F
ather's Day 2:
Live and Learn

         by Ursula

 

Time Frame: Post Series

T

he warehouse where I had been held was reduced to a few twisted girders and blackened walls. I scowled at the forensics team which combed through the rubble and stepped closer to have a look for myself.

Skinner said, "Stay back, Krycek."

The man hasn't become any sweeter in the five years since I've been gone. I guess not even getting the nanobytes controller from Marita could make him forgive what I did to him. Hell, I saved his life. Not that I expected him to like how I did it.

I said, "There's not enough metal in the debris. They cleaned it out before the fire destroyed the building."

"We'll let the experts determine that," Skinner said. "Mulder shouldn't have brought you here."

"I'm not wanted for anything," I said.

Skinner looked as if he wished he could change that. He said, "Yet. I'm just waiting."

Oh, I bet Skinner was. I was starting to regret giving him that controller. I walked away and planted my ass against the brown Taurus Mulder was driving. Mulder was walking around with the fire inspector, grilling him. He had waved me away as soon as he started talking to the man. I felt like punching someone. I might as well have stayed home with Jacob.

My son was at Scully's mother's house, bonding with his brother. Maggie Scully had offered to take care of Jacob and I had leaped at the chance. I had to nag Mulder to let me see the ruins with him. I told him that I felt as if I was still in a cell. He looked at me for a long time. I finally dropped my eyes and started to turn away. He said, "You can come. I don't want you around our son when you're like this."

"I would never hurt him," I said.

Mulder shrugged and said, "Get ready if you're coming."

I hated it when Mulder treats me like this. It reminds me of that trip to Tunguska and that's the last thing I want to think about even if I have my arm back.

Jacob had cried all night long last night. I had walked him and walked him, joggled him in my arms, rubbed his tummy, and even sang to him. Nothing comforted him.

Mulder had given up on us at midnight. He grumbled about needing sleep if he was going to work in the morning. What could I say? I didn't have a job and I had brought Jacob here. Mulder hadn't asked me to make him a father again when he was still finding his way with William

It's not as if I never went without sleep before, but I think the people who had tortured me missed the mark. Had they used a screaming one week old baby, I might have told them anything they wanted to know.

You know, I'm pretty sure I wasn't this awful as a baby. It must be Mulder's genes that made Jacob have colic all the time. He kind of looked like Mulder too when his face was red and he shook his fists in my face.

A combination yawn and sigh emerged from deep inside me. The last time I had been this exhausted, I had been on the run in Hong Kong. Then I had my bennies to keep me company. I could have used some today, but I don't think Mulder would appreciate me taking drugs when I was living at his place.

I could move. In a couple days, I would have plenty of money...from impeccable sources, taxes paid. Even Mulder couldn't bitch about me moving some of the project's liquid assets into an account for my own use. The fuckers owed me.

Who was I trying to fool? I'm not going to leave. I'm here where I want to be even if it's not how I imagined in all my jerk off fantasies. I shook my head. Mulder would object, but I'm not going to be dependent on his income and I am not going to leave. I feel as if I turned over enough of my life to him.

Hey, I can get into bondage with the next guy, but not if the ropes and handcuffs are all psychological and I don't get laid. It seemed as if I had exchanged one form of captivity for another.

Mulder told me when to get up, what to eat, all the time looking at me like I was the lowest bug that ever crawled out from under a rock.

I was having a hard time keeping from knocking Mulder's lights out. My fingers curled up every time Mulder sneered at me. It was only old habit that kept me from knocking the expression off that handsome face of his.


M

ulder flew out from the sides of the ruins, his long legs naturally eating up the distance. I straightened, a surge of adrenaline responding to his arrival despite the immediate cold voice of reason that told me his excitement had nothing to do with me. I had no reason in particular to fear him and even less reason to be happy if he glanced in my direction. Not that Mulder did look at me. His coat tail streamed behind him as he hit Skinner's side. I saw Mulder's long elegant fingers close on Skinner's sleeve. I knew they weren't lovers, but it still bothered me.

I don't know why part of me seemed to think that because Mulder and I were living together that we had anything but pain and trouble in common. I must have lost myself in those long years in that padded cage. This wasn't Alex Krycek. Hell, for all I know, maybe I wasn't...who knows what they had done to me during all those experiments?

Mulder finally finished talking to Skinner and walked my way. He glowed, excited by the chase.

"Someone survived," Mulder said. "I found traces in the alley that showed heavy equipment was moved."

"Yeah," I agreed. "I told Skinner there wasn't enough metal in the debris to account for the equipment in the lab."

An involuntary shiver went through me as I wondered if the biological samples they took from Mulder and me had survived the fire. Was Spender off someplace making another Jacob...one I would not know about?

"What's wrong?" Mulder asked.

"Jacob won't be safe until Spender's dead," I replied.

"Killing people isn't a solution to everything," Mulder said.

I sneered at Mulder's naivety and said, "It's a permanent solution."

"He's an old man," Mulder replied.

"They were all old men," I said, the hatred I felt for the cold bastards filling me with warmth.

"Come on, we're done here," Mulder said.

I could tell Mulder was pissed at me, but it wasn't the old days. He didn't punch me or even grab me and start pulling me around. He showed his anger, by the line of his mouth pulling tight and the set glare in his eyes. His back was stiff too as he walked around the car to the driver's side. I opened the door, slid into the seat, and belted myself in.

"Do we need anything before we get the kid?" Mulder asked.

"I ordered some groceries delivered," I said.

"They charge you for that," Mulder replied.

The guy still blows wads on his suits, but quibbled over a few bucks for grocery delivery. I said, "Don't worry. I'll pay for it."

"Yeah, where you going to get money?" Mulder asked.

"I have money," I said. "I told you that my accounts were intact and I'll have access to them day after tomorrow."

"I don't like you using that money," Mulder said. "I have enough money for my son."

"He's our son," I replied, "and it's my money. You're using Bill Mulder's trust money now. There's no difference."

"You shit head," Mulder said. "You have no right to talk about my father."

"He wasn't your father," I said.

"You think because Spender contributed the sperm that makes him my Dad?" Mulder shot out.

I wouldn't dignify that with a reply. Bill Mulder wasn't the worst of them, but he wasn't the best of them either. If any of them had more than an occasional moral qualm, it had been the Brit. Even so, his ethics were those of a commander...he saw deaths as sacrifices, acceptable losses.

The Brit was different from the others; he protected his family. He was the only member of the Consortium who had not yielded a family member. When they told him to pick someone, he had instructed them to meet him at the site chosen for the 'abduction'. When they arrived, the Brit stood alone. He told them they could take him or no one. They needed him. He was the sane one, the one with the connections to the old world. The other old men caved and let his family be. I admired the Brit for that, but I knew his hands were as bloody as the rest of them when it came to people outside his sacred circle of family and friends.

"You see what you needed to see here?" Mulder asked.

I shrugged, no more inclined to share my thoughts than Mulder wanted to share his with me. When I gained control of my own resources, I'd track the old devil, Spender, down. I'd make sure he didn't come back this time if I had to cremate him myself.

A

n hour later, I was sitting at Margaret Scully's house. She was avoiding my eyes as she served coffee to Mulder and Skinner. She offered me a cup but I was already jittering. I didn't need caffeine on top of the adrenaline I had not discharged.

Dana Scully had Jacob in her arms. She handed him to me. The little traitor whimpered as I took him.

"He's tired," Scully said, "but I think his colic is better."

"Good," I said.

"You look as if you were up all night," Scully said.

"Jacob couldn't sleep," I explained. "I walked with him."

I walked with Jacob until I thought I knew every inch of the carpet in Mulder's living room by heart.

My son snuffled and burrowed into my chest. I leaned back against the plushy upholstered chair. My eyes felt heavy as if weighted with lead.

