Blue Skies

by Flutesong


Title: Blue Skies

Author: Flutesong

E-mail: Flutesong@Hegalplace.com

Website: http://www.hegalplace.com/flutesong/

Keywords: M/K

Spoilers: Post Ep - Apocrypha

Rating: NC-17 for adult language, themes and sweet sex

Summary: Alex Krycek survives the silo

Warning: MM Sexual situations

Archive: Sure, let me know where

Notes: Written for the "Wheel of Fortune" Lyric Wheel/Aug 2003 and Big, big thanks to Kashmir for the beta. This is a continuation of the SOL universe. Can also be read as a stand-alone. SOL can be found at - http://basement.ditb.org/archive/36/sol.shtml

Disclaimer: The X Files belongs to its legal entities. The love and fascination for the characters, as expressed, belongs to me. Irving Berlin does not belong to me either.

Blue Skies

The rough tufts of bleached beach grass crunches beneath Krycek's scuffed boots as he strides, unmindful, as yet, to the crashing waves, sea-salted air, pink tinged clouds and the bright, early morning sunshine in the blue sky. He makes his unheeding way to an outcropping of boulders at the point of the cove, which stretch like a gooseneck out towards the ocean. He climbs the jagged rocks, uncaring of the tenuous slip-slide of the worn soles of his boots, the rip and tear of his last pair of jeans, and the new scratches to the palms and knuckles of his hands.

When he reaches the pinnacle of the highest flat rock, he stands, raises his fists and screams to the frothing ebb tide below him and oblivious seabirds above, "I'm alive, motherfuckers! I'm alive!"

Nine Weeks Earlier:

The slick walls and slimy floor frustrate his efforts to find any kind of a finger grip or toe hold to help him get away from the oil that seeps its way out of the alien ship and towards him. He is already weak with hunger and thirst, his hands torn and scabby from multiple attempts to break through the door, his clothing fouled by oil, piss, vomit and grime. He struggles, desperate to outrun the oozing puddle, as it writhes and slithers its way, inexorably, towards him.

He knows it is useless, but he tries to climb the walls and screams and sobs and curses anyway.

It exits him, for the second time, with the flash of an atomic blast and he is suddenly free on the broken concrete pathway between the missile silos. The irradiated bodies of five soldiers surround him. The sixth is calmly walking away, alive. But not as himself, Krycek knows. The 'thing' that leaves is completely unconcerned about the fate of its former host.

Krycek tries to run, but weakly more or less shuffles, stopping to catch his breath and lick at his parched lips. He finds his way to the motor pool and cadges the first vehicle with keys dangling from its starter. He uses a Dairy Queen drive-thru uncaring if a damp bill, paid by a filthy man in an Army jeep, astonishes the servers. He drinks deeply from the extra large Sprite and has to pull over to throw it up a scant moment later. He doesn't care about that either. The sharp sweetness and dance of carbonated bubbles make up for the slime and bitterness so long in his mouth. He eats the banana split more slowly, savoring taste, texture and the luxury of thousands of calories. He imagines them spinning out through his bloodstream, bloating his blood cells with the uninhibited bliss of a hedonist having cocoa butter slathered on his bare back at poolside.

He wipes off a credit card with a napkin and gets a room. Krycek watches the parking lot for a while, slips outside, and quickly ransacks a rack of clothing hanging in a salesman's car. He bathes and dresses, withstanding the siren's call of the bed and walks down the block to a busy pub's parking lot and steals a car.

He knows none of this is particularly professionally done and he's left easily traceable evidence everywhere, but he still doesn't care. Each moment out of the silo is a moment he'd thought he'd never have again. Eventually, too tired to drive anymore, he checks into another motel. Leaves the car and walks to yet another motel, pays cash, and goes to bed.

Krycek keeps moving and the days became one week, and then two. He does not relax or assume he isn't being tracked. Finding himself in a new motel-convention complex outside of Knoxville, he finally sees someone he recognizes.

He thinks perhaps Mulder hasn't seen him, so he doesn't leave. Later, he wonders if he meant to be caught, and if all along, it's simply destiny to be found only by Mulder.

PART TWO

The knock at the door and the maid's voice claiming she needs to replace the towels is so clich that Krycek almost laughs. He draws his gun and waits on the inside of the door for the 'maid' to open it. He actually hears Mulder whisper, "thank you - go now!" The door opens and Mulder is there, gun in hand, foot extended to block the door and his left arm up in a defensive posture.

Krycek makes no effort to hide and does not raise his gun from his side. Mulder kicks the door shut and takes aim. "Drop the gun, Krycek!" Mulder says in a furious hiss. Krycek drops the gun, and when Mulder doesn't move, says, "Fuck you," and sends it across the floor using his bare foot.

Mulder kicks it under the bed.

"This is a step up from your usual choice of motels, isn't it, Agent Mulder?" Krycek says cheekily. Mulder scowls and takes a step closer, jamming the gun into Krycek's chest, a move Mulder had, no doubt, been told a dozen times isn't proper procedure for arresting a perp and much more dangerous than holding the suspect from an untouchable distance. Krycek almost laughs again. He wonders if they look like some kind of forty's film noire about a G-Man and his bootlegger nemesis.

"You think this is some kind of a joke, asshole?" Mulder asks.

"It's all a joke Agent Mulder," Krycek replies, keeping the sarcasm alight in his voice. "Don't you get it? A huge cosmic joke, all of it."

