Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
e-mail: jfc@freeshell.org
Feedback: Please, to the above address!
Archive: By permission only!
Rating: NC-17 for scenes of sexual activity and disturbing content
Category: Post-XF, SXRA. Both very good and very bad things happen herein.
Spoilers: None really. This is an AU from some point in season seven, so a lot of mytharc has not happened and will not happen.
Timeframe: Takes place three or more years after "We'll Take a Cup of Kindness Yet" in my "Arrows" universe.
Keywords: M/K slash (and M/O) and various *major* life-changing events
Summary: How it all ends.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: These fragments do not necessarily appear in the order in which they occur. Two eventualities exist simultaneously in this story. Only *you* can decide which is the real ending to the love story.

DISCLAIMER: The characters you recognize belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and the whole X-Files gang, not to me. J.J. and Sam are my own twisted creations. This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit.

DEDICATION: For those who want to believe something *else*.

COPYRIGHT: (C) June 13, 2000, Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, jfc@freeshell.org

Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.



"Hey, Munchkin! What do you get when the cat walks across the beach?"

"I dunno, Uncle Alex. What?"

"Sandy claws! Get it? Like Santa Claus?"

The little girl laughed on her uncle's lap. "That's silly!" Her giggles rang out like the bells chiming from the carols playing on the stereo.

His warm laughter mixed with hers as he answered, "You're silly, too, Sam!"

A dark head with traces of grey at the temples peeked around the door from the kitchen to call out, "Hey, Sam!"

"What, Daddy Fox?"

"Tell him it takes one to know one!"

Sam blinked huge brown eyes at Alex, solemnly repeating, "Daddy says it takes one to know one."

Just then, a tiny figure with almond-shaped onyx eyes emerged from the back bedroom with an armload of table pads. She began laying them out on the polished dining table and merrily scolded, "Must you always quote your father, sweetheart?"

Mulder pretended to look offended. "She only quotes me when I'm right, isn't that so, Sam?"

"So that wouldn't be very often, would it?" said a small woman with still mostly-red hair as she sneaked through the door behind him, wiping her hands on her apron. "Here, hon--let me help you with those..."

"Alex! Make 'em stop!" whined Mulder childishly as he stepped back into the kitchen to attend to the holiday feast.

Alex hollered over the head of the child who snuggled happily on his lap, "You're bigger than Dana and J.J. rolled into one. Stop 'em yourself!"

"Ask me another riddle, Uncle Alex!" Sam interrupted.

"Oh, okay, podling. What comes at the end of everything?"

A look of bewilderment came over her face. "I don't know. Mommy, what comes at the end of everything?"

Scully reached over to ruffle Sam's hair as she moved from the table back into the kitchen. "I have no idea, babydoll. Mulder, do you know the answer to that one?"

From the savory-smelling warmth of the next room, his voice replied, "Nope. He keeps surprising me with some of these. J.J.? How about you?"

She straightened up from smoothing the linen tablecloth to strike a thoughtful pose. "No," she stated at last. "You've stumped us all, Alex. What *does* come at the end of everything?"

Smirking sweetly, he answered, "The letter G," causing the other adults to groan in amusement.

"I don't get it," piped the little voice that had requested the riddle in the first place. "Mama J.J.? What does that mean?"

"Don't worry, Sam," she replied, scooping her daughter off of Alex's lap. "You'll understand when you're old enough to *read*," she said for emphasis to the grinning riddler, who laughed and got up to accompany the others into the kitchen.


Krycek stood in Mulder's vestibule in the dark, pocketing his key and letting his eyes adjust to the gloom. On the old leather sofa, he could just make out the shadow that was his sleeping lover, so he moved to crouch beside his head.

"Mulder?" he called softly, then again a little louder when his first attempt got no response. "Wake up, babe. It's important." He steadied himself with his prosthesis against the edge of the sofa and shook Mulder's shoulder gently.

"Wha--" startled Mulder, his eyes softening as soon as he saw Alex. "Hey, you prick. What's going on?"

Due to the reduced light, he couldn't see Alex's face pale as he swallowed hard. Alex took a deep breath, then answered in a voice both rushed and exhausted. "The war's over, darlin'."

Mulder smiled and started to sit up and say something, but was held down by Alex's outstretched hand.

