Smokey Joe's Honky Tonk

by Donna McIntosh

 

It was Saturday night and Skinner debated whether he should go out or not. He was hurting though and decided to go out and try his luck at the clubs. He knew a little club down town that he'd gotten lucky in a few times. He headed there after donning black jeans and an emerald green Henley.

He hit three more clubs and was about it call it a wasted night when someone slipped into the booth across from him. It was Alex Krycek.

"Can't find any body interesting?" Krycek asked with a grin.

"What the hell are you doing here? Did you follow me?"

"It's what I do." Krycek smiled.

"Well go do it somewhere else."

"I would but you're so much more interesting."

"Get lost, Krycek."

"Why? It's not like I'm scaring off any potential bed mates for the evening. It looks like everyone is pretty much paired up already." He glanced around the room. "May I make a suggestion?"

"No!"

"Once you've tried Russian; you won't want anyone else." Krycek said with a lecherous grin.

"I think I'm going to be sick." Skinner said. He pulled out a few bills, dropped them on the table, grabbed his jacket and left. He hadn't been home more than thirty minutes when someone knocked on his door. He peeked out and saw Krycek standing there. He opened the door and growled "What?"

"I forgot to tell you. I have a message from the old man."

"You could have called, emailed, carrier pigeon – did you really have to show up here?"

"Yeah, well you could have waited a few minutes longer at the club and I could have told you then but you bolted out of there. You afraid of being seen in a gay club with me? You afraid people might think we've been doing it?"

"I didn't bolt – I left. There's a difference."

"What's the matter, Skinner; you're a little tense?" Krycek said as he sauntered into the apartment.

"Give me the message and get out." Skinner shoved the door closed.

"He wants you to get Mulder out of town for a few days."

"I will not!"

"Humor him, Skinner. You don't want to make him mad. It's not like it's going to make a difference anyway. True, Mulder is closing in on the Congressman Williams murderer but it's a dead end."

"What are you talking about?"

"The guy who did it. Mulder's on the right track but the guy has Diplomatic Immunity. Even if he catches him, he'll walk. Why not send Mulder on something he can actually have a little success with?"

"Such as?"

"The Mitchelson case. You're all following the wrong leads in that one."

"It's the brother in law. He had the most to gain."

"No he didn't. The daughter did it."

"The daughter? She's only sixteen!"

"Sixteen with a nineteen year old junkie for a boyfriend who's been in and out of jail since he was twelve years old. Did you know the two of them have been hocking her parents jewelry all over town? Did you know she sold her dad's two year old Jaguar for twelve hundred dollars?"

"Shit. I talked to her myself. She's just a kid."

"Not any more."

"How sure are you of your facts?"

"Positive. I knew you'd need a good reason to send Mulder out of town. This is it."

Skinner pulled out his phone and punched in Mulder's number.

"Mulder, I want you to forget about the Congressman William's case for now. I just got a new lead in the Mitchelson case. It seems the daughter and her boyfriend have been hocking the family jewelry around town. I want you on the next plane for Chicago."

"The daughter? Wasn't she just fourteen or fifteen?" Mulder questioned.

"Sixteen and with an ex-con boyfriend – I want it checked out as soon as possible."

"All right. I'll call you from Chicago."

"You do that." Skinner said and snapped his phone shut and pocketed it. He then turned to Krycek. "You could have told me all this on the phone."

"I could have. But I didn't." Krycek said as he walked towards the door, brushing lightly against Skinner as he passed.

There was something in his voice, it was almost a whisper; a raspiness that set every nerve on end. Skinner grabbed him, spun him around back up against the door and went to his knees. In an instant he had Krycek's jeans open and was doing his best to swallow him whole – cock first.

It didn't last very long. Krycek couldn't have held out even if he had wanted to and he definitely didn't want to. When Skinner finished, he stood and wiped the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand.

"Get out. And don't come back here or next time it'll be your ass." Skinner pulled the door open and gave Krycek a shove.

"It's a date!" Krycek said with a raise of his eyebrows and Skinner slammed the door in his face.

