Hearts and Minds
Mulder's eyes flickered open and squinted in the bright morning light. He frowned, puzzled that the sun was shining through a gap in the curtains; curtains which didn't exist in his own apartment. So where the hell was he?
He turned over and stared at the sleeping face Alex Krycek, and memories cam flooding back... he remembered what had happened the night before. The arranged meeting in the park with his mysterious informant who had turned out to be Alex Krycek, which had been interrupted almost as it began by a sword wielding maniac whose body had mysteriously disappeared by the time Alex's people had gone to collect it. Not forgetting, of course, the weird electrical discharge which had blown out the street lights, and yet had left Alex and himself unharmed.
Alex, who had attacked their assailant with a long spike plucked from a pile of building supplies, who had then picked up the sword when it had been dropped; and cut off the madman's head when he'd been attacked again. That had been a truly weird experience.
He toyed with the idea of waking Alex, to finish the aborted conversation from last night, and then decided against it as the man was still looking rather tired even though he was deeply asleep.
Quietly rolling out of bed he took his clothes in to the bathroom to get washed and dressed. He checked on Alex again before creeping out of the door and going downstairs in search of a cup of the coffee he could smell. When he reached the empty kitchen there was a full flask of hot coffee sitting on the warming plate. He filled one of the mugs standing nearby and went to sit under a tree on the patio his mind drifting as he watched the dappled sunlight dance over the worn flagstones.
There had been many weird twists and turns in his life... but maybe this was the weirdest. A few months ago, he'd been contemplating the change in light and shadow sitting outside a coffee bar when Danny, who had been supplying him with information for years, said that he had been approached by a new source. He had been very skeptical and had treated the information with the caution that Scully always insisted he didn't have.
However, the information had panned out; and after three white collar crime busts that had gone down like clockwork, had come a fourth tip which seemed unrelated, a cryptic, hand-written note, headed 'drug deal', which gave a time and a location for the following evening. Without stopping to question the information, he had taken it straight to Skinner. At the AD's behest he had helped with the planning, but had mostly kept in the background while the bust went down. Afterwards he had been thanked by both Skinner and the Agent in Charge of the SWAT team for his efforts.
A few days later, Skinner had called for him to go to his office...
Skinner looked up as his secretary showed Mulder in. "Take a seat Agent Mulder," he said, gesturing to the chairs set in front of his desk.
Since the 'incident in the garage' six weeks previously, relations between them had been strained, so it was with some trepidation that Mulder took a seat, wondering what he had done, or perhaps hadn't done, to warrant a lone interview with his boss.
The AD opened a thick file on his desk, extracted a sheet of paper and handed it over without any comment.
Mulder read it, and then looked up at his boss in surprise.
"Congratulations on the commendation, Agent."
"Err - thank you, Sir."
For a moment it looked as if Skinner would say something more on the subject, then he looked away and picked up another sheet of paper.
Mulder finally broke the awkward silence by asking, "Is that all, Sir?"
"No, I'm afraid it's not." He took a deep breath, and then went on. "As you are no doubt aware, Internal Affairs have been investigating the discovery of a body in the garage under this building, which despite their best efforts, has remained unidentified."
"Despite diligent searching by Internal Affairs, there are no matches for fingerprints, or dental records, in any database and no-one came forward to identify him."
"No, no-one.... However; that's not why I brought the subject up. As I said, Internal Affairs is investigating, and yesterday they ordered some more DNA tests to be done, but when the technician went to fetch the body the drawer was empty. Naturally, they searched all the drawers in the morgue, so there's no doubt about it, Krycek's body has disappeared. All the records at the morgue showed that the corpse had been booked in, an autopsy carried out to confirm cause of death, then the remains had been stored away awaiting identification and, eventually, burial.
"With the disappearance of the physical evidence, and the surveillance camera covering that area of the garage having been broken, no charges can be brought over the death - so the investigation has been terminated."
Mulder's interest had been piqued. After he'd left Skinner's office he had sniffed around the morgue, asking questions - but enough time had passed to make claims of fuzzy memories about one particular corpse believable.
A week of brooding about Krycek and his motivations had been interrupted by the next data dump from Danny's mysterious informant... a foot-high pile of files and a CD full of pictures and yet more files.
He had studied the information and involved the Gunmen in doing some research for him before he went in to take a look around. The little he'd been able to see had so alarmed him, that he had immediately taken the evidence to Skinner, explaining what he had done so far to verify the information.
Skinner had pinched the bridge of his nose to stave off an incipient headache when he'd learned of the risks he taken; then he'd assembled a team to work with Mulder to carry out the investigation into the allegations.
The target had proved to be a laboratory disguised as a private clinic which was conducting gruesome experiments on down-and-outs, reasoning that no-one would miss them if they died, any bodies being disposed of in their own crematorium.
The layout was so similar to one of the consortium labs he visited before that he automatically assumed that there would be a connection to the shadowy group... if only they knew where to look.
While they still had been dealing with the fall-out from the raid, another pile of files arrived, detailing an identical clinic/laboratory set-up in a mid-western state.
Mulder had taken the information to Skinner immediately, knowing that he didn't have the resources to even attempt another investigation. His boss had almost gasped with surprise when he'd been told that he hadn't done anything other than get the gunmen to do some additional research.
Skinner had thanked him and assembled a second team of selected agents under John Doggett.
Two weeks later yet another pile of information arrived. This time the laboratory was on the west coast, a little way north of Los Angeles - here the victims were mostly runaway teens...
And so it had gone on... more and more precise information arriving.... Mulder... led to more and more of the secret operations of the consortium.
Already speculating about the identity of the informant, it was a chance remark by an Agent sitting near him, while waiting for a meeting to start about his cat bringing birds and mice as love tokens that gave him an idea...
