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VI. Dancing the Atavistic Rhythms of LifeI believe a man is born first unto himself—for the happy developing of himself, while the world is a nursery, and the pretty things are to be snatched for, and pleasant things tasted; some people seem to exist thus right to the end. But most are born again on entering manhood; then they are born to humanity, to a consciousness of all the laughing, and the never-ceasing murmur of pain and sorrow that comes from the terrible multitudes of brothers.
--D. H. Lawrence--
Old Calendar: June 21, 2011
New Calendar: Day 1, Year 3 A.E.
I made it back. It hadn’t been a real crisis in Billings, but I could have dragged it out. Done the ol’ flashdance two-step and wow’ed them. It used to be necessary, all the flash and razzle-dazzle I could muster. Areas of our country edged toward chaos years ago, an anarchist’s dream. My job right from the start had been to go into the chaos and straighten it out by using my ungod-given talents; basically psyching them out, literally and figuratively.
It worked, usually. Except on a couple of sociopaths; they seemed to think it was a personal invitation for them to find a way to outsmart me and get around the telepathy.
I wonder what Albert thinks of the thousands of people walking all over his sacred lands these days. I recall before the war when the Mall in D.C. would fill with people for some kind of gathering, thousands of people pressed together. It’s not quite as bad out here; we have more room. But the people, my god, the people. All that mind energy, all that emotional chaos. I should have stayed in Billings.
But I couldn’t. I lurched back like a salmon going home, impelled by forces beyond my control.
And isn’t that analogy a pretentious load of crap. I could’ve done otherwise. I could’ve stayed in Billings. Hell, the Governor wanted me to stay and participate in the state’s own celebration of the Expulsion. But I returned here to Four Corners.
Damn, I miss the guys sometimes. I wish I could go to their place, kick back, have a few beers and listen to their normal, gripping patter about one obscure thing after another. I’ve gotten pretty good at doing that in my head, my own personal meditational relaxation method, not recommended for teaching to others. Just think—if most people only knew what the real Fox Mulder was like, they’d really have a reason to run kicking and screaming from the room.
I got back about eleven o’clock in the morning. Scully had already left for the celebration. It was being televised nationally; the President and other big-wigs were going to be there. I can’t remember the last time I felt so undecided about something; two sides, two decisions, both equally strong. Go or hide?
Here’s one for the books: want to know how I made that decision today? Bet you can’t guess.
A coin. Heads, yes, tails, no. I pitched it in my living room, let it fall to the floor and roll around on the wood surface until it came to a stop.
Heads. I should have known.
It only took me fifteen minutes to shower and change into a good suit. Gotta play the crowds, after all. And enough of my old vanity exists still, I suppose. Scully still kids me about the amount of money I spend on my work clothes. What can I say? I was raised by good New England stock: never be frivolous with money, but if you’re going to buy something, buy the best. Because, in the long run, it lasts longer and it’s a better bargain. It doesn’t hurt that the cut and fit is better, either.
I arrived at the main stage area just minutes ahead of the President’s entourage. Not that I would have cared, but politics is politics. Others would have. It always reminds me of an unconscious hold-over from the monarchy of England, where no one arrived after or left before the King at functions. A royal pain in the ass, if you ask me. I, alone, seem to be fairly immune to most consequences for breaking the thousand and one little rules of polit-ettiquette here in Four Corners. These alien DNA strands do come in handy, like I’ve said.
Another thing they come in handy for is finding people in the midst of crowds. I ‘heard’ Scully, and tracked her down to our seats on the left side of the main staging area, about the fifth row in the VIP section. Alex was with her, and both saw me at the same time. Scully was surprised and pleased, and Alex…well. Alex is a long story I haven’t told.
Alex Krycek, my right-hand man in the UNP. By the time that happened, I didn’t have to argue for anything anymore with those who might question me about the way I was running the force. I had proven myself, over and over and fucking over again. There was no way to get a good grip on me to throw me, so those who wanted to had stopped trying. I was home free. I had what I’d always dreamed of—a job where everybody left me alone to do what I knew to be the right thing.
