It was beautiful, this...Waiting Place. He hadn't expected to wind up here, not with the life he had led, not with the choices he had had to make. He expected the Power to tell him there'd been a mistake and to send him into the Emptiness. Yet, here he was.
He moved gracefully over the rolling green grass, gazing around at the crystal blue pools surrounded by tall, flowering trees, heavy with pale pink blooms. A few big fluffy white clouds lazed across the azure sky. The sun was a warm yellow ball, limning the landscape in a glow of bright sunshine. There was no darkness here.
Alex never felt so peaceful, so content. Even though he knew he would not be truly complete until Mulder was with him, it didn't hurt. Nothing hurt. He knew it would not be long and then they would be together. In fact, he had no sense of...time...at all. A friendly bark in the distance made him turn to watch a large brown dog scampering down the hill towards him. He clapped his hands in encouragement and then he was kneeling, arms filled with shaggy reddish brown fur as the dog jumped and happily licked his face, panting with excitement.
"So, Buddy, had your fill of chasing butterflies for a while?" asked Alex, laughing as he futilely avoided several sloppy tongue swipes across his chin. "Good boy, good boy!" he said straightening up, his grin shining in his eyes. Man and dog continued towards a lush green valley in the distance.
He vaguely recalled the pain of losing Buddy, so long ago. He'd been ten when Buddy had taken sick so suddenly. He'd lost Buddy soon after and his boy's heart had broken. Buddy had been his closest friend, the only one the ten-year-old could rely on, the only one who had made him feel truly loved. The world seemed to grow instantly bleak and cold without him. But that had been another world, the world of time where Death walked.
Alex stopped and smiled down at his companion. "We're together forever now, Buddy." Buddy answered with a quick wag of his tail and a short bark. "Yeah, boy, let's get back to the Bridge." He glanced up at the immense dome of heavenly blue sky and then at the luminescent rainbow that arched over the valley not too far away. Buddy ran ahead and then back to his side, vigorous and youthful and joyful, leaping up as he spotted more tempting butterflies along the way.
"You'll like Mulder, Buddy," Alex told him. "He never had a dog, his parents wouldn't let him, and then, well, his life wouldn't let him. He had fish." Buddy's ears twitched, head tilting for a moment. "Yeah, I know, it's not the same. You'll show him what he missed, right?" Buddy's tail wagged even harder as he barked twice. "Good boy, I know I can count on you," replied Alex.
The valley beneath the rainbow seemed filled with animals and people and yet there seemed to be so much space, an infinite stretch of breath-taking landscapes. Waterfalls and golden fields of flowers and unending expanses of tall grasses and rich brown earth. Deep green forests with trees that reached up to the clouds and wide, winding rivers of clear blue water. Alex could see mighty oceans and deserts, white sand beaches and snow-capped mountains. It went on and on. Everywhere he looked, the piercing beauty of it filled him with awe.
It was the Waiting Place, the place where loved ones reunited, where the world of time was left behind. Alex often watched as they met again beneath the ever-present Rainbow, the innumerable ones that waited and the ones that crossed to meet them again. Humans and animals of every description, finding each other, their happiness permeating the air, adding to the Rainbow's light. There was no sorrow in this place, no loneliness, no sickness, no grief. Reunited, they moved on to Infinity together.
Alex had asked the Power if he could wait for Mulder here, with Buddy. And so, they waited. Sometimes, Alex caught a brief sense of Mulder's life in the world of time. He knew Mulder didn't really understand why Alex had to die, why he had to give up his life so Mulder could live. Alex wished he could ease Mulder's guilt, his pain. "Oh, Mulder, please don't suffer for me. I never wanted that for you. Don't suffer for what had to be," he whispered to the sky. It was only in those quick glimpses that Alex felt distressed. But the knowing Power never let him see too much. He was always reminded that Mulder was coming. They would be together soon.
The serenity and tranquil beauty of the Waiting Place settled over him again as he and Buddy stood at the edge of the valley. The colors of the Rainbow were brilliant and soft at the same time, shimmering arcs of violet and gold and vermillion, glittering curves of sapphire and teal and lavender, an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colors.
Alex smiled as he watched loved ones reuniting, dogs leaping with delight and cats purring happily as they met their humans once again, his own heart filling with joy for them. He patted Buddy's head, scratching behind a floppy ear.
In a place with no time, it was hard to tell how long Alex had been standing there watching. But suddenly, Buddy began barking excitedly and took off down the hillside, towards a thick, tall tree, branches spread in a heavy canopy of lilac-tinted blossoms. A space of air beside the tree seemed to bend a little, like an invisible door opening and closing.
Alex gasped as the familiar form took shape. He started to run. "Mulder!"
Mulder was laughing out loud as Buddy scampered and leaped around him in a circle, then stopped and sat obediently, big brown eyes glancing from Alex to Mulder and back to Alex again.
And then Alex had Mulder in his arms. A sense of bliss wrapped around them as they held each other tight, souls linking, one to the other, forever.
Mulder looked beautiful and perfect, as were all things in The Waiting Place.
"You look so beautiful, Alex," said Mulder, his hazel eyes dancing with light and happiness.
Alex smiled, feeling whole and complete at last.
Buddy gave them a short, polite bark.
"And you must be Buddy." Mulder crouched to give the dog a hug. "Thanks for waiting for me."
Buddy answered with several energetic licks over Mulder's cheeks and nose that had both men laughing.
Mulder scratched the dog's ears affectionately and stood up, slowly turning back to Alex. "I understand now, Alex. I understand why we had to be apart, why it had to happen the way it did."
"I know." Everyone understood once they left the world of time. Alex reached out and took Mulder by the hand. He gazed around at the Waiting Place. He could leave it now without regret. Their place in Infinity was just over the next hill, and it would be just as magnificent, just as perfect. And they were together. Nothing could ever keep them apart again.
Their waiting was over.
--fini--what we have enjoyed, we can never lose... all that we love deeply becomes a part of us. --Helen Keller
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Title: The Waiting Place
Author: Courtney Gray [email/website]
Details: Standalone | G | 6k | 09/10/06
Category: AU (Alternate Universe), Vignette
Summary: Krycek and a friend wait for Mulder.
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