Brothers by Choice 4 : Behold and See
By The Riticulan Amenuensis
Email: Riticulan@mailandnews.com
X/Files Pretender Crossover Pairing K/Jarod

The Usual Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, but if I did I'd, treat them better. In particular I'd give certain characters larger roles.

This is the fourth part of a continuing series, although I consider each as stand-alone, they might be better understood if you were familiar with the previous chapters.

Plot Summary: Alex finally meets the dark stranger who has been following him around and receives some startling information about his own life.

Warning: This chapter contains a sex scene which some might find a little kinky, so please be warned. Consider all episodes of each of these series as being spoiled.

Archivists: Please archive where you will, just let me know where my babies have come to rest.

For those of you who would rather read the stories in their complete condition instead of multi-part postings, this story is up at my site :

http://mace.virtualave.net/riticulan/

I would like to make a special thank you to Mace for making some very nice book covers to go with these stories. You might want to check out her pictures page at: there you will see lots and lots of beautiful pictures.

http://mace.virtualave.net/corner/

I would also like to give a thank you to a person that some of you may know as Fox Mulder, for giving me some great help with this story.

Riticulan

 

 

Brothers By Choice 4: Behold and See

I was sent here by The Grand Duchess Olga. She's not a real Grand Duchess--I don't know who she is, but it wouldn't surprise me if she was Suzie Schwartz from Yonkers. I've known her for years now; she's used my services for that long, too. Nothing too strenuous--a little snooping for her here, a little industrial espionage there, and sometimes, even scaring the bejeesus out of some of her associates--but she does pay well. I can't even remember how we met--it was that long ago. I know she's not connected with the grey-beards, doesn't even know of their existence--lucky for her!

But Duchess, the train! What *was* she thinking? The great thing about working for her is that it's always the best of everything: first class airfare and hotels and more gourmet food that even I could eat, but this--a train, and coach at that.

The odd thing is that she usually calls me, and she's one of the only people who can reach me that way, but this time it was different. About a week ago I got a package from her at my mail pick up point: the code word she used was right, so I knew it was from her. The instructions were terse, telling me to get myself here, first-class plane ticket to get me to this city, and the coach ticket for the train. She told me I would meet my contact here, that he would recognize me. And, oh yes, an obscene amount of money was included in the package. How could I refuse such easy money: it's like winning a lottery.

I love old train stations; they're such a reminder of when steam was king. This one in particular, in a large city--Old Central Station. Even the name is evocative of a bygone age. I do have a soul, you know, I do appreciate beauty--especially one lithe, angel-eyed beauty in particular.

This place is spectacular, five or six stories high, open to the pitched roof above and as long as a cavern. It's so long and narrow it looks like a cathedral--and windows all around, at each end of the station they span the whole height of the building. If they were stained glass, it would even look more ecclesiastical.

It's a fairly busy place even for a weekday: businessmen scurrying back and forth, young mothers with children, and old couples strolling to their trains, hand in hand--slowly and together, perhaps gong to visit their grandchildren or leaving on that long panned for vacation. I feel almost normal here.

The smells are delicious, heady. Along each wall are stalls, smallish and staffed by one or two people at most. They're serving out the ethnic foods that this city is so famous for. I even smell borsht and blintzes and suddenly I'm sort of homesick. It's not like I ever had a real home, but I still miss Nana, who would not, the only person who ever loved me, the only person who ever let me know, despite all my faults that I was 'okay': not in words, but in deeds and looks. We had the kind of feelings for one another that only the very young and the very old can have.

I feel so foolish, walking through this cavernous building, streams of people around me, and I have to raise a gloved hand to my eye to wipe away the tear that always appears when I think of Nana, but my heart is full at the memory of her. If there is any good in me at all, she's put it there.

For the long trip ahead I decide to fill my pockets with chocolate and a pack of cigarettes--maybe I can sneak one when no one is looking. I should quit, toss that filthy habit, and I might when all this is over.

I make my way to one of the stalls lining the walls. It's manned by a very old couple, the sort of couple who have been together for so long they no longer even have to speak, they know what each is thinking. They are a funny looking couple, dressed in lab coats like they worked in some hospital. I make my selection of half-dozen candy bars and a pack of 'smokes and the old lady moves to put them in a bag for me. I shoo her away with a smile and just shove them in my pocket. She smiles back at me--she has such a beautiful smile and snowy white hair and crystal clear eyes. She passes me my change and the sleeve of her lab-coat falls away from her lower arm and I see them. Blue tattooed numerals on her wrinkled wrist and I feel sick--as I always do when I see these. She pulls her arm back quickly with a slightly embarrassed smile on her face and I'm sure that she sees the shock showing on mine.

When they come, the unlucky among us who survive, will end up like this--enslaved, trapped, hopeless.

"Mulder!" My mind screams, we have got to stop this.

I make my way to the train and get myself to my seat; I notice that the carriage is almost empty, not surprising, I guess, since it is a weekday. I hear the expected 'all abroad' from the conductor and feel the train lurch ahead a short time later. I sit there staring at the seat in front of me, my mind not thinking about too much in particular. I must confess that I'm sort of curious about the job the Duchess has set up for me this time but I content myself with waiting for my contact to make himself known. The message from the Duchess said that he would on the train.

Out of the corner of my eye I see a man lurching down the isle of the swinging train. He stops at my seat and holds out his hand. My heart skips a couple of beats, I recognize this guy. He's the same fellow who was in the café with me and Mulder, I've seen him in Philly and New York, and...the bastard's been following me I suddenly realize.