The scene in the underground garage flashed across his inner eye... and the more he thought about it, the less absurd the idea became.... Alex Krycek was still alive and this information was being directed specifically to him... as a token of.... What? ...guilt? ...friendship? ...love?
The next time Danny came to him with information, Mulder dug in his heels and demanded that he meet his source face to face. Danny tried to talk him out of it, but Mulder was adamant: He was not acting on any more of the information without knowing exactly who was giving it to him.
Reluctantly, Danny had carried a message back to the contact group, and relayed Mulder's demand to them.
When Danny phoned to pass on the meeting instructions Mulder had wanted to shout with joy.
Then, after the call had ended he had stood still, running over the details of the midnight meeting in his mind, a beatific smile adorning his face. Danny had said that his informant would only meet him under certain conditions... he'd expected the 'come alone and unarmed' but the choice of location did surprise him - a small park in an up-market area - when he'd been expecting a dark alleyway down by the docks.
He remembered thinking.... In a few hours time I will find out... if I'm right... if Alex is alive.
Finding that his mug was empty interrupted his musings and brought his mind back to the present. He went back inside and rinsed out the mug before going back to the bedroom where Alex was still sleeping; and it looked as if he hadn't stirred in the hour and a half that he had been gone. He bent forward for a closer look and Alex's eyes slowly opened.
"Morning, Fox," he murmured.
"Morning Alex," Mulder replied with a grin.
Alex grinned back, and threw the bedclothes off before grabbing hold of Mulder's shirt and pulling him down on to the bed. "I believe we have some unfinished business left over from last night," he murmured giving Mulder a deep kiss.
Mulder didn't need any further invitation to get with the program. With his lips firmly fastened on Alex's he moved the rest of his body around so that he was lying beside the other man.
Even as Mulder was moving has body around, Alex's hands were busy undoing buttons and zips trying to remove any obstacles to getting as much bare skin to rub his body against. A couple of minutes later with their bodies hopelessly trapped in clothing, they broke the kiss laughing at their predicament. After managing to discard the distractions they rearranged themselves more comfortably on the bed.
"Third time lucky?" Alex murmured, leaning in towards his lover who snickered again at the comment. Alex poked his tongue out and licked a stripe across Mulder's full lips, then plunged inside his mouth as the lips were opened. As the kiss deepened so the two bodies writhed together, rubbing harder and harder against each other; then suddenly they both stilled as shattering orgasms overtook them... and they lay panting, their foreheads pressed together, waiting until they were back in sync with the world.
Finally reality intruded upon them, Alex sighed and rolled away. "Sorry Fox, but as much as I would like to stay in bed with you all day, we both have other responsibilities."
"I've only just found you again," Mulder pouted at him.
He pulled Mulder over the bed until he was forced to stand or roll off the end. "Yeah, I know; but the information I am going to pass on to you is time sensitive, you need to get it to Skinner as soon as possible." He tugged the other man towards the bathroom. "Also, please don't come to this house unless you are invited, there isn't always someone here; so use Danny as the go-between as before. There will be a time, in the not too distant future, when we will have to come out into the open... then we can fuck like weasels." He laughed as Mulder's expression turned feral.
"Can't you come up and see me sometimes?"
"If you move from Hegal Place into a more secure building, I would probably be able to drop by for some extra-curricular activities," Alex replied the echo of laughter still twinkling in his eyes. "However, until then, we need to get showered and dressed. Danny has had your stuff cleaned up so you won't look too disreputable, and then you need to get back to the Hoover building as soon as possible and see Skinner with the documents we're going to give you."
Mulder scrunched up his nose and mouth, showing just how much he didn't want to leave; but knew that he had to do so. "Okay, I can take a hint. I'll even look into moving if it will mean I get to see you more often."
Alex grinned and handed him a flyer for a new apartment block being built. "There's a penthouse in this building I think you might like.... Guest suite included I understand."
Mulder laughed and took the flyer from his lover's hand. "I won't promise anything, but I will take a look," he said as he made his way to the bathroom. "Join me in the shower?"
Now Alex laughed and shook his head, pushing Mulder inside the shower cubicle. "If I do we'll be lucky to get out of here by this evening." he replied as he firmly shut the door behind him as he left.
When Mulder entered the bedroom again having showered and shaved, he found it devoid of any trace that Alex had been here. He dressed in the now clean clothes that he had worn the night before, and then went down to the kitchen where he found the others waiting for him. As he sat down at the table, Danny gave him a mug of coffee and a sandwich, while Alex pushed a CD case across the table towards him.
"It has been good to see you again Agent Mulder," Jeremiah reached out a hand and placed it on Mulder's arm. "And we hope to be able to pass on more information to you in the future. As we have not been able to discover why you were attacked last night, please take extra care if you are out alone...."
Mulder nodded. "I'm going to ask the Gunmen if they can find out about that crazy guy we encountered last night. If they do find out anything it will be passed on to Danny so you get to know as well."
"Thank you; we would always welcome closer ties between us."
Mulder smiled at his host in acknowledgement of the debts owed between them, then turned his attention back to his meal.
When Mulder had finished eating, Krycek ushered him outside and guided him into the white van waiting beside the house. "This is Max who you met briefly last night. He will drive you into DC and drop you off near the Hoover building," he said, then leaned in for a quick kiss. "That's to keep you company until we can meet again. Stay safe, Fox." He shut the door and turned back towards the house.
"You, too, Alex," Mulder call back as the can started to take him away from the shadows and back to the everyday world.
We will meet again soon, Alex. Now I've found you again, I'll never let you go. Mulder vowed as the elegant house disappeared from view.
A little while later Mulder patted his pocket to make sure he still had the flyer... it was time to stack the deck in his favor.