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Independence Day: Family Ties

by Maddie and Haven.

When Walter suggested inviting Bruce Mosely and Zoe Harris over for dinner, Alex had immediately agreed, and surprised Walter by volunteering to cook. In addition to preparing Walter's favorite Italian dishes, he had washed the good china, which had grown dusty from disuse, dressed the table with a linen tablecloth and candlesticks, and chilled a bottle of good red wine.

Enjoying the company of good friends, the excellent food, and the wide-ranging dinner conversation, Walter gave Alex a loving glance. Alex, busy discussing their mutual friend Jack Rivers with Bruce and Zoe, noticed and smiled back.

Zoe explained to Walter that Jack's ex-wife's new husband, Roger, had convinced her to let Jack see his children on Father's Day.

"He's been so happy since then," Alex told them, "he's practically levitating."

"Good," Bruce said. "He gets along well with Roger, huh?"

"Yeah. I think they'll end up friends. Maybe that will help thaw Andrea."

Bruce dug into his second helping of manicotti.

"Damn, Alex, this is good. You made it?"

Alex nodded, grinning. "Jack taught me his grandmother's recipe."

"It's delicious," Walter agreed.

Zoe looked longingly at the serving dish.

"Have some more, Zoe," Alex said, pushing it toward her.

"I'm trying to be good, Alex. I'm worried that I'll gain weight now that I've given up smoking."

Bruce made a dismissive noise. "You look great, baby."

"We haven't had dessert yet," Walter said. "It's cheesecake. Not homemade, but good."

Zoe groaned. "I love cheesecake. New York style?"

"Of course."

"You guys must hate me."

Everyone laughed.

"We'll just have to exercise more," Walter told her.

"Right," Bruce agreed, picking up another piece of foccacia bread. "Hey, you guys up for a road trip?"

"To where?" Alex asked.

"Georgia. Zoe and I are going to Mama's for the 4th. Do you guys have plans for the holiday?"

Walter looked at Alex. "No, we just planned to laze around."

"You can do that at Mama's. She's got a cook-out planned. There'll be a fireworks display at the fairgrounds that night, and I think she mentioned a parade earlier in the day."

"I thought you came from a small town, Bruce." Alex said.

"It is. They just take holidays seriously. Be forewarned, though. Maurice will be there."

Alex looked questioningly at Bruce, then Walter.

"Bruce's baby brother," Walter explained. "They're not on the best of terms."

"That's the polite way to put it," Bruce said. "But my sane brothers and sisters will be there too. You guys talk about it. Alex can let me know at work."

As dinner wound down, and Zoe insisted she would help Alex with the dishes. Walter and Bruce headed to the living room.

"So, you and Bruce are really getting serious, huh?" Alex said lightly, as he started coffee. "Meeting the family."

Zoe grinned as she rinsed the dishes. "Yes, we are. And you can tease all you want. I went through a lot of frogs before I found Bruce. Especially when I was modeling."

Alex nodded in agreement. "I am just teasing. We're very happy for you guys."

Zoe handed Alex the dishes and he placed them in the dishwasher.

"You know, Alex, people talk about love at first sight and how they knew when they'd met the person they were meant to marry. I used to make fun of them, but the first time I went out with Bruce, I knew he was the man for me."

"Bruce is a great guy, Zoe. And you're as good for him as he is for you."

"Alex," she admitted, "I'm a little nervous about meeting Bruce's family. I'm worried they'll think I'm a flake."

"I think everyone feels nervous about meeting their prospective in-laws."

"But what if they don't like me?"

"How could they not? They'll see how happy Bruce is, and how nice you are, and they'll love you."

Zoe kissed Alex on the cheek. "Thanks, Alex. I guess I just needed to hear it from someone besides Bruce."

After finishing the dishes, Alex pulled desert dishes and coffee cups from one of the cupboards while Zoe sliced the cheesecake. Working together, they arranged the everything on the serving tray Alex would carry into the living room.

When Alex set the tray on the coffee table, Zoe selected the slice she wanted and then joined Bruce on the loveseat. Alex, still playing host, poured coffee for everyone.

By the time Alex sat down next to him on the couch, Walter seemed to Alex to be somewhat distracted. Bruce and Zoe, however, didn't seem to notice anything amiss and the four continued to make small talk as they consumed their desserts.

Shortly after they finished the dessert course, Bruce announced, "Well, it's late and we'd better be going. Thanks for inviting us over." He looked at Alex, adding, "The food was great." Alex smiled at the compliment as Bruce continued, "Walt, if you guys decide to go with us, I'll go ahead and reserve another room at our motel. Mama's sort of old fashioned, and she'll have company, too."

Zoe stood with Bruce and said, "We had a great time, guys. I hope we get to see you again soon."

Alex walked back from seeing Zoe and Bruce to the door to find Walter returning from taking the dishes to the kitchen. Walter came to Alex, opening his arms. Alex happily went into them. Walter held Alex tightly.

"Alex, I've wanted you all afternoon. Watching you move around the kitchen as you made dinner, and then as you served dessert . . . you're so sexy."

Alex kissed Walter. "Let's go upstairs. You can show me how much you want me."

Once in their bedroom, Walter undressed his lover, kissing, licking and sucking each bit of skin as he bared it. Alex stood there, eyes heavy lidded, drunk from the sensation of Walter's mouth and tongue. When Walter had him completely naked, Alex stopped him. "My turn," he said, his voice rough with desire.

Alex took Walter's shirt off, licking lightly at his nipples before moving back up to his neck to suck gently. Walter groaned, his cock unbelievably hard, wanting Alex intensely. "Suck harder, Alex, mark me."

Alex whimpered, but readily complied, sucking a purple mark between Walter's neck and collarbone, then moving back down to tease a nipple again. Finally, he got Walter naked and reached for his cock, only to have Walter stop him.

"Alex, wait, I'm too close already. My turn again."

Walter knelt and took Alex's cock in his mouth, sucking hard, but still not getting what he wanted. Although he enjoyed how vocal Alex was becoming, Walter forced himself to stop and stood up. Alex turned to the bed and started to lie down, but Walter put his hand on Alex's arm. "Alex, I want . . . "

"Yes, Walter, anything . . ."

Walter got on the bed himself. "I want you over me, fucking my mouth."

Alex sat down quickly. The jolt of pure, raw desire that had swept through him at Walter's words had made his legs weak.

"Are you sure?" Alex asked, his voice raspy.

Walter looked in his lover's eyes. "Yes."

Alex got on the bed and kneeled over Walter, with Walter supporting his left arm. He paused, but Walter pleaded, "Come on, Alex. Do it."

Alex's cock twitched and he gave an involuntary whimper. He moved to Walter's mouth and Walter leaned up to suck at him.

Alex began to gently thrust into his eager lover's mouth. "Is this what you want? For me to do this to you?"

Walter moaned a yes around his cock.

Alex continued to thrust. Needing to share what he felt, Alex moaned with pleasure and then began to talk, telling Walter how wonderful his mouth felt stretched around his cock. "Oh fuck, Walter. You look so sexy like that, and your mouth feels incredible! It feels so," he moaned around the word, "good. So hot."