It was nearly three weeks later before he saw Krycek again. Skinner had just finished dinner, fixed himself a drink and was sorting through some files at his desk when the knock at the door interrupted him. He opened the door, saw Krycek standing there and stood back for him to enter. He looked up and down the hall to make sure no one saw him. He closed the door, twisted the lock and advanced on Krycek.

"I just have one question for you then I'll leave. I'm on my way to the airport." Krycek said.

"Ask." Skinner said as he sat back down on the corner of his desk.

Krycek stood with both hands jammed into his jacket pockets. "Would it be possible ... is there any way ... what would it take to make you forgive and forget the past?"

"Chlorophorm or amneisia. Maybe both." Skinner sneered.

Krycek gave a disappointed nod of his head. That's what he thought Skinner would say but he had to ask. He pulled his hand out of his pocket and tossed a comdom and a packet of lube on Skinner's desk.

Skinner stared at it for a moment then up at Krycek. If he had taken the time to think about it, he never would have done it, but he didn't. Every pore in his body was ready and eager to go. He nodded to the couch.

Krycek moved slowly over to the couch, removed his jacket and tossed it on the table. "How do you want me?"

"Over the arm." Skinner said as he walked up behind him.

Krycek walked to the end of the couch, dropped his jeans and bent over the arm. Skinner opened his pants, put the condom on, lubed himself and Krycek both and took what he wanted. It was over almost as fast at the blow job had been. He left the room to clean up and when he returned Krycek was gone.

It hadn't given him nearly the satisfaction that he thought it would. It was empty and meaningless. He regretted it immediately afterwards. He couldn't understand how he had let himself get intimate with Alex Krycek – of all people! There was just something about him, something that called to Skinner that he couldn't ignore. Maybe it was just the chance to have a bit of control in anything dealing with Krycek or maybe it was something else all together. He shoved that thought out of his head entirely.

Months went by and he heard nothing from Krycek or Spender either. He often thought about both of them but as long as they left him alone, he didn't care what either of them were up to.

* * * * *


Skinner got off the plane at DFW airport and headed for the car rental place. He slung his bag over his shoulder and loosened his tie a bit against the afternoon heat. He was sweating profusely by the time he got to his car. The attendant smiled after handing him the keys. "New to Texas, friend?"

"Yeah. I didn't expect this much heat for November."

"Well here in Texas you can pretty much expect heat year round, with the exception of December, January and February. Though February can be pretty warm as well." The attendant said with his soft Texas drawl.

Skinner found the handsome young man's accent intriguing but first things first. He'd see about questioning this ex-agent first and see if the information he had was any good. After that, maybe, just maybe, he might stop by and ask Frankie, as his name tag said, out for a drink.

Skinner programed the GPS with his hotel address and headed out. He checked into his hotel and stayed only long enough for a quick bite to eat at the coffee shop in the lobby then headed out for Smokey Joe's Honky Tonk.

He was anxious to talk with this ex agent and see what he had to say. He had been sending in some interesting information directly to the DC office and always to Walter Skinner's attention. The latest batch of information had a return address on it and he decided to check him out. Skinner remembered him vaguely. He had been an agent under Skinner six years earlier and only for about a year and then he disappeared.

"Beer please." Skinner said as he took a seat at the bar. He glanced around the place. It was a lot larger than he thought it would be. There were about twenty tables, a good sized dance floor and a live band playing some country music. The place was nearly full with customers coming and going; sitting, standing, waiting for a table. Customers were playing pool in an adjacent room and waiters were coming in and out of the kitchen carrying trays of steaming barbcue meals. His taste buds watered and he regretted eating in the hotel coffee shop.

"I'm looking for Joe Sabatoni?" Skinner asked the bartender as he placed a mug of foamy beer on the bar in front of him.

"He's around somewhere. I'll send him over first chance I get." The bartender said.

Skinner was about half way through his drink when someone slid onto the stool beside him and spoke. "Hi handsome. Do you come here often?" The familiar voice set every nerve on edge.