I look into his innocent face and for the life of me I can't explain what happened next: he smiled at me, pure white teeth and his eyes seemed so soft and gentle. I felt no fear, I felt none of my usual paranoia, I didn't want to run or shoot him where he stood. Damned funny. He had that look about him - the kind you don't see too often, that haunted, hunted kind.

"Hi my name is Jarod..." his hand was still out and he seemed to stop for a minute and looked up slightly at the wall, noticing the name of the carriage maker, "Pullman. Is this seat taken?" He asks. His voice is so deep and calming.

I had to laugh at that. "Good thing you're not flying, Jarod. Jarod Air Bus would be a really funny name." I look up through the coach, as I'm sitting nearly at the end of it, and notice it's almost empty. I wonder why this guy wants to sit by me, but I'm curious--maybe he's my contact, but he really doesn't look the type.

"I've been expecting someone to join me but it doesn't look like he's made the train, so yeah, this seat is free."

I take a closer look at him. We could have been brothers or at least twins separated at birth. He has short black hair, dark expressive eyes, a day's growth of stubble. But the strangest thing was the leather bomber jacket he wears, the black Tee shirt, black jeans and black boots.

"You'll have to give me the name of your tailor," I chide.

He smiles at me, "I think you already have it," he says.

Like me, he's travelling light. No luggage, except for what looks like a silver metal case which he places between his legs when he sits down. He thinks better of it and gently slides it under his seat then turns and smiles at me.

We sit in silence as the train finally lurches its way out of the city and we're travelling through the gently rolling countryside. Small farmhouses sitting in the center of perfectly parceled lots of land. You can actually see where one lot ends and the other lot begins--like pieces on a chessboard. I'm lost in my own thoughts, wondering what this is all about, wondering why the Duchess set this trip up and wondering why her contact failed to show. I feel just the slightest bit apprehensive and a little pissed.

Jarod places his rather delicate, callused hand on my thigh and I can feel the heat of him through the thin covering of denim. Funny, I would never allow such intimacy from any other man, at least not without ripping his arm off at the elbow.

"Are you okay, Alex?"

The look on his face is so earnest, so honest. This fellow really seems to care whether I'm all right or not. I stare at his face, his dark eyes. Do you know how many men can take that look? Not many! Just try it sometime--count off the seconds as you do, count to see how long it takes them to look away. Jarod doesn't. His face is honest, guileless, almost childlike. I feel so...so soiled, so used compared with him.

"I'm fine Jarod, really."

He's still looking at me when I answer him, the look of worry is still written all over his well-chiseled features. His day's growth of beard has gotten slightly darker since we've been sitting here.

"It's just, you've been so quiet," he says.

He suddenly reaches his hand in his pocket and by body automatically tenses up. He pulls out what looks to be a small doll, pops the head off it and puts something in his mouth.

"Want one?

"What is it?" I'm looking at him like he's nuts.

"Isn't it cool, it's a toy and you get candy out of it. It's Pez."

The childlike innocence on his face and in his voice is just too disarming. I take the candy from him and he beams at me.

"What a great invention," he says as I pass back the thing to him. Our fingers brush against each other, just a little too long, and I can feel his heat, feel the little electric charge as our flesh touches.

I smile at him and turn my head back toward the window. I can feel the heat of him sitting next to me and I take some small comfort in that. The day is quickly dying, and I notice the moon rising over an open field. It all looks so peaceful. I can see the lights of single houses twinkle in the distance and sometimes the headlights of a single car traveling on the small country roads which seem to run parallel the train tracks.

I think of Mulder at the oddest times. Just the thought of him has gotten me through some lonely, rough times. I could never tell him this of course, never give him that advantage over me. I can almost see his face staring at me in the window, almost see those beautiful, bedroom eyes staring back at me. This time it brings me no comfort. Again, I'm back at our last meeting, and that rock-hard ache is back in my stomach. I'm there again, ready to throw myself at his feet, ready to let all my feelings spill out, ready to betray all of them--tell him everything I know, ready to give him all the *truths* he's been seeking, ready to beg him for his help to stop this invasion. His rejection still rocks me. It hurts. It hurts like a bitch. The pain in my gut is so real, so physical I want to clutch at it with my arm and double over in pain.

I realize Jarod is looking at me again.

"Alex," he asks me, "do you have anyone waiting for you at the end of the line?"

I know that my face has paled, it's like this fellow can read my thoughts.

"I thought I did, but no, there's no one, Jarod." The look on his face was so intense. "Jarod, I don't want to be ignorant, but I don't feel like talking right now.

He nodded his head in agreement.

"I'm gong to search out the dining car," he said. "Want me to bring you back a coffee or something?"

"No thanks. I have some Snickers here, I'll eat those."

"Snickers?" He looked so curious, childlike. "What's that?"

I take one out of my pocket and hand it to him.

"Chocolate, nougat and peanuts." I smile at him.

He takes it from my hand and looks at it as though he's never seem one before. He feels it with his fingers and brings it to his nose.

"Wow! All that stuff in here--a whole meal in such a small package. Smells good."

"Don't tell me you've never seen one before." He looks at me and shakes his head 'no'. "Where have you been all your life, Jarod, on the moon?"

His eyes look so sad just then; he shrugs his shoulders. As he turns to go, he looks back to me and says: "Alex, keep your eye on my case, it's important to me."

