Title: Hole in the Ground
Author: Amy B.
Fandom: XF
Pairing: sorta M/K, K/o implied
Rating: NC-17
Series/Sequel: No
Feedback: More than welcome at jb7811@bellsouth.net
Disclaimers: The XF characters do not belong to me--CC, 1013, Fox, etc have
that privilege. A few folks I did make up, but you'll know which ones are
which, I'm sure.

Notes: This story is expanded from a snippet that I posted to a list or two
a while back as "Dreaming in Poetry". Thanks to Mouse and Nicole for
stupendous beta and to Jenny for research help.
Summary: Alex in the silo after Apocrypha.

-----------------------

I had a dream last night...at least, I think it was night. Sometimes it's
hard to tell. Sure, I have dreams all the time, but luckily I don't
remember most of them. The nightmares can stay buried in the murky recesses
from which they come for all I care. That 'confronting your demons makes
them weaker' idea is just so much bull. If you bring them up into the
light, not only do you have to see how incredibly ugly they really are, you
have see them every damn day until you finally come to your senses and bury
them again.

So anyway, I had this dream where I'm standing in the middle of a wide
grassy meadow, which is scattered with the obligatory wildflowers and
surrounded by dense old growth forest. Above the trees, the sky boils and
rolls with black and gray thunderheads. Gold and silver threads of
lightning give the storm depth and fury. Yet over the meadow, the sun is
shining and the sky is a most mesmerizing shade of cerulean blue, dotted
with fluffy white clouds that look like cottony bunny tails to my whimsical
eye. And I stand there in the warm still air, looking around, just sort of
soaking it all in... the beauty of the place, the complete, unnatural
silence.

I hear a quiet sound, a tiny little whuff in the air and a shadow passes
over me. It's small but so out of place that I notice it right away. I
look up and see a hawk flying overhead. Well, I think it's a hawk. I'm not
exactly Marty Stouffer or Marlin Perkins. I watch the sheer grace of the
hawk as it wheels around and flies back toward me, overwhelming me and
giving new meaning to the words 'poetry in motion'.

Suddenly, I become the hawk. I'm soaring through the sky, the wind rushes
past in a torrent of sound, but I am silent as I tuck in my wings and dive.
I'm an arrow, a meteor streaking toward earth, utterly unstoppable. The
power of the moment consumes me. I *am* the hawk.

The small brown rabbit stands frozen in the grass. Its tiny brain tells it
that if it holds still enough I won't see it. Stupid rabbit, your tricks
won't work on me. I aim for the rabbit with the deadly accuracy of a
sharpshooter. Now that's an analogy I'm intimate with... only this time,
I'm the bullet.

I silently swoop down, death from above, and snatch the rabbit from the
ground. My razor-sharp talons dig into the soft fur and firm flesh of my
prey, which squirms and squeals in useless protest. I devour it slowly. My
sharp beak rips small bits from its bloody flesh as my claws hold it still.
It feeds me well and when I'm done, I hunt again. For another rabbit, a
gopher, a prairie dog, whatever small defenseless creature I can find.
That's nature. It's what hawks do, how we live.

I am beauty and blood and truth and brilliance and death and freedom. I'm
an immutable power. I am the hawk.

When I wake up from the dream, my first thought is of Fox Mulder. I wonder
where he is and what he's doing. Maybe I'll pay him a little visit when I
get out of here. Somehow I'll see him, even if I don't speak to him-- just
the briefest bit of contact would be enough. I think.

My second thought is of hunger, as it so often is. By my count, I've been
in this silo for nearly two weeks. I wonder if it's possible to feel your
body starving to death? I've gone hungry before, but never like this.
Sometimes I think that I can actually feel my cells trying to feed off each
other then dying by the millions. Then I tell myself I'm being ridiculous,
that with my body mass (or whatever the important factor is) I can probably
survive for quite a long while before turning into a pile of bones. But
mostly I try not to think about it. Instead, I think about freedom until it
hurts too much, then I think about Mulder until that hurts too much too.

I found a pipe whose steady drip gives me enough water to live on. At first
I wouldn't drink it because I didn't know where it came from and I was so
sure someone would come for me. After awhile I knew I had been truly
abandoned. I'm too strong-willed not to fight for survival, so I drink the
water, even though it tastes rusty and brackish and may eventually kill me
anyway. It also makes me feel like a hamster, but I have to try, right?

