Hope 5: The Door We Never Opened

by Jennie

TITLE: Hope 5: The Door We Never Opened AUTHOR: Jennie
DISCLAIMER: Still not mine. Life just ain't fair! FANDOM: XFiles
PAIRING: Sk/K
RATING: PG so far - It will be NC-17 eventually. I promise. ARCHIVE: Sure. Just let me know where so I can visit. Spoilers: Post series. No spoilers, per say - and, as always I'm deep in denial! Krycek is NOT dead. NONONONONO!!! SUMMARY: Alex comes to town. Skinner has plans for the dear boy. BETAS: Ursula and Teri and Josan
NOTES: As usual, I'm late. This is my NL birthday story.

Hope 5: The Door We Never Opened
Jennie

Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose garden
-TS Eliot
-Four Quartets. Burnt Norton, pt 1

It was easier than I'd hoped. In fact, he fell for it like a ton of bricks.

I picked him up at the airport on Friday night, as planned. Rather uncharacteristically, he was more than a little subdued. Shy, I'd have said, had it been anyone but Krycek. I chalked it up to jet lag, though, and made no comments. Which, I might add, was not easy. Damn, I really, really wanted to tease him. Wanted to see if I could get a blush out of him. A flustered Krycek would be a sight to behold.

Instead, I put my clever and devious plan into action once we'd stashed his luggage in the back of my Blazer and were on our way to his hotel. Hell, he practically dove into my clutches.

"What," he asked, with a glance back to the cargo area of the vehicle, "are the planters and soil for?"

"Gonna transplant some of the roses in the garden and bring them inside for the winter."

Dangling my line in the water.

"Oh." He frowned in thought for a moment, then inquired casually, "You have a place for them inside with lots of light?"

I nodded. "The new house has a sun room off of the kitchen."

He was silent for a mile or so. Then he cleared his throat. "You ever transplant roses?"

"Nope."

"Did you plant the roses this summer?"

Ah ha. The bait had caught his attention.

I shrugged. "They were already in residence. The old lady I bought the house from planted them years ago."

He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Studied me from the corner of his eye and chewed on his lower lip, obviously undecided as to whether his advice would be welcome. I waited patiently, ostensibly concentrating on the traffic.

"You know," he began hesitantly, "roses are touchy. You might be better off to... Never mind."

"To what? Any advice would be appreciated, actually." I glanced at him, eyebrows raised in hopeful anticipation. "I know very little about roses. Never had any before."

"Well, if the roses were planted years ago, the tap roots are pretty deep by now. You have to dig up the whole thing for a successful transplant, and they're probably at least three feet long," he offered meaningfully.

"Damn! Three feet?" God, I should be on the stage, I thought to myself. Little did he know, my mom had taken great pride in her roses. Couldn't possibly count the hours I'd spent toiling in her garden over the course of my life. "So, what would you suggest?"

"Hit your garden store, buy new plants, and put those inside." After another look into the back of the Blazer, he cleared his throat. "You really need larger containers, though."

"Huh. I'll see what I can find. The place I usually go is open tomorrow, I'll head over in the morning."

"I could, uh... I don't have any plans for tomorrow," he said in an off-handed manner.

Oh yeah. Hook swallowed.

"You sure? I mean, I want to get an early start. The store opens at eight, so I'd have to pick you up by seven at the latest. Unless..." I shook my head, "Nah, forget it."

"What?"

After a moment of hesitation - damn, I'm good - I said slowly, "Well, you could just stay at the house tonight."

Starting to reel him in.

Apparently stunned, he was quiet.

"Bad idea. I'll pick you up at seven, okay?"

"No!" He protested with gratifying haste. "No, it makes sense, staying at the house. We can both sleep in that way. If you're sure you don't mind."

"Mind? Hell, you'll be doing me a favor, Alex."

Unfortunately, it was dark and I couldn't actually see the blush I was sure colored his face.

"You want to check into your hotel before we go to the house, make sure they don't give your room away?"

"My reservation is guaranteed. I'll call, though. Tell them I'll check in tomorrow."

"Or Sunday," I said quietly.

