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like a perhaps hand
by Scribe

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window, into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange thing and a known thing

changing everything carefully
spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and from moving New and
Old things, while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there) and

without breaking anything.
e.e. cummings

Ask me if I believe in Fate, with a capital F, and I'd be hard pressed to answer. I don't really want to. I like to think that mankind has some say in what happens to it, some individual choice. Some free will. But about some things... Maybe some things ARE meant to happen. I wouldn't have believed this a few years ago.

But that was before Alex Krycek, AKA Ratboy.

I'm trying to forget him, but he isn't making it easy. After what we've been through... The betrayal, the lying, the violence, the numerous ass kickings I've administered... You'd think he'd avoid me, right? I mean, he knows that just the sight of him makes me want to... to...

I really don't want to think about him right now. It's spring again, I'd like to enjoy it a little. It's one of the first really warm days, and, for a wonder, it's dry.

I take a walk out by the park, enjoying the softness of the air, the rustle of newly leafed trees. There's a place I really like, a bookstore. In the fine weather, they have tables out on the side walk, and you can take a cup of coffee out there, and test drive a book or two before you buy.

The weather is finally decent enough for them to be doing this again, and I drop by. I want to get my mind off the constant irritant of Krycek, and surely this will do it. Sunshine, warm breeze, open air, good coffee, and a good book. That should be enough to sweep out the dark corners of my mind, at least temporarily.

I get my cup of coffee, and pick over the selection of books piled on a stand just in front of the big front window. Mostly 'summer reads' already: big, sexy, glitzy books. Self help books, new age philosophies... I have enough weirdness in my life, thank you very much.

I've almost given up hope when I run across the little volume of e e cummings. I start to smile immediately. That old iconoclast, disdainer of punctuation and capitalization. He had been a fresh breeze in the poetic world. He was just what I needed now.

I sat at the table closest to the window and opened the little volume, flipping pages and greeting familiar verses like old friends. I read about anyone, who lived in a pretty how town, and Buffalo Bill, who rode a watersmooth-silver stallion, and was a handsome man. The warm spring wind moved against me, dry. Not like it had been up on the roof of the J. Edgar Hoover building that time. The time that Alex had talked to me about forming new attachments. "She's gone, Mulder. I'm here."

And I hadn't wanted to think of him, but there he was again. Well, now HE was gone, and Scully was back.

Was that Fate?

*Spring is like a perhaps hand, (which comes carefully out of Nowhere), arranging a window.* That was sort of like Fate, I guess. A perhaps hand coming carefully out of Nowhere, arranging things. People don't pay enough attention to poetry. It has a lot to say, something for every situation and occasion in the universe. But sometimes it doesn't tell you what you want to hear, what you are comfortable with.

*arranging and changing placing, carefully there a strange thing and a known thing here)and changing everything carefully.* A known thing. My place in the world. My wants, and desires... I thought I knew them. Then Alex, most definitely a strange thing, a changing thing. After Krycek, I found myself questioning things I hadn't even been aware were open to question. Things about myself.

*carefully to and from moving New and Old things.* Krycek, and Scully. New, and old. Dangerous but interesting, and safe, familiar.

*carefully moving a perhaps fraction of flower here placing an inch of air there.* Yes, it had been tiny things at first. The way I noticed that the scent of leather seemed to hang around him, even when he was in the Bureau's dark suit uniform. The slight smirk that lurked at the back of those remarkable green eyes. The continual amusement I seemed to afford him. But, and this was really hard to understand, the sense that, whatever else he felt about me, there was always a kernel of respect hidden somewhere in there. It makes it harder to hate him, even after all he's done.

The spring breezed comes again, and I suddenly freeze despite the warmth. A delicate scent drifts to me, over my shoulder, and I can feel my nostrils flaring, sifting it. Leather, cologne... "Krycek?"

A long stemmed red rose is tossed over my shoulder, landing on the open book of poetry. A second later Alex Krycek drops into the chair beside me, grinning. "e e cummings, Mulder? I thought Teasdale was your favorite."

"I should just shoot you right now and get it over with. That's where this is heading, anyway."

"Oh, not necessarily, Mulder. Not necessarily. There are three responses in relationships like ours, the three Fs. Fight, Flee, or Fuck. I'd rather not fight you, and neither one of us is a runner." His grin was lascivious. "What choice does that leave us?"

I grit my teeth, hanging on to the table for dear life to keep from knocking him out of his seat. And he knows it. "Why don't you just relax, Mulder? You're not going to fight me today." He glanced around. "Not out here in public, anyway. Not on such a gorgeous day." He closed his eyes briefly, tipping his face up to the sun, and my God, he looks...

I give myself a mental shake. This is Ratboy, the traitor, the killer.

*The one who knows me... No! He doesn't. It's all his mind games.* "What do you want, Krycek?"

He slits his eyes at me. "Do I have to want anything?" I stare at him, and he responds with a wry grimace. "Well, of course I do. That's one thing you've realized about me, Mulder. I always have a reason for what I do. But the reason today is harmless. I just wanted to see you again. I miss you."

"Bull shit."

He shrugs. "Perhaps a touch sentimental, but there it is. I can't help it, Fox." I flinch at the use of my first name. I don't offer the privilege of it's use to many people. And it... does things to me to hear it rolling off Alex Krycek's perfect, pouting lips.

"I can't stay for long, but I needed my Mulder fix. I just had to listen to you growl, and look at that sulky mouth, and think about kissing it till you..."

I slam the book closed, trapping the carnation, and his smile doesn't falter, but his eyes are shrewd. "Come on, Mulder. It wouldn't disturb you so much if something wasn't there. Why don't you just admit it, and save us some time? I've been awfully patient with you, you know."

"Admit that... that I want to destroy myself? That's what it would be, giving in to you, Krycek. Nothing less than the destruction of my sense of self, if not my fucking soul."

He sighed. "Mulder, Mulder. You really should have gone on the stage, you have such drama in your nature. It's only change, Mulder, and it doesn't have to be destructive."

He gets up. Before I can react, he's reached out and brushed the hair up off my forehead in an oddly gentle gesture. I snap my head back, away from his touch. But this time he doesn't leave it at that. Perhaps emboldened by the people seated at the other small tables around us, he touches me again.

His hand snakes around, gripping the back of my skull firmly, he leans down...

And then he's kissing me. And I'm so startled, I can't move. *That's why I'm so still, it has to be.* His lips move on mine, warm and firm. I feel the faint rasp of stubble, where his morning shave is just beginning to grow out, and the scent of him fills me as I feel the wet, delicate dab of his tongue...

He pulls back, and I'm swaying slightly, and staring. His smile is gentle now. "Read the last line of that poem, Fox." He turns and moves down the street, not hurrying, and I lose sight of him, because I'm facing the sun, and he seems to disappear right into the warm spring glow.

Numbly, I glance down at the book, and reopen it, moving aside the rose. Unthinkingly, I touch it to my cheek as I read the final line of the verse.

*without breaking anything.*