If I could just get out of this room, I know I could get completely free of
the silo. I know it because I tell myself every single day. But the door
is solid steel with a reinforced frame and locks that are virtually
unpickable. Even if I had some tools, I couldn't get out of here. There's
nothing in here to work with. There's nothing in here at all except for me
and the ship, and I can't get close to it--not since I woke up, slumped
against the door with the dawning realization that the Oil was gone and I
was me again. I've tried a few times, but my instincts or subconscious or
something starts screaming at me to get back.

Maybe it's the last vestiges of self-preservation begging me not to submit
to the Oil again. Like I had some kind of choice the first time. Yeah,
right. I was minding my own business, taking a leak in a Hong Kong airport
bathroom, when I looked up to see a woman. I thought it was funny that she
was in the men's room, until she slammed me up against the wall, lifting my
feet from the floor. Of course, now I realize the Oil gave her the strength
to do that, but at the time I thought some insane lady bodybuilder was
attacking me. It was scary and so unreal that I almost didn't believe it
was happening. Except for the wall, cool and hard against my cheek, and my
feet, dangling in midair, I would have thought I was hallucinating when the
Black Oil started to slither out of her and into me. It was cold and felt
so wrong, so *alien*, for lack of a better term, that I would have done
anything to get rid of it, but it already had control of me. And now that
I've lived through the actual process of getting rid of it, I'm in no hurry
to repeat the experience, so I don't fight the compulsion that keeps me away
from the ship.

Thinking about the Oil and the complete control it had over my body makes me
shiver and curl up against the wall, hugging my knees to my chest in a
parody of comfort. I hated not being in control, my actions not my own. I
watched everything from so far away that it was like sitting in the back row
of the movie theatre and seeing myself on the screen. I would yell at
myself to do something, to *say* something to Mulder, to let him know about
the alien presence that was between us, but the words never made it to my
lips. I don't know if Mulder ever figured out that I wasn't me anymore.
It's not like he really tried to talk to me on the flight back to
Washington. It's not like he ever really knew me to begin with. He didn't
want to get to know me and since I wouldn't have let him anyway, it's
probably for the best that he didn't try.

It's ironic that I was such a good little drone for the Syndicate and then
they tried to kill me. Do everything you're told, Alex, and look at the
reward we'll give you. A fiery horrible death. So I escape with my little
trump card, my ace in the hole, and what happens? I become a drone for some
Black Oil alien, and then get trapped here to die, slowly withering away to
nothing. Personally, I'd have preferred the car bomb, or a nice clean
bullet to the back of the head. I can appreciate efficiency, and even
prolonged suffering if it's for a good cause, but this is all so pointless.

At first I was scared. I mean, that thing could decide to come out and get
me again. That sounds like a kid afraid of the closet monster, but it's
true. The monster is real and it's in here... with me. The cold creeping
horror of that unavoidable fact kept me awake for three days straight. I
couldn't close my eyes for fear that the Oil would take me again. Take me
over, under, *away*... away from myself, and that is one terrifying
prospect. After awhile of inactivity on the alien's part, the fear became
muted--it's still there but no longer edged with panic. I don't have any
idea what the Oil is doing in there, but at least it seems to be *staying*
in the ship. I don't know how long the reprieve will last, but I have this
feeling that I'm going to get out of here soon. I don't know how, and maybe
I'm deluding myself, but I can feel it just the same.

I sometimes wonder if I'm going insane, being locked in here with that
*thing*, but then I think that if I can ask the question I must be okay.
Most normal people probably don't give a lot of thought to sanity, but it's
always been something highly prized to me. Maybe it comes from watching my
grandfather drift off into his own little world as he got older. He didn't
know where he was or what he was doing or even what year it was most of the
time. They finally locked him away in a nursing home where he would lie in
his bed--often in his own filth--fighting a war that had been over for forty
years. Forgetting all his English, he would yell at the nurses and
orderlies in Russian, until they would call my father and if they couldn't
get him they'd call me, threatening to strap the old man down and sedate
him. He thought he was fighting the bloody Nazis and they want to give him
a tranquilizer--like that's going to make it okay? He'd still be fighting
them in his head--suffering in silence. Fuck that. I'm not going to go
crazy and I am sure as hell not going to suffer in fucking silence.

I have to get up and move around. At first, I would get up and walk around
the perimeter the room, but I realized I had to conserve my strength. I'm
getting pretty weak, but I have to get moving every once in awhile to keep
from getting so sore that I *can't* move. Don't want to just sit down and
give up, and I have to fight the boredom somehow.

