Author/pseudonym: Mrs. Fish
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Warnings: Spoilers for Piper Maru, Existence and Via Negativa; m/m; language; AU
Archive: No; link okay. Do not forward to any other lists or archive without permission.
Book Cover: http://www.squidge.org/~mrs_fish/xfiles/bookcovers/chimera.jpg
Summary: Post-ep for Existence. Deny the Lie!
Disclaimer: This story is written for the private entertainment of fans. No infringement of any copyrights held by Ten Thirteen Productions, Fox, Chris Carter or others is intended. This story is not published for profit, and the author does not give permission for this story to be reproduced for profit. The author makes no claims on the characters or their portrayal by the creation of this story.
Notes 1: In my universe, Krycek has two arms.
Notes 2: Much gratitude to Ursula for the beta.
Chimera: n. Genetics 1. An organism consisting of two or more tissues of different genetic composition, produced as a result of mutation, grafting, or the mixture of cell populations from different zygotes. 2. An organism produced by genetic engineering, in which DNA from distinct parent species is combined to produce an individual with a double chromosome complement.
Falls Church, Virginia
The drive from the Hoover Building is a blur. Neither the interstate's sparse traffic, nor the darkened landscape registers except as flashes of headlights and glimpses of illuminated signs. Next thing I know I'm sitting in my driveway clutching the steering wheel in a white-knuckled death grip.
I stare through the windshield at the darkened house and shiver as my body breaks out in a cold sweat. As I unbuckle the seatbelt and open the door, a feeling of surrealism washes over me. I'm in a nightmare -- although I'm wide awake -- and I've been here before. But this time it won't be Scully's decapitated head I'm holding. Instead, it'll be a well worn and much loved leather jacket.
Every step is an effort -- my legs weighted down by unseen shackles. I force myself to keep moving one foot in front of the other again and again until I'm finally standing at the front door. I swallow convulsively -- fighting down the acrid taste of bile in my mouth as I fumble with the keys. It takes my palsied hand several tries, but I eventually fit the key in the lock, open the door, and step into the void.
I don't turn on the lights because that will make the emptiness all too real. Let me pretend for a little while longer. If I don't... if I just accept that I'm alone again, then madness will surely take me. I managed to stave it off after Luke died, but it was there lurking on the fringes for months afterwards. This death is different, although just as personal. He's become ingrained in my life... in my soul, and it's gonna take a long time to get over this, if ever.
It's almost too much effort to climb the stairs, especially knowing what awaits me. But I do so anyway because I know his scent... our scent, is still there in the tangled sheets. And I'd rather have that miniscule part of him surrounding me as I try to sleep than nothing at all.
The bedside light clicks on, momentarily breaking the silence, and I stare in disbelief at the tableau before me. The bed is neatly made; towels dropped in haste this morning are nowhere to be seen.
It's too much. I fall to my knees and sob out, "No...."
That's when I hear it -- the soft scrape of a shoe against the hardwood floor. I drop, roll and come up with my weapon drawn, ready to take on the intruder. But it isn't an intruder. Or is it?
"John, it's me."
My eyes tell me it's Alex, but after everything I've seen the past few days, I know not to rely on that alone. I rise from my crouched position and level the gun to a point in the center of Alex's chest.
"Don't move! Keep your hands where I can see them."
"John, we can settle this quickly. All you have to do is...."
"I know what I have to do!" I motion towards the bed. "Sit down over there on your hands."
Alex does as I ask. He even leans forward for me.
"If you so much as twitch...."
"Just get it over with. This is damned uncomfortable."
I step forward, shifting the gun to my left hand, then pull Alex's t-shirt away from his neck. I run my free hand over the exposed skin just to be sure. No bumps, but that doesn't mean he's human.
"Hold out your left hand."
"Just do it, dammit!"
I pull out my knife and make a small slash against the top of his hand. The blood's red. Jesus God, the blood's red. It is Alex.
"Ouch! God dammit, I can't believe you cut me!"
I'm relieved beyond belief, but I'm more than a bit pissed at Alex, too. Guess that's why I slugged him.
"You sonofabitch! How could you do that to me?"
