May 1999

Disclaimers: <insert legal mumbo jumbo here> Rating/Pairing: PG-13 for a bad word; everyone's in it Summary: Alex dreams.

Notes: This was in response to a dream challenge Spike issued on Nick-fixx a couple of months ago and I never posted it anywhere but there. So it's not a story of any real length, but can it count towards at least half a story, Row? Feedback: Not sure if it's worthy, really, but sure. Luvnick62@aol.com

Beggars Would Ride

by Frankie

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I'm walking through the halls of the Hoover building, and although everyone is looking at me as if I'm deranged, there's not a thing they can do to me.

Stopping outside Skinner's office, I begin a pleasant conversation with his secretary and she tells me that I was really missed. I smile pleasantly and ask if the old guy's here. She nods and says he's expecting me. I don't bother to knock before going in.

"Good morning, Alex." Skinner smiles as he gets up to shake my hand. "Have a seat."

I return the smile, and sit down. For the first time I notice that my left arm is whole and for a brief moment I wonder how it happened. The details suddenly seem trivial so I turn my attention back to Skinner.

"Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, Sir."

"Well, I was happy to hear that one of our best agents was ready to return to his position here at the Bureau. You were really missed."

"I'm grateful for the chance to redeem myself."

The door suddenly flies open and Mulder bursts into the room screaming my name. Before I can react, he's knocked me from my chair and has me down on the ground as he punches me mercilessly. I don't resist him and simply put my hands in front of my face to shield myself from his blows. For some reason I feel no pain when each strike makes contact. Skinner's voice is booming over Mulder's angry shouts and I feel Mulder lifted off me. I lower my hands and see that Mulder is smiling down at me.

"Welcome back. We really missed you." He puts out a hand to help me to my feet and pulls me to him in a warm embrace. After kissing my cheek, he lets me go and looks at Skinner, who is watching us with a peculiar expression on his face.

"I told you he wouldn't fight back." Skinner seems smug as he makes this statement and I'm about to tell him why when Scully walks into the office.

"Hello, Alex. I have a letter for you. It's from Luis Cardinale." She hands me an envelope, but there's nothing in there from my former associate. When I look at her, puzzled, she smiles. "Well, he's dead. Of course there's nothing there. He died because he killed my sister. Welcome back. We really missed you." She walks out of the office and closes the door behind her.

I turn to Mulder and see that he is talking on his cell phone. "Yeah, he's here. Hold on." He holds it out to me. "It's for you."

"Thank you." My voice sounds so young to my own ears and I see Skinner laugh as if I've told the funniest joke he's ever heard. I put the phone to my ear. "Hello?"

"Alex. I see you've regained their trust. Good. I have a job for you to do."

I recognize the voice of the man who ruined my life and throw the phone across the room. It bounces off the back wall and Mulder frowns as he goes to retrieve it.

"I'd like to get back to work, Sir. Where have I been assigned?"

Skinner walks to me, stopping only a few inches away. I should feel uncomfortable because of his proximity to me, but I relax and wait for him to speak. He doesn't say anything, continuing to stare at me.

"Sir?"

Mulder comes up behind me and places his hands on my shoulders, rubbing them as if I'm a boxer he's getting ready for a fight.

"You can take him," he whispers in my ear. "Do it. You've regained his trust, now fuck him over, Alex."

I shake my head and look into Skinner''s eyes. They're completely blank though not unfriendly. He leans toward me and for a fleeting moment I'm convinced he's going to kiss me.

"He trusts you, Alex," he whispers in my ear. "Now you can really hurt him."

Again I shake my head. They don't understand why I'm here. I thought they were going to give me a second chance but they don't really expect me to change. I realize I can't be in the same room with them and make a move for the door. Mulder's fingers dig into my shoulders and Skinner steps closer, trapping me between the two of them.

That's where I always wake up.

END