Falling Into His Eyes
Author: KinkyGrrl Diane (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Keywords: Krycek POV, M/K, slash, h/c
Feedback: Always welcome!
Spoilers: Nothing specific except the Krycek eps in Season Two
Archive: Ask, please.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Chris Carter and Them, yadda yadda. No copyright infringement intended, I write for love and feedback, not money.
Summary: Krycek finds Mulder after he has been tortured and raped by a bunch of hired thugs. He takes Mulder off to a motel to question him, but finds himself having unexpectedly conflicted feelings during the process.
Dedication: To Satina, who told me exactly how she wanted this story to go. Hope I got it right! Many special thanks to my very talented and enthusiastic beta-er, RatAdder.
Mulder’s hands strained uselessly against the knotted ropes. Even in the dim light Krycek could see the livid stripes criss-crossing the man's back and shoulders, the purplish five fingered bruising on hips and buttocks, the trail of dried blood from butt cheeks to mid thigh. A bulky blindfold had been wrapped around Mulder’s head.
Jesus. Mulder. He stepped closer and Mulder froze.
"Who’s there?" Mulder’s voice was cracked and raw. His head tilted back, blindly turning from side to side, trying to identify the source of the noise.
Krycek moved in closer, until his mouth was barely inches from Mulder’s ear. "Mulder. It’s…Krycek."
Mulder’s body went rigid. "No. God." He began to tremble violently. His head fell forward against the stone wall. "Fuck. I should have guessed. I should have known it would be only a matter of time before you showed up to have your turn at me. What’s the matter, you too low in the food chain to get it while it’s fresh?"
Krycek chuckled. "And here I was worried that they’d broken your spirit." Gotta make this quick. Don’t know how long I have before reinforcements arrive, and I’d hate to have to leave behind anyone who could identify me. No time to dance around with Mulder, trying to convince him of my good intentions. He never believes me anyway. Krycek grinned. I’ll have plenty of time to convince him later. Besides, he deserves to sweat a little for beating the shit out of me so many times. Payback’s a bitch. The thought sent a tingle of pleasure shooting through his groin.
Drawing a knife from his boot, he severed the rope that bound Mulder’s right wrist, just below the highest point, leaving about two feet of rope dangling. Mulder gave a quiet gasp of pain as Krycek pulled his arm behind his back.
Wonder how long he’s been here? Those shoulder joints will be sore. He carefully eased his weight into Mulder’s back, pinning him against the wall and stretched up to slash the other rope. Mulder struggled to keep his left arm from being pulled behind his back, but even without the leverage disadvantage he was too weak to keep Krycek from capturing his other wrist.
"So this is what it feels like to be on the giving end of these little encounters of ours," he murmured into the back of Mulder’s neck, knowing the other man could feel the hard outline of Krycek’s erection pressing into his buttocks. "I’m beginning to understand the attraction."
There was no response from Mulder.
"No smartass comeback, Mulder? I’m disappointed." He secured Mulder’s wrists with a couple of expert twists and finished with a loose tie, and then slashed his legs free.
Mulder’s body gave a convulsive twitch. It wasn’t like him, Krycek realized, to be so quiet.
Another small convulsion and Mulder slid to his knees, doubled over, bound fists clenched behind his back. Oh, hell, Mulder was crying. Krycek, you asshole. This is not a good time to be fucking with the man’s mind.
After so many years on the run, barely a step ahead of one messy death or another it was hard to remember what it had been like in the beginning. Before he’d become intimately familiar with what it felt like to be pistol whipped. Or raped. It had been so long since anything had been able to make him cry.
"Mulder?" He made his voice gentle. "I’m going to take you out of here now."
"F…fuck you. Just take whatever you c…came for and get the hell out."
"That’s what I’m doing, Mulder. C’mon. I’ll get you something to wear on the way out." He hauled Mulder to his feet, as carefully as he could, and removed the blindfold, tucking the wide strip of cloth into a side pocket.
"Where are you taking me?" Mulder was shivering uncontrollably. "Are they making me do house calls now?"
Krycek took off his jacket and wrapped it around the rigid shoulders. "Just start walking, Mulder."
"How…how can you do this, Krycek?" Mulder whispered. "How can you live with yourself?"
"The sleep of the wicked is untroubled," Krycek quoted with a wry smile. "Old Russian proverb. Get moving, Agent Mulder." He put his hand on the small of Mulder’s back and gave him a gentle push. Mulder stumbled forward.
They threaded their way through the silent halls, stepping over bodies and avoiding pools of coagulating blood. With the discovery of each corpse, the confusion in Mulder’s eyes grew. Krycek halted him by the door and proceeded to strip the last corpse, a clean head shot, of fatigues, underwear and boots..
"Lean against the wall," he ordered. "Facing me," he added as panic flared in Mulder’s eyes. With careful efficiency he wrestled boxers and fatigue pants up over Mulder’s legs and hips, zipped him up, then slipped his feet into the boots. They were too big, but he wasn’t about to waste time searching for something else.
"Where are you taking me, Krycek?"
Good question. Where am I taking him? "Someplace cozier than this. I’ve got a few questions for you."
"God…Krycek…" Mulder’s face dissolved into desperation. "I wasn’t lying. God. If I knew anything I’d have told them a long time ago."
This was definitely sounding like something he needed to know about. What the hell had they been after? "We’ll just go over it one more time, then. Later." He could decide on a destination once they were away from here. No rush. "Let’s get out of here."
Krycek didn’t breathe easily until he had Mulder safely packed into his car and they had made it out of the neighborhood. Better swap out my plates in the morning, just in case. He pulled down a side street, through a parking lot and around the back of a gas station, and waited. Nobody seemed to be following.
What the hell could they have wanted with Mulder? Was it just because Mulder was FBI? Or something specific to one of his cases? Whatever it was, they apparently wanted it badly and for some reason they were convinced that Mulder knew more than he admitted to. They were either incompetent or stupid, or badly misinformed.
This was beginning to smell bad. He’d assumed they were just zero level punks who wouldn’t be missed by anyone but their mothers, but their possession of an FBI agent indicated that there were more than likely bigger fish upstream who would be investigating their deaths. Krycek cursed quietly under his breath. If only he’d known…
Oh, well. Spilled milk under the bridge. "How are you doing, Mulder?"
"Glad to hear it."
"I’ll bet you are. Leave me alone, Krycek."
"For a little while. Just relax and enjoy the ride."
Mulder fell silent, huddled in the leather covered seat, his face turned towards the window.
