Welcome To The Harem

A Thousand Kisses Deep by David Hearne
Summary: Post-col. Part of the Leonard Cohen collection of stories.

Deslea's rec: "David has this very understated way of putting things. He doesn't belabour the point. Yet somehow it seeps through just the same. This small moment in the post-col life of an adult Gibson and the rest of the XF scoobies is downright subdued, and all the more poignant for it. Lovely, moving work."





SPOILERS: Mythology in general.

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Leonard Cohen seems to be the inner voice of "The X-Files." When I
heard "In My Secret Life," I thought, "What a perfect MSR song." I
knew that I would write a fic based on the song, even though it ended
up being about William.

"In My Secret Life" comes off Cohen's latest album. I've been
listening to the other songs and feeling inspired by them as well. I
decided to write a series of stories based on this album. Each fic can
be read independently as well as in the order in which they were
written. All of them are set in the post-colonization world.

Cohen's lyrics are quoted at the end.


Gibson Praise had never fantasized about older women when he was a
teenager. In fact, he had refrained from any kind of erotic dream. He
had been too busy with pushing away the sexual thoughts he spied in
other minds. By the time he reached ten years old, the sad and
desperate feelings held by so many people had wearied him of pleasures
he had never experienced. He found the logic of chess more appealing.

He had kept his own sexual desires in check for a long time. However,
he would eventually succumb to those needs. He was human, after all.

Partly, anyway.

He would lose his virginity to a woman he met on the American-Mexican
border. Sex came with no illusions. She did feel affection for Gibson,
but thoughts of another person filled her mind as she took his penis
inside her. Gibson looked behind her sweaty face and saw a stump where
an arm used to exist. He discovered a man who could be sad and
ruthless at the same time; a romance where betrayal and love
co-existed; a passion which Gibson could not equal.

He didn't mind. This twenty-four-year-old man knew that the older
woman wasn't looking for passion in him. She was looking for safety.

Everybody who lived in the fort with them also needed safety. This
motivation had brought white people out of Beverly Hills and into
sheds with dark-skinned migrants. This was why chunks of metal had
been buried around the fort. Security also required a young man who
could rummage through unspoken words.

Then there was the need for leadership. As Gibson looked through a
slit in the fort's scrap-metal walls, he thought about his own

"Evening," his lover said as she walked up to his back and tucked her
arms over his chest.

"Another day over," he replied, indicating the low red sun visible
through the slit.

Marita Covarrubias pressed her chin against his shoulder. "They're
fighting," she whispered.

Gibson nodded.

"She really believes that her son is out there."

"Any reason why she shouldn't?"

"We have rumors instead of information. And those stories sound like
wishful thinking."

"So people are just making up things to comfort themselves?"

"If others want to believe in The Wandering Child, let them. We need a
more realistic leader."

Gibson stayed quiet for a few seconds, then said, "Imagine how the
people here would have responded if you had told them ten years ago
that this was where they would be living."

"I see your point," Marita admitted. "But even in a world of extreme
possibilities, it's better to expect the worst than hope for a

"If The Wandering Child is William, then I'm not sure if he *is* a

"That's what I mean. Expect the worst. Right now we should be
anticipating Scully's departure. If that happens, then Mulder won't be
able to continue his duties."

"Still planning coups, I see."

Marita clenched her hands and scratched Gibson's chest.


"Someone has to think these things," Marita sighed. "And someone may
have to take charge."

"Then go ahead."

"Read my mind, Gibson. On second thought, you don't have to. You know
who I'm talking about."

Gibson laughed and shook his head. "Be serious."

"People trust you. They look up to you."

"I'm a guard dog. Nothing more."

"You're a man who spent his childhood witnessing the dawn of
colonization. You have been touched by the gods about to walk the
earth. That makes you important in the eyes of this community."

Gibson lowered his head. The crimson sunlight bounced off his glasses
and formed two small circles on the ground. He raised his head when
he heard a baby cry. The sound came from one of the sheds gathered in
the fort's ramshackle perimeter.

"The future speaks," he commented.

"That remains to be seen. A baby born of a Caucasian and a Waicha may
not have the genetic resistance against..."

"Luis and Betty are in love. That's why they had a baby."

"I'm not talking about love, Gibson..."

"No, you're talking about selected breeding. Waichas with Waichas
only. Your idea, remember?"

Marita tightened her embrace for a moment, then lowered her hands to a
light touch on Gibson's hips. "I merely stated a fact. Luis and Betty
can brood a whole kindergarten for all I care. They just shouldn't
expect their children to be alive next month."

She turned and began to walk away from Gibson. He took ahold of her
wrist -- hard enough to stop her, but light enough not to be

"I know what you're saying," he told her. "But you should know what
you sound like."

"Like a blonde bitch, you mean," she responded, not looking at Gibson.

"Well, a graying bitch, maybe."

Marita turned her face toward Gibson. Wrinkles had crept into spots
around her eyes and mouth, but she was still beautiful. Gibson felt
relief as she smiled.

"What's the date?" she asked.

"December 14, 2012."

"Then why are we arguing about anything? Let's go to bed."

Gibson smiled back at her. They held hands and walked toward a shed
near the fort's center. Other people were cleaning guns, tending to
the gardens, submitting to the weekly blood test. When Gibson heard
his name called out in greeting, he would reply with a few friendly
words. After this happened five times, he whispered to Marita --

"I'll think about what you said. But let's see what Mulder and Scully
do first. We owe that to them."

Marita nodded. She would say nothing more about the subject or
anything else for the night.

The baby stopped crying.


"I made it to the forward deck
"I blessed our remnant fleet --
"And then consented to be wrecked,
"A Thousand Kisses Deep."