We've Only Just Begun
Alex’s favorite coffee mug shattered to the floor, slipping from Walter’s hand when the phone rang.
Worried, bored, frustrated and very lonely, Walter was cleaning the kitchen cupboards, again, for the umpteenth time in three weeks. His stubborn Rat was off saving the world again. When Alex told Walter about a Consortium lab that was found in the northernmost regions of Greenland and his plans to destroy it, Walter demanded to go with him. Alex made Walter promise to stay home.
“Why can’t I go with you? You’ll need back up. I can still fight; my aim is still straight.”
“Walter, I’ll have back up but I want you here.”
“Because I’m an old man?” Walter growled.
“No,” Alex murmured as he stepped into his grizzly bear’s arms. “No. Because I need to know that you’re safe and that I have something to live for. I need you here, Walter.”
Walter searched the emerald green eyes for signs of a lie. He sighed; Alex was still a master of deception. He doubted that he’d be able to tell if Alex was lying.
“When do you leave?” Walter asked with resignation.
“In the morning. The Gunmen have arranged for my transport.”
“The Gunmen are involved?”
“I need their unique talents and they’re going to tag me.”
“Yes, with a GPS locator. Here,” Alex said as he pointed to the fleshy part of his left arm. “It’ll be implanted here. It’s the fastest way to find me.”
“How will they know when you need help?”
“They’ll know,” was all that Alex would say as he led his bear to bed. They made love for most of the night.
Just before dawn, Alex was up, silently preparing for his flight.
“Ratbastard,” came a low growl from their bed. Alex’s hand was poised on the bedroom door knob. He froze.
“You come back to me,” the Bear snarled.
“Yes, Walter,” Alex whispered in the dark.
“I love you, Alexi.”
“Ya tebya liubliu,” Alex replied then walked out.
Those were the last words they had spoken to each other. Walter received a cryptic message from the Gunmen letting him know that Alex had indeed arrived in Greenland but for three weeks, nothing.
“Byers, here. He needs you. A special transport has been arranged.”
“It’ll take me at least two hours to get to the closest airport.”
“No need, Mr. Skinner. Just pack light and ride out toward the forest.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Don’t worry about your horse or the ranch. All will be well. You have twenty minutes.”
“Twenty minutes? I...”
The connection ended. It took Walter the briefest of seconds to pull his head out of his ass and move. He quickly swept up the broken pieces of the coffee mug then looked around the kitchen to verify that all was in place then he ran up the stairs to their bedroom.
Years of living on the edge made Walter and Alex prepared to travel light and quickly. He grabbed the special duffle bag he kept for emergencies, threw on a heavy sweater and his heavy coat. He locked up the house then sprinted into the yard startling the chickens.
“Sorry, ladies,” Walter said as he threw some feed down onto the ground for them. “I sure hope someone feeds you,” he said by way of apology then threw more feed.
Walter ran into the barn. With a pitchfork, Walter added more hay into the troughs for the cows and horses. He then saddled up his old quarter horse.
“Come on, old girl, our boy needs us,” he said to the horse then spurred her out of the barn.
“Now what?” Walter asked himself as he dismounted and cast his eyes skyward. After a few minutes, he heard and felt the rumble rather than actually seeing the helicopter, but soon enough, the great beast came to light in the field not one hundred yards before him.
Three men jumped out of the copter. The leader, who to Walter, appeared young enough to be his grandson, boldly approached him. He was closely followed by what looked to be his second in command. The third man, who was keeping his face slightly turned away, slowly approached Walter’s horse and bent to take the reins that Walter had dropped.
“Sir!” the young Marine addressed Walter with a snap and a salute.
“At ease, Major. I’m long retired.”
“Once a Marine, sir.”
“I imagine I should show you some ID,” Walter said as his hand automatically went for his wallet. The 2-IC stiffened.
“No need, we know who you are. Please follow me, sir,” the major said as he turned to escort Walter to the helicopter. The second in command took Walter’s duffle bag as the older man mounted himself atop of Walter’s horse.
“I was unaware of the military’s involvement in such operations,” Walter commented before the engines roared back to life.