He’d better not be thinking about doing something stupid. Krycek popped the door locks all down. Mulder gave no sign that he’d even noticed.
Cars passed in brilliant surges of light. Rain began to pound the windshield. Krycek turned on the wipers. "Wanna listen to the radio, Mulder? It’ll take your mind off things." Without waiting for an answer, he cranked the dial. The tinny strains of Manhattan Steamroller filled the car, rendered almost unrecognizable by station distortion.
"That is one really shitty radio, Krycek." Mulder’s voice was muffled.
"It’s not the radio, it’s the station. Change it if you don’t like it."
"Funny. Did I ever tell you I think your sense of humor sucks?"
"Why, no. I think you’ve insulted just about everything else, but that’s a new one."
Once Krycek had satisfied himself that he wasn’t being followed, he got on the nearest highway and drove until the city lights had begun to dim. He took the next exit, and quickly found a Motel 6 with a vacancy. He left Mulder in the car with the doors locked. It was no guarantee that he couldn’t get the door open if he was determined enough, but he was counting on Mulder’s injuries and bound hands to keep him busy until Krycek got back.
He paid cash for the room. First floor, so Mulder wouldn’t have to climb the stairs. When the hell did I turn into Nurse Nightingale? When he got back Mulder had struggled to his knees in the seat and was trying to reach the door lock with his back to the door.
Unfortunately for him, Krycek had removed the lock cover, so there was nothing to grasp but the bare thread. He slid the key into the lock silently, then yanked the door open so suddenly that Mulder lost his balance.
Krycek blocked Mulder’s fall with his body. "Now, now…you can’t leave yet, Mulder. The night’s still young. We haven’t even had our talk yet." Wrapping his arm under Mulder’s armpit and across his chest, he hauled the man to his feet.
"Just walk, Mulder. Maybe if you’re good I’ll order us some pizza."
"You’re all heart, Krycek. I bet you like yours with lots of cheese."
"As a matter of fact, I do. Behave yourself, or I’ll order anchovies on your half." With a firm hand on Mulder’s arm, he steered them both to a faded red door, indistinguishable from all the others on either side. He unlocked the door, nudged it open with his boot and pushed Mulder inside before turning on the light and slipping in after him.
The room smelled of disinfectant and smoke. Non-smoking, my ass. Twin beds. Headboards. Nothing to fasten Mulder to even if he had handcuffs or more rope. Damn. Oh, well. He could improvise. "Lie on the bed. Face down."
"You son of a bitch," Mulder whispered brokenly. He backed into a wall and braced himself as Krycek closed with him, lashing out with a kick that connected solidly with Krycek’s shin.
"Shit." Krycek grabbed his sleeve and spun him into the bed, shoving him face down and straddling his hips. Mulder gasped in pain and struggled to throw Krycek off. Tactical error, Krycek thought as sparks shot through his groin. The delicious feel of Mulder bucking between his legs made him dizzy. What is it about Mulder that turns me into such a twisted bastard?
"Don’t," Mulder gasped. "God. Don’t do this, Krycek."
"Easy. Easy, Mulder. Settle down. You just caught me a little off guard. You shouldn’t have kicked me."
"I’m sorry. I won’t do it again." Tears trickled from Mulder’s eyes. "Don’t…don’t…"
He’s in shock. Probably isn’t aware of most of what he’s doing or saying. "No. You won’t. I was going to ease up on you but obviously I can’t trust you to behave." He flipped around, grabbed the muddy ropes that still trailed from Mulder’s ankles and quickly knotted them together. Then he rolled off the bed and stalked off to the bathroom to take a piss and give Mulder a moment to calm down.
By the time he returned, his captive had managed to roll off the bed onto his bound arms, and was lying on his side, eyes squeezed shut against the pain.
"This is all so unnecessary, Mulder. Have I hurt you? Have I done anything bad to you yet?"
"Not yet. You just like building up the anticipation. And, yes…my arms hurt. A lot."
"That’s why I’m going to put you on your stomach," Krycek said patiently. "You’re hurt. You’re exhausted. You don’t trust me. That’s okay, I don’t expect you to. We don’t have that kind of history." He hauled Mulder back up onto the bed, careful to avoid the worst of Mulder’s visible injuries. "Okay, Mulder, I’m just going to ask you a couple of questions and you’re going to answer them and then we’ll be done. What did they want you to tell them?"
"I told you. I don't know." Mulder’s eyes filled with the hopeless anticipation of what was coming, and his body tensed. "I told them everything I knew."
"Fuck, Mulder. What questions were they asking you?"
"What do you mean?"
"I got there late. What did I miss? Give me the play-by-play." Krycek regretted his choice of words as rage flared in Mulder’s eyes and his jaw clamped stubbornly shut. "C’mon, Mulder. It can’t come as any surprise to you that I’m not with those guys."
"It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that you had killed your flunkies after they’d served their purpose."
"Jesus, Mulder, doesn’t it even embarrass you to talk like a Saturday morning cartoon? If I could afford flunkies I sure as hell wouldn’t be running around doing the wetwork myself."
Mulder considered this for a moment. "So, how did you know where I was?"
Krycek briefly considered inventing an anonymous tip, just to send Mulder off on another wild flurry of speculations, and make him feel more obligated to Krycek for the rescue.
C’mon, Krycek. You always lie to him. It’s getting boring. Try something different this time. It’ll really fuck with his mind if you tell him the truth. Not that he’s any more likely to believe it than a lie. "I didn’t. Not until I saw your badge on the table. Your playmates had something that belonged to me and I just came by to fetch it back."
"Something that belonged to you, or to the Consortium?"
"If I told you that, Mulder, I’d have to kill you," Krycek drawled. "C’mon. Spill. I just want to know what they were after. Be a pal and tell me. You don’t want me to lie awake at night wondering, do you?"
"I don’t care what you lie awake doing, Krycek."
Damn, but Mulder was tougher than he would have expected. Reluctant admiration mixed with guilt as he stripped his jacket off Mulder’s torso, leaving the scored and bruised back exposed to the waist. It was an old trick. Give the target comfort and then take it back.
"Don’t do this, Mulder," he murmured, bending down closer to Mulder’s ear. "You’ve had enough shit done to you tonight and believe it or not I don’t really want to add to it. Just tell me what they were looking for."
"Go to hell, Krycek," Mulder whispered hoarsely.
Krycek crossed his arms and stared down at the half-naked agent with exasperation. It wouldn’t take much to break Mulder’s resistance. He was obviously a man on the edge. Krycek could see it in the exhausted, red-rimmed eyes that could no longer meet his. Could see it in the shivering spasms that were beginning to creep back over Mulder’s body.