I'm straddling Alex's thighs, pinning his arms to the bed. "Do you have any idea how I felt when Skinner said... when I thought he..." My words trail off to nothing, and I burrow my face into the hollow of Alex's neck. He smells of after-shave and leather -- my favorite combination -- and I breathe deeply, as if his scent were the essence of life. Perhaps for me it is.
We lay together for some time, neither of us speaking. I just want to reassure myself that he's real; that this isn't just a waking dream.
"John... John, c'mon, don't fall asleep on me. We need to talk."
He's right, of course. However, moving's the last thing on my mind. I do eventually roll over and face Alex -- albeit reluctantly -- but keep hold of his hand. "So talk."
Alex chuckles softly, then turns on his side. "I really wasn't thinking of having this conversation here."
"Why not? I'm comfortable."
Alex's face hardens a bit. "Because I promised you that I'd never bring the darkness into our bed. And that's one promise I intend never to break."
I nod my understanding and squeeze Alex's hand a bit tighter. "Let's go downstairs. I'll put some coffee on for us."
I doctor Alex's hand before we leave. It's not a deep wound, but I don't want to risk it getting infected. Once in the living room we settle comfortably on the sofa -- feet on the coffee table -- and just savor this bit of domesticity. I've gotten used to Alex's presence in the house. So much so that I can tell just by walking in the front door whether he's home or not. And I don't need to see his car to do it. Oh, hell! Sounds like a damned X-File.
"What's so funny?"
"This..." I motion to the two of us. "Just thinking how much a part of the household you've become, and how attuned we are to one another."
"Are you implying that we're an old married couple, John?"
"You got a problem with that?"
Alex gives me one of those 'light up your face' smiles and shakes his head no. "Not at all, partner."
Damn! Just seeing that smile makes my stomach flutter and creates a warm feeling in my groin. But I suppress the urge to fuck my lover through the cushions so I can hear how he survived being shot in the head by A.D. Skinner.
I turn slightly so I'm facing Alex. "Okay, brat... enough stalling. How in the hell is it that you're sitting here with me and not laid out in the morgue, or buried in a shallow grave somewhere?"
Alex lets out a deep sigh. "After delivering the death shot, Skinner and Mulder loaded me into Mulder's car and he brought me home."
I nearly choke on my coffee. "Mulder? How the hell did Mulder know to bring you here?"
"It was in the instructions I typed out for him. Skinner and I worked this out months ago, John. He filled Mulder in after he got out of the hospital. It was a contingency plan in case the aliens went after Scully's baby. I needed to be able to move freely against them. The only way that was possible was by dying -- or making it look like I did."
I move my now empty cup to the coffee table and run a hand through my hair. "Okay... that makes good sense -- about you moving around freely to fight the aliens. But Skinner shot you. He told me in gory detail how he shot you three damned times -- including one between the eyes. I was so upset I wanted to strangle the bastard. Why the hell would he do that if it was all staged?"
Alex clears his throat and stares into his cup. "Um... Mulder knows we're lovers, John; Skinner doesn't. I didn't want to complicate things for you at the Bureau."
"Dollars to doughnuts, Alex, I don't know what's worse -- telling Mulder or telling Skinner. Hell, why not let Kersh in on it too?"
"What were you thinking?"
"Will you let me finish, dammit!? I didn't tell Mulder. He knew. When I came around I was lying right here on the sofa, and Mulder was in the recliner watching me and sipping on a Coke. He asked me how long we'd been lovers, and if we'd been together during our time in the NYPD as well. Damned if I know how he figured it out. Guess that's why they call him Spooky."
I let that information rattle around in my brain a bit while I get us some more coffee. When I get back to the living room, Alex is leaning back against the sofa arm. He's taken off his boots and his feet are tucked under his legs, lotus style.
"Mulder's not stupid," I begin. "I'm sure he had me checked out thoroughly. In fact I know he pulled my FBI records. And you were partnered with him. He probably had you checked out at well. With that eidetic memory of his, it wouldn't have been difficult to match up our time together in New York. And since you specifically asked to be brought here..."
Alex nods. "He just put two and two together, especially since he knew I was gay."
"Do I wanna know how he knew that?"
A slow smile spreads across Alex's face. "I was assigned to him, remember? I found out quickly, though, that he wasn't interested; flattered, but definitely not interested."