"I'm so sorry, Mulder. We did all we could. We lost." He sat back on his heels, looking into shocked hazel eyes and waiting for the explosion he knew was coming.

Instead, Mulder flustered, pulling his legs up to leave room for Alex to sit beside him. Dragging him up to his seat, he asked, "What happened?"

Alex shivered visibly, so Mulder tucked the blanket around his shoulders. His lips quivered as he tried to explain. "The negotiations broke down. No agreement could be reached, and the aggressors have staked their claim."

"Wait, wait... What does this mean?"

His green eyes held years of pain as they searched Mulder's. "It's all over--gone straight to hell. The ships will be here in a few days, and will start the reappropriation..."

"The what?"

Alex's voice was nothing but a whisper. "They're taking their spoils. The aliens will enslave everyone who's left, and kill the ones who know about it already. It's just a matter of time." He looked away, preoccupied with visions of the future he didn't want to imagine.

Mulder chided him, a hesitant smile still lurking on his face. "C'mon. There's got to be *something* we can do to survive."

"Don't you understand?" he practically shouted. "This is it. The end. There's nothing left to do but put our heads between our knees and kiss our collective asses goodbye!" Gasping once after his tirade, Alex began coughing raggedly.

His beloved hugged his shoulders firmly until the fit had passed. As soon as his breathing returned to normal, Mulder held him at arms' length, noting with dismay the dark sputum that spattered his white shirt, the contrast even visible in the dimness. Reaching up to switch on the sidelamp, he worriedly asked, "Is that blood?" The sudden change in light level caused them both to blink stupidly for a moment. Once he could see clearly, Mulder studied the spots on Alex's shirt. "That's not red, is it?"

With a hoarse chuckle, he shook his head. "I'm afraid it's black, baby. It seems that there's still a remnant of that oil in me somewhere, and they've reactivated it. They're going to locate everybody who's been exposed to it and bring it back to life, destroying the hosts. I'll be dead in forty-eight hours."

Only then did Mulder fully appreciate what Alex was saying, letting the horror of his words sink into his still-groggy brain. He clung suddenly to the bearer of bad tidings. "Oh, my God... I can't let you die, Alex! I can't live without you!"

A defeated grin streaked Alex's face briefly. "Luckily, you won't have to. You're in danger, too..."

"What?" sputtered Mulder. "I got the vaccine in Tunguska..."

"This thing has mutated. You might as well have gotten injections of malt liquor for all the good it will do you now. I'm sorry, lover..."

The two men sat silently on the leather of Mulder's couch for a moment, until Mulder started to lunge for the phone. "Scully... I've gotta warn Scully!"

Alex grabbed his wrist with his one good hand and spun him around where he stood. "They're monitoring the phones, the 'net, all lines of communication. If I were you, I'd get in my car right this minute and drive out to wherever the hell she's living now--"

"California, near her brother, now that her mom's gone," interjected Mulder.

"--California, and I'd see her one last time. You've only got a couple of days left. Get going."

His eyes were wild with worry. "If I did that, I'd never see you again."

"You'll never see me again, anyway."

"I'm bringing you with me, Alex. I'm not leaving you behind."

Standing to face the man he loved, Alex shook his head resolutely. "Thanks for trying to help, darlin', but I'll never survive the trip." As if to illustrate, his eyes were suddenly obscured by a wash of oily residue, so dark as to make the green disappear for a moment. The instant his irises cleared, he yowled in pain, grabbing at his head and beginning to crumble where he stood.

Mulder reached out to catch him before he collapsed, then half-dragged, half-carried Alex into his bedroom, laying him gently on top of the spread. Jerking and twitching on the bed, the thin man watched his caretaker, who stood over him not knowing what to do next.

"Pack up the stuff that's important to you and get out of here, Mulder," croaked Alex, barely able to finish his sentence in one breath.

He still stood, his face ashen in horror at Alex's news. "What will happen to you? I love you. I can't just leave you here..."

Struggling up on his elbow, Alex cleared his throat and looked him straight in the eye. "Look, gorgeous. In a day or so it just won't matter anymore. I love you, too, but I'm dead meat already. I know what Scully means to you. Save yourself, for as long as it takes you to get to her. Don't let her die alone."