It wouldn’t take much. He could probably do it with his bare hands. One gloved finger shoved up Mulder’s ass would have him screaming. Another interrogator’s trick, forcing the target to relive an old trauma. Except that this one was still fresh, and Mulder would probably do anything Krycek told him to make it stop.
Hell, judging from the look that Mulder was giving him he wouldn’t even have to go that far.
Fuck this shit. It just wasn’t worth it. Not for something this trivial. Maybe not for anything. Let Mulder win at least one round tonight. Stubborn little bastard, Krycek thought almost fondly as he dismounted from Mulder’s body, settling himself on the bed next to the nightstand. "Okay, Mulder. Question and answer is over."
Mulder went rigid, his face twisting down into the pillow, his breath coming in small, terrified gulps.
"Mulder," Krycek said soothingly, "Easy. You win. I’m sending you home."
There was no response, but after a moment Mulder’s trembling began to ease, and the quick, gasping rhythm of his breathing deepened.
That’s right, Mulder. Relax. We’re done. Krycek picked up the phone and dialed a number.
A sleepy voice answered after the fourth ring. "Scully."
Somehow I just know I’m going to regret this. "Agent Scully, you’re going to want to speak with your partner."
He shoved the phone closer to the bed and leaned over to press the handset to Mulder’s ear.
"Scully?" An incredulous look spread across his features. "I’m…I ran into a little trouble. Yeah. No. I’m at…" his lips froze mid syllable, dawning suspicion and horror in his eyes as he stared at Krycek. "Scully, call the police! Tell them to come to…"
Krycek snatched the phone away, jamming it into the mattress. "Shut up, Mulder," he ordered silkily, "or you won’t like what’s going to happen."
"There’s no reason for you to hurt her, Krycek. Just leave her out of this. I’ll do whatever you want."
"Tempting, but I just don’t have time right now. Look…do us both a favor and cool your jets, Mulder. I’m just calling your partner to pick you up." He raised the phone to his ear, wincing as Scully’s voice drilled into his eardrum.
"Mulder! Are you there?! Mulder..!""
"Keep it down. He’s fine. Pick him up at the Motel 6 off exit 15B from highway 214. Room 149."
"Who is this?"
"Doesn’t matter. Someone who doesn’t want the police involved. Believe me, he won’t want them either." With any luck he could browbeat Mulder into keeping his name out of the whole incident. "I’ll be monitoring the police bands. Don’t fuck with me. I don’t want any more trouble than I’ve got. Understand?"
"I recognize your voice."
"Is that a fact?" Fuck. She’s bluffing.
There was a moment of silence. "Krycek. If you hurt him there is no hole deep enough for you to hide in. Do you hear?"
Sonofafuckingbitch… "Just come and pick him up, Scully. It wasn’t me, this time. Believe it or not, I’m just playing boy scout. Not that I expected a little gratitude, or anything."
"Let me speak to him. Let me talk to Mulder."
Krycek sighed. "Okay. Fine." He transferred the phone back to Mulder’s ear.
"Scully? Yeah. It’s him. No. I…I don’t know. Don’t do it Scully. Listen to me. He’s going to kill me…"
Krycek snatched the phone back. "You are such a paranoid little prick, Mulder," he said loudly enough for both of them to hear. "If I wanted you dead I’d just have left you in that warehouse."
"I’m not stupid, Krycek," Mulder said wearily. "I know it was you who killed all those men. You can’t afford to let me live."
"Yeah, yeah, I already had that argument with myself. You owe me, Mulder. I could have just walked away and left you. Even if the place hadn’t filled up with replacement goons to start in with you again it would have been days before you were found. You owe me. Give me your word that you won’t finger me for anything I’ve done tonight and I’ll let you walk."
He watched Mulder struggle with his conscience. "You’d take my word on something like this?" Mulder asked.
"Sure. I’m the lying rat bastard with no ethics or morality, not you." Just say yes, Mulder. Please. I’m so tired of this shit.
"Okay," Mulder said, finally. "You have my word. Damn you, Krycek."
He lifted the receiver to his ear. "You catch all that, Scully?"
"I think so, Krycek. You were in the process of committing a multiple homicide tonight, when you happened across Mulder, who was imprisoned at the facility?"
"Yeah, that about sums it up. I’m going to need your word, too, Scully."
"Isn’t that too bad. I don’t owe you anything, Krycek."
He cursed under his breath. "He can be gone before anyone gets here. Believe me, you’ll want to get him medical attention as soon as possible."
"That will add the kidnapping of a federal agent to your list of official crimes. By the way, I am taping this conversation. I don’t think there will be any difficulty with getting a voiceprint match against bureau records, do you?"
Fuck. Fuck. "Okay, fine. You’ve got me by the balls. What do you want, Scully?"
There was a moment of silence. "A confession. For the murder of my sister."
Fuck. "I didn’t kill your sister, Scully."
"Cardinal said you did."
"He was a fucking liar. I was there, sure, but I didn’t pull the trigger. It was an accident, anyway," he muttered.
Scully absorbed this with another long moment of considered silence. "Accessory to murder, then. A signed confession."
"Whatever. Fine." It wasn’t like he was going to stick around to be arrested. "I’ll have it here, for you."
"You’d better. Put Mulder back on."
What am I, a fucking switchboard? He pressed the phone to Mulder’s ear, watched as Mulder listened in silence to whatever Dana Scully was telling him. Raised his eyes to Krycek’s, a long look of deliberate consideration. Decision. "Yes," he said simply. His head fell back onto the bed. "You can hang up, now."
Krycek moved the phone back to its original location.
"She’ll be here in about an hour."
"Yeah. Sounds about right."
"Don’t suppose you have any aspirin on you?"
"Never leave home without ‘em." Krycek fished a bottle out of his coat pocket and peered at the label. "Acetaminophen. That work for you?" Taking Mulder’s silence for assent, he tapped two tablets out onto his hand, then added another and placed them on the tiny side table beside the phone. "Don’t suppose it’ll hurt to take these off, now. You’re not going to give me any trouble, are you Mulder?" Not bothering to wait for a reply, he untied the ropes that bound Mulder’s hands and legs, then rose and went into the bathroom, returning with a glass of water. "Here."
He waited as Mulder sat up, slowly, painfully, taking up the pills and accepting the glass from Krycek’s hand. He swallowed them and just sat, hunched on the edge of the bed, head bowed.
"You look like shit, Mulder."
Damn. He really does look like shit. Krycek removed the empty glass from his hand and knelt down to pluck at the laces of the oversized boots Mulder was wearing.
