Restoration

by Marcia Elena

Title: Restoration
Author: Marcia Elena
Email: marciael@netvision.net.il
Keywords: M/K, Mulder's POV
Spoilers: Major and minor ones for RATB, Requiem, Deadalive, Existence, NIHT and TN1
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Mulder gets a second chance. Written for the 7th Lyric Wheel, the 'Happy Wheel', January 2002 Disclaimer: Alex and Fox are not mine, but I love them a lot more than their owners
Author's notes: I'm not really good with happy stories...and as usual, what I had in my mind was somewhat different from what ultimately came out. In any case, thanks to Amy for providing me with the perfect lyrics for this challenge. Dedicated to Rithiya. You know why, baby ;-)


Restoration
by Marcia Elena

Destiny.

Fate.

The inexplicable signs the universe grants us sometimes, pointing us unerringly towards a certain direction.

Are these signs accidental, or are they somehow by design? How often do we ignore them, never knowing where they might've led us? And how often do we follow them, to find...

This story begins where I ended. All that came before was prologue.


I remember dying. I remember floating away from the pain and fading into bright nothingness.

I don't remember coming back. I simply woke up one day in a hospital bed with Scully at my side, cracking jokes that probably should've stayed buried when they dug me from my grave.

The memories returned soon after that. Nightmarish memories, of my abduction, of the tests that had been performed on me. Painful memories, of a life that had been mine once but which I no longer cared to live. In my absence, the world had gone on; the changes around me were jarring, and I could not reconcile with them. I tried, for the sake of the people involved, but ultimately the chasm between me and everything else grew too wide and deep.

So I left. Two days after the baby was born, I packed my pitiful possessions and abandoned everyone I'd ever cared about behind. There was talk of a danger to my life, but for me that was merely an excuse to get away. I wanted some solitude, and my death, at that particular point in this tale, would've been a relief.

But, you see, it seems that the old adage is true: you can hide from the world, but you cannot hide from yourself. Even as I fell away from sight, trying to create a refuge of sorts, I found that my own self could still intrude upon me, unmindful of my decision not to be disturbed by any unwanted input. My photographic memory, apparently finding nothing better to do with all the quiet hours of my days, began to put together a scrapbook of recollections, dredging up events I had long ago elected to forget. Old and recent ones alike, all the moments I'd ever spent in Alex Krycek's company resurfaced with a vengeance, twisting regret inside me like a knife. I mourned him then, crying all the tears I hadn't shed for him since he'd died, screaming all the words I should've said to him years before, once I'd understood I loved him.

Yet the hardest of all was understanding that I loved him still. That I'd lost him, needlessly, stupidly. That I could've kept him, saved him, guarded him from harm just as he'd guarded me time and again, in his own way. It was a burden to at last admit these things to myself, and only the knowledge that Scully needed me kept me from sinking under completely. I could not--would not--disappoint another soul again the way I had done with Alex.

"Don't be afraid to be weak," I kept repeating to myself. But I'd never been very good in heeding anyone's advice, much less my own. In an act of desperation, then, and against all better judgement, I contacted Scully. Even being so far from me, she was my touchstone, and I needed her strength in order to endure the shatttering revelations I had just undergone. I couldn't tell her any of the details of my plight in a simple email, but I allowed all of my loneliness to bleed into it, craving her empathy, and the sense of security she could always give me. I did miss her, and solitude hadn't turned out exactly as I'd expected. And when she told me she wanted to see me, I didn't hesitate in saying yes, the renewed talks of Supersoldiers and threats to my life doing nothing to dissuade me from going to her.

Deep within me, I hoped she could help dissipate some of the misery I felt. Even if the face in my dreams didn't belong to her.


It didn't work, of course.

Circumstances prevented me from seeing her. And to make things even more interesting, I had also lost my luggage. I made my way back to my hiding place, feeling even more miserable than before. And it was then that I saw it.

I was driving along a deserted highway, still a couple of hours away from the turn that would take me into the place I'd been calling home of late. And there, suddenly looming in front of me, was a huge billboard sign. It hadn't been there only three days before when I'd passed this way, going in the opposite direction toward the Train Station. It consisted of only a few words, simple black on white, and it read: THINGS ARE LOOKING UP.