"Scully was a joke? Skinner? My father?" Mulder asks, his voice rising in indignation and anger.

"Oh, fuck you and your 'pain', Mulder. Everything's always about poor Fox's pain," Krycek sneers. "That what you get off on, Mulder? Layers and layers of pain and sorrow?" Krycek makes a quick move, which once again proves the inadvisability of holding a suspect close, gun drawn with no real intent to shoot, and knocks the gun from Mulder's hand which sends him sprawling backwards. Mulder lands with a hard thump on his left side.

Krycek attacks him while he is down, smashing his jaw and then the shoulder of Mulder's right arm as he attempts to counter-swing with a hard right to Krycek's face. "This is real pain, you self righteous bastard. Feel it and know it. Come on Mulder," Krycek says breathlessly, sarcasm thick in his throat, to the man as he gasps and tries to curl up on the floor, "get into the fucking Zen of pain, the nexus, the center." Krycek says, as he rises and kicks Mulder in his soft underbelly, jamming the hand Mulder has wrapped around his gut, into his belly too.

Krycek steps back and picks up Mulder's gun. Breathing hard he empties the chamber and ejects the clip. He throws the gun and it lands on the table with a clatter, skids then slides to the floor.

Mulder lays on the floor, gasping, soft moans he's unable to suppress making feathery sounds in the room. Krycek sinks into the armchair, breathing hard as well. He makes an aborted moan and puts his hands over his face, "Shit, shit, shit," he murmurs repeatedly.

After a time, Mulder scoots himself upright and sits, back resting against the side of the bed. He rubs his jaw and wipes his bloody lip on his shirttail. Krycek gets up and wets a washcloth. He tosses it to Mulder. He sits back down and waits.

Mulder wipes up, taking off his tie and unbuttoning the top few buttons on his shirt to get the trickles that have dripped down his chin and neck. "Another shirt ruined," he says meditatively, speaking more to himself than the other man in the room.

Mulder slowly gets to his feet, he shows Krycek his open hands and Krycek nods. Mulder goes into the bathroom, leaves the door open and takes a leak, groaning when the pain of his abused kidney gives up the stream. He takes off his jacket and shirt and wads the shirt up, tossing it into the trash, stuffs the tie into the pocket of the jacket and returns to the room. He sits in the other chair.

"I'm not going to let you kill me or arrest me," Krycek says quietly. Mulder nods as if previously Krycek had given him permission to do just that and was rescinding it now.

"I'm tired," Mulder says. To Krycek it sounds as if Mulder is still talking to himself and not to him at all. Krycek doesn't reply.

Mulder painfully straightens in his seat. "Are you're going to tie me up or knock me out before you leave?" He asks. "Do me a favor and let me lie down first."

Krycek laughs without amusement, "Why should you get to be the one to get some sleep?" He rubs his face wearily.

"I can't just let you go," Mulder says, "and you just can't let me go without lead time. We have something of a stalemate here, Krycek."

"Mulder, don't you get it? I'm gonna kill you, or you - one-way or another - will kill me. Maybe it'll be Scully who'll do the honors. What the fuck difference does it make? Dead is dead and dead men, Mulder, old pal, tell no lies and sure as shit don't prove any truths."

Mulder laughs, "Hell, you must be tired to spout philosophy. Maybe we will, but not tonight."

"Tonight's as good as any night," Krycek says, getting more comfortable in the chair, "and it seems I have the advantage."

"Nah," says Mulder with growing confidence in his voice. "You already beat the crap out of me and that's a first. Kill me now and it's too many goodies for one night. Besides, you'd still have to leave the room and get no sleep."

"What makes you think I wouldn't sleep with your corpse on the floor? God, it'd mean you were fucking quiet for once." Krycek says with exasperation.

Mulder laughs louder and with real amusement this time, "Come on Krycek, give it a rest. I think if you really wanted to kill me, you'd have done it Hong Kong. You had the gun and a get-a-way."

Krycek stares at Mulder and his gaze grows cold and haunted, "Things have changed since Hong Kong. I've changed."

"To what - from what?" Mulder says sarcastically. "From a liar, murderer and traitor to a boy scout? Maybe you've had a religious conversion, Krycek? You have seen the light?"

Krycek reaches under his jacket, which he flung over the pillows on his bed and aims the second gun, his Glock, at Mulder, "No, Mulder. It wasn't light at all." Mulder doesn't move. Krycek's tone is quiet and deadly.

"It's all perspective, isn't it, Mulder?" Krycek asks softly. "You and me. The Lone Ranger and his loyal Tonto, repeatedly facing off against what they thought was a bumpkin deputy who is really a black-hearted horse thief. Somehow, they can't seem to get the job done, cause if they do, what happens in the next episode? And, there has to be a next episode, or the whole show is over. So, they circle around and around, getting nowhere. You know they can't kill off the hero but, so far they haven't come up with a better bad guy and ratings are everything."

"Krycek, Alex," Mulder says soothingly, but Krycek goes on.

"No matter what happens, however many times the villain is shot or maimed, thrown in the hoosegow or buried alive, he comes back. Why is that Mulder? You'd think he'd get a clue or something. I mean, all the writers have to do is come up with a better enemy. A crazed patriarch or a sexy blonde who works for the county, maybe a couple of bounty hunters who've gone bad, a mad scientist or two, but no, they just keep the same villain around." Krycek looks at the gun in his hand intently. He aims it directly at Mulder's head and caresses the trigger; Mulder licks his lips but otherwise doesn't move a muscle.