The boredom is truly unbelievable, and often becomes so hypnotic that I
entertain thoughts of trying to astrally project myself right out of this
hole. A couple of times I felt myself drifting and thought for giddy
breathless moments that it would actually work. But of course, I snapped
out of it and crashed back to earth, the irrational disappointment almost
bringing me to tears. At other times, it's almost psychedelic and I imagine
all sorts of ridiculous things. I refuse to call them hallucinations
because that implies I have no control over them--over my own mind--and that
is something I can never accept. All those years of avoiding anything
stronger than vodka and here I am, tripping on *boredom* of all things.
Just say no. This is your brain...this is your brain on boredom. Any
questions? Damn, I'm doing it again...

A week ago I cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner in my head, from writing
out the grocery list to setting the table to finishing off that last bite of
pumpkin pie. It took hours to go through each little detail, but it kept me
busy. It was also painful, reminding me how hungry I was, so I haven't
tried anything like that again.

Instead I practice the multiplication tables, the periodic chart, the
Cyrillic alphabet, and try to name all the high holy days of the Eastern
Orthodox Church and all the saints that I can remember. I conjugate verbs
in French and Latin and try to list all the curse words I've ever heard in a
dozen languages. I plot the downfall of governments, and plan elaborate
assassinations--the Morley smoking old man is at the top of that particular
list.

Occasionally, I relive pleasant childhood and teenage memories-- my favorite
bike, playing first base in Little League, the first girl I kissed, the
first girl I got naked, the first boy I kissed, learning to drive. I
remember the time Tommy Kirk and I both snuck out of our houses late one
summer evening and went over to Robert Tanner's house. Robert's mother
worked nights and his dad had died three or four years before that and he
had just found where his mom hid the key to the liquor cabinet. The
temptation was too great for a trio of fearlessly curious twelve year olds,
and we proceeded to sample every single bottle in the cabinet at least once,
and going back to the ones we liked several times. It was great until we
got so drunk that Tommy passed out under the kitchen table and Robert and I
were in no shape to try to get him home. We finally left him there and I
staggered home, stopping once to throw up in old Mrs. Grayson's precious
petunia bed. When I tried to climb the tree to get back to my room, I fell
and broke my arm. I cut off the memory right there, because what came after
falls into the category of "not so pleasant." My hand creeps up to my jaw
before I can stop it. Those bruises faded years ago, and there's no point
in dredging up the pain again now.

Rubbing my fingers over my prickly new beard, I try to think of something
else. I wonder what I look like now. I've never worn a beard before, and I
have to wonder if I look like a dork. I don't consider myself a vain man,
but looks are important and I'm looking pretty bad right now. My clothes,
which are hanging loose from the weight I've lost, are ragged from being the
only thing I've had to wear since I've been in this hellhole. It's been too
cool to take them off, although I have taken off my shirt a few times and
tried to rinse it out in my meager water supply. I don't know if it has
much effect on the smell--I've grown rather immune to it--but it makes me
feel like I'm *doing* something. I try to wash myself off the same way
with the same questionable results.

Mulder would probably greatly enjoy my current condition. He'd paste a
cruel smile on a mouth that wasn't made to be cruel, and he would laugh his
ass off...that skinny ass that looks so good in a red Speedo... Don't go
there, Alex. There be dragons-- big, scaly fire-breathing dragons. So
what? When has that ever stopped me? Why shouldn't I fantasize about
Mulder? He sneaks into my thoughts quite often, and it doesn't hurt
anybody. It's not like I can do anything about this desire while I'm in
here and he's out there in the world...free, damn him. I can't even do
anything with *myself* at the moment. I sure hope that problem fixes itself
when I get out of here. I'm too young to be impotent forever.

When I get out of here, I'm going to do several things: eat, take the
longest, hottest shower I can possibly manage, shave, burn these clothes,
eat some more, find someone to have sex with, and go see Mulder. I haven't
determined the order yet, but that's what I'm going to do.

What will I do when I go to see Mulder? I know what I'd like to do. I'd
like to sneak into his apartment while he's sleeping and wake him by
sticking my tongue down his throat. Yeah, that's it. He wouldn't try to
bite either. Oh, no, he'd be happy to see me. He'd throw his arms around
my neck, kiss me back, and pull me into bed with him. I don't think he
actually has a bed, but in my fantasy he does. Sofa sex is fine if you're
hot and bothered enough, but I'm going to be looking for comfort when I get
out. So...he'd pull me into bed with him and he'd be naked and turned on
just for me. He'd strip off my clothes while I kissed him some more. I
think I could kiss him for hours, but after awhile we'd start touching,
gently at first then clawing wildly at each other. I'd pull his head back
and sink my teeth into his throat, marking him where everyone could see that
he belonged to me. And I'd stare into those chameleon eyes as I took him
hard and fast and he'd love it. He'd scream and beg for more because I was
the best that he'd ever had--no, the *only* man he'd ever had. Yeah, he'd
be a virgin, and he'd be scared and I might--if I felt like it--try to
soothe him as I rammed my cock into his tight, tight ass. I'd tell him how
sweet he was and he'd tell me how much he loved me. And then I'd get out of
his bed and go home. And if I was feeling really generous, I might get him
off before I left.