Walter, too, was thinking this was incredible. Being used this way was new to him, and he found Alex's use of his mouth to be incredibly arousing. He knew Alex was holding back, and had he been capable of speech, he would've told him to do it harder. As if he'd heard Walter's thoughts, Alex began to thrust in earnest, holding onto the headboard for support, giving Walter exactly what he wanted.

Alex didn't last long after the tempo increased and he came, yelling Walter's name. As quickly as he could manage, Alex got off Walter, staring at the swollen lips which were curved into a satisfied smile. "Walter, you look so . . . I don't have the words. Hot. Sexy. That was unbelievable," Alex told him.

"It was for me, too. I've never done it that way before but I found the whole thing extremely erotic."

Alex leaned down to stroke Walter's still-hard cock. As he went to take it in his mouth, Walter said, "Don't make me come, Alex. I want you inside me when I do."

Alex groaned, feeling himself get hard again. Before he and Walter got back together, he was used to quick fucks. Get his rocks off and then get out. Since he'd been back with Walter, he'd learned to appreciate long, sensual and erotic lovemaking. He found he liked giving as much as receiving, and he knew Walter did, too.

When he looked back at Walter, his lover was staring at him with eyes that were almost black with desire.

"Are you ready for me to fuck you?" Alex rasped.

Walter groaned "Yes!" as his cock twitched in Alex's hand. Alex let go to reach for lube and condoms. He gave them to Walter.

"Get yourself ready for me?"

Walter nodded, taking the lube and squirting some on his fingers, then reached down to open himself up. Alex watched him intently, mouth slightly open. Walter took his time, enjoying the look of concentration and desire Alex had on his face. Reluctantly, he removed his fingers to grab a condom and urge Alex closer.

"Want you to fuck me now, Alex," he said, smoothing the condom over Alex's cock.

"Oh yeah, that's what I'm going to do," Alex agreed.

He got in place and Walter guided Alex's cock to his entrance. Alex started to slide into him slowly, but Walter had other ideas. He pushed against Alex, impaling himself fully. Alex groaned as his cock sank in to the root. He thrust in and out, slow deep strokes that soon had them both whimpering.

Walter, reveling in the long and intense fucking, pleaded with Alex not to come. He wanted this fuck to last forever and was glad of Alex's early orgasm, knowing it would help him last longer.

"Walter," Alex groaned when he felt himself getting close. "Make yourself come for me. I want to see you."

Walter pumped himself as Alex fucked him deeply. He lost it when Alex slammed into him forcefully, brushing against his prostate. As he shot come over his chest, he felt Alex's climax begin.

When he could move again, Alex got rid of the condom and cleaned Walter up with tissues from the bedside table. He pulled the covers over them and snuggled up to Walter, who was already snoring.

The next morning as they were getting dressed, Alex asked, "So what do you think about going down to Georgia?"

"I don't know. It could be a lot of fun. I met Bruce's mom on one of her visits here. She's really something."

"Walter . . . let's go. I think Zoe might need us."

"Need us?"

"For emotional support. She's really nervous about meeting Bruce's family. She wants so much for them to like her."

"Okay, then, we'll go."

Alex caught Bruce Monday morning, and told him they'd be going.

"Great. I'll get a room booked for you guys. Oh, and Alex?"


"You guys need some lightweight clothing. Shorts, t-shirts, stuff like that. July in Georgia is really hot."

"Okay," Alex said, not all that enthusiastic about the shopping trip he saw in his future. All the shorts he and Walter owned were very disreputable. Walter in particular had a pair of really threadbare cut-offs that Alex adored . . .

Suddenly realizing that Bruce was waiting for his response, Alex was forced to ask him to repeat himself.

"I said, 'Do you think Walter would mind taking Thursday off so we can get an early start?'"

"I don't think that will be problem."

"Since we'll be taking the hummer, do you want us to meet at your place?"

"That makes sense to me."

As Alex expected, Walter insisted on a shopping trip after work. Alex tried not to fuss too much, and it was all relatively painless. Alex brought up Walter taking Thursday off, and Walter, thinking about how much vacation time he had accumulated, readily agreed. He also agreed that it was a good idea for Bruce and Zoe to come and pick them up at the apartment. They would consult with Bruce on the time.

When Bruce informed them the trip would take almost ten hours, not including stops, they decided to get an early start. They also agreed to share driving duties, believing that if they each took a turn, the long drive would not be as tiring.

Five minutes before five a.m. Thursday morning, Walter and Alex took the elevator down to the apartment lobby. Two minutes later, Bruce pulled the Hummer up to the curb. He would drive the first shift, and then they would switch drivers every three hours or so.

They stopped around eight, in North Carolina, for a quick breakfast, then got back on the road, this time with Walter behind the wheel. Zoe curled up in the back seat with Bruce and took a nap.

Around twelve, they stopped for lunch. As they sat waiting for their food, Alex asked, "So, Bruce, tell me about your family, who will be there?"

"Well, Mama, of course. Then us Mosely kids." Bruce began to counting off on his fingers. "I'm first," he said, holding up his thumb. He added a finger. "Then there's my oldest sister, Janice. She'll be there. She's married to Gerald, and they have two kids. Next is Geneva, but I'll get back to her in a minute. Henry is the next eldest, but he lives in Texas and won't be able to come. He's married to Sylvia. Eric is next, and he should be there. He and Janice both live nearby. Eric is divorced, so I don't know if he'll be bringing his little girl. Tricey, Patrice really, should be there, too. She and her husband have two kids. Maurice, my baby brother will be there."

"That's a big family," Alex observed.

"Oh, yeah," Bruce agreed. "Seven of us kids, plus Tasha. Tasha's my niece, my second oldest sister Geneva's daughter. Eva died giving birth to her, so Mama raised her." After a moment, Bruce added, "That should be about it for who'll be there, unless anyone else brings a guest."

Still thinking about the size of Bruce's family, Alex said, "Seven kids and unless I miscounted, six grandkids."

"That's a lot different than what we're used to," Walter remarked. "Both Alex and I were only children."

"I have two brothers, but I always wanted a sister," Zoe said.

They ate lunch and got back on the road, with Alex driving. They continued their talk of Bruce's family and his hometown.

"Bruce, you grew up in Georgia?" Alex asked.

"Yep, in Cedar Grove, until I enlisted, right out of high school. My mama's lived here her whole life. She had it rough, too. My daddy, Zeke, died right after Maurice was born, and she went to work to support us. She's a tough woman."

"I've only met her a couple of times, but she struck me as being no-nonsense. I know you've said the same thing," Walter said.

"Oh, she is. But she had to be. Daddy's insurance helped a little, but she got out and worked. Janice and I took on a lot of the responsibility of helping with the younger kids. I guess by today's standards, Mama was pretty strict. But she was determined we would turn out right. With the exception of Maurice, we all did. Tricey and Eric got in trouble a few times, but it was just kid stuff. Of course, that's cause we were all scared of her. She was hell with a belt," Bruce laughed.