"I know why, Mulder." Krycek says and flips the gun around in a fancy flourish. Mulder winces. "It's because the writers are God and they can do whatever they want. Heroes, villains, war widows and orphans, all of them, jump when they say jump no matter what the logic or the sense of it."

"They're actors, Krycek," Mulder says desperately. "They aren't real. They get paid to say their lines and go home."

Krycek smiles and holds the gun steady again. "When do we get to go home, Mulder? What if this is the final episode and the hero dies? Does he get up, take a shower and buy the crew a beer later? Does the villain pick up his kids at daycare and take the wife to dinner to discuss his next audition?"

"Krycek, look man, I can see you're tired. Really, I see. I understand. Alex, we're real, this isn't a play and if you shoot me, I'll bleed real blood." Mulder's voice is trembling slightly, but he keeps his tone as even as he can.

Krycek smiles pityingly at Mulder, rubs the barrel of the gun across his cheek and wipes the sweat off it on his pant's leg. "Prove it Mulder. Prove it." He suddenly jams the gun in Mulder's hand, "shoot me, come on hero, you know the show ain't over until the villain dies. Do it you sonofabitch. You want to so bad that you can taste it. I bet you get a hard-on when you think about it."

Mulder handles the gun gingerly. He clicks the safety back on and Krycek laughs bitterly, "Some believer you are. Come on Spooky, fucking shoot me already, you think I'll actually die this time around? Bet you I won't, way too easy a way out for both of us. Cause you know what? They're not done with me yet. Oh, no, they'll find me again, just like you did, and they have ways, Mulder, lots and lots of ways to 'persuade' a guy, you know? Reanimate my ma. Regurgitate my pa. Clone a favorite cousin. Stick an implant up my ass. They've always got some 'motivation'." Krycek smacks Mulder across the face. Mulder's hand tightens on the gun. "Come on Fox, I'm guilty as charged. Blame me for all of it, every fucking trial and tribulation that wears you down and brings tears to your sad, sad eyes. Be a man, Agent Mulder and wipe this black-hearted scum off the face of the earth. Do it, and you and your bitch Tonto can ride happily into the sunset."

Mulder's hands shake as he quickly empties the chamber into the pillows on the bed. Foam rubber splatters the spread and the walls, bouncing like corkscrew curls as it flies around the room. He ejects the clip and throws it and the gun, with all his might, against the bathroom door. The silencer breaks off as it clatters to the floor. Krycek is laughing as Mulder pushes him flat and shakes him hard. "Shut up!" He yells in Krycek's face. "Crazy motherfucker, shut up!" He puts his head on Krycek's chest, his hands kneading Krycek's arms instead of shaking him. "Shut up, shut up," he whispers.

"Don't, Mulder, don't," Krycek says as he calms. "Don't. Hate is everything Mulder. Hate is the only thing." Krycek says it tonelessly, but his arms come up and circle Mulder's shoulders and they lie there, getting their breath back, and soon, only the dim rush of cars on the highway and the hum of the air-conditioned echoes in the silent room.

They sleep that way, Mulder's head atop Krycek's abdomen, on the industrial grade carpet, fully dressed. They don't sleep a long time, barely over an hour, but it is a deep and dreamless sleep for both of them. Mulder wakes first and raises his head to look at Krycek's face. It's still a young face, despite the roughened skin, bruised lip, and sharp boned exhaustion of it.

Krycek opens his eyes groggily. He needs more sleep, hours and hours more sleep. "It's late," he says from a dry throat.

Mulder nods tiredly. "I never checked in, my stuff's still in the car."

Krycek glances at the bed and stretches his cramped neck and shoulders. Mulder looks at the bed too. He touches the dark blue shadows under Krycek's eyes, "I'm too tired to think, Krycek, and so are you. Let's just sleep and figure out what's next later." Krycek rubs his forehead, "okay," he says and they move slowly, bodies aching from the force of their battle, inside as well as outside. Mulder sheds his clothes, shoes and socks, rinses out his mouth and takes a long drink of water. Krycek checks the locks on the door and discards his jeans and socks. They both take hold of the bedspread and toss it to the side of the room. Mulder knocks the burst pillows to the floor as well. Krycek turns off the light and they lie, side by side on the bed beneath the sheet.

The ambient sounds of the hotel enclose them amidst the conflict-strewn wreckage of the room. Mulder turns on his side and uses his arm to pillow his head. Krycek turns onto his stomach and closes his eyes.

"We're both crazy," Krycek says softly. Mulder sighs; once again, his fingers wander over the pale, shadowed, young/old face of the tired man beside him. "No more philosophy, Krycek, sleep, just sleep." Mulder closes his eyes and they sleep.

At first, Krycek thinks Mulder is gone. He sees the room key is missing from the bed table. He shifts to his back and looks around the room. It is a disaster, but the guns and the clips are all in a line, including Mulder's, neatly on the dresser. He wonders if it is a trick to get him to stay calm or maybe to arrest him for stealing an FBI service weapon, if he leaves with it. He wonders if he should hurry and go, try to run away to somewhere else. He is thirsty as hell and his body is tacky with old sweat from the emotional night and the deep sleep that followed it. Little bits of foam rubber cling to his skin.