Jacob sighed and I was frightened for a moment that he had stopped breathing. I tried to feel for his pulse without Scully noticing.

"Alex, babies breathe oddly," Scully said. "Don't worry."

I opened my eyes and was surprised that she was smiling at me. She said, "It's very difficult being a new parent."

"Hardest job I ever tried to do," I admitted.

"Mulder's not helping?" Scully asked.

"Sure," I lied. "He's helping. He has to work though."

Scully shook her head and said, "Mom loves Jacob. If you really need a break, just ask her."

"Thanks" I said. I put my head back for just a moment and the next thing I knew, Mulder was shaking my shoulder.

"Wakey, Wakey," Mulder said. "Come on, Alex, time to go home."

I woke with a start, feeling Jacob sliding from my arms. Mulder caught our son. He didn't give him right back. Jacob wasn't crying for once. He was a sweet bundle of baby and blanket. Mulder stood looking at him, an expression of surprise in his face.

"He smiled," Mulder said. "He smiled."

It figures. I'm the one who keeps the kid's ass clean and stays up all night because he has tummy trouble. Who does he smile at? Mulder.

Mulder spared a smile for me also. "Maybe you can get some sleep tonight. I think he's better."

I nodded. Mulder handed me Jacob. I yawned again and adjusted Jacob. My back ached from holding Jacob so much. As we walked out, Mulder's hand touched my back, not shoving me, but gently supporting me. I remember him doing that once or twice when I was his partner. I had loved the gesture. It made me think about telling him everything. Of course, he always managed to piss me off before I broke down and asked for help.

Mulder took Jacob from me so I could get the car seat ready. Those things are instruments of torture...not for the baby, but for the poor adult who has to carry one around and install it. If Mulder wasn't so fussy about having the car seat stay in the back seat, it would be a lot easier.

I'm trying to do things by the book for Jacob. The trouble is there are a lot of books and they don't agree. One tells me to pick Jacob up, not to let him cry. The next one tells me that I should set my son's schedule and that he would be spoiled if I held him too much.

About the only advice I've ruled out entirely is about breast feeding even though Mulder printed out a bunch of articles on male lactation when I told him that at least there was one area of parental skills we didnít have to worry about. I'm sticking to Similac, thank you. I still wasn't sure if Mulder was serious or just playing with my mind.

Scully told me that all this shit I've been reading isn't going to help a lot. She said that I would know instinctively how to take care of Jacob.

Right. Like the fine set of instincts that led my father to give me to the project...

No thanks. I'll stick to research, even if these guys ought to get their shit together. It seems to me if I can download the instructions to turn a machine gun into a fully automatic from the Internet that there ought to be a reliable manual for raising a healthy kid.

I tried that Mozart thing with Jacob. I like music a lot and I thought it would be cool to have a kid who was a musical genius. Turns out my son prefers Elvis. I made the mistake of singing him 'You ain't nothing but a hound dog' and now I have to sing it to him twice before Jacob dozes off. I keep catching Mulder listening in and grinning. He's the Elvis fan. If Jacob likes Mulder's tastes in ties too, I'm going to check into gene therapy.

Jacob went right back to sleep in the car. He likes riding around in cars. I wish Mulder would drive us around sometimes when the kid can't sleep. I can sleep pretty well in cars too and everybody but Mulder would get some shut eye. Mulder thought that sucked as an idea, but that's only because Scully didn't do that with William. Even I know that every kid is different and Jacob seemed to be pissed off at the world. Can't say as I blame him. A lot of it sucks.

I put my head back on the rest and grabbed a nap. One piece of good advice was sleep when you can when you have a baby.


M

ulder woke me up when we reached the apartment. My hopes of getting Jacob in the door without waking him were dashed instantly. He started yelling the minute I unbuckled him from the car seat. No wonder. He reeked. Sometimes I wonder what the hell they put in that formula to produce a smell like that.

Mulder hauled the baby stuff for me. I don't get this. You see all those old pictures of people hauling kids around, wrapped an old shawl. Where were their diaper bag, car seat, and layette blankets? If they could make do with so little, why was it such a production to go anywhere with a baby now? That's a conspiracy that Mulder should investigate.

Somehow or other, by the time I got Jacob undressed and on his changing table, he developed a rash. I washed him up...I think he has Mulder's cock. The thing looked like a stumpy third leg between his fat thighs. The pediatrician told me that it was normal and that Jacob would grow into it, but I wasn't sure, having seen his other father's equipment. Oh, well, probably make him popular when he's grown.

I smeared a ton of diaper rash ointment on Jacob's bottom. He thanked me by pissing right in my face again. It's an old joke and I didn't think it was funny the first time.

I cleaned Jacob up again and dressed him in a little blue pajama. He cooed at me and I think he smiled. At least, that little quirk of a smile better not have been gas.

Handing our son to Mulder, I said, "I have to shower."

Mulder had his reading glasses on and was paging through a Denver newspaper. "Man, you smell worse than Jacob," my charming room mate declared.

"That's because your kid pissed on me again," I complained.

Mulder made strange faces at Jacob and said, "That's my boy...you got great aim, kid."

"If he does, it's from me," I said. "You couldn't hit the broad side of a barn."

"Why would I want to? I haven't had any barns shoot at me lately," Mulder said. He got up to make Jacob a bottle. At least, he didn't mind doing that. He had yet to change a diaper.

I didn't feel like a trip to the basement to wash my clothes so I gave them a swift rinse and hoped for the best. They weren't anything special anyway. I missed my leather jacket even if the weather had turned warm. I had a series of them, but they were always the same style, always black, as well fitting as a second skin. None of the clothes Mulder had bought for me felt like me. They were all too new and he hadn't bought me the briefs I preferred. He shoved a handful of those boxer briefs at me, all black. I don't know what the hell he was thinking. Black briefs in case I decided to do surveillance in my underwear?

I remembered that I had forgotten to bring any clothes into the bathroom. I was too grumpy and smelly to bother. If Mulder caught an eyeful, maybe he'd decide to make my stay in his apartment a little more interesting.

At least, Mulder has a good shower. I let the pulsating head pound some of the tension out of my body. I love having two hands again. There are so many things you have to struggle to do with one hand such as getting the cap back on the shampoo. When I was less tired, I look forward to a good jack off session under that pulsating shower head. I have a lot more sympathy for new moms now. I couldn't imagine having to do what I was doing and having to recover from squeezing a bowling ball out from your body besides.

I heard nothing when I stepped out of the shower. Jacob wasn't crying. I could have done a naked dance of joy but I bumped into Mulder coming out of the bedroom.

"You out of clothes?" Mulder asked, his eyes moving over me.

"No, I washed my clothes yesterday morning," I said. "I forgot to bring anything into the bathroom."

"Looks good on you," Mulder said, his eyes flickering over me one last time.

Wow! That wasn't sarcastic. I guess all my more subtle attempts to get him to look at me missed the target. I caught a glimpse of him watching my ass when I walked into the bedroom. He was smiling and it wasn't remotely a mean smile.

I've told myself that my long dry spell was the reason why I had this hard on for Mulder so intensely. I hadn't even jerked off in that cell. I would have felt like some chimp in a cage, getting it on for the zoologists.

I took out a pair of those black clinging briefs and I suddenly realized what they were all about. Mulder had wanted to dress me sexy. Okay, I could get with that. I put a pair on and then one of the black muscle shirts. Nothing too obvious; I wasn't going to strut my stuff out there naked. I had a feeling that if I pushed hard, Mulder was going to retreat. I took a sad glance at the bed. Even if Mulder pounced on me, I bet it wouldn't end up in that bed. Mulder wouldn't want Jacob to have nightmares of the primal scene.

Mulder didn't move away when I slumped down on the couch next to him. That was a good sign.

"It feels good to relax," I said. "You did a good job putting Jacob to sleep."