"Well that answers part of my question. But you still haven't told me how you survived being shot in the head. You're obviously not one of the super soldiers, and you're not a clone. So how?"
Alex slowly unfolds his legs and moves to sit next to me. "It might be easier to show you." He pulls the bandage off his hand and throws it on the coffee table, then puts his hand in mine. "Watch."
Nothing happens at first. But as I watch, the cut slowly begins to heal until there's nothing but smooth skin left -- not even a scar to show that Alex had ever been cut.
"Jesus, God... How the hell did you do that?"
I look up when Alex doesn't answer. What I see sends my heart racing.
Alex's face has gone deathly pale, and there's a slight tremble running through him. I ease him down on the sofa, making sure his feet are slightly elevated, then check his pulse and respiration. They seem normal enough; and if it weren't for his ghastly color, I'd think he was just asleep.
I'm lost here. So I do what I think is best, like putting a cold compress behind his neck and over his pulse points. And sure enough, some of the color slowly starts returning to Alex's cheeks. He doesn't fully come around for another ten minutes, and he's still shaky when he does, but at least he's conscious and speaking.
"That usually doesn't happen," he answers weakly, as if that's explanation enough.
I really don't want to push Alex for answers considering the shape he's in, so I just ask, "Think you can make it upstairs, or do you wanna sleep where you are?"
He's smiling. That's a good sign... I think.
"If we go slow, and you lend me a shoulder, I'm sure I can make it up to our bed."
Our bed... Shit! Those damned butterflies are back again. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, then help Alex into an upright position. I'm gonna have bruises from the death grip he has on my biceps as we slowly make our way towards the stairs.
We pause at the bottom while Alex catches his breath. I'm really not sure he's gonna make it to the top, at least not without several stops in-between. But once again he surprises me. Once we start up, we don't stop again until I've got Alex seated on the bed.
"Please tell me you don't need to use the bathroom."
Yes, I'm whining. It's been a hell of a night, I'm tired, and damn... I hurt.
"John... what's wrong?"
Alex reaches out and pulls me down next to him. I'd tell him nothing was the matter, but the wince and gasp of pain betray me. Next thing I know, I'm flat on my back and my shirt's undone and Alex's eyes have gone wide.
"Christ! What the fuck happened to you?" He presses down on my ribs and I inhale sharply.
I have to really think about the answer to that one. And then I remember... the fight in the Bureau parking garage. Gene Crane -- or the thing that passed for him -- hanging onto the side of Skinner's car trying to choke the life out of me while Walt did his Dale Earnhardt imitation. The seat belt had dug into me like a garrote the whole time.
Alex's laugh takes me by surprise. It's definitely not the reaction I expected.
"What a pair we are!"
He's right. And I smile right along with him.
Somehow we both manage to get undressed and into bed without incurring any new injuries. Alex turns off the light, then leans over and kisses me softly.
"Night, JD. We'll talk more tomorrow... I mean later today. I still owe you some explanations."
I just nod and drift into sleep.
I'm floating in that twilight zone somewhere between sleep and wakefulness when my senses are assailed by the scents of coffee and cinnamon. My stomach rumbles in appreciation and I slowly open my eyes despite the sunlight pouring through the windows.
Alex is carrying a breakfast tray over to me. He sets it down on the floor, and then leans down to give me a kiss.
"How are you feeling?"
I wince as I sit up. A quick glance down reveals some lovely bruises running diagonally from shoulder to hip. "Guess I've been better."
Alex nods, arranges the pillows behind me so I'm comfortable, then places the tray across my lap. Coffee and brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts -- the only way to start the day out right. My mouth waters in anticipation.
"Thank you," I mumble around a bite of pop tart.
"You've taken care of me enough times over the years, John. About time I started returning the favor."
"Not necessary, but appreciated all the same." I follow with a small toasting gesture with the coffee cup.
Alex mimics my move, adds "Na zdarovye," and clinks our cups together.
"Yea... well... now that we've established the state of my health," I start, then quickly gulp down the last of my coffee. "What about yours?"
I know something's wrong when Alex answers me in one or two word sentences. That and the fact that he has on his 'neutral' face -- the one that doesn't betray any emotions.
"Not ready for explanations yet?" I smile, just to let him know that it's okay if he doesn't want to talk.