Maybe I'd go to Scully's place next... I wonder if Mulder's ever slept with
Scully? I don't think so, because everyone would expect that and Mulder so
seldom does the expected. I should dislike Scully because of the way she
treated me when I worked with Mulder at the Bureau, but I don't. I should
lust after her because she's a beautiful woman, but I don't... not really.
So how do I feel about the enigmatic Doctor Scully? I respect her for the
incredible amount of crap she must go through just being Mulder's partner
and yet remains by his side. I'm also amused by the fact that she stays
with him, when a sensible person would have run for her life long ago. So I
really wasn't too broken up that it was her sister and not her that died
when Cardinal panicked like a stupid rookie. Although now that I can really
sit down and think about it--what else have I got to do? -- have to wonder
if Cardinal actually panicked after all. The man was a stone cold
professional who'd come through a lot of fire. He was probably ordered to
kill Scully or *whoever* showed up, and nobody mentioned this little fact to
me. That's what pisses me off the most about the Syndicate, the cabal
mentality. They only tell you what you absolutely need to know, or what
they *think* you need to know. But the old man's not out in the field where
a little information can make a big difference in how an operation goes
down.

The old man-- the Smoker-- is high on my hit list right now. That bastard
is going down as soon as I get the chance. That's where Mulder's going to
prove to be useful. Man, when did it get so hot in here? I believe he
still thinks he'll be able to just bundle the whole lot of them off to jail,
like they were petty drug dealers or bank robbers. His...what?...
innocence, naivete, pure blind devotion to his own cause is an amazing
thing. Hell, I don't see how he has the energy to keep it up.

Heh, heh. Mulder keeping it up-- now there's an image for you. Damn, it's
hot in here! I wipe my forehead and find it dry. OK, that can't be good,
can it? Great, I'm gonna die of a virus or an infection--of the mundane
earthly kind-- now instead of a bullet or a bomb. What a fucking
disappointment that is.

I go over to the door and inspect it for the thousandth time, always looking
for a way out. I don't want to die here, abandoned and forgotten. Alone.
No, I can't... can't... "NO! I don't want to die I don't want to die I
don't want to die. Alone alone no no not alone... I have to get out of
here. I don't want to die in here. Do you hear me, fucker? DO YOU FUCKING
HEAR ME YOU FUCKING BLACK OIL FUCKER?? I don't want to die in here! Use
some of that superior technology to get me THE FUCK out of here."

Just like a dozen times before, I bang on the door until my hands are
bruised and my knuckles are bloody, still screaming and cursing until I fall
into an exhausted heap. Shivers wrack my whole body as I fall over to one
side of the door. I hurt all over, my already sore throat feeling raw and
abused now. Every muscle seems to have turned to water, and I have a
headache again--still. Opening my eyes--when did I close them? -- when I
think I hear something. I've heard other phantom noises that teased me with
the possibility of freedom, but they always turn out to be nothing, just
wishful thinking.

Wait, there it is again. It sounds like footsteps. I listen carefully for
a minute, holding my breath, but my heart is beating so loudly in my ears I
can't be sure if what I hear is real this time. Then my heart seems to stop
all together as I hear a faint scratching from the other side of the door.
I slide up the wall to my feet and start yelling again.

"Help! I'm trapped in here! Hey, can you hear me?" My voice is a hoarse
croak, and I suddenly have doubts that whoever's outside would be able to
hear me. "Please, help me! Get me out of here! Please, help me!" My
voice breaks and I stop screaming and just listen for a moment.

There's a clank, and oh, thank you, thank you, the door is OPENING. "Yes,
yes, get me out of here," I mutter and lunge for the door. A couple of big
guys in black fatigues appear in the doorway then and I bounce right off one
of them, like hitting a brick wall. I hit the concrete floor hard enough to
knock the breath out of my chest. After a panicked moment of being
completely unable to draw in a breath, I lie there gasping and staring at
the two men as they look at each other, then down at me, and back at each
other with no expression whatsoever. After a moment of silent
communication, one reaches toward me and I lift my hand, thinking he's
offering to help me up. He ignores my outstretched hand, and goes for my
shoulder. What the fuck-- is he gonna do a Vulcan neck pinch or something?
No, he's got something shiny in his hand...