"Thought I better be more helpful," Mulder said. "I didn't want to be divorced again."

I looked at Mulder with a lifted brow. He said, "Okay, fired as father number two for our son. Not divorced."

Mulder leaned back, performing the ancient ritual of pretending the arm thrown across my part of the couch was totally casual.

Not snickering should have got me nominated for sainthood. I scooted a little closer, right into the embrace if he wanted to turn it into a real hug. Mulder sighed in relief. It struck me that maybe I had been too grumpy to send clear signals.

"It's nice to have someone to hold," Mulder said.

Mulder didn't know the half of it. Four fucking years of nothing but clinical hands on me. I don't claim to be a touchy feely person, but I'm not frigid. I hold my lovers, kiss them, I sleep with them if I trust them that much. I'm just a man with a shifting sense of morality and a shitty job.

"I haven't been very nice to you," Mulder said. "I'm not good at nice."

"Neither am I," I said.

Mulder stroked my hair. That felt good. I let him lead. I think this could work if I let him move at his own pace. I wasn't even sure if he had ever had sex with a guy. I moved closer though until his long, lean body supported me.

Mulder played with my ear, stroking and pulling the lobe. I wished it was my cock or at least one of my nipples, but I guess you have to start somewhere.

"I was thinking that I would like to kiss you," Mulder said.

"Sounds good," I said, turning toward him.

Mulder's hands cupped my face. He didn't kiss me right away, just looked me deep in my eyes. The thing about Mulder is that he could pay incredible attention to whatever grabs that splendid mind of his. Right now, that was me.

It felt like being in the spot light. It felt like heat traveling between Mulder's intense gaze and my face.

Whatever Mulder was looking for, he found it. He leaned into the kiss just as I moved. We bumped noses. I was usually smoother than that. When our lips met, Mulder was chuckling. I didn't mind. I felt his laughter through our kiss, then it stopped. I felt his tongue nudge for permission and opened to its thrust. He was half over me, one hand exploring under my shirt.

Ah, that was more to the point as Mulder played with my nipple as his tongue explored my mouth gently. This was what I thought it would be like having Mulder kiss me. I could feel his full lower lip. His breath kept catching.

Mulder hadn't changed from his work shirt. I like that. It made me think about all my fantasies during that brief period when we worked together. I wonder what he would have thought if he had known prim Agent Krycek had been longing to run his tongue down the streak of sweat that appeared on Agent Mulder's very nice dress shirt?

I managed to get it unbuttoned. A moment later Mulder impatiently tore it off and tossed it away. My tee shirt followed.

Mulder was excited. I think it had been too long for him, too. He moaned as he kissed me again. I arched my neck and he kissed that too. He sucked gently right beneath my ear. It felt strange, but wonderful.

I felt Mulder fumbling between us. All right, he was unzipping his pants. He stood up for a moment to kick out of them. I grabbed a quick look. Yes, his cock was just as I remembered it, big and pretty. I had never seen him ready for action. I used to be sure he was a shower, not a grower. Looks like I was wrong. He grew.

Following my look, Mulder guided my hand to his cock. He said, "Please," in a husky tone that went straight from my ears to my cock.

I never was much for praying. I think God wrote me off as a lost cause when I was a kid, if there was a God. I still managed to get in a quick prayer that Jacob not wake until we both came.

Mulder pulled off my briefs, copping a good feel of my ass at the same time. We sprawled on the couch, kissing, touching, my hand working his cock.

I wanted to hold onto him when Mulder moved away. He looked debauched already, plump lips slick from our kisses, eyes wild, a blush of arousal shining down his throat to his chest. I hoped he wasn't having second thoughts.

"I better get some stuff," Mulder said, his voice breaking in a way that was unbearably cute. There was no other way to describe it. "We're going to need some lube, aren't we?"

Wow, Mulder was pretty close to begging. I don't know why he has been so pissy if he wanted this. Whatever the price, I'll pay it.

"Yeah, we're going to need lube," I said.

When Mulder went to get lube, I found an old sheet to cover his couch. This was going to be a little awkward, but I'll take sex with Mulder on a couch to sex with anyone else in the finest bed.

We arrived back at the same time. Mulder put down the tube of lube and the box of condoms. "Hope that didn't break the mood..."

"I've been in the mood since I walked in the door of your apartment," I said.

"I've been a shit," Mulder said. "Telling myself that the best thing was to drive you away. That's what I'm good at."

I never thought of that. Mulder was afraid of losing me? I never thought of him worrying about something like that. People loved the hell out of him. Skinner, Scully, the Lone Gunmen...me.

Mulder was looking in my eyes again. When we embraced again, I could feel his hard cock against mine. I could touch him. I couldn't believe that. I had dreamed about Mulder...unattainable, piss me off, and never let me forget him guy that he was.

We landed back on the couch, Mulder on top. I wasn't sure how he wanted me except I knew he wanted to fuck me. That was okay. I like being fucked. I even like that edge of fear every time you do it with a guy for the first time. You don't know if it's going to be good or if he's going to hurt you. Sometimes the pain is even good. Taking Mulder was going to hurt a little even if he was careful. I didn't care. I wanted it all. I wanted it now.

I was a little surprised when Mulder moved down my body and took my cock in his mouth. It was sweet and awkward. He probably had done it before but not often. He took me too deep and choked. I wrapped my hand around my cock to limit how much he took. That was Mulder. He didn't know the meaning of holding back.

It was frightening in a way. I wasn't sure what I wanted other than being fucked and fucking Mulder. Did I want more than that? Could I handle being the focus of Mulder's attention for long? He could immolate me and I was afraid that I could learn to like being burned.

Sure that I could hold my erection even with Mulder inside me, I guided him away. I saw the swift trepidation and said, "I want to come with you inside me."

Now Mulder smiled. That smile...I had only ever seen that bitch smile of his, sarcastic, withering, superior smile. This was warm, sunny, and full of affection and wonder.

The wonder increased as Mulder opened me. He was giving it the entire routine... well, not his tongue, but he was working me with one finger. I could see his cock twitching with every move. I wanted to put the condom on for him, but when I tried, he frowned and moved my hand away. He did a good job of trying to get latex stretched over his cock without making contact.

Two fingers worked inside me. I just lay there, enjoying it; my eyes open to see that it was Mulder. It was really Mulder.

The third finger didn't last too long. Mulder asked me anxiously, "You ready?"

"More than," I said. "I want you, Mulder. You won't hurt me. Not like this."

How beautiful that it was true...I didn't trust anyone. I don't think I ever trusted anyone except my Mom and Mr. Howard. And even Mom betrayed me.

Mulder guided himself in, his face twisted in the effort to be slow and gentle. I rocked onto him, working him inside me. I don't know when I took anything that big. I could feel it as if I had never done this. My ass burned, but I was so turned on that it didn't matter.

Mulder's moan was long and drawn out. He was deep in me, panting as he moved. He knelt on the couch, my legs over his shoulders. He was holding me tightly as he started to thrust. I was glad that his eyes were open. I wasn't a substitute for anyone for Mulder. He was doing this with me. He wanted me. We moved together, his hand seeking my hard cock, stroking me with just the right rhythm. It was fast, almost too fast, but I didn't want to hold back either. I urged him on, roaring, "Fuck me. Fuck me, Mulder."

Mulder grunted. His eyes squeezed shut for a moment before he came with a gasp. Still in me, he panted, his eyes gazing at me, still needing, still hungry for me. He kissed me again hard as he moved his cock one more time as he stroked my cock. Ah...

It took a while to come back to earth. I was exhausted, sore, and still buzzing with the thrill of finally having what I wanted for so long.

Mulder moved off me, but was still holding me. I was a bit wary. Straight boys sometimes don't like to find out they weren't all that straight. Mulder painted a line from my eye to my mouth with a gentle stroke of his finger. "Don't look so worried. It was good. I want to do it again." He kissed me again, softly.

