Title: Brothers by Choice I - The Gold in the Glass

Author: The Riticulan Amanuensis

Class: R m/m implied, strong language

Paring: M/K

Spoiler: Red and the Black

Summary: Krycek calls Mulder to a meeting to discuss the coming invasion.

Feedback: Oh please, pretty, pretty please! I'll answer them all, good orbad. This is my first attempt at fan fiction, please be gentle Riticulan@usa.net.

Disclaimer: All things X Files are owned by Chris Charter, 1013 Productionsand Fox Broadcasting. I own nothing. I just play with them, honest. WhenI am I finished I just kiss each on the cheek and put them back on theirshelf to wait for Mr. Carter to come home again.

General: This is a continuing series of which this is the first installment.Jarod of "the Pretender" will make an appearance in the thirdinstallment. Please archive anywhere, but let me know first, thank you.I would like to thank my beta reader, Griffin Grimes, without whose workthis story would never have been realized.

The Gold in the Glass

The moist, warm ocean breeze picks up a lock of Mulder's dark hair and swirlsit around in a small eddy for a moment before gently placing it back onhis head. The scent of pine, in this dark northern forest, is heady andintoxicating and combined with the salt smell of the ocean - just beyondthe hills - fills my senses to the critical point.

I have invited Mulder to this place to talk. This place - the locals callit Bras d'Or. Arm of Gold. Gold, just the color Mulder's eyes would be rightnow, if I could see them, but he's wearing shades - mirror shades. The onlything I see in his eyes is myself; my own green eyes staring back at me- my own desperation visible. My own desire. Does Mulder see it, I wonder?

Mulder has made one concession to our out-of-the-way meeting: gone is theArmani, replaced with button down jeans and a T. Gone too is the gun, we'veagreed on that. A milestone is reached - we've agreed on something.

On this hot summer day we arrive, moments apart, at this outdoor cafe. Thelocals make note of our presence - all talk ceases for a few moments. Theysoon go back to talking of their crops or the state of the latest fishingcatch, hardly giving us another moment's notice. Except for one other. Atall, dark, dangerous-looking man. Dressed exactly as I am and he, too,is wearing mirror shades - denying me a look into his soul. His flatteneddown black hair and dark, swarthy complexion gives him a look of viciousmenace.

For a moment I think they have found me. But just for a moment. I put mymost vacuous look on my face and when he sees me looking, his face takeson a totally different aspect - it brightens somehow as though acknowledgingmy presence. He takes off his shades which allows me a look into the darkpools of his eyes, and this puts my mind to rest. His body language tellsme he's no threat - funny for him to pick up on my apprehension in thisElysian setting. We acknowledge each other with the briefest of nods andI decide, in a heartbeat, that he isn't trouble; he is simply a watcher.And watch he does. Funny though, the kind of connection I feel to this man.I can't explain it but the feeling is strong.

When we take our seats, Mulder orders coffee and I order something stronger,something gold - something to fortify me for what is to come. Swirling thegold in my glass, I take my first sip, spiralling the strong spirit overmy tongue, allowing myself the first taste of this peat-bog ambrosia, usingmy tongue again to push it back toward my throat, enjoying the burn. Itoccurs to me that I have been enjoying the gold in my glass just a littletoo often these days. I put this observation in the back of my mind forexamination later.

Far below us the inland sea uncoils itself though the high hills like acobra. A living thing. The jade-colored water sparkles in the noonday sun,giving it a rich, gem-like quality. The snake moves on, passing smallishfarm plots and small summer cottages, and it gives me a feeling of wonderment- the likes of which I haven't felt in a long, long time.

Mulder sips his rich coffee, looking everywhere but at me.

I reach for his hand, and use a finger to caress the dark hoary down I findthere. My strong, calloused fingers caress his long, artistic ones. Thisbrings his attention back to me. I begin speaking then of alien invasions,Armageddon, resist or serve, live or die. I know that he is watching mymouth move but is not hearing my words. On his face is firmly planted thatyada, yada, yada, been there, done that look.

"Why did you bring me here, Krycek?"

My mouth moved to answer his question.

"Why did you kill my father?"