Silently they regarded one another for a moment, until Mulder turned and started putting a few things into a duffel bag. The set of his shoulders made it clear that he was working to keep himself from arguing with his stricken lover and upsetting him, and himself, further. After a few trips out of the room, whereupon he returned with another armful of things to go into the bag, he stopped in mid-bustle and set down his burden. His face threatening to cave in completely, he crawled onto the bed beside Alex, wrapping his long arms around him and allowing himself to weep softly into his shoulder.

His own lip trembling, Alex petted his hair and whispered into his ear, "I'll die remembering all the times we made love, Fox. The first time... The *last* time..."

This thought made Mulder raise his head to look at him tearfully. "Do you want to *now*?"

He smiled the defeated grin of a condemned man. "No, baby, I don't dare. I wouldn't want to risk passing any of this on to you. Kiss me goodbye once, though. Maybe it will make it hurt a little less..."

Mulder tried to smile before leaning in to press his lips one final time against Alex's pale, cold mouth. Breaking away at last, he blinked ineffectively at his tears and started to get up. "Are you sure that there isn't anything I can do to make this easier for you?"

Even wracked with pain, he tried to sit up, his brow set firmly, and said, "Yeah, there is." Before he could continue, another fit of coughing overtook him, and Mulder's eyes grew large as he watched the black goo crawl up Alex's tongue and creep out over the fingers of his lone hand as he attempted to cover his mouth.


"Oh, my God! Aaaaauggggh!"

Scully's screams echoed down the tiled hall as Mulder approached. He spotted J.J. standing outside the door and waved her to him.

"J.J.! Where the fuck are you going???"

She shook her head, tossing her close-cropped hair, and chuckled at the ruckus behind her.

Mulder stepped closer and swept her into a warm hug. "I see we've gotten to the screaming stage. I must be right on time."

Her mouth curled in gentle sarcasm as she replied, "I was so afraid you'd miss this part. Where's Alex?"

"Parking the car. I took the first leg out of New England, but I got so nervous he thought I'd run us into an embankment, so he's been driving since Jersey."

"Good man. You want to see her?"

"Do you think I should?" The trepidation in his eyes was only partially fake.

She started to lead him into the room, only to run up against the wall of Scully's hollering voice. "YOU! You did this to me!"

Scully had moved one hand from clutching her swollen belly to point accusingly at Mulder. Her red hair was matted with perspiration and stuck out funny in the back. The hospital bed had been positioned to give her as much support and comfort as possible, but Scully's agonized howls indicated that she was far from comfortable.

"I only did it because you asked me to," Mulder began weakly. "And it's not like I didn't have help..." He looked to J.J. for support, but she had gone back out in the hall for a breather.

One more groan of pain, and Scully quieted enough to pant for breath. "I'm sorry, Mulder," she whimpered, "but it hurts!"

He moved to her bedside to hug her as closely as he could past her stomach, reaching around to rub her back in the process. "I know, sweetie. It'll be over before too long, and you'll hold that baby in your arms, and you'll thank me."

"I know," she whined, and he could tell from how her shoulders fell against him that she was starting to cry. "God, I'm glad you're here. I couldn't do this without you. I think I was starting to scare J.J...."

"Are you sure she's the one for you, Scully?" he teased to cheer her up. "She obviously doesn't know what scary *is*, does she?"

"Nope," she chuckled through her tears. "I don't know what she'd do if she saw a giant bug out of the corner of her eye!" They laughed together at that image until she groaned again, and Mulder held on tight while she tried to take calming breaths.

"I'm here, I'm here, I'm here!" announced Krycek as he burst in the door, interrupting their reverie. "Hope I haven't missed the good stuff!"

Scully looked at what he was carrying with an expression of dismay. "No," she declared, "you are *not* videotaping me giving birth. Is that clear?"

"Awwww," he whined, giving one last fond look at his video camera, then stashing it in a chair next to the door. Alex elbowed his way past Mulder to give the mother-to-be a friendly hug. "So, how's it going?"

"Good," answered Mulder. "Stay there, and maybe she'll tear off *your* balls at the next contraction instead of mine."

Reacting to his comment, Alex tried to break free of Scully's grip, but she just chuckled weakly and held on tight. "Don't be silly, Mulder. He doesn't *have* any!"

"Hey!" he protested, standing straight at last. "I *must* have cojones. I put up with *him*, don't I?" Mulder acted as if he were going to bite the thumb that Alex cocked his way while backing out of arm's reach.