My first thought is to get the number of the truck that hit me. Damn, I
hurt, and I feel like I've been out for hours, maybe days. I open my eyes
and even the low lights of the room sear into my brain like flames. Ah,
okay, that's a bad idea. For a few moments, I lie on the floor just
breathing and aching. Finally, I open my eyes again, and sit up slowly,
fighting off a wave of dizziness in order to do so. Fuck, I'm still in the
silo! Where are the guys? Noticing the utter silence, I look around...

The fuckers are gone! They left me here. Damn it all to hell, they left me
here. The ship is... They took the ship and left me behind. Okay, maybe I
should be glad, but that'll have to wait until I'm not so pissed off. I'm
just about to scream out my frustration when I notice a slight draft over to
my left.

"Ahh, YES!" They left the door open! Yeah, I can get out of here.
Finally! I pull myself to my feet and walk out the door. Elation
overwhelms me and I feel tears in my eyes for the first time in I don't know
how long. I'm free... sort of. I still have to get to the surface, and I'm
not even sure how far down I am.

Standing in the corridor, I feel the elation start to fade and hopelessness
takes its place. There are probably miles of corridors, and me without a
map. I close my eyes and try desperately to remember how I got here, but
it's all a garbled mess of indecipherable images.

"Okay, Alex. You have two choices, stand here until you die, or start
walking." No choice really. I start walking... well, actually I'm pulling
myself along the wall, my legs too weak to hold me up. At the first fork, I
have to decide again which way to go, and I can't stand up any longer. So
randomly choosing the left corridor--and hoping it's the *right* one-- I
start to crawl.

After a long straight stretch and another turn, I collapse onto the floor,
exhausted and shaking. I can't go another inch. I'm so tired, maybe if I
get some sleep I can continue later. I'm so close to freedom, relatively
speaking of course. I swear the air seems so much fresher out here that I
think I could get high from just breathing.

"Is he dead?" A shaky male voice brings me out of the stupor into which I
seem to have fallen. I'm trying to open my mouth to answer, when a booted
foot nudges me in the ribs. A faint groan is all I can manage, but it's
enough.

"Nah, he ain't dead. Whew, but he *smells* like it." The second voice is
also male but sounds older, more confident. This second guy speaks up
again, sounding farther away. "Leave him. Let's get what we came for and
get out of here."

"But Terry, he's not dead! We can't just leave him. He might die if we
do." The kid speaks again, sounding indignant and shocked. Bet he's never
stood up to old Terry before, but I'm glad he's got the guts to do it this
time.

Finally getting my eyes open, I swallow hard and gasp, "Please... help...
me."

Footsteps move closer and scruffy combat boots stop right in front of my
face, and Terry says, "Fine. Tommy, you have to carry him. The rest of us
have real work to do. Come on, men." And I hear at least three distinct
sets of footsteps echoing off into the endless corridors.

Tommy... My rescuer's name is the same as my childhood friend. I wonder if
this kid's got flaming red hair and a beautiful sister named Moira? I don't
have time to wonder any more as he hitches me up over his shoulder in a
fireman's carry. He carries me for what seems like days.

When he stops to rest, he props me up against the wall and I get my first
good look at him. He's a strapping young man whose brush cut hair is sandy
blonde, not red after all. He asks my name, and I don't even hesitate,
"Arntzen. But call me Alex."

"How long you been in here, Alex?" His nose twitches, but he doesn't make
any comment on my condition.

"Couple weeks, I think."

He nods at my answer, and I wonder what that means, but before I can ask he
lets out a long breath and says, "Well, let's get going."

I take a few steps and collapse against the wall, he stops my slide before I
hit the floor and hitches me back up over his shoulder.

"Sorry," I gasp out the words as I hang over his shoulder, my face almost
even with his ass. "I'll... I'll...uh, make it up to you.... sometime."

"My mama's a retired nurse so she'll get you back on your feet. Then you
can repay me." To my surprise, he brings his free hand up and playfully
smacks me on the ass.

Well, color me speechless. So, I'm in with Tommy and his mother, but what
am I going to do about Terry and the rest of the boys?

Tell them the truth-- a *small* portion of the truth that I will spin to my
advantage. I'll tell them what they want to hear, whatever will get them on
my side. Maybe I can use them to get to the old man. A backwoods militia
group and Fox Mulder, what a delightful combination to play with.

And a hot young Aryan stud to play with for as long as he's useful-- as soon
as I get my strength back.

God bless America.

The End.