"Got to take care of a few things," Mulder said, getting up.

Mulder walked toward the bathroom, holding the condom tightly pinched closed.

Taking inventory, I was sore, reeked of come and sweat, but my mood was euphoric. I winced as I got up. I had strained a muscle somewhere. I needed a hot shower even though I had just taken one. I walked by Mulder, who was getting a washcloth, and got in the shower.

"Mind if I join you," Mulder asked.

"No," I said, opening the curtain to let him inside. The curtain was decorated with smiling Marvin the Martian cartoons. It was pure vintage Mulder. The last four years had pushed him to the edge from what I had heard, but since he and Scully had been reinstated, he was healing. It must have helped to be vindicated. That's something I would never know about, but I can live with having a clean slate legally. I'd live even better if I knew that Spender was dead.

Mulder's expression was quizzical as we showered. I liked touching him. I think I'm going to hungry for that always. I kissed his hand when he stroked my face, turning my head to catch those long slender fingers in motion.

"I'm not very good at relationships," Mulder said.

"I didn't put any conditions on this," I reminded Mulder. "You don't have to give me flowers. You don't have to love me. I don't need forever."

Mulder grinned again. He said, "You making it easy for me?"

"I'll take what I can get," I said.

Wrong thing to say. Mulder drew back, eyes growing dark.

I corrected Mulder's impression and said, "I don't mean that I would have done that with anyone. I'm just saying that I understand we're not lovers. You didn't go looking for me. I burst into your life with Jacob. You've been good to me and we didn't do anything tonight that I haven't wanted for years."

That worked. Mulder slowly turned me around so he could wash my back. I know he saw some of the old scars. I had been a bad ass most of my life and I hadn't always ducked fast enough.

Kissing the back of my shoulder, Mulder said, "I would have looked for you if I had known you were alive."

I believed Mulder, but I don't know why he said that. I said, "Why? You had no reason to feel anything but relief when you thought I was dead."

Mulder put his arm around me. His cock was at half mast already. Pretty good for a guy his age.

Nuzzling my neck, Mulder said, "I wouldn't have missed this for the world." His hands stroked my stomach, roved over the hollows of my hips and down to my cock.

I wasn't ready to be fucked again tonight. I didn't even think I could get it up again even for Mulder. I didn't have the stamina I once had. I hoped it was the effect of four years of confinement, no a permanent effect of aging.

I turned off the shower and grabbed a towel. Mulder followed me out, grabbing my towel. I let him dry me. Pretty much would have let him do anything to me. "Come on back to the couch," Mulder said. "We don't have to do anything."

His cock was saying something else. I let him pull me down to the couch. We were face to face, kissing. My hand worked his cock, memorizing the way he felt. This might be a one night thing. He might regret it in the morning. I wanted to give him a lot to remember.

I kissed my way down his body, finding his long lean self as scarred as my body was. Mulder let his head roll back. His legs spread wide to give me access. His eyes were heavy lidded almost stoned looking. My hand held his cock gently as I worked the head. I ignored the condom. I wanted to taste him, wanted to feel his come spurt over my tongue.

I flicked Mulder's slit, probing it with my tongue, squeezing his cock lightly in time to my play.

"That's good, Alex, come on, lover, do it to me," Mulder urged.

I took Mulder's cock deeper, letting him thrust into my eager mouth. My tongue worked on the underside of his cock, finding the circumcision mark and teasing beneath it. My hand restrained Mulder, keeping the blowjob under my control.

"Oh, yeah," Mulder said, his voice rasping with passion. "Oh, Alex..."

My mouth was filled with Mulder. His precome tickled my throat. I made myself part of him. I made him part of me. I held him down, controlling his hips, making him accept me. I gave him pleasure. I moaned and felt him respond to the sound with a buck of ecstasy.

Mulder was holding onto the couch, his head arched back. He keened as I took nearly his entire length. Somewhere in the middle of this, my cock decided I wasn't exhausted. I stroked myself hard to catch up with Mulder. God, he was wonderful, a sexy lovely man and right now he was all mine.

Thrusting into me, Mulder let out a drawn out "ahhhh." His come filled my mouth. I swallowed like it was a sacrament and came almost at the same instant.

Exhausted, I stumbled back to the bathroom to rinse my mouth. Mulder followed me again.

"Let's sleep together," Mulder said.

"Okay," I agreed. "But not on the couch."

"That's what the bed is for," Mulder said.

If it never happened again, it was perfect. I fell asleep with Mulder's kiss on my lips, my body in his arms.


D

uring the night, we had switched positions. Mulder sprawled over me, his head numbing my shoulder. My fingers tingled as I moved them to get my blood circulating. I heard a soft whine from Jacob's crib.

Mulder woke when I extracted myself from his embrace. He reached for me and mumbled, "Don't go."

"Baby needs me," I said.


"Oh. Oh, yeah," Mulder mumbled. He turned to watch me as I walked over to the crib. "Aren't you going to put something on first?"


"Kid doesn't care," I said. My ass had a little morning after burn, but it didn't bother me. It reminded me that last night had been real.


Yawning, I picked up Jacob. He twisted his face. Babies have rubber faces. Jacob was trying for a Mulder sulk; his lower lip drooping nearly to his chin. He was soggy and smelled rank. I wrinkled up my nose and said, "You're getting a bath today, kiddo."


Jacob wailed and punched the air, waving his little fist around wildly. I hauled him to the changing table and set him down. He was soiled to his waist and down to his chubby thighs. Great.


I knew he wouldn't put up with a bath when he was hungry so I contented myself with a quick sponge bath, making his smell tolerable. I had read some new mothers who claimed that they didn't think baby shit smelled. I think hormones fucked up their senses because Jacob's diapers were lethal.


I fixed Jacob a bottle and settled down in the arm chair to feed him. Mulder came by, kissed my forehead and then our sons. He said, "I'll get some coffee going. Want breakfast?"


"Sure," I said.


"I feel like eggs," Mulder said. "How do you make those English muffin things?"


Eggs Hollandaise involved more ingredients than the usual Mulder fare. I said, "Just plain eggs would be fine."


"Oh, okay," Mulder said. He looked relieved so I think that the Hollandaise offer was his idea of saying thank-you for last night.


Jacob's hand kneaded my chest as he nursed from the bottle. His gaze was peaceful, looking up at me like I was the center of the universe. I guess I was for him. The thing about Jacob is that he doesn't know he's supposed to have a mom. He doesn't care about the things I've done. All he cares about is that I'm here for him. He must be some kind of magic kid because he makes me want to always be there for him.

I was so caught up in the moment that I didn't notice Mulder return. I looked up when I hear that squeaky floor board. Wow, Mulder's expression was not one I ever saw before, not even last night. He smiled at me and said, "You look beautiful with him."


Beautiful? I was surprised. I didn't expect that from Mulder, not out of the sack, at least. I laughed at it all. Jacob looked startled then appeared to like the soft shaking and offered me a real baby smile around the nipple. A dribble of milk drooled from his mouth and he started to suck again. I dabbed at the froth of formula with the burp cloth. He scowled at me, not liking being messed with during his meal.

"Toast or muffins," Mulder asked.

"Toast," I said. "I'll take my turn at making breakfast tomorrow and make eggs Hollandaise."


"Good," Mulder said. His voice drifts off. "Good."

I watched Mulder's ass all the way out of the room. That was one great ass and the gray briefs he wore only graced the lily without hiding a thing. I winced at myself as if Jacob could sense that daddy one was thinking some nasty thoughts about daddy two.


