Dogge

by Panzareta

Mulder/Krycek | Rated E | 2002 | 5,181 words

 

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Mulder fought the restraints, glaring at the shadowed men.

"When do we insert the electrodes?"

"First thing in the morning. Don't worry, he's not going anywhere. He'll be transported immediately afterward."

Mulder froze at their words. He supposed it served him right for ditching Scully again. Then he made another very important medical discovery; namely, that it is impossible to scream when your vocal cords are paralyzed. The ice-cold needle slid into his vein, bringing oblivion.

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Alex Krycek walked slowly along the street, lost in thought. Something big was going down, something concerning *Mulder*, and he intended to find out what it was. Alex had always been "concerned" about his ex-partner ...

sure alex. just keep telling yourself that.

He was distracted by a sudden commotion in the alley and watched as an animal control officer tried to capture a very large, shaggy hound. The animal was clearly frightened and had backed itself into a corner. Alex knew better than to interfere, but just then the dog happened to glance in his direction, with an almost human plea for help in its eyes.

don't interfere. do not ....

Alex felt a genius attack coming on and, as usual, he was powerless to stop it.

"Hey! Wait a minute. That's my dog."

"What do you mean?" The officer turned toward Alex with an annoyed scowl.

Alex grinned shamefacedly at the man. "Well, actually it's my girlfriend's dog. I was supposed to be watching him, and he got out by accident."

"Too bad, mister. He's going with me."

"Come on, man, give me a break. It was an *accident*."

"Yeah, right. How many times have I heard that one?"

The man glared at him, but the dog looked hopefully at him. Alex dug out his wallet, opening it slightly.

"How about if I give you a reward for finding him?"

"Are you trying to bribe me?"

Alex looked warily at the man. "No. Like I said, it's a reward."

Alex could see the man hesitating, torn between doing his job and letting the dog go with its owner. The shelters were severely overcrowded, with far too many unwanted and abandoned pets. A big dog like this would be hard to adopt under the best circumstances, and would probably end up on death row--or a lab.

"Dog mean that much to you?"

"Well, yeah. He does to her, anyway."

The man looked tiredly at him and sighed. "Ok, go ahead. I'll just say he got away."

Alex began removing a bill to hand to the man.

"I'm not taking it. Give it to the shelter yourself." He watched Alex suspiciously. "Forget your leash?"

"Uh, yeah."

"Ok, here. I've got extras." He handed Alex a medium-sized length of chain.

Alex looked dubiously at the chain, and then at the dog. It acted friendly enough and didn't seem to be unduly frightened of the makeshift leash, so he decided to try.

"Here, fella. Time to go home now." better not freak on me now, mutt. The dog calmly watched him approach, waving its left front paw at him in greeting. Alex gravely shook hands with him and the dog nuzzled at his gloved hands, permitting him to fasten the chain around its neck.

"I guess he does know you." Alex jumped at the sound of the man's voice. "I thought you were trying to scam me." He offered his hand to Alex, and Alex quickly shook it. "Well, good luck, mister. And be more careful after this."

Alex watched the man get into the van and drive off. He looked down at the dog, which smiled back at him.

"It's just you and me now, buddy." The dog barked happily and began nuzzling his hands once more. Together they walked out of the alley, hurrying back to Alex's apartment. Alex had intended to return unnoticed, but he hadn't counted on one little thing. The darn mutt *loved* people and people responded in kind.

What was normally a quiet, *invisible* walk down the street, promptly turned into a five ring circus. Dozens of little kids came out of nowhere and wanted to "pet the big puppy". A deep, soulful gaze in front of the local deli netted him a lecture on obedience training by the owner. Two little old ladies stopped to admire the "handsome fellow", and naturally, the dog had been absolutely on his best behavior. The ladies then alternated between petting the dog and patting Alex on the cheek, causing him to blush, even though Alex thought he had forgotten how to blush years ago. They also invited Alex to Sunday dinner, and only dimly remembered manners plus a really believable lie helped him refuse their invitation. Four blocks later, the dog nearly managed to get them both clobbered by attempting a surprise raid on a nearby butcher shop that happened to be owned by a big, burly Russian. Several choice insults were exchanged, an array of very large, wicked looking knives were brandished about, which resulted in Alex (quite prudently) deciding to avoid the neighborhood for the next twenty or thirty years. The big brute's threats sounded entirely plausible, and Alex had long ago determined that his other body parts were going to remain firmly attached.

