Title: Endgame
Author: Jennie
Feedback: Please, to <jennieemcg@aol.com
Webpage: http://fullhouseslash.slashcity.net/hosted/Jennie.htm#other
Fandom: X-Files
Pairing: Mulder/Krycek
Rating: PG
Archive: If someone wants it. Just let me know
Spoilers: Oh - only for very early Krycek episodes
Summary: Krycek stops by to tell Mulder good bye
Notes: This one's for Emily, with love.


Endgame
By Jennie

        Mulder sighed and rose to answer the door. He glanced at the clock and was surprised to see that his pizza was actually being delivered early. It was most definitely an X-File. Holding his wallet, he reached out to open the door without confirming that it was actually a pizza delivery person. Why bother? It wasn't as if anyone ever came to visit with good intentions. And, if the person on the other side of the door meant him any ill will ... well, he might as well let them in. He knew from sad experience that they'd find their way in here with or without his opening the door for them.

        He wasn't even surprised, then, when Alex Krycek stood in the hallway. The only thing he found the least bit startling was that Krycek had bothered to knock.

        With a shrug, Mulder stood back and opened the door wider, silently inviting the assassin into his home.

        Krycek was a bit taken aback at Mulder's seeming indifference to his presence. "Mulder," he asked in a low voice, "you okay?"

        Mulder shrugged again. "I'm okay, Krycek. You?" He pushed the door closed behind his unexpected guest and crossed to sit on the couch. "Beer's in the fridge. Pizza should be here soon."

        Keeping a close eye on the unnaturally quiescent Mulder, Krycek shrugged out of his leather and went to the kitchen for a couple of beers. "Here," he said, tossing a can to Mulder.

        Mulder caught the beer and listlessly popped the tab. He took a deep swallow then set it on the table. "So, what's up, Alex?"

        Now that caught his attention. Mulder hadn't called him Alex since their brief partnership. God, had that really been six years ago? Krycek shook his head and looked at Mulder. "I just stopped to tell you good bye."

        "Oh?" Mulder raised mildly puzzled eyes to look at him. "Where you going?"

        Krycek shrugged. "I don't really know the answer to that one yet." He slowly moved to sit at the other end of the couch. "I suppose I'll know when I get there."

        "Why?" Mulder actually sounded like he wanted to know.

        Huh. Krycek was really not sure what to make of Mulder's strangely subdued manner. He'd seen so many Mulders over the years ... the flirtatious partner ... the hateful enemy ... the suspicious paranoid ... the hurt little boy he'd seen so briefly in Russia. But, this was a Mulder he didn't know how to react to. He cleared his throat. "I'm tired Mulder. Dead fucking tired."

        Mulder looked at him and nodded. "Yeah," he said wearily, "I can understand that."

        Oddly enough, Krycek thought that Mulder -- perhaps for the very first time in their long and often unhappy association -- actually did understand him. And, the thought was strangely comforting. Alex truly did not know if anyone had ever understood anything about him ... until now ... tonight, with Mulder.

        His throat tightened as he considered the implications of this strange new Mulder's knowledge of him. If only ... Shit. He sighed and lifted his beer, finishing it off before rising to get another. "Want another?" He asked Mulder. When Mulder nodded, Krycek wandered into the kitchen and grabbed two more cans. As he was crossing back to the couch, someone knocked at the door.

        "Pizza," Mulder said. "My wallet is on the desk, Alex. Would you mind?"

        Krycek tilted his head in assent and grabbed Mulder's wallet, paying for the pizza and carrying it back to set it on the coffee table. He went back to the kitchen and grabbed a handful of napkins, returning to sit on the couch. They ate the pizza in a companionable silence, broken only by the sounds of the basketball game Mulder had found after several minutes of cycling through the channels on the television. Krycek rose once again to replenish their beer supply, which was pretty much the highlight of the meal.

        Once they'd both eaten their fill, Mulder sighed and sat back. He rested his head on the back of the couch staring at the ceiling for a few minutes before he turned his head to look at Krycek searchingly. "Tell me."

        Krycek opened his mouth to give some glib answer but much to his own surprise, he found himself telling Mulder the truth. "I was in love with you, you know."

        Even that didn't seem to faze Mulder.

        Krycek shrugged and continued, "They owned me, Mulder. There wasn't a damn thing I could do but follow orders." Rising to his feet, Alex started pacing. "Once Spender figured out how I felt about you ... well, I was fucked. If I didn't do exactly as he asked he'd kill you."

        "So, you did the things you did to keep me alive?" Mulder asked, sounding almost as if he understood.

        "I had no choice, Mulder. I ... He had my apartment bugged and I talk in my sleep." Krycek surprised himself by laughing. "Isn't that the most pathetic fucking thing you've ever heard?" He stopped the pacing and fixed an expectant stare on the quiet man reclining so languidly on the couch.

        "No. The most pathetic thing I've ever heard of is the one about the FBI agent who fell in love with his partner only to be betrayed by him ... so then this FBI agent spent the next six years hating his former partner for something he'd had no choice about doing."

        Krycek stood there staring like a fool with his mouth hanging open in shock.

        Mulder stirred. "Close your mouth, Alex." He instructed. "You look ridiculous."