He coughed. "Or Sunday."

Just like that, he was mine for the weekend. I had every intention of making the most of it.

Not only had I reeled him in, I'd netted and landed the slippery little devil.


"So," I said when he returned from the second floor, having carried his luggage up to the guestroom. "You hungry?"

He shook his head negatively. "Ate on the plane."

I held up my drink and shook it, rattling the ice cubes. "How about a drink?"

"Yeah, sure," he agreed.

Rising, I walked over to the bar. "What'll it be?"

"Whatever you're having is fine."

"You sure? I'm drinking scotch."

An almost undetectable shudder ran through his frame. "Ewww. No, no scotch."

"Vodka okay?"

This time the shudder was quite obvious. "Never did develop a taste for that shit. Um... you have any beer?"

"Of course." I turned and headed into the kitchen, returning quickly with a bottle of Sam Adams.

With an approving nod, Alex took a deep swallow of the brew, then perched on the edge of the couch. I joined him, sitting at the opposite end of the sofa. Didn't want to make him too nervous. At least not yet.

I'd given this a lot of thought, you see. A full month had passed since William Mulder's First Communion and the dinner we'd shared afterwards. And Mulder - good old Mulder - had taken every possible opportunity since to drop what I'm sure he thought were subtle hints on the subject of Krycek's longstanding attraction to me. On one memorable occasion, Scully had slyly chimed in with comments about how well suited Krycek and I were to each other. I strongly suspected that they'd scripted that particular conversation. Ingenious, they weren't. I managed to contain my amusement though. I'd listened soberly, nodded noncommittally, filed away all their comments for future contemplation, and changed the subject.

When I gave the matter my full attention, I came to the conclusion that they just might be right. God knows, I'd long been attracted to Krycek. And, judging by his flirty manner during that dinner, he seemed to return my interest. What the hell, I decided, I'd go for it.

The evening passed quietly. I popped in a movie, made popcorn, kicked back, and watched the tube. After about a half hour of the movie, Alex finally relaxed into the corner of the sofa.

Before I knew it, we were both yawning at the news. I stretched widely, and clambered to my feet. "I'm gonna head up to bed now. You're welcome to stay up. I know it's much earlier according to your internal clock."

"No. Think I'll turn in, too. I didn't get any sleep last night; besides, we have to get up early tomorrow."

"True," I agreed. "You'll need your rest - I plan to work you hard. It's not every day I get free labor in my garden."

He raised one eyebrow at me. "Never said I was free, Sk- um, Walter."

"I suppose you're not easy, either."

There it was - the blush I'd so wanted to see. He tried to cover it with a frown and a skeptical noise. Didn't work, though. His face was pleasingly reddened and he couldn't quite meet my eyes. After shuffling his feet, he walked past me towards the stairs.

"Not anymore," he mumbled under his breath.

When I chuckled quietly, his back straightened, but he forbore any comment. I decided not to push it any further - after all, I had tomorrow and Sunday to play him. Didn't want to tire the boy out too soon...

I followed him up to the second floor, said goodnight in a quiet voice, and we went to our separate rooms.


Alex:

Naturally enough, once I hit the bed, my sleepiness vanished like so much smoke. After a frustrating fifteen minutes of restless tossing and turning, I gave it up. Propping my pillows up against the headboard, I reclined against them and proceeded to think.

As I ran the evening's events past my mind's eye, I often found myself stifling an audible groan as the full extent of Skinner's skillful way of toying with me sank in. Shit, shit, shit! He'd played me like a fine Stradivarius, striking me speechless several times. I'd actually stammered in confusion more than once, and, worst of all, I'd blushed. Twice!

Alex Krycek does not blush, dammit.

And, what was with that movie? Max et Jeremie??? A foreign film? With subtitles yet! Ye olde buddy film, with a French twist. Older guy/younger guy. The younger taken (reluctantly) under his elder's wing. A strong, underlying homoerotic content. Not a female love interest in sight.

Okay, so he was, apparently, interested in me. Knew god-damn-fucking-well that I returned his interest. Bastard.

Tomorrow, I decided, he would pay, and pay heavily. Two could play at this game!