"So, Scully," resumed Mulder, changing the subject, "how long do they think it will be?"

She yawned broadly, her fatigue apparent on her face. "I don't remember. You'll have to ask J.J. I'm hoping I'm finished here before Thursday. I have a golf date..."

As they were all laughing, Scully's life partner peeked back in the door. "Cheer up!" she exhorted. "We're only having a baby here!" The guys stepped back to let her move closer to the patient. "Ice chips, Dana?"

A less-than-enthusiastic Scully nodded at her offer, adding, "No chance they're laced with Demerol, huh?"

"We're not going far," assured Mulder as he grabbed Krycek and dragged him back out into the hall to give the soon-to-be parents some time alone.

"So they're really going through with this..." marveled Alex, sitting in one of the plastic chairs within easy earshot of the room.

Mulder claimed a seat to his right almost instinctively. "Well, it's a little late to back out now!" he laughed.

"How does it feel to be a father for the first time?"

"Utterly terrifying! How am I *supposed* to feel?"

Alex reached out and patted him on the knee. "At least we don't have to deal with the day-to-day baby care thing..."

At that, his lover's face grew wistful. "I think I'm sorry I'll have to miss a lot of that. We won't be able to drive six hours to change a diaper."

"And you want to *do* that? Change diapers, I mean, *not* drive six hours to do it?"

Regarding him with an unfamiliar set to his mouth, he answered, "Yeah, I guess I do..."

Squeezing his knee warmly, Alex then moved to reach for a magazine with which to pass the time. "We can come down as often as possible. Would that make you happy?"

"I feel I should do something. I mean I made my "contribution", but then I've been mostly uninvolved since then." Mulder sighed and kissed him on the cheek, then leaned back to look over his shoulder at the pages he turned.

Alex turned slightly in his seat towards him. "That's the way of nature, Fox. Let the baby's mother do her part now. Wait till it's out here when you can play with it, teach it stuff, spoil it rotten..."

"This kid sure won't have any financial needs. What with the proceeds of my book, and Scully's bureau pension, and J.J.'s practice, it will have more money supporting it than the four of us did all of our lives!"

"True," sighed Alex in reply. "At least we're comfortable now. I'll bet you're glad I had the connections I did way back when..."

"I try not to think about who paid for our house, baby. I'm just glad we're profiting from their twisted schemes!"

Turning a few more pages in the ladies' magazine that Alex had picked up, they uncovered an article about options for conceiving a child. "I forget: why didn't J.J. want to carry the baby herself?"

Mulder thought for a moment. "I think her doctor said it was a body fat issue. She's just too thin. Besides, they agreed that Scully had always wanted to bear a child, while it just wasn't that important to J.J. When they'd decided that they wanted to start a family, and learned that Scully was fully capable of carrying to term, J.J. was more than happy to devote her eggs to the project."

"And your guys were all gung-ho to do their part, too, right?" Alex grinned.

Smiling proudly, he answered, "Absolutely. I mean, ages ago I'd had visions of giving her this, because she seemed to want it so badly..."

"You just had to change your plans of *how* you were going to give it to her--am I right?" he teased.

"I'd recommend shutting up *now* if you were intending to keep your teeth," Mulder threatened.

"Gotcha. Shutting up *now*," chuckled Alex.

Several hours and a few fitful upright naps later, they found themselves forming an enthusiastic cheering section at Scully's bedside. Alex's video camera lay forgotten until after the shouts of "It's a girl!" went up, and everyone laughed and cried all at once. Eventually, though, he aimed his lens at his beloved Mulder's tear-stained, ecstatic face as Scully, exultant through her exhaustion, held a squalling red-pink bundle like it was spun glass, and said, "Here, Sam. I'd like you to meet your Daddy Fox!"

"It's a pleasure to meet you, little miracle!" he greeted her, his voice raw with emotion.

His best friend's blue eyes shone in joy. "Thank you, Mulder. This is the most amazing thing in the world..."

Smiling uncontrollably at the new family before him, he argued, "No--that title would go to *you*. You're welcome, Scully! Thank *you*!" He raised a plastic cup of the champagne that Alex had sneaked into the hospital and took a long gulp at last.


Mulder drained his coffee cup, then crumpled the paper vessel and flung it in the back seat. The bitter liquid gnawed at his otherwise empty stomach, so he fished out a few sunflower seeds to nibble as he drove.