As they finally entered the apartment, Alex tried to think of what he could possibly find to feed his *guest*. The dog quieted and stood statue still, his hackles raised slightly. He glanced concernedly at Alex, who patted him reassuringly. "It's ok, boy. It's cool." He unfastened the leash and watched as the dog checked out the apartment thoroughly, running nose-to-floor in record speed. Alex had the suspicion that it would be no trouble for him to identify the various people who had been here. Finally, it sat down beside him on the worn couch and laid its head on his lap, whining softly.

"I suppose you're hungry?"

Alex watched in amusement as the dog raced to the kitchen and pawed at the refrigerator. Frustrated by the refrigerator's refusal to open, the dog sat on its haunches in a classic begging position, trying to convince it to open. Alex stifled a laugh with difficulty, and whistled for the dog to return to his side.

"Sorry I don't have any steak on hand. How about if we send out for pizza?"

The dog barked once in agreement and jumped off the couch, trotting over to the phone. Alex watched in amazement as it nosed the receiver off the handset, and gently picked it up off the floor. The dog carried it over to Alex and dropped it in his lap. When Alex failed to dial immediately, the dog barked twice. Alex slowly gathered his scattered wits about him and looked at the dog, which smiled back at him.

"I'll take that as a yes. Any suggestions?"

The dog continued to stare at him, and as Alex called in the order he was convinced that, if it had been possible, the dog would have ordered the pizza itself.

Thirty minutes later, Alex watched as the dog gazed longingly at the remains of two extra-large meat-lovers pizzas with double cheese and began to chew the boxes.

"You polished off one and a half pizzas, and you're looking for more?"

The dog walked over to Alex, laying his head in Alex's lap and gazing up at him with soulful brown eyes that were almost human. where have i seen that look before?

"No way. You'll be sick."

The dog whined softly and nuzzled Alex's hand slightly, trying to edge it toward the telephone.

"I said no. Let's watch TV, ok?" Alex picked up the remote instead, and tried to ignore the animal as he started channel surfing.

The dog whined again and leaned his head on Alex's chest, turning the soulful look on full force. "You're not conning me out of another pizza, mutt."

At a muffled whimper, Alex found himself weakening. "No."

The dog pressed closer to Alex and continued staring directly into his eyes. A slight whine was heard. As Alex watched, a tear appeared at the corner of one eye and slowly rolled down onto Alex's t-shirt.

"Ok, all right. That does it. I'm calling you Oscar." There was a slightly louder whine, followed by another whimper, and what appeared to be more tears forming. impossible. dogs can't cry like that. can they? "Enough, already. I'm calling, look, I'm dialing."

An hour and two more pizzas later, Oscar appeared to be finished eating, and stretched out on the couch beside Alex, sighing in contentment. Alex grinned down, gently stroking the dog's soft silky fur and scratching his ears.

"You must have been starved, fella. You want to go out?" The dog made no move to get up off the couch, so Alex decided to leave him alone, continuing to pet him.

Idly, Alex began to wonder where Oscar had come from. He was clearly somebody's pet, and they probably missed him. Alex barely remembered having a dog when he was a kid, but he hadn't had a pet for years, not since... He shook his head ruefully. His life had no room for pets, and now he didn't know what he was going to do with Oscar. guess i have to watch the ads for a few days He would have to find another place for him and soon. It was too bad that Scully wanted to shoot him on sight. Alex had a vague memory of her having once had a dog. Mulder, on the other hand, was lucky if he kept his fish alive. Alex thought that Oscar had to be part wolfhound, with those long legs and longhaired coat. borzoi? maybe. could be irish, or afghan... Whoever actually owned him must have a fairly large place, because it would be criminal to keep such a big dog in a small one-room apartment. Oscar needed plenty of room to run...

Alex got up from the couch, stretching tiredly. Oscar studied him with a sleepy look, making no move to follow.

"Want to go out, fella? Last call." Oscar thumped his tail a few times, but appeared to be glued to the couch. Alex shrugged. He could only hope that Oscar was housebroken. He didn't need to find any surprises in the morning. "Well, g'night, Oscar."

Alex left the room, opting for a late night shower. His left shoulder ached badly, and sometimes the warm water helped. He hadn't slept through the night since Tunguska, a habit he should have cultivated long before. He stood quietly as the warm water sluiced over him. The water became cooler, and he turned off the shower. Pulling back the curtain, he was startled to see Oscar sitting in the doorway, watching him closely. The dog moved closer, nuzzling his damaged left arm and gazing sadly at him. he acts like he feels sorry for me, like he knows how much it hurts Alex wasn't going to fool himself about what the dog understood, but he knew that animals did have an extra sense about human injuries or illnesses. He patted the dog gently, speaking softly. "Thanks for watching my back, Oscar. Appreciate it."

