The Beloved Disciple
by Merri-Todd Webster


"When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, 'Verily, verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.'

"Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.

"Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.

"Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.

"He then lying on Jesus' breast, saith unto him, 'Lord, who is it?'"

(John 13: 21-25)


"You are working for me now, my boy. And I will not have you dressed like *that*."

He was still filthy and disheveled from the explosion that had not, fortunately, killed him. How like the smoker to indulge in such a messy, gaudy means of assassination, and one so likely to fail. No matter. The smoker's misjudgment had worked to my good: Alex Krycek, filthy, dishevelled, and furious, standing with bowed head and tensed shoulders in my library.

He exploded in anger, doing with words what my sturdy employees would not allow him to do with fists. "I'm nobody's *boy*!"

"Ah, I forgot. You Americans use expressions so differently. I assure you, Alex, that I was not referring to you as a slave when I called you 'my boy.' " I smiled, a gesture which, I could see, did not reassure him at all. "I'm merely displaying a certain affection for you that your former mentor seems to lack. Otherwise, he wouldn't have attempted that rather obvious car bomb, would he? I, on the other hand, am offering you a position."

I studied him closely to see how he'd react. Mr. Krycek had come running to me like a stray cat once the smoker had made it clear that he was thrown out on the street. Now, however, he was as sullen and resentful as a stray cat might be when it is taken to the surgery for medical care.

"What do you want?" He was almost snarling, weak kitten that he was. I signalled my guards to release their grip on the young man. When he held still, I rose from my chair and approached him. He smelled of the explosion, of heat and flame and burning metal.

"I think you'll be surprised at how little I'm asking of you, Alex. And at just how much you'll get in return."

I had only to look toward the door, and Tomkins came in. Sometimes I believe he is telepathic. "Take Mr. Krycek to the guest room in the west wing, and see that he's allowed to bathe, to sleep, and to eat whatever he wants."

Poor hungry stray cat, I thought, as Alex shrugged and followed my man out of the library. Do you even know what you're really hungry for?


I did not send for Alex for three days. Occasionally I saw him walking the grounds, a dark stormcloud passing among the carefully tended prize roses. He had submitted to the instructions I sent regarding him; his hair had been cut to my liking, his tattered and stained clothes replaced with flattering items from Savile Row. He was, in his own right, as rare and beatiful a specimen as any of my roses; all the more beautiful for being strikingly imperfect. His features are irregular, after all; his pedigree is, at best, uncertain; and yet he is beautiful. Heartbreakingly beautiful.

When I summoned him, at last, to the library, he was wearing a moss-green pullover that made his eyes--irresistible. Smoky green, with lashes that might rival Cleopatra's.

"How are you feeling, my boy?" I gestured him to a seat on the other side of my desk.

"I'm fine. Sir."

"Good." I poured him a cup of tea--Tomkins knows when to stay away--and offered it to him. To his credit, Alex accepted the cup without protest and sipped it quite genteelly.

"I think you're ready to be told what your duties are."

The boy looked at me through those astonishing lashes. The lower half of his face was masked by the poised cup.


"I have a lot to offer you, Alex. A home, an income, a certain--polish. And knowledge that will place you in a very secure position within the organization. As my... protege, you need not fear the smoker ever again." I risked a smile. "But in return, I do ask for certain privileges."

I received a wary stray-cat look. "I suppose it's about sex."

I frowned. "I can promise you, Alex, that I won't lay a hand on you. Not in that way. However, I do have several expectations? You will be present when I want you; you will dress as I ask you to. And, although I will not touch you myself, you will understand that I enjoy watching."

"What?" Sweet innocent boy, he actually looked puzzled.

"I am not a young man, Alex. I'm no longer able to do anything I please. However, I enjoy watching attractive young men enjoy themselves. And you are a particularly attractive young man, as you no doubt know; I'm sure you've used it to your advantage often enough."

He stared at me, now openly hostile. "I'm not a trained monkey. What do you think I'm going to
do, perform on demand with someone I don't know?"

Sighing, I shook my head. "Although I believe that your former employer did expect just that from you when you were handling certain matters for him, I should hardly ask that of you. I simply wish to be allowed to watch you pleasuring yourself. Do you think you can handle that?"

I watched his reaction very carefully, the lowering of the eyes, the way he bit his lower lip. How I should have liked to do that myself... but one grows old. Then he nodded. I smiled encouragingly.

"I think we shall get on very well, my boy."