The fellow's just met me and I see that he trusts me that much. I know that he's serious and I nod my head telling him that I would. I finish stuffing the Snickers down my throat and I feel slightly better--the sweetness and fat must have raised my blood sugar already. As I unwrap another bar, I sit back in my seat and let my mind go blank--as much as it ever does. I've seen too much, know too much, done far too much to ever find a perfect peace, but I'll take whatever I can get.

It seemed like I'd been sitting here for hours alone with my thoughts, but it's only been about a half-hour. My mouth is sickly sweet from the candy I'd eaten, but the knot in my stomach has lessened. I could kill for a cigarette and a strong, black coffee and decide to go to the dining car; it's probably the only dammed place on this train where I can legally light-up. I'm half way out of the nearly empty carriage when I remember Jarod's case and my promise to him. I go back and take it out of its hiding place under the seat and head to the dining car.

As soon as I enter, Jarod motions to me. He takes the case from me quickly and I sit. When my coffee is delivered, I take out my pack of cigarettes: "Do you mind?"

"No, but it's bad for you?"

I snicker. "What are you, a doctor?"

"I have been." A plain statement of fact and I look at his scruffy appearance and shake my head.

The table in front of him is a wreck. Four empty plates, and in front of him are four desserts. He eating a bit of each one and closing his eyes in rapture with each taste like a kid in a candy store.

"This is delicious, Alex. Hot an cold at the same time." He holds out a forkful of his desert to my mouth to taste. There is no strangeness in his voice or face with this intimacy; it's like this is the most natural thing to with a stranger you've just met. I laugh and lean my mouth in and take the offered morsel.

"Jarod, it's got liquor in it, that's why it's hot and cold."

"You're kidding...what an interesting idea." He puts his fork down and takes up a spoon and digs into his chocolate sundae; he moans with his pleasure.

"This is good too. Want some?"

I shake my head no, and light up my cigarette, enjoying the nicotine buzz I always get at that first puff. My body is purring with its pleasure.

"You always eat this much?"

"No, not always." He smiles brightly. "I enjoy trying new things."

I look at the table in front of him, notice again the apple pie and the chocolate sundae, and wonder again where this guy has been. I finish my cigarette and put it out in the ashtray, take a long sip of my coffee and I feel much better.

I lay my hand on the table and look directly at him. "Jarod, why have you been following me?" He doesn't even blink; he's been waiting for the question I think. "I've seen you in New York," I go on, "Philly, and hell, you've even followed me to another country. I speak softly to him like I would to a child, not wanting to frighten him.

"And other paces that you didn't notice me, Alex."

My eyes widen with surprise, but I don't move. My hand is lying flat on the table and he reaches out his hand and covers it as though seeking some human contact. "I don't want to frighten you, Alex."

That's the damnedest thing, he doesn't--not at all. I have no idea why this is so, it seems that I trust him implicitly. My natural state of self-preservation seems to have taken a holiday.

"You don't, Jarod. It surprises me."

He grins at me, satisfied, and his hand rubs over mine sensuously.

"I'm glad, Alex. I have some things to tell you." He searches my eyes for some reaction to this.

"Alex, you won't be meeting your contact on this train. I set it all up. I sent you the note from the Duchess, the tickets, the money-all of it. And that's not all. I've sent you things before."

I open my mouth in shock and surprise. "What other stuff, Jarod?"

"Remember the package with all the information about that large, illegal gold shipment," he stops momentarily judging my reaction. "I sent you that. I knew you'd do the right thing."

This is a new world for me--someone who knew I would do the right thing.

I am really dumbfounded at this. "How'd you know how to contact me, so few people know about that address."

"A man has to keep a few secrets, Alex."

My curiosity is at its fever pitch now, but again I'm not all that annoyed that someone knows my secrets. I open my mouth as if to speak and Jarod cuts me off.

"Not here, it's too public. I have a private compartment, we can talk there."

He motions the steward over with a flourish of his hand and signs the chit for his meal and my coffee. He smiles at me, grabs his case and gets up. I follow him. Down coach after coach of this moving train, its carriages moving slightly from side to side, we walk. Jarod manages this perfectly, without even stumbling. But me, well, I'm not as *balanced* as I once was and stumble a few times, almost falling. Jarod senses this without really looking, just slowing down his pace, giving me a chance to catch up to him.

We're in darkly lit compartments of the train and he stops and opens the door, letting me enter before he does. He quickly enters, turns and bolts the door from the inside.

"We can talk more privately here. No one will hear us. The next carriage is empty."

I didn't feel all that comfortable here--locked in like this--things were spiraling quickly out of my control. I felt exposed, naked. I don't like feeling like this; I'm liable to do harsh and unpredictable things. This Jarod seemed to know everything about me and I...I know absolutely nothing about him. He could be one of the Consortium's henchmen; I could end up with a bullet in my brain any minute now and no one would even notice.

"I reserved the next compartment as well." He explained. His voice was soft and his eyes were kind. He shook his head slightly as though to clear his own thoughts. He placed his case on the small table next to the small bed. Turning around he took off his jacket, placing it on one of the seats. If he was carrying a gun, I couldn't see it, but from somewhere deep within me, I knew with a certantity that he did not.

His black, clinging Tee shirt showed a small but compactly powerful body. Muscles rippled from his chest to his stomach as he moved to sit on the small bed.