He found the salt comforting, almost substituting for the tears he couldn't cry any longer. After twenty-nine hours on the road, not counting the five or six when he'd pulled off to a rest area where he could try to sleep a little, it was all he could do not to think of the coming invasion and the world coming to an end. Time and time again, his thoughts flew to Scully, innocently living her new life without him in California, unaware of the recent developments with the remnants of the Consortium. They were still friends--she would accept him, welcome his visit, but how could he tell her this story that she would never believe?

Poor Alex, he thought. He had so wanted to be on the victorious side when it all came down, but he had no idea how badly it could go. Whatever the machinations of the shadow government, however they'd tried to manipulate history to save mankind, the toll had been paid out in the lives of the ultimately blameless. The nutmeat stuck in his dry throat, reminding him that he was way down on fluid replenishment.

Staring at the pavement ahead of him as it disappeared under his wheels, Mulder ran a quick internal check for any indications that had been targeted by the aliens for black oil reactivation, but aside from gritty eyes, fatigue, and a lingering stomachache, all systems checked out normal for now. He even coughed experimentally, but his paranoia was mollified little by its relative dryness.

So many people he loved had been ruined by the conspiracy... His father, thinking he'd been insuring the future, but duped into signing his daughter's death warrant, and initialing those for everyone else on the planet. His mother, keeping secrets from her family, leaving them ignorant and shattered. His partner, snatched away from him, but returned as damaged goods, never to find peace or the connection she so craved. It had been a long time since J.J. had left her, failing to understand what was so important about the mysteries hiding in that basement office, breaking her heart so that she finally quit and ran away, too.

All of the plots that involved him, that had used him as their target or guinea pig--they were all for nothing now. He wondered idly if his car was even now in the crosshairs of some alien ship lurking just above the cloud cover, just waiting for him to stop again, or not even intending to zap him from the sky--maybe merely tracking him, watching where he went so they could find him and recruit him as a contact now that Alex was--

Not now. No time to think of that now. He swallowed hard to keep the coffee down, concentrating on trying to read the license plate of the car far ahead of him until his vision cleared again. It had been an interesting life, he reminded himself: never boring, anyway. He and Scully had seen some of the most incredible things on their journeys, and it was always fun to watch her offer logical explanations to the magic of the unexplainable. Alex had been right. He had to see her, to spend their last few days, maybe hours, together...

Instinctively, he had always known that his affair with Alex was doomed to failure, of one kind or another. Gripping the steering wheel a little more tightly with his other hand, he reached for his shirt collar, fingering the hole where he always pinned Alex's house-shaped tie tack. If nothing else, he thought, his love was "home" now.

How little does everything we take for granted matter, after all? Mulder gave a gallows chuckle to himself. He couldn't even recall what day it was, and time was merely relative: it had been thirty-five hours since he had first sat behind the wheel of his car, staring up at his apartment window and cursing anyone and everyone who crossed his mind as angry tears coursed down his cheeks. Always at heart a government employee, he followed orders, starting the engine as soon as he could see straight and pointing his headlights west, his goal of finding her the only driving force he was willing to acknowledge.

Alex had been in pain, he kept telling himself. He was dying, and had come to him as a last refuge, to deliver a final fatal message, to tell him he was loved before he would never be able to tell him again. He'd only followed orders *then*, too, fulfilling his beloved's deathbed wish, no matter how much it hurt, no matter how guilty it would make him feel all of his remaining moments on this earth. Besides, it occurred to him, there wouldn't be any courts left to convict him in a few days anyway.

Would he have been able to do the same thing for Scully if she were to ask? For that matter, would she have been able to do it for him? Well, to a much lesser extent, she'd done it once already. Of course, she'd just winged him that night, for which he'd blamed her at the time, but for which he was eternally grateful ever since, especially during the past few years of devotion to his intended target.

His eyes brimming again, he pulled the car onto the shoulder of the road, hearing his own gunshot ring in his ears. "Please," Alex had begged, in response to his offer to make him more comfortable. Mulder knew that he was not weak. In fact, Alex Krycek was the strongest man he'd ever met. He had just reached the end: the end of his work, the end of his patience, the end of his effectiveness. It takes a brave man to know when to give up.