Jacob apparently couldn't read my mind or he didn't give a damn as long as I fed and held him. He was a greedy little git. I watched the rest of the bottle disappear, leaving a thin layer of froth. I took the bottle away before Jacob could suck up any air. The kid burped like a lumberjack. I patted his back anyway. No more colic please.

Jacob still looked pretty happy with life. I decided it was a good time for that bath. The first time I tried it, I would rather have been disarming a bomb. In fact, I'm better at that, setting them or stopping them: there's something about a little boom boom. My son felt so small and slippery in my hands. Every time he wiggled, I damn near panicked. I was sure I was going to drop him.

Mulder wasn't much better. He hovered behind me, shooting advice and asking me if he shouldn't get Scully.

I had ignored Mulder and managed to produce a clean baby with no damage except to my nerves. The second time was easier and by now, I was an expert. If I get the water temperature just right, Jacob likes his bath. He kicks his feet and wiggles. He's adorable.

I dribbled water over his tummy. Jacob screwed up his face as if he was thinking about crying then he decided it was okay. His belly button was finally looking human. I don't know why he had an umbilical cord when he didn't have a mother. I think maybe that Jacob was implanted in a surrogate mother although I never saw a woman in the lab. I know his genes were mine and Mulder's without any other chromosomes mingled with ours. His blood type had a few antigens though as if he was exposed to a slightly different blood type than that of his biological parents. I hope if it was true that the surrogate mother was okay. She hadn't come forward and we couldn't find any records, but Spender never lost his skill at covering tracks.

"Breakfast is done," Mulder said. "I'll finish here."

I handed Jacob over. Mulder toweled him dry, landing a kiss on our son's belly. I went to find breakfast. I was as ravenous as Jacob was.

Mulder had managed to cook my eggs just the way I liked them, sunny side up, yolks still soft, but not quite runny. I had a pot of tea by my plate. There was a pile of toast with the honey jar beside it. I sat down and grinned. Life was looking up. Definitely looking up.

Mulder joined me with Jacob in his arms. He managed to eat with our son watching him as if suspicious that he was getting the shaft with nothing but formula.

"I promised Skinner a report," Mulder said. "I have to go into the office for a few hours."

"No problem," I said. "Jacob and I do okay."

"Yeah, I know," Mulder said. He looked down and then up before saying, "I screwed up badly with William and Scully. I wasn't what Dana needed. You and Jacob are a second chance. I don't want to screw up with you too."


I wasn't sure what to say. Scully had been his wife. She had a right to expect that Mulder act like a husband. I had no rights and not a lot of expectations. I finally said, "Mulder, I don't think there's a rule book for this. Help out when you can. The rest of it...let's just feel our way through it."


Mulder nodded and finished eating. Jacob had fallen asleep in his arms and Mulder walked him back into the bedroom. He said, "I was thinking that we could put Jacob's crib in the living room where my desk is. If we leave the door open, we can hear him. We can move my desk in here."

"Sounds good to me," I said, "But let's wait a few days. He's still little and I like him to be near me."

"All right," Mulder said, but he sounded disappointed.

"We can put him in his bassinet until he goes to sleep," I said. "Until we're ready."

Mulder smiled; I think I could get addicted to that smile. "Have to look for a bigger place later on. A place to raise a kid."

I saw Mulder's smile falter and I knew he was thinking about Scully again. He had screwed that relationship up royally from what I was able to find out. Scully's loss was my gain. I suppose I didn't expect as much from Mulder as she did. Scully was female and she had a protected life until she became Mulder's partner. I think that she thought Mulder would change. I understood her in an abstract way, but Mulder would find it harder to alienate me. My life hadn't prepared me to expect much out of people. To be honest, I didn't give much either.

Mulder headed for the bathroom as I cleaned up after breakfast. When Mulder emerged, he was wearing a distant attitude and work clothing. He didn't kiss me goodbye although I'm sure he thought about it. He took a step nearer me, stopped, and then raised his hand in an awkward goodbye. "I asked Margaret Scully to drop and take you shopping," Mulder said. "She said she would be in the neighborhood."

"Thanks," I said. I needed a car and I needed to get access to some of the consortium accounts I had waylaid before Spender put me in that cell. Meanwhile, I had to depend on Mulder and his friends.

I locked the door after Mulder, took a shower and dressed. I had forgotten to ask Mulder when Scully's mother was going to show up. I decided to assume I had time to check on whether the funds I moved electronically from my account to another had cleared. If they had, I was going to buy groceries. I didn't want to live off Mulder. A man has to have his pride.


J

acob woke up screaming. I think he thought he was starving to death every time he woke up hungry. I read somewhere that babies as young as him have no concept of the next moment in time. When they are hungry, it was one eternity and when fed and comfortable, that also was forever. Eventually we teach them what to expect, warm food, clean buns, and kisses if they were lucky or sporadic care and harsh words if they were not.

My mother must have cared for me well. My memories of her were good for the most part. I suppose she loved me or at least, did not resent me. I don't think she was happy in her marriage, but she sang to me and played with me. It was all the more of a betrayal when she did nothing to stop my father from giving me to the project.

I kissed Jacob's tummy and said, "I won't ever let anyone hurt you. You can count on me, little guy."

My son stared at me with those hazy eyes. He was just a baby. I hope by the time he was old enough to understand that the danger would be in the past.

The door buzzer sounded and I thumbed it. "Yeah?"

"Margaret Scully. Mulder said you would need a ride to the grocery store," Mrs. Scully said. She sounded timid and no doubt she had reason to be.

"I'm not ready," I said. "Do you mind coming up while I get Jacob dressed?"


"Not at all," Mrs. Scully said.

I buzzed her up and reached for Jacob. He cooed at me and kicked his feet. I hadn't put anything but one of those tee shirts that snap at the crotch on him. He liked having his feet bare, looking forward no doubt to being able to get them in his mouth.

Mrs. Scully reached for Jacob the minute she saw him. "Oh, he's cuter today than he was yesterday. He certainly has your eyes, Mr. Krycek."

"Call me 'Alex'," I said.

"I suppose I should since Dana does," Mrs. Scully said. "Shall I get him dressed for you?"

"Sure," I said. "You want some coffee or something?"

"Not before shopping," Mrs. Scully said. "You don't know much about women my age."

I didn't know much about women of any age. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I'm like an older, worn out version of Jacob. I'm learning about the world now...at least, the part of it that had never been part of me, the daily lives of people. It always seemed to me that my life was a series of roles I had played. I didn't know who the hell I was.

I packed the diaper bag and picked up the car seat. Mrs. Scully carried Jacob for me. The little traitor was making goo goo eyes at her.


M

rs. Scully didn't have a problem taking me to the bank. I used my new identification to activate my new bank account. The cash card in my wallet was in my real name. That felt pretty weird. Margaret sat in sight with Jacob, singing to him. I was busy signing a shit load of papers and when I looked up, there was big blond woman bent over my kid. Mrs. Scully was smiling proudly.


I said, "Excuse me," to the bank manager and went over to collect Jacob. I saw Mrs. Scully's frown, but I didn't care. The blonde reminded me of Spender's taste in women. He liked them blonde with big boobs...the kind of women he read about in those lurid detective stories he used to read.

Balancing Jacob on one arm, I signed the rest of the documents and stood up. Mrs. Scully waited until we were back in the car to ask, "Alex, was there a problem with that woman admiring Jacob? Women do that."

"Maybe, but she looked like one of Spender's employees. I'm not taking chances with my son," I replied.

Mrs. Scully looked unhappily at me, her forehead crinkled and her mouth pursed. She said, "I thought all that nonsense was over. I've always like Mulder, but he turned my daughter into a person who trusted no one. Aren't they all gone? The conspirators? The...the...those things."

It didn't surprise me that Mrs. Scully couldn't even admit that we had won a war with aliens by the skin of our teeth. "You want me to lie to you?"