"What’re you…" Mulder’s voice was dazed. "Don’t touch me, Krycek."
Krycek removed the boots, ignoring Mulder’s attempts to evade his hands. "Didn’t your mother teach you not to wear your boots in bed, Mulder?" He rose and leaned over the bed to pull the covers back. His arm brushed against Mulder and the accidental contact sent a pleasurable shiver through his body. He drew back, noting the way Mulder’s shoulders tensed and he recoiled from the touch.
"Come on, Mulder. I know you don’t trust me for shit, but trust my common sense, at least. Would I be stupid enough to fuck with you now? Scully’s on the way and she’d have my balls for breakfast."
A faint smile ghosted across Mulder’s face. His rigid posture relaxed somewhat and he allowed Krycek to ease him into bed. He lay still for a long time, his eyes staring off into space. Then he sat up.
"What’s the matter?"
"I have to…I can’t stand this…feeling. I keep remembering their hands on me." Mulder curled up, clutching the sheet to his chest. "I can still smell them, Krycek. On me. I can’t stand it." He turned his face aside, trying to hide the tears that glistened on his cheeks. "You probably think that’s fucking pathetic, don’t you, Krycek?" he said thickly.
Something in his voice pierced Krycek’s heart. "No. Believe me, Mulder. I know what it…feels like. I’ve been there." He eased himself down onto the bed, taking care not to touch Mulder physically.
"You?" Mulder sounded incredulous. "You’ve been…" he trailed off, as if he couldn’t bear to even say the word.
"Raped? Yeah. What did you think, Mulder, that being an ex-assassin on the run is all fast cars and babes in bikinis?" He gave a short, bitter laugh, and then he continued, more gently, "It’s an ugly life, Mulder. And yeah, I know, you don’t have to say it. It was my choice, always my choice. That doesn’t always make it easier. Sometimes shit happens, and you just have to pick yourself back up and wash off the blood and the cum and try to pretend it doesn’t matter. If you can."
"What if you can’t?" Mulder’s face was chalky white. The look in his eyes was haunted. "I…I’m not you, Krycek. I’m not…that strong."
"Don’t sell yourself short, Mulder. Things will look better in the morning. And after…" what the hell was it that Nathaniel had done for him, that first night, after he’d yanked the gun barrel out of his mouth "…a shower. You need a shower. C’mon, Mulder. Best thing for you."
"Don’t, Krycek," Mulder whimpered as he was dragged into the bathroom. "Don’t take my clothes." He curled up in a fetal ball on the floor. "Don’t."
"S’okay, Mulder." Krycek knelt beside him, careful not to touch. "Listen to me. I told you. I know what it feels like. And I know what you need to do. You have to wash it off of you. Their hands, the way they smelled, their sweat. Their fucking cum. You don’t want it on you, do you Mulder?" he coaxed. "You don’t like the way it feels."
Mulder’s body uncurled enough to look up at Krycek. "No. You know I don’t. G…Goddammit, Krycek." A tear trickled down his cheek. "Fuck them. Fuck them."
"I know, Mulder. Sorry I killed them so quickly. If I’d known…" Krycek whispered. He shook himself. What the hell am I saying..? "I won’t touch you." No matter how much I want to… "I just want to make sure you get in there okay. I’m going to turn on the water, now. Can you get up?"
Mulder was staring at him, as if he’d seen something unexpected. Something incomprehensive. "I don’t understand."
"I need you to stand up, Mulder," Krycek repeated. "Can you do that?"
"I…yes." He struggled up, and Krycek turned to the shower, reaching in and adjusting the water, taking his time, getting the temperature just right. What the hell am I dragging this out for? Hoping he’ll invite me in with him? Krycek pressed his lips together in irritation. What the hell was it about Mulder that turned his brains to snot every time they met?
He yanked his damp arm out of the shower and turned around. "I’ll just be outside…" and stopped.
Mulder was naked, the fatigue pants crumpled on the floor. He blinked at Krycek, the hazel eyes large and uncertain, but there was no fear in them.
Jesus, Mulder. Don’t look at me like that. I’ve only got so much self-control. "I’ll…be in the other room."
"You don’t have to…" Mulder’s face flushed. "Would you…stay? Just outside? I…" his face turned a deeper shade of red.
"S’okay, Mulder. I understand." It had helped, that first night, knowing that Nat was there, keeping an eye out. Knowing that if his attackers returned there’d be someone there…
He trusts me. The realization washed through his body like the first swallow of brandy. Not a good idea, Mulder. You should know better. It gave him a strange, aching feeling. You’re a fool to do it, and I’m a fool to let you. "I’ll be right here. I’ve got my gun. Nobody gets through me, Mulder. Understand?"
Mulder nodded, and the relief in his eyes was almost painful.
"Don’t get lost in there. If you start to bleed turn the water off and come out. Will you promise me that?" Nathaniel had been forced to physically drag him out of the shower. He’d opened up most of his wounds and lost so much blood he could barely stand by the time Nat realized how badly he’d lost control. "Promise, Mulder?"
Mulder nodded again. "Promise. I…I won’t freak, Krycek. I’m not…that bad."
I’d have said the same thing if Nat had asked me. It caught both of us by surprise. "Okay. You’ve got ten minutes." Krycek drew his gun and took up a stance against the bathroom doorframe, giving himself a clear line of sight to both the motel room door and the shower. "Clock’s ticking, Mulder."
For a long moment Mulder stood watching Krycek, his eyes unfathomable, before turning away to step into the shower.
Approximately ten minutes later, Krycek heard the sound of the water abruptly cut off. Mulder stepped out, his body glistening in the dim light. His skin was bright red, and fresh blood oozed from a long slash across his collarbone. He flushed slightly as he noticed Krycek staring at it. "I didn’t break my promise," he protested. "It just happened."
"I know." Krycek wrenched his eyes away from the sight of a wet, naked Mulder rubbing himself all over with the cheap, white motel towel. "Should have seen me," he muttered, half to himself. "Third degree burns, and I looked like a fucking slaughterhouse. Thought Nat was going to have a seizure."
"Was…that how you knew? What I was going to…"
How you were going to feel? What you were going to want to do? Yeah, Mulder. "I told you. I’ve been there. I had a friend to spot me through it. Yeah," he grinned humorlessly, "even a rat like me has friends. Surprised, Mulder?"
"His name is Nat? Sorry…maybe you didn’t want me to know that."
"Doesn’t matter. He’s dead." Krycek hardened his eyes against the sudden burning. "I don’t think you need me in here any more, Mulder. Come out when you’re dressed."