Zoe laughed with him. "I bet you never got into trouble."

"No, I did my share. I remember this one time . . . I must've been six or seven. Mama was really strict about all of us coming straight home after school. She didn't want us running the streets or causing trouble. These older boys were talking about exploring the woods behind the store where the bus let us off. So, I decided I'd go with them. I should've been home by four. Mama got off at five. I got home about a half hour after she did and I have never seen her that mad. Mostly I scared her. I didn't sit comfortably for a while, let me tell you. And I came straight home after that."

Walter watched Alex while Bruce told the story, one Walter himself had heard many times. Alex clearly was having a hard time understanding how Bruce could joke about his mother hitting him. But Walter was sure that once Alex met Bruce's mom and saw how close they were, he would see that discipline and abuse were two altogether different things.

"Zoe, I bet you never got in trouble, though," Walter teased.

"Yeah, right. I was a tomboy. I used to fight all the little boys."

"No way were you a tomboy, Zoe," Alex said in disbelief.

Zoe nodded. "I was. My brother Brian let me follow him around. He taught me to fight. I wanted to be a cowboy. I was a tomboy until I was almost thirteen."

"What happened then?" Bruce asked.

"The usual. I realized boys weren't so icky."

"Yeah. Same thing happened to me," Alex said, with a straight face.

Bruce and Zoe burst out laughing. It took Walter a few seconds. He was so amazed to hear Alex joke like that; then he laughed harder than the others.

They stopped once they were in Georgia to stretch their legs and get gas. Zoe drove next, she and Bruce chatting while Walter had a nap and Alex read.

"Let's stop here, Bruce," Zoe said, pointing at a convenience store. "I need a bathroom break."

"Okay. I want something cold to drink."

They all sighed once they were out of the Hummer, relieved to stretch their legs again.

Zoe and Bruce headed inside as Alex waited for Walter.

"Alex, grab a bottle of water for me while I find the restroom?"


As Alex headed for the refrigerator case, he passed by an old lady and heard her whisper to her friend, "I bet he's a drug dealer and she's a whore." Alex felt anger blossoming as he picked up two large bottles of water. Zoe came back first.

"I want one of those," she said eyeing the water.

"Take one of these, I'll get another. Where are the guys?"

"Long line at the bathroom."

Alex went back and got another bottle of water. Walter and Bruce walked up at the same time, laughing.

"What do you want to drink, sweetie?" Zoe asked Bruce.

"Something on ice. Coke. But I'll get it."

"I've got it."

"Well, then, I'll go check the oil and tires."

Walter turned to Alex. "Why don't you let me get the water, and I'll go help Bruce while you hit the john?"


As Alex headed back through the store, he saw the old women buying lottery tickets. Smiling evilly, he leaned down to whisper, "You should know better than to judge a book by its cover. The brunette's a heiress and the big guy with her is her bodyguard."

"What are you smiling about?" Walter asked as Alex got in.

"Nothing," Alex said serenely.

An hour later, they made it to Cedar Grove. They went to the motel first and checked in, then headed to Bruce's childhood home. It was right outside town, set away from the highway, surrounded by trees, the most striking of which was a huge oak tree in the front yard. There was a minivan and two cars parked off to the side.

"Bruce, this is lovely," Zoe said. "You grew up here?"

"Yeah. But I didn't appreciate it then. Come on, let's go see who's here."

As they got out, two small children ran from around the house and went in the front door.

"Look at this huge porch!" Zoe exclaimed of the wide porch with chairs lined up all along it, painted a country blue to match the big white house's trim.

They walked in the door as the children were intercepted by an older woman wearing a floral print house dress. She was in her seventies, with gray hair that curled tightly to her scalp. And while not really overweight, she was plump.

"Marcus, Keisha, you come here and give Grandma a hug, now."

The children, who looked to be around four or five years old, ran eagerly to their grandmother. She gave them a big hug and kiss.

"Now, go to the kitchen and tell Auntie Tasha to give you a snack."

She turned around to see Bruce, with Zoe beside him, Walter and Alex behind them. Her face lit up.

"Bruce, honey!" she exclaimed, going over to hug him.

"Mama. It's good to see you."

"I was thinking you'd forgot the way here."

"No ma'am, I just let myself get too busy. Come and meet everyone. This is Zoe, Mama. Zoe, my mama, Lillian."

Zoe held out her hand. "It's great to finally meet you."

Bruce's mom ignored Zoe's hand to pull her into a hug.

"I've been wanting to meet the woman who managed to settle Bruce down."

"And Mama, these are our friends, Walter Skinner and Alex Krycek. You've met Walter."

"Yes, I have. It's good to have you both with us. And it's nice to meet you, Alex."

"You, too, Mrs. Mosely," Alex said politely.

"Call me Miss Lillie, honey. Everyone does. Now, are you all hungry?"

"Mama, you are not cooking. We'll take you out."

"But, honey, Janice and the kids are already here, and Tasha and her friend Monique . . ."

"We'll order pizza," a tall striking black woman said as she walked into the living room.

"Janice!" Bruce scooped his oldest sister into a hug.

"It's about damned time you got back here."

"Janice Marie!" Miss Lillie scolded.

"Sorry, Mama, but it's true," Janice laughed. "The last time you were here, Marcus was, what, two? And Keisha'd just been born."

"I know, I know. Time gets away."

"You need to do better. But don't worry. We're going to make Zoe like us so much, she'll make you come back." She reached out to Zoe. "Come on in the kitchen. You can meet Tasha and her friend, and my bad kids."

Zoe followed Janice as Miss Lillie told the men to have a seat and relax.

"Let me order the pizza, Mama. What kind? Who won't eat what?"

"Well, you know the children only want pepperoni. Janice likes everything. And I want bread sticks."

"Okay. Zoe and I like everything. You guys, too, right?" he asked Walter and Alex, who nodded.

"And get salad for Tasha and Monique, they're vegetarians."

Bruce got the order written down and made the call. They all sat around unwinding and talking until the food arrived.

"Mama, where's Gerald?" Bruce asked, referring to Janice's husband. "He didn't come with Janice? They're not having trouble, are they?"

"No, no. He had to work. He'll be along when he gets off. And Maurice and Eric will be here tomorrow, too."

The pizza arrived, and they all headed to the kitchen with it. Zoe and Janice were engrossed in conversation, and Tasha and Monique were keeping the kids occupied while peeling potatoes. Bruce made introductions again. Tasha was in her early twenties, and tall like Bruce and Janice. Monique was shorter, light-skinned and very thin. Bruce swept Tasha into a hug, and said hello to the kids.

They all dug into the food, carrying on various conversations. Janice was telling Zoe about her job.

"I'm selling real estate right now, but I don't really like it. I'd like to have a home business. I want another baby, and I'd like to stay home with this one. We had just gotten married when I had these two, so we both worked."

"Have you considered going back to school, or do you already have an idea about a business?"

"Well, Gerald keeps telling me if I want to go back to school, I should. I just don't know."

"I'm not sorry I gave up modeling to become a lawyer."

