alex...but I think after awhile I'll be able to forgive. Ever since you, well when I thought you had died, I haven't been able to get you out of my head. There has to be a reason for that."

I smile a little at that then turn serious again, "does that mean you're not going to hand me in?"

"A lot of things are coming to an end right now and a lot of other things are beginning..."

My stomach suddenly drops as I realise the implications of that. You're family Mulder? I wonder thinking of Scully and her mysterious pregnancy.

"You Alex Krycek, are maybe a bit of both?"

I don't know what you mean at first and then I realise. Technically I have died, or rather Krycek died. All that is left now is Alex. A man without a job, a family, or friends. A man without a past.

"You think I could start again?"

You shrug, "technically you're dead, no one is looking for you...You're obviously not achieving much out here," you say gesturing to my clothes.

I'm embarrassed for a moment but quickly recover. "Why are you doing this?"

"Maybe I want you to stop haunting me," You say and smile. "Come on, let's go back to my apartment."

I nod and pick up my things finally becoming aware of our surroundings. It's been raining and still is slightly. I hadn't noticed until then.

By the time they get back to Mulder's apartment and step up to his apartment they were both starting to have doubts. Alex began to wonder what Mulder's real intentions were. Did he plan to lure him back just to capture him again? Mulder himself could hardly believe what he was doing. Trying to get a hold of things he ran through the thoughts in his head. So, Krycek is alive and they brought him back. Why, Mulder had no idea, a part of some master plan? It ultimately didn't surprise him and he did not doubt the truth of it. After all he had seen personally what they could do.

The fact that he had found Alex by coincidence was undoubtedly strange. What was stranger was his reaction to that. Mulder had been...relieved. Relieved that he was alive. More so that he didn't feel the urge to throw Krycek into a cell and throw away the key. The few weeks after Alex's supposed death, the other man was all he could think of. He had thought about them working together as partners, Alex betrayal as he began to work for the Smoking Man, that in itself didn't add up, and all that Alex had done in that time.

That was when Mulder had searched for more information about the Smoking Man and found out Alex had not killed his father after all. The biggest mystery of all was all the times Alex had almost seemed to help him, and Scully. Including just before he 'died' and saved Scully's baby. It just hadn't added up in his head of his initial judgements on the psychopath killer that he had summed Alex up as. All very strange, Mulder thought opening the door to his apartment. And now Alex is alive and I'm preposing a truce? Mulder sighed and walked through the door with Alex following behind him.

"Not much has changed in here," Alex stated looking around.

Mulder shrugged pulling his wet jacket off, "what did you expect?"

Alex smiled at Mulder, "not much I guess," he said shifting the bag in his hands.

Mulder noticed and gestured to the couch, "make yourself at home," he said draping the coat over a chair. "You want something to eat, drink?"

Alex nodded and dropped his bag beside the couch before sitting stiffly in it, "whatever you've got."

Mulder gave him an ironic look but didn't say anything and instead walked into the kitchen. Alex took his own jacket off and sat back looking around again. In front of him was a table and beyond that was the TV. Over to the side was Mulder's desk with his computer perched on it. Next to that was a fish tank and Alex couldn't help smiling. He remembered coming in here when they were partners and every time Mulder had had different fish. They never did last long with their absent minded or just plain absent owner. Alex made a point of always asking their names. Once Mulder'd named a new bunch of them with people he knew. One was Scully, another was Skinner and yet another, to Alex's amazement, was Alex. He stared at Mulder when he's said that, not just because he'd been included in this quirk but Mulder'd had used his first name unlike the others.

"You like corn chips?" Mulder asked walking out of the kitchen carrying two bags of chips and two soda cans.

"Yeah sure," Alex said and Mulder tossed the bag to him before placing the drinks on the table and sitting down himself. Alex opened the packet and hungrily shoved a few in his mouth.

Mulder glanced at him opening his own packet, "we can order pizza later."

Alex nodded, "sounds good."

"Have you been living on the streets ever since they brought you back?"

Alex shook his head munching another handful of chips, "no just last night I ran out of money...When I came back my accounts had all closed and my apartment was sold. I have no idea where all my stuff went..."

"Aliens stole my home and money?" Mulder said with a smirk and Alex laughed.