"Alex, I guess you're wondering about all this. About why I brought you here."

"Good guess, Jarod, you could say that. I'm kind of curious."

"Why don't you take your jacket off and get comfortable, this could take awhile."

This was very strange; we were like old friends meeting--like this was somehow normal. He looked at me like he expected me to take my jacket off. I never do that in front of strangers, hell, I don't even do that in front of people I know well, not that there are too many of them. He looked serious and seemed to expect me to do this. As I struggled out of the garment his eyes were soft, no pity in them just a concerned understanding.

"Where do you want to start, Alex, with me or you?"

"Let's start with you, Jarod. Since you seem to know so much about me, I'd like to even things up a bit."

He nodded and looked away from me. I hope this guy never plays high-stakes poker, he doesn't have the face for it. For the first time I saw how lost he was, how much pain he suffered. He turned back to me.

"I know the man you know as 'the smoker'. I've seen him many times. When I was a child I was stolen from my parents and brought to a place called the Centre and held captive there for thirty years until I escaped."

"Why?" I was shocked.

"I was a prodigy, they recognized my talents and wanted to use them for their own purposes," he said.

"You were a prodigy, a..."

"You say it, I can't."

"A genius."

He nodded and looked so sad, so sad for the life he'd lost, for the childhood he'd never known. He rubbed his hands up and down the worn denim covering his thighs and stared at his feet.

"All those years they lied to me. They told me I was doing good, doing things that would save lives, help humanity. It was all a lie. In the end, I found out the things they learned were being used to cause harm. I learned that I wasn't working for them at all. They were working for the Consortium. The consortium funded them."

I can't say that I was surprised, I had heard about a project like that but it was shrouded in such secrecy that I saw nothing about it besides its name.

Jarod got up from the bed and paced the short distance to the window. He stood there in silence as though searching for something, trying to see, even now trying to understand what they'd done to him. He turned to me and looked me in the face.

"Do you understand! They stole me, they stole my brother, they took my parents away from me and they ruined my life. And the Consortium is responsible for it all."

I nodded my agreement.

He walked to the table and picked up his metal case and passed it to me.

"This is my life...all of it."

He put it on my lap and opened it. I saw what looked to be some sort of a disk player with a small monitor. He showed me a collection of disks and quickly explained how the machine worked.

"This is a record of my whole life at the Centre, Alex. I stole them when I left. To know me, you have to know these. I want you to take some time to look at them. I'm going to leave while you do it and I want you to lock the door behind me. I'll give three short knocks three times when I return so that you'll know its me."

I looked at him and the sadness in his face. He gently squeezed what was left of my shoulder and turned to leave.

"Don't pity me, Alex. Just understand what I did."

Jarod left and I inserted the first of a series of small disks into the machine. The screen flickered to life and I saw the name of 'Centre' and the kindly face of a young man who I later learned to be Sydney. He was putting a young Jarod through his paces, thinking of things that no young boy should ever have to think about, working on things that no child should ever have to see.

With each successive disk I saw Jarod get older as did the kindly man who was his keeper. The work became ever more traumatic for the boy...then the man. Apparently he had the ability to become anything he wanted. I saw disks where he was theorizing on nuclear weapons and then laser technology, disks where we was working on germ warfare...nearly choking when he was speaking of a certain Simian virus. I saw him working on methods of keeping the public in the dark about certain things they should never know of.

Through it all, Jarod seemed fairly content, you could tell he needed something...missed something. Simple human contact he was denied--denied completely. Sydney was a kindly man, but held himself at bay at every turn. I seemed to me that this older gentleman would have reached out to Jarod if he were allowed to.

I looked up when I heard the knock at the door, took the disk out of the machine, turned it off and closed it. When Jarod come in, he just stared at me and then looked at the closed case. He went to his jacket and searched in his pocket. But old habits die hard, I felt my body tense up. He pulled out his Pez and took a few into his mouth. He looked like a man who really didn't know what to expect from me.

"You've watched them." He looked away from me when he asked the question and went to the window again and stared at the land streaking by us.

"Yes," I said. "Who is Sydney?"

"Sydney. He was my keeper, a psychologist. He was with me from the beginning until the very end. He still helps me, does most of what I ask him to do. I guess he's the closest thing to a father that I've ever known. But," Jarod paused as though deep in thought, "he doesn't love me."

Jarod looked inward then, like a man who was reliving something pleasant, yet painful. "I found his son for him. A son he never knew he had. Once Sydney found out he had a son, he loved him instantly, but like I said, he spent thirty years with me, but he doesn't love me."

"Don't be too sure about that," I said.

As I said this Jarod swung around to face me. "I have a family I can't find. My brother--they stole him too--he's dead; they killed him."

"I'm sorry, Jarod."

"He was psychotic, a killer. They brought him up to be that. They kept us apart. But in the end, his life and his death had some meaning. His heart is now beating in someone else's chest"

I didn't know what to say.

"I have a sister, too," I said.

He now looked as miserable as a warden would when he had to tell you that the governor hadn't called and your execution would go ahead as planned. He went to his case and pulled out a red file folder and held it in his hands as if he was trying to decide something.

"Jarod, these disks are very damning to the Centre. Who's after you? Someone must be trying to get these back."