I eventually fell asleep while plotting my revenge.


All my years of sleeping with one eye open paid off the next morning. The minute he turned on the water in his shower, I woke. After a few - very satisfying - moments spent contemplating the fun I'd have that day, teasing the living shit out of him, I rose and dressed.

Luckily, I'd packed a close-fitting pair of straight-legged jeans. Not only were they nicely worn in all the right places, they were low-slung, resting enticingly around my hips. A T-shirt, cropped so that the hem stopped a good inch above the waistline of my jeans, a sage green bandana tied around my brow, a pair of sneakers, and I was primed and ready to go.

I headed downstairs to the kitchen and started a pot of coffee brewing. By the time he joined me, I'd arranged myself into a casual sprawl, hips resting against the counter, while I sipped a cup of steaming java.

Pausing just inside of the doorway, Walter gaped at my pose and attire. I'd've smirked triumphantly if I hadn't been so busy trying not to swallow my tongue. The no-good-sonofabitch

was wearing cut-offs. Very tight, very short, cut-offs.

Bastard. FUCKING BASTARD!

I swallowed heavily, controlled my immediate impulse to jump his bones, sipped my coffee, and concentrated on just how dearly he'd pay for this.

"Morning," he finally greeted me in a rusty voice. "Sleep well?"

"Like a rock," I assured him, lying through my teeth. "You?"

He nodded. Seating himself at the small, cafe-style kitchen table, he focused on the coffee he'd poured and doctored with extreme precision. I joined him at the table and downed my cup o' caffeine, honoring - for the moment - his desire for silence.

Once finished, we set off for the garden shop. First, we chose which roses he wanted. He took an ungodly amount of time making his decision, ending up with three: Lagerfeld, Angel Face, and Double Delight.

Sending me a message, old man?

I stifled my amusement and dragged him off to choose planters and soil. Top of the line, of course. Then, I insisted that he needed something to ease the rooting process, an anti-fungal spray, three kinds of fertilizer, and very attractive - and very expensive - stones to use in lieu of mulch. Oh, and a soil additive that purported to hold moisture, lessening the need for watering.

I'll say this for him, he didn't complain once. He did glower at me a time or two, but refrained from voicing his dissatisfaction at my free and easy way of spending his money.


We spent a good amount of time - well, okay, he spent a good amount of time - mixing the soil to my satisfaction. I supervised. In the process, he lost his T-shirt. And he sweated.

Oh, yeah.

Once he'd completed his task to my satisfaction, we filled the planters halfway and dragged them into the sunroom. We were just about to get on with the 'Planting Of The Roses' when company arrived in the form of Mulder and his two sons.

He looked inordinately pleased to see me there, toiling away at Skinner's side, almost as if he'd planned the whole damned thing himself. Well, that hadn't changed. The whole world, it seemed, still revolved around Mulder-themagnificent -and-all-important.

"We got a DOG," Jamie, the younger son at four years of age, announced importantly.

"No sh-"

"Congratulations," Walter said heartily, cutting off my admittedly bitchy response. "Tell us all about it."

"She's an Australian Shepherd," William informed us.

"Yeah!" Jamie agreed, nodding enthusiastically. "Mommy and Daddy let us name her."

"Sooo," Walter teased, "you gonna tell us the name, or do we have to guess?"

"Guess!" Jamie challenged.

"Lucy," William said at the same time.

"Daa-aad! Will'm told! I wanted 'em to guess!"

I winced and somehow managed not to cover my ears at Jamie's high-pitched and very loud complaint.

"William," Mulder said repressively.

"Sorry, Dad," William mumbled, not a shred of remorse in his voice. Always had liked that kid.

"Jamie, you can tell your uncles the really exciting part."

With a gape-toothed grin, Jamie danced from foot to foot as he spoke. "Lucy had puppies yesterday. Two of 'em! An... an, guess what? You get to have one, Uncle Walter."

"Oh reeeally?" Skinner said with admirable restraint, shooting Mulder a killing look. "I'm not sure I'm ready for a dog, boys."

"But Mommy said you would!"

"She did, did she?"

