Walter Skinner placed the file in his briefcase. It was his best lead so far and the only real lead he had.It was Walter’s gut that told him to take a leap of faith and check it out. He thought about what little he had discovered. With only the thin FBI file to start with, Walter had tried to find something, some record that Alex Krycek had indeed existed. After he had shot the boy in the garage to save Mulder, his conscience had eaten at him. He questioned every move he made, sometimes finding he hesitated when he shouldn't. Finally he decided his heart wasn't in it any more. He had put in for retirement much to the bureau's and Mulder's dismay.
Retirement provided too much time to think. Too much time to think about what had happened over the past eight years and the many faces of Alex Krycek. Krycek was only consistent in one aspect. Inconsistency.
Walter's dreams had taken on that quality as well.
They were a kaleidoscope of macabre images of Krycek crawling out of the shallow grave in which Walter had buried him to seek his revenge. Sometimes he appeared as a super soldier hunting and killing everyone that meant something to Walter, before finally turning on him and ripping him apart.
Often times Krycek was the fresh-faced rookie straight from the academy, only in Walter's nightmares, the sweet young face was dripping with blood and had a bullet hole in the forehead between two impossibly large and green eyes. He couldn't shake the images when he woke up and they followed him like ghostly apparitions all day.
He thought about what little he had discovered again, mulling over whether it was a real lead or just grasping at straws. Aleksei Shimanek, boy, born thirty-seven years ago on the same day listed as Alex Krycek's birth date in his FBI file. Aleksei was born in Russia to a woman who died in childbirth. Then raised by the grandmother. It was the grandmother that had escaped Russia's cold war borders for a new life in America. No listing of who the father was so Walter assumed Shimanek was the mother's name, same as the grandmother. Shimanek was Czechoslovakian and Walter could find no reason for their presence in Russia at that time, but he didn't think that it was a very important issue.
He traced Elena Shimanek and Aleksei to a small town in Tennessee. The rural community at one time had a large mix of Russian and Czech residents. The reports now were that it was a ghost town, dried up and weathered away. Walter hoped he could find more records at the courthouse, if it was still there. Many towns that died like Chickamauga ended up razed to the ground and the land given back to nature.
Turning on his computer he sought out a map of Chickamauga. Each search proved more and more frustrating until finally he gave up and called the Lone Gunmen. Their search proved futile too. Frohike suggested that Elena Shimanek had lied on the immigration forms and asked if Walter wanted them to do a nation wide search of the name. Walter agreed, but his instincts keep pulling towards the mysterious Chickamauga. He checked the local library next, coming up empty there also. The library of congress had maps dating back to the mid fifties but none of them showed a town named Chickamauga to exist. Now he did find the historical battlefield of Chickamauga in Hamilton County near Chattanooga, but no town.
He loaded up his dark green Expedition with everything he thought he would need for his journey. A brand new lap top sat in the passenger seat, a present from the Lone Gunmen. They had made it completely wireless so that Walter could use his cell phone as a modem. Walter took his time down I24 just enjoying some of the beautiful countryside. He would randomly choose small towns to take a break in. The folks at the local diners were always friendly and spun story after story of where Chickamauga was located, but none of them seemed to know for sure.
It was in Murfreesboro, Tennessee that Walter caught the glimpse of a brightly colored patchwork quilt resting in the window of an antique shop. On closer inspection he decided it reminded him enough of the family quilt Sharon had made off with in the divorce that he decided to buy it. It wasn't the same. It didn't hold the same sentimental attachment as the one his great grandmother had so lovingly sewn, but it was priced nice and Walter didn't think it could hurt anything. He wandered around checking out the small shop. Sharon would have hated the store. Her idea of antiques were highly polished heirlooms from wealthy families. She never could understand that beautiful craftsmanship also came out of poor and impoverished people too.
Walter dug through a pile of old magazines, checking the dates and seeing history unfold in the timeless dusty pages. Near the middle of one stack he found an old road map of Tennessee. The date said 1939. It was the oldest map he had found of the region. He opened it slowly, making sure not to tear any of the weathered flaps. In the middle of the map, with a small star beside it, he found Chickamauga, located some thirty miles between the battlefield and Chattanooga.
His knees grew weak and his hand shook. He had almost given up believing the town existed, and Frohike's words that it was a lie following him as his truck ate up the miles. It was about a hundred miles south of Murfreesoboro. When Walter went to the counter to pay, the shop owner offered him a new map put out just a few months before. Walter thanked the man, paid for both maps and the quilt and left.
It was late afternoon when Walter pulled down the old state Highway 64 East that led to the turn off for Chickamauga. It seemed like time had stood still in this part of the country. While on the main interstate he had traveled with large groups of cars, while this highway was practically deserted. He had almost missed the turn since the only sign was for 64 West. The further he got down the road, the fewer and fewer cars he met, until he looked down and realized it had been over fifty miles since he had last seen another human being.
The first time, he missed the exit. There were no mile markers and no signs. He had made an illegal u-turn and went back and tried again, slowing down until he was idling down the road. He spotted the abnormal brush growth first. He stopped the truck and walked around. Kicking a few dead limbs and leaves around he started to see what looked like a road. Walking a bit deeper into the brush, Walter was surprised to find a gate blocking the road. He pulled the Kudzu off of the wide chain link exposing more and more of the hidden gate. The dense vines had woven into the links from the nearby large tubers.