He gets up and briefly debates the wisdom of taking a shower. Whatever is 'what's next' is a mystery, but he wants to be dressed when it begins. He does go to wash up, grabbing his pants along the way. When he gets in the bathroom he sees that Mulder has been here before him, all but one towel is damp, the motel grooming freebies are half-empty and his razor has been used. He laughs to himself and thinks if he's about to be arrested, at least it'll be by a clean agent. He shucks his underwear and t-shirt and takes the chance on a quick shower and shave. Finished, but still damp, he hears the key in the lock and hurriedly puts his jeans back on.

Mulder is alone, wearing his wrinkled pants and Krycek's lone extra shirt. Mulder is carrying a case in one hand and a white restaurant bag in the other. Mulder sees Krycek and stops, glances at the table, sees the guns remain in their neat row and comes further into the room. "Food," he says, looks at Krycek's damp naked chest, smiles and holds up the case, shakes it, and says in a mock apologetic voice, "clean shirt?"

"You've been a busy boy, haven't you?" Krycek asks in a mild tone and Mulder laughs. He tosses the case on the bed and opens it, pretends to dither over the choices therein, and hands Krycek a clean gray t-shirt. Mulder unzips, kicks his shoes off and removes his pants. He replaces them with a pair of old jeans and running shoes. "Yo!" He says to Krycek and when Krycek gets his shirt on and looks up, tosses him a pair of socks. "You took my last pair of socks?" Krycek says incredulously. "That's pushing it Mulder, really."

Krycek puts on the socks and his boots, not pleased that he hasn't had time to put on clean underwear and really hopes the ones Mulder has on aren't his last pair. Dressed, they look around the debacle of the room to find a place to eat. Krycek sighs and moves the guns to the bureau, rights the chairs and they both sit down.

"If I were you," Mulder says between bites of an egg sandwich, "I wouldn't check into this chain using the same ID again. They'll be bound to have you on the most unwanted guest list."

Krycek looks at Mulder quizzically, "You letting me go?"

Mulder takes a long draught of the coffee. "There are no outstanding warrants, Krycek. Not even a Material Witness order from Melissa Scully's murder. Your DNA has not been found at any of the crime scenes and the bullets from the gun I took off of you the night at my building, doesn't match any of the victims." Mulder says all of this in his blandest agent voice, but Krycek can hear the frustrated rage underneath. "The whole Barry incident," Mulder continues, "has been buried by Skinner's 'superiors' and he 'neglected' to press charges for your attack in the hospital. As far as Hong Kong goes, there is no record of a Kalenchuck operation in San Diego and no trace of her whatsoever. The Piper Maru left port, the Smoker was able to kick Scully and I out of the silo site, where I thought the Alien ship might have ended up, and Cardinale is dead." Mulder ends his quietly fierce diatribe, "And you haven't been seen dead or alive since you took off on our way to get the DAT. The DAT was not in the locker, of course. So, unless you want to voluntarily hand over illegally obtained National Security Documents, I guess that means I've got squat to bring you in on."

Krycek plucks at the t-shirt he is wearing, smoothing out the wrinkles across his chest. He can see signs of a faint stain, just the slightest hue lighter than the rest of the grey, where the folds gather at his waist. He wonders, briefly, why the stain is lighter instead of darker, maybe it isn't a stain at all, merely a flaw in the dye. He deliberately sniffs the aroma of bacon and eggs, coffee and the fabric softener on the shirt. He chokes, unwilling and yet unable to force the odor or oil, sweat, and piss from his mind. He thinks about how Mulder had been there too, so close, so close and how he hadn't known. Hong Kong had been a nightmare too. On the run, poorly financed, and knowing Kalenchuck would fuck him over if she could. Why he had wanted to get back in the game after the Smoker had tried to blow him up was now mystery to him.

Trying to soothe himself, Krycek smoothes his hands on his thighs. Mulder is drinking his coffee and watching him, but he doesn't look up. Maybe he acted crazily last night, giving Mulder his gun and urging him to shoot. Yet, it felt wonderful, for once the two of them equally insane, involved, and connected. Worth it, if Mulder had shot him, it would have been worth it. Today, it all faced him again, nothing solved, nothing ended or over.

Krycek absently rubs at an ache in his chest, he can feel his heartbeat, he can hear Mulder breathing and he chokes once more. He looks up and folds his hands together, crazy is one thing, he thinks. Obviously vulnerable is another thing entirely. "I don't have the DAT. The alien gave it to the Smoker in return for directions to the ship. The alien went back into the ship, out of my body, and I was there, locked in the silo with it. Nobody came. Days later, I was outside. I don't know how I got there. The alien wasted several of the guards and left in another host. I have been on the move since then."

Mulder taps his finger, smearing the grease from his sandwich onto the tabletop. Krycek sees it glistening in the light, sees it grow into a pool of shining oil, and sees it approach him, slithering off the table and crawling up his leg. He knows it isn't really happening, knows he'll spend the remainder of his life visualizing living oil, over and over. He reaches for his coffee and sees the cooling liquid has a semi-circle of scum on the top. Don't scream, he tells himself. Don't scream. He pushes the cup away and it spills and does run off the table onto his leg. He jumps and backs off, staring at the spill. "No. God, no!" He cries out. Mulder gets to his feet and comes toward Krycek, but Krycek can only see the stream of spilt coffee and when Mulder grabs him he looks into his eyes and sees the film of oil come and go. "No! Not real, not true!" Mulder shakes him, he is talking to him, but Krycek cannot hear. "Help me!" He screams at last. "Oh, God, help me!"