"That must have been glamorous, though," Janice said.

"Some of it is, but it isn't all designer clothing and photo shoots. Modeling jobs tend to pay well, but the work isn't steady and you never know when — or if — you'll be called again. New models are signed up all the time, and every year they seem to be younger, prettier, and thinner. It's hard to compete. And, as a model, you're limited with what you can do to your body. For example, I was told not to gain or lose any weight, to stay out of the sun, and not to cut my hair."

A puzzled expression came over Janice's face, and Zoe explained, "Models have to avoid tan lines." She grinned, recalling one memorable photo shoot. "Nothing ruins the look of a low-backed gown quicker than a well-tanned model with a band of shockingly pale skin bisecting her back."

Janice, picturing the scene, grinned.

"And it's true what they say about the camera adding ten pounds. Not only did I had to diet constantly, but I was hungry all the time."

"I hadn't considered any of that. I guess that's a side of the business consumers never see."

Bruce was asking about plans for the next day.

"Well," Miss Lillie said, "there's a parade, just a little one. It starts at twelve. This year, they'll have something for the ones who went to Iraq. After that, we'll come back here and fix a big dinner. The girls are working on the potato salad and deviled eggs tonight, and I'm making my Brunswick Stew. We'll grill hamburgers and hot dogs, and we've got some watermelons chilling. And Gerald's going to make ice cream."

"Homemade ice cream?" Bruce asked. "Peach, right?"

"Yes," Miss Lillie laughed. "And chocolate, too."

Alex made a whimpering noise. "Alex likes chocolate," Walter understated.

"Have you ever had homemade ice cream, Alex?" Miss Lillie asked.

"No, ma'am."

"There's nothing else that tastes like it," Bruce told him. "You'll love it. And what about my barbeque? Eric's bringing it?"

"Yes, he picked it up today."

Bruce turned to Alex and Walter. "A little place in town, Stinson's, makes the best barbeque in Georgia. Any time somebody from here visits, I make them bring me some."

"Bruce, there's also the fireworks tomorrow night. We can go after we eat," Miss Lillie said.

"You'll like it, baby," Bruce told Zoe. "I went the last time I was here on July 4th. Folks around here take fireworks seriously."

"I haven't been to a fireworks display in years," Walter said.

"Me, either," Janice admitted. "We usually send the kids with Mama, but this year we're going."

They talked, learning about each other. Miss Lillie proudly related that Tasha was going on to medical school after college, and would be a pediatrician. The others learned that Walter was with the FBI, and joked with Alex about how rough it was to work for Bruce. Alex assured them Bruce was a good boss.

"That's hard to believe. He was always so bossy when we were kids," Janice laughed.

Gerald came in around ten. He greeted everyone and helped Janice get the kids in bed before coming back to reheat some pizza.

It ended up being nearly midnight before they arrived at the motel. Walter and Alex were so tired from the events of the day that they fell into bed and were asleep in minutes.

They all got back to Miss Lillie's at eleven the next morning. Janice and Miss Lillie were in the kitchen shaping ground beef into patties. Tasha and Monique, still in their robes, were at the table drinking coffee.

"Morning, everybody," Bruce said.

"Morning, honey," Miss Lillie said. "Eric called, he's on his way. He's going by to pick up Jasmine, then he'll be along."

"Marcia's letting him have Jasmine for the day? They must be getting along better," Bruce said.

"Not really," Janice told him. "Marcia's got a new boyfriend, she's glad to get Jasmine out of the way."

"Janice!" Her mama scolded.

"Anyway," Bruce said, "what about Tricey? Isn't she coming?"

Tasha spoke up. "Don't call her Tricey, Bruce. It's Patrice. Now that she has money, she refuses to answer to anything else."

"I don't care how rich she gets. I changed her diapers and she'll always be Tricey to me. Does that mean she's not coming?"

Janice nodded, "Her husband's got some big party planned and they'll be with their rich friends. She's forgotten where she came from."

Alex spoke up. "My aunt was like that. When she came here from Russia, she reinvented herself. She said her name, Katya, was a peasant name and changed it to Katherine. Then she married a rich American and never looked back."

Tasha laughed. "That sounds like Tricey. Ethnic or family names weren't good enough for her children. She named them Brittany and Christopher."

Alex nodded. "Aunt Katya named hers John Jr., Susan and Nancy."

Walter took a minute to process this. Alex rarely talked about his family when they were alone, let alone when they were with anyone else.

They had coffee while Tasha and Monique went to get dressed. Finishing the coffee, Bruce began to wash the breakfast dishes. Alex volunteered to help dry.

Soon, the dishes were done. Miss Lillie began herding everyone except Janice and Gerald, would stay at the house and get things ready, into the yard. Then the group made their own little procession as they walked the several blocks to Cedar Grove's downtown.

When the reached the corner of Main Street, Alex looked around in wonder at the fine, old-fashioned brick and wood buildings that lined either side of the street. "This looks like something right off a movie set," he whispered to Walter.

Walter nodded. It did. And if it weren't for the town's two traffic lights, Cedar Grove might be described as little more than a wide spot in the road, don't blink or you'll miss it.

Miss Lillie guided the group to the spot across from the town's municipal building and then stopped. Speaking to Walter, she pointed down Main Street, which had yet to be blocked off. "They'll come from down there, come up to the corner, and then turn left. When the last group turns, the parade's over. The mayor will probably say a few words, and so will the post commander."

Traffic on the road began to die down, with most of the motorists pulling into parking spaces in front of the buildings or into the town's only gas station. Most of the vehicles were pickup trucks or vans, but there were also a few jeeps, a couple of newer cars, and a fair number of old four-door sedans.

The Moselys were not the only people to walk to the parade; looking around, Alex saw clusters of people arriving from the residential streets. A few carried lawn chairs, but most seemed content to stand or to wander around the growing crowd to greet friends and family.

Just when he was growing restless, he heard the blare of an air horn signaling the start of the parade. Leading the parade was sheriff's car. It was followed by the Cedar Grove High School Marching Band, playing the Stars and Bars March. The sherrif's car turned left at the corner as Miss Lillie indicated, however when the band reached the corner, they continued marching. When they cleared the intersection. they stopped moving forward and instead began to change their formation, so that the band reversed position and now faced on-coming traffic.

Following the band came an honor guard from the VFW, nine men in military uniform, marching with three flags, one for the country, one for the state of Georgia, and a third representing the local VFW post. Stopping in front of the municipal building, the honor guard set the flags into waiting stands. They then stood at attention, saluting the nation's flag, while the band played God Bless America.

When the band finished playing, the post commander stepped up to a waiting microphone and led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The honor guard ended their salute, the band director struck up Stars and Stripes Forever, and a lawn maintenance truck pulling a float of boy scouts began moving down Main Street. The boys on the float threw candy to the waiting crowd while the remainder of their troop marched behind them.

A group of Revolution War Re-enacters came next, marching in their woolen uniforms. They were followed by a horse-drawn wagon carrying a both a Union and Confederate soldier and a Confederate flag. To Alex and Walter's surprise, the wagon passed by without any comment. Following the wagon was an old Army jeep that had been lovingly restored.

