1) Sea Foam
I stand on the windswept coast, thinking of him. The wind is whistling through the house behind me, and blows the doors closed with a loud bang. I jump at the sound, now-a-days unused to loud noises, surprises and danger. I have grown soft, I guess. I don't miss the old days, I just miss him.
I never got to know what drove him, if it was something besides violence and a lust for power. Never got to know how he was recruited or suborned or if he simply volunteered. He was so normal in so many ways. I have come to know that at least. Boogieman, murderer, coward, liar and thief though he might have been, after all this time I realize he was also just a man. Often scared, in pain, hungry, tired or bouncing on his toes with nerves or expectation or exasperation.
Maybe it was the simple commonplaceness of it all, the banal needs and desires that always threw me off balance when I dealt with him. I knew he liked his coffee white and sweet, his jeans tight and his tee shirts pristine and that he was always thirsty and often cold.
When he was killed in front of me, I felt nothing. He was just another man in the way who died for interfering. I walked right past his cooling corpse and went on my way to more, much more important matters. I did not blame Skinner for gunning him down like a dog, I did not protest when his body conveniently disappeared, I did not wonder if he was ever buried or left to rot somewhere. His humanity had no value at all.
I feel the wind bite through my coat. The back of my neck is raw from the cold; somehow, a thin line of flesh always remains uncovered despite my best efforts with hoods, turtlenecks and scarves. I hunch into my collar and turn back from the beach towards the house. There is no profit from these old memories, no comfort or closure.
Sometimes, I think I see him. In town or in a crowd scene on the news, I will suddenly get a twinge of recognition and bend closer to the screen or walk faster on the street. It is never him, of course. He is dead - I saw it. He was no clone or super-soldier. He bled red; he breathed and then stopped breathing.
Despite the evidence, in spite of the fact that I was a witness, something in me has a small, small doubt about his demise. I want to believe it is because I could never figure him out and that my Spidey-sense is out of order. Just that something niggles at me, like an itch I cannot reach in the center of my back. A maybe... I pace the coastal edge that drops off to a foamy sea in front of my cabin and wonder.
I can feel the warmth of the winter sun on my face. I hear the sea lapping at the end of the pier and I am buffeted by a strangely comforting wind that is far too warm for March. I flex my hand on the arm of the iron chair. I have been clutching it tightly, afraid of being alone in the open. It almost makes me laugh, this fear of mine. I was never comfortable in the open, even when I could run and see. I used to think I was suited for the dark night and now all I have is darkness. Serves me right, of course, I jinxed it a million times and now it has all come true. Me, all alone in the dark and with fear as my constant companion.
I curse the fact that they came and took me, 'healed' me and left me to rot in comfort. Better, I should have stayed dead.
I heard about Mulder the other day. He is a source of interest amongst those who have wound up here, his legion of unsubstantiated dead. I hear that he will rise again someday. And that there's a photograph where he's dancing on his grave. Someone told me Scully was there too, her arms wrapped around her waist and an unamused expression on her face. I can picture her clearly, the same sour look she always threw my way directed at him and his lack of empathy at how she must have suffered and prayed on that grave a million times while he was gone.
You always were a total schmuck as a boyfriend, Mulder. You only have romance in your soul for your losses, never for the living around you who give a damn. The only reason she stayed true to you was her own less than generous capacity for love and life. You fitted yourselves together in a mishmashed kind of two-headed coin that never managed to roll away from pain, trouble and unhappiness. You deserve each other.
I hear the gulls screaming at the waves. Yeah, yeah, fly and scream and dive into the cold, cold sea for dinner. Sometimes they die, Mulder. Sometimes they dive in a moment too soon or too late and a wave drowns them. Then they get to be food for something else's dinner. That's the way it is. Eat or be eaten, fly and dive at your own risk.
Well, I certainly crashed and burned, didn't I? I bet I never fooled you, for all your apparent gut wrenching anger and sorrow. You hated your old man, Mulder. I know you did. You hated the old man who really was your father even more.
What did you think you were going to find at the end of your quest? Was it The Truth, with a capitol T, a way to stop the aliens and save the world and a ticker-tape parade in your honor? That the world would care it was saved?
So we're saved, life goes on, the good guys go after the bad guys and fit the punishment to the crime. You are reinstated in a newly humbled Bureau. No surprise that they were at the beck and call of the old men and never knew it, seems after 9/11 they can't differentiate shit and shinola, not that they ever could.
I don't blame you, not really. I don't blame myself either. I didn't go to kindergarten and Show and Tell that I wanted to grow up to be crippled assassin. You probably said you wanted to play shortstop for the Yankees and passed around your genuine imprinted Babe Ruth glove.
God, I'm tired and bored. I listen to all the books I never got a chance to read. I just was sent over a hundred hours of some kid's series about wizards and a young bereft schoolboy hero. I think when I'm done I'll send them to you. This kid is right up your alley and you can hear all about him on some midnight drive you take to somewhere to save someone who doesn't give a damn.
I think the next book I listen to will be read in Russian. Russian is suited to tragedy and sorrow. English is too crisp and precise to fully convey suffering through freezing winters, tepid springs and megalomaniacal Tsarist mandates.
It's not surprising that the Russians were second only to the States in their involvement in the conspiracy. They know all about Programs and the toll of losing millions of citizens in plagues and wars.
Strange how much you remain on my mind, how in the darkness I see you so brightly lit and in living color.