He wandered back into the main motel room. Checked the cheap little digital clock on the bedside table. Half an hour. Damn. It was going to be a long night. He turned off the bedside lamp before making a surreptitious surveillance of the parking lot from the bottom corner of the window. Nothing was stirring in this low class motel in an out-of-the-way location. It was why he had chosen it, after all. Less chance for mistaking a casual passer-by for a real threat. Or vice versa.
Bourbon. What he really wanted right now was a fifth of ten year old Bourbon.
He pretended not to notice when Mulder returned, seating himself on the bed with a soft creak and a rustle as he pulled up the covers.
When the hell is Scully going to get here? Fuck. I’m supposed to have my homework ready for her, he remembered. Briefly, he considered just shooting both of them. And then hunting down Skinner and killing him too, just for the closure.
Closure. Hell, there would never be closure. Not for him. Even if a miracle occurred and all the fucking aliens went back to whatever cosmic cesspool they’d crawled out of, the nightmares would remain. The memories of the things that had been done to him, and of things that he had done. Horrible things, some of them. Black oil, and bodily orifices sewn shut. He had seen things that no human being was meant to see. Dissolving puddles of green goo and gaping wounds that simply closed by themselves. A blueprint of the end of the world as he knew it. Things Mulder would have given his own left arm to have seen.
Hell, Mulder, if you knew what was out there you wouldn’t be pursuing it the way you do. Or maybe he would. Mulder was…extraordinary. He’d hacked into most of Mulder’s reports over the years, just to keep an eye on him. If even half of the things in them were true Mulder had seen some pretty scary shit himself, and it hadn’t even slowed him down. Tough little bastard.
He sighed. "How are you doing, Mulder?"
"Better," Mulder admitted softly. "Thanks."
"All part of the service. I expect due consideration on your part." Krycek returned to seat himself on the bed across from Mulder. Took out his gun. Checked the chamber. Made sure the safety was on. Laid the gun down. Stared morosely at his boots. What the hell am I still doing here? Do I really give a damn about Dana Scully’s report? He sighed in exasperation and looked up to find Mulder’s eyes on him. "What?"
"I still don’t understand. You took a real chance, getting me out of there the way you did. Whoever they were, their bosses are going to be…pissed. You haven’t even questioned me. Not the way you…could have. Why are you doing this, Krycek?"
I’m just too tired to fuck with his head right now. Yeah, that’s all it is. I just want…I don’t know what I want.
"Good question, Mulder. But then, you always did know just what questions to ask. I don’t know. When I figure it out maybe I’ll let you know."
Another long stretch of silence. Then, "Are you really afraid of Scully?"
"What sensible person wouldn’t be?"
"Yeah. She even scares me sometimes." Mulder turned his gaze to the ceiling, a fond smile curving his lips. "She’s going to go ballistic when she sees…all this. I should have been more careful. I wish…I suppose it could have been worse, though."
"That’s the understatement of the evening. How’d they get to you?"
"Just knocked on the door of my apartment. When I opened it they dogpiled me. I woke up…at the warehouse." He shivered at the memory. "You know the rest."
"No. I don’t. I told you, Mulder. I had just walked in the door when I saw your stuff."
"They…wanted to know if I’d been sent any strange packages lately. From unknown sources. They wanted to know about something called Project Naiad or the green man. I told them it sounded like a good name for a rock band."
Shit. It couldn’t be coincidence that Project Naiad and the Green Man had been mentioned in the notes stolen from his apartment last night. Why the hell had they thought Mulder would know anything? It’s got to be someone who knows I’ve been passing Consortium shit to Mulder. Maybe even someone who knows who I’m currently running errands for.
"You said…it happened to you. Was it Tunguska?"
Krycek blinked for a moment, readjusting the line of his thoughts. "Tunguska? No. What ever gave you that idea?"
"You…I know that’s where you lost your arm. It was…a brutal place. A couple of times they dragged me out of my cell, and I wasn’t sure what they were going to do. Mostly just wanted to…knock me around. Burned me with a cigarette once. They kept calling me ‘Americanski shit’."
Fuck. I didn’t know. Not that there was anything he could have done, in any case. He hadn’t had much pull with the camp commander, and he’d needed to keep Mulder there long enough for him to be inoculated against the alien oil. Bad fucking luck that Mulder had chosen to break out before he could arrange for their transportation back to the capital. "Actually, it was the smoker. He blamed me for the slaughter at El Rico. He was…pissed. To say the least."
"So he raped you?" Mulder blinked, as if he was having trouble with the image.
Krycek sighed in exasperation. "Get real, Mulder. Men like the smoker don’t do their own dirty work. He paid a lot of money to have me interrogated by experts. He figured I was working with the Rebels and he wanted to know everything I knew about them. They were pretty thorough." His mind shied away from that memory.
"Were you? Are you?" A spark lit in Mulder’s eyes. "Working with the Rebels?"
Krycek was almost tempted, just to divert Mulder’s attention from the current subject, but he knew that it could just end up getting Mulder killed.
"If I told you, Mulder, I’d have to kill you," he deadpanned, trying to keep his tone light. "Anyway, one of the guys the smoker had hired was…a friend of a friend. The cavalry arrived before they got around to disposing of the remains." And in time to keep the information I’d given them from falling into the smoker’s hands. That was all the Rebels had really been concerned about, of course. Krycek closed his eyes, fighting the echoes of that terrible night. The smoker had wanted him to die in the most painful way possible. His hand crept to his abdomen, tracing the path of the long, puckered scar that was his most obvious memento of the evening. "They sewed me up and dosed me with painkillers, but they couldn’t make me forget."
"What did you do?"
Krycek shrugged. "The usual. Tried to kill myself a few times. My friend…he’s…he’d been in the business longer than I had. He’d been through it a few times himself. He knew what to do, what to watch for. He kept me alive." Even if I hated him for it at the time.
He looked up to catch Mulder staring at him, eyes round with wonder. "What?"
"It’s just…hard to reconcile. You…you always seemed so indestructible to me. Like nothing that happened to you could ever get to you. I…" his eyes dropped. "I kind of envied you, you know."
"You? Envied me? What the hell for, Mulder?" He didn’t bother trying to hide his incredulity.
"You were…kind of like my fantasy." Mulder’s cheeks reddened. "You lived such a dangerous life. On the edge, living life the way you wanted to. No rules to follow. You had your fingers into everything, you knew all the secrets, Krycek. They came to you with them. You got to be part of it, dammit. I always figured you were laughing at me, the way I ran around and never found anything. I felt like such a dumb fuck. Ineffectual. You’re going to laugh, but I…I even envied your arm."