A long line of antique vehicles followed the jeep, but rather than cars or trucks, they were tractors. The first bore a sign pointing out that it was steam-driven; the rest appeared to be conventional gas or diesel tractors, but old, well cared for, and very clean.

Pulled along by the last tractor was a float decorated with the logo for the Future Farmers of America.

A quartet of horseback riders followed the float. The horses seemed to enjoy showing off for the crowd, as high-stepped and pranced, their heads raised high. The riders were decked out in colorful red, white, and blue western gear. Each had a red cowboy hats, which they repeatedly took off their heads to wave at the crowd.

Next came a long line of emergency vehicles from Cedar Grove and the surrounding communities: fire trucks, ambulances, even a ladder truck. The vehicles lights flashed, their sirens sounded, and the lucky kids riding inside waved and threw candy to the crowd as they passed by.

A group of children on gaily decorated bicycles raced after the emergency vehicles, a few of the riders popping wheelies and showing off to their friends.

The parade concluded with a middle-aged man driving a lawn tractor. The tractor itself was nothing fancy, but he pulled a wagon train made of little red toy wagons, most of which were Radio Flyers. Each wagon carried something in its bed, stuffed animals holding American flags, flowers and flags, or in one memorable case, a large toy cow barn, milk truck, and flag.

Tasha, herself amused by the sight of Zoe laughing with delight at the wagon train, explained. "One of the local farmers' hobby is collecting little red wagons. Every year, he brings them to the parade, and every year his entry grows longer."

The band reached the end of The National Emblem, and the mayor of Cedar Grove stepped up to the microphone. He gave a short speech, commemorating the anniversary of our nation's independence and urging the crowd to give thanks to their forefathers and their vision of liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness. He paid tribute to the men and women in uniform who, he said, proudly serve our nation in peace and defend our freedoms in war. He concluded with the words "We salute you for your dedication to duty and service to country. Thank you."

The crowd erupted into cheers, the band struck up The Liberty Bell March, and the crowd began to dissipate.

When they got back to the house, Miss Lillie directed the men to get the grill going while she over-saw the reheating of her Brunswick Stew. Zoe went to help Janice prepare baked beans and make ice tea.

Eric arrived around two. He came into the back yard carrying a cooler. He was followed closely by his little girl, who was six, and slight, but already showed promise of the Mosely tallness. She stayed by Eric during the introductions, but lit up when she saw Tasha.

"Auntie Tasha!"

"Hey, Jasmine! Come on, help me, Marcus and Keisha."

Tasha patiently let them put tablecloths over the picnic tables, then set out plastic spoons and forks.

Bruce greeted Eric with a hug. "How's it going?"

"Good, real good."

"You brought my barbecue?"

Eric laughed. "Yeah, it's in the car. Some soda and beer, too."

Walter volunteered to help bring it around.

Eric and Walter brought the other cooler to the work table beside the grill, where Alex and Gerald were watching the charcoal briquettes burn down. Eric opened the cooler and took out a beer, offering one to the guys. Walter took one, Alex and Gerald opting for Coke.

Janice and Zoe brought the hamburgers out when the grill was ready. The men were gathered around one of the pecan trees, sitting in the shade. As they were placing the hamburgers on the grill, Miss Lillie came out, followed by a tall young man.

"Maurice," Janice announced.

"Janice," Maurice said, coming over to hug her. He shook hands with Gerald and Eric, then turned to Bruce. "So, you finally made it back home, huh, Bruce?"

Bruce reached out to shake his hand. "Yeah, finally," he said lightly. "And Janice already scolded me. I want you to meet some friends. This is Zoe Harris."

Maurice took Zoe's hand. "So we finally get to meet you," he said, looking at her appraisingly. "I sure hope we get to see a lot of you."

Bruce introduced Walter and Alex, then everyone sat down to chat until the food was ready.

"Hey, little sister," Maurice greeted Tasha.

Tasha stared at Maurice. "You're already drunk," she accused.

"It's the 4th, Tasha. Gimme a break. I don't get a hug?"

"I'll give you more than a break if you cause trouble today. Mama's been looking forward to this. Don't mess it up with your drunk ass."

"Damn, Tasha, why are you so hard on me?"

"Maurice, don't even start."

Everyone got busy preparing to eat, bringing out deviled eggs, a huge bowl of potato salad, baked beans, cole slaw, macaroni and of course, Miss Lillie's Brunswick Stew.

Miss Lillie waited until everyone was gathered around, then said a blessing, thanking God for the food, and for having friends and family there to share it. Then everyone dug in.

Alex, Walter, Bruce and Zoe sat a table with Janice and Gerald. The children were at a smaller table nearby. They had just started their meal when Marcus asked, "Mr. Krycek, did you lose your arm in the war like Uncle Bruce?"

Walter tensed immediately, and Janice said sharply, "Marcus Ezekiel Wilcox!"

"It's all right, Janice," Alex said quietly. He turned to Marcus. "No, I didn't lose it in a war. I was injured while traveling in the Russian wildnerness. By the time I got back to civilization and real doctors, my arm couldn't be saved."

Marcus looked as if he wanted to ask more, but with Janice and Gerald both glaring at him, he went back to his meal. Walter was relieved when everyone went on, making small talk and complimenting the food.

"Well, Bruce, you didn't exaggerate about the barbecue. It's delicious." Walter told him.

Bruce moaned. "I know. If I still lived anywhere near the place, I'd weigh five hundred pounds."

Everyone was stuffed and logy after the meal, sitting around the back yard enjoying the cool breeze that begun to blow. Maurice wandered back over, having eaten little, but drinking heavily. He sat down by Bruce and Zoe.

"So, Zoe, what do you do for a living, honey?"

Zoe explained she was a lawyer, and a partner in her firm.

"Well, you could represent me any time."

There was an awkward silence, then Gerald asked Walter if he enjoyed working for the FBI.

"There was a time when I enjoyed it more. But I still believe in justice, and I try to do my best to see that it's carried out. It's very demanding, and I'm trying to learn to not push myself, to relax."

"A lawyer and an FBI agent. You sure got some impressive friends, Bruce."

"Actually," Alex said, "Walter isn't an agent. He's an Assistant Director."

Maurice stared at him for a minute, then turned back to Bruce.

"Hey, brother, ain't no black folks where you live? No sisters at all?" He said, looking at Zoe.

Janice and Alex moved instinctively closer to Zoe.

"Janice," Bruce said calmly, "why don't you and Zoe go and help with the ice cream?"

"Yeah," Janice agreed, taking Zoe's arm.

Bruce turned back to Maurice. "Now, brother, let me tell you about something. You always talk about black pride. Where the hell is yours? What do you have to be proud of? The only job you ever kept for more than a couple of weeks was dealing."

"Wait a minute, Bruce! Just cause I can't get a break - -"

"Maurice, when have you ever tried to help yourself? You won't work, and expect everyone else to support you. You pile in here on Mama until she gets fed up and throws you out again."

