Hope I thru III

by Jennie

From: <jennieemcg@aol.com>
Subject: [RatB-K] Story Hope Series parts 1,2,3 Sk/K Date: Saturday, May 18, 2002 9:53 AM

TITLE: Hope series
AUTHOR: Jennie
DISCLAIMER: Not mine - more's the pity. sigh FANDOM: XFiles
PAIRING: M/K and M/Sk implied - Sk/K later RATING: P - PG so far
ARCHIVE: Yeahsureyoubetcha
Spoilers: Post series. No spoilers, per say - and, as always I'm deep in denial! Krycek is NOT dead. NONONONONO!!! NOTES: A shameless PWP, which has now become a series. Written for the Lyric Wheel - Endings round. For Jose, Peach and Urs. SUMMARY: Eh... well... AU, I guess. Somehow, Skinner and Krycek find their way into a relationship. Thanks to Mulder. <g> BETA: ... the incomparable Josan.


Hope Series part 1
Can't Regret
by Jennie

It was inevitable. I knew that from the very beginning. Still, that knowledge never could completely kill that kernel of hope that lay deep within some hidden recess of my heart.

As my old friend Will Shakespeare once said, 'tis better to have loved and lost...

Sometimes I take comfort in those words. In the darkest hours of night, though, I hate the sanctimonious bastard for writing them.

Odd as my relationship with Mulder was - and I'll be the first to admit that no promises were spoken on either side, no admissions of, dare I say it, love - it was good. Better that good. Mind blowing. Although our intimate encounters were few and far between, there was a frantic need, a perfect quality, that flavored each coming together of our desire for each other.

It was always love on my side. And maybe, just maybe, if I'd ever given him the words we might...

Shit!

I never gave up on my silly dreams, you know. Right up until the day he and Scully exchanged vows. Joined in matrimony. A part of my soul died that day. Despite his much-vaunted lack of trust in anyone except her, despite the many reasons I'd given him to not trust me, I couldn't quite give up hope. I kept imagining him realizing - finally - that I'd only done what I'd done for love of him.

Saddest of all, my hope still, after all these years, hasn't completely died. Through it all, William's maturing into young manhood, the births of their other three children, the strengthening of their marriage, I continued to dream. Oh, as the years passed, I thought of him less frequently. Then, a line on a television show, an article in the paper of some case that would have excited the interest of the Mulder of old, would bring it all back. A good bottle of booze, a few nights of insomnia, would help to quash that hope.

But, it hurt. It hurt badly.

I'd retired from the game years ago. Moved to the other side of the fucking country in the vain hope that distance would help.

It didn't.

They say that time heals all wounds. They are full of shit!

I won't forget, can't forget.

And never, never, will I regret what I did for love.


What I Did for Love
Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban

Kiss today goodbye,
The sweetness and the sorrow.
Wish me luck, the same to you.
But I can't regret
What I did for love
What I did for love

Look, my eyes are dry.
The gift was ours to borrow.
It's as if we always knew,
And I won't forget what I did for love, What I did for love

Gone,
Love is never gone.
As we travel on,
Love's what we'll remember.

Kiss today goodbye,
And point me toward tomorrow.
We did what we had to do.
Won't forget, can't regret
What I did for love
What I did for love
What I did for love

Love is never gone
As we travel on,
Love's what we'll remember.

Kiss today goodbye,
And point me toward tomorrow.
We did what we had to do.
Won't forget, can't regret
What I did for love
What I did for love
What I did for love


Hope series
Part 2
Toward Tomorrow

Because Certain People threatened my life if I didn't write more...


The invitation came out of the blue. Hell, I had no idea he/they they knew where I'd settled.

Or, rather, run to.

"You have to come!" Said the note.

"We miss you." He wrote.

"William misses you." Oh yeah, Mulder. Dig that knife in even deeper.

"I know you're not the religious type, but family (honorary uncles included) are obligated to attend." He said.