"I didn't have much anyway, couldn't afford it having to move around and..." Alex bit his tongue but Mulder didn't say anything. They sat in silence for awhile sneaking glances at each other.

"So, what now?" Alex asked.

Mulder shrugged, "I don't think I should tell anyone you're here yet..."

Alex nodded, seemed like a good idea to him. "So what are you going to do with me?"

Mulder looked at him for a moment, "find you a new life?"

Alex thought about that for a moment, "give me a new identity and send me on my way?"

Mulder blinked catching the angry undertones, "not quite like that..."

"Why Mulder? I still don't get it. Why would you help me? Why haven't you thrown me into the FBI's arms?"

"To be honest with you I don't know, but I'm glad that your alive and I don't know..."

Alex raised his eyebrows, glad that I'm alive? Then he suddenly understood and almost laughed. "You're blaming yourself again?"

Mulder looked at him confused. "What do you mean?"

This time Alex did laugh, "Mulder ever since of known you've always blamed yourself for everything that goes wrong around you. I'd be hardly surprised if you blamed yourself for all that I've done and helping me you feel you might repent yourself in some way."

Mulder stared at him and suddenly looked angry. "You're still full of it Krycek."

Alex flinched slightly at the use of his last name. "Come on Mulder why else would you be glad I'm alive?"

Mulder sighed and shifted back into the couch and turned to the other man, "do you remember when we used to work together?"

"Of course I do!" Alex blurted out before thinking and mentally hit himself. Always the eager little puppy eh?

"I liked you back then you know," Mulder said looking away, "I'd thought I'd found someone that truly believed in what I was doing..."

Alex's jaw dropped before he recovered himself, "I liked you too...I mean I did believe in what you were doing and I looked up to you for it. You didn't care what anyone else thought of you, specially the FBI. I...respected you."

"So why did you work for the Smoking Man?"

"He...he told me I'd be helping you and I was at first, or at least it seemed that way at the start. Everything soon started to go downhill and I was in under my head before I knew it..."

"Helping me," Mulder repeated thoughtfully, "well I'm helping you now."

Alex looked incredulous, "what about all the in between?"

Mulder turned to look at him, "I forgive you."

Alex stared at him for a moment before looking away and staring at the ground. "Can I ask you something personal?" He asked quitely breaking the silence.

"Go for it," Mulder shrugged.

"Is the child yours?"

Mulder cocked his head to the side trying to figure out why Alex would ask that. "No, I've never slept with her, it's still a mystery how she got pregnant."

Alex nodded, "are you in love with her?"

Mulder sighed, "I was once but that love changed to something else. I started to see her as the sister I lost..."

Alex smiled, "I was always confused by you two, I think so was everyone else that knew you both."

Mulder smiled, "yeah, we confused ourselves sometimes."

"So, I'm going to stay here?" Alex asked after a moment.

"I guess so, if that's alright with you."

Alex shrugged, "not as if I have anywhere else to go..."

"Right, well I'm going to go and organise some things," Mulder said standing up, "you're alright to stay here?"

Alex nodded a bit surprised, "you trust me to?"

Mulder smiled, "might as well start now." Krycek suddenly felt warmth in his chest that he'd began to feel would never come back and smiled in reply. "Thanks."

Mulder looked uncertain for a moment, "well I'm going to get ready," he said and walked into his bedroom.

Krycek looked after him wondering just why Mulder was looking rather unkempt, even for him. He had a days worth of stubble and his hair had looked like it hadn't been brushed or cut for while. Looking around he found the remote and switched the TV on and a while later Mulder came back out clean-shaven with brushed hair and wearing a suit.

"I'll be back later," he said walking to the door and Alex nodded deciding not to ask Mulder where he was going.

He felt a bit dubious but decided he'd take the chance of trusting Mulder. Mulder turned back to him as he opened the door as if about to say something but seemed to think better of it and instead walked out and closed the door. Suddenly the apartment seemed very empty and Alex turned back to the TV for a bit of comfort.

Mulder sighed for a second with his back resting on the door before heading for the elevator. Twenty minutes later he was knocking on a door that was quickly answered by a surprised looking Langly.

"Mulder? Come in..." he said moving aside, "hey guys! Mulder's here!"

Mulder walked in and spotted the others sitting in their usual spots in front of computers. "Hey guys I need a favour..."