"I'm not rich like you, Bruce. It don't come easy to me like it does to you."

"Nothing's ever come easy to me! I worked my ass off to get where I am. Now listen to me. You're hard to get along with normally. When you get drunk, you get mean. I'm through with you, Maurice. And don't you ever say a word about my friends. Don't even look at Zoe. I mean this, Maurice. Don't try me."

Maurice stared at Bruce for a minute, then grabbed another beer and went back across the yard to sit.

Eric passed Bruce a beer. "Here, Bruce, cool off. Nobody affects you the way he does." "Bruce," Walter said, "if having Alex and me here is a problem . . .

"It's not you, Walt. It's all Maurice."

"He's right," Eric said. "He's ten times worse when he's drunk. Sorry you guys had to see that."

Miss Lillie came out fanning herself. "My, it's hot out here. But the ice cream will be ready soon. Is anything wrong?"

"Everything's fine, Mama," Bruce told her. "Sit down for a while."

Gerald came over to get a Coke. "Eric, we need to re-seed the grass in the front yard again."

Bruce laughed. "I don't think it's going to grow there. All those years Mama dug it up whenever it spouted affected it."

"And having to rake the yard, and then sweep it," Eric added.

"What's this?" Walter asked curiously.

"I think it's a Southern thing," Bruce explained. "Mama and Grandma kept the yard dirt. So you could see snakes."

Walter nodded, understanding.

"A blade of grass wasn't safe in our yard. Mama would dig it up, then you had to rake, then sweep the yard. So it would be pretty."

"Like with a real broom?" Alex asked.

"No, honey," Miss Lillie answered. "You cut branches off gallberry bushes, about four or five, and pull the leaves off, then you bind them together. And," She said, turning to Bruce and Eric, "there was a good reason for keeping the yard clean. Snakes were bad around here. It's just like how people used to have the kitchen separate from the rest of the house. It was safer."

Eric rolled his eyes. "Yeah, until I was ten or eleven, you had to go outside, across a porch, to get to the kitchen. Everybody used to have wood burning stoves, and they figured if the kitchen caught fire, it would be easier to save the rest of the house."

"Wow," Alex said, "this is fascinating. I had no idea how different things are here compared to where I grew up."

"I'd heard of the kitchen thing, but not the thing about no grass in the yard," Walter said.

"Well," Miss Lillie said, "It's good to know stuff like that. You know, my mama and daddy didn't have an indoor bathroom, air conditioning, or a phone. And I know if I had to go back to that way of life, I could do it."

"Unlike us city boys," Bruce said teasingly.

"I'd definitely be lost," Alex said.

"I think you'd find a way," Walter said, looking lovingly at Alex. "You're a survivor."

Janice came to the door. "Gerald, Bruce, you guys come and take these ice cream churns outside while we get bowls and spoons. And Eric, go tell Tasha and Monique to bring the kids around."

When the kids came over, Janice gave them bowls of ice cream and sent them off to serve.

"Janice, you know those kids don't want to wait for their ice cream," Bruce told her.

"Bruce, this is how Mama taught us. Guests and adults get served first. It won't hurt them to learn some manners."

Soon, everyone had their ice cream.

"This is so good," Alex declared.

"Told you," Bruce said.

"The peach is good, too, Alex," Walter commented.

"I'll just have a little more chocolate."

"I need a nap," Gerald complained, patting his full stomach.

"Go ahead, baby. I'll wake you up before it's time to go see the fireworks," Janice said.

"Zoe and I are going to head back to the motel and shower and change clothes. We should have plenty of time before the fireworks start."

"We need to gather up some folding chairs and blankets to take to sit on," Miss Lillie said. "I'll go get the blankets. Eric, you'll get the chairs?"

"Yes, ma'am."

After Miss Lillie went in, Bruce asked if Maurice was going to the fireworks.

"Where is he?" Eric asked.

Tasha snorted, checking to see the kids were occupied before commenting, "His drunk ass is passed out on the couch. He'll be out for hours."

"You know," Eric told her, "you get along with him every bit as good as Bruce does."

"I can't help that, Eric. He doesn't make any effort."

"He's jealous because Tasha's making something of herself," Bruce said. "It makes him look bad. And she doesn't mind telling him when he messes up."

"Well," Zoe said, "it's getting late, sweetie. Let's get this yard cleaned up before we head to the motel. It won't take long with all of us working at it."

Walter and Alex spread their blanket between Bruce and Zoe and Janice and Gerald's. Tasha and Monique had the children with them, beside Miss Lillie's chair. The fireworks display was impressive, especially for a small town.

Alex watched the fireworks; Walter watched Alex. He loved how childlike Alex looked, mouth widening in awe at a particularly lovely display. Alex caught him looking once, but only squeezed his hand tighter. This, Walter reflected, was one of those moments you wanted to freeze. Surrounded by friends, next to the man he loved. After getting free of the nanocytes, and the threat of Spender, Walter had hoped for a quiet life, a life with which he could be content. This had gone far beyond anything he had imagined.

Everyone commented on how beautiful the fireworks were.

"Now I'm sorry we stopped coming," Janice said. "We just get so busy, we forget to take time for stuff like this."

Walter agreed. "I've been guilty of that. I'm trying to reform, though."

Zoe mentioned on how good Tasha and Monique were with the kids.

"Yes, they seem to have a way with them."

Zoe nodded. "Bruce, how long have they been together? They seem so comfortable with each other, like they're perfectly in sync."

Bruce, who had just taken a sip of water, began to cough violently. Alex pounded his back.

"Are you okay, sweetie?" Zoe asked, concerned.

"Are you - - she's . . ."

Janice burst out laughing. "Zoe, honey, Bruce didn't know. Last time he was here, she had a boyfriend. Mama doesn't know, either. Until now, only me, Eric and Gerald have known."

Zoe blushed with embarrassment. "I didn't realize."

"That's all right. I think Tasha figures if Mama gets to know Monique and like her, she'll take it better."

Bruce, recovering from the shock, chuckled. "I'll be damned. And they're sleeping in the same bed at Mama's. With her blessing. And we're stuck in a motel."

Back at Miss Lillie's, everyone ate leftovers and relaxed. Maurice had left with a friend, on his way to a party, right after they got back. Bruce didn't mind; he didn't want to have another run-in with him on this visit. Janice cornered him in the kitchen as he took his plate to the sink.

"So, when are you and Zoe getting married?" Janice asked.

"Damn, Janice!" Bruce exclaimed.

"Well," she replied, tilting her head in mock disapproval and putting her hands on her hips, "it's obvious you're going to ask her."

"Her birthday is in August. I'm going to ask her then. And I'm meeting her parents, too."

"Have you guys even talked about it?"

"Not really. I think we just assumed it would happen."

"Bruce. Get your ass in gear. Don't let her get away."

"I don't plan to, Janice."

"Look, I know it's serious. You've never brought anyone home before. And all those bimbos you used to date . . ."

"They were not all bimbos."

"How many did you see more than a couple of weeks?"

"That's beside the point."