Bastard. Knows how to push my buttons, that man. He knows, damn him, knows how I feel about him.

I'd hate him if I didn't love him so much

Fuckfuckfuck!


Of course I went. How could I not? Couldn't believe William was growing so rapidly. The kid was seven years old.

Where had the years gone?

I crept into the church - at the very last minute, naturally. It took me several minutes to realize that I'd settled next to Skinner.

We didn't acknowledge each others' presence. Not overtly, anyway. After a quick glance, from the corners of our eyes, we fixed our attention on the ceremony taking place up front.

William's First Communion!

I'm getting old. Hair is shot through with grey. Aches and pains are the norm these days. Lines become more visible on my face. Old, I tell you, old.

The fact that Skinner is also showing signs of age doesn't comfort me at all. Nor does knowing that he's at least ten years older than I am.

Out in the parking lot, once mass had ended, we silently agreed to stick together. Removed from the crowd, we watched from the very edges of the gathering as congratulations were exchanged. Reluctantly, we even suffered our pictures to be taken. William and me. Skinner and William. Both of us with the whole Mulder clan.

When Mulder and Scully invited us to a celebratory gathering at their home, we hesitated. After exchanging a look, Skinner shrugged. "I'm in, if you're in, Krycek."

Still I hesitated.

"C'mon, guys," Mulder urged. "You two are part of the family, you know." Then he played his trump card, "William's feelings will be hurt if you don't show up."

Game, set, and match.

So we went. Ooohed and aaahed over the gifts presented. After cake had been consumed and all the kids went into the yard to play games, I found myself standing off to one side with Skinner. We stared, unobtrusively, at the proud parents.

"Hurts, doesn't it?" I said to Skinner, sotto voice.

He looked at me, pain visible in his eyes. "Yes," he admitted gruffly. "I always hoped..."

I nodded. "Never thought they'd end up together. "He's happy, though. Her too."

"The quintesential American family," he said with a sneer. "And we... shit, Krycek, we ended up alone."

"Yeah."

"You ran to the west coast," he accused.

"While you stayed... 'Uncle Walter'. What are you, some kind of masochist?"

"I guess I must be." With a wince and a shrug, he stared into my eyes. "Krycek... what say we head out? Get some coffee and - we need to talk. A lot was left unfinished between us."

"Yeah," I reluctantly agreed. "I guess we should - clear the air, talk."

Mulder, even Scully, objected to our leaving. I could see Skinner hesitating. "Come on Walter. Let's go. We have," I explained to the happy couple, "quite a bit to discuss. Wouldn't you say it's about time we made peace?"

They weren't happy, but they did nod. "Guess so," Mulder said.

"Don't forget to tell William goodbye - and congratulations," Scully instructed.

From somewhere deep inside of me, I dredged up a sarcastic grin and a salute. "Yes ma'am."

She snorted.

Skinner assiduously avoided meeting anyone's eyes.

Mulder smiled.

We did as directed. Damned if either of us would even consider disobeying her. Suicidal, we weren't. Duty done, we left together.

Imagine that!


Hope 3
Toward Tomorrow

With much thanks to Jose for the last minute beta. Damn, she's a wonder, ain't she? Sorry to say, Peach, no sex in this one. It has become a series, dammit. They will work up to it, though. I promise!


That first dinner was a little... strange. The original plan was coffee, if I remember correctly. Yeah, coffee. And I was headed for a privately owned coffee house I liked when it happened. His stomach growled. Now, I know that's not such an unusual thing. After all, neither of us had eaten anything at Mulder's. We were both too busy staying out of the way, trying to avoid...

Well, no need to go into all that much detail.

But, like I said, his stomach rumbled.

Mine responded in kind.

Then he snickered.

