by Barbara D.
From: "mmalone37" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: [glass_onion] New: "Dust Devil" (XF) Date: Thursday, July 11, 2002 11:29 PM
Author: Barbara D.
Summary: Musings of a Well Manicured Man. Category: V
Disclaimer: The X-Files and all ancillary materials pertaining thereto belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, 20th Century Fox, and whoever owns them. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made.
Archive: Gossamer yes. If anyone else is interested, just let me know. Thanks to marguerite, this story and others can be found at: http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Capsule/4554/index.html
He casts a wary glance at the young man slouching before him, an impatient one at his watch. If he snaps out the orders and smacks the impudent tyro back to his proper place he will get through this wretched exercise with his dignity intact. He assumes an habitual look of disdain. The result in the mirror across the room pleases him (a man in control, he holds the upper hand), though the satisfaction doesn't last for long.
He is distracted by his own reflection. The mirror is coated with a layer of dust and his features are softer than he knows them to be. His hair in the dim light is closer to the gold of his youth than the silver of decrepit age, gratifying him till he remembers how these meetings with Alex Krycek leave him teetering between exhilaration and despair. He is too old for this.
There was a time he knew how the game worked, knew what to say and when to touch. Knew the right setting (under the willow on the river bank at twilight), knew the way to a penniless young man's heart (aged wine, young strawberries and plover's eggs in a nest of moss). That was before he learned the most powerful approach to seduction was the use of power itself.
In his world Alex has no power yet his seductions meet with startling success. Strong men, grown women, blind fools and those who walk into his arms with their eyes wide open, all of them taken down and most of them without protest, sinking gladly, helplessly under his spell. Alex's appeal is obvious, but the weakness of those who fall for the obvious repels him.
He blinks at the face in the mirror (it could be his own from long ago) until he realizes that Alex has turned to discover the source of fascination behind him. They are both facing the mirror, locked in a halo of yellow light from the shrouded lamps. It is a harsh, artificial twilight, the only kind left to him now.
Alex (he imagines saying the name gently, fondly, imperiously, demandingly) is still speaking, requesting clarification of his orders, a mocking obeisance to the aura of dominance he knows is fading fast. Primogeniture is no match for this burnished survivor, forged in a cauldron of lies and pain. He is staggered by the urge to let go, go back; to find a bottle of wine, turn down the lamps, hide away with a beautiful young man once more.
He looks in the mirror and realizes with horror that his need has reflected off the glass and found an echo in the grass-green eyes staring back at him. Alex murmurs on, but the inflection has changed. That voice roughened by years of screams curls around the room till it finds a place in his withered soul.
He hears the sound of willow branches and the rushing river, feels a soft touch on his hand. Helplessly, gladly he feels himself sinking. The room disappears and all he can see is Alex's face, transformed by a sweet, deadly smile.
Note to mel: "dare" is a very dangerous word. Note to Evelyn Waugh: I'm very sorry. No, really.
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Barbara D.
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