Jamie nodded solemnly. "She said you were lonely. She said a puppy was just what you needed."

At that point, I wouldn't have bet a plug nickel on Scully's chances of surviving the week.

Up until now, I'd managed to restrain my vast amusement. The glare Skinner pinned Mulder with, combined with the expectant and pleading looks both kids directed at 'Uncle Walter', threatened to send me off into an undignified fit of hysterical laughter. I choked, holding back my hilarity.

Carefully hiding my expression of glee from Skinner, I headed into the house. "Need," cough "a drink."

As I departed the scene, I could hear William relating the advantages of dog ownership to Walter. When I reached the safety of the house, I damn near collapsed in laughter. Chuckling, snorting, and guffawing, I made my way into the kitchen and fell into a chair, still laughing.

"Whatcha laughin' at, Uncle Alex?"

Oops, Jamie had followed me in. "Um... er... I have an itch," I told him. I raised my head and wiped tears of mirth from my face.

The kid frowned. Walked over and climbed into my lap. "Don't cry." He patted my cheek with what I'm sure he thought was gentleness. "You get a puppy, too."


Skinner:

We finished potting the roses in short order, Alex sulking prettily all the while. Once the job was done, planters watered to his exacting specifications, we headed up to shower in silent accord.

Back downstairs, each dressed in loose sweats, we slumped wearily at either end of the couch.

"Damn," Alex grouched, "'m beat."

"Me, too."

After a long period of quiet, my stomach growled, loudly protesting its emptiness. "Guess we'd start thinking about dinner," I suggested.

"Uh huh."

Neither of us made any effort to actually go into the kitchen and do anything about it, though.

"Pizza?" I eventually asked him.

He grunted. I decided to take that as a yes.

"Phone's at your end of the sofa," I hinted.

With much groaning and moaning, Alex shifted about and reached for the phone. Just as his hand closed on the receiver, the damned thing rang.

"Phone," he informed me unnecessarily.

Waving one hand carelessly, I told him to answer it.

With a put-upon sigh, he lifted the receiver. "H'llo?" he mumbled.

...

"Oh, hi, Scully. S'up?

...

His eyes widened in dismay as he listened. He lowered the phone, muffling the speaker against his chest. "She wants us to come over for supper tomorrow."

Oh, hell.

"Put her off," I hissed. "Make something up. Tell her... tell her we have plans."

"Oh, no!" Shaking his head in an emphatically negative gesture, he shoved the receiver into my hand. "You tell her."

Giving in to the inevitable, I raised the phone to my ear. "Hi, Dana. How are you and the girls?"

"You'll find out when we see you at our house tomorrow."

"Well, actually, we have plans for to-"

"Nonsense," she said briskly.

"But-"

"Walter," she said in clear warning. "Tomorrow, our house, four o'clock."

Damn the woman.

"Okay, okay, we'll be there."

"We'll have a cookout."

"Fine. See you at four."

"Or earlier," she hinted with all the finesse of a bulldozer.

"Or earlier," I agreed with a grimace. "Listen, Dana, I have to go. Our dinner is ready."

I hastily averted my eyes from Krycek's 'It is?' expression. After a hasty goodbye, I handed the phone to him and slumped defeatedly back. "Hell," was my only comment.

He sighed heavily, then turned his head to look at me. "Pizza?" he reminded me.

"So call 'em, already," I grumped at him.

"Need a number."

Oh yeah. He punched in the number I gave him and ordered our meal.

Finished, he hung up and groaned. His right hand reached up and rubbed at his left shoulder and neck.

"Stiff?"

He shot me a 'well, duh' look.

Moving carefully, I scooted over to the middle cushion of the sofa. "Turn 'round," I told him.

He stared, his expression displaying a total lack of comprehension.

"Turn, Alex," I said patiently. "So that your back is to me."

"Why?"

"Just do it. Please?"

Obviously having no idea what I planned, he nevertheless followed my instructions.

When my hands settled on his shoulders, he tensed. "Relax. I'm not gonna hurt you."