"They are trying to get me back, too. There's Sydney that I told you about. He's trying to get me back. He thinks that I'm not prepared to get along in the real world. There's Broots--the computer geek. The real muscle of the trio is Miss Parker; she's the director's daughter, essentially a hired gun. And sometimes, they send a sweeper team with them and sometimes not. Oh yes, and then there is Miss Parker's psychotic twin brother. It's all so complicated; I'm a hunted man, Alex"

"So, Jarod, you're a dangerous man to know." I tried to keep my voice calm and my face expressionless.

"A while ago, I discovered these at the Centre. They have to do with project 'Prodigy,' all the children in these files, except for you and the others kept at the Centre, and one other, are dead. Once I found it and read about you, I knew I had to find you. I've researched your life, Alex, and followed your career. You'd better read it. I'm sorry!"

He passed the file to me and went again to sit on the bed;he looked away from me, unable to meet my gaze.

I opened the file, but couldn't believe what I was reading. My life was a lie, my heart pounded in my chest and I couldn't breathe. I could hear my blood in my own ears. I felt like hitting someone...I felt like killing somebody. Jarod came to me and placed his head on my shoulders.

I couldn't think, I couldn't talk. Jarod placed his hand on my cheek and I leaned into it like the lifeline it was.

"You're telling me that my parent's aren't my parents, that my sister isn't my sister." I choked out the words and Jarod must have understood.

He sat next to me on the bench seat, his body so close to mine I could feel the burn where our thighs and shoulders touched.

"Yes. Alex, I'm sorry. You're father worked for the Consortium. So did your mother. They wanted children so they went to this clinic...these doctors who could help. From all I could learn, they didn't know that their bosses steered them in this direction. They were the subject of an experiment, you were the result. They used someone else's sperm to fertilize another female's egg and implanted it in your mother. Your grandmother never knew, neither does your sister."

I couldn't take any more of this, I had to get up and move. I paced the narrow confines of the compartment like some caged animal. Back and forth, just needing to feel my feet moving beneath me, trying to run away from the knowledge of what Jarod was saying was the truth.

"Come back, Alex, please."

"I don't really know what they were expecting--probably trying to get someone else like me, but it didn't work. Your parents had a perfectly happy baby boy and everyone was happy except, of course, 'the smoker.' As far as he was concerned it was a failure."

"Do you remember the tests they gave you when you were about seven?"

"Yes," I said, "vaguely."

"That's when they decided that you weren't displaying any of the qualities that they wanted but 'the smoker' wouldn't let you go. He wanted you for them."

"That's when it all changed," I said. "My parents became very distant, abusive, uncaring. I thought it was something I did."

"You did nothing, Alex. He swore them to secrecy or they'd be killed. They were killed anyway when you were in your teens, by him."

I'd always suspected that, but now my whole world was crumbling before me, all that I was, all that I am is a lie. They made me, they used me; they turned me into their killer, their hired gun.

"He took control of you then," Jarod continued, "got you into college and then the FBI and you know the rest."

Jarod took my hand between both of his as if this mere action could make it all go away. It couldn't. I looked at him like something lost, like something foreign, like something despised.

"But something did happen, Alex. Something they never anticipated, something they never expected."

I looked at him for something, for something redeeming.

"Why weren't you afraid of me, Alex? Why are you still alive? Why did you notice that flashing clock, why do you think that you are the only one who came in close contact with that Alien that is still alive? Why have you escaped death so many times?"

I looked at him for the answers, for I certainly had none.

"The doctor's at the clinic added some DNA strands to the egg they fertilized--I think it was alien, but I'm not certain. What it did was give you a sort of ESP, not something that you really ever knew about, or even realized. You can tell things, a second sight, if you will. You knew about that flashing clock, it wasn't just chance that you glanced down and saw it. You knew I meant you no harm; you recognized, eventually what 'the smoker' was doing, and about how wrong it was; you knew to trust Mulder--you still trust him."

Jarod paused as if to gather his thoughts and to ask the really important question. "Who is Mulder? What is he to you?"

Jarod still held my hand between his and I tried to yank it away--he is much stronger than he looks, and he wouldn't let me.

"Who is Mulder, Alex, what is he to you?"

I glared at Jarod, but the look on his face was so tender, so concerned, I just couldn't lie to him. Not after all this, not after all he's told me--in its way it's cleared up a lot of questions I've always had.

"I don't know what Mulder is, Jarod. I do know that he is special to them. For some reason, I've never been able to figure out; he's important for some reason to the coming colonization."

"I know all about the colonization plans and the Consortium's part in it, Alex."

"But Mulder," I said, "is dogged in his pursuit for the truth. He won't stop until he gets it. When he does, he will try to expose it, he won't go along with them for any reason."

"Why is he important to *you*?" Jarod is one of those people...like a dog with a bone they won't let anything go.

"He is...he is the man I love." I searched his face for any reaction, for any signs of disgust, for any signs of rejection. But I found noting.

"I thought as much, Alex. I've seen you together. But he doesn't love you, does he?"

"No, he hates me, Jarod."

"I wouldn't be too sure." Jarod said with a grin.

"What do you want from me, Jarod? Why did you tell me all this?" I could still feel his heat, his closeness.

"It's not so much of what I want, Alex. It's what I need. I need you. I need your help in destroying the Centre and the Consortium. I can do a lot of things myself, but could do much more with the help of someone like you. You know what I can do, Alex. I found you, I learned all about you, I passed you the information about the gold shipment that brought them to their knees for weeks. I have my own sources of information, I can break into their computer systems, I can learn their plans, but I can only do so much. With you working with me, we could do so much more."