"Not here. Why don't you take a hot shower and get dressed. I'll be in the living room when you're ready."
Alex takes the tray and starts toward the stairs, but turns to face me just before heading down. "There's some salve on the sink that'll help those bruises. Use it after you shower. The heat helps activate it."
And with that he disappears down the stairs.
I sit there for a minute longer, wondering when I'd lost control of my personal life. The only answer I can come up with is the moment Alex Krycek walked into it.
Smiling, I get out of bed and head for the bathroom.
I'm not sure if it was the hot shower, the salve or a combination of the two, but I have to admit I do feel better. I dry off, throw on a pair of jeans, t-shirt and socks and go downstairs to face my partner.
As promised, Alex is sitting on the sofa waiting for me when I get downstairs. I make a quick detour to the kitchen for more coffee, then join him.
"Yea, thanks. You ready for this?"
Alex nods and slides a thick manila folder over to me. "Those are my medical records -- the ones the Consortium compiled since my birth. You know my parents were both Russian scientists working on the hybridization project. I was closely monitored because of it. According to the doctors I've consulted, there's nothing unusual about me. I had the usual childhood illnesses, my growth rate was normal, etcetera."
I thumb through the folder as Alex speaks. Most of this stuff is way over my head, but I do recognize some of it -- vaccination records, blood tests, x-rays, EKG strips -- some pretty standard tests were done on him.
"But something happened to change you, right?" I put the file back on the table and face Alex.
"Yea... in 1995. I was in Hong Kong, on the run from the Consortium. I'd... uh, acquired... a digital tape containing original DOD UFO intelligence files and they wanted it back. Don't ask me how, but Mulder managed to find me, and he was determined to bring me back to DC. He'd roughed me up a bit, then sent me into the bathroom to clean up. That's when things got weird. I was taken over by one of the oil aliens -- one who'd been here since the forties at least."
"Jesus!" I grab Alex's hand and clutch it tightly in mine. "Sorry... go on."
"It's okay, John, really."
Damn, he's trying to reassure me. It should be the other way round.
"I ended up locked in a silo in North Dakota along with the alien and its ship. I don't know how the hell I got out. One minute I was pounding on the silo door, bordering on hysterical, the next... I woke up in the woods a couple miles from the silo with no recollection of how I'd gotten there."
Alex takes a break here to drink some water and gather his thoughts. God, I just want to wrap him in my arms and never let go. But I have to let him get through this on his own, for both our sakes.
"After that I, uh, used some connections to get back to New York. That's the gist of it. It never occurred to me to get checked out afterwards because I didn't have any unusual side effects or symptoms... until I ended up in Russia with Mulder."
At this point Alex hands me another manila folder. More test results, except these have lots of notations written on them in red ink -- extra chromosomes, unusual blood chemistry, no known tissue match.
My stomach clenches as if I'd been sucker punched, and I swallow hard to fight down the nausea. I don't know what to say, and anything I do will be trivial. So I just toss the folder on the table along with the other one and do what I should have a while ago -- pull Alex into a tight hug.
"I love you."
Obviously I've said the right thing because Alex wraps his arms around me and buries his face against my neck. When he finally pulls away, his eyes are bright with unshed tears.
"I... I need to finish this or I'll never be able to."
"Go on," I say softly.
Alex nods, then starts talking again. "The alien apparently left a tiny bit of itself inside me. That bit somehow grafted itself to my DNA and changed me so I'm not quite... human anymore. One of the results of this merging is the ability to heal myself, even from wounds that would otherwise be deadly."
"That's why you didn't die when Skinner shot you."
"Yea... I just need time and quiet space to heal."
"I still love you, Alex. This doesn't change anything between us except maybe I don't have to worry about you as much now when you're gone."
Those tears that threatened to spill earlier break loose, and I find myself with an armful of appreciative Alex Krycek. Next thing I know he's got me down on the sofa and we're playing tonsil hockey.
"I love you, JD." Alex whispers breathlessly when he pulls away.
"Why don't we take this upstairs where we have more room to maneuver?"
Alex slides off me, purposely grinding our erections together as he does. He takes my hand and we make our way back up to our bed.
Guess I'll have to be extra nice to Mulder next time I see him. Maybe a bag of sunflower seeds as a peace offering...
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