Mrs. Scully drew back as if I had threatened her. I thought so. Scully was like that, honest, in your face, a paragon of old fashioned values. She said, "Mr. Krycek, I did not raise my children to lie. You know Dana."

I had to wonder what it was like to have a mother like Mrs. Scully and to hear the fierce pride in her voice as she spoke about you. I was too young when I left my mother to be sure of how she felt about me. I thought she loved me, but then why did she let my father give me over to the project?

I said, "None of us will be safe until Spender is dead. He's the one who caused most of the misery your daughter has been through."

A strange fierce expression crossed Mrs. Scully's face and she said, "I would kill him myself then if I could. Dana might be shocked to hear that, but I can't lose anyone else."

I closed my eyes, trying to block out the memory of Melissa Scully, dying on the floor. I had called for an ambulance for her, but it had been too late. Another death on my conscience. I should have shot Cardinal and ran.

My eyes flickered to Jacob and I knew I would do anything to protect him.

Mrs. Scully said, "You understand now, Alex."

Feeling more comfortable spending my own money, I loaded the cart that Mrs. Scully pushed. I didn't let Jacob out of my sight for one moment. I stood frowning over all the kinds of disposable diapers. Did Jacob need one designed for boys?

Mrs. Scully laughed and said, "They make it so hard, don't they?" She put a moderately priced box in my cart, deciding for me. "They didn't have these when I was raising my children."

"Probably not true," I said, adding a tube of diaper rash ointment to the heap. "They were invented in 1949 and were first marketed extensively in 1958."

Mrs. Scully stared at me a moment and then grinned. She said, "I suppose you are right, but I was a Navy wife and disposable diapers were a luxury I couldn't afford. And where did you ever learn such a thing?"

"I've been doing a lot of research," I admitted. "I want to do the right thing by my son and I have a good memory for what I read."

"Like Mulder."

"I don't have eidetic memory such as he has; I have a well-trained memory."

"Dana talks about how frustrating it can be to work with someone like Mulder. She is intelligent and able, the brightest of my children, but she likes to follow a thought process through from the start. She complained that Mulder would make these great leaps in his thinking and she was expected to accept that he was right."

"Mulder was right about a lot of stuff."

"I suppose," Mrs. Scully said.

Yeah, I guess Scullys stick together. Maybe a lot of what I said and did when Mulder and I were playing partners was bullshit, but not all of it. I loved working with him. I loved the way his mind worked. If there's such a thing as meant to be, I always thought that was Mulder and me. Whether as hero twins or apocalyptic enemies or as lovers, we always fit.

"Are your parents still alive, Mr. Krycek?" Mrs. Scully asked out of the blue.

"My father is dead and he was the one that turned me over to the Project," I said. "I'm not sure what role my mother played in that. I haven't seen her since I was ten. She and my father divorced before I went to the boarding school."

"I loved my husband, but if he did anything to hurt our children, I would have left him instantly. You should try to find her, Alex."

"No," I said, shaking my head. "If she was interested, she would have been looking."

"Would she have found you? I would have moved heaven and earth to find my daughter, but I didn't know where to start."

Mrs. Scully was probably right, but I didn't want to open up those old wounds. I had Jacob and I had Mulder. What more could I expect out of life?


M

ulder didn't say anything about my bank account. I think he was pissed, but he held it in. He spent some time researching his current case. I ignored him, concentrating on catching up with all the events that had passed me by during the time I was held captive.

Jacob was asleep, exhausted from our day.

"I have enough money to support you." Mulder had moved from his desk to the chair where I sat with his old laptop.

"What if I want to support myself?"

"With blood money?"

"It's all blood money; money is the root of all evil," I said, stretching out my legs and turning off the laptop. "Mulder, we fuck. We have a kid in common. I care about you more than I care about anyone except Jacob. That doesn't mean I'm going to depend on you."

"It's because I carped at you about ordering delivery, isn't it?"

"No, I didn't like that, but that's not the point. I'm not going to live off you. That's not who I am."

"You're trying to tell me you have moral scruples?"

That didn't deserve an answer. I got up and walked away, grabbing a stack of magazines on the way. Knowing Mulder preferred the couch, I stripped down and got into bed. The magazines were a hodgepodge, everything from news magazines to medical journals. Information kept you alive. Information could be sold. Information was better than money.

I don't think that there was too much worse that Spender could have done to me, keeping me out of the game for so long. I paged through the magazines as I had surfed the internet. It was all grist to my mill...which countries had wars...economic trends...what to read...what to wear...catchwords. Blending in was important.

Despite my abnormal upbringing, I knew everything that a guy my age needed to know and more. That was why I could cook...not like a gourmet cook necessarily, but enough so that I could have entertained without calling a caterer.

Bored with the last magazine I had bought today, I got up and drove my grumpy body through some exercises. I was out of shape physically as well as mentally.

Mulder came in, plopped on the bed, and leafed through my magazines. "Soldier of Fortune? I always thought that was a glossy fantasy for sweaty little men with big gun collections."

Finished with my sit ups, I flopped back on the floor winded. Maybe I should join a gym if I could find one that had a daycare attached for Jacob.

"What's this about, Alex? You trying to go back to your old work? You think that will keep Jacob safe?"

"No, I don't want to go back to my old job, but I need to be able to protect our son. My training wasn't by choice, but I'm good at it. I'm damn good at it. You want me to curl up in self pitying heap? I'm not that guy, Mulder. I lived by doing things that I had to do. If it had been you and you had been ten, you would have survived the same way I did. The other choice would have been to be a sheep. You were never a sheep, Mulder."

Mulder's eyes were boring into me, punching through the barriers I needed to survive. His voice was calm when he spoke, his voice smooth, meant to draw me out. "Where those the only choices, Alex? Could you have resisted? Could you have run?"

I closed my eyes, not liking to think back to those months when I was first a lab animal for the Project. I couldn't have escaped at that point. Scully was an adult when they took her and she didn't escape. I had to rescue what was left of her when I saw a chance to persuade Spender that she was of more use as a control for Mulder than as a corpse.

I could have run when I was in military school, but I wasn't motivated. After being in the labs, I had loved the school. They have treated me like a real person and tough as the school program was, I liked it.

"I ran when I was an adult, Mulder, when I realized that they lied to me about what was going on. Lot of good it did me. What do you think I was doing in that lab if I never resisted or ran away?"

"How could you believe anything Spender said?"

"He was better than my father when I was a kid," I replied. The idea hurt, but there were times when I respected Spender, admired him. Sick son of a bitch was good. He reeled me back into the fold more than once, persuading me that he was ready to resist.

"Your father must have been terrible."

"He was a selfish asshole. I'll never understand him. He wanted to be a good soldier, but he sold out his country. He sold out his world."

"I think we should look for your mother," Mulder said.

What the hell was that about? Why did everyone think I needed a mommy? I did without one I was a kid. I didn't need one now. Shaking my head, I said, "Let the past die, Mulder. Let it go. We have a chance here if we can keep our eyes on the future. I love you, Mulder."

"I know."

I wasn't sure what that was in Mulder's voice. Wonder? Fright? Disbelief? Mulder could have one hell of a poker face at times.

"Come here."

Magazines shoved to the floor, we were in each other's arms. That felt right. I stroked Mulder's lower lip with my finger. It was full and soft. He opened his lips and licked my finger, a soft wet tease. He sucked my fingers for a while and then moved my hand down suggestively. I didn't need to be urged. Mulder felt good in my hand. He was beautifully made, thick, long, perfectly shaped. His cock grew harder in response. We kissed as we stroked each other. Mulder's mouth sucked on my neck. I could feel the hard stabs of his tongue as if he was looking for a good place to bite. My head was flung back, inviting anything he wanted to do to me.

Mulder's growling groan vibrated against my skin. I don't know why I love having my throat sucked, but it feels so good. Mulder whispered, "I want to fuck you."