"Okay, whatever. Just get this in motion."

"Yes, ma'am. You really like her, huh?"

"Yes, I do. And you're happier than I've ever seen you."

"I am. Life is good."

"Except for Maurice."

"He's never going to change, Janice. It pisses me off. He won't work, expects everyone else to support him . . . and he takes advantage of Mama."

"Bruce, he's her child, her baby. No matter what he does, it'll always come down to that."

"But if it was Marcus, or Keisha for that matter, would you feel the same? I can't believe you would."

"Who's to say? You'll see when you have kids. It's completely different from the other side."

They stayed late again, with Miss Lillie reluctant to let her oldest leave.

"Mama, we've got to head back tomorrow. That way we have Sunday to rest up before work on Monday."

"I know, baby. I miss you, though."

"Why don't you come and visit me soon? You and Tasha could come any time. Tasha's not afraid to make the drive up to Washington."

"I might do that," Miss Lillie said.

She hugged everyone, telling Walter and Alex they were welcome, with or without Bruce. Janice made Zoe promise to call her.

When they got back to their motel room, both Walter and Alex sank gratefully onto the bed, exhausted by the day's events. Walter thought back to Alex speaking of his family earlier.



"Would you mind talking about your family? We still don't know a lot about each other's backgrounds, you know."

"I don't mind. What do you want to know?"

"What were your parents names?"

"Svetochka and Grigori. Yours?"

"Rachel and Lucas. What's your full name?"

"Alexei Nikolai Krycek."

"Alexei. I like that."

"Where did Sergei come from?"

"My great grandfather on my dad's side."

"Your parents are both dead, I know. What about other family?"

"I have cousins, most of them in Iowa. In fact, one of them bought the family farm. My dad died right after I started with the FBI. I convinced my mom to sell the farm to one of my cousins and to move to town. My mom died a few years later. My dad was an only child, but my mom had three sisters and a brother. The last of the sisters died about six years ago. What about you? Your aunt's still alive?"

"I'm sure she is. I said before she changed her name, because it was too Russian. That's why she resented my parents, unlike her, they were proud of their Russian heritage and didn't want to give up all of the old ways. Aunt Katya wouldn't even allow Russian to be spoken in her house. I doubt her kids even know about their heritage."

"Did you get along with your cousins?"

"I never knew John Jr. very well. He was older. Susan was my age, a carbon copy of her mother. Nancy was nice. She was eight when I moved in, and we got along great. I was only there for a little over two years. I got out as soon as I could; Aunt Katya didn't complain."

"And you haven't tried to get in touch with them again?"


"Are you considering it?"

"I can't see what good it would do. I'll never have what Bruce does."

"Maybe not conventionally. But nothing about us seems to be very conventional."

Alex grinned.

"Alex, there's something we haven't talked about and we need to. Do you ever see yourself wanting children?"

Alex looked shocked and a little frightened. "I never - - it's - - would you?"

"I asked first," Walter said with a smile.

"Walter, I don't think so. I don't know anything about being a parent. If it's something you want, I'd be willing to try, though."

Walter sighed with relief. "I don't want children, either. I'm too old for all that. And I guess I'm a little selfish — I like having you all to myself.'

Alex gave Walter a radiant smile. "I'm selfish like that, too. So, tell me, what was it like, growing up on a farm?"

"It was a lot of hard work. But I had fun, too. We always had animals around. And I went fishing."

"Did you have kids to play with?"

"A few from neighboring farms. And cousins when they came for a visit. We were sort of isolated, though. When the crops came in, there were more kids to play with. Dad would sometimes hire migrant workers to help out, and they brought their kids with them. I had plenty of kids to play with then. We used to have the best baseball games. Me and all these Hispanic kids."

"They spoke English?"

"Very little."

"You spoke Spanish?"

"Not at all. Baseball's universal, I guess," Walter laughed.

"Did you have a dog when you were growing up, Walter? I bet you did."

"Several. My favorite was a hound dog, Buford."


"If you saw him, you'd know. He just looked like a Buford. Did you ever have pets?"

"No. I always wanted a dog, of course. I guess all kids do."

And you wouldn't have been so lonely, Walter thought to himself, silently grieving for the normal childhood Alex never had.

"Don't look like that, Walter."

"Like what?"

"'Poor Alex, he never had any fun.' It wasn't all bad. My mom told me Russian fairy tales, and she sang to me, and we played games. She did the best she could for me. My father . . . I could never figure him out. It was like he hated me. I used to wonder what I did to make him like that. By the time he died, I didn't give a shit. I hated him, too."

"I just . . . wish it could've been different for you, Alex."

"As unpleasant as my childhood was, what I would most want to change would be all the bad shit between us."

"Me, too. But, Alex, who's to say we would have ended up together if we hadn't gone through all that. Everything we've been through has shaped who we are now. And I love you as you are, Alex. I wouldn't change a thing."

"Me, either, Love. I just wish . . . that my life had been better spent."

Walter pulled Alex close. "You're life's not over. You're doing just fine now."

"You saved my life, Walter. You made me better. You made me I>want to be better."

"You never would've changed if you hadn't wanted to. You're too stubborn," Walter chuckled, snuggling up to Alex before they fell asleep.

They slept late on Saturday, and didn't get started on the drive home until after a leisurely late breakfast. The drive itself was uneventful. They switched drivers every three or four hours, but made fewer stops, as all four were anxious to get back.

Walter let them in the apartment and gratefully dropped his bag. Alex did the same.

"It's good to be home," Walter said.

"Yes," Alex agreed. "Let's have a shower and relax."

"Sounds good. You get the shower started, and I'll start a load of laundry and join you."

"Okay. And find us some shorts to wear. I don't feel like getting dressed again."

"And I don't want you to, but I'll find something."

Alex headed off to the shower laughing.

When Walter made it to the bathroom and opened the door, steam billowed out. He shook his head. He would never get used to Alex's extra-hot showers. Walter himself preferred lukewarm, almost cool showers. He undressed and climbed in with Alex.

"Wash my hair, Walter?"

"Don't you mean massage your scalp?"

Alex smirked.

Walter lathered Alex's hair, then massaged his scalp, moving his fingers in small circles. "Come on, Alex, purr for me," Walter teased.

Alex growled.

Walter playfully smacked his ass. "Bad kitty."

"Aw, Walter, don't tease. Do it some more."

"What?" Walter asked innocently. "This?" He smacked Alex again. "Or this?" He went back to Alex's hair.

"The massaging, for now."

Walter went on massaging until his fingers were numb. Alex stuck his head under the water and rinsed his hair.

"Turn around, Walter. Let me see if I can make you purr. Or growl."

Alex took the loofah and lathered it, then preceded to scrub Walter's back.

"Oh, God, Alex, that feels so good."

Alex continued to scrub, harder this time, and was rewarded with a groan.

"Well, it's not a purr or a growl, but I guess it'll do."

After Walter was clean and rinsed, Alex rubbed up against him. "That was nice, Walter."

"Mmm, this is nice," he said, pressing back against Alex.

