AUTHOR: Jayde (arcenciel9@yahoo.com)
FEEDBACK: makes the world go round. arcenciel9@yahoo.com http://www.geocities.com/arcenciel9/
RATING: PG-13 for suggested M/K slash
ARCHIVE: Please. Just let me know.
SPOILERS: X-Cops, obviously
DISCLAIMER: Everything you recognize belongs to CC, 1013, and Fox
SUMMARY: The truth behind X-Cops, written for The Cube's "Jose Chung From Outer Cube" challenge: Mulder and his *real* partner solve the case
COMMENTS: My attempted multimedia entry was eaten by my Satan-spawned computer, so I began this Thursday night and just finished. No beta and very little revision. Mea maxima culpa. Also I had to take take a break and go quietly hysterical after reading "Copulation Cops"

*This is a special episode of The X-Files*
*Viewer discretion is advised*

Things were moving too fast. Mulder had gotten word of the first attack almost a month ago, managed to get his hands on the police report and the description of the attacker. Research had uncovered more sightings, so he made plans and arranged plane tickets as he waited for the next full moon. It had come the day after Scully tripped on the stairs and twisted her ankle. She'd sent him off with her best wishes and a badly hidden sigh of relief.

All in all, probably a good thing. Too much was beginning to stack up; he hadn't counted on having to rationalize lycanthropes, Nightmare on Elm Street, and parasitic camera crews. They would have driven Scully crazy, he was sure of that. He was being a little more fatalistic; if they got proof on video, he'd be thrilled, but anything less obvious than a personal appearance by Lon Chaney would probably be enough to make the editing crew give up and scrap the tape. He hoped.

Anyway, it wasn't like he needed an FBI pathologist to establish the cause of death for Ricky the sketch artist.

"Hey, agent!"

One of the cops was waving an arm and jogging over from the parked cars. "Your partner just arrived," he explained. "Over by the squad cars- the sergeant just wanted to check IDs again."

Now *this* was an X-File. Mulder stared blankly at the cop as he processed the idea. The bubble baths in Scully's eyes had been on the same level of importance as food and water. There was no way she was going to come out and chase werewolves when she had a legitimate excuse to stay home.

"Mulder." Husky voice, a male one. Not Scully.

Alex Krycek. Flashing that infuriating smirk as he tucked the FBI badge back into the pocket of his jacket. Mulder choked down the urge to start swinging as he reminded himself of the camera hovering over his shoulder.

It was obvious that Krycek hadn't counted on it either, though. "You, uh, mind if I talk to you off the record for a minute?" He nodded significantly past Mulder as his smirk threatened to slip.

Let the bastard be uncomfortable. He could get what was coming to him after they stopped filming. "The FBI has nothing to hide, Krycek. I'm sure they can blur out your face for you."

Narrowed eyes quickly gave way to what Mulder privately called the 'Who, me?' look Krycek had used so well as an innocent, young agent. It was completely transparent- of course, it wasn't directed at him.

"Any ideas on the case, then?" The smirk had been replaced by an earnest grin that was far too chipper for anyone without a blond ponytail and pom-poms. "The officer said your first theory got shot down. Something about silver bullets?"

Mulder fumed. Krycek frowned at something on the ground. "Did somebody break a nail?"


Watching Krycek trying to handle Steve and Edy was worth having a few buttons pushed. It was about time that face got him into trouble instead of out of it. Still, the identification of Chantara the streetwalker came as a relief. Leaving the house meant Mulder didn't have to deal with the inexplicable jealous streak that had surfaced around the third time Steve had patted Krycek on the arm.

Conversation with the rat was to be avoided at all costs, so Mulder found himself babbling to the camera until Krycek caught sight Chantara in all her bubblegum pink glory. He proved unexpectedly useful, calming her down enough to get a look at her hands and an explanation of what she saw. Not a werewolf, not Freddy, but her boyfriend. And, dammit, why was he getting jealous over Krycek being helpful and soft-spoken with a hooker?

Things just kept getting better.


The crackhouse bust went by in a blur as Mulder tried to come up with a theory to explain contradicting stories from every direction. He only began paying attention when Krycek bent to check for a pulse on the body of Chuco Monez- Chantara's boyfriend.

"Looks like an OD."

No shit. "Yeah, but how long ago?"

Krycek's glare slipped through the mask for a moment. "I'm not Scully, Mulder. I usually deal with them when they're still fresh." He forged on before Mulder had a chance to thank him for the reminder. "And this one isn't. A couple days old, at least. He's not your killer."