"Krycek! What the hell are you doing here?" Skinner turned on him.

"Oh good. I was looking for you." The bartender said. "This gentleman wanted a word with you. I see you found him." He smiled and left to serve another customer.

"Thanks Mike," Krycek said to the bartender and to Skinner he said, "Can we take this into the office?"

"You're not Joe Sabatoni!" Skinner insisted.

"I am now." Krycek grinned and nodded towards a door off to the side of the entrance hallway. He got up from his stool and headed for the door and Skinner followed him.

"What's this all about, Krycek?" Skinner asked once they were inside the room and the door was closed behind them. "Where's Sabatoni?"

"Sabatoni is dead."

"Dead?"

"As the proverbial door nail." Krycek said.

"Did you kill him? I was supposed to meet him here."

"No, I didn't. He didn't leave the Bureau six years ago. He was taken out by the old man." Krycek took a seat at his desk, pushed away his half eaten plate of food and motioned for Skinner to take a chair in front of his desk.

"So you're using his name now? What do you hope to gain by doing that? Access to the Bureau?" Skinner asked as he removed his jacket and hung it over the back of the chair.

"No thanks. I have some knowledge that links to a few current cases and I thought you might be interested. If you're not, just say the word and I won't contact you again."

"What cases? What information do you have that you think might interest us? And why are you using Sabatoni's name?" Skinner took a seat but he leaned forward with arms resting on Krycek's desk.

"Would you have come if I had signed my own name? I used Sabatoni's name because I thought it might arouse your interest enough to come check it out. And here you are." Krycek smiled at him.

The smile rattled Skinner. He wasn't used to seeing Alex Krycek smile. It scrambled his thoughts a little and did things to his nether regions that he didn't want to acknowledge.

"So I'm here. Start talking." Skinner moved a little in his chair, trying to adjust himself without Krycek noticing. He wished now that he hadn't put on these tight jeans before coming.

Krycek opened his desk drawer, tapped in the numbers on the coded lock. When it clicked, he opened it and pulled out three files and placed them in front of Skinner.

"Bartelson, Nivens, and Castleberry." Skinner read the tabs on each folder. "What do you know about these? Where did you get this information? How reliable is it?" Skinner opened the first folder and began reading.

While Skinner read, Krycek pulled his plate of food back in front of him and finished his meal. When Skinner finished the last folder and looked up, Krycek asked, "The barbcue is really good. Can I get you a plate?"

"I didn't come here for food. I came for information. Where did you get this?" Skinner demanded.

"Well, that's something that you don't need to know." Krycek leaned back in his chair and grinned again. "The information is good. I checked it out before I contacted you. I didn't want to send it through the mail."

Skinner skimmed over the information in the folders again. "And you're not going to tell me where you got this information?" Skinner looked up from the files.

"You don't need to know that. Let's just say that it's from an old friend – someone who still has bureau access."

"So you're still in the thick of things. I hadn't seen or heard anything about you in nearly a year. I thought maybe you'd dropped out." Skinner closed the files in front of him.

"Thought I'd dropped out? Or hoped that I'd dropped dead?" Krycek asked and leaned back in his chair as he eyed Skinner.

Skinner began to fidget. For some reason Krycek's eyes seemed to bore right through him; knowing everything that Skinner was thinking and feeling.

"What are you doing here, running a bar in Texas? Or is this a set up for the old man somehow?"

"Nah. I haven't seen the old bastard in over a year. I told him to shove it and took off."

"And you just ended up here and decided to use Sabotini's name?"

"I knew Joe. We were in Quantico together. He was a good guy. I liked him."

"That's a reason to use his name?"

"I needed a new name. Joe didn't have any living relatives so I knew I wouldn't have to worry about anyone looking him up. And, like I said, I knew Joe. He'd love a place like this. In fact, he's the reason I picked this place. He used to talk all the time about when he retired he was going to move to Texas and open a Honky Tonk and call it Smokey Joe's. He used to make the best barbcue you ever tasted. In fact, we use some of his recipies."