"My arm?" Krycek gaped at him.
"It was like…a symbol. It said that you’d taken the worst the world could do to you and you’d survived it. Like Ahab."
Krycek turned his face away from Mulder, trying to assimilate the revelations and the strange feelings they were evoking in him. It was surreal…Mulder envied him? "I thought you hated me, Mulder. Hell," he snorted "you can’t even be in the same room with me for two seconds without wanting to hit me."
"I do hate you." Mulder shifted, and the bed creaked slightly. "I really do. I remember the way you were. The brand new fresh out of Quantico look, with plastic hair and the off-the-rack suits. The way you used to…look at me. Like I was your idol or something. It made me feel…" Mulder’s voice trailed off in embarrassment. "And then I find out it was all a lie. The next time I see you it’s all changed around. Now you’re…something I always…wanted. Secretly. You know, when I first joined the F.B.I., I thought that walking around with a gun and a badge and an expensive suit was going to be the epitome of cool."
Krycek smiled at the image of a very young Fox Mulder being handed his gun and badge. Probably made him nearly cream his shorts. "So, what changed?" he asked curiously.
"Familiarity, I guess. Everybody’s got a suit and a gun and a badge. And a lot of them are nothing more than lame-ass paper-pushing bureaucrats. Ass kissers. Bottom feeders. All the bad guys are cooler than we are."
Krycek couldn’t help but chuckle at the wistful note in Mulder’s voice. "Believe me, Mulder, there are a lot of ass kissers and bottom feeders on my side of the fence. And as for being cool…let’s just say it looks cooler than it feels. There’s nothing cool about living your life out of a suitcase because you know that if you stop swimming and sink to the bottom you’ll drown. Or another predator will get the drop on you. There’s nothing cool about living your life with a perpetual crick in your neck from looking over your shoulder all the time. Every day you roll the dice. Some days are boxcars. Some days are snake-eyes. Mostly it’s just more of the same. Hell, Mulder, if anyone should be envied it’s you."
"You…envy me?" Mulder gave him a bewildered look. "I don’t believe it."
"Believe it." Krycek gave a bitter snort. "You take it for granted, Mulder. All of it. All the shit I never had a chance at. Do you know how much I hated you sometimes, watching you taking it all for granted while all I could do was go through the motions, pretending, knowing that it wasn’t going to last."
"It could have." Mulder’s chin jutted out belligerently. "If you hadn’t chosen to throw in with the smoker. You didn’t have to do that, Krycek." His voice was husky.
"You just don’t get it, Mulder. I was dirty from ground zero." Dammit. This is not happening. I am not crying in front of Mulder. Krycek reached within himself for the coldness that he had learned to cloak himself with when things got to be too much, but it slipped away from him, like water through his fingers. "The smoker sent me to Quantico. I was a plant from the beginning."
"You didn’t have to go along with them," Mulder insisted angrily. "You could have defied them. You could have broken free."
"Don’t be fucking naïve, Mulder," Krycek snarled. "Free to what? Free to be hunted down by the smoker’s goons as an example to the rest of what happens when you’re stupid enough to forget who owns you?"
"He didn’t own you. Nobody owns you but you."
"You lived a sheltered life, Mulder. Your father was one of the powers, or you might not have grown up any different from me. Just think about that the next time you’re tempted to despise me for what I’ve done. The smoker owned my father and my mother and he owned me."
"You could have told me. I’d have tried to help you."
"Really? You think so?" The bitterness was almost more than he could bear. "I want you to think back, Mulder. I want you to think back to that first moment when you realized that I wasn’t exactly what I was supposed to be. When you found the cigarette butts. Did it ever cross your mind to ask me about them? Did it ever occur to you to give me the benefit of the doubt? To even find out what my answer had been before you decided that I was a fucking traitor?"
"You ran away before I could. It was you who never gave me a chance."
"Fucking liar!" He hadn’t deserved a chance. Everything Mulder had accused him of…it was all true. He hadn’t deserved better, but it still hurt because Mulder couldn’t have known…he’d just assumed… "I heard you and Skinner. In his office. I could see the writing on the wall. One little whiff of Morley and I was suddenly public enemy number one." Krycek sprang up from the bed and began pacing. "That fucking hypocrite. You could smell the damn Morleys in his office, the bastard practically lived there. You gave Skinner the benefit of the doubt, w…why not me?"
What the fuck is wrong with me? Krycek, you stupid asshole, you’ve just handed him a knife and he’s going to gut you with it. He’s going to carve out your fucking heart and feed it to you with the fork of his self righteous, snotty little feebie virtue. Krycek yanked his jacket up off the bed and wrestled his arms into it, ignoring the way the prosthetic jabbed into his tender flesh. "So when the hell is that bitch going to show? I have places to go tonight."
"I’m going to take a walk. It’s too damned close in here. Tell Scully she can put whatever the hell she wants in her report. I don’t care."
Krycek yanked the door open and plunged out into the cool night air. He didn’t want to hear what Mulder had to say, didn’t want to see the expression on his face. This way, he could make it whatever he wanted it to be. It was always better that way.
Mulder had said that Krycek was…his fantasy. He hugged the thought to him, knowing that it was pathetic. Needy. Knowing that Mulder probably hadn’t meant it. It was just the trauma of being violated and tortured that had made him sloppy sentimental.
Krycek’s hand clenched. Suddenly, he very much regretted having killed Mulder’s torturers as quickly as he had. If only he’d known…
They’d have died much more…slowly.
Images assailed him…hands on my arms, my buttocks, the searing pain, the utter horror of being violated in that way…
…hands on Mulder, his face contorted with agony, hazel eyes wide in bewilderment and shock, tears streaming, hands on his buttocks…
Krycek slammed his fist into the wall. Why wasn’t I a little faster? He had wasted hours trying to figure out if anything had been taken besides the handful of notes from his translations of the DAT tape. The spy camera he’d set up to watch his apartment from across the street had given him the license plate number of the thieves and it had been child’s play to get an address to go with the license plate.
If only I’d gotten there sooner. I might have been in time to spare him that.
I never wanted this to happen, Mulder. I never wanted the things I’ve done to affect you. Strange, looking back. He had never thought about it before, but even when things had been darkest, the one thing that had always helped pull him through was the thought of Mulder amidst the clutter of his basement office, with that endearing, frustrated little frown on his face as he contemplated yet another roadblock that had been thrown up to keep him from his precious truth. Or the electric way realization would dawn on that expressive face when one more piece of the puzzle came within his grasp.