I had to think. I had to think hard. Up to now, I've been doing it on my own, passing information onto Mulder. But what could Jarod and I do together? A lot, I realized. I looked into his eyes for a long time, and he didn't turn away from me. He held my gaze with his rich chocolate eyes, regarding me with more kindness than I've seen in a long time. His face held no pressure, no expectation--it was serene. What he said was true, we could do a lot of damage together, and if I could get Mulder on-side, well, we could do a huge amount of damage. Maybe we wouldn't be able to take them down, but...hell, maybe we could.

For the first time in months I felt something strange--I felt hope. And I liked the feeling. Could this man really do what he says he can do, and I realized that yes, he can.

"Jarod, this will be dangerous, very dangerous for both of us."

"I know," he said. What will playing it safe get us, Alex. Death. Enslavement, or worse." At that point I knew that he realized just what he was getting himself into.

"Okay, Jarod, you've got a partner," I said.

He smiled at me and rubbed his hand along my cheek. "You look terrible," he said. He pointed to the bed. "Why don't you go and sleep; I'll stay here...I've slept on worse."

I don't know how I looked but I certainly knew how I felt. Used, dried up, twisted in directions I never knew existed, my guts still tied up in knots and my heart still pounding in my chest. He let me go and I moved toward the bed.

I lay down and stared up at the ceiling, the muted sounds of the train in my ears seeming to calm me. I could sense that Jarod was at his machine again, the volume turned down very low so that it wouldn't disturb me, reviewing his life all over again. The things he's told me kept playing through my mind like a disturbing movie. What was left for me, anyway, besides just surviving and was that even worth it. A companion in this fight, someone who really knew what was happening wouldn't be all bad. As these thoughts kept replaying in my mind, my eyes grew heavy and I dropped into a fitful sleep.

 

**"Alex, you fucking little bastard!" My father's eyes were filled with hate and his voice was twisted with venom. "You're a freak, you're no son of mine!" I was fourteen again, and his words hit me in the stomach like a physical blow. I looked at my mother; she looked away from me, as rigid as a statue, she showed no emotion at all. Nana was standing in the corner; her eyes so sad looking at me, tears streaming down her face. Weeping for me, for some reason only I didn't know about.

"Sasha, why is dad saying these things?"

I could hardly speak. I was so focused on trying to keep the tears from my eyes and keeping my voice under control.

"I don't know, sis."

"Don't call her that, she's no sister of yours!" My father screamed at me.

I could feel it laughing at me as it filled every cell of my body. I could hear it talking to me in my mind, in a voice so malevolent and hateful it made me recoil in horror. I know you it said in my mind-we're closer to being the same than you know.

I could see Mulder sitting next to me though he seemed a thousand miles away--sotting next to me on the plane, looking straight at me. The creature wouldn't let me speak to him, wouldn't let me reach out to touch him. It controlled me completely and all I could hear was its laughter--its demonic laughter.

There were just too many of them, far too many of them. They held me in a vice-like grip ripping the sleeve from my shirt. The tears of impotent frustration were streaming down my face as I screamed 'No!' Somewhere deep inside me I knew what they were going to do even before I saw the red-hot, glowing butcher knife.

Oh, sweet Jesus, the pain, the searing, mind-killing pain. I felt the knife ripping through my flesh and I started to scream and scream and scream.***

I knew that I was screaming and thrashing around on the small bed. I didn't know where I was, I didn't know who I was with. I felt two strong arms surround me and drag me to him.

"Shush now, Alex. It's all right, you were dreaming. It's me, Jarod." His hand came up and brushed back my sweat-soaked hair; his hand was comforting, his voice, whispering in my ear, calming my panic.

"It's okay, Alex. You're with me--you're safe." His breath was hot and humid in my ear and I pushed myself even more closely to him. I did feel safe; I did feel safe here with Jarod. During my sleep he had changed his Tee and replaced it with a shirt, now unbuttoned, as was the top button of his jeans. I put my hand up to his chest and I felt the soft, downy hair of his muscled body. I held onto him tightly as if clinging to life itself.

He did the strangest thing then, he kissed my hair. Such a small thing, so imitate, so selfless, so dammed enjoyable. No one has ever touched me with such gentleness.

He tucked his palm under my chin and raised my head up he could look in my eyes. His eyes were so full of worry--of concern. Concern for me, now there's a concept I couldn't wrap my mind around.

"Was it bad?"

I nodded my head.

He cradled the back of my skull with his hand and brought my face to his and kissed me. Oh how sweet that was, so chaste, so timid, so soul restoring. He rubbed his tongue over my lips and I tasted him for the first time. His lips were soft and silky, so warm and humid. I opened my mouth and took in his tongue and he tasted so sweet. He deepened his kiss with a passion that surprised me.

My hand was playing with the hair on his chest and when I rolled one of his nipples between my fingers he moaned into my mouth. Suddenly, he pulled away from me as if he was slapped.

"Oh, Alex, I'm so sorry," he said. The look on his face was one of shame.

"For what?" I asked.

"For kissing you, I got, I got...carried away."

He looked away from me and tried to get off the bed, but I wouldn't let him. I put my hand on his cheek and forced his face back to me. "With all you know about me, Jarod, you don't know that I like men. I like them a *lot*!" I chuckled. I licked his chin and his eyes opened wide; they looked like huge chocolate pools. As I kissed down his chin, the little noises he was making told me that he was enjoying this, a lot.