Oscar wuffed once in acknowledgment, accepting the man's praise as his due. He followed Alex into the bedroom. Alex was mildly surprised, but what the hell, it was no big deal. The dog watched as he slowly climbed into bed, pulling a worn quilt over him. Instantly the dog climbed in beside him. Alex had been expecting this, watching as the dog laid on top of the quilt and snuggled up to him. Oscar rested his muzzle on Alex's chest, gazing at the man as if there was something worrying him and he wanted to talk over his problems. Alex scratched him gently behind the ears.

"What's the matter, boy? Weird day, huh? I wish you *could* talk. I bet you've got one hell of a story to tell."

The dog thumped his tail in agreement, and Alex continued petting him. He really did miss having a dog. Maybe someday... Alex finally fell asleep, lulled by the sound of the dog's soft breathing.

A few hours later, Alex woke to the sound of snoring. Funny how the snores sounded almost human. But then, Oscar had been acting more human than doglike from the very beginning. He reached over to pet him again, frowning at the difference in the texture of the fur. It seemed shorter, smoother--almost like skin. Alex sat up straighter, turned on the bedside lamp, and gasped in alarm. There was a man in his bed. A *man*. That in itself wasn't any surprise to Alex, since he had often entertained a vast variety of lovers, male and female. But this time, he had gone to bed alone -- except for Oscar.

Alex quickly jumped out of bed and pulled on the sweats he kept handy. There was no way in hell he was staying in bed with *that*. The man stirred slightly, and Alex could see that he was undergoing some sort of transformation. The fur was slowly receding, giving way to larger patches of pale skin. The man was breathing heavily as his musculature continued shifting from canine to human, tossing restlessly. Touching the sweaty forehead, it was hard to tell if the man was running a fever or not. Alex couldn't begin to guess what was happening to the other man's heart rate and respiration. Judging from his appearance, he was probably young enough to withstand the stresses his body was enduring, and Alex could only hope that the man's brains were not permanently scrambled by the experience.

Alex sat at the end of the bed, watching his new *friend*. Long hair covered the man's face, obscuring his features. Bemusedly, Alex noticed that a few patches of skin hadn't quite regained their normal human texture. The shifting had ended--for now, anyway-- and the man appeared to be in a very deep sleep.

A few hours later, Alex woke up and discovered his guest had disappeared. great. just f'n great There was someone knocking at his door. He hurried into the living room, only to discover the man was sitting in front of the door, pawing at it with hands (paws?) that hadn't quite finished their mutation, appearing to have formed fingers, but only partial thumbs. He turned and looked pleadingly at Alex, whining slightly.

"Oh no, you don't." Alex pulled the man to his feet, startled to see that a thick mat of fur still covered his face, and the ears had shortened slightly.

who the hell are you anyway?

"You use the bathroom like..." Alex broke off, realizing what he was starting to say. He steered the man toward the bathroom, pleased to see a sudden spark of comprehension in the man's eyes. That was good because Alex had no intention of playing nursemaid. Alex left him alone, feeling unexpectedly modest. He went into the kitchen and started brewing coffee. Time for some badly needed caffeine. There was a sudden noise behind him, and Alex turned suddenly. The man was sitting on the floor, watching him. Alex had no idea how to handle this situation. Oscar was one thing, but this was something else. Alex studied him carefully. The man still hadn't completely returned to human form, so Alex wasn't as wary as he might ordinarily have been. Alex kept thinking of him (it?) as a dog, so he decided to treat him as one. After all, it was easier to get along with dogs than people.

"Are you hungry, Oscar?"

The man's eyes lit up, and he woofed in agreement. Evidently, vocal cords were still on the "to-do" list. Alex couldn't help grinning back at him, despite faint misgivings.

"Well, there's no more pizza, so how about some eggs?"

Another woof answered that question, so Alex found himself cooking breakfast for two. He fixed a large plate of scrambled eggs with bacon, watching in amazement as Oscar hoovered it down. Oscar looked up hopefully at Alex, waiting for more.

"You're out of luck, buddy. No more eggs."

A soft whine had no effect, and Alex had absolutely no intention of ordering a breakfast from the local deli. He had drawn enough attention with the pizza orders, and he would be moving soon. Very soon.