Typical. Expected. Fearful question. How could I even begin to explain itto him so that he could understand my actions - I'm no saint by any means,but how could I explain that I did it for him? I couldn't. I killed theonly father Mulder had ever known. Even if the self-righteous bastard deservedit, Mulder would never understand - not really. But would he ever forgive.Forgive he might, but forget - never. Never justify, never explain had beenmy motto - at least up 'till now.

I just look upon his pain, knowing that he could never see mine. Knowinghe could never acknowledge the price I've paid - for it might just lessenhis own.

He jerks his hand away from me and I feel it like a stabbing in my heart.

"Your father was not the man you thought he was," I said. "Iwas sent there to warm him, not to harm him - to warn him not to tell youanything that might be dangerous for you to hear."

Mulder turns his face away from me, dismissing me and my answer. His lipsare drawn so tightly against his teeth that his mouth looks like a bloodygash on his face.

"Why did you kiss me?"

Now that one does surprise me; not the one I expect at all. I reach forhis hand again, and this time he lets me cover it with my own. Funny thethings you think about at times like this. Right then I was thinking whatthis must look like to the casual observer. Could they be getting the warmfuzzies thinking that we might be two brothers, one giving the other comfortover a recent loss? Or maybe, two boyhood friends finally meeting aftera long separation. No one could guess what we really are.

And I certainly I couldn't tell him the truth. Not that I didn't want to.Could I speak of love, long years of desire, deep, deep respect? No. Hewouldn't believe me, anyhow.

I lean forward then, placing my arms on the table and incline toward him,placing my lips next to his ear. I am so close now that when I breathe Ican feel the small hairs on his ear moving. I think I detect a small shivergoing through his body but don't know if it's from anger or something elseentirely.

"Want me to do it again?" I ask.

Mulder pretends he doesn't hear, but I see the quick flash of anger on hisface. And just as quickly, it is gone.

"The hills, Krycek, they look like fortresses," he says. He hastaken off his sunglasses by now and I can see his eyes, darting from mountainto towering mountain. The rich luxury of the overgrown forests there presenteda deep, deep emerald green. I wonder what color he sees when he looks.

"They look like the ones you see in Europe, or in old Hollywood movies!"

I look but all I see is forest.

"Mulder, we have to talk!" He ignores me. My fingers are stillplaying with the small black hairs on the back of his hand. He seems toenjoy it.

"The clouds are advancing armies, can't you see it, Alex? Look."His other arm makes an expansive gesture toward the high white clouds inthe sky.

He is staring at them as though they are the greatest prize in God's creation.

"The invasion, Mulder, we have to do something about the invasion."

"Krycek, look!" He points down to the sea then, indicating thesmall sailboats and yachts that are lazily meandering along.

I look where he is pointing and then speak. "The invasion, Mulder,we don't have much time!"

His eyes look feral. He gives me that look - the look that says so muchand, in reality, says nothing at all. The look that says 'why are you sostupid? Why can't you see this?' The slight breeze has set his hair in motionagain; his mouth, his eyes - his eyes...and my heart skips a beat with desire.

"Look at them Krycek, they are beautiful."

I look at him perplexed, not able to say anything.

"Why did you betray me, Krycek? I almost trusted you. . . you bastard.Do you know how many people I trust, Alex? I can count them on two fingers.But I almost trusted you?"

His use of my name is soothing to me somehow - almost intimate. I feel likeI'm being stroked, and I love it. I will gladly take anything this man iswilling to give.

"But, Mulder, the invasion..."

"I don't believe. . ." He says this while the sound of his voiceis trailing off into nothingness.

Mulder quiets now, giving his full, undivided attention to his coffee. Manyseconds of hurtful silence pass before he speaks again.

"I hate you, Krycek." Softly spoken.

My face jerks back as though it was slapped. "I know, Mulder."

These were the saddest words I have ever spoken in my life.

He turns his face towards the mountains again. "The hills are the fortresses.. .the clouds are the armies. . . and the sailboats are the navy. This,Alex, is your invasion. Your only invasion!"

Of all the things I am, of all the things I will admit to myself, the onething I can admit - I can admit when I am beaten. And I am beaten now.

He looks at me, his eyes full of pleading. "Why the fuck did you haveto kiss me?"

I couldn't answer.

He finishes his coffee, throws a few coins on the table and gets up to leave.

"Where are you going?" I ask.

"For a walk," he spits back at me, his voice full of venom.

I have no choice but to follow.

To be continued in BC II - In a Mountain Greenery

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