Later that night Mulder shuffled the pizza box and bag of food to reach for his keys. Before he managed to find the door opened and Alex stood there smiling at him.

"Hmm, I could smell the food from in here," Alex said standing aside so Mulder could come in.

Setting the pizza on the coffee table before he dropped it Mulder went into the kitchen with the bag of food.

"I hope you don't mind I got a cappachosa," Mulder called through the door. "I've got some beer as well."

"Fine by me!" Alex said opening the pizza box and taking a whiff. Man, he was hungry.

"Hey have you cleaned in here or something?" Mulder called from the kitchen.

Alex smiled, "if wiping a few benches is called cleaning for you than yeah," he called picking up a piece of pizza.

Mulder snorted, "I do clean sometimes!"

"Oh yeah I could see that with the layers of grime!" Mulder rolled his eyes and came out of the kitchen with two bottles of beer and sat next to Alex picking up a piece of pizza for himself.

He looked at the TV, "what cha watching?"

Alex shrugged, "some movie, it just started," he said taking the offered beer.

Mulder watched it for a moment until the title came up, "oh Contact, it's a good movie," he said around a mouthful of pizza.

Alex laughed, "weren't you ever told not to talk when you're eating?"

Mulder turned to him and smiled, "I must have forgotten."

Alex shook his head and turned to the movie watching the actors name's come up.

"Oh, Jodie Foster, you like her?" Alex asked and Mulder shrugged.

"She's a good actor," he said stretching and shifting in his seat.

Alex glanced at him wondering if the other man had just moved closer to him or if it was just his imagination. He turned back to the movie and they watched in a comfortable silence. After finishing his beer and share of pizza Alex yawned and leant back in the couch and was startled to find he was a lot closer to Mulder than he had thought. He blushed when their shoulders brushed and tried to control himself. Mulder thankfully didn't seem to notice and was watching the movie intently. Alex took a breath and turned back to the movie, though his eyelids were drooping. He hadn't had a proper night's sleep for a long time that he could remember and it seemed to be catching up with him now that he was in a nice place and had food in his stomach.

Mulder was watching him out of the corner of his eyes but didn't say anything as Alex began to fall asleep. As soon as he judged Alex to be completely asleep Mulder turned his complete attention to the other man. He looked beautiful asleep, at peace with his eyes closed and his face relaxed.

Wait a minute! Did I just think of him as beautiful?! Mulder blinked and sat back looking at Alex... All the things this man makes me feel... Mulder wondered and thought again about just why he was helping him. Almost unconsciously Mulder reached a hand up and brushed Alex's cheek. He had his suspicions about the other man's sexuality when they were first partnered. Alex didn't seem to want to keep it a secret and often flirted with him. At the time Mulder had considered it a bit of fun but didn't let it get too far.

Because I'm straight right?

Mulder suddenly remembered one of his male friends from college. A hazy memory came back to him...Something about getting drunk and fumbling around in the dark...Mulder blushed and took his hand away. God! Talk about repressed memories...Alex muttered something in his sleep and moved closer to Mulder, who swallowed hard at the contact. Jeez, could it be that all this time? Was I really so hurt by his betrayal because I had feelings for him? Just how do I feel about him? Mulder remembered back to the time when they were first introduced. He remembered with shock that he had thought Alex handsome back then. He had dismissed it then as nothing more than noticing beauty in someone, no matter the sex... Now, now he had no idea what to think. Had Alex ever been attracted to him? Mulder shifted so Alex's head leant against his shoulder.

"Alex?" he said softly and Alex mumbled.

Suddenly his eyelids fluttered and opened. He sat up and stared at Mulder, "sorry...I...I didn't mean to," he stuttered but Mulder shook his head.

"I just figured why I'm helping you..."

Alex looked confused and surprised, "oh?"

"Hmm, I was thinking about when we were partners and I..." Mulder stopped suddenly unsure of himself.

"I what?" Alex prompted.

Mulder glanced at him then quickly away again, "I was wondering if I had been imagining it or if you really were...flirting with me." Mulder blushed as he said the last words and was glad the room was relatively dark.

Alex eyes had opened wide and his face turned an interesting crimson colour, "what're...what're you saying?"

"Well...we're you?"

