Title: Bilhah's Tale
Spoilers: Patient X / TRATB, The Blessing Way, Sleepless et al.,
Summary: Fourth in Alex's side of the Cornerstone series; Alex
WMM's wife ("Elisabeth's Tale)
Sequel to "Hagar's Tale." This really wasn't gonna be
a series, I mean
For Merri-Todd, mirroring "Elisabeth's Tale."
My stories (Alex speaks) in Cornerstone:
1) Abishag's Tale
2) Rahab's Tale
3) Hagar's Tale
4) Bilhah's Tale
("And she [Rebecca] said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto
her; and she
shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her."
She sits down in the room with me, up from her
after-travel nap. Her husband has excused himself
from my presence to get ready for bed, though that
will be more than an hour from now. She's terribly
elegant, in a rather severe way, and there's no
disguising, even to me, that although her suit is
old, it's a hand-tailored Chanel. Even I can spot
that; I could have even before her husband taught me
about clothing. The pearls are also real. The
woman is a menace, I admit it. She seems to like
me, though I can't think why. She rings Tomkins for
brandy for both of us.
I know what my presence has looked like. I'm very
well aware of what her children were thinking at the
will reading and the funeral, and though she finds
it difficult to believe, I'm actually slightly
embarrassed. Which is odd, because I've never
really cared what people think of me, just as long
as they don't try to kill me.
It looks exactly like some cute, stupid guy made
himself a living by selling himself to a rich,
elderly man. It looks exactly like I batted my
eyelashes at him until I conned him into writing me
into his will. And now his kids think I'm hanging
around to amuse his widow. God.
And for some reason, it really matters a great deal
to me that she's aware that all of that simply isn't
true. That she does know that Alex Krycek may be
goodlooking and a conniving bastard, but he isn't
cute and he isn't stupid. Not, of course, that she
isn't in on this game herself. For a couple that
has lived apart, they are amazingly close, closer
than many couples I've seen. Unlike many couples,
they are actually friends, which must account for
it. Bill Mulder had a lot of acquaintances. But no
friends. Not even his wife, not his son, and he
didn't have a dog.
She's an extremely unusual woman. I thought I'd met
some tough ones. Fox's partner Scully. That
Covarrubias bitch. Fox's mother. My mother. You
know what? All pikers. This woman could kill an
intruder, arrange the overthrow of a Mitteleuropean
government, and crash every computer at NORAD
without spilling a drop of the tea she'd be pouring
at the time. I should have known it before. Her
husband took me to see her last year when she won
the Somerset hunt cup. She rides to hounds as if
there's a war on, not a hunt. I don't think I've
ever seen a couple that was more alike.
She has surprised me every time I've encountered
her. Asking me to kill Spender -- which I admit is
pretty high on my own list. Wondering if I'd help
with her grandson. Taking me out for a few hours'
shooting and an earful of Consortium history the day
after the hunt. Backing me up in front of her
children at the will reading and the funeral. And
now... now I'm listening to her telling me to look
after her husband.
Actually, I'm listening to my mentor's wife doing
something vaguely equivalent to giving me her
blessing as her husband's lover.
She tells me that he loves me. I've... suspected
that. He's a fool to let himself do it, I think,
but he seems to see in me what I do not, as I see in
him what he does not see in himself. She claims to
know that I love him. Does she really know that, or
does she merely guess well? I thought I was less
transparent. I can't afford to be transparent, not
with what I have to do to Spender.
It doesn't so much surprise me that she's right
about me... as it surprises me that I could feel
that way at this point. About anybody, even about
Fox Mulder. And her husband definitely is not Fox.
Come on, I get up in the morning and read my who-to-
kill-today list. Then I plot the overthrow of a
multinational organization. Then I go out, get my
hands -- well, hand -- dirty; I kill an alien, or
someone I really don't like, or I hack a government
computer and start a small international crisis, or
I get to blow something up. I'm not inherently warm
and fuzzy, like some people. In fact, I think I'd
like killing warm, fuzzy type people. Big hugs!
Yeah, right. So I don't kick dogs, and I don't hurt
kids -- not past sewing their eyelids shut when
they've got that alien black oil thing. And I once
helped an elderly hit man across the street. So
much for my natural warmth and humanity. So how the
hell I wind up feeling like this about her
husband... is beyond me. I... I just do. It's
To top that all off, she thinks this is absolutely
wonderful. Most wives would kill you --by which I
mean me -- for that, at least figuratively, and she
of all people could do it for real quite cheerfully.
Either the air's really thin up here, or I'm about
ready to faint. It must be the air; Alex Krycek
never passes out. Of course, nothing startles me,
You have to realize, when her husband brought me on
board, I was out for revenge. I thought maybe I
could put myself in a position to get back at
Spender. That was all I wanted. But there was this
night, maybe six weeks after I'd arrived; we were in
his library, and out of the blue, he started talking
to me about World War II. About the French
Occupation, the Nazis and the Vichy government. He
was looking straight into the fire, drinking brandy,
and at first I didn't even get that he was talking
to me. And it took me three days to understand what
he'd really said.
He'd been coming to my rooms at night once or twice
a week before that. After that night, he waited two
weeks, waiting for me first to understand him, and
then to appreciate that his interest in having me
pursuing his goals with him meant as much if not
more to him than whatever we had going on at night.
I've worked with men who wanted nothing of me but my
particular job skills. I've been in relationships,
such as they were, with men who were interested in
nothing but whatever looks or sexual technique I've
got. The possibility that a shared vision could be
as important, or more important, to two people than
what happens with them in the sack, and that those
things could, just possibly, go together had never
occurred to me before this.
She thinks she doesn't love him. And she may be
right, she doesn't -- not what you'd call "that"
way. She leads her own life, she has her own lover.
But if she doesn't love him "that" way, she still
loves him. I respect that. I don't even know if I
could do for him what she's done. I'm not that
unselfish. I'm not unselfish at all -- selfish is
what I do best.
And she's trying to persuade me that I should quite
selfishly lure him into spending tonight in my bed.
I don't think she'll have to twist my arm -- I hate
that phrase these days -- very hard to convince me.
I'd... love to.