I slammed on the breaks so hard that the tires screeched like a horde of Banshees, and I found myself parked by the side of the road, staring intently at the familiar words. Killing the engine, I stayed where I was, my mind working fast and furious, making connections, seeing light where before I had only seen darkness. I don't know how long I sat there, blind to everything but to what I finally knew to be the truth: the man that had threatened to kill me all those months ago, the man Skinner had shot in front of me in an act of perverted righteousness... that man had not been Alex Krycek.

If indeed it had even been a man. Clone, Replicant, Supersoldier... call it what you will. It hadn't been Alex. It hadn't. It couldn't have been. Because Alex--my Alex--would never have tried to kill me, or Scully's baby, for that matter. Simple logic, maybe, but sound. And there were other things as well, things I should've noticed before: the way he'd walked, the way he'd acted, the sound of his voice...these had all been off, somehow. Subtly and unmistakably wrong. Which meant that somewhere along the line, something had happened to him, or he certainly would've shown up by then, as he invariably did.

Which meant that there was a chance he might still be alive. Which in turn meant there was a chance I might be able to find him.

My thoughts returned to the last time I'd seen him, just before I'd been abducted. The way he'd looked at me, hunger and sorrow reflected so plainly in his eyes. I had shrunk from that look then, but now I seized it, hoarded it, tucked it safely inside my heart. Made it into my compass and let it point me to wherever it was I had to go.

It was almost dark when I finally arrived home. I burst into the house like a man possessed, going straight to my computer and searching frantically for the emails Scully had faithfully kept for me while I'd been gone. I had neglected to go through these messages for far too long, but perhaps I had been meant to. Perhaps this was the right time for me to do it.

Surprisingly enough, I found something almost immediately. An unsigned message, dated roughly one month after I'd disappeared, consisting only of an address and six words: 'Come quickly. He might not last.'

My breath caught in my throat at that. Had Alex been the one to send this message, or was he the one that the message spoke of? And how could I even be sure this had anything to do with him at all?

Gut instinct, my mind told me. This was it, the clue I'd been looking for, the answer to all my most immediate questions. I didn't care that more than a year had passed since this had been sent to me; I had to check it. If in truth this was in some way related to Alex, I owed it to him, and to myself, to follow it through.

Lingering only long enough to get cleaned, I threw some clothes and the stack of alternate IDs and credit cards supplied by the Gunmen into a bag and left again, taking in a lungful of the clean mountain air as I walked out of the house. Promising myself that this trip would be more fruitful than my last one.


After a roundabout drive that took me the better part of five days, I arrived at my destination, a small town in the middle of nowhere.

The address in the email turned out to be a Hospital, and I stepped through its threshold cautiously, fearing what I might find there. But my inquiries about a possible patient named Krycek were met with blank stares and vigorous shaking of heads, and I soon found myself with no idea of how to proceed. It was obvious that if Alex had been admitted here, it had been under an assumed name, but I didn't know any of his aliases, and, likewise, after more than a year there were no messages there for any of mine.

I had to think. I had come all this way, with considerable danger to myself, and I refused to leave empty handed. There had to be a way I could find out what I needed to quickly, and without attracting undue attention, either to myself or to Alex. Deciding I needed to eat something before any kind of plan could be successfully drawn, I made my way down to the Cafeteria, feeling starved enough to try and brave the food there.

The elevator deposited me on the appropriate floor. And as the doors parted, I found myself face to face with Marita Covarrubias. Staring at me with an expression that must've been as shocked as mine.

She regained her wits first. "You came," she said, moving into the elevator and pressing one of the buttons. "I didn't think you would. Especially not after this long."

"Just a bit of a delay," I drawled, my voice hoarse from lack of use. Then, with some trepidation: "Is he here? Is he...?"

"He's fine now," she assured me, laying all my fears to rest with her smooth words. "He was in bad shape for a while, but he pulled through. He must be finishing his last physical therapy session as we speak. His plans were to leave today," she informed me, throwing me a measuring look.

"Leave?" I echoed, overjoyed that I wouldn't have to wait, terrified that if I'd delayed only one more day, only one more hour, I would've missed him. "Physical therapy?" I babbled, concern washing over me once more.

"Yes. But I think he'll want to tell you all about that himself."

We didn't have time to say anything more, as the elevator eased to a halt. Feeling uncharacteristically self-conscious, I followed Marita, my heart beating a frenzied rhythm inside my chest.