"I would think an Italian would lean more to a delicatessen or maybe a pizzeria."

"Not Joe. He loved the barbecue and he loved country music."

"And you're going to tell me this is some sort of an homage to him?"

"Hell no! I needed something to do when I left the group. I've actually been thinking about this for the last several years. Whenever I got the chance I'd come here to Texas and look around to see what was available, check out the local hot spots. This is what I came up with."

"And all these people know you as Joe Sabatoni?"

"That's right. And I'd like to keep it that way."

"So what are you doing digging into my cases then?"

"I wasn't. I overheard a few things. I called my friend and checked them out. Once I got what I needed, I sent it to you."

"I get it. You can take the boy out of the business but you can't take the business out of the boy?"

"I'm not a boy, Skinner. You, more than anyone else, ought to know that; or did you forget?" He gave Skinner a penetrating look.

Skinner couldn't deny the heat that was threatening to suffocate him. He stood up and walked around a bit hoping to ease the pressure in his jeans.

"Getting warm in here?" Krycek teased as he got up and came around in front of his desk.

"Don't you be looking at me like that!" Skinner shook a finger at him. "I'm not falling for any of your shit."

Krycek smiled, walked passed him and twisted the lock on his door. "Like what?" He asked innocently but with a grin, as he walked closer.

Skinner held his breath and backed up a few steps against the couch. "I hate you!" He hissed.

"I know. But that doesn't change the fact that you want me. You want this." Krycek unzipped his jeans and unsnapped the button.

Skinner tried to back up again but he was against the couch and sat down on it with a plop.

Krycek lowered his pants and stepped close.

An instant later Skinner grabbed him, pulled him close and began to nuzzle, lick and suck. All thought had left him, nothing was left but lust. He had cock in his mouth, a bare ass in his hands and every pore of his body was standing at attention.

He couldn't stand it very long, he had to get up and straighten himself but he didn't let go of Krycek. In one swift movement he had unzipped his own jeans, bent Krycek over the arm of the couch and entered him. Krycek's groans of appreciation were more than he could take and he finished quickly and pulled out. For a minute he was addled. He didn't have any idea where the rest rooms were and didn't know where to go to clean up.

"Over there." Krycek pointed to a door back behind his desk. "Bathroom."

Skinner made a bee-line for it and came out minutes later to find Krycek standing by his little bar and fixing himself a drink. He fixed a second one and handed it to Skinner. Skinner took it and gulped it half way down.

"Easy there." Krycek said. "There's plenty more if you need it."

Skinner picked his jacket up off the back of the chair and put it on. "These files – can I take them?" He asked as he finished off his drink.

"Sure. They're yours." Krycek nodded.

"Thanks." Skinner picked them up and headed for the door. "For these, I mean. And the drink." He eyed Krycek one last time and walked out the door.

"You're welcome." Krycek said with a grin as the door closed between them.

* * * * *


The next few weeks Skinner tried to keep himself busy most of the time but in his off hours, his mind would drift back to Texas. He couldn't believe what he had done. He had been so sure that he was in complete control of himself and that it would never happen again but there was just something about Krycek – something that he couldn't define – that called to him.

Skinner ran a check Smokey Joe's to find out everything about it he could. Apparently, 'Joe Sabatoni' had owned it for a little over two years now but it had only been opened for business for about a year after extensive remodeling. A lot of advertising had been done about the place and it seemed to be doing a good business. He checked with the FW PD and there had been no police reports on the place, no trouble of any kind there since it had opened. He checked with the board of health and all the licensing and permits were in order. He could find nothing at all that connected the business with Spender or any of his minions. The place was clean as a whistle. He had also checked all his contacts and there had been no word of Alex Krycek in over a year.

Could Krycek have really quit the business and gone straight? Was such a thing even possible? He wondered if Spender was looking for Krycek, or if anybody else was. He thought about the bar and couldn't help but admire it. It really was nicely done. He wondered what it would be like to be able to just walk away from all the stress and just sit back and run a bar. The smell of the barbcue came back to him then and his mouth watered. He did love barbcue but there weren't many places around DC that he cared for.