“It isn’t,” the 2-IC quipped as he handed Walter a helmet with headphones.
As Walter buckled up, he glanced out of the bulletproof window. At first inspection the man on the horse could have been himself. Walter gasped.
“He’s one of us, sir. He’ll take good care of your ranch until your return,” Walter heard via his headset. “We have a long flight, sir. Just settle back and enjoy the ride,” the suggestion came.
Walter closed his eyes thinking that wasn’t such a bad idea.
Twenty-four grueling and bumpy hours later, Walter was in a frozen underground bunker. Where, he couldn’t really say. His lover, Alex Krycek was laying on a makeshift hospital bed, surrounded by six Kurt clones. They were standing ramrod straight with their hands out about six inches above Alex’s still body.
Nobody breathed, not even Alex.
For twelve hours, the Kurts held vigil. So did Walter. At the top of the thirteenth hour, the Kurts relaxed and Alex opened his eyes.
“Two months ago, I thought we’d never do this again,” Walter murmured against Alex’s lips.
They were lying on a thick blanket, under a shady tree. The air was warm and sweet with the aromas of new Spring growth. The lovers had packed a picnic lunch and via horseback, rode out through the forest to a special spot they had founds years ago. They stripped down to their shorts to take a fast dip in the cold stream. Now they were drying themselves in the sun.
“Mmm, you taste like wine and fried chicken,” Alex teased as he ran his tongue over Walter’s lips.
“Is that a good thing?” Walter asked. His eyes were like liquid chocolate.
“A very good thing,” Alex replied with another kiss.
“I almost lost you.”
“But you didn’t. I’m alive and so are you,” Alex said as he bucked his hips against his lover.
“It was close, Alexi, too close.”
“No,” Alex said shaking his head. “The Gunmen and the Rebels were tracking me.”
“Is the implant still functioning?”
“No. Once it was no longer needed, it disintegrated. Too many people, and I use the word loosely, know where I am.” Walter kissed Alex’s eyelids.
“Will this happen again? Are the labs all gone? And was there anything alive in it?” Walter hesitated asking the last question.
“I really don’t know. This last one wasn’t on any inventory that I was aware of. The Gunmen have been doing a worldwide search but it will take time to sift through that much information. We may never be rid of all of them. And as for your last question, do you really want to know the answer?”
The green eyes were begging not to have to reveal the truth.
“No, I don’t. I don’t think I can live with the answer. And I don’t know how you can either. You’re not heartless as you’d like to let us believe.”
“The details of what we found have been blurred from my memory.”
“Blurred, not wiped?”
“No. I may need the information one day, so the Kurts chose to leave it behind a curtain for now.”
“Pay no attention to that memory behind the curtain,” Walter paraphrased the Wizard of Oz.
“Exactly. It shouldn’t give me any trouble.”
“And I’ll be here if it does,” Walter whispered then kissed his assassin senseless.
“I have something for you,” Walter said when they came up for air.
“I can feel it,” Alex teased as he ground himself against Walter’s burgeoning erection.
“Not that,” Walter said getting a pout in response. “Not yet, I mean,” he said as he kissed the sensual, pouty lips. Walter reached over to rummage in his pack. He handed something wrapped in tissue paper to Alex.
“What is it?”
“Open it.” Alex quickly ripped off the tissue paper to reveal a new coffee mug. “I dropped the other one when I got the phone call.”
“Where did you find this?”
“What good is it having top secret clearance if I can’t use it to find you a coffee mug?”
“Thank you Walter.” Alex punctuated his gratitude with kisses.
“Thank you for coming back to me, Alexi. I love you.”
“Ya tebya liubliu.”
Walter sat up to pour them more wine which they shared before making love under the trees in the warm sun.
“We live to fight another day,” Alex said as he took a sip of wine.
“Must it always be that way?”
“To every season, a purpose,” Alex said as he finished his glass.
“Then let this season be ours to begin again.”
“We begin again,” Alex agreed as his Bear lay on top of him.
“And again and again and again,” the Bear growled.
The forest was filled with the sounds of a very happy Rat.
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