3) In the Moment
The Gunmen's paranoia pays off. They find a deed to an Italian seaside resort in the minutia of the syndicate's paperwork. I got them copies before I ever let the FBI get a hold of them. No one has been traced to having used the place for dirty deeds. It seems it is a sort of retirement home for those lucky enough to live and stay out of the limelight of War Crimes tribunals and general consortium clean up.
Interpol is 'generous' enough to include me in the raid on the place even though I have rubbed their international noses in the cover-up. As usual, no one is happy to have Spooky along for the ride. The Brits especially love to rub in that moniker. I ignore them, grateful that Phoebe is not along for the ride as well.
It's a beautiful day. The sun is shining and a warm breeze is blowing despite the calendar.
Suddenly I feel that ever-present tickle grow fierce and the hair on the back of my neck stiffens. Ah, my eyes and subconscious recognized him before my eyes and the cogent part of my brain adjusted to the light. He is sitting strangely still, upright and quivering. I wonder why he hasn't run, like the others, to cars and helicopters, to escape.
I approach him from the rear. He turns his head slightly, sensing my presence and then I see it, his horribly scarred forehead, and the blank eyes with rapidly blinking eyelids. I have a momentary urge to cover his eyes from behind and say Boo! Instead, I walk around him until I am right in front.
"Well, well," I say in a low voice, "I see you've managed to rise from the dead, Krycek."
He smiles that smirking smart-ass smile. He raises his head, trying to focus on where I am standing. I see that he has his fake arm half- hidden a blanket while his other hand clenches and unclenches on top the blanket. He does not reach for a gun. This must be my lucky day, a trapped and damaged Alex Krycek with no weapons and nowhere to run.
"Good of you to drop by," he murmurs. "Were you in the neighborhood?"
I reach out and smack him across the face; he sensed my intent but couldn't avoid the blow. A red patch blooms on his cheek.
"Don't hold back on my account," he says, still smiling. "Let it all out. If you've been holding out all this time you have a lot to unload. Don't you Repression Boy? Go ahead, finish it if you can."
I raise my fist. I do not care that he is blind or a cripple. He is a total bastard no matter what his condition, but I find I cannot hit him again.
"You could just shoot me," he taunts.
I bite my lip and walk a few feet away to regain my composure and get another beach chair. I drag the old-fashioned heavy thing back with me and sit down. "How?" I ask him, although I really don't care. I take some more deep breaths.
He shrugs and does not answer.
"Why here?" I try again.
He moves his head as if he is looking the area over. "It's as good as anywhere." He says, opens his mouth to say more and then doesn't.
"I don't know about that Krycek" I answer. Your next domicile is gonna be a lot less comfortable and I really doubt anyone is gonna wheel you out into the sunshine."
He shrugs "whatever," he says and sits back in his chair, relaxing a bit.
With excellent irony, it turns out we will sit here and guard the ones we managed to catch. We will be here until the suits in London and D.C. decide what to do with these people. People who are well known to all of us as master criminals and about whom there is not a shred of evidence or proof other than our memories. That should be enough, but even I doubt the War Crimes Tribunal has the stomach for locking up old men and cripples for life. I cannot imagine Judge Rebecca Merryweather looking at his blind ravaged face, missing arm, and sentencing him the way he deserves.
We sit in silence as the day lengthens and the sun hides behind clouds and the wind really does tell us it is March and not June.
4) Tomorrow and Tomorrow
I've been here three weeks. The Senate subcommittee on alien insurgents has taken a two-week break for Easter and Passover. The Brits are having referendums for party dominance and no one wants to deal with this problem in a timely manner. Skinner seems to think this is a holiday of some kind and merely said he would go feed the fish in my apartment.
I sit with Krycek every morning on the sunny beach. The weather has changed and a hint of grass has begun to grow along the edge of the beachfront closest to the sidewalk. He manages on his own, going from his room to cafeteria to the beach. He has a room with a private bath, so I guess he manages there as well.
We do not talk much; when he grins, it makes my blood boil so I don't elicit any conversation that allows him to bait me into losing my temper. I notice he does not shave himself very well, every morning there is a place or two that he missed. His sideburns are uneven, but that might be from the lopsided surgery and the taut scars.
Three is no doubt he is in pain much of the time. I relished it at first, but now I wonder. I take a deep sigh; he does also although I am sure he does not notice he has copied me. He goes far away behind those blank eyes. I know this because he rubs his forehead and his mobile mouth turns down in a set of creases that weren't there before.
We never touched, except in violence. Well, there were a few commonplace touches when we worked those few cases together years ago. I look for any sign of that excitable rookie and find he is long gone, if he was ever real at all.
One day he brings a portable CD player to the beach and puts on a talking book. He has chosen well, an Anne Tyler, bitter feminist angst, read by a sultry voice. The plot winds back and forth, friends who become enemies, lovers who betray, and sex that is unsatisfactory, it frequent.
He has a sharp and unused laugh that startles me because I was watching him instead of following the story.
Alex Krycek, I think, Alex goddamned Krycek. All those questions that haunted me when I thought he was mostly, if not finally dead come back to me. They are foreign and unnecessary intrusions in the spring sunshine.
Knowing he is alive and right here in my face, aren't answers, but somehow I feel complete. A long time ago, a man who helped told me an old proverb, "Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer."
I watch him slide his fingers over the CD case, looking for the next one to put in the player.
I reach out and take the case, pop the other one out and put this one in. The story resumes.
He reaches out to take the case back. I take his hand instead. It is warm and dry and trembles ever so slightly in my palm.
I think he is my destiny.
Could you see the aisles of women?
The wind is whistling
Elvis are you out there somewhere
Another Hollywood waitress
The wind is whistling
Elvis are you out there somewhere
The wind it blows