Skinner's mind then drifted to Krycek standing in front of him with his pants open and he got hard just thinking about it. He pulled into his driveway at Viva Towers, glad to be home and have a weekend in front of him. He might just have to make a visit to his favorite house. He wasn't too happy with it lately as his two favorites had both moved on and the replacements, while eager to please, weren't all that comfortable with his larger than normal size. Ten inches was a lot more than most guys could handle though Krycek didn't seem to have any trouble with it.

Too many thoughts of Krycek, a nice hot shower and soapy hands made any thoughts of going out unnecessary. He couldn't believe he was jacking off thinking about Krycek but it seemed to be the only thing that satisfied him lately. He hated to admit it but Krycek was right. As much as he hated him, and Skinner insisted that he (i)(b)hated(/i)(/b) him, he did want him. Whenever the two of them were alone together, all the years of misery between them melted away and all Skinner could think about was turning him around and fucking him. The most exciting part of it all was that that seemed to be what Krycek wanted too.

"Utter and total madness!" Skinner sighed as he pulled back the covers and got into bed. "He's a monster, immoral, treacherous and most likely a murderer. How could I possibly want him?" He pulled the covers up over his shoulder as he turned on his side. "Oh but his ass is so round and firm and inviting and his cock so sweet and delicious." It was a good long while before he got any sleep. He had to get up and go relieve himself again before he could finally relax enough to sleep.

* * * * *


It was Christmas Eve and Skinner sat at his desk at home working. He had left the office early as the roads had all frozen over and everyone was told to go home before they closed the roads. Earlier he had watched the weather reports on the news and noticed that the temps in Fort Worth were in the sixties. He tried to imagine what it would be like at Smokey Joe's. He figured it would probably be all decorated up for the holidays. He had to stifle that thought as he had work to do and couldn't be doing that if he was thinking about Krycek and having to go relieve himself.

He was deep into his research when someone knocked at his door. He got up and opened the door without checking the peep hole and was surprised to see Krycek standing there.

"Come in." He said and held the door open. He went to is bar and fixed himself a drink. He had to do something to control his racing pulse and the swelling in his pants. "Drink?" He offered.

"No thanks. I'm driving. The roads are bad enough as it is. I wouldn't want to drive out in this mess after I've been drinking."

"Do you have some more information for me?" Skinner asked.

"No. I needed to talk with you for a few minutes. I have something that I want to discuss with you and it can't be done in a letter or over the phone."

"Sit." Skinner motioned towards the couch. "Let me have your coat."

Krycek shrugged out of his coat and handed it to him after stuffing his knit cap and scarf into a pocket. "Thanks," he mumbled as he sat down.

Skinner hung the coat on his coat rack then took a seat in a chair opposite the couch. "What is it you wanted to talk with me about?" He asked as he sipped his drink and fought to control himself. He didn't really care what Krycek had to talk about, all he wanted to do was drag him upstairs, rip his clothes off and fuck him all night long. He shoved that thought to the back of his mind.

"I was just wondering ... I mean, I know you hate me, and you have every right to, but is there anything ... anyway that you could ever forgive me for ... the past?"

Skinner was stunned. The last thing he ever thought he'd hear out of Krycek's mouth was an apology.

"Some things simply ... simply can't be forgotten." Skinner stuttered but he couldn't tear his eyes from Krycek's.

"I know that. But I thought that maybe ... we could work around it?" Krycek asked hopefully.

"Work around it?" Skinner was totally lost in this conversation.

"Yes. That's why I'm here. I'm offering you a job. I need a new bar tender. My back up guy had to move to Oregon – family business. I thought maybe you might like the job?"

Skinner stared at him with his mouth open. "You're offering me a job? You want me to leave the Bureau to ... to tend bar?"

"Yeah. Why not?" Krycek grinned at him. "No stress, no reports, no meetings – the perfect job for you. You've got to be pretty sick and tired of the Bureau by now."