"Are you absolutely sure?" Mulder had asked, probably half a dozen times. Each time, he'd gotten a strained "yes" in reply, or a desperate nod, and once, when that was all the strength he had left, an impassioned squeeze of his hand.

When he'd convinced himself at last that it was the only course of action open to them, he had solemnly removed the tie tack from his shirt collar and pinned it reverently on Alex's oil-spattered tee-shirt. "You're home now," he had whispered, pressing his lips to Alex's ice-cold forehead.

"I know," he had answered, his eyes closed yet peaceful.

"I love you, Alex. I'm sorry," he'd said then, realizing that he was stalling.

"Just do it, baby," he had wheezed, then opened his eyes. A single grey-stained tear had fallen from his lashes as he had repeated, "I love you, too, and I forgive you. Thank you, gorgeous. See you in hell."

For once, Mulder hadn't dropped his gun, hadn't missed, hadn't faltered in any way, though he had been sobbing steadily as he pulled the trigger. The black oil had begun to seep from Alex's visible orifices as soon as he was dead, so Mulder had picked up his hastily-packed bag and turned away, whispering "Goodbye" to the room before pausing briefly in the bathroom to relieve his stomach of its contents, then walking out of Apartment #42 forever.

A car crunching on the gravel behind him stirred Mulder from his position, leaning his head on his hands clutched at the top edge of the steering wheel where he'd broken down weeping again. When the driver came up to his window, looking concerned, he composed himself quickly and waved the man away, dabbing at his eyes with his knuckles and starting the car again, pulling out into traffic with Alex's calm, forgiving gaze haunting the back of his mind.


"Sir?" called the security on guard on duty at the front desk of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the green-eyed man who'd just slipped past her metal detector without stopping, even when the alarms started sounding. "Sir? You'll have to come back here and let me run this wand over... Sir??? Oh, hell!" she cried when she realized that he wasn't coming back, and all of the visitors calmly waiting in line craned their necks to watch the chubby woman in a drab uniform get up from her desk and start running after him on stubby little legs. She lost him almost immediately in the crowd, though she was sure he'd gotten right onto an elevator to the fifth floor.

Phones were ringing wildly as the slender man in the nice suit and open-collared shirt stepped off of the elevator, but he moved silently past all of the chaos on a sure course to the office of the Assistant Director. He strode right past Kim's desk, ignoring her admonitions to wait and identify himself, opening Walter Skinner's door and walking right in.

Inside the office, a balding head looked up at the interruption, and anger flashed from his brown eyes. "Krycek? What is the meaning of this?" he bellowed, as the man in the chair before his desk turned and half stood up when he saw who their visitor was.

"Alex," Mulder whispered, warning running thick in his voice.

"Just a minute, gorgeous," he reassured the agent, reaching into an inner pocket to retrieve a small electronic device.

The A.D. paled when he saw the small machine. Softly, he asked the intruder before him, "What do you want?"

His face, innocuous until now, burst into a huge grin. "I want to give you a few things," he announced, fairly crowing with pride. "First this," he said, setting the device squarely on Skinner's desk blotter and removing his hand from it with fingers splayed as if he were relinquishing his gun to a mugger. "Have your best scientists look into the guts of this things, and you'll learn everything you need to know, not merely to disconnect your nanocytes, but to use them to help every person living on earth. Consider it compensation for work-related injury. There's also a few other files you can access there that may have been, um, lost to you at one time or another." He shot a loaded glance at Mulder, who almost telepathically thought of the unfortunately blank disk that Scully had acquired from the Smoking Man. "These should be more than adequate punitive damages for any outstanding charges against me."

Skinner, obviously of at least two minds about accepting these gifts from his mortal enemy and longtime master in exchange for his freedom, blustered, "Is there anything else?"

Almost breathlessly, Krycek paused, then pulled Skinner out of his chair with his tie. "Yeah," he sighed, pushing his tongue between his lips roughly until he broke the kiss audibly and dropped him back in his seat. "It's been a pleasure working with you. Thanks for the flowers." Before Skinner could recall the hospital visit from so many years before, his nemesis spun on his perfectly-polished toe and looked Mulder straight in the eye. "C'mon, babe. Tender your resignation, and let's get out of here." With that, he stalked out the door, only sticking his head back in when Mulder didn't follow him. "Are you coming or not?" he asked, arching one eyebrow.