Walter worked his way over until he found the latch. Again he was surprised, instead of it being locked it was dangling by the hinge. He pulled the gate wide enough for his truck and drove through. He stopped and closed the gate. The air was heavy and the silence almost suffocating. Walter strained to hear something, anything to tell him he had not stepped into another world, but there were no bird songs and even the wind seemed to have stopped blowing. Shaking off the eerie feeling that had crept up his spine, Walter climbed back in the truck and headed to Chickamauga proper.
Dead limbs covered the road, which was rutted from disuse, and Walter was glad his truck had good shocks as he hit pothole after pothole. As he got closer to town he started seeing old abandoned vehicles. Some were right in the middle of the oncoming lane, some were over to the side and one he had to pull around.
When he reached the edge of Main Street, Walter almost wished this had been one of the towns the government razed when it died. Instead Walter looked upon what would have been a quaint small town, streets lined with the traditional a barbershop, sundry and general store. It was as if time had stopped in Chickamauga. There were no broken windows from vandalism or weather. Doors were still open inviting in the elements and the wild animals. Walter stopped the truck. A shiver ran down his spine. There were no signs of wild animals. Wild things always made their homes in abandoned areas like this in the hopes man wouldn't return.
He pulled into the spot next to the 1969 Plymouth police cruiser boasting "Chickamauga's Finest' on the side. It was parked outside a building that had 'Sheriff's Department' carved in stone next one similarly reading 'County Courthouse'. Walter tried the knob on the courthouse door. It was locked but the rotted wood gave way with a small yank. He stepped into a tomb. Everything was as if the residents had just got up one day and left. A thick layer of dirt covered the furnishings and the light from the late afternoon sun cast rays of light on the dust that swirled in the breeze when he opened the door. He turned around and looked back outside. The trees were still.
Walter walked around the large wooden counter. The desks looked ready to be
dusted off and used except that there were no papers scattered about. Walter
spun around trying to catch any sign of paperwork, a calendar or perhaps a
note pad. He hurried over to the file cabinets, yanking each drawer open and
finding them all empty. He went to each desk and found the same thing.
Slamming a drawer closed in frustration he thought maybe this was some sort of cruel joke. Maybe Chickamauga didn't really exist. Maybe this was one of those towns the government was fond of building to use when testing weapons.
All this way for nothing he thought angrily, kicking the smaller secretary's desk he had last searched. Dust bounced and filled the air, the lighting making it look almost like a golden fog. Walter was turning around to leave when his foot caught on something. He squatted down to have a better look. Underneath the desk he had kicked was a small faded town directory. He pulled it out and quickly flipped through the pages looking for Shimanek. He almost threw the book across the room in frustration. The only address listed was east of town.
Alex let the screen door slam as he stepped out onto the front steps of the dilapidated wraparound porch. His grandmother had been so proud of this land and this house. Their new life in America started when she had sold all of her family jewelry in order to purchase the old farmhouse. She had claimed that they were lucky to have such a fine house free from the turmoil back in Russia.
She had made sure Alex didn’t lose his mother’s native language nor her own. By the time Alex was old enough to go to the little grade school in town he was speaking English, Russian and Czechoslovakian fluently. He became the school's prize pupil. The teachers had approached Elena about skipping him ahead, but she refused saying she wanted a normal life for her grandson.
Sometimes, if Alex closed his eyes tight enough he could smell his grandma again. The lilac water she favored mingled with hot summer sweat. He could see the way her brown eyes would sparkle when she spoke of his mother and how they would harden when she talked of his father, her own son.
Elena had one faded photograph of Eliska Krycek. It was a picture of her when she was barely eighteen and headed to the University of Moscow where she met his father, Edik. Eliska was tall and delicate, with raven hair and piercing green eyes. The photo had been black and white, so Alex could go only one his grandmother's word. She had told him of the beautiful young woman his father had brought home on a school break for her to meet. Already six months pregnant and glowing with impending motherhood and blind love for his father.
His father had left to go pick up groceries and never returned, leaving Elena with a very pregnant girl whom her son had conveniently left before marrying. Elena tried to make it up to the distraught young woman by giving her a home, but Eliska's heart had been shattered when Edik had abandoned her. The rest of the pregnancy had been rough. At eight months, Eliska had gone into labor.
Aleksei was born in the small hospital near the house. Too late the small town doctors realized that Eliska was bleeding internally. She died before the sun had risen. Elena lied to the doctors claiming Eliska was her daughter and that the father was unknown to them. Not wanting to be saddled with an orphan, the doctors accepted her story and let her leave with the boy.
Elena buried Eliska in back of the house in a small family cemetery. Then she had fled the country with Aleksei, and taking only a few belongings, Aleksei's birth certificate to prove he was hers and a small fortune in family jewelry.
Alex looked over the overgrown yard and the fields that had gone to seed. When he was young, their land had seemed endless, and their house huge to a small child. It wasn’t much, but to Alex growing up, it seemed like a mansion. Now looking at it, Alex knew it was too small of a farm to have done anything but feed them and supply them with a token pittance.
