"Mosaic is the art of decoration with small pieces of colored glass, stone or other material. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration or of cultural and spiritual significance....... used to create a pattern or picture."


Walter Skinner, retired Assistant Director of the FBI, walked throughout the ranch house he shared with ex-spy/assassin, Alex Krycek. He was all alone in the house. Out in the middle of "Nowheresville," Montana. The big man paced; his lover had left him...and several days before their fifth anniversary, of sorts.

Over the years, the former enemies, who always had respect for each other had learned to live together and learned to love each other. They never openly declared their love in a commitment ceremony nor did they wear jeweled trappings binding themselves to each other. And yet their devotion to each other was unwavering. They lived peacefully on a ranch, on the outskirts of town, near a mountain range in Montana. Their companions were a couple of horses, a few cows, a dozen or so of plump unruly hens and a vixen. A young female fox had adopted the two men after the younger rescued her from a forest fire. Somehow they fit the pieces of their lives together.

Walter had gotten up one morning to find a note stuck to the bathroom mirror. Two words were the only message, "Going hunting." Taking advantage of the imposed seclusion, Walter continued to work on his gift for his lover and friend that he had begun months before.

Deciding what to give a man whose net worth possibly rivaled Bill Gates was nearly impossible. So Walter researched the symbolic representations of a Ďfifth anniversary.í He learned that wood represented strength, the long-lasting bind. Sapphire was the gemstone and the daisy represented purity, a loyal love. Walter shrugged as he sat at his desk, reading the words on his computer.

"Sounds like a whole load of sentimental claptrap," Walter muttered. Then he chuckled. "Iím just a sentimental old fool," he said as he shook his head then went out to his workshop.

Besides having a talent for woodworking, building ornate hutches, tables and desks, Walter dabbled in mosaic. He found the time consuming piecing together of bits of ceramic tile and glass soothing rather than arduous, Walter indulged himself. It was like solving a puzzle, deciphering and fitting together the small pieces of color to make an overall pattern to create a picture. After all, Walter was good at solving puzzles. It's what made him a good lawyer, a good agent and a great assistant director.

"But I donít think Iíll ever solve the ĎAlexí puzzle," Walter mumbled to himself.

Walter had a general idea of what to create for Alex. Set out in a wooden frame that Walter had carved, Walter had the basis of a Ďpainting.í His medium was glass, tile and five oval cut sapphires. One to signify each year they lived together. The main subject of the still life would be a vase holding a bunch of daisies. The sapphires would be Ďscatteredí in the foreground. But Walter had some misgivings.

First, the sapphires. As beautiful and opulent as the deep blue color of the traditional gemstone was, it held little meaning for Walter. The blue was too cold, almost black, an oily black that Alex would not like and possibly might hate. No, Walter would not use blue. Upon further research, Walter had found that sapphires came in a variety of color ranging from diamond white, through shades of pink, purple, orange and green. Green, the color of his loverís eyes. Finding a reputable trader of gems, Walter had ordered five deep green sapphires to adorn the bottom of his picture.

Walterís other concern was with the flower. As lovely as a daisy was, it seemed too pure, too white, too innocent. Alex, as loving and loyal as the man had become, could still slit your throat then vanish before the body ever hit the ground. No, daises didnít quite say Alex Krycek to Walter. Walter had briefly considered roses; both he and Alex were prickly enough. But roses reminded Walter of the blood that had been shed over the years.

So for now, the picture lay unfinished. The earthenware vase with its muted pastel tones sat empty, awaiting its flowers. The gemstones firmly grouted into place but lonely without the bouquet.

And Walter, alone, still paced like an agitated ole Bear, worrying for his wayward Rat, the hunter, and aggrieved for the hunted.

On the morning of Walter and Alexís fifth anniversary, Walter awoke to the tempting aroma of homemade biscuits fresh from the oven. The sounds of thick bacon sizzling away in a pan on the stove. Strong Russian coffee perking. And the happy sounds of Alex Krycek scrambling eggs for fluffy omelets, humming a soft Russian love song.

Walter quickly got out of bed, washed up then threw on some clothes to greet his lover. As he came down the stairs, Walter was immediately overwhelmed by the site of dozens of very large, and very colorful flowers. One large bunch was sitting in the middle of the dining table in the earthenware pot Walter had used as his model for his mosaic. Several other bouquets were in various vases situated throughout the living room, on the mantel and credenza. Several more were in pots. Not only had Alex brought home bouquets of the magnificent flowers but whole potted plants as well.

Noting that Alex looked well, his eyes smiling, sparkling emerald or sapphire green and no sign of the assassin, Walter gave Alex a kiss to the side of his face then sat at the table. Alex, still humming, began the onslaught of all Walterís favorite breakfast dishes. They ate together in contented silence.

With the plates all washed, dried and neatly stowed, the lovers refilled their coffee mugs then took them into the living room and sat on the sofa. With the fingers of their free hands entwined, the lovers sat with their shoulders touching, slowly sipping and savoring their coffee.

Walter admired the flowers in front of him. He set this mug down on a mosaic coaster and touched a petal. The colors of the flowers were so vibrant and radiant. The simple daisy he had thought to capture in his mosaic, paled by comparison.

Walter frowned. Fearing he was going to ruin the mood, Walter still a federal officer of the law, had to ask, "Alex, who did you hunt?"

Non-plussed, Alex replied honestly, "Not who, what."

"What? I donít understand. Your note said you were going hunting."

"And I did. I hunted for these." Alex indicated the flowers in front of them and all the bouquets and pots throughout the room.

"You hunted for flowers? You couldnít go to the local florist?"

"Walter, I went to the local florist, which, if you didnít know is fifty miles away. They didnít have what I was looking for."

"What were you looking for?"


"Daisies." Walter shook his head as he recalled his conversation with himself not that long ago. "Alex, I do not see one daisy."

"No, you donít. You see hundreds of Gerbera Daisies and I had to go to California for them."

"You went to California?! For a daisy?"

"Not just a daisy, a Gerbera..."

"Gerbera..." Both Alex and Walter repeated together as one.

"They are beautiful, Alex, but I still donít understand."

Alex set his coffee mug down on its own coaster then took Walterís hands into his. "The flower for a fifth anniversary is the daisy, but the daisy in the traditional sense didnít seem to fit us. It lacks color, and you, Walter Skinner, have brought color into my world. Not the red of all the blood I spilt and the black of the creature that invaded my body so long ago. You brought the colors of hope, peace and love. These bold daisies said it all. Unfortunately they said it from San Francisco. So there I went, and here I am, with every damned color these fucking daisies come in. I didnít mean to worry you."

Walter studied the sparkling eyes of his lover and marveled at how he and Alex fit together, nearly coming to the same conclusions, albeit in very different ways. Just like the different textures in Walterís mosaics.

"Do you like them?" the younger man asked softly.

"I love them and I love you for going to so much trouble. I have never seen anything quite like them before. That bunch on the table has inspired me to finish my gift for you."

"Walter, thereís no need...."

"I know, however Iím going to anyway, but later."

"Later?" Alex smiled mischievously.

"Much later. Right now you and I deserve a little quality time together in our bed."

"Iíd like that," Alex said with a kiss to Walterís lips. "I like how we fit together," Alex said casually as he stood then picked up one of the vases of daisies to bring them up to their room. "Like one of your mosaics, Walter."

Walter smiled. His Rat was home, back in his den, bringing Walter all the color he could ever want or need. The Bear growled with contentment as he followed his Rat with the daisies to their room.


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