"Sorry, sir. I'll sort this out and get right back to you," the agent muttered before scurrying after him, noting that Kim wore the same "just been kissed rather abruptly and well" look that his boss now sported.

Mulder caught up to his lover at the elevator, which had already been called for a trip down. "What the fuck is going on, Krycek?" he asked, exasperated at the younger man's flip attitude.

"Good news, Agent Mulder," he answered for the benefit of the business-suited ants who spilled out of the elevator. He led the way inside the now-empty car and took up a position near the button panel, waiting for Mulder to join him. "Get in. I'll explain." Quickly, he jabbed the "close doors" button, shutting them in the face of a few more Fibbies, including Assistant Director Skinner, had he cared enough to notice.

The sturdy box began its drift down--to the basement, as Mulder noted. "What has gotten into you, you prick?" he growled.

There was that brilliant smile again. Reaching around to hit the "stop" button, Krycek switched the elevator off between floors. He turned back to grin into Mulder's annoyed face. "It's over, darlin'..."

"What is?"

He chuckled knowingly at Mulder's uncomprehending expression. "Why, the war, silly! I always said I'd come for you when the war was over. Here I am. Let's split this pop stand."

"I beg your pardon?"

Exhaling a mildly frustrated sigh, he grasped Mulder's chin and gave him a soft but lingering kiss. "Your work is done here. There's nothing left for you to investigate, no reason to leave yourself open as a target for the loonies anymore. We won, baby! We won!"

"I'm sorry, but what are you talking about?"

"Okay," clucked Alex, "the Reader's Digest version: The organization I work for has been in negotiations a long time with the possible alien invaders. As I told you once, we've been the resistance movement. Well, we worked out a deal, and the bad guys went bye-bye. We're free."

"*Who's* free?"

He shook his head and laughed out loud. "You just don't get it, do you? We're *all* free. You're free. Hell, *I'm* free. *Nobody* has to worry about the threat of alien colonization ever again. Nobody even has to *know* about it."

Mulder let this sink in for a minute. "I see. So, what happens now?"

"Now you pack up your stuff and come with me. I've received my pay, and put a little chunk of it into a house for you and me up on Cape Cod."

Grey-green eyes stared, their owner stupefied before him. "How do I know you're telling me the truth?"

"God, Mulder," he whined, rolling his eyes. "You've taken everything I've ever said to you as the word of God, whether it was valid or not. Now, when I come to tell you that I'll never have to lie again, you don't believe me? What have I got to do? *Fuck* some sense into you?" Immediately, his face softened, though his eyes retained a fierce gleam. "Hmmm... now *there's* an idea. I *am* feeling a mite "energetic" at the moment..." To illustrate, he leaned into Mulder's hip, letting his hardness brush against his leg as if by accident.

Sighing deeply, Mulder tried to reorganize everything he thought he knew at record-breaking speed. "Can I at least think about this awhile?"

"About what? Getting laid, or the happily-ever-after part?" he asked, the teasing tone evident even to a casual observer.

"Look, babe, I've got some stuff I want to finish up around here. Can I just take care of that, and then I'll start looking for movers in the phone book?"

"You mean you accept my proposal?" he blurted, his eyes shining and his enthusiasm barely in check. "You'll run away with me and live in my house and be my forever man?"

Mulder recalled a conversation they'd had on a darkened balcony on a summer night in Chicago long ago, then smiled sheepishly. "Yes, Alex. I will."

"Thank you!" Alex trilled, flinging his arm around his beloved and kissing him in victory and happiness. Just then, a small alarm buzzer went off behind the control panel.

"Uh," interrupted Mulder, pulling his mouth free of Krycek's reluctantly, "we've probably had the elevator stopped too long."

"Good," he replied, switching it back on, silencing the alarm and making the car lurch back into motion, "it was going to be a little difficult to fuck you in here, anyway. How about I throw you across your desk and take you in your office?"

"I dunno. There's a lot of crap on my desk right now..."

In the basement office at last, they compromised. Standing on his knees in his chair, Mulder lowered his pants, while Alex swiped some hand lotion from the supply drawer and slicked himself in preparation. Plunging into Mulder's sweet ass, he rolled the chair an inch or two to wedge it against the wall behind the desk for leverage, then fucked him quickly and efficiently. He reached around and jerked his lover's now-hard cock in rhythm with his own thrusts, brushing against his prostate just right when he came, stroking Mulder to orgasm and nailing the picture of the spaceship on his "I Want to Believe" poster with a dollop of jism.

