Surprise, Surprise!!

by Flutesong

Surprise, Surprise

Author: Flutesong



Keywords: M/K almost slash - pre slash?

Spoilers: Red and the Black - season four - cancer arc and some small details stolen from Closure too, although out of canon time-line for this story - then AU

Rating: PG13

Summary: M and K have more in common than they know

Warning: Treacle alert, gobs and gobs

Written for the Mother Goose Lyric wheel January 2005

Archive: Sure, let me know where

Thanks to Ali for the rhyme

Surprise, Surprise

There are sounds you never forget, odors, and flavors that stay sharp, clear and potent. Not all of these are wonderful or pleasant reminders, they simply remain at the ready to overwhelm.

Krycek drew patterns in the thickening blood on the pale green tile floor where he lay, watching it pool. It seeped through and from under the sleeve of his right arm. It didn't hurt. He wasn't hoping he would die. He could not contemplate being alive and armless though, so he merely drew simple designs in the widening puddle and waited. He wasn't precisely waiting for rescue or death, but there was really not much else to do. Somehow, his legs wouldn't support him and trying to crawl never occurred to him.

When the large feet, shod in scuffed black shoes, appeared in front of him and stepped into the syrupy lake, Krycek was surprised. It wasn't until he was grabbed by the hand and yanked to his feet, that he felt pain. "Bastard! Bastard!" He didn't know if he was thinking it, screaming it, or hearing it.

He did hear, "Mulder stop!" And he heard "I'll kill him," and "you'll kill him," simultaneously. After that he heard nothing, just saw the red ocean rise to swallow him in its warm, metallic depths.

Waking up in a hospital was not really a surprise. His unconscious mind had processed that he was injured, so his waking mind was ready for pain. Seeing Scully asleep in the chair next to the bed did surprise him. Somehow, he never quite kept her in the equation when he had to deal with Mulder.

She looked as pale and bloodless as he felt. He'd heard she was having nose bleeds and knew she was being eaten up with an incurable cancer. He felt a momentary twinge. In his opinion, dying slowly was much worse than making a quick exit.

She opened her large blue eyes, focused on him and he realized she remained resolute. Her spirit was strong although perhaps, the flesh was weakening. She got to her feet and busied herself with his chart, peered at his vital signs on the various machines, and did whatever else doctors do, as they get up-to-date on a body in a bed.

"You'll live, Krycek." Scully said sourly, turned sharply on her high heels and left him alone with the news.

He tried to wiggle the fingers on his right hand but could not see or feel if he had done so. He longed for a sip if the ice water that he saw, sitting in an innocuous Styrofoam cup on the bed table. He laughed to himself that even if were closer, it was out of `reach' nonetheless. He licked at the dryness of his upper palate, tickling it in an unpleasant way, grimaced and fell asleep.

Mulder watched the injured man sleep, something petty inside him glad that even drugged to the gills, Krycek still slept restlessly. Krycek's continued unconsciousness however, delayed the inevitable plan he had to come up with a little bit longer. Mulder was relieved because he hadn't a clue what to do. Arrest him, certainly. Get him to spill his secrets while remaining alive? Mulder sighed; it was too late in the day to pretend any incarceration, no matter how secure, was unreachable by the, possibly dead, Smoking Man and his cronies. Not that he cared if they got to Krycek and killed him, but it was what else they might do that concerned him. He hated meeting up with Krycek as he was, let alone what he might be after the Syndicate experimented on him. In his opinion, Krycek had little enough conscience and humanity as it was.

Mulder sighed again and took stock of the situation. At least Scully's cancer had been stopped, cured or put in remission somehow or other with the replacement microchip he'd gotten from the Smoker, before he (possibly) died. He remained certain that the Smoker had an off/on switch that could reverse itself at will, so he wasn't entirely sanguine Scully would remain well indefinitely. And he was sure as shit, wasn't going to risk her health to keep Krycek's skin safe once they knew he was in Mulder's custody. Mulder wished he knew what had happened at Weikamp, wished he knew what the burning deaths at the dam and at the hangar meant and really, really wished he knew what had become Cassandra Spencer and her (possibly) dead ex-husband. Wished he knew if old Smoky was really dead or not. Wished he knew if the adult, married mother of a Samantha, in the diner, had been real or another phantom created by the Syndicate.