So, how did Alex Krycek come to be the right thing, you ask. Alex Krycek, whose history as told through other eyes and other documents speaks of a man who had wrecked havoc and death wherever he had gone. Through my life, through Scully’s, through Skinner’s…
For years, I had wanted to beat him to a senseless pulp every time I saw him. In fact, I remember a few times I gave it a good shot. Betrayal is the worst kind of pain, the most insidious. It eats away at your own self-confidence, as you begin to wonder just how you missed the signs, just how you could have been taken in so thoroughly. Self-doubt blossoms, and becomes much more destructive than the original betrayal ever was.
He annoyed me right from the start, all those years ago back in the Bureau. So earnest, so eager to be a part of the team. But there was something in those green eyes of his, something I couldn’t quite decipher, something that gave lie to that innocent demeanor he presented.
He’d seen me trying to interpret it, and he gave me an answer: libido. A nice, healthy, young, sexual animal attracted to his co-worker. It had me fooled. Kept me busy looking at the right hand and I never saw the left that came and knocked me out.
So how did we get from that place to now? For one reason, and one reason only. I finally saw past all the bullshit, past all the layers and personas, down to the raw truth of who and what Alex is.
If you’ve never truly seen another human being in the raw, so to speak, it’s hard to describe. We’re a conglomerate of everything we’ve experienced and lived, all meshed together to create our idea of what reality is. It is that reality that dictates all of our decisions.
Alex is one of the complex ones. On one hand, he’s one of the most indestructible individuals I’ve ever seen. He takes a licking and keeps on ticking. But, on the other hand, he’s one of the most vulnerable, needy, easily manipulated guys I’ve met. It’s just…all his vulnerable buttons are so deeply buried, so well protected by his strong defense mechanisms, that very few have ever found them.
A few people did, because they knew him young, before he had strengthened his defenses, before he had buried his childhood. Those people easily seduced him, bought him and then owned him. It was like taking candy from a baby.
I used to hate his guts. So much so, I wanted to kill him. More than once, I remember shaking with the need to kill him. No wonder he didn’t voluntarily come back into my life years later, after I was Chief of the UNP. He figured I’d probably lock him up without a trial and throw away the key. He would’ve been right. Hell, he was right, even then. When I found out who they’d captured breaking and entering into some obscure unknown facility in Vermont, I bet my eyes turned red. Revenge. It was all I could taste.
I couldn’t even wait for all the red tape to have him transported to Four Corners. Plus, a part of me panicked, knowing how resourceful he was, fearing that he might escape before I could get my hands on him and pay him back for all the suffering he caused me, Scully, Skinner and untold others. So I flew up there, obsessed with the need to avenge us.
I arranged to talk with the prisoner alone. When he saw me enter that dingy, gray questioning room, his fear hit me, strong enough to make me pause. He feared me, the new improved me, Mulder the telepath. It scared him to death to know there was nothing he could do to hide from me. Oh God, how his fear made me feel. It surged through me and fed a need I had inside that I’m not too proud of remembering now. But it proved that no matter what else, we all wear this mantle of animal flesh, and we all have the ability to act like an animal; no one is above that.
I smelled his fear that day, and the animal in me wanted to feed. I wanted to feed on his fear, on his pain, on his sense of helplessness. I wanted him to feel everything I ever imagined he’d made others feel by the things he’d done. I used my abilities for this. I used them to probe into him, to dredge up all the horrible memories, all the vile, slimy parts of him and bring them into the light of day, and fling them in his face.
I dug and I aimed, and at for a while, it was better than anything I’d ever felt before. It was like a sacred moment; I was nearly orgasmic from the ease and beauty of tearing my enemy apart with nothing more than well-placed words fired into the softest, fleshiest parts of him. And there was so much ammunition to use, so much. No wonder he’d feared me. He knew what the animal in us can do. He’d known what I could see. He’d known he was defenseless against me.