"I'm here, Krycek!" Mulder yells over Krycek's screams. "I'm here!" Mulder pulls Krycek to him, holds him and rocks him unknowingly, but with the age-old instinct to comfort. Krycek stops screaming. He whispers, "please, please don't be here. Don't be here. I won't go back." He says it continuously and Mulder hangs on. As Krycek's knees give way, Mulder eases him to the bed and gets him to lie down. Krycek is staring, unseeingly, at Mulder.

"It's okay, Alex. It's okay. I won't hurt you, I won't arrest you, it's okay, I promise."

Alex blinks and clamps his mouth shut. He knows something is wrong and his throat hurts. He worries that he has done something foolish, he wonders why Mulder is rubbing his arms looking so concerned. Mulder's face is anxious and Alex thinks that maybe he is dying somehow. He turns over and buries his face in the lumpy sheet. "Leave me alone," he tells Mulder. Mulder ignores him and rubs his back, awkwardly patting his shoulders. "Please, Mulder, leave me alone."

Alex hears Mulder sigh, and soon after feels Mulder's arms come around him, Mulder's body lying next to him. He hears Mulder saying "Sshhh, Sshhh," softly.

Images tumble through his emotionally exhausted brain: skateboarding on the hill at ninth and Liberty with his friends on the way home from school, tacking up posters of KISS and Farah Fawcett in what had been, briefly, his own room, when his dad could finally afford a house in the suburbs. More images; meeting his stepmother's 'family' after his dad died and the first time he'd run away from home soon afterwards. He sees himself, happy, in the dorm at college, laughing with the rest of the beer-soaked boys and listening to music so loud it shook the walls, and thinking nothing ugly could happen again now that he was finally eighteen and a man. Debbie, her small breasts flushed with arousal, her slender thighs spread wide, the first time he'd ever tasted a girl and how sweet he thought it was, how sweet life itself could be. Her broken body, pulled from the car-wreck; his car, and he should have been driving, but she'd snitched the keys after the third joint made it around to him and insisted, between kisses, on driving them back.

Alex mashes his face deeper into the over-soft motel bed. Shame then too, that he'd almost flunked out the next semester, that the college had called his stepmother and she'd sent her 'cousin' to talk to him. How he'd gone on a bender and hitchhiked all the way to Tijuana and ended up in a filthy alley, told to put out or it was gonna hurt worse, diesel fuel and piss and alone in the dark afterwards, bleeding.

Mulder tries to get Alex to take a drink of water, but he remains immersed in his thoughts: working hard for his grades, to learn how to defend himself, how to identify the predators and avoid the ever-increasing interest of the 'cousin' in his studies. How pleased his grandfather had been when he'd relearned his mother's native tongue and could speak Russian with the old man. How surprised, how goddamned fucking surprised he'd been to find the old man and the 'cousin' talking Cold War ploys and drinking straight shots if ice cold vodka one day, just before graduation, in his room.

He'd never been to see his grandfather again. Graduate school out west and a name change, selected because he'd read some obscure Czech post modern poet, who'd described the sound of tanks rolling on cobblestones for two hundred stanzas, and he thought that was a perfect example of an exercise in futility. Accepting the offer from the FBI and surprised, once more, to find the 'cousin' had, unasked and unbeknownst to him, sent in a glowing recommendation.

A letter from his grandfather's lawyer, in the small box of photographs, watches, and one perfect miniature Faberge Egg: Dear Alex, trust Mr. Spender to see to your future. He knows the ways of the world and can take you far.

Alex chokes and Mulder pounds his back. The sobs of rage and betrayal and shame, come through at last.

"What the hell happened to you?" Mulder asks when Alex is finally quiet.

"I trusted my grandfather," Alex replies and gets off the bed. He goes to the bathroom without facing Mulder and washes his face with cold water. He doesn't look in the mirror. He begins to pack his bag as soon as he returns to the room.

PART THREE

"Alex. Wait," says Mulder. "You're in no shape to go anywhere. Look, I don't know what the hell is happening here, but if you leave now, they will get to you for sure. I - I think this truce thing we're doing should last a little longer."

"Oh give me a break, Mulder. You're not my friend, shrink or father confessor. You can chalk this," Alex waves his hands around, encompassing the wreck of the room, the evidence of his crying jag and the shirts they are wearing, in an impatient gesture, "up to whatever you want. I can't stay here, fuck, Mulder, you can't stay here. By now Scully or Skinner or someone is bound to be sniffing around to find you."

Mulder nods, he is supposed to meet Scully and a forensic specialist at UT this afternoon. "Where will you go?" Mulder asks. Alex throws him a look that says 'get real'. "Okay, okay. Let's arrange a meeting instead. Soon, before anything else major happens to either of us." Mulder says emphatically.

This time Alex says, "Get real, Mulder. Ten minutes after you leave and once you see Scully, You'll discount everything that happened here. Your "pity" for poor broken Krycek will dry up and you'll be disgusted that you spent all this time and didn't end up with me dead or arrested. I don't want or need your fucking empathy anyway." Alex shakes out the shirt he wore the day before and stuffs it into his bag. "Besides, it's one thing to try to get away from them and figure out what to do next and another thing to tell you shit and have them go after you too. You never keep anything really secret, Mulder, and if you suddenly 'learn' something they connect to me, you'll be even more of a target than you are now."