He was standing alone by the window when we entered the physiotherapy gym, his back to the door. Even like that, I could see that he was thinner, his perpetual jeans and leather jacket hanging loosely from his frame. The sun streaming in from outside fell around him like a mantle of light, making him appear almost immaterial, and I had to bite back the urge to run to him and touch him. But a slight groan did escape my throat, and Alex turned at the sound, his brilliant green eyes coming to rest on mine with the intensity of a blaze.

"Alex..." I croaked, my mouth going instantly dry, the very utterance of his name awakening a thirst so fierce in me I could feel my insides crumbling into dust.

"Mulder," he whispered, his voice cool and misty. And coming away from where he stood, the light spilled away from him; and he was only a man then, as mortal and as vulnerable as I was. A man, broken like me, wrapping me in his embrace and leaning shakily into me as we kissed and touched and cried and spoke, translating all that had been muted inside us into Love.

Sharp. Painful.

Beautiful.

We never noticed when Marita left, closing the door behind us.


During the long drive back to my place, he told me what had happened to him.

He'd killed Cancer Man. He hadn't known that the old bastard had used him to lead me into a trap, and once he'd learned about it his anger had been too great. So great, in fact, that it'd clouded his reason, making him easy prey for the people that were still working towards Colonization. He'd been caught, drugged, brought into a Facility, been tested upon, then dumped somewhere, left for dead.

Marita had found him. She'd taken him to the most inconspicuous Hospital she'd been able to find--where he'd lain in a coma for more than seven months--taking great pains to keep him from being discovered, so that the men who'd done this to him wouldn't track him and finish the job. She'd been the one who'd sent me the email, more as a gesture to Alex than anything else. She hadn't really expected me to come, hadn't even known if I'd ever be returned. And even though she'd had her reasons to abandon him, to perhaps wish him harm, she'd stayed. For more than a year, she'd stayed by him as he'd slowly recovered, gifting him with a debt that could never be repayed.

They hadn't heard about my death and, consequently, hadn't known anything about my resurrection, nor about the role that the false Krycek had played in my life after that. But Alex had heard rumors about the Supersoldier program, and he wasn't as surprised to hear about that part as I thought he'd be. His supposition was that they'd probably used some of his DNA to grow one, in the hopes that his acquaintance with me would prove useful.

Full of shame, I told him about his death, about how I'd stood by and done nothing. About how, even now, knowing it hadn't really been him, I still felt sorry about it...because in the end, as the false Alex had stood before me, pointing the gun at me, I'd glimpsed something of the true Alex in him...as if the part of him that had been real, that could've been real, had pushed to the fore in that moment, asserting itself long enough to allow my deliverance.

And Alex...my Alex...he listened silently to me, waiting for me to finish. And when I was done, he turned his head to me, scant moonlight illuminating his features; and, tied to his pull, I turned to him as well.

I cannot say what passed between us then. There are no words adequate enough for it. But as we faced each other, all of our sins laid bare, our breathing loud and harsh, our gazes locked... we forgave one another. Truly and finally. And, perhaps more importantly, we forgave ourselves.

I looked ahead again, the headlights piercing the night around us, the road dark and straight beneath us, stretching away in front of us seemingly forever. And Alex closed his eyes and slept, and I watched over him as I'd never done before, but would undoubtedly do again. Many, many times.

And I began looking forward to the time I could remember living.


"It fits, you know," I say to him tonight, my voice slurred with passion as he lies in my arms.

"What fits?" he asks, brushing his lips against my skin in a feathery touch.

"That after all the convoluted paths we've walked, the one path left to us should be so simple." I tremble, from my words and his proximity both.

"Yes," he whispers, "it fits. I think it was inevitable." And he brings his lips to mine, smiling into our kiss.

And it fits. We fit.

Even Scully says so. She who is still my constant.

But Alex is my heart. My destiny. My fate. The one love I was always supposed to find.

This story ends where we begin.

~FINIS~


Return To Innocence - Enigma

Love, devotion
Feeling, emotion

Don't be afraid to be weak
Don't be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart, my friend
That will be the return to yourself
The return to innocence.

If you want, then start to laugh
If you must, then start to cry
Be yourself, don't hide
Just believe in destiny.

Don't care what people say
Just follow your own way
Don't give up and use the chance
To return to innocence.

That's not the beginning of the end
That's the return to yourself
The return to innocence.


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