Title: Clones R Us
Email address: Peach1250@sbcglobal.net
Archive: Ask, I might
Disclaimer: The characters of the X-Files belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and the Fox Network. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made.
Summary: What's a man to do when his love is long gone and so are his friends.
NOTES: This one is the result of a conversation with AmazonX many moons ago. Don't ask what we were talking about, all I know is in my plot bunny file I have this note: Walter buys clone blame AmazonX.
Walter Skinner was an old man, a very old man. If fact he was the oldest man on the planet. He remembered a book, read in his youth, about a man named Lazarus Long who had decided to die but his descendents wouldn't let him. They gave him back his zest for life with new lovers and cloned children made from his DNA.
Walter also wanted to die but the damn nanos his dead lover had helped put into him wouldn't allow it. They kept his body functioning, long past losing all his friends and relatives to death. They were so good at the repair work that he didn't look a day older than when they were introduced to his body.
He mourned the lover he had shot. He dreamed of him almost every night, waking with his sheets wet with tears or come, sometimes both. He had never found anyone to love as he had loved Alex. And he had outlived the two men he had tried to love since Alex's death so long ago.
Cloning had become pretty widespread in the years since Walter had retired. Mostly it was used for bringing back beloved pets and replacement organs. Full human clones were still frowned upon but done, mostly in third world countries.
Walter had decided if he couldn't die, then he wanted another Alex. His inquiries had brought him to a small clinic in Baja. This small segment of the country had split off from Mexico years ago and the laws were very lax. But he had heard they could perform miracles.
So he brought Alex's remains, not much left after a hundred and fifty years, here to get his lover back. He had decided if it couldn't be done, he would crank the palm pilot up to full and throw it as far from his body as possible. He was sure that would get him out of the world he no longer enjoyed. Maybe he would find Alex in the next life.
The process was fairly short nowadays; the longest part would be implanting the memories. He'd brought everything he could find about Alex with him as well as the hours of his own memories of their time together.
He'd paid his money and settled in a small house just outside the town to wait for the process to be completed. Days he spent at the beach getting tan, nights he spent in dreams of having his lover back. On the allotted day, he went to the clinic. He was led to a room where the new Alex was waiting.
Heart in his throat, he opened the door. Sitting in a chair by a window was the man he remembered. Green eyes rose to his and a tentative smile curved the lips. Striding across the room, he went to his knees in front of Alex's chair.
"Hi, Walter. Where are we? They wouldn't tell me anything except that you would be here to get me soon."
"We're in Mexico. You've been ill, but you're better now."
"I can't remember. Have I been ill a long time?"
"Yes, a very long time. But don't worry, I'll take good care of you."
"I know you will. You…"
He looked puzzled for a minute. Then he pulled back from Walter.
"You shot me!"
Looking down at his left hand, he raised it and turned it this way and that, flexing his fingers, reaching to verify the hand with his other one. Walter reached for him, only to be pushed away.
"I don't understand. I remember my arm being cut off. It hurt like hell. And I remember you shooting me in the parking garage."
Vaulting up, Alex moved away from Walter. He paced and Walter waited. Fear and longing were racing through his heart. He didn't know what he would do if Alex rejected him. To be honest, he hadn't expected it to be an issue with the memories he'd provided for implantation. Walter wondered if some memories went so deep that they lodged in the genes.
He watched as Alex paced. Turning, Alex looked at him.
"I'm a copy, aren't I? What did you have to give Spender for me?"
"Spender is long gone. So is everyone we knew."
"What are you talking about?"
"The nanos keep repairing me. I'm almost two hundred years old now."
"Why did you do this? You killed the real Alex."
"Yes, I did. And I've hated myself every day since then. I love you, I couldn't stand being alone anymore."
"Why not find someone new? Why make a copy?"
"I tried finding someone else. I've never loved as I love you."
"Alex you mean, not me."
"You are Alex, physically. They gave you all the memories I could give them to implant. Please, Alex, give it a chance."
"Mulder is gone? Scully? You aren't lying to me?"
"Come with me and see."
"Do I have a choice?"
"Yes, you can walk out of here. No one will stop you."
Alex turned and walked to the door. Walter followed slowly, keeping him in sight, as Alex looked around, confused. His implantation had included language and reading, but he'd been given no contact to media nor had he been outside. The sheer volume of new information would have been daunting to anyone. Vehicles floating on cushions of air, guided by computers as the occupants read or ate. Three D billboards that reached out to you if you were part of their target audience.
He'd stepped into the future and it was scary. Humans cope with change as well as they do because it's a gradual thing. Alex was familiar with the concept of version 1.1 and so on, but he'd missed 150 years of versions.