They were adjusting their clothes when the door opened to reveal Dana Scully, who stood with her key dangling from her hand like her jaw dangled from her skull. "Wait a minute," she joked, slightly unnerved. "You're not going to tell me he busted his hand again, are you?"

The not-particularly-embarrassed men before her laughed in recollection of a late-night visit long ago. Mulder gathered up some papers and trinkets from his desk, shutting them into his work satchel. "Nope--there's nothing wrong at all. That'll do for now. I'll come back for the rest." As he passed his soon-to-be-former partner at the door, he seized her chin and gave her a sudden and noisy kiss. "See you later, Scully."

"See you later?" she repeated. "What's happening? Where are you going? When will you be back?"

"Later," he sang over his shoulder, catching Alex's eye as they strode together out into the hall. "Right now I've gotta see a man about a house..."

"Don'tcha mean "horse", darlin'?"

"No, I mean "house"," he grinned in tandem with his beloved, who led him to the exit door.


The little clapboard house looked just like all of the others on its block, except for the haggard-looking man banging on the front door in the moonlight. At last, a small red-haired woman, wrapped in a robe and appearing older and more tired than she did the last time he'd seen her, opened the door. However, he looked quite a bit worse than she did.

"Mulder--my God! Come in! What's wrong?" Scully drew him inside, shutting the door behind him, and led him to her old familiar sofa, now relocated to the west coast.

Fatigue and grief washed over him as he fell onto the cushions. "I had to kill him," he whispered at last.

Her mouth dropped into a horrified O. "What? Kill who?" she asked, sitting close beside him.

"Alex..." he answered, the final crumb of his composure leaving him as he collapsed into her consoling arms. They sat that way for a long time, Mulder relating his bleak news in terrible utterances, punctuated by his tears and hers.

Eventually, she convinced him that he needed sleep, undressing her heartbroken friend and tugging him by the arm back to her disheveled bed. A few hours later, she woke to hear him gagging in the bathroom, victim to a case of the dry heaves, so she got up and made him a cup of weak tea, then sat up in bed waiting until he came back to her.

When he returned and had drunk the tea, he lay back down beside her, cradling her in his arms to wait for the end of the world. For once in their careers, they did not banter and joke, but merely lay together, lost in visions of the destruction and chaos soon to come.

Almost simultaneously, they were overcome by the futility of it all, their inability to do anything to stop the invasion, and the warmth of their bodies pressed close in Scully's big bed. Mulder kissed her then, and she opened her mouth to him in mutual desperation and need for comfort. Before long, she found him hard, and he found her willing, and they peeled away the last layers of fabric so that he could slide into the shelter of her sex as they passed the hours before death in a last celebration of life. He cried when he came, in regret for his losses and those that he'd wreaked on the people around him.

"He loved you," she assured him, kissing his temples and holding him carefully. "You were trying to protect him from any more pain. He trusted you to help him. I'm proud of you for doing what you had to do, and I know he would be, too."

He nodded mutely and clung to her, burying his nose in her shoulder as he received her blessed absolution, until lightning flashed outside the window. They crawled out of bed and went to investigate together, as they were destined to do.

Scully drew back the curtain to a sky darkened with the sharp-edged shadows of ships hovering overhead. Bolts of white-hot magnesium fire illuminated the ground beneath the window, and drops like wine-heavy grapes spattered against the glass panes. With disheartened shudders, they noted that the wetness on the other side of the barrier was not water, but clots of black oil falling like rain to cover the quiet neighborhood with its creeping sludge.

Mulder pulled the sheet closer around their naked bodies and chuckled humorlessly. "Wanna hear a riddle?" he asked.

She shrugged and nodded, unable to take her eyes off of the apocalypse in the street.

"What comes at the end of everything?"

"I have no idea. What?"

"The letter G."

He felt her tremble, then followed her gaze to the cracks in the putty of the window frame, where the oil slowly seeped around the edges of the glass and began to enter the house, seeking a new host.




Thank you to the readers who have been following this saga from the beginning. This is how the story ends, but more chapters may turn up one of these days! Sorry for not using a few more labels at the beginning, but I wanted to keep some things under wraps. All feedback, complaints, and questions welcome at the address below.

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