But it backfired on me. I had what I’d wanted, I had my revenge. Krycek sat there when I was done, no defenses left, a pathetic, sobbing wreck. I’d forced him to remember things from his past that no one should have to remember, things he’d done, and things done to him.
There was one glitch with this whole thing—the memories I’d dredged up, the things I forced Krycek to relive—I lived them also. I felt every emotion, every horror, everything. While the blood lust of revenge was burning through me, it overrode these secondary things. But as that burned itself out, as my animal response wound down, the human in me reacted.
I stood there and looked at this other person I’d just willingly tortured—for mental and emotional torture it most certainly was—and suddenly felt sick to my stomach. I’d willingly and gleefully torn him apart, piece by piece, deconstructed all his carefully placed defense mechanisms that he’d used to survive since he was a small child. As a psychologist, I know full well that without our defense mechanisms, our ego is helpless, broken.
I had shattered another human being and reveled in it. All the rage I felt for Krycek suddenly turned in on myself. Everything I had thought and felt toward him, I now felt and thought about myself, for what excuse did I have? I knew intimately all the reasons and rationales and excuses Alex had employed for every last one of his actions; I had just yanked them all from his memories. What excuse did I have to offer for the willful shattering of another human being? Did I now think I was God and could play the part of ultimate destroyer wherever I chose?
I stumbled out of the room, a race to get to the bathroom before I vomited up the contents of my stomach from a combination of disgust, horror, overexertion and panic. I’d been in that room with Krycek for over five hours. Five hours I spent on breaking him down, child’s play against a man unequipped for the battle. It took me twenty minutes to pull myself together, but I did, and only because I knew with a certainty what I then needed to go and do.
It didn’t take long to get the prisoner signed over into my custody and to shuffle us back onto the government jet in which I’d come. We were a pathetic sight, I’m sure, on that long flight back to Four Corners. I could feel the cabin crew’s confusion, but other than the most necessary of exchanges with them, I avoided conversation and stayed with Krycek. If you’ve never seen a man broken, divested of all the things that define his personality, then you’re lucky. It was a long flight to sit and feel the outcome of my own handiwork.
And I began to acknowledge all that I had willfully ignored up to that point. Important, crucial facts, which I skipped over in the race to my own ends. Memories that more than proved how many of Krycek’s actions over the years had been geared toward trying to do what he could against a situation too big, too powerful to be easily stopped. And that during the war, even now, he had been secretly helping us, helping me to uncover all of the truth.
Scully thought I had suffered some sort of nervous breakdown when she saw me. All I could tell her was that I owed Krycek. I owed him. I moved him into my house south of Teec Nos Pos, deep in Navajo country. It was isolated and quiet, everything that I’d needed, and now, what he needed. When I inquired, the council recommended I hire a Navajo widow who lived near Red Rock, Nellie Fasthorse Nakai. She was just what I needed. The widow of a traditional holy man was well educated from a lifetime of acquaintanceship with strange things. She knew who I was and how Albert Hosteen had been my friend, and that was good enough for her. Within days, she entered our lives and took over.
There are reasons the human psyche constructs its defense mechanisms. We are, really, quite fragile beings, so easily broken. Our mental and emotional health depends heavily upon the strength and nature of our defenses; they function to help maintain a healthy, cohesive self-identity. Until such time that we are ready with resources to deal with the threatening pieces of our own memories, they remain buried for good reason—if loosed too soon upon our unprotected consciousness, threatening memories can act like virulent viruses from which we have no internal immunity.
This was what I was responsible for doing to Krycek. It was therefore my responsibility to help him recover from the virus of destruction which I let loose to eat at his soul.