Jesus, this is turning into an obsession. Krycek leaned into the massive trunk of one of the oak trees surrounding the motel parking lot. Get a grip, dumbfuck. It’s over. You’ll never be part of that again.
You can never go back.
A car pulled into the parking lot. Idly, Krycek wondered when Scully had traded in her frumpy Civic for a landshark. Then he snorted. There were multiple heads showing in silhouette against the curtained lights of the motel windows. Must be a feebie limousine. Should have known Scully wasn’t about to trust me. Good thing he’d gotten out when he had.
One…two…three…four. All men. Krycek’s adrenaline level shot into overdrive. Scully might not have come alone, but she sure as hell would have come. Something had gone very wrong.
He whipped the pistol out of his pocket, flicked off the safety and moved so that his body was concealed behind the tree. Three of the men took up positions around the door, while the other climbed back into the driver’s seat of the car.
Christ, Mulder, look before you open the door.
It was a vain hope. Light slashed across the faces of the waiting men as Mulder threw open the door. For just an instant his face registered stunned disbelief that turned to panic as he was forced back into the motel room.
This is my fault. He fucking was expecting it to be me.
Most of the shit Mulder got involved in had implications that didn’t reach beyond a single person or organization. But the DAT tape…he couldn’t think of a single person that he dealt with on a regular basis that wouldn’t at least want it if they knew about it. And most of them had even less scruples than he did when it came to getting what they wanted.
A figure was suddenly silhouetted against the curtained window, adjusting them. They obviously didn’t want any chance observers to whatever was about to happen in that room.
Molten fury surged up into Krycek’s limbs and he was in motion almost before he had time to form a coherent plan of action. Crouched low to the ground he slipped silently across the parking lot, pausing only long enough to put a bullet through the head of the man in the car. It was unlikely that they would have heard the silenced gunshot or the soft crick of the glass being pierced. What can I do to draw them out?
Knocking was out of the question. Or was it?
If one of them came to the window Krycek could pick him off, and then they’d be down to two. Even odds. Except that the two of them would be armed and in there with Mulder and if they realized that they could use Mulder as a hostage…
Why would they?
For that matter, how had they found this place? Scully’s phone had to be tapped. Krycek’s mind raced through the implications. That meant that unless they’d found a way to delay Scully, they knew that she would be showing up soon. If they’d meant to simply take Mulder they’d just have dragged him to the car.
That meant that they wanted Scully as well. Or him. Or both.
They were probably interrogating Mulder right now, trying to find out where Krycek was.
Fuck. Mulder. The state Mulder was in right now…it didn’t bear thinking about. Mulder would think that he’d been set up…that Krycek had betrayed him again.
Gotta get in there. Gotta get in there now.
If he waited long enough, Scully was bound to show. She’d go knock on the door, and they’d open it up and…too risky. Too much could go wrong. Too long to wait.
Krycek searched through his pockets, hoping against hope that he’d put the door key in one of them.
No such luck. Wait…spare key. The office would have a spare key.
If he went for it, there was a chance that the bastards might choose that particular moment to take off and he’d lose them. He strode over to the car and wrenched the door open, holding the dead man in place while he leaned over and plucked the keys out of the ignition. After carefully repositioning the corpse to look as natural as possible, he quietly closed the car door.
Anyone looking out the window would think the guy was just daydreaming. At least until they got close enough to notice the bullet hole.
With one last glance to make sure the window was still empty, Krycek sprinted for the motel office. He burst in, surprising a pimple faced teenager behind the counter.
"Uh…d’ya need a room?" The boy’s eyes widened at the sight of Krycek’s gun. "Uh…uh…"
"I’m an F.B.I. agent," the lie slipped easily from his lips. "Some criminals have forced their way into my room and are holding my partner hostage. I need the spare key. Now!" he roared, shocking the teenager into motion.
"O…okay. What room?"
"One forty nine."
The boy fumbled beneath the counter. Krycek heard a squeak and a rattle. Jesus, it isn’t hard to get a spare key in one of these places. Good thing to be aware of. The boy popped back up holding a key and Krycek snatched it from his hand and bolted.
Back at the room, the situation seemed unchanged. Krycek could see the dark outline of the body behind the wheel, and the curtains were still drawn. Having only one arm was a fucking logistic nightmare at times. I'll only have one chance at this. Krycek eased the key into the lock and carefully turned it, pressing his foot into it just enough to keep the door from catching while he traded the key for his gun.
One chance to make things right.
Throwing a brief prayer to the god of rats, he slammed his weight into the door and burst into the room.
Mulder was lying face down on the bed, arms bound tightly behind his back. A man was looming over him, knee pressed into the small of Mulder’s back. Krycek’s bullet slammed him into the headboard. A second man leaped to his feet and had almost managed to draw his gun before the bullets spun him around and he collapsed with a soft grunt.
The third man…was nowhere to be seen. Where was the fucker? The bathroom door was closed. Krycek crossed to it and eased it open quietly.
The man stood, back to Krycek, pissing into the toilet. Uncivilized fucker hadn’t even lifted the seat. Krycek took careful aim and shot out the back of the man’s leg. The man fell with an agonized scream and Krycek coolly put another bullet through the other leg before closing the door, muting the sounds of the man’s howls.
Mulder hadn’t moved from where he lay on the bed. As Krycek approached, he could see that Mulder’s body was shaking with silent, suppressed sobs. He hauled the two dead bodies out of sight behind the other bed, yanking off the bedspread to cover them with. No sense in upsetting Mulder any further.
"Mulder. It’s okay." He knelt beside the bed, touching the silky, tousled mop of brown hair with gentle fingers. "Shh. I’m back." The sobbing continued. He’s in shock again. Dammit. Krycek smoothed Mulder’s hair and began tugging at the knot that bound Mulder’s arms. "I’m going to have you free in a minute and then we’re going to get out of here."
Mulder gave a little gasp as his hands came free. "S…Scully."
"Fuck Scully. This is her fault. Her fucking phone must have been bugged. I didn’t do this, Mulder. You’ve got to believe me. I didn’t call them here." Krycek couldn’t keep the pleading note from his voice. "I didn’t betray you, Mulder."
"I…I know." Mulder gave a little sniffle. "I told them you’d left a long time ago. I wanted to give you time."
A strange joy lifted Krycek’s heart. "Time for what?"
"For…whatever you were going to do."
Mulder hadn’t known that Krycek was coming back for him. Yet he had lied to his interrogators to protect him. "Mulder," he whispered.
