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Nick Lea as Alex KrycekA Deep Sworn Vow

A Deep Sworn Vow
by William Butler Yeats

Others because you did not keep
That deep-sworn vow have been friends of mine;
Yet always when I look death in the face,
When I clamber to the heights of sleep,
Or when I grow excited with wine,
Suddenly I meet your face.

I, [insert name here], do solemnly swear to support, uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, to obey the lawful orders and directives of those appointed before and above me, and that I enter into this office without any mental reservation whatsoever, so help me God.


Around the second glass I thought of the poem, A Deep Sworn Vow, by Yeats. The poet never said what the vow was, of course, so the poem is pretty universal. It can refer to so many things. For some reason it reminded me of The Oath.

I said it, he said it, Skinner said it, Dana said it--we all said it. For years and years, since the Bureau began, bright-faced, eager young men and women have chanted that oath, right hand held high as they began their careers as FBI agents. Some of them say it with fervor, each word ringing with the conviction of a zealot. Some mumble it by rote, seeing it as a boring rite to be completed before they are allowed to get on with what is no more than a job to them. And some, a very, very few, I hope, say it with lying lips, knowing that they are betraying those words even as they speak them.

I pour myself another glass of wine. It's medium grade stuff. We're not talking Cristal, but we're not talking Mad Dog, either. Hopefully my head won't be too bad tomorrow morning. I just hope I have enough mouthwash left to get rid of the fumes, so I don't have to look at Dana's sour face all day. Fuck it. If I'm out, I'll just gargle with the toothpaste water. That should be good for a giggle when I look in the mirror and see myself foaming at the mouth (hey, there are a lot of people out there who claim I do it without benefit of Colgate). Mad Dog Mulder.

The wine is pretty good. It has a nice, crisp bouquet, and it slides down smooth. I really shouldn't swill it, I suppose, especially since it's past midnight, and I haven't eaten since lunch. I ought to treat this modest little vintage with more respect--or I ought to treat my body with more respect.

I loosened my tie about a third of the way through the bottle. Now I jerk it the rest of the way off. The shoes and jacket went as soon as I got through the front door. Today I had to get out of The Uniform as quickly as possible. I felt like it was strangling me. I still feel like it's strangling me, so I take off the shirt, too, and drape it over the back of the sofa.

Others because you did not keep that deep-sworn vow have been friends of mine. It's funny how one person's betrayal can change how you relate to others. It made me appreciate Scully and Skinner more than I ever have. You learn to cherish loyalty after you've been kicked in the teeth.

I need to get my mind off that theme, so I start to mentally review some of the X Files. I wish I could have gotten more time to look at all those files in the Strughold Mining Company in West Virginia. All those people... If even a fraction of them could have been convinced of what was happening, a grass roots movement would have started. But no, that damn hit squad had to show up, and I'm running for my life, dodging bullets right and left. When I got a chance to go back... nothing. Then Krycek steals the disk, and...

I close my eyes. Krycek. Dammit, even when I'm thinking about times that I've slipped past death he comes back to taunt me.

Yet always when I look death in the face... Even when I was crawling through that rock tunnel in New Mexico, scrabbling away from that buried boxcar full of dessicated alien bodies, not knowing if I'd find an exit, or die there, stuck like a cork in a bottle, his face was in front of me in the darkness.

I'd better put the glass down and try to sleep--I'm starting to get maudlin, and I hate maudlin drunks. I stand up, and the room swims, so I sit back down. Maybe I'll just stretch out on the sofa instead of trying to make it to the bedroom. It won't be the first time I've slept here--or the second, or the twentieth.

Wine is supposed to help you sleep, right? I mean, it's been used as an anaesthetic or slumber aid for countless centuries. Yeah, but the kind of sleep it brings can be piss poor.

I doze off without too much trouble, but it's not an easy sleep. Things keep playing over in my mind, but not in any well-ordered, linear sequence. No, it's that damned disjointed jumble that makes no fucking sense--or maybe too much sense. When you sleep the subconscious comes out to play and shows you things you'd rather ignore.

He's here, too. When I clamber to the heights of sleep. Or sink to the depths. Images, flashes... Vignettes. There's a five dollar word for a brief scene that goes nowhere. Somehow they say a lot, thought I couldn't tell you what they say. I don't want to think about that.

The smell of donuts, and rain. How sleek his hair looks when it's wet and plastered to that well-shaped skull. The way he smiled at me when he took hold of my wrist and made that oh-so-innocent comment about handling my balls--Oops! donut holes. The way he squinted against the moist wind up on the roof of the J.E.H. building. The heat I could feel radiating from his body in my cold kitchen as he leaned in close to me, a frost-laced window just visible behind him. You get cold sometimes, don't you, Mulder? Cold, and lonely? Fuck you, Krycek. I've got my conspiracies to keep me warm.

I wake up, and the room is still dark, the deep dark of the graveyard hours. I can't have slept more than an hour. It feels like it was only seconds, and it feels like it was days, and I know that there's no point in lying back down, so I take another drink.

Damn, the glass is empty again. How did that happen? I'm not wet, so I didn't spill it. Maybe the little gray men abducted it. I'd better drink the rest before they come back for it. That won't be hard--there's only a half glass left. Must've evaporated.

I stare into the last of the wine, into the ruby depths, and I see green. Green eyes, liar's eyes, betrayer's eyes--a vision that even the wine can't send away. When I grow excited with wine. No, not excited. Dopey, plastered, pissed--but not excited. At least I don't think so. I suppose that's why the crash the glass makes when it shatters against the wall surprises me.

What is this? Has Krycek become my bete noire? I can't seem to escape him--not through work, or in sleep, or in drunkenness. I guess that the only way to escape him will be to kill him, or to...

The wine bottle doesn't shatter--the glass is too heavy. Instead it knocks a dent in the dry wall. There goes my damage deposit.

I close my eyes, and my mental vision is filled with those green eyes and the smile of that full, mocking mouth.

Suddenly I meet your face.

I put my own face in my hands and mutter, "I don't, I don't, I don't..." No, I don't. But I couldn't for the life of me tell you what it is that I don't.