"Yeah,"

I turned over, wiggled my ass at him until Mulder spanked me. He kissed a trail down my back. I could feel the heat of his lips on my sensitized skin. My eyes closed as I gave myself up to pleasure. His hands parted my ass, caressed my anus. This time he did it, his tongue circling, sending shivers through me. I moaned his name as he replaced his tongue with his fingers. His other hand stroked my cock. He kissed my back again. I was so lost in the haze of sensation that I didn't realize what he was saying between kisses.

"I love you. I love you, Alex."

When I finally heard him, I wasn't sure if Mulder meant it. Could he love me the way that I am?

Mulder pulled me up and I braced myself against the wall as he moved with me, in me.

Hell, I didn't care how Mulder loved me, if he loved me as long as he fucked me like this.

Pulling my head back, Mulder kissed me hard, his arm wrapped around me, pulling me tight. There were no words now, just the eager sounds we made as flesh slapped flesh. Mulder groaned into the kiss then broke it off. Frustrated, he pushed me down on the bed. The roughness of it turned me on even more. He pounded into me, letting it all go this time. I came, every nerve firing, every muscle pulled tight and then I was boneless, barely aware when he finished until I realized I couldn't breathe with him on top me.

"Get off, Mulder."

"Thanks, already did."

The shit...I loved him. Loved the way Mulder gave it all up when he fucked. Loved his smart mouth and his agile mind. I loved his courage and his fierceness. I loved his tenderness...the tenderness he now gave to me. To me!

"The only thing I don't like about making love to you..." Mulder said. His voice was full of laughter so I waited for a punch line. He continued, "Having to stop."

Mulder patted my ass like he owned it. "Let's shower."

He had a point. We smelled raunchy. Mulder adjusted the shower. We both liked the water hot. I think Mulder loved touching me. I know I felt that way about him. If I could have done it, I would have marked every inch of him as mine.

We toweled each other dry then put on briefs because Jacob was fussing. "Iíll make his bottle," Mulder said.

Mulder might love Jacob and me, but he still wasn't volunteering to change any diapers. You can't have everything. Jacob snuffled a little as I made sure he was clean. His rash was nearly cleared up. He hadn't had colic in a couple days either. Life was better for him and for me too. I washed my hands, balancing Jacob in my arms. I was grateful for the work Spender had done. It would have been hard taking care of a kid with one arm although I would have managed as I had managed everything else between the time I lost my arm and the time Spender gave it back.

Mulder took Jacob to feed him, bringing him to our bed. I went back to bed too after picking up the stack of magazines. I don't like things out of place. You can't tell when a place has been searched if you don't keep things orderly.

I stretched my left arm out, thinking about it, watching the tendons move. Hands are beautiful. You don't know how beautiful until you only have one.

"Why did Spender do that?" Mulder asked. "Why did he have the healers give back your arm?"

"It took more than the healers. The arm was cloned. Then a healer helped me integrate it into my body. It hurt as much as losing it."

"I'm sorry, but that doesn't answer why. Did he tell you?"

"Spender said he was tired of looking at me like that. He didn't like defects in things he owned and he owned me. I don't know that he had a real purpose in holding me. If it had been all about Jacob, it would have been over sooner. I think he had lost control of his world and took it out on me because I defied him. I really pissed him off."

"You do have a talent for pissing people off."

"So do you. Doesn't promise a peaceful life for Jacob."

"Poor kid. At least, he'll be smart."

"And good looking and sexy."

"Not to mention humble," Mulder ended. He chuckled and Jacob kicked his feet. The bottle was finished quickly; kid was a good eater. Mulder carried Jacob to his bassinet in the living room and put him in it then went off to wash the bottle. At least, I hope he was going to wash it. I don't like dirty bottles. They're too hard to clean.

"Are you mad at me?" Mulder asked.

"No," I said.

"Want to make love?"

What a question. Yes. Any time, nearly any place.

This time I took the time to play with Mulder's ass for a while. He tensed when I worked a finger inside, but didn't stop me. He was a virgin there or close to it. I wanted him like that, but not until he asked me for it. I wanted his first time to be great, so great that he would look forward to me fucking him.

Mulder had no problem sucking me. He seemed to enjoy that and he was damn good at it. I don't know if it was experience or if he was just incredibly oral.

I just hoped Jacob was sleeping well. I was noisy. Mulder was noisier.


A

ll that talk about my mother made me curious. I had the skills to find her. I might not be as good a hacker as Mulder's Gunmen, but I was good enough. The trail ended in St. Petersburg with my parent's divorce papers. I saw that my mother had sued for divorce for unbearable mental cruelty. I was curious enough to work the court computer a little more and enter a message that would result in the old record being delivered to the PO Box I had set up. I wanted to share most things with Mulder, but I don't think I will ever trust anyone one hundred percent. The PO Box would give me a chance to keep some of my secrets.

My mother's maiden name was Lester. I looked for an Amanda Lester and found a few. None of them were the right age or race to be my mother. I suppose she hid herself well. Perhaps she knew exactly how dangerous my father's project was by the time of the divorce. She must have gone deep underground.

I cleared my history. Mulder didn't have to know I was looking. It was hard to admit that part of me still felt the pain of betrayal. My father's actions hurt a little, but I had always sensed that he didn't love me. My Mom was a different story. She had smiled almost every time she saw me. I could remember her tender touch when I cried or when I was sick. I remembered lullabies and good night kisses. I couldn't believe she really thought it was okay for my father to trade me for his enhanced career.

The next thought I had nearly made me throw up. Perhaps the reason why all traces ended after the divorce was because she ended. Had she threatened to go public? Had my father and Spender killed her?

The thought sent me to Jacob's crib. Somehow holding my son calmed me down.

"It will never be like that for you," I promised. "I'll protect you. Dad will keep you safe."

The hell of it was that I knew that might not be possible. Things can happen, natural disasters, encounters with psychopaths.

Perhaps I couldn't control 'acts of God', but I could do my best to control everything else.

Spender was the first on my list.

None of us were safe if he was alive.


T

he last thing I wanted to do the next day was to spend the day making nice with Scully, but I had to try. Mulder wanted us to be friends. I don't think it was possible, but I wanted peace between us.

William, I like.

Mulder's son is going to give Scully a run for her money. He's too much like his daddy.

Mulder eyes looked at me over an angelic face and under a mop of red hair.

"How come Jacob doesn't have a Mommy?" William asked.

"Because he has two Dads," I said. Scully might not like it, but William was Mulder's son. He would crave the truth like his father. "He was made in a special way by doctors, but otherwise he is the same as everyone else."

"They should have made him poop less," William said, wrinkling his already prominent nose. He said, "Oh, stink!"

"William, he's just a baby," Scully said. She picked Jacob up and said, "I'll change him for you, Alex."

I wasn't going to fight her for that. Jacob seemed to have the runs again. This was his third diaper of the day and it wasn't even noon.

"Mom, can I play in the yard?" William asked.

"Someone has to watch you."

"Alex will."

I didn't mind. William, I could handle. It was Scully who worried me.

William had a mini basket ball set up outside. He ran around trying his best to get the ball in the hoop. He reminded me of Mulder so much that it made me grin. Despite his parent's separation, William seemed like a happy kid. Mulder felt guilty, but I think Scully and he did the right thing. Kids know when their parents weren't happy. I did. Mulder did.

Tiring of the ball, William hung over the fence, talking to the neighbor's dog. You could tell he wasn't all Mulder. The dog didn't answer back.

Scully yelled, "Alex, where did you put the diaper rash ointment?"

Scully stood in the doorway with my son, bare bottomed in her arms. He didn't pee on her despite ample opportunity. Figures.

"It's in the small compartment in front," I answered.

I heard William squeal and when I looked, a guy was trying to drag him over the fence.