Which was pretty much when things changed. Or, maybe it was when I looked over at him and saw an embarrassed tide of red coloring on his face. I'm not sure. But, somehow, it all just seemed easier after that. Maybe because, for the first time, he seemed human. That cold, invulnerable facade of his faded into an actual human being. One that shared all the foibles the rest of us endured.

I hadn't even realized that I didn't think of him as having normal human motivations and needs. Not too surprising, I suppose, when one considers our history. He killed me, for godssake. Not to be outdone, I returned the favor some years later. In the end, we'd made a kind of peace. More for Mulder's sake than anything else.

Which, when you think about it, is pretty damned odd. We should have been at each others' throats over him. But, by then, it was obvious that Scully and William were going to be Mulder's future. Leaving us with nothing, really.

Except, as it turned out, each other. Only took us seven years to figure that one out.

Instead of the coffee place, I pulled up in front of my favorite Jewish deli. "C'mon, Krycek. Let's eat."

Without argument, he followed me in. Proceeded to charm the hostess into giving us a booth in the middle of the dinner rush. Unheard of. Hell, I'd been eating in the place for well over fifteen years and she'd never once given any group a table larger than necessary. Something about Krycek's roughened voice, brilliant smile, and fluttering lashes seemed to reach a girlish part of her that I'd never even suspected could possibly exist.

I hadn't quite recovered from the sight of Miriam blushing like a teenager under Krycek's approving grin, when the waiter approached our table. "What would you like to drink tonight?" he asked me.

I ordered my usual scotch, and Harold turned to Krycek. "For you, sir?"

Krycek lowered his eyelashes, looking up at the waiter through those sinfully long lashes of his. He licked his lips and managed to look oh-so-innocent. "Vodka, please. And, it's Alex."

Harold blinked. Coughed. Shuffled his feet. Then he smiled shyly back. "Yes, s- ah, Alex."

I did what any normal man would do under the circumstances. I kicked Krycek in the shin. Worked, too. Harold was forgotten as Krycek turned an incredibly innocent and questioning gaze upon me.

"What did you do that for?" he asked, leaning down to rub at his injured leg.

"Kid's not in your league yet, Krycek. Leave him alone."

The 'kid' snorted and drew himself up. I glanced up into the deeply offended blue eyes of my favorite nephew. "Go get our drinks, Harold." He opened his mouth to argue, but I cut him off, "Don't sass me, boy. Go on now."

Krycek watched him depart with measuring eyes. "Looks plenty old enough to me."

"He's twenty years old, Krycek."

That gained me a smirk. "Like I said, plenty old en-"

"He's also my younger sister's son."

"Shit."

"Exactly."

He raised his hand in a disarming gesture. "Didn't mean anything, old man. It's just... "

"I know exactly what 'it' is, Krycek. I've watched you do it for years, but the game's over now, so can it. We're here to talk, remember? Or was that just a convenient excuse for Scully's sake?"

"No." He shrugged uncomfortably. "No, it wasn't. This is just a little strange, you know?"

I snorted. "Tell me about it."

Harold returned with our drinks and took our food order, shooting me reproving looks the whole time. Once he'd left, Krycek gave me a 'see-I-can-behave' expression.

Yeah, right.

"So, tell me, Krycek, what are you doing with yourself out in LA?"

He swallowed the knee-jerk smartass comment I could see lurking in his eyes, and shrugged. "Private security."

"Assassin to the stars?" I sneered.

"Something like that."

"You like it?"

After draining his drink, Krycek gave a noncommittal smile. "It's a living." He looked at me for a moment, then asked what I was doing these days.

"Writing."

Eyebrows raised, he waited for more information. I hesitated, then decided to elaborate. "I edit and write for Quantico - procedural manuals, textbooks, that kind of thing."

"And in your free time?" he asked.

"The usual... I exercise, do yard work, and try to attend family gatherings."

"And, Mulder and Scully, are they part of this 'family' you spend time with?"

"I turn up there often enough to keep me on Scully's good side," I answered reluctantly. "But, like you said, it hurts."