Mulder rolled slowly over onto his back and his eyes raised to Krycek’s. There was something open and vulnerable in them, like the eyes of a child. "You wouldn’t hurt me, would you? Alex? I only just now realized it."
The sound of his name on Mulder’s lips sent an involuntary shiver of pleasure through Krycek’s body. "No. Not…like this. Not with my hands." I’ve hurt you in so many other ways.
"You hurt so many other people. I was always afraid of who you would shoot next. But I was never afraid for my own life, not even when I hit you. Even when you pointed your gun at me I knew you wouldn’t use it. It was like this strange game we were playing, and I didn’t want to break the rules. I never even realized it until just now. I never realized a lot of things…until just now."
Krycek just started at him, unable to speak. Wanting desperately to believe what Mulder was saying. He’s just in shock. He doesn’t know what he’s saying.
Mulder’s lips curved and he reached up to brush a strand of hair back from Krycek’s forehead. "Struck speechless? It’s a good look on you." He sighed. "By the way, why is there somebody screaming in the bathroom?"
"W…wanted to question him." Krycek shook himself free of the spell under which he’d fallen. "Need to find out who sent him. Or they’ll just keep coming."
"Let me take him back to F.B.I. headquarters. I can interrogate him there. Or someone can." Exhaustion briefly eclipsed Mulder’s earnestness.
"F.B.I. interrogation?" Krycek snorted. "You must be joking, Mulder. You won’t get a thing out of this guy. What have you got to threaten him with? Jail time? Get real. No…you’d better leave this asshole to the experts."
"Krycek. Please." Mulder’s eyes were haunted. "Don’t do this. I couldn’t stand it…thinking of you doing the same things to him as they did. The things they did to me."
"I’ll take him somewhere else," Krycek said impatiently.
"It doesn’t matter where you take him," Mulder argued desperately. "I’d still know you were doing them. I’ve got a fucking good imagination, Krycek."
"Okay. Fine. No interrogation. But he can identify me, Mulder," Krycek said flatly. "He knows my name."
"So can I."
"Yes." The moment hung between them. "But I have your promise, don’t I? And if I give Scully her fucking confession I’ll have hers too, right? And if he starts talking and naming names what are you and Scully going to say? Oh, gee, Skinner, this guy must be lying. Did you think of that?"
"I can’t let you just kill him in cold blood. You shot the others to s…save me, Krycek. This is different, though."
"I could have just killed him a moment ago and you wouldn’t have gotten all bent out of shape about that." Krycek ground his teeth together in frustration.
"You could have but you didn’t."
"Fuck this, Mulder." Krycek levered himself to his feet just as the bathroom door squeaked open. There was a faint whimpering sound. "Shut that door, you fucker, or I’ll blow your head off!" he roared, hoping that the man was stupid enough not to believe him. The door closed. "Look…Mulder…this guy can identify me as the killer who took his buddies out. They’ll match up the ballistics with the bullets at the warehouse. They know my name, Mulder. They know where I live. They know where you live. Once you take this asshole back to the big white building with the flags, if this guy’s people have any pull at all it’s going to get back to them. And once it does I’ve got another target painted on my back and I don’t even know who’s holding the gun."
"You owe me this, Mulder. You know you do…"
Krycek drooped wearily. I’m going to fucking let myself be killed for you Mulder, for your fucking feebie principles, and you don’t even give a shit, you never have… "What is it, Mulder?"
"There’s a question I’ve always wanted to ask you. It’s been bothering me for the longest time, and there just never was a good time to ask you about it, between the Russian gulag and the alien rebels and such…"
"What is it?"
"The cigarettes. Why did you leave them for me to find?"
"I didn’t. Stupid accident," Krycek muttered. Don’t believe me, Mulder. Please. Ask.
"I don’t think so. That doesn’t seem like the sort of thing you’d do by accident. I know you a lot better now than I did then."
"Why do you bother asking a question if you aren’t going to believe the answer?" You have to guess, Mulder. I can’t tell you. I can’t give you that much of myself. Not without knowing beforehand what you’d say.
"You wanted me to come to you and ask, didn’t you, Alex? That’s why it…hurt you when I went to Skinner, without even trying to find out your side of the story." Mulder’s eyes glistened in the dim light. "I’m sorry, Alex. I should have trusted you more."
"What are you talking about, Mulder? Are you crazy? You couldn’t trust me. I was owned by the smoker."
"You trusted me enough to leave those cigarette butts for me to find. I owed you the same kind of trust. We could have worked something out."
Krycek’s throat closed up so tight that he couldn’t speak for a moment.
"Forgive me, Alex? Please?"
Krycek shrugged. "Ancient history, Mulder." His voice was a tight croak.
"I guess that’s a no." Mulder sounded so dejected that Krycek had to fight to urge to throw himself down on his knees in front of his onetime partner, to press his face into the solid comfort of Mulder’s body. I still remember the way he smelled, the scent of Old Spice on his neck, me bending over his shoulder so he could show me something on the computer screen…
"Please, Alex. Give me another chance." A tear rolled down Mulder’s cheek, and his lips quivered.
Adorable. The little bastard is still adorable, even after everything he’s done to me. All the hitting and the betrayals and the accusations. "You’re trying to manipulate me, Mulder." Using that damned…look. The one you use on Scully. She’s much better at resisting it than I am.
"Well, maybe a little." Mulder grinned unrepentantly, then his expression turned earnest. "I’m serious, though. I’m not a complete idiot, Alex. I understand the implications of this as well as you do. Will you trust me to make things right? To...take care of you, the way you’ve been taking care of me? Please?"
Trust. He’d learned a long time ago that trust was a commodity forbidden to him. Trust made you let down your guard, and then you were caught. Trust made you soft, lost you your edge. Trust bred weaknesses for your enemies to exploit.
He wanted so badly to just let himself fall into Mulder, into the warmth of those hazel eyes, to trust that Mulder would catch him as he fell. All his survival instincts, honed over years of hard use, screamed against it.
Twin lights wheeled across the curtains.
"That’s Scully." Mulder watched Krycek, his eyes patiently expectant. "You need to decide, Alex."
There never really was a choice. Catch me Mulder. I’m falling. Krycek laid his gun down on the bed beside Mulder’s knee, and then started out the door.
He froze, but didn’t turn.
"Thanks. For everything."
"Sure Mulder." Will you catch me, Mulder?
"Stay safe. Okay?"
Yes. I think he will.
And Alex Krycek, rat bastard, double traitor and scum of the earth, took a deep breath and walked out into the night with a curiously light heart.
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