He sat down on the porch steps and looked out across the fields lying fallow, feeling a lump rise in his throat as his mind was flooded with memories of growing up there. Getting up, he walked around back and down the path to his grandmother’s grave. It was the one promise he had kept, to bury her on their land. Kneeling beside it, he pulled the weeds to make room for the wild flowers to spread. His grandmother favored wildflowers over all other kinds. He missed her so much.
Dusting off his worn jeans he took off towards the woods to the south. Alex smiled in remembrance of the many times he and Billy Johnson had gone exploring in the same woods as children. When they were older they would take Alex's old truck down the makeshift dirt road to their favorite secluded spot, where they discovered each other . Giggling and laughing about the girls in school had turned into a passionate awkward kiss. It was there, under a willow tree, that they had first explored each other's bodies. It was there they spent countless hours falling in love.
“You know what I want?” Alex asked Billy, raising up on an elbow and looking over at his best friend.
“Gee whiz, Alex. You are such a slut. I don't think I can get it up for at least another hour,” Billy replied without missing a beat and with a very put upon sigh. “Is sex all you ever think about?”
Alex used his free hand to lightly punch Billy in the stomach and was rewarded with a loud 'oomph'. His momentary victory was short lived when Billy flipped them over with the speed that had won him the star quarterback position, and pinned Alex to the blanket they had spread out underneath the pines. Billy couldn't resist the temptation and started playfully smacking Alex on his rump.
“Stop it,” Alex yelled. “Damn it, Billy, I'm trying to be serious. We're graduating next year.” Billy couldn't see it but he knew Alex was pouting. Sometimes he would tease Alex just so he would get to see the pout.
Billy stopped his impromptu spanking and kneaded Alex's tense shoulders instead. “So, I thought we had this all worked out. I got my scholarship to UT. It's more than enough to pay for a double dorm room. So all you have to do is get a student loan or something and study computer science. I don't see the problem. We stick to the plan, everything will be cool.”
“The problem is grandma. She can't run this place by herself. Couldn't you...” Alex bit his lip. “Couldn't you go up to Chattanooga instead? That way you would be close and I could come visit and still stay here and help out with the farm. I could attend the junior college.”
Billy had to say something before Alex rambled his mood away. Sometimes his best friend didn't know when to let something go. Billy's dad liked to say Alex was like a dog with a chicken bone.
"Alex, my scholarship won't transfer, you know that's not how it works.” Billy leaned down and nuzzled Alex's neck underneath his longish hair. Billy loved Alex's hair. Loved the way it was so dark brown it was almost black, but after a summer of working and playing outside, the red highlights looked like fire when the sun hit it. Especially this time of night just before the sun would start to set.
Alex was his best friend since before they were in long pants. It wasn't until one day when he had turned to say something to Alex that Billy was struck with how beautiful his friend was. Something about the way his eyes turned as dark as the evergreens, yet shone so brightly as if to blind him. The thick fringe of black surrounding the overlarge eyes beckoned Billy. On impulse, he had leaned over and captured Alex's perfect lips in an awkward kiss.
They had both leaped away from each other. Unable to put into words what had happened, they laughed and said it was their 'teenage' hormones that all the grownups were always going on about and that they just needed to find themselves some girlfriends.
Nothing changed between them. Still joined at the hip they went to school, Billy playing football and Alex watching. Billy was six foot two and still growing but Alex had stopped growing at five ten. His slender frame and small stature didn't lend itself to playing football with the rest of the corn-fed sturdy teens in their town. Alex always said he didn't mind being slightly smaller than Billy and the next time the two had found themselves parked off the old road behind Alex's grandma's land, Billy found out he didn't mind, either.
It had started out as all of their mock-wrestling matches always did. Billy would let Alex get the upper hand until he became over confident, then Billy would toss Alex over his shoulder and take them to the ground. Billy never failed to pin Alex, only this time when he looked into Alex's face beneath him, chest heaving from exertion, lips glistening and slightly parted. It wasn't raging hormones that made Billy lean down and kiss Alex.
"Have you even tried?" Alex whined. He knew he sounded pathetic but he couldn't stand the thought of Billy leaving. Billy shook his head to clear the cobweb of memories.
"Let's not talk about it." Billy snaked his hands beneath Alex, searching out his nipples through the thin fabric of the t-shirt. He found them and proceeded to rub circles around them, unable to stop himself from grinding his growing erection into Alex's tight jean clad ass. "Unnngh..."
"I thought you said you couldn't get it up again," Alex said snickering. He buried his head in his crossed arms under his head, loving what Billy was doing to him.
It had taken them three weeks of touching before they finally held each other's cocks and masturbated each other to climax. It was an experience neither forgot but they had realized they wanted more. Shyly, Billy had suggested trying what he had seen on television late one night while his parents were over at the Kalneceks playing pinochle. Alex hadn't been sure. He had held Billy's cock in his hand and didn't think it would fit where Billy was suggesting.
"If you didn't have such a fine ass, I couldn't." Billy started thrusting harder just imagining stripping the tight Levis off and sinking himself in hard and deep. Billy remembered the first time; it seemed impossible that he had ever fit into Alex's tight channel.