Walter stepped closer, touching Alex's shoulder. "Will you let me help? Until you are comfortable, no strings."
Alex looked at him with stricken eyes. "Why didn't you leave it alone?"
"I need – do you have a place we can go? I need to think. I need to learn."
"Come on, we'll go to my place."
They were silent on the trip. Alex watched the scenery, soaking up as much information as he could. When they reached the bungalow Walter had been living in, Alex looked around the small space.
"Why don't you have a seat? I'll see what I can make for lunch."
Alex sat in a comfortable chair. Walter turned on the TV wall and gave Alex a quick rundown on the remote. Walter watched for a minute as Alex switched channels. Entering the kitchen, he opened the fridge and pulled out a soda for Alex, who barely looked up as Walter placed it in front of him.
Back in the kitchen, Walter made a decision and began a roast for dinner before making sandwiches. When he took the tray out, he found Alex watching a news program.
"The invasion, how did you stop it?"
"Mulder found the key, with help from Doggett. They became as strong a team as he could have been with you. Scully and Reyes backed them up and I kept my finger in by playing the party line at the FBI for a few more years."
"Did they ever get to have a life?"
"For a little while, until they both got ill again. Scully outlived him by a few weeks."
"So, you were alone then."
"Yes, I never got as close to Doggett and Reyes as I was to Scully and Mulder."
"Was it just loneliness? Is that why you bought a copy? Do I have any status here, or am I just your property?"
"Alex, I love you. Yes, I was lonely. Technically, you are property, but I won't stop you if you decide to leave. But do me a favor if you want to leave, and kill me in my sleep first."
He stood up and left the room. Alex watched him go, tears tracking down his cheeks. He might be a copy but he remembered loving Walter. There was no way Alex could kill Walter, even if Walter had been capable of killing him.
Alex spent a month, watching TV and reading, sleeping in the guestroom. Walter allowed himself to be encouraged by the polite conversations they had started having on the second day.
One morning Alex announced that he wanted to do the shopping that day. Walter gave him the list and enough money to cover it, plus extra for impulse purchases. Then he watched from the porch, terrified that he'd never see him again.
He was still in the same spot an hour later when Alex returned. Walter hurried to take one of the bags from him. Alex smiled as he gave Walter the bag.
"I decided I'd cook dinner tonight."
"Sounds good, Alex. Thanks."
Walter didn't notice as Alex slipped a small bag from the larger one and stuffed it behind the toaster. When things were put away, Alex shooed Walter out with a beer in his hand. Soon there were interesting odors floating on the air.
"Walter, will you set the table?"
Walter smiled at the easy tone of the question. "Sure, Alex."
Dinner was delicious and afterward Alex poured Walter a brandy. "I'll take care of the dishes, you put your feet up and relax."
Walter did as he was told, but he didn't relax. He was worried that this was Alex's goodbye to him. The thought made him incredibly sad, but he'd given his word and he wouldn't try to hold Alex against his will.
He tried to look calm when Alex later announced that he was going to shower and turn in. Walter stayed on the sofa for a long time after he heard the shower shut off. Finally, he headed to bed; sure that Alex would be gone in the morning.
He stood still in the doorway. Alex was propped up in the center of Walter's bed; naked as the day he was born. He put the book he was reading aside and smiled.
"Come to bed, Walter."
"Are you sure?"
"You loved so deeply that you took a chance. I find that even as a copy I feel the need to be with you. Now come here and show me how much you've missed me."
Walter watched as Alex emerged from the ocean. He ran toward Walter and dropped on the blanket next to him.
"How's the water?"
"Warm. Thank you for bringing me here. This is the best vacation I've ever had."
"I'm glad you're having a good time."
Alex rolled over, reaching for a bottle of water in the bucket next to them. He chugged part of it down before he leaned over to press a kiss on Walter's knee.
"Will you take me dancing tonight, Walter?"
"Of course, Alex."
"I love you."
"I love you, too."
Walter relaxed back against the beach chair to nap so he'd be well rested to go dancing with his lover that night. Alex smiled as a sleep snort came from under the umbrella. He reached for the book he'd brought and read for a while before going for another swim.
It'd been five years since he'd been reborn. Alex had settled into the relationship, content with his new life. Walter managed to give him a peace he'd never known in his prior life. They spent most of their time in tropical locals. Alex was nut brown from the sun he worshiped.
A couple of years before, they'd found out that Alex had been infected with the nanos. Neither knew how long they would live. They didn't talk about it, or anything that serious, both figuring that they had lived all the drama anyone should have to deal with. They'd earned the happiness they now had.
Late at night, as they held each other, both men thanked the gods for finding their way home. Because home was wherever the other man was.
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