Mulder, seeming to catch some of Alex's nervous energy, gets up and begins to pack. "Meet me anyway. We can both go against type, Alex, once. Just once."

Alex considers Mulder's plea. His face is cold and expressionless, but his hands twist the hem of his t-shirt. "Five days, at the Marriott near LAX." He digs in the bag and unzips an inside pocket. He hands Mulder a wad of fifties. "There's seven thousand dollars, it's all unmarked and legal. Get me a new ID and passport. Use the name Carl Anderson. Don't use FBI resources, except for the picture. I'm sure you have a picture in your files somewhere, and don't put a trace on the name. Don't tell anyone, anyone at all, who it's for." Alex pauses, out of breath, "Do this and I will meet you." Alex stops once more and takes a quick, agitated turn back and forth across the small space in the room. "Do this and I will have something for you in exchange."

Mulder finishes packing while he considers the offer. He looks around the room blankly; it is a mess of foam tufts, spilled coffee, damp towels and strewn blankets. Alex looks around the room too. It looks like something major happened here, but he knows it is illusionary, an extra fifteen minutes on the part of the maid, a couple of new pillows and the next guests will never know. He takes a twenty out of his wallet and puts it in the guest services envelope. Mulder starts to laugh and he laughs for a long time. "Who the hell are you?" He asks Alex, but he doesn't wait for an answer. "Yes," he says. "Yes, I will meet you at the Marriott in five days."

Mulder reholsters his gun, puts the clip in his pocket and leaves the room.

Alex paws through the ruins of the pillows and picks up the spent bullets. He gathers up his guns and leaves the room a few moments later.

PART FOUR

In contrast to his journey to the motel, Krycek makes his way from Knoxville to DC using all his former agent and former spy expertise. He stays completely under the radar of anyone who might be paying attention. He buys a cheap used car and deliberately rams the back end into a brick wall.

When he gets to DC, he finds his way to the body shop where he hid the floppies of the DAT less than a year ago. This time, he parks in the front and walks into the shop openly. The Asian man comes to counter and Krycek explains about the damage to his fender. While the Asian man goes to take a look and make an estimate, Krycek asks to use the toilet, the man waves him toward the back.

Krycek quickly passes the bins and boxes to the stack of used parts. It is relatively unchanged; a few more have been added to the top of the pile. He paws through the debris, locates the disks and pockets them. He goes out front and talks cars with the Asian man and agrees to the estimate. He gives the man his keys, retrieves his case from the back seat and walks away.

He spends the night in a motel near National Airport. The next morning he rents a car, buys a baseball hat, puts it on, stops at a computer supply store and buys a couple packages of floppies, drives to Georgetown and tails Scully to work. Once Scully is inside the Hoover Building, he returns to Georgetown and breaks into her apartment.

On her computer he finds that she is as careless or as arrogantly oblivious as she ever was, and her personal log as easily accessed. He looks by her bed and sees she has The Handmaiden's Tale on the table next to her Bible. He wonders if Mulder knows she uses the last two words of each chapter, from whatever book she is reading, as the password access to her current cases and the FBI database. Krycek brings himself up-to-date.

He peruses the Personnel Department's recent requests for vacation requests and finds Mulder has put in for leave later in the week. Inspired, he looks up the Travel Office and sees Mulder has booked his flight, using his FBI discount, through them. He applauds Mulder's forethought. Mulder is making everything obvious and open. At least, until he gets to O'Hare, the flight is only booked to Chicago.

Krycek copies the disks. He uses the key to Scully's basement storage area, which he finds neatly labeled in a kitchen drawer next to her extra sets of apartment and car keys. He hides the copies in the middle drawer of an old lamp table she has stored there. If she finds them before he can come back to claim them even she will wonder about them enough to be careful, and they would probably end up in Mulder's hands.

Krycek takes the copy for Mulder with him when he leaves Scully's apartment. He books a room at the O'Hare Holiday Inn and sends the disks ahead. He makes his way to Chicago as stealthily as he made his way to DC.

In Chicago, Krycek hires a limo and driver to surprise Mulder at the gate where he will disembark. The driver will hold up a sign with Mulder's name on it and tell Mulder 'Carl Anderson' is waiting for him. Krycek intends to watch and make sure Mulder has come alone and doesn't contact local back up. The driver is to take Mulder on a two-hour tour of Chicago and, if Krycek calls him with the okay, bring Mulder to the hotel.

It all goes according to plan. Krycek is waiting when Mulder knocks on the door. "Covering all the bases, Krycek?" Mulder says as soon as he is in the room. Krycek notes the lack of the more intimate 'Alex' from their last meeting's end. "Someone has to," Krycek replies. Mulder scowls at him, shrugs off his coat, notices the neat room and hangs it up.

"I keep my word," Mulder says with an edge to his voice that Krycek interprets as Mulder's discomfort with him due the over emotional content of their last encounter. "Are you staying here? How did you know I was changing planes at O'Hare?" Mulder asks.

"I checked in yesterday," Krycek answers and doesn't tell Mulder how he found out about his itinerary. Mulder opens his mouth to ask again, but shrugs instead and goes to the bathroom. Krycek places the pile of disks on the table and when Mulder returns, he sees them.

"What are these?" He asks.

"These are a copy of the DAT. I made them before I went to Hong Kong and hid them. They're all yours. Just know this Mulder, if you aren't very, very careful, the Smoker or one of the others will kill you for them this time."