Alex had been so tight even after he had worked for several minutes using the KY he had found in his mom's nightstand. He wasn't entirely sure about what to do, but had a good idea the lubricant was for making it easier on Alex. After several aborted attempts in various positions, Billy had knelt behind Alex and finally slipped inside with more force than he had intended. Alex had cried out in pain, sobbing for Billy to pull out. Scared and shaking, Billy had started to gently remove himself from the tight heat, when Alex had cried out 'Oh my god!' Fearing he had hurt his best friend, Billy reared back, accidentally taking Alex with him and then slipped. Alex fell backwards onto Billy's lap and moaned. When Alex was finally able to talk, he had begged Billy to do what he had done again. Billy was at a loss to repeat it, but after a couple of more tries, they had found a rhythm that took Alex's mind off of the waning pain of penetration.
"Yeah, well if you keep that up you're going to come in your pants, shit head." Alex started laughing harder as Billy flipped him over and scrabbled at his button-ups. They were so worn the buttons nearly gave way before Billy managed to work them through the buttonholes. A quick yank and Alex was splayed naked before him, his cock flushed and flopping on his stomach, leaving pre-come each time it twitched in anticipation.
Billy stood up and shimmied out of his own jeans before sinking back between Alex's knees and lifting the long legs over his shoulders. He let out a primal scream as he sunk balls deep into Alex in one thrust.
"So good. So good. Oh god!"
Alex was glad he was still loose and slick from earlier. He loved it when Billy let it all go and took him with abandon, but sometimes Billy forgot the lube and riding down the road in the Ford got a little tough. His thoughts fled as Billy began pounding in earnest. It didn't take long before Billy came with another loud shout. Alex stroked himself until he spurted across Billy's stomach. It was the third time so far that evening and even with youthful exuberance Alex hadn't had much left. Since finally taking the last step, they stole away as much as possible to have sex. It had become nothing for them to sneak away several times a day, but Alex liked it best when they came out to the woods where they had privacy and could really let it out.
Billy flopped over and pulled Alex into his arms. Alex nestled his head on Billy's broad chest, both of them panting like they had just run the track. He loved times like this. He wished they could freeze time and stay that way forever. Their own private little heaven.
"What time is it getting to be?" Billy asked lazily. Alex brought Billy's arm up and looked at the quarterbacks watch before throwing the wrist back to its owner.
"Shit, it's almost eight," Alex jumped up and started pulling on his clothes. "I told grandma I wouldn't be out late tonight. She wants me to take her to Jasper in the morning. Early." Alex bent over to pull on his boots giving Billy's cock a slight interest before it decided it had had enough for a couple of hours.
"We ain't that late, come here and give me a kiss," Billy said after he finished dressing. He took Alex in his arms and nibbled on the sweet cupid bow lips. Alex had better lips than any of the girls at school, he thought as he deepened the kiss. He was glad he had kissed Alex all those months ago; he couldn't imagine his life without his best friend like this. Billy reached down and grabbed a handful of his favorite ass, lifting Alex onto his boot tips. They continued necking until Alex pushed Billy away. He was already getting hard again and they didn't have time.
"Don't forget these," Billy teased. Alex always made sure to pick some flowers for his grandmother during their outings. Billy didn't understand why it made her so happy when she had a yard full back at the house but they had been picking them for her since they were kids.
"Thanks," Alex said, thankful that Billy hadn't let him forget something so important. "Come on, let's get going."
Billy mumbled under his breath about cock teases and then helped gather up the blanket and cooler, putting them in the truck. The boys climbed into Alex's old Ford and headed back towards town. Billy had left his Camaro at Alex's house. He claimed it was because the truck took the back roads better but in reality he didn't want to risk the paint job.
When they got near Alex's home, they finally noticed the dark cloud hovering over the township.
"What hell is that?" Billy asked.
"I don't know but it looks like a rain cloud. I've never seen one that low before. It doesn't seem natural." Alex slowed the truck down and peered up at the cloud that was steadily rising. "Well what ever it looks like it's leaving now."
"That's just fucking weird," Billy said as he watched the clouds ascent. "Fucking weird shit."
Alex pulled up beside the old frame house and then hopped out and called for his grandmother. She usually came out on the porch when they got home. She knew about Billy and him. She approved, even encouraging them to being openly affectionate around her. She was very demonstrative but feared Alex had lacked enough emotional support growing up without a mother or father. She felt it was only his friendship and subsequent romantic relationship with Billy that had kept Alex from being a shy withdrawn loner.
The screen door opened and slammed shut with the evening breeze, startling the two boys. Alex knew immediately something was wrong. His grandma always kept the latch on so the door wouldn't break off the hinges in the wind. Running up the steps, he called out for her in a panic. "Grandma!"
Billy was right on Alex's heels as they ran through the house throwing open doors and checking for Alex's grandmother. They found her in the kitchen, slumped down on the table, blood trickling from her ears, mouth and eyes. It looked like she had been snapping peas and just fell over into the bowl.
"Oh god! Grandma!" Alex screamed rushing to her side. Billy turned from the scene wanting to throw up. The closest he had ever been to a dead body was when his great grand father had died. And then he had just seen the casket.
"Alex? Is she...is she dead?" Alex didn't answer. He held the lifeless body in his arms sobbing. "Babe, I'm going to get help." Billy put his hand on Alex's heaving shoulders. Alex didn't look up; he merely clutched his grandmother tighter to his chest.
Although Alex continued to keen and Billy wanted nothing more than to hold his lover, they needed help. He ran out the door and hopped in the Camaro, stirring up more dust as he peeled out of the driveway. The cloud was almost gone by the time he got to the edge of town. It was only when he turned up Main Street that he saw them.