Always, always wished he knew the truth about Samantha. He rubbed his breastbone, the ache there as usual, unresolved as always.

He stared at Krycek and wished the man had been what he'd seemed years ago. That ache, betrayal, the loss of a strong right arm and a hardy back-up man, had hurt a lot, he could still feel it even now. He remember slinging his arm around those broad shoulders and laughing, at the end of a day from hell, or at some stupid joke like how the cheese slid off the pizza crust or something equally banal. Banal, but desperately needed release. He remembered the clean-shaven young face, eyes alight with intelligence and what he thought was candor and later, perhaps, love and not just attraction.

Ah, well, Mulder thought getting to his feet and pacing, if wishes were horses he would have a parade's worth all his own to command.

Recovering from a bullet in the arm whilst holed up in a dilapidated cottage somewhere in the Maryland countryside beat recovering from an amputation in a Russian M.A.S.H. unit, but not by a hell of a lot. The Russian mercenaries were bitter, grouchy, and loath to share precious resources. Mulder was bitter, grouchy and uncommunicative. The sanitation and food were better though, he had to admit. But, wiping his ass was way harder with the very small rage of motion he had with the injured arm. Krycek sighed and stretched his arm as far as it would go, knowing he was trying too much - too soon. Still, he at least had the arm and for that, he would be grateful.

He heard Mulder mutter to himself. Something in a new email had him curiously excited since he'd logged on over three hours ago. Not that he'd shared any information, but Krycek listened to the muttering and was already convinced Mulder would soon be off on another ghost chase and then, what would become of him and his recovery? He sincerely doubted Mulder would call in Scully to baby-sit and he really would rather not have to see Skinner in this condition.

Mulder startled him, as he'd been deep in his own thoughts, by appearing in the bedroom doorway. Krycek recognized the look in Mulder's eyes, it was, `the answers were at hand and the truth just beneath the nearest rock' look. Krycek was in no mood to be digging up rocks or beating the bushes, but he cocked an eyebrow at Mulder anyway and hoped he was about to be left alone and on his own.

His hopes were dashed when Mulder began packing, throwing his medicines into a tatty knapsack with his, alas, unloaded gun before moving on to stuff his own clothing and weapons into a sleeker suitcase.

He bit his lip, not wanting to ask Mulder where they were going and getting a zinger of a bitchy answer instead of a reasonable explanation. The flash of the barrel of an F.B.I. issue handgun got him to his feet and ahead of Mulder outside and into a newish SUV. Mulder cuffed his ankles to the underside of the seat and Krycek wished he'd kicked the man in the head before, [when he'd had a chance to do it, but he'd hesitated too long and was now stuck, virtually imprisoned. Mulder, peeling out of the graveled driveway, sending rocks and dust in all directions, kept Krycek's mouth closed, but his anger and frustration grew at having to be driven by an impassioned Mulder off on another quest with him as an unasked companion.

Krycek could swear his missing arm twitched. He closed his eyes and hoped they were not going to end up in the woods again.

When Krycek awoke, he saw his hopes had gone unfulfilled. They were in the middle of a deep wood. His mind processed that the trees definitely belonged to a more northern climate and wondered how long he'd slept. The somewhat rancid odor of cold cheeseburgers filled the air in the overly warm cabin of the SUV and his stomach rumbled despite his brain's dislike of old food. Mulder unwrapped and handed him a smushed sandwich and he forced his hand to hold on to it and get it to his mouth. He chewed while Mulder spoke.

He swallowed and sighed, his earlier thoughts returning with a vengeance. Because, they were indeed, on a ghost chase.

The road into the woods was amazingly busy. Eventually, Krycek noticed all the drivers appeared somewhat manic, muttering to themselves when no one else was in the car with them. They were, like Mulder, hunched uncomfortably over the steering wheel as if that would make them get there sooner.

The road was rough and bumpy, some kind of an old logging road or other seldom used track into the middle of nowhere. Mulder pulled up into a weed-infested field and parked the car next to a line of other vehicles. When he got out of the car, Krycek saw a large faded sign that read North Eastern Christian Camp Grounds.