"Sorry, Oscar."

Oscar gave him a forlorn look and wandered into living room. Alex followed, watching closely as Oscar lay down on the couch and fell asleep. The transformation began again, slower this time and with less violence. Oscar was progressively becoming fully human once more. The hands had regained their shape (thumbs, at last) and, as he watched, the facial hair slowly receded into a dark stubble. Alex looked on in horrified amazement, unable to resist pushing the long hair away from the man's face. He felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. *Mulder*. what did i do to deserve this? Alex found that he was more curious than ever about what had happened. Somehow, he didn't think that the Consortium was involved in this debacle. He made certain he had his gun discreetly at hand. Mulder would probably be furious to realize that he was with Alex, and Alex had no interest in being the other man's punching bag.

Still, Mulder appeared to be utterly exhausted and showed no sign of waking. Alex remained very quiet, not wishing to disturb the older man. His mind raced as he tried to imagine what would happen next. Mulder finally turned over, looking straight at Alex. great. here goes. But instead of the expected attack, Mulder only smiled, grinning foolishly at Alex.

"Ready to leave now, Mulder?"

The other man continued to grin at him, stretching out full-length on the couch. Nude. Totally, undeniably nude. Oddly enough though, Alex did not find this the least bit erotic. Instead, he found it downright embarrassing. He looked away, unable to keep from blushing. *blushing again*, alex. jeez. who would believe it? and here i always thought finding a naked fox mulder on my couch to be a dream come true. Alex *knew* why. It was because things were too damn weird, that's why.

"Come on, Mulder, let's get you dressed."

Mulder quickly followed Alex back to the bedroom, where Alex silently gave thanks to whoever had thought of the idea of 'one size fits all'. He found an extra pair of jogging shorts and t-shirt, and managed to wrestle them on Mulder, who clearly did not like the idea of clothing and resisted with all of his considerable strength. Not to mention those damned long legs and arms that seemed to stretch forever. well, a dog really doesn't have any need for clothing, now does it alex? Alex leaned against the bedroom wall, breathing hard. He had worked up a sweat, and his t-shirt felt like it was glued to his back. never thought i'd be breathing this hard getting mulder *into* his clothes Mulder was sitting on the floor, looking alternately sulky and perplexed.

"Quit staring at me like that, Mulder."

Alex was worried about Mulder's continued failure to return to normal. He stretched out his good hand, and the older man crawled over to sit at Alex's feet. Alex couldn't help smiling at the other man. Apparently, there was still a lot of dog in Mulder, otherwise he would be hitting - or attempting to hit - Alex. Alex couldn't help feeing slightly wistful, though. Life would be much simpler if he didn't care for Mulder.

"It's ok, Mulder. We're cool, fella." Mulder responded by pressing his face into Alex's hand, whimpering slightly. He raised his eyes to look at Alex, pulling slightly at the t-shirt, clumsily trying to remove it. Alex swatted his hands. He did not need a naked Mulder wandering around the apartment.

"No, Mulder. Leave it alone. That's a good boy." He rubbed Mulder's shoulders slightly, reassuring him. Mulder grinned up at him, and Alex could have sworn he saw a tail wag.

you did not just hear the twilight zone theme, alex. you *did not*.

Mulder followed Alex out to the living room, where he stretched out on the couch, falling asleep *again*. Alex kept a wary eye on Mulder while he carefully did a computer search on medical experiments. This time, Mulder slept for nearly eight hours before showing any signs of waking. Alex was profoundly relieved at this. He had been getting worried, even contemplating calling Scully.

Alex watched as Mulder slowly regained consciousness. Mulder began to focus on his surroundings, looking very dazed and confused.

"Where... am... I?"

"You're safe, Mulder. You're at my place."

"I... am...?" Mulder looked in his direction, slowly focusing on Alex's face. "Krycek," he growled. "What... where...?"

"Yes, Mulder, it's me. Everything's fine." Alex tried to speak in a calm, quiet voice but it wasn't working too well.

"How can I... be safe if I'm with you, Krycek? You aren't... safe." Mulder's voice broke curiously on the last word but both men failed to notice the shift in tone.

Alex tried to keep his voice level and failed. "Listen, Mulder..." he growled.

Mulder studied Alex closely. "You *are* real, aren't you, Krycek? You're not... a... hallucination."

"I'm very real, Mulder. So are you."

The older man glared briefly at him before laying back down. "I don't feel so good. What happened? What did you do to me?"