Dozens of men in what looked like space suits.
Throwing the car in reverse, Billy prayed they hadn't spotted him. He pushed his car to the limits through the back streets to his house, weaving between car and trucks that were wrecked along the road. He put his hand over his mouth in an attempt to keep himself from vomiting at the sight of his friends and neighbors lying dead.
By the time he got to his house he knew in his gut what he would find. With tears streaming down his face, he got out of the car and stumbled up the gravel drive, past the white picket fence onto the lush green lawn. Just inside was the body of Doreen, his little sister, her lifeless eyes staring blindly at the sun, trails of blood running down her cheeks. Next to her was Sarge, the German Shepherd his parents had given him when he turned twelve. Choking back a sob, he stepped into the house.
The quiet was deafening as he moved through the rooms. "Mom? Dad?" he sniffed out. "Are you home?" Billy walked past the kitchen to the backdoor. The scene was the same as it was everywhere. His parents were lying in pools of their own blood which still poured from every orifice. He sank to his knees, burying his face in his hands. "Oh god, oh god. Please don't let this be real."
Billy never heard the men enter the house.
Alex was in a fog. All he could think about was three summers ago when grandma had made him promise her that he would bury her under the Silver Maple out back. She had planted wildflowers around it: an array of sunflowers and bachelor buttons with a sprinkling of paintbrush. During the cooler evenings, she would carry the lawn chair that Alex had made in shop class under the tree and sit and watch the sunset.
On automation, Alex went to her bedroom and gathered up her favorite quilt. One of the few things left from her life in Russia. She had spent countless evenings telling him the stories told in each patch of the quilt. He carried it back to where he had laid her body. He stood for a moment, clutching the quilt to his chest and then carefully he wrapped the body in it before picking her up and carrying her to her special spot. After gently laying her down, he silently walked back to the barn to get a shovel.
He finished covering her with dirt and arranged the wild flowers back onto the grave. They were the hardy kind that would take root again in the fertile soil without dying. His grandmother had loved roses but preferred flowers that could survive harsh conditions. She had called them her beautiful survivors. He sat beside her grave and whispered the prayers she had taught him. Billy loved to hear him speak Russian and would ask him to read poetry to him that way.
'Billy,' Alex thought turned back to his boyfriend's whereabouts. It had been too long to just get help. Alex brushed off his jeans and headed for the truck. He climbed in, indifferent to being covered in dirt and sweat soaking his back. It was getting dark so he flipped on the headlights. He knew the roads like the back of his hand but didn't want to take the chance in case Billy came roaring up the road.
Alex slowed down when he spotted the jeeps and soldiers blocking the road into town proper. They saw him too and raised their weapons. Alex turned the wheel and hit the gas. Whatever was going on, he wanted no part of the military. It was the one thing his grandmother had insisted on, a left over fear from the old country.
He drove the Ford at top speed through the cornfield not caring if Mr. Beketov tanned his hide for it or not. Alex heard the helicopter moments before the light blinded him enough to lose control of the truck and hit the old oak at the edge of the field.
"He's coming around," a deep voice rumbled. Alex squinted his eyes against the bright lights in the room. His head was throbbing and his body ached all over. Last thing he remembered was a helicopter overhead.
"What's your name boy?"
He didn't answer. His eyes finally adjusted to the light but with his head still aching, he took a moment to take in his surroundings. He didn't recognize anything but it had a faint air of military to it. At least what he had learned at the movies. He went to rub his head and realized his hands were handcuffed behind him. He struggled to get loose until the big man asking his name smacked him across the face, snapping his head back.
"I asked your name boy."
In a moment's desperation, Alex dug deep before answering with his mother's name. "Krycek. Alex Krycek."
"It's not on the list. What were you doing out there?"
"I was visiting my friend. We were just hanging out. Wha...what's going on?"
"Nothing you need to know about."
The door opened and a watery blue eyed man with cigarette smoke following in a trail behind him, stepped into the room and into Alex's view. The man took a deep drag before exhaling into Alex's face. "Any signs?"
"Nothing yet, sir. Says he's from another town. Could be he wasn't exposed," the man suggested.
The man took another drag before replying, "The other one's dead, mark Billy Johnson off the list."
"Nooooooo!" Alex screamed trying to lunge free of the restraints. The cigarette smoking man reached and grabbed Alex's chin, holding him still.
"So you knew young Mister Johnson?"
Alex pulled his chin from he man's hands and glared defiantly at him, but didn't answer. His insolence was met with another blow to his face. He raised his head and spit out a glob of blood, barely missing the smoker. The man raised his hand to backhand Alex again but stopped when a man in a lab coat peered in the door.
"Mr. Spender. We got the blood work back," he looked at Alex in amazement. "He's been exposed, just as much as the other boy. But, sir. He's immune."
Spender turned back to Alex, a grim smile on his face. He took a deep drag of his cigarette before putting it out on Alex's thigh. Through his grunts of pain, Alex heard the man's words as he walked back out the door.
"He should prove useful then."
Alex was thrown from his thoughts as realized he was back standing at his grandmother's grave. He looked down at the small bouquet of wild flowers in his hand and wanted to weep but the day she died was the last time he had shed any tears. He placed the flowers next to the stone marking the head of the grave and turned to go back to the house.