He was exquisite. More exquisite than I'd dreamed. A born performer, with a body as unpredictably beautiful as his face. Of course my person was not arousing to him--I should be a fool to think it was--yet my presence was. The presence of the audience, of the admiring gaze. I never took my eyes from him as he slowly removed the elegant ensemble we'd bought together only that day, the tie, the blazer, the shirt, and finally the pants, showing me all that fine skin, so very white.... As I said, he was exquisite, and no part of him was an exception. He could have been no more surprised than I was that my body as well as my mind responded; I had my first climax in, well, more than a few years. Not that I betrayed it. But it must have been because Alex was so very special.

By the third or fourth time we'd trysted, I was certain I knew what he was thinking. Who it was that he was seeing, remembering, when I was viewing him.

"I'm aware that I've asked you to put on a show, as it were, for me on occasion. I've laid claim to your body, even though I'll never touch it. Your heart, Alex, is entirely your own, however."

"I beg your pardon?" Ah, how amusing. He was learning--even beginning to sound like me.

"You think about him. When I watch you." He looked quite astonished. "Your face, my boy. You're thinking of someone. I presume it's your Mr. Mulder."

He dared a little insolence. "What if it is?"

I smiled indulgently. "You're a lucky young man, Alex. You've had the opportunity to love someone." I could not help but look across the drawing room to the picture of my grandchildren. "Not everyone has it. I hope they will."

I saw by the characteristic lowering of his head that my words affected him. He *did* love Mulder, strange as it might seem. Not so strange that he should find Mulder desirable, but that was clearly not all there was to it.

Nor were our late-night meetings all there was to our relationship. Mr. Krycek was a wonderfully fast study, an apt pupil who'd never before been properly educated. Already bilingual, in a few weeks, he could ape my accent so skilfully, he could pass for my own son. As I'd promised, I polished him, bringing out the gloss, and I informed him, passing on everything he would need to know to take my place in the game--without giving away to certain others that he had done so.

And I took him to dinner, to parties, to the theatre and the opera. I force-fed him culture as a mother bird force-feeds her young. He'd no idea how he was starving for it, nor how swiftly and easily he adapted to that larger world to which I introduced him. I wanted him to see, after all, precisely what we were fighting for.

All too soon, it was over. Unlike some of my countrymen, I know when to step aside, let the young have their day. All too quickly, Alex was ready to play the role for which I'd groomed him. The next move of the great game had to be made.

For the first time, I touched him, really touched him. I laid my hand on his shoulder, and he placed his hand on mine, accepting that touch, asking for more. I held onto his warm young flesh for strength as I tried to explain to him what must happen.

"Should anything happen to me, Alex, you'll find that you've been amply provided for. I shouldn't fear that."

He shook his head. His smooth chin brushed the backs of my fingers. "No. That's not it. I mean is this necessary?"

"When my plans go into effect, dear boy, I'm afraid that if I fail to disappear of my own volition, our friends may see to it that I disappear through theirs. I prefer a choice in the matter."

The dear boy must have known that it would be our last night together. At dinner he sparkled more than the champagne; he was witty and elegant and a great many heads turned, a great many eyes telegraphed admiration, and envy. And now that I come to his room, he has lit candles instead of the lamp, the creamy beeswax candles that smell so heavenly as they burn, and some sort of incense. I am walking into a pillar of cloud.

For the first time, he touches me. Alex takes my hand and kisses it, softly, before undressing and lying down on the bed. I settle myself in the armchair, as I normally do, and observe that he has opened a bottle of massage oil. The smell of sandalwood floods my eyes as he pours the oil out and rubs it between his palms. As always, exquisite. I feel my tired old body stir a bit.

Then he smooths his hands down over his chest, over those little dark nipples I have watched so avidly, down to his belly, and something is different. For just a moment, he cups his genitals in two oiled hands, and at that moment I realise: His eyes are on me.

Ah, Alex, you make an old man weep. Tonight he is with me. Not with the beautiful Mr. Mulder, not with his fantasies. With *me*.

And I am with him as he caresses himself, arouses himself slowly, draws out his pleasure to pleasure the both of us. So very beautiful, so exquisite, so perfectly imperfect. Once again, for the last time, I reach my climax as he reaches his, one last gift from this fragile, crotchety body, not so much to myself as a tribute to him.

He lies panting on the bed, his warm breath stirring the flames of the nearest candles. Biting my lip, I rise and go to him, pausing beside the bed. "Alex--may I... my dear boy...."

He holds out his arms, smiling. Still with me. Shedding my robe but not my pyjamas, I stretch out beside him--his embrace is so warm--and cradle his head on my breast.