"I didn't do anything to you, Mulder." Alex tried to keep his tone level. "I found you on the street. You were lost. I *rescued* you."

"Uh-huh. Right. I bet you kidnapped me instead."

"I did not."

Alex was highly indignant at such heresy, but Mulder was slowly rubbing his head, not really paying any attention to Alex.

"Got any aspirin, Krycek?"

"Tylenol ok?"

"Fine, sure. Anything."

Alex silently handed him the capsules, and Mulder gulped them down. "Thanks." He stared at Alex, who had automatically tensed for a fight.

"So, Mulder, do you remember anything?"

"Not much. I remember being lost, and on the street..." He looked up at Alex suddenly, hazel eyes narrowing in distrust. "I remember... you put a chain on me, Alex. Why did you do that? Why did you put a chain on me, Alex? You put a chain on me like I was a..."

Alex did not like this particular train of thought. Mulder remembering life-as-a-dog was not quite what he wanted to hear. "Anything else?"

"Got anything to eat? I'm starving."

Alex grimaced slightly. Apparently Oscar had more in common with Mulder than he had originally thought.

"You ate three and a half pizzas last night, Mulder."

"I did?"

"Yes, you did. And you ate bacon and eggs this morning."

"I did? Oh." Mulder paused for a moment. "How about Chinese then?"

What the hell? He'd be leaving this place as soon as Mulder was out of there, so he guessed it would be ok for another round of take-out. Besides, he could always give a fake name and apartment number like last time.

"Sure thing, Mulder."

"Thanks, Krycek."

Alex called in an extra-large order that would easily feed six, then turned back to his guest.

"You ok, Mulder?"

"I guess so." The older man struggled into a sitting position, looking curiously at Alex, then down at his clothing. "Alex, these aren't my clothes. What happened to my clothes, Alex?"

"I loaned you some, Mulder."

But my cellphone, my wallet-- where are they, Alex?"

"I don't know, Mulder. You didn't have them when I found you, ok?"

"But where...?" Mulder stood up suddenly, ostensibly to look for his missing clothes, and began to sway. Alex tried to catch him, only to have Mulder try to avoid him, which caused both of them to crash to the floor, breaking the only new lamp Alex had ever owned and cracking the coffee table down the center. Alex sighed. Mulder was so distracted by his new circumstances that he had temporarily lost his normally aggressive behavior of using Alex as a punching bag. Alex was grateful for that particular development. He knew that the older man was probably feeling rough, and he didn't want to get into a fight at this point. Maybe a few questions would help.

"What is the last thing you remember, Mulder?"

"I finished up some reports that were overdue. Then I left the office and drove home."

"What happened then, Mulder?"

"Uh... I was going to... uh... meet Scully... for dinner. I was going... to take her... to a new... restaurant, I even... made reservations..."

"Did you meet her? Do you remember being in your car?"

"I... don't know. I can't... recollect." Mulder frowned suddenly. "I ... don't *think* so..."

Alex sighed in annoyance. Great. Scully was probably going crazy trying to find him. i bet she probably deputized Skinner to lead the posse, he thought sourly. The bond between Mulder and Scully was something that no-one, not even the top Consortium shrinks (or the Bureau, for that matter), had been able to explain. Alex was privately convinced that it was a karmic bond, but no-one wanted to hear his opinion. humph. more fools they. i *know* that i'm right.

"Do you think she's... ok? Maybe *They* took her... too." Mulder looked worriedly at his former partner. "I need to find a phone. I need to call her..."

"I'm sure that she's fine, Mulder." Krycek could see the rising panic in Mulder's eyes and felt powerless to help his ex-partner. if you'd have shown me half this consideration, Mulder, we could have done so much against *Them*... He sighed inwardly. He would give anything to have a *real* second chance with Mulder...

But Mulder was oblivious to everything except his precious Scully. "But what if..."

"Let's eat first, Mulder. That'll give you a chance to try and remember." At Mulder's dubious look, he added, "You'll feel better too."

"Ok." Mulder shrugged and promptly began rummaging through the cartons of take-out. Alex was totally bewildered by the sudden lack of aggression that Mulder was showing. not that i wanted his fist in my face, but this *is* a little out of character--more like *a lot*, alex

Alex watched in dismay as the older man began cramming rice into his mouth, using his fingers.

"Come on, Mulder, cut it out." Mulder merely stared blankly at Alex and continued to force the food down. "I mean it, Mulder. You're going to..."

