Wistful II: Alex
Temporary Web Site: http://www.ferret-cage.com
Rating: PG (Slash)
Date: September 28th, 2000
Disclaimers: Not mine. I arm wrestled Chris Carter for them and lost, so they still belong to 1013 Productions. Me make money off of this? Yeah right!
Slight spoilers through Season 7 - Requiem
Thanks to Drovar who wrote the original Wistful which can be found at the Ferretcage (http://www.ferret-cage.com), All Things Rat (http://welcome.to/allthingsrat) or the Slipper Archive (http://welcome.to/slipperarchive).
* * * * *
I search in the darkness of the house in the deep hours of the night. He wasn't downstairs, wasn't in his room, and wasn't on the balcony. So that left one place for him to be. Reminding myself I wasn't attached to the railing by a pair of handcuffs if I fell, I cautiously stood on the edge of the balcony and pulled myself up over the eaves to end up on the roof. Yes, there he was, staring at the stars.
"You're brooding again, Jeffrey," I say sitting down beside him. "It's cold out here tonight" I mentally shake my head at how parental I sound. Another title to add onto my business card. Alex Krycek - Saboteur, Assassin, Mother Hen.
"I'm fine," he says. "It's not that cold."
I let his blatant lie pass without commenting, reminding myself that stubbornness, especially when it comes to admitting the obvious, runs in the family. Instead I relax against the roof and concentrate on taking the damn prosthesis off. I tuck my right hand inside my shirt, relishing my body's heat after the cold tang of the night air, and methodically unbuckle the straps that hold my left arm in place. I can't help but sigh, as I always do, when the last of the constricting harness is released.
Jeff watches my ritual with a hint of pity that I've never allowed myself. He then turns back to watching and listening to the night. "Do you ever miss it Alex?" he asks, unexpectedly.
"Nah," I reply, removing my right hand from my comforting warmth. Deliberately misunderstanding the question, I wave it in front of me. "I've got another."
Jeff almost laughs out loud at that. Instead he bites back his smile, something he does too easily from too much practice. "I meant the city, the hustle, the activity, the energy?"
"The noise, the pollution, the junkies, the derelicts, the international conspiracies at the highest levels of government and industry. Nope, don't miss that much at all," I answer lightly. There's more truth to my answer than I hope he ever learns.
Jeff leans back, his shoulder rubbing against mine. We sit staring at the sky in a companionable silence for a long time. "Look," I say. "There's Cassiopeia." I raise my arm and trace out the 'W' that can be faintly seen, even though the stars burn brighter here than in the city. Scanning the sky, I point out another constellation. "And there's the Big Dipper, Ursa Major."
I point out a few others, and then lapse into silence when I see Jeff isn't watching. An astronomy lesson wasn't the reason I searched him out, but I don't want to say why yet. While I'm finding the words, he pulls them out of the air. "You're leaving tomorrow aren't you?"
Damn. I didn't think I was that easy to read. "I have to," I say with a bit of a sigh. Jeff has never asked me where I disappear to for long periods of time, and I'm grateful that I do not need to explain to him. He knows what kind of people I work for, and he's a smart boy.
The first time I left though it had almost been a disaster. I had hounded him out of his sick bed a few weeks earlier. I forced him to sit up, despite his protestations of nausea. I cajoled him into standing up, watched him totter on unsteady legs like a sapling in a windstorm. And I couldn't help but voice my approval when he made it three yards from his bed to the chair. He grinned at me, delighted with himself, and I grinned back.
It was about that time that the Smoker contacted me with a loose end that needed to be tied up. Jeffrey has never asked me if I still work for his murderous father, and I appreciate him not asking how I can afford this house in the middle of rural Vermont. And it's partly selfishness. Not that I doubt that Jeffrey could take down his father now, but if anyone's hands are to be bloodied by the Cigarette Smoking Bastard's death, they will mine. Until then, I need to play the dutiful servant.
So I packed for my trip early in the morning, placed my luggage in my car, and then went outside to cut logs for the woodbin. Carrying my load back into the mudroom, I was greeted by the smell of cooking eggs. I dropped my coat, pulled off my boots, and dumped the wood into the tinderbox, sniffing appreciatively as I stepped into the kitchen. The sight there I was appreciative of in an entirely different manner.
Jeff stood at the stove, staring intently into the frying pan, spatula in hand. He was wearing my hand-me-downs - jeans that would have spilled off his narrow hips if it hadn't been for that belt I punched extra holes in, and the blue Hippie alien T-shirt I had intended to send to Mulder as an irritating birthday gift. The clothes were two sizes too large for Jeff when he was in full health. Now they were hanging off of him, making him almost look like a stick figure. Yet I found his appearance appealing in ways only understood if you had been there yourself.
Jeff glanced up at me and then continued scrambling the eggs. He was perfectly intent on them, watching for the perfect moment when they weren't runny masses and they weren't inedible lumps. He was tired from standing, since this was longest time he had been on his feet since he was shot. I think what made me lose my carefully maintained control was when the pink tip of Jeff's tongue appeared, caressing his upper lip in concentration as he leaned his weight onto his right hip against the stove.
Jeff knows I'm bisexual. While I had nursed him back to health, I had time to admire his body, still beautiful after his father's brutalization. I had time to admire his fighting spirit, his determination to return to life after it had ripped away his belief system. Florence Nightengale Syndrome be damned, I had fallen for Jeff Spender, and fallen for him hard.
Hell, I'm only human.
I stepped up behind him and wrapped my right arm around his waist. I pressed against him, offering my solidity. Jeff freezes, clearly surprised that I have made the first move. I had planned to wait until he had recovered more, but I hadn't expected to be called to duty this quickly. Any assignment could be one I would not return from, and I did not intend to let this opportunity slip by. He feels light in my arms, delicate and fragile. I kiss the back of his neck, inhaling deep as I nuzzle his curly hair and my hand slides under his shirt to stroke the warm skin of his belly.
I open my mouth to whisper endearments when he speaks. "Alex please! This isn't . . . I'm not . . ." I can feel his heart pounding in his too thin ribcage as he stutters. He's terrified. Of me.
I release him and put some distance between us in one swift movement. "I . . . I'm sorry," is all I'm able to get out. I had misread him completely. What I thought was reciprocated affection was merely appreciation that I had offered him a safe harbor. The realization makes me take a step back, almost breaking a leg over the chair behind me. By the God I no longer believe in, what a fool I am.
Jeff recovers his composure first. "It's okay Alex," he said, turning back to the eggs. "It was nothing, forget about it."
I stand there dumbfounded for a moment. The kitchen, the house, all seemed too small. There was no space to get away from Jeff. I couldn't bear to be near him, I needed time and distance between us at this moment. My words tumbled out of me. I was going on an unexpected business trip. He was welcome to stay in the house for as long as he liked. I also uttered a cryptic 'be careful.' Then I was outside in my car, roaring up the road.
The three weeks gave me the time I needed to find my equilibrium again. I was half-surprised that Jeff was still in the house when I returned, but where could he go? I didn't make a comment about what transpired between us before I left. Instead I continued to push him back to full health. Jeff didn't mention it either, and we settled back into our routine as if nothing happened. That didn't mean I didn't think about what I wanted to happen.
I jerked myself out of those memories and back to the present. "It'll be summer soon." I comment. "You'll be stronger then." Strong enough to leave me. But will I be strong enough to let you go?
"Yes, summer," Jeff murmurs in the cold night air, "I'll be stronger then."