        "But ... I ... you..." Krycek found that he simply was not capable of coherent speech. Finally, after several minutes of silence, he moved back to sit on the couch. "What happened?" He asked softly and oh so simply.

        "He left me a tape."

        He? "You mean Spender?"

        "Yeah."

        "And ... what was on this tape?"

        "It's a video of him telling you to kill my father."

        Ah. Well, hell. He remembered that day with frightening clarity. Spender had played an audiotape of Alex talking in his sleep ... carrying on at great length and in horribly embarrassing detail about his love for Mulder. Spender had threatened to kill Mulder if Alex failed to stop the man's own father from telling Mulder everything he knew. That had been one of the worst days of his life.

        "Shit," was, in the end, the only thing he could think of to say.

        "He says on the tape that you were supposed to seduce me, Alex. And, that your failure to do so was what made him start listening to you at home ... hoping he'd get proof of your feelings."

        Krycek swallowed and nodded. "I remember."

        "I'm sorry, Alex." Mulder spoke so softly that for a moment Alex wasn't sure he'd heard correctly ... but then, Mulder said it again, "I'm sorry."

        "What are you sorry for, Mulder? That I loved you? That you loved me? What?" Krycek was so lost he thought he might just stay that way for the rest of his life.

        Mulder shifted on the sofa, turning so that he could meet Alex's dumbfounded stare. "I'm sorry that I made you so defensive when we worked together that you didn't feel you could come to me when it all started to fall apart. I'm sorry that I never told you how I felt. I'm sorry for all of the times I hurt you. I'm just ... sorry."

        Oh man. He really didn't think he could have this conversation. He was just too ... raw to talk about this tonight. It had taken all of his failing reserves of inner strength to get himself to come here and tell Mulder good bye. He'd forced himself to do it, though. Now, he found that he just didn't have the wherewithal to talk about it. It hurt. It hurt terribly to know that a simple conversation six years ago could have probably changed his entire life.

        "Oh, fuck, Mulder. What have we done to each other?" He finally asked helplessly. Tears made his voice husky but he didn't care. He just didn't care. What a balls up mess he'd made of his life. And, now, at the end, he found that the one thing he'd ever really wanted could have been his but for the asking. He laid his head against the back of the couch and though he could feel the tears trailing down his temples to collect in his hair, he made no move to wipe them away.

        "How about Australia?" Mulder asked after several minutes of silence.

        "What about it?"

        "I've always wanted to see the outback, Alex. Why don't we start there and see what happens?"

        Krycek snorted. "And leave your precious X-Files? I don't think so, Mulder."

        Mulder reached out and softly wiped the tears away from the side of Alex's face. "I do."

        "Mulder, don't do this to me," his voice trembled but he forced himself to continue. "I can't take it right now."

        He felt the sofa shift under Mulder's weight and opened one eye to see what this strange and frightening Mulder would do next. His eye tracked the older man's movements as he carefully moved closer, coming to rest right next to Krycek.

        "What are you doing, Mulder?"

        Instead of answering, Mulder just put his arms around Alex and held on.

        And, suddenly they were both crying. And laughing. And crying some more. And it felt so good. So perfect, in fact that Alex found himself believing for the first time in longer than he could remember.

        "What about your job? Your partner? Your boss?"

        Mulder shrugged it all aside. "They don't matter, Alex. None of it matters anymore."

        "And I do?" He wanted this so much. Too much. Suddenly, he was afraid of the answer. Didn't want to know. He tried to pull away, intending on running as far and as fast as possible.

        But, Mulder tightened his hold. Wouldn't let him go. And, Alex found that he couldn't even fight. He just couldn't.

        "Listen to me, Alex." Mulder's voice warmed his ear, the soft tone easing him. "We are what matters, Alex. Only we matter. Stop fighting me."

        "But..."

        "But nothing." Mulder's tone was so final. So resolute.

        Alex inhaled deeply. And found that he simply couldn't continue to deny his own terrible and frightening need any longer. "All right, then." He opened his eyes and turned to meet Mulder's steady gaze. "When ... I mean, how much time do you need?"

        "None. I'm ready now. I'll call the gunmen and have them take care of the details. I want to leave now. Tonight."

        And, Alex knew then that it was true. That he'd actually been given that second chance he'd never allowed himself to hope for.

        And he smiled. For maybe the first time in his adult life he smiled ... joyfully... hopefully. And Mulder smiled back at him.

        He could have easily cried again, but Mulder was having none of that. He rose to his feet and pulled Alex up to stand with him. And, he leaned close to press their mouths together in a kiss that so tender and so filled with promise that Alex knew that they would do this thing. They would run away together and have a life together ... grow old together.

        He'd never in all of his life thought that he would ever have a chance to grow old, let alone have someone to share the years with.

        Mulder looked at him for a moment, then said, "Wait here, I just want to grab my passport and a change of clothes."

        Thirty minutes later they were in Mulder's car heading for Dulles. Langly had managed to get them booked on a flight that left for the West Coast in two hours. Once at LAX they had a four hour layover and then they were on a flight to Sydney.

        Alex had lost his faith in god more years ago than he cared to count, but he now found that he had something even better to believe in...

        Love ... a future ... and, most important of all, he had Fox Mulder to believe in.

        It was all he would ever need.

        finis