Skinner's phone rang then. He took it out of his pocket and looked at the caller ID. It was Mulder. He didn't answer it and shoved it back in his pocket.

"No more phone calls on your days off, no more working with people you can't stand, and don't tell me you've suddenly developed a likeness for Kersh or Cassidy. Oh, and then, of course, there would be all the frings benefits." Krycek said and locked eyes with Skinner.

"Are you crazy or what?" Skinner got up and went to his bar and refilled his glass.

Krycek got up and followed him. "It's Christmas, Walter. You're what I want; you're what I've always wanted. I know the things that I did made you hate me. Give me a chance – maybe I can make it up to you, maybe even make you fall in love with me. You already want me. With half a chance, we could make it work. I know we could."

"You are incredible! You've got to be ..." that's all Skinner got out before Krycek stepped up close to him, wrapped his arms around Skinner's neck and kissed him.

Skinner's entire world just did a flip-flop. It was as though he had never been kissed before. The kiss was so prue, so totally engulfing. No words would come so Krycek kissed him again this time letting his tongue run lightly over Skinner's lips.

"You need to be kissed more, Walter," he whispered and kissed him again.

This time Walter's arms came up and pulled Alex close against him. He returned the kiss whole-heartedly and when it ended they were both shaken.

"I'll spend the rest of my life making up for the past if you'll give me a chance." Alex whispered.

"You're asking for the impossible." Walter said but continued to hold him.

"No, I'm not. We have fucked several times and we know how good that is for both of us. Now let's make love. There is a difference and we both know that. C'mon." He pulled Walter's arm and headed for the stairs.

They climbed the stairs as if in a trance. Walter flipped the light on as they entered his bedroom. Alex pulled his sweater up off over his head and tossed it on the dresser. The t-shirt came next and Walter's sharp intake of breath showed his appreciation of Alex's body. Even with the prosthesis Alex was a sight to behold. His tiny brown nipples stood out just a bit as if begging to be sucked. The body was solid and the fine dark brown hair down the middle was icing on the cake and Walter yearned to nuzzle his face in it.

Alex toed out of his shoes then unbuttoned his jeans and stepped out of them; leaving them on the floor. He reached over to the bed and pulled back the covers. One last look at Skinner before removing his shorts and lying down on th bed.

Walter stared, not believing his eyes, and in a blur of motion, he was undressed and on top of Alex.

Each kiss was sweeter, longer and deeper than the one before as their exploring hands roamed over one another's bodies. When Walter could finally tear himself away from that mouth he worked his way down to the nipples and feasted on them. Alex's hard cock pressing against his hip finally drew him down further and Walter nosed his way through the curls. His hand and mouth found Alex's cock at the same time and Alex groaned his pleasure.

He wasn't going to give it up this time. Walter licked and nuzzled and sucked until Alex cried out, arched his back and came and came and came.

Walter spooned up beside Alex and held him until he came back down to earth. Alex turned in Walter's arms and pressed his ass up against him. It was Walter's turn to moan now as he grabbed Alex's hips and held him tight. They lay there together for several seconds, before Walter reached into his night stand drawer and pulled out a tube of lube. He squeezed some out into his hand and pressed it into Alex.

"Ahhhh" Alex almost purred as the coolness of the lube penetrated him. Long fingers worked at his opening and when the need for more than fingers got the better of him, he got up on his hands and knees.

Walter wasted no more time and entered him slowly giving Alex plenty of time to adjust to his size. He was barely all the way in before Alex started working his hips back and forth. Walter had to grab hold to get control again and began with long slow strokes. In minutes Alex was panting beneath him and begging for more. That was all it took. All thoughts of control were gone and all there was in the world was Walter's frantic cock and Alex's hungry ass devouring it.

They sky-rocketed through it and Walter wasn't quite sure but he thought he might have passed out. When he came back down, Alex was standing beside the bed with a wash cloth and towel and wiping him clean. He took the wash rag and finished the job himself, a little embarrassed. He chastised himself for losing control. He never liked to come before his partner had and try as he might, he couldn't remember if Alex had come or not.