Just then Mulder began to cough, spraying the coffee table with bits of rice.

"...choke. Good grief." Alex waited until Mulder had stopped coughing, handing him some napkins. He stared disgustedly at his former partner. "Mulder, the food is not going anywhere. Don't you have any manners?"

"But I'm starving." Mulder looked pathetically at him, and Alex just barely stopped himself from rolling his eyes at that statement. He supposed it was possible. Who knew how many hundred thousand calories Mulder had burned up during his transformation?

"If you don't eat a little slower, I'm going to cuff you and feed you myself--by hand."

Alex felt slightly better. If Mulder's memory was returning, the situation was improving--or so he devoutly hoped.

"Really?" Mulder looked curiously at Alex. "Promise?"

"Mulder..." Alex found himself feeling embarrassed again. Maybe there was some residual brain damage after all. Mulder was acting even weirder than usual. "Go ahead, choke for all I care."

"You wouldn't do that. You take care of me, don't you, Alex?"

"Yeah, sure Mulder. Shut up and eat."

Mulder promptly resumed his high-speed eating, and Alex had to grab fast in order to get anything. Mulder scraped the cartons clean, licking his fingers and looking wistfully at Alex. Alex was not in a good mood, feeling unpleasantly hot and bothered. He couldn't imagine why. It wasn't as if... This train of thought was interrupted by complaints from a still-hungry Mulder.

"Isn't there any more, Alex?"

"No."

"Are you sure, Alex?"

"Yes."

"But I want more, Alex. I'm *hungry*." Mulder's voice had a childish whine to it, and Alex almost wished for the smug, arrogant tone to return.

"You *ate* everything, Mulder."

"Didn't they send any fortune cookies, Alex?"

"Yes, Mulder." Alex sighed in exasperation. He handed the cookies to Mulder, who happily broke the first one.

"It says--'You are going on a long journey'. Here, Alex. You open the next one."

Alex crumbled the next one and handed the tiny slip of paper back to Mulder. "Read it for me, Mulder."

"It says--'You will have a long, interesting, exciting life'."

great. Prophet!Mulder speaks. Alex groaned silently. like, i really needed this.

Finally, after Mulder had read and discussed (in depth) each and every fortune cookie, Alex seriously considered that Mulder had not only suffered brain damage from his life as a dog, but had regressed to an earlier, happier time as well. can't say that i blame him exactly, but enough is enough. if he keeps it up i'm going to have to kill him myself.

"Mulder, how would you like some hot chocolate?"

"Really, Alex? With extra marshmallows?" Mulder turned shining eyes toward Alex, almost pathetically happy.

"Sure, Mulder."

"Promise?" There was a wistfulness in his voice that spoke of too many promises made to a young boy, promises easily broken and more easily forgotten. Alex felt like a heel, but he managed to hold on to his fading resolve.

this is for his own good, *and* my sanity-- or what's left of it.

"I promise, Mulder." Alex was extra careful preparing the hot chocolate, making sure to add the promised marshmallows to Mulder's cup. Mulder drank the hot chocolate in ten seconds flat and never even noticed the sleeping pills that were dissolved in the milk.

"More, please Alex." Mulder help the empty cup out to Alex. Alex silently accepted the cup and returned to the kitchen for another round of hot chocolate making.

Twenty minutes later, Mulder was soundly sleeping on Alex's couch. Alex checked his pulse, then quickly dialed a seldom-used phone number.

"N'lea?"

"Alex! How ya doin'?"

"I need a favor."

"Sure."

"Can you make a delivery for me?"

"No problem."

"Twenty minutes."

"Ok."

hr

Twenty Minutes Later

"What's with him?"

"I need you to deliver him to this address."

"Who lives there?"

"His-- *wife*. She's a doctor, and she uses her maiden name."

"Oh."

"N'lea? Thanks."

After a brief struggle, a disgruntled Alex helped N'lea pour a sleeping Mulder into the waiting vehicle.

shoulda known he'd be the type to go completely boneless

"Here's the money. Make sure she answers the door."

"Ok."

"I mean it. I'll find out if you don't."

"You know I will."

"Sorry, N'lea. He's special. *Very* special."

"I know. You've never done this before."

"See you in a fortnight."

"Alright! See ya."

Alex sadly watched the car drive off. He missed Mulder already, and almost wished that he had a real life again. But there were too many lives in the balance. Maybe someday... He turned and walked slowly down the street, disappearing in the lengthening shadows.

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End

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