Mulder sifts through the pile. He is rocking back and forth in an agony of indecision. He lifts his eyes to Krycek, "Do I believe you? Can I believe you?" He asks, almost desperately.

Krycek takes another wad of fifties out of his pocket. "Down the street is an electronics store. Go buy whatever IBM clone they sell. Get one with the software already installed. See for yourself."

"No," Mulder says, carefully gathers the disks and puts them in his suitcase. He takes out a manila envelope and hands it to Krycek. The passport and various forms of ID are in it. "Are there any more copies?" He asks Krycek.

"Yes. I made one more. I hid it. I haven't decrypted any of it and used what little I saw in English before. The Syndicate, William Mulder included, never expected any of it to come to light. I believe the majority of it is in a complex code, but you would know better than me about that." Mulder nods; he doesn't elaborate what he knows about the tapes or the encryption.

"We can't stay here. There isn't anyplace to secure the disks," says Mulder.

Krycek sighs impatiently, "Don't you get it yet? There is no place 'safe' enough, no one 'strong' enough to protect you now. There is no 'careful' that will cover your ass enough to get you out of this alive. You better start getting your answers and be glad you did before you die. Shit, Mulder, even I don't know if your answers are on the damn things."

Mulder sits, tiredly, on the bed. "What are you going to do?"

Krycek sits on the end of the bed, a few scant feet from Mulder. "I'm going to run, Mulder, as far and as fast as I can. I am going to get someplace that feels right and stop. I'm twenty-eight years old and there's no way out, but I'm going to try anyway."

"If that's your plan, why make another copy of the DAT?" Mulder asks.

"Because, I'm a realist. I need a bargaining chip of some kind and this is the mother lode. As long as it's hidden and before you get it exposed, if you get the chance to get that far." Krycek answers.

Mulder lunges at Krycek and pins him to the bed. "Don't you care?" He yells in Krycek's face. "These men are responsible for countless deaths, experiments on people that make the Nazis look like Samaritans, government cover-ups and abuse of power unsurpassed in history and they have proof, solid undeniable proof of the existence of aliens." Mulder shakes Krycek's shoulders. "Whatever you've done for them, they've betrayed you, tried to kill you, tortured you! Why don't you care?"

Krycek blinks a few times, closes his eyes and turns his face away from Mulder. "I care," he says quietly and brings an arm up, out of Mulder's grasp and blindly touches his face. "I care, that's why I'm giving you the disks. But it's your grail and you're willing to die for it. You believe that if you can find the answers, expose the 'truth' and prove that little green men are gray, that the world will be a better place. I know it won't and I want, Mulder," Krycek opens his eyes and looks into Mulder's. "I want," he moves his hand across Mulder's cheek and smoothes Mulder's hair off his brow. "I want a small piece of time to live in that isn't full of fear and pain and danger. That's all I want."

Mulder exhales and leans his faces into the curve of Krycek's neck. Krycek doesn't think this is strange behavior, for them to be wrapped, virtually, in each other's arms. He thinks they are back in the place they were in the last time they met. Bound together by the same forces, but from different points of view. Maybe Mulder has a larger capacity for pain, a stronger soul, maybe he is a hero, Krycek yawns and relaxes under Mulder's weight. The last time he slept deeply, Mulder was beside him. The irony flickers through his mind. Mulder is such a dangerous man to be near and yet, Krycek's heartbeat slows and he lets the thought go.

"What are we doing?" Mulder whispers.

Krycek sifts Mulder's hair through his fingers, "Resting." He answers.

Mulder nods gently into Krycek's neck.

A few minutes later, Mulder moves off of Krycek, toes off his shoes and stretches out on the bed, nudging Krycek to come along and lie alongside him. Krycek sits up and takes off his boots and his jacket. He complies and once again they lay side by side. They are silent and the hotel walls mute the irregular noise of the planes taking off and landing, only the faintest of vibrations rocks the walls and the bed.

Mulder turns on his side and faces Krycek's profile. He places his hand on Krycek's chest, then his neck and finally his lips. He traces the shape of Krycek's lips and when it tickles, Krycek unconsciously licks his lips and Mulder's finger. They both gasp. The intimacy in the quiet room becomes a living thing. "What are we doing?" Krycek asks very softly into Mulder's fingers.

Mulder presses Krycek's mouth with his warm fingers and touches the inside of his lips, rubs against his teeth and spreads the moisture back onto his lips again. Mulder does this over and over, mesmerizing them both with the warm, damp, rhythmic motion. Both men are breathing more quickly. Krycek feels his heartbeat accelerate, he feels arousal pool in his groin and dampen his armpits. He can feel the heat from Mulder's body rise in waves. "I don't know," Mulder answers wonderingly.

Krycek turns his head towards Mulder and the fingers slip from his mouth to his chin. They both moan softly, in unison. Neither smiles at the naked sound. Mulder takes a deep breath and cups the side of Krycek's face. Krycek resists and Mulder moans again. Krycek looks into Mulder's eyes. They are wide and clear and questioning. "I'm aroused," Krycek, blurts it out, but softly. He sees Mulder smile with a kind of humorous delight that makes him look very young. "No shit," Mulder answers and kisses him.