He let the door slam shut as the entered the kitchen and walked over to the sink where he had put his cooler. He pulled out a bottle of water and took a long drink. Alex leaned against the counter and examined the man sitting at the table.
"What do you want, Skinner?"
Walter almost jumped out of his skin for the second time in less than a minute. He had stared in shock as Alex Krycek's ghost had walked into through the door, wondering if he had finally gone insane. The apparition looked nothing like the man from his nightmares. This incarnation of Krycek was older than Walter remembered. The gray at the temple only accentuated the high cheeks bones and wide eyes.
The eyes. The beautiful startling green eyes were nothing like the mad glittering eyes of the man he had shot. The ghost took another swig of its water and then casually walked to the other side of the table and flopped gracefully in a chair. Walter watched the whole process in rapt fascination. Krycek's ghost ran a finger down the side of the bottle capturing the drops of condensation before they could spill onto the dust-covered table.
"You're dead," Walter said when he finally found his voice. The ghost looked amused.
"I've been dead a long time."
Walter bristled at the lazy insolent tone mocking his sanity. "No, I mean you are dead. I shot you. I buried you. You're dead you traitorous bastard."
The ghost's eyes flashed with hurt before the dark fringe of lashes lowered and he looked away over the back of Walter's shoulder. "That you did, Walter Skinner. That you did."
"Is that the reason you are haunting me? Is that why you brought me here?"
Alex looked back at Walter's face. The man was serious. If it hadn't been so ridiculous he would have laughed. "I didn't bring you here, Skinner. How did you find this place anyway?"
Walter couldn't believe he was sitting there having a conversation with a ghost but thinking it was a way to exorcize his demons he thought he might as well answer. "A lot of research and digging. It wasn't easy and I almost gave up a few times."
"Why do it?" Alex drew his lips into a thin line. Walter didn't like that look, he had found he preferred the lips parted and full. He shook those thoughts from his head.
"I was trying to understand you, Krycek." Walter rubbed his hand over his face. He had yet to understand the quest himself and now trying to explain it to the ghost of the man he had been searching for made it seem even more ridiculous.
"Why did you want to understand me?" Alex asked. He was finding the conversation surreal.
"Where to begin? I wanted to understand who you were and why you did the things you did. There were to many sides to you, none of us involved really ever got a handle on who you were." Walter paused thinking a moment and then asked, "Got another one of those bottles of water?"
Alex's mouth dropped open at the abrupt change of subject. "Uh, sure, help yourself. There's some beer in there if you want."
Walter stood up slowly and moved to the sink, he was sure if he turned his back on the ghost it would disappear. As he cracked the top of the bottle of beer on the counter's edge he suddenly was struck with the fact he still was thinking of Krycek as a ghost. Since when did ghosts carry a cooler full of beer with them on their haunts? Walter roared with laughter, clutching his side. All this time spent looking for the ghost of the man's past only to find the real thing,
"You insane, Skinner? Is that why you here?" Alex asked casually.
"No, not insane. Just very, very amused at fate right now," Walter said, sitting back at the table.
"I'm glad someone finds this place amusing," Alex replied. His eyes got that faraway look again as he stared at some spot behind Walter.
Sobering up, Walter asked, "What happened here?"
Alex felt his heart clench and the words catch in his throat. He took another long drink of the cold water before spilling his tale. Walter listened as the horror of what had happened in the sleepy little town unfolded. Even with as many years spent on the X-files as he had, what the Consortium had done here was still shocking. Alex finished his tale and stood up. The water bottle was empty and he crushed the plastic in his hand before hurling it across the room.
Walter stood up and reached for Alex only to have Alex spin on his heel and leave the room. Walter heard the screen door slam, the sound echoing in the quiet. He followed Alex's path but paused next to the dusty bookcase in the living room. He hadn't looked around much when he first got there so he missed the many knickknacks and pictures lining the shelves. He picked up a small framed photo of a beautiful young boy being held around the waist by an older woman. The boy was unmistakably Krycek. He carried the picture with him to the front porch but stopped at the door frame. Notches had been carved in the wood and he could just make out the faded pencil inscriptions next to each one. The last one read 'Alex 17, 5'10"', Walter thought about the Alex he knew. The boy must have been a late bloomer, he thought.
Alex was sitting in the porch swing, rocking it back and forth with his foot. He was staring off into space again. Walter walked over and stopped the swing for a moment and sat down beside Alex. Alex didn't acknowledge Walter, only started the swinging again.
"I'm sorry," Walter whispered. His voice sounded loud even to his ears. He traced a finger over the photograph idly wiping the dust from it.
"Don't be. I survived. Isn't that what is important?"
"And how did you survive a bullet between the eyes?"
"Jeremiah Smith. My reward for being such a good little soldier in the resistance."
"Alex, why are you here?" Walter asked deliberately using Alex's first name. Alex finally turned and looked at him.
"I wanted to say goodbye."
"No," Alex's voice cracked. "Grandma and Billy, they were the only good things I ever had. I...I can't."
"Alex, they would want you to. You've held on too long, it's time to start living again."
"Billy and I used to always bring grandma back a bouquet when ever we were out," Alex said, his voice lost and trembling. Walter wasn't sure of where this was leading so he remained quiet but he did inch a little closer to Alex.