"Well, time to get out," Alex announced.

Walter was a bit startled, but got out to dry Alex. Afterwards, Alex slipped on his oldest jogging shorts, and Walter put on his threadbare cut-offs, Alex's favorites.

"I'm hungry," Alex said. "Want some ice cream?"

"Okay. You get it, and I'll put the laundry in the dryer."

Alex went downstairs and grabbed the ice cream, chocolate for himself and butter pecan for Walter. He got a spoon and headed back to the living room.

"Open these, Walter?" Alex asked when Walter came downstairs.

"Sure. Where's my spoon?"

"This is your spoon. Be patient."

Alex sat on the couch beside Walter, and dug the spoon into the butter pecan. "Open up."

Walter smiled and obediently opened his mouth and let Alex feed him the ice cream. "Umm. That's good."

"Let me see," Alex said mischievously, bringing his mouth to Walter's. "That is good." He took a bite of chocolate. "This is good, too."

"Let me have a taste."

"Don't you have your own?"


Alex leaned over and let Walter explore his mouth.


Alex scooped up more chocolate from around the edge where it was melting . He raised the spoon to Walter's mouth, then tilted it, letting the ice cream fall on Walter's bare chest.


"Oops, my ass. You did that on purpose, Alex."

"Walter, I would not do that," he pouted. He leaned over to lap at the ice cream running down Walter's chest. He looked up at Walter through his eyelashes. "Now this is delicious." Alex kept licking, with delicate, cat-like licks, until he'd cleaned Walter's chest. He flicked his tongue at a nipple on the way back up, causing Walter to writhe and almost upset the ice cream.

Walter set the ice cream on the end table. Alex looked at Walter, a frown on his face.

"I wasn't through feeding you."

Walter turned to push Alex gently down onto the couch.

"It's my turn to feed you. That's only fair. And I believe in being fair, Alex."

"Okay. But I was hoping you would feed me another kind of cream."

"Jesus, Alex!" Walter said, cock hardening at the words, spoken in Alex's sexy voice. "Do you see what you're doing to me?"

Alex wiggled his hips. "Same here, Lover."

Walter reached back to grab the rapidly melting chocolate ice cream. He stirred it, then dribbled it liberally on Alex's smooth chest and stomach.

"Walter, that's still cold."

"Don't worry. You'll warm up."

"It's going to drip on the couch."

"The couch has survived worse."

Walter went to work licking up the liquefying ice cream. After he got all of it off, he turned his attention to Alex's nipples, while stroking the hard cock through the tight shorts. Alex moaned and thrust against Walter's hand.

After a few minutes of this, Alex moaned, "Uhh, Walter, I'm going to come if you keep doing that."

Walter released him, only to free Alex's cock and take it in his mouth, sucking hard. Alex wailed Walter's name as he shot down his lover's throat. Walter swallowed it all, then grinned at Alex, who was still panting.

"Now that was better than ice cream."

Alex lay there recovering for a few minutes, then he got on his knees and unzipped Walter's wonderfully tight shorts. Alex delicately licked at his lover's cock while rolling the heavy balls in his hand, before reaching back to tease Walter's asshole. Walter, panting now, tried to thrust, but Alex eluded him.

"Alex, you're being a tease."

Alex gave him a "Who, me?" look. "I'm hurt you would think that. I'm not teasing."

"Yes, you are. It's cruel."

"Am I being bad, Walter?" Alex asked in his sexy bedroom voice.

"Very bad."

"So what are you going to do about it?"

Walter's half-closed eyes snapped open. "Alex. Are you trying to get me to spank you? All you have to do is ask."

Alex looked in his lover's eyes. "Well, it's just . . . when you did it before, that was so hot, Walter. So intense. I want you to spank me again, then fuck me over the arm of the couch."

Walter groaned at that vision. He sat up.

"Come here, then. Over my knees, Alexei."

Alex's eyes darkened.

"And take your shorts all the way off. I want you naked."

Alex scrambled to get his shorts off, then draped himself over Walter's lap. Walter ran his hands over Alex's ass.

"So sexy. It's going to look even sexier all red and bent over the end of the couch."

Alex squirmed against Walter's thighs. "Please, Walter," he begged.

Walter started to spank Alex slowly, alternating sides with each smack. He increased his impact and rhythm until Alex gasped. Walter stopped to soothe the red buttocks, then continued the spanking, talking to Alex now.

"My bad boy. My bad, sexy boy."

Alex whimpered at Walter's words, his sexual arousal spiking as his body continued to produce endorphins. Alex gasped, "Walter, spank me harder."

Walter thwacked Alex's ass relentlessly, stopping only when his own hand began to sting unbearably.

"Alex, I can't take much more. Let me fuck you."

Alex moaned a yes in response. Walter got the lube and quickly opened Alex up. Alex jumped up to throw himself over the arm of the couch while Walter got a condom.

"Hard, Walter, the way I like it?"

"Yes, hard. Oh, Alexei. You have no idea how sexy you look like that."

Walter lined his throbbing cock up with Alex's anus, pausing a few seconds, then slammed in all the way. Alex shrieked and arched his back.

"Oh, shit, yes! Just like that, Walter!"

Walter fucked Alex hard and fast. He moaned along with Alex as they moved rapidly to a climax.

"Oh, Walter, that's so good, so - - " Alex sobbed, breaking off into Russian as he shot forcefully onto the buttery leather beneath him.

Walter thrust a few more times before he came, Alex's name on his lips. He rested for a minute against Alex, then disposed of the condom. He stroked Alex's sweaty back.

"You okay, Alex?"

"Oh, yeah," Alex said.

Walter helped him up, then used Alex's discarded shorts to clean the couch.

"See, ice cream's nothing," Walter teased as he lay down and pulled his exhausted lover into his arms.

Alex fell asleep almost immediately. Walter thought about waking him up so they could go up to bed, but instead lay there thinking of their trip, and how much Alex had opened up to him. He'd meant what he said to Alex. Their little family might not be conventional, but they were family nonetheless. Walter drifted off to sleep, thinking he was truly lucky.



Go to the sequel Labor Day: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner



Title: Independence Day: Family Ties
Author: Maddie and Haven.
maddiec24@mchsi.com and haven@cruelhaven.org
Websites: Maddie's Fanfiction and Haven's Slash Archive
Feedback: Yes, please!
Pairing: Sk/K
Warnings: This story contains a m/m sexual relationship and erotic spanking.
Rating: NC17
Spoilers: Assume everything through S.R. 819.
Archive: Full House, RatB, DitB, WWOMB
Disclaimer: All X-Files characters belong to Chris Carter and 1013 Productions. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made. Jack Rivers, Bruce Mosely, etc., belong to Maddie.
Summary: Walter and Alex go along for a visit to Bruce's hometown.
Notes: Maddie: This takes place after the Memorial Day story. No spoilers for the last part, other than Walter and Alex still being together, but you guys knew that, right? And there's a scene that's a tribute to Lorelei, in honor of one of my favorite stories of hers.
First Published: July 4, 2003

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If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Maddie and Haven.