They kiss tentatively, caught in and not denying their innocence, not to each other and not to themselves. Krycek brings his hand to Mulder's cheek and strokes his finger to their mouths, feeling them kiss. Mulder opens his mouth and they begin to kiss using their tongues. It is the same as all the other first kisses Krycek has experienced, awkward and slightly out of balance, until a rhythm of give and take, thrust and counter thrust is established. It is different from all the other kisses he has ever had and, for a moment he falters, frightened of what these kisses mean. Mulder uses the hesitation and kisses him more deeply, moving his body to half cover Krycek.

Mulder's erection nudges into Krycek's hip and they moan in unison once more. "No shit," Krycek husks and turns on his side, face-to-face and groin-to-groin with Mulder. They continue to kiss as the sensuous lethargy diminishes and immediacy and need takes its place.

Mulder takes Krycek's hand in his, and moves them between their bodies. Panting, they unbutton and unzip, move aside the opening in their underwear and touch each other, cock-to-cock. Krycek wraps his arm around Mulder's shoulder and Mulder wraps his arm across Krycek's belly and they surge together and kiss. The mutual rhythm establishes quickly. Mulder ejaculates first and the warm seed flows over Krycek and he comes too.

PART FIVE

Krycek kisses Mulder's sweaty neck. He hears Mulder make a murmuring sound. He thinks he should be more upset or shocked that he had sex with Mulder, but he feels too good to bother trying to figure it all out. Mulder moves and he realizes they are lying there, getting their breath back, still in each other's arms.

Mulder pushes Krycek's shirt up a bit and rubs the smooth skin on his belly. It is a curiously comforting gesture. Krycek wonders if Mulder is calming him or if he needs to comfort himself. A particularly loud plane flies overhead, disturbing the quiet peace in the room. Mulder holds him very tight for a moment and then, holding his pants up, gets out of bed and goes into the bathroom.

Krycek touches the stickiness on his sex. He goes into the bathroom after Mulder comes out. They don't speak or touch in passing, but there is no awkwardness or tension. By the time he comes out, Mulder is ready to leave. "I'm going to rent a car and drive back to DC," he says. "There is a safe place I can use to look at the tapes back home."

Krycek nods. He packs up too. He wants to say something to Mulder, something important and personal. He puts on his boots and jacket. Mulder looks rested, calm and focused and Krycek finds he is glad. He decides not to attempt to define what happened between them. It is unique, he thinks, and better left to be a memory untouched.

"Will I..." Mulder begins to speak and stops. "Are you..." he tries again.

Krycek smiles, "I don't know. In time, if there is time, Mulder, maybe we'll see each other again."

Mulder nods and smiles ruefully.

Krycek moves to the door, opens it, checks the hallway and turns back to Mulder. He's has found what he needs to say. "For what it's worth to you, Mulder," he says, "I did not fire the shot that killed William Mulder."

He sees Mulder's hands tighten on the handle of bag. Mulder slowly takes a step toward him, "I want to believe you're telling me the truth."

Krycek nods, he knows this is the best Mulder can do, the most he can say.

"Be careful, Mulder," Krycek says and walks out the door.

"Be safe," Mulder answers from behind him.

Krycek walks down the hallway to the farthest stairwell, as he opens the door, he looks back and sees Mulder about to step into the elevator. He does not call out a farewell and they go their separate ways.

Krycek travels light. He wanders from place to place and country to country for a few weeks. He doesn't use the passport Mulder obtained for him. He wears and washes the gray t-shirt almost constantly, but the stain never changes. Finding himself in a small coastal town in Maine, he leaves the car parked on the side of the road and walks towards the rocky shore.

The rough tufts of bleached beach grass crunches beneath Krycek's scuffed boots as he strides, unmindful, as yet, to the crashing waves, sea-salted air, pink tinged clouds, and the bright, early morning sunshine. He makes his unheeding way to an outcropping of boulders at the point of the cove, which stretch like a gooseneck out towards the ocean. He climbs the jagged rocks, uncaring for the tenuous slip-slide of the worn soles of his boots, the rip and tear at the tired denim of his last pair of jeans, and the new scratches to the palms and knuckles of his hands.

When he reaches the pinnacle of the highest flat rock, he stands, raises his fists and screams to the frothing ebb tide below him and oblivious seabirds above, "I'm alive, motherfuckers! I'm alive!"

The warm sunlight surrounds Krycek as he turns his face into the soft wind. His hair blows back from his brow; he relaxes and unclenches his fists. A coastal bird squawks loudly and a chorus of smaller birds chatters in response.

The deadly imbroglio he is mired in seems far away, his life as a neophyte agent and the misalliance he'd formed with the old men, even farther.

He touches the faint flaw at the waist of his shirt. The ocean glitters diamond bright and his eyes reflect the clear green in their depths. He licks the salt spray from his lips and the warm breeze caresses his damp mouth.

Soon, he thinks, after lunch, I'll make a couple of calls. There's gotta be something an upstanding citizen like Carl Anderson can do in DC. After all, the show isn't over and there are plenty of other villains for the writers to think up to bedevil the hero, and he'll need all the help he can get.

The End

Blue Skies
Words and Music by Irving Berlin

I was blue, just as blue as I could be
Ev'ry day was a cloudy day for me
Then good luck came a-knocking at my door Skies were gray but they're not gray anymore

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

Bluebirds
Singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds
All day long

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you're in love, my how they fly

Blue days
All of them gone
Nothing but blue skies
From now on

[2]
I should care if the wind blows east or west I should fret if the worst looks like the best I should mind if they say it can't be true I should smile, that's exactly what I do
 

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