And, gradually, as I gently massaged his knotted muscles, he did just that. I worked quietly, the silence broken only by his appreciative sighs and moans. Without conscious decision, I gradually softened my touch until my hands moved lightly, caressingly, over his upper back and shoulders. His relaxation deepened, warm weight leaning more and more heavily against me, until he was damn near resting in my lap.

He snuggled into me, pulling my arms around to embrace his chest. And, hell, I never claimed to be pure of heart. My body reacted in the expected way. My cock slowly hardened, my breathing grew heavier, and my pulse increased.

Gotta get up, I told myself firmly. Can't push it now - not when things are going along so well...

I started to withdraw, pulling my arms away and grasping his waist, intending to lift him off of me. With a muffled sound of protest, Alex turned, adjusting his position so that he faced me. I stilled, holding my breath, while I waited to see what he'd do next.

Slumberous green eyes held my gaze as he leaned forward. He couldn't possibly be planning to... to...

He kissed me. Once. Twice. Then he sighed and nibbled on my lower lip before tracing a light path around my mouth.

Jesus! I groaned and closed my arms around him. Pulled him closer and parted my lips to allow that questing tongue entrance.

And the doorbell rang.

We jolted apart and stared at each other with wild eyes.

The bell rang again, followed by urgent knocking.

If Mulder had returned...

Alex drew in a shaky breath, and smiled. "Pizza," he reminded me.


Alex:

We scarfed down the pizza with embarrassing haste. Still sitting on the sofa together. Still seated close to each other. Not knowing what to make of this, but enjoying the opportunity, I made no effort to move away. Pizza finished, we sat back, shoulder against shoulder, and watched the news.

The voices from the television faded to a pleasant buzz, and I found my eyelids growing heavier and heavier. I floated in a pleasant haze. "Mmmm," I vaguely heard a distant voice purr. Oh, that was my voice, I realized.

Walter chuckled. Why did he sound so close? And why didn't I object? And, why the hell did I feel more than hear that sound?

My hazy mind pondered these questions.

I decided that I really didn't care. With a deep sigh, I relaxed more heavily against the lovely, pillow he'd so kindly provided for my comfort.

What? I pulled myself awake, opening my eyes. Oh... shit! I'd drifted off to sleep - cuddled against him. My head rested on his shoulder, right arm wrapped around his middle. Reluctantly, I tried to pull away.

His hold tightened for a beat, then loosened. He turned to look at me, a mixture of curiosity, mild inquiry, and almost undetectable reproach lurking in his eyes.

"Um," I croaked. A short pause to clear my throat. "Sorry about that."

"No problem."

"Guess I'd better head on up to bed."

He yawned widely. "That makes two of us."

At the top of the stairway, I headed in the direction of my room. My room? No, the guest room.

"Alex, wait."

Turning back to face him, I canted my head to one side with curiosity. "Yeah?"

"Why don't you... That is... I'd like for you to..." He drew in a deep breath and squared his shoulders. "Sleep with me tonight?"

Oh god. Ohgodohgodohgod!

Fighting the overwhelming impulse to scream 'YES!' at the top of my lungs and dash into his room before he could think better of his offer, I closed my eyes. "No," I murmured. "I don't think that's a good idea, Walt. I'm so damned tired... Our first time should be..."

He chuckled. "Alex, shut up," he rumbled. "I just want to sleep with you. Hold you. Feel your warmth against me."

Oh. OH! Stunned, I hesitated.

"C'mon," he coaxed. "It's been so long. And I've been so lonely for the feel of another body in my bed."

I could no more resist his plea than I could fly to the moon. I nodded and followed him into his room. He shucked his clothing - all of his clothing - and slipped between the sheets. Patiently, he watched me with warm brown eyes as he waited for me to join him.

Vowing to myself that I'd see a doctor about this sudden onset of delusions, I removed my own clothes and joined him. "Just holding?" I asked.

"Mmmhmm," he hummed.

Well, the situation, I decided, was okay then.

"C'mere," he encouraged in a low voice. One thick arm worked its way under my shoulders, and he pulled me closer. After several moments spent adjusting my position until I lay curled against him, head pillowed on his chest. He sighed contentedly.

"'Night."