"She loved them. All of them. That's why she planted so many of them. Grandma said they were survivors just like us." Walter noted that the more Alex talked about his grandmother, the more the indefinable accent suddenly had a small soft drawl to it. "She loved each and every flower I brought home."
Curiosity winning out, Walter finally asked quietly, "I'm surprised she would want you to cut bouquets then."
Alex glanced at Walter face. "Wild flowers, if you pick'em by the roots, then they will retake to the soil." Walter nodded his understanding.
By the time Alex finished his story, It was getting dark but Walter didn't want to move. Alex felt so right in his arms. He felt Alex head move making the soft fine hairs tickle his chin. Walter couldn't resist tilting his head slightly so he could rub his cheek across the sable locks. Alex started to sit up but Walter resisted letting him go. He managed to pull back enough that he could look Walter in the eye. Neither man said a word.
Walter's eyes darted down to the sweet cupid bow lips begging to be kissed. He leaned in giving Alex a chance to protest. When he didn't, Walter captured Alex's mouth letting Alex's warm breath fill him. He deepened the kiss and suddenly Alex was responding in kind. Walter tightened his hold around Alex, pulling him against his chest as he plundered the sweet succulent lips.
Alex's hands wandered up to Walter's shoulders holding on as he shifted his body until he was half way into Walter's lap. He reached up and ran an appreciative palm across Walter's bald head. Suddenly Alex took over the kiss, plunging his tongue in and out of Walter's mouth. Walter let go of Alex's waist to reach down and grab a handful of Alex's full ass. Alex moaned into the kiss. Walter kept kneading Alex's ass through the rough denim until Alex moaned again and leaned back.
Walter shifted Alex until he was sprawled in his arms. Alex had one long leg resting on the porch floor, the other bent at the knee. Walter cradled the back of Alex's head as he once again took control of their kisses. He reached between the spread legs and pressed his hand into the shaft he could feel straining against the well-worn fabric of Alex's jeans. Walter moved his hand further down to cup the full and heavy balls, lifting and massaging them in their tight prison.
Alex pushed against Walter's chest to end the kiss and said, "If you don't stop I won't last much longer." His body sent a different message as his hips bucked into Walter's hand.
"Want to take this inside?" Walter whispered into Alex's ear. Alex bucked again and moaned.
"It's getting dark, we better get back to the main road before it gets too dark to see."
"Shouldn't we just stay here?"
"There's no electricity."
"We'll use candles," Walter said as he took Alex's hand and lead him inside.
The setting sun provided just enough light for them to dig around until they decided that time had eaten away at all the linens. "Well, I've slept in worse," Alex said as he tried to sweep some of the dirt off of the mattress.
"Don't worry about it, Alex. I'm going to get some things from the truck. Is there somewhere we can clean up?" Walter asked.
"Yeah," Alex said softly. "I'll get us some water."
"The pumps work?"
"We put in an electric pump early that summer but the unless the well's run dry, I should be able to get some from the old pump."
Walter dug around in the truck looking for his backpack that held all his more personal items. The old quilt he had bought caught the corner of his eye. Walter snatched it up along with a bag of groceries. He carried those in before going back and getting a few more necessities.
Walter found Alex staring out the back door. He had a pail of water in his hands. The surface of the water provided the only evidence of Alex's trembling. "Alex?" Walter asked as he stepped beside Alex and put his arm around his shoulder.
"Look at them, Walter." Alex said, his voice has a slight tremor to it. Walter looked, all he could see in the darkened yard was dozens of fireflies.
"I don't understand. You mean the fireflies?"
"I've been here all day. No flies, bees, not even a gnat."
Walter thought back and it was true, he hadn't seen any bugs or animals since he had made the turnoff. "What do you think it means?"
Alex shrugged in response. Walter kissed his temple and then took the bucket out of his hand. With his free hand, Walter laced his fingers with Alex's and tugged him back to the bedroom. The room glowed with candlelight as the flames flickered in the slight breeze coming through the window. On the bed, Walter had spread the quilt he had bought earlier that day thinking that maybe after tonight it would hold some sentimental value.
He set the bucket down and started unbuttoning Alex's shirt. Alex didn't resist but also didn't offer in any help. Walter dropped the shirt to the floor and captured Alex's lips. The move awakened Alex and Walter found himself being stripped quickly of his own clothes. When they were both nude, Alex pulled Walter to the bed.
Walter didn't let Alex have the lead long before he took control back plundering Alex's mouth and tracing every contour of Alex's body. He grasped Alex around the waist and lowered him to the bed. Walter hovered over the strong body beneath him. Alex was built solid but his skin was silk. Walter ran his hands over the tiny bit of extra flesh Alex carried around his middle. He leaned down and captured one of Alex's nipples, worrying it with his teeth. Alex arched into the sensation and Walter moved his hands to the lush extra flesh of Alex's ass.
Walter couldn't decide where to put his hands next. He wanted to touch Alex all over. Walter circled his tongue round and round Alex's brown nipple and the switched to its twin. Alex's started pushing his hips up, grazing their hard erections into each other. Walter felt Alex's body shudder and knew he was close. He pulled back and leaned on one arm. He lightly traced the fine-feathered brows of Alex's face, down the high cheekbones to the slightly parted lips. Alex's eyes were half closed and his breathing labored.