Another witty yet snarky reply was cut off by the sound of gunshots. Chantara was dead with the broken neck Chuco had promised her and Officer Wetzel had emptied his sidearm at something no one else had seen.

Farther questioning revealed exactly what Wetzel *had* seen: the Waspman of his older brother's midnight horror stories. Somewhere during the conversation everything slotted into place: Wetzel attacked by his old nightmare, Chantara killed by the boyfriend who had threatened her, and Ricky killed by the drawing that had panicked him in the first place. Fear.

"What does that have to do with it?"

Krycek was staring at him with a puzzled look. Mulder rewound the last several seconds and realized he'd said that last part out loud. Oh well, he needed to run this past somebody. "Don't you get it? That's what this thing feeds on: mortal fear."

"Uh huh." That desire to believe in extreme possibilities seemed to have deserted Krycek. He grabbed his former partner by the arm and dragged him a little farther away from the cluster of cops still hovering outside the crackhouse. "Mulder, what the hell are you talking about?"

"This creature, this entity that's attacking people." Mulder was on a roll. "Hyman Escalara had a description and wounds that matched a werewolf attack. Then Wetzel sees his Waspman and has a bitemark that was made by insect stingers. Don't you see? These people are being attacked by whatever it is that scares them the most."

Now Krycek was actually nodding thoughtfully. "Okay, I can see that. But how the hell do you plan to stop it?"

"We catch it by following its prey. It spreads like a contagion: there's a chain of victims. Tonight it went from Mrs. Guerrero to Wetzel and the sketch artist and then from the sketch artist to Chantara and then back to Wetzel. We just have- Alex? What's wrong?"

Krycek was ignoring Mulder, staring past him with a kind of fascinated terror. The only thing in his line of sight when Mulder glanced back was Wetzel, leaning against one of the patrol cars and visibly working on his denial.

Then Krycek began screaming.

"Krycek! Snap out of it!" No response. He was also unresponsive to his first name, being shaken, and being slapped.

The screams were changing in pitch though, raising to a keening sort of wail that was blessedly quiet after that full-volume shriek. It finally broke up into gasps and sobs as Krycek crumpled to the ground. Not complete hysteria, not yet, but not for lack of effort.

"Oh God, oh God." He was whimpering like a child. "Get out of me, out of my head out of my soul..." He curled in on himself and began shaking.

Oh. Some good all that profiling had been. Contagion, possession- the oil alien that had taken control of Krycek's body, turned over his only bargaining chip, and left him for dead fit nicely into the 'worst nightmare' category. He'd practically gift-wrapped Krycek for whatever it was.

"Krycek, can you hear me?" Still no response. "Alex. You're not in Hong Kong, you're not in North Dakota. It isn't here. You're okay. Come on Alex, you're okay."

It seemed to be getting through. Or maybe Krycek was just too stubborn. Either way, sheer willpower seemed to be letting him calm down and even out his breathing. When his eyes opened again they were clear and sane.

Mulder helped him back to his feet and followed as Krycek moved unsteadily over to lean against the nearest wall. He was allowed to feel sorry for him under these conditions, right? There was nothing wrong with putting a comforting hand on Krycek's shoulder and being quietly supportive.

Except, of course, that it reminded Krycek of his presence. Laser-green eyes snapped up onto his face and Mulder found himself just dazed enough to lose track of things until his back slammed into the brick wall and Krycek was sucking on his neck.

"Alex, you're probably still in shock-" He was cut off by a pair of lips coming down on his own like God's judgment. This was bad. You did not make out with Consortium assassins. Not when there were a couple dozen cops around the corner. Not even when said assassins were pretending to be FBI agents. Especially not when there was a camera crew just out of arm's reach.

Mulder pulled away from the kiss to catch his breath and protest while he still remembered that this would be a bad idea. "For Christ's sake, Krycek. They're still filming."

He could have sworn there were other reasons not to be doing this, but they'd somehow slipped his mind.

"I've been in your apartment," Krycek reminded him with swirling grind of his hips. He seemed to have made a complete recovery. "Anyone with that much porn has to be a closet exhibitionist."

The psychologist in Mulder's brain died a quick, silent death under the lust evoked by that logic. The only other part capable of rational thought noticed that the camera was still rolling. Apparently he'd been wrong about when Krycek would get what was coming to him.

Archived: December 26, 2001