"G'ni-" My eyes closed, and I knew no more.


My pillow was moving. And making noise. Cautiously, I opened one eye, only to see a vast expanse of chest. Hairy chest. Male chest.

What the hell?

Slamming that eye closed, I searched my, admittedly vague, memories of last night.

Kissing.

Pizza.

The warmth of Skinner's body as he held me close.

But... how had I ended up in his bed? We... we couldn't have. *Couldn't* have!

Could we?

He stirred, snorted, grumbled under his breath. I stilled, waiting with dread for his reaction to finding me in his bed.

"Mmmph," he mumbled. Rolling onto his side, he opened both eyes and stared at me. "Morning."

Morning.

Morning???

"Time izzit?" I inquired.

He checked the clock. "Eleven thirty."

"Whaaat?" I asked, astonished that we'd slept so late.

Grinning, he smacked my rear with a little more enthusiasm than I felt was strictly necessary. "Rise and shine, sleepyhead."

Yes, indeed. Definitely gonna kill the bastard. For his annoyingly cheery morning attitude, if nothing else.

"Fuck you, Skinner."

Not only was he not frightened by my threat, he had the audacity to chuckle. Rolling to the bed's edge, he sat up and stretched, arms raised over his head. I gulped and stared at the acres and acres of smooth flesh covering his rippling muscles. His naked skin. Allowing my rapt gaze to travel lower, I realized - to my horror - that he was nude.

Oh, shit!

My cock jumped and brushed against the sheet draped over my lower body. Damn. I, too, was naked.

After yet another stretch, Skinner rose to his feet. "I'll go downstairs and start the coffee brewing while you dress," he offered.

"Go-good idea." Snickering at my stammered agreement, he pulled on a pair of shorts... even skimpier - if possible! - than the cut-offs he'd worn yesterday.

Yawning and scratching absently at his chest, he left the room. "Don't forget," he called back to me, "we're expected at Mulder and Scully's house in a couple of hours."

I pulled the covers over my head.

Just kill me now!


Our afternoon at Mulder's proved to be every bit as excruciating as I'd anticipated. We were barely inside the house before William, Jamie, and Melissa (their two year old daughter) dragged us off to admire Lucy's puppies. All three of Mulder's demon spawn urged us to select a pup for our very own.

Lucky us.

"Kids," Mulder said from the doorway, "give your uncles a break. Let them wait until the pups are a little older before making their choices."

Saved by the Mulder.

For the time being.

We were then treated to a viewing of each kids' room. After showing appropriate admiration for each and every toy cluttering their rooms, we escaped to the backyard. Collapsing into chairs, we watched as the children played a lively game of tag. For reasons unknown, Scully landed me with their youngest. Six month old Maggie grinned happily - and drooled all over herself and me.

Ewww.

"So," Mulder said casually. "I hear through the grapevine that your company is opening an office in D. C."

I glowered at him.

"And," he continued, smiling blithely, "rumor also has it that you'll be transferring here to manage that office."

"YAY" Jamie yelled, damn near rupturing my eardrum. "That means we can visit your puppy, too."

I was doomed.

"Dinner," Scully announced.

Just in the nick of time...


As soon as dinner was finished and the debris cleaned up, Walter and I made our escape. Thankfully, he didn't ask any questions about my upcoming transfer. Instead, he found a classical music station on the radio and we listened in silence as he drove me to my hotel.

We arrived with no delays, and I climbed out of his Blazer. I retrieved my luggage from the cargo area and stepped away towards the lobby.

"Alex," he called through the passenger window.

I turned back. "Yeah?"

"Dinner tomorrow?"

"Sure."

"Six okay?"

I nodded affirmatively.

"Come around here," he ordered, indicating the driver's side window.

"Why?" I asked suspiciously.

"So I can say goodbye properly."

Oh. Okay...

I walked around to his side. Waited.

One hand closed around the nape of my neck before he pulled me close. And pressed a gentle kiss against my lips.

"Six tomorrow?" he asked, withdrawing from me.

I nodded numbly. "Six. Yeah. I'll, uh, see you then."

He smiled at me and put the car into gear, pulling away slowly.


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