"Alex, I need to get the lube and condoms." Walter whispered. Alex grabbed Walter's exploring finger between his lips and sucked it, rolling his tongue over it lazily before letting it go with a pop.
"I'll be here," Alex said. Walter groaned, thinking maybe he wouldn't use lube but Alex's own salvia. Still, he needed the condoms. He rummaged through his backpack for his treasures. He had laughed originally at carrying them but was glad he had stuck by the motto of always being prepared. When he turned back around, Alex was kneeling on the bed. He had his head resting on his crossed arms, knees spread and ass raised high and inviting.
Walter thought the sight was tempting and wanted to take Alex up on the offer but decided they would do things his way the first time, because he planned for this to be the beginning of what would be many more nights together. He crawled in behind Alex and gently guided him to lie prone on the bed. Walter spooned up behind Alex, letting his cock nudge at Alex's crack. Alex wiggled back trying to help. Walter placed a quick playful smack to Alex's flank.
"Settle down, boy." he growled, while nibbling at the spot just under Alex's ear. He slipped the condom on quickly and coated it with lube. He then added more lube to his finger before working the large digit between Alex's cheeks. Alex pushed his butt into Walter's finger, trying to get Walter to speed things up. Walter growled in Alex's ear again, sending shivers of goose bumps over Alex's flesh.
When Walter was satisfied Alex was lubed enough, he patted Alex's thigh and guided it to a slightly raised position. Walter moved his cock to Alex's puckered hole. He nudged at the tight ring of muscle waiting for Alex to relax and open up. Slowly Walter inched his way inside. Alex was tight and Walter wondered if it had been as long for Alex as it had been for him. After a long agonizing slow push, Walter was finally completely inside.
He wrapped his arm around Alex's hips and took hold of Alex's hard cock. He moved his hand in time with the rocking of his hips. Slowly he maneuvered Alex on to his stomach. Walter slid his hands beneath Alex and grasped hold of Alex's cock with one hand and cradled the warm plump balls at the same time. He started to rock in to Alex with a little quicker pace.
Alex loved what Walter was doing. He was used to a fast and rough fuck with some unknown stranger he had picked up in a bar. Sometimes he would fuck them, but most of the time he would find someone who looked a lot like he imagined Billy would have looked had he had the chance to grow up. No one since his first love had taken this much care with him while having sex. Walter's big cock moving in and out so slowly felt so intimate. So real. The way Walter's strong body weighted him down wasn't uncomfortable but instead made Alex feel safe and oddly at peace.
Walter never stopped his slow steady pace but he could feel the impending orgasm approaching like a storm. Alex felt Walter push in a little harder although just as slow. Walter grazed his prostate with unerring accuracy until Alex felt the tingle start to build in his abdomen. He was so close. Walter gave one last hard push and growled into Alex's ear, "Come, boy." And Alex obeyed immediately.
The insistent singing of a robin roused Walter from sleep. He rolled and stretched, luxuriating in the way his back popped. He couldn't remember the last time he had sleep so well. He patted the bed next to him and found it empty. He sat up quickly. Alex's clothes were gone. Walter started laughing. He had gone insane. He had spent the night with the ghost of the man he had killed. Maybe that was his penance. Maybe now those ghosts would rest. Walter rubbed his hand over his face and swung his legs off the bed.
His foot landed in something slightly moist and very sticky. Walter didn't want to but he knew he had to check and see what it was. He braced himself and looked. His foot was resting in a soft white t-shirt lying next to a used condom. Alex's t-shirt? The one he had used to clean them before they drifted off to sleep. Walter bent over and picked up the shirt. It smelled of sex and Alex.
Walter pulled on his jeans and boots, deciding to clean up after he found Alex and had some coffee. He looked around for his shirt, guessing Alex took it when he got up. Walter wandered into the kitchen and thankfully poured a cup of coffee from the pot Alex had made on the camp stove Walter had carried in the night before. He walked over to the back door and gazed out into the yard. Out beneath a Silver Maple tree he could see Alex sitting cross-legged in the middle of a bunch of wildflowers.
The early morning sun felt good on his bare chest as Walter walked the worn path to the maple tree and Alex. Alex was wearing his shirt and Walter thought that it looked good on him. He approached Alex quietly enough not to disturb him but loudly enough not to startle him. Alex looked up when Walter sat down beside him. Walter smiled at him and said, "You're wearing my shirt."
"Sorry, it...it made it seem more real," Alex whispered and turned his face to hide the blush that had reddened up his cheeks.
"It's all right. I was just thinking that you looked good," Walter said before he pulled Alex to him and kissed his temple. They sat that way for a while listening to the birds singing before Alex spoke again.
"I saw her, Walter. Grandma. I saw them all." Alex wiped the single tear that escaped his brimming eyes. "She said that she was glad I survived. They all did, even...even Billy."
Walter didn't say a word; he stood up and pulled Alex up with him. He laced their fingers together and turned up the trail to the woods. "Where are we going?" Alex asked.
Walter stopped and pulled Alex into a passionate kiss and said, "Let's pick wildflowers."
Baby whatcha say we go pickin' wildflowers?
Got a spot way back in the woods.
Sneak away for a couple of hours,
You and me baby, pickin' wildflowers....Keith Anderson 2005