I got there in time to see the man heading for a van. It wasn't going to happen. Running faster, I dodged as I saw someone leaning from the door. My instincts were still good. The man had a gun. The bullet missed only because I zigzagged. Catching up with the man who was trying to hold onto William, I tackled him, bringing him down. Yeah, I worried that William might be hurt, but that was the lesser evil.

I heard Scully's sharp voice shout, "Stop, I'll shoot."

I slammed the man's head down on the sidewalk hard enough to know he wasn't likely to get back up...ever.

I scrambled toward William who was getting up. He looked scared but I didnít think he was hurt. I yelled, "Stay down, William."

William looked at me, but kept coming. I could see another man aiming a gun. Shit, I leaped forward, grabbing William and rolling him behind me.

Two guns fired. I felt something burn across my left arm and cursed. I kept William protected by my body, but struggled to draw my gun. I got it out as the van started to drive away, a wounded man struggling to get inside. I fired at the tires and, with the gauge of ammunition I was using, they punctured. The van spun and hit one of the neighbor's cars. I managed to get another shot at the driver, but I think it was Scully who got him.

A moment later, Scully was crouched over me, still aiming her gun at the van. "William?"

William got away from me and ran to his mother. She pushed him behind her, still intent on the van.

"Are you okay, Alex?" Scully said.

"Creased my arm," I answered. It was my left arm and the burning freaked me out a little. It reminded me of the agony I had felt with that heated knife sawing through my flesh.

I heard the distant sound of sirens. I was feeling dizzy so I stayed down. I could feel blood trickling down from the wound, but I didn't want to let go of my gun to put pressure on it.

Scully waved her ID at the police when they arrived. They checked the van, dragging one wounded man from it. The driver was dead.

I was wrong about the one whose head I pounded. He was still alive when the ambulance hauled him away. I must be losing my touch. I didn't care. Jacob! I had to make sure Jacob was okay.

Scully ran inside with William and returned with my wailing son. I reached for him to soothe him before I was willing to let the ambulance carry me to the emergency room.

"Don't worry, Alex," Scully said. "Mulder will be here in a minute and I'll take care of Jacob while he goes to the hospital with you."

Her kiss surprised me. "Thank you, Alex. Thank you."

I didn't know what to say. It had all been pure instinct. William was part of Mulder and Mulder was all of me.


t

hey didn't keep me long at the hospital. I was stitched up and released, a little dizzy with blood loss and pain medication. Mulder's hand steadied one arm. Skinner was waiting by the car. He gave a deep grunt, kind of like when a silver back gorilla spots younger rivals.

I laughed at the thought.

Skinner's eyes managed to twinkle. "He's flying, Mulder. They must have given him some good pain meds."

I guess Skinner was right. I was grinning even though some place far away my arm was throbbing.

Skinner got out to help Mulder slide me into the back seat. "You did a good thing, Alex," Skinner said.

I guess I knew that, but it was nice to hear that from a guy who wasn't exactly brimming over with praise.

More softly, Skinner added. "I seldom admit I'm wrong about my character judgments. I'm seldom wrong and the times when I've been wrong have had some serious consequences. I think I was wrong about you, Alex."

That was really nice to hear but all I really wanted to do was to snuggle into Mulder's neck and fall asleep. For once, I got what I wanted and it was good.


I

don't even remember being put to bed. I woke up with my arm aching and my mouth feeling as dry as it had in Tunisia. My stomach was mildly nauseous too. I heard Jacob making a strange noise and I struggled to sit upright.

"Hey," Mulder's voice said.

"Something's wrong with Jacob," I said.

"He's fine," Mulder said.

Jacob looked fine. He was grinning.

"I was tickling him and he laughed," Mulder explained.

Great, I missed another first for my son. Before I could brood on that, Mulder kissed me.

"I didn't say thank you, yesterday," Mulder said. "I was too worried about you."

"It's okay," I said, my voice sounding blurred with my drug hangover. I winced as I jostled my arm. "How is William doing?"

"He's fine. A few bruises, but emotionally, he seems to think it was like a TV show with you and his mother as the stars," Mulder said.

"Yeah, good," I said. "They figure out who the guys were? Were they Spender's people?"

"No, they were cheap crooks," Mulder said. "Dumb enough to think that fame equal wealth. They thought that they could kidnap William and ransom him for enough money to live high for the rest of their lives."

"You're sure?" I asked, knowing how well the project covered its tracks.

"Checked, double checked, and these guys were sloppy," Mulder said.

"Worse than Cardinal?" I asked. Luis had been a sadistic idiot. As much as anything else, Cardinal had inspired me to defy Spender. He was like a shark, very dangerous, swift, and deadly, but not intelligent.

"Makes Cardinal look like a criminal genius," Mulder said. "It still could have been a lot worse if you hadn't been there."

"Makes it even worse," I said. "Assholes like that moving in on us. Is this what it's going to be like for Jacob?"

It hurt. I wanted our son to have a normal life.

"If you and I can't keep Jacob safe, who can?" Mulder said. "Scully gave William up to keep him safe and it didn't work. I'm just glad he doesn't remember it."

Mulder was right. Jacob was safer with us than without us. My father gave me up to the Project; I wouldn't give my son to anyone or for anything. He was entitled to have a family even as strange a one as he had.


M

y arm healed quickly; I've always been a good healer. I think that's why I survived what was done to me as a child. The guy whose head I pounded into the sidewalk died. I wasn't sorry; I was glad that I hadn't lost my touch. I'm not going to pretend to feel sorry for taking his life. You hurt me; not only am I going to hurt you back; I'm going to make damn sure you don't get a chance to do it again.

As soon as I felt comfortable driving, I checked my PO Box and the divorce transcripts were there. It wasn't pretty reading.

My mother accused my father of the very crime he had committed, engineering my disappearance. My father showed proof that I was in boarding school, placed there because my mother had a mental health condition that precluded her from caring for me.

I was able to trace my mother's attempts to find me with that knowledge. She hadn't been successful. She was looking in boarding schools and I was, at that time, hidden in a project laboratory. Later, when I really was in boarding school, she would have been told I was not there even if she had found me. My father had been given complete custody of me. Give the devil his due.

I shared what I had found with Mulder and he spared me the interrogation as to how I had found my information. Instead, he called me over to his computer and I viewed a website for adoptees and birth parents to get together. I couldn't think why until he showed me a message from my mother. The message used my real name, which is Alex Krycek, by the way. She signed her name, Amanda Harcourt, which was her grandmother's maiden name.

It took all my courage to return the message on the board. She didn't reply right away, but eventually, there was a contact e-mail.

My mother asked me to call her. It scared me to take the chance. I wanted to believe she had suffered too and had never betrayed me.

Mulder dialed the number for me. Gazing into his eyes, I could do anything.

"Mom, this is Alex," I said.

Her voice was as I remembered, sweet, deep for a woman, and musical.

"Alex, oh, Alex, is it really you?" Mom said. She was crying and I could barely understand her.

"Yeah, it's me," I said. "I'm fine. I'm happy. I have a son."

That would be another barrier. How would she accept my sexuality? Would she see that my love for Mulder was no less than I could have felt for any women?


We talked for half an hour. I told her about Jacob. Finally I told her about Mulder.

Mother wanted to see me. She wanted to meet Mulder and Jacob. She didn't care if I was gay. She didn't care if I had done unspeakable things...or if she cared, she could accept it. I had survived and that was what mattered to her.

My mother will be here tomorrow. I have a family...a mother, a lover, and a son. I have friends. I have a life.

The only darkness out there is that Spender lives.

I'll take care of that shadow as soon as I can. Spender would never take Jacob from me or separate Mulder and me. I'm going to have it all.

Living well is the best revenge. I plan to have many years to enjoy my retribution.

THE END
 

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