Alex gaped in shock, feeling like someone had just stripped him naked and thrown him out onto a sports field filled with people. "I...I, what does all this mean?"

Mulder sighed, "just answer."

Alex breathed and muttered something.

"What" Mulder asked.

"I said...Yes...I did flirt with you..."

Mulder looked thoughtful for a moment. "Well at least now I know you're not going to kill me if I tell you..."

"Tell me what?"

"That I," Mulder looked embarrassed, "think I've always been attracted to you...in some way."

This time Alex's jaw hit the ground and he suddenly found it hard to breathe. For a moment he couldn't talk and Mulder turned to look at him with a question on his face.

"I thought...I thought you were straight."

Mulder smiled grimly, "so did I."

"Does this mean...that you're still attracted to me?"

Mulder looked away again and grabbed the remote turning off the TV getting rid of the ignored movie. Suddenly the room was a lot darker and quieter. But Alex was still waiting for an answer and suddenly Mulder felt suffocated.

"I...Yes," Mulder said quietly but loud enough for Alex to hear. There was silence for a moment until suddenly Mulder felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to look at Alex.

"Mulder, I...I've always been attracted to you...But more than that, I once thought that I was in love with you."

"In love with me? But not any more," Mulder said as if trying to get it around his head.

"No, I mean no I still, I'm still in love with you Mulder...Fox," he finished and smiled insecurely.

Mulder stared at him and Alex looked away regretting his words. "Alex?"

Alex turned back to look to look at him ready for the let down instead Mulder actually smiled at him and suddenly Alex was confused. "Do you think maybe this is why we've been brought back together?" Mulder asked turning serious.

Alex frowned, "what is?"

Mulder raised an eyebrow as if not even sure of his own thoughts. "I mean this...Us together."

Alex shook his head, "you've still lost me."

Mulder sighed and sat in thought for a moment. Unexpectedly he reached out and tentatively placed a hand on Alex's cheek. Alex nearly flinched but managed to contain his shock. Before he could say any or do anything Mulder had leaned forward until they were an inch apart. So close that Alex could feel the other man's breath on his lips. A second later those lips were on his own and Alex had the sudden urge to pinch himself...just to make sure. A millisecond later he was too lost in the warmth of the other man's lips to comprehend anything. They shifted closer as their tongues met and at once the kiss was full of heated passion reaching to combine them both into one being. Too quickly though they were out of breath and Mulder pulled back looking deep into Alex's green eyes.

"We...should take this slow," he said finally in between breaths and Alex nodded in understanding.

"Do you want me too sleep on the couch?"

Mulder looked a thoughtful for a moment before shaking his head, "no...I want to be near you...just to sleep."

Alex grinned and nodded, "okay."

Ten minutes later Mulder had leant Alex a pair of sweats and a t-shirt before changing himself and climbing into his bed. Alex came back from the bathroom and Mulder smiled at him and lifted a corner of the bedspread. Slowly Alex came around to the bed and climbed in as Mulder shifted blankets around him. They looked at each other for a moment, Alex on his back and Mulder propped up in elbow.

"You have to admit this is strange," Alex said looking up at him.

Mulder smiled, "yeah but what about our lives are not?"

"True..." Alex said and smiled when Mulder shifted down at his side head settling on his shoulder.

A second later though Mulder had shot up and was giving him a shocked look, "your arm...my god I didn't even notice!"

Alex laughed, "jeez give a man a heart attack...yeah they grew my arm back," he said flexing the limb, "guess they like they're projects complete."

"Amazing," Mulder whispered reaching out to take his hand. Alex looked at him and they locked eyes again until Mulder eventually looked away and let go of his hand. "Turn over?"

Alex raised an eyebrow but did so and smiled when Mulder turned off the light before spooning him with an arm wrapped around his waist. "Goodnight Fox," he said in a slightly teasing voice and Mulder snorted.

"Good night Alex."

Alex smiled and tugged Mulder closer before closing his eyes and letting sleep overtake him. Mulder, however, stayed awake for quite awhile thinking about possible futures and who be in it. He felt sure all sceneries involved hardships but felt sure they could overcome them. He hoped his request to the Gunmen would help Alex start a new life. Thinking on the man in his arms he too eventually fell into a peaceful sleep that he hadn't experienced in a long while, actually finding that he was looking forward to tomorrow.

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