It was a long road back. Nearly two years passed before he was strong enough once again to be on his own. Two years of living with the results of my own arrogance, my own dark nature. As a lesson, nothing could have been more effective. Never, ever again will I let myself play God for personal reasons, despite any seemingly superhuman abilities.
It might have taken two years for Krycek to recover; it took me longer. It took until Alex came to my room one dark night, about two and a half years after I’d brought him to Arizona with me. He climbed into my bed and held me, despite my objections, just as I had held him many times over those two years while he lay screaming and sobbing in the grip of his nightmares.
I hadn’t been screaming or sobbing; I hadn’t even been sleeping. Something had happened that day, some obscure, off the wall comment someone had made to me about playing God. A joke, they thought. It hit too close to home for a joke, and brought all the things I’d thought I had worked through roaring back front and center.
Maybe living with me for those years had sensitized Alex to my moods; I never said a word to him that night about what was rumbling through me. And yet, there he was, in the still of the night. I don’t think he could have come to me like that in the light, I don’t think either of us could have handled that. But in the dark, yes, there’s a strange dream-like quality our actions take on when the lights go out.
That night, our roles reversed, and he became my succor and savior. I needed him to forgive me for what I’d done to him, and though there were never spoken words to that effect, I knew he did. Through outside interference, the past had risen in both our lives and created pain and confusion. My past was a bit older than his by some few million years, but the difference didn’t matter. They both held the power to do massive harm.
My need for revenge had run full circle: the enemy which I had set out to destroy was now the one person who knew me as thoroughly as humanly possible. He was a part of my life, in a way I can’t explain. Like the old ritual of sharing blood, we had shared something even more potent—the depths of our souls.
Were we lovers? (I know, despite your pointed silence on the subject, Scully, that you’ve always thought we were. And if an occasional shared bed makes us lovers to you, then we have been.) I don’t think of Alex that way. I don’t feel about him in that way. Maybe it’s different for men; we can separate our needs from our emotions. We sometimes needed sex, and partners weren’t easy for either of us to find. To be honest, they’re not easy for me to find, period.
People tend to fall into one of two categories: the thrill seekers and swingers, looking to score with a genetically augmented human for the novelty, or the rest of the population, who freak at the thought of being with someone they can’t hide their secrets from. It gets pretty old, going to bed with someone who has no real thoughts of you, the real you, at all. And you know it. You can’t help but know it. Maybe it’s a side effect of the way I perceive things now, but I need more than that. I know my partners can’t hear my thoughts and know me the way I can know them, but I need to know they care about me and know it’s me they’re with. I can’t handle feeling as if I’m not even seen by someone I’m with. The last casual bed partner I had left me struggling to remember my own identity. It was…pretty uncomfortable.
I guess that’s another thing your scientific mind would want to quantify, Scully. “The effects of enhanced genetics upon interpersonal relationships.” I can see the research now. Thanks, but no thanks. It’s my life, the only one I’ll get, and I don’t want to spend it being one kind of lab rat or another.
And thanks, Scully, for trusting me without explanations, and forgiving Alex because I had. I never told you how much your trust means to me. What would I have done without you all these years? It’s a good thing I know how good a man Philip is, and how much he truly loves you, or I’d be tempted to do something rash.
This is turning into a journal, isn’t it. And you planned it that way. Another one of your subtle manipulations to get me to talk about what goes on inside myself. I suspect not because you love me so much, but because your scientific curiosity is rampant (just kidding).
Now the awful truth about Fox Mulder is written down in the electronic dimension for all to find. Hopefully that day won’t come until long after I’ve left this place. Which might be sooner than I’d ever thought, given the looks Skinner gave to me this afternoon and evening when he saw Alex Krycek standing with me.
The irony of life always amuses me, and right now, I could use a laugh. One of my mortal enemies becomes the person best acquainted with all my intimate depths, while the person I’ve loved for decades leaves my life for years and arrives home to send me virulent looks of rage. The longest day of the year certainly was long. I really am too old for this shit.
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