Skinner went into the bathroom and finished cleaning himself up. When he came back out Alex was getting dressed.

"Are you okay?" Skinner asked, a bit awkward. "Did you ... you know ... get what you needed?"

Alex pulled his shirt on over his head and grinned at him. "Are you kidding? You took me to places I've never been before. You didn't hear me screaming? I hope this condo has thick walls or your neighbors are probably calling the police right now."

Skinner couldn't look at him as he dressed. He pulled the covers back up over his bed and the two of them headed back down stairs.

Alex picked up his jacket and put it on. "Think about it." He said as he opened the door then turned back and added, "Merry Christmas," and left.

* * * * *


Walter thought about little else as he paced around his place and paced around his office the next several day and got little work done. He had too much on his mind – too much to think about. Could he do it? Could he leave this place and move to Texas with Alex? Was that what he wanted? Could he put the past behind them and start a new life? Was any of this real or was it part of some devious plot that Alex had up his sleeve?

So many questions and he had the answers to none of them. What would he tell people? What would they think if they knew the truth? Did he really care? He decided that he didn't. "Let them think whatever the hell they want." He murmured to himself mid-pace. "It's my life and I can live it any way I damn well please!"

* * * * *


It was New Year's Eve and the place was packed. The temporary bar tender was doing fine and he may just offer him the job full time. "Damn!" Alex thought. He had so hoped that Walter would join him. He hadn't heard from him since he'd left the condo a week ago. He couldn't allow himself to dwell on his dreams right now. He was too busy and had too much to do. Maybe he'd try again some day to convince Walter but right now he had a mob to look after.

The clock was nearing twelve and everyone was getting their glasses filled and pairing up. Alex filled another glass with the remainder of his bottle and went to the cooler to retrieve another bottle. He had just popped the cork and started pouring when a hand reached around from behind him and said, "Here, let me do that."

He turned to see Walter standing there, jeans and a green sweater over his white shirt. Walter poured drinks to all who held their glasses for a refill as he made his way around the room. Alex stared dumb-founded.

The count down started and everyone joined in, "Ten, nine, eight, seven," Alex found Walter standing beside him. "six, five, four," He smiled up at Walter. "three, two, ONE – HAPPY NEW YEAR!" everyone yelled and blew their horns and sounded their noise makers.

"Happy New Year, Alex," Walter leaned down and kissed him.

Alex grabbed on to him and kissed him back; hard. "Does this mean what I think it means?" He asked as everyone around them were yelling and screaming.

"What it means is, I took a ninety day leave of absence. That should give me enough time to see if I want to ... to tend bar." Walter said.

"You don't have to tend bar; you can do anything you want." Alex couldn't believe they were standing there in the middle of a crowd having this conversation.

"First thing I need to do is find a place to stay. Do you have any ideas?" Walter asked.

"Upstairs. That's where I live. I've remodeled a few rooms that I live in. There are lots of empty rooms. This place used to be a hotel years ago."

"Okay, that's settled. We need to set some ground rules here." Walter said as he held Alex close.

"There's only one rule around here, Walter. Anything you want, any time you want it, any way you want it." Alex promised as he nuzzled against Walter's neck.

"There you are, Joe!" Someone grabbed him, pulled him out of Walter's arms and everyone started hugging and kissing him, shaking his hand and wishing him a Happy New Year. All the sudden he was up on their shoulders and they were parading around the room.

Walter stood off to the side and watched. Never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined such a scene – Alex Krycek up on shoulders, being hauled around the room like some kind of hero, smiling and laughing with everyone.

The band started up again and everyone lined up side by side with Alex in the lead and started a line dance. Walter was stunned. Never had he seen such a thing. The entire crowd joined in. Most of them knew the steps, a few didn't but joined in anyway. The band played, the noise-makers blared , people were dancing and singing and Walter stood with his mouth opened as he stared in awe.

"Oh my God!" he mumbled to himself, "This Alex ... this 'Joe Sabatino' ... I could definitely fall in love with."

The End

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