I climbed on top of him and it startled him. "Are you a virgin, Jarod?" He blushed just a little.

"Well, not exactly"

"What does 'not exactly' mean?" I asked him as I drew his ear lobe into my mouth. His breathing picked up noticeably with this. My tongue is talented at this and I swirled it around the whorls of his ear before I stuck it in to his ear canal. I could feel the shivers travel the entire length of the body under me.

"I had sex once," he said in a faltering voice. He looked so cute, like some teenager having to make this admission to his best buddy.

"Jarod," I said, "you're thirty-eight...forty years old, and you had sex once!"

He looked at me accusingly, as though I had forgotten everything he'd told me today--forgotten that he was stolen from his family, forgotten that he'd been held captive in the Centre for most of his adult life. He was like a little boy who'd just been slapped, and Jesus, I felt guilty.

"With a woman in the mountains," he said. He looked wistful, his mind far, far away--gone to some other place and time. He turned his attention back to me. "But that was a long time ago."

My tongue was busy again exploring that little indentation just under his Adam's apple--that soft place between the clavicle bones. He tasted wonderful. I could still smell the leather on him.

"You'll like this. I promise." Very few people have actually touched Jarod, I think. Touched him like I'm touching him now. My hand roamed over his chest; my fingers stopping every so often and played with the downy covering of his chest, rolling it between my fingers. His body was purring underneath me. As my thumb grazed his nipple, his eyes opened wide. I took my thumb and put it in his mouth. "Suck on it, Jarod," I said.

And he did. He did my thumb justice, sucked on it long and hard, like he would have done to those Pez he always has in his mouth. He swirled his tongue around it, suckled it, licked it. I took it from his mouth reluctantly. This beautiful man sucking on my thumb was turning me on. I brought it down to his nipple and started to stoke it. His hips bucked into mine and as our aroused cocks met, an electric thrill of pleasure went through me.

I brought Jarod's hardened nipple to my mouth and sucked gently the other man moved his head from side to side in pleasure. How erotic it was to watch him--his eyes closed, mouth slack, tongue gently wetting his own lips. When I gently bit that nipple, I discovered pleasure centers Jarod never knew he had. The man almost shouted.

I looked up at him and smiled. "Enjoying yourself, so far?"

"What do you think?" He chided.

"I'd say, yes."

He put his hands on both sides of my head and pulled me to his mouth. The kiss he gave me was so full of desire, so full of wanting. It contained a world of sighs. I returned it with gusto. His tongue explored every part of my mouth, my tongue meeting his, riding over it, slipping under it.

I slipped my hand beneath the open top of his pants and took hold of the head of his cock, gathering some of the fluid and bringing it to my lips. I had a slight smile on my face.

"You surprise me, Jarod!"

"Me...why?"

"Commando!" I said with emphasis.

He looked confused.

"Freeballing," I explained.

He looked even more confused this time. "No underwear," I said.

The dark man blushed a bright pink. "I find it more comfortable."

"You'll get no complaints from me," I said with a smile in my voice. "You'll see just why in a second."

I slowly lifted myself from him, looked down at his kiss-swollen mouth and aroused body. "Take off your clothes, Jarod."

I started to unbutton my shirt and slipped it from my body. I saw him looking at the straps of my prosthetic. I never thought it would be this easy. I never thought I would be comfortable enough with anyone to let them see me like this. I quickly undid the straps and lifted it from my stump. Jarod was naked by now, and my god he was beautiful, every part of him in perfect proportion--a body even Greek statuary could envy.

Naked now, I climbed on top of him so that our cocks touched and glided against one another. I took his mouth again in a kiss and he returned it with interest. His hands, this time, roamed over every part of my body he could reach. Even my stump was tenderly caressed.

"Alex, you should really use some...on that." He used some twenty-syllable word I would never be able to get my tongue around. "It wold really cut down on the chafing and the pain," he explained.

"What are you, a doctor?"

He just smiled at me--a real elfish grin. "I used to be."

I mocked slapped his shoulder.

I brought my forehead down to meet his. "What do you really want from me, Jarod? What do you want me to be?"

He suddenly became misty-eyed.

"Alex, I want us to be...brothers. Brothers by choice. With your talents, and mine, you can help me right some of the wrongs I've done. I can help you too, help you to bring down the consortium, stop what's going to happen." The look on his face was tentative, shy, afraid that I was going to turn him down, but how could I, how could I refuse my only ally.

"You got it, bro!"

"And I've got something else for you, Jarod," I said as I ground my hips into his.

"You don't have to, Alex."

"I know, Jarod. I want to. I want to do this, just for you."

The time for teasing him was past and I went for the kill. I moved myself down to the end of the bed so that my head was directly over his cock and my lips covered the head of it. The way the man arched his back in pleasure, I thought he was going to die. "Easy, Jarod, easy." I said.

I look my lips and gently sucked on the large vein from root to tip, licking at it with my tongue. Jarod got larger, if that was possible. I braced my stump against his leg and took his balls in my hand, gently warming them in my hands, rolling them around. I really don't think Jarod was in his right mind--he was making sounds even I've never heard before.

I swallowed him whole and I'm sure he blacked out for just a minute. He was so close; I could feel it.

"Jarod, you still with me?"

He nodded.

"This is going to be hard, Jarod. I have a little treat for you and it's something I'm sure even you've never even thought of. I want you to hold your legs for me, pull them as far back as you can get them."