"I really never saw that one coming, you know. I mean, after how many years of being partners, they're suddenly the all-American family? Four kids?" He shook his head in confusion, then grinned wryly. "Long way from you and me to her."

Ah. An opening I'd not been expecting presented itself. "Krycek... you and Mulder... when... I mean, how long... I mean-"

"Was he doing us both at the same time?"

I nodded, then waited to hear the answer with mingled dread and curiosity.

"I was with him on and off from the beginning. The last time we were together was just before his abduction. So, yeah, he was bouncing back and forth between us."

Damn. "And that didn't bother you?" I asked him incredulously.

He snorted. "Of course it bothered me, Skinner. But, at least I knew you would keep him as safe as you could when I couldn't be there."

Unable to gather any kind of coherent response to this little revelation, I settled for a noncommittal grunt and took refuge in my drink. When Mulder had admitted to having actually had an intimate relationship with Krycek, I'd been damned well eaten up with jealousy. It had taken one hell of a lot of work on my part to come to terms with the idea. But, the fact that Mulder had survived, apparently uninjured by their association - and the knowledge that it was over and done with (at least, I'd assumed it was in the past) -had convinced me to reluctantly accept their past relationship.

Now, to learn that it had gone on while Mulder was with me... well, dammit! "That little slut!" I growled.

With a sympathetic look, Krycek shook his head. "Walter, you know him. His insecurities. His needs. We each gave him something. I really think that we both, in our different ways, kept him as stable as possible during those years."

My doubt must have shown clearly in my expression, for he sighed impatiently. "Look, I don't want to make you uncomfortable, but... Tell me, when you were with him, you were on top, right?"

I shrugged, then nodded a reluctant confirmation.

"Okay. And I - well, when he was with me, he was on top. He needed both. The comfort of letting you be in charge, and the confidence that my submission gave to him."

Damn him. He was right. I didn't like it - but he was right.

Harold returned to take our food order just then, breaking the suddenly tense atmosphere between us. Once he'd departed to put our dinner order in and get us each a refill on our drinks, Krycek offered me a surprisingly sympathetic look.

"Can't we just let that go for now? Enjoy a meal together? Try to get to know each other just a little better?" He met my eyes, no pretence in his expression. "We're the last ones, Walt. We're both on our own now - we've moved on from the bad old days. Let's talk and see if we have any chance of being, if not friends, friendly acquaintances."

Boy had a point. I was lonely. He, I could see, was quite obviously lonely, too. And, really, who else could we talk about our pasts with? Besides, I'd always been curious about him. About how such an intelligent man had come to be what he'd been. And, I found that I really wanted to know more about him - Alex Krycek, the man.

"Okay, Krycek - Alex. No more Mulder. No more past, for tonight. We talk. About now - where we are, and where we'd like to be in the future."

Visibly relieved at my words, he nodded gravely in agreement.

And, damned if we didn't have a nice meal. As the evening wore on, I was surprised to find a surprising depth in him. A lively, curious mind. A well-educated mind. A man who took great interest in current events and had opinions on many subjects that closely matched mine.

I enjoyed myself. From all appearances, he did too. When I dropped him off at his hotel, I couldn't quite conceal my dismay at the news that he'd be returning home the following morning.

As he climbed out of my car, he paused. "I'll, uh, be coming back later in the summer. Maybe we can get together then?"

Without hesitation, with rather embarrassing alacrity, to tell the truth, I agreed. Pulled out a slip of paper from the glove box and wrote down my email address for him. "Here," I said gruffly, shoving it into his hand. "Write me. Let me know when you'll be here. We'll make plans."

It might have been a trick of the light, but I suspect not. He blushed as he tucked the paper into his wallet. "I will," he promised.

As I drove away, I couldn't help thinking that I - we - just might find, with time, that we had even more in common than I'd imagined.

TBC



If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Jennie