He did as I asked him. I started licking at the base of his cock then taking his balls into my mouth. His head was swinging back and forth again. He was dying to touch himself, but with his hands occupied with holding his legs for me, he wasn't able. I let his balls fall from my mouth and I used my tongue to lick at them like an ice cream.

The poor man was beside himself with pleasure, hips undulating but not able to get any friction on his cock. This was torture I thought, as I slipped my tongue below his balls and licked at the perineum. I licked the whole length of it, pausing from time to time to take a few of the hairs into my mouth and pull at them.

I put my hand under one of Jarod's buttocks, setting up a rocking motion for him. The head of his ridged cock rubbed against the soft hair of his stomach. I knew that must feel good. I lifted his ass a little higher and my tongue attacked his crack, sliding up and down its entire length. Jarod was still rocking and calling out my name. Then I breached him, slowly at first, my tongue tipping at the tight opening, then licking ferociously at it, wetting it thoroughly before I slipped my tongue into him.

He was practically crying now from the mixture of frustration and pleasure. I knew he was about to come as he called out to me. But my tongue didn't slacken in its attack, licking him, sucking him, driving him to the point of no return.

"God, Alex, I'm coming."

"Don't move, Jarod, keep those legs held back!" I continued to feast on him as I saw him shoot pulse after pulse of tick, ropy cum onto his stomach. I would be a liar if I said I didn't consider this achievement with some degree of pride: making a man cum without touching his cock.

He was still shooting when I scooted up between his legs and swallowed his cock whole, in one swallow, milking him for all he was worth. Jarod was weeping now in pleasure as I sucked him, cajoled him to give me more, and he did--one final pulse and I had him drained.

I licked his cock clean of every drop and swallowed him. He tasted sweet and salty at the same time, but not bitter. The man must be eating right. I moved up further and lapped at every ounce of cum covering his belly and washed him clean.

I pulled myself up and lay next to him. Out mouths met in a kiss, sharing the taste of his seed with him. His eyes looked at me with love--I've never been looked at like that before--and who am I to refuse one of God's gifts. His eyes bore right into my soul as he reached out his hand to touch me. I nodded my ascent. I could tell this was the first time he'd held another man's cock in his hand. He touched me knowingly and took my mouth to his again for a kiss. It didn't take much before I was shooting my load between us--hard.

He took his cum-stained fingers to his mouth and tasted me. I must admit, I was deeply touched. He cleaned the rest of it from the bed and us and smeared it over his hairy chest. He pulled me to him with such force, like he'd found something he would never willingly relinquish.

"What you did, Alex, what you did was..."

I shushed him with my fingers, tucked his head into my shoulder and pulled the blanket over us.

"You deserve that, Jarod, and much, much more. But sleep now." He wrapped himself around me like a second skin, his arms pulling me so close to him that it almost hurt. Within minutes he was asleep.

I, however, wasn't so lucky. I couldn't help thinking that in the space of one day I had gained a lover and an ally. From what I learned about Jarod from those damned disks, he was a powerful ally. As damaged and lonely as I was, but a strong man, a man I'd be happy to have at my side to fight this war.

It's true: when God closes a door, he always opens a window. Just this morning when I thought I'd finally lost Mulder, that I would have to fight alone--no matter what it cost me--Jarod comes into my life.

The gentle rocking of the train was soothing somehow, the constant ache in my heart over Mulder was lessened but not vanquished. The warm body clinging to me in this small cot gave me a new hope--a new hope for another day and a possible victory. Sleep claimed me then and granted me his most pleasant of gifts: sleep without dreams.

 

When I awoke in the morning, not surpassingly, Jarod was gone. I figured he was a man who couldn't stay in one place very long. I dressed quickly and sat on the bed enjoying a cigarette when I saw the note he left me. It was short and sweet with just two words: 'Remember, Brother' and included a telephone number, which he assured me, was untraceable. It ended with his assurances that he'd be in touch. I quickly folded it and put it in my pocket.

I was just putting the cigarette out in the ashtray when the door burst open. In walked this tall black-haired creature. Despite her expensive clothes and expertly coifed hair, she still looked cheap and tawdry. Following her was a kindly looking older gentleman who had to be Sydney. With them, was a small balding man; he had the word geek written all over him.

"Well, well," I said, "big daddy, junior and the spook. I can't say I haven't been expecting you."

"Where's Jarod?" the woman barked at me.

"And that's any of your business, how?"

"Listen, Junior," she said, 'don't fuck with me..."

I had my silenced gun out of its holster and pointed at that delicate spot directly between her eyes before she had a chance to blink.

"Now, let me tell *you*," I said, "from now on Jarod's whereabouts are none of your business. And if I ever see your ugly face around me again, I'll do some work on it that even a plastic surgeon couldn't fix. Understood!"

She glared fire at me.

"Come on, Miss Parker, we'd better leave," Sydney said in a very calm voice, but there was a smile hidden in it somewhere. He looked at me, appraising me silently, and I think he was happy with what he saw.

"Another thing," I said, "a message for daddy. Tell him Alex Krycek is on the case now. If he doesn't recognize the name, I'm sure the Smoker will enlighten him. Now get out of here!"

I sat where I was for a few minutes with my gun resting on my knee. Got up, holstered it, put on my jacket and left the compartment. I didn't even know where I was, but I knew that I needed a coffee and had to get off this train.

Continued in "Two Sizes Too Small"

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