Mulder uncuffed his feet and said, "Stay with me or I will shoot you in the back."

Krycek asked him why they were here, but Mulder merely waved his gun. Krycek walked ahead of Mulder on the path into the woods, and shortly found himself in a crowd of muttering, desperate people going the same way. Krycek started to pay attention. Thoughts of `Build it and they will come' vied with the theme music from `Close Encounters of the Third Kind' in his head.

He had a very bad feeling about the whole thing. Mulder, as far as he knew, did not have an implant, but he was becoming more and more convinced the others, mindless, unaware and crashing through the underbrush, did have them. He looked around for a short redhead, but didn't see her.

He wondered if he could get out of the crowd and run fast enough in the other direction to avoid whatever fate this gathering was going to be subjected to. He had absolutely no desire to meet any more aliens, ever. And equally, no desire to attend the human BBQ that might be held at the meeting point. He jostled the crowd around him and tried to get back to Mulder and talk some reason into him. It was a lost cause. Mulder didn't even stop muttering and poked his gun into Krycek's back, pushing him forward into the crowd.

They reached the campground and its motley assortment of old barracks and older plumbing. Everyone, quietly muttering to themselves, sat down on the ground. Krycek, the gun still digging into his side, sat down and Mulder sat next to him. They waited, a few people rising to use the facilities and then returning to their spot on the ground. No one was conversing with their neighbors.

"What are we doing here?" Krycek whispered to Mulder and remembered he'd asked that in a barren field behind a fence in Russia.

This time, Mulder did not give him a long explanation about alien comet fragments. This time Mulder said something even more insane, "The abductees are being returned. I'm sure Samantha will be among them."

Krycek shivered. He had reasons, good reasons, to believe that those abductees from the original mass abductions were long dead. He was sure of it in the face of Mulder's and the others around them certainty. He was certain because if they were coming back, he would feel what they were feeling, and he did not.

He would feel what they felt because he too had a missing person among them.

So, they waited. No one served hot coffee and donuts. No one roasted hot dogs or peanuts. They waited, the chill of the earth seeping into their behinds. Krycek's back began to ache as he had no serviceable arm to lean on and his knees began to cramp from sitting cross-legged on hard ground to maintain his balance.

Mulder swayed back and forth in time with his muttering, as if he were praying or summoning the aliens.

Krycek watched the sky, through the tree limbs, and ignored his growing discomfort.

Still, when the ships arrived, it was a surprise.

The murmuring grew louder and was interspersed with cries of fear and welcome, Mulder stopped swaying, rose to his feet and opened his arms to the ships. The bright lights suddenly blinded them and a roar of white noise enclosed them. Krycek rose to his feet and tried to run, but he was frozen in place and cursed his fate and Mulder's obsessions.

The ships hovered and in the lights, bodies appeared to float down to the ground and stand absolutely still in the harsh light. Mulder let out a moan of ecstasy and Krycek cringed, knowing this had to be another alien game or worse, an alien set-up of some kind.

When the noise quieted and the lights blinked off and the ships silently zoomed away, the crowds were freed of their paralysis and began to run towards the people in the shadows. They cried out names and prayed aloud in sobbing breaths. Mulder made his way toward a group of shorter people that Krycek realized must be children. Although he was still sure this was a game being played by the aliens, his footsteps followed Mulder's and he ran toward the smaller beings. As he ran, the name `Peter, Peter... began to echo in his head, along with `please, God' and then simply `oh, God'.

He came to a sudden halt when Mulder scooped up a lovely teenager and hugged her, swinging her off her feet and around and around. He saw an expression on Mulder's face that gave him pause. This was a Mulder he'd never seen, a happy man, eyes full of tears of joy.

He felt his heart lurch. If this was Samantha, she was at least five years older than when she was `taken'. This did not jive with any of the things he thought he'd known, mainly that all the abductees had met their death within a few days of that long ago abduction. True, he'd joined the syndicate to find out what exactly had happened to those children, his brother Peter included but, he'd believed the Smoking Bastard when he'd said they were dead.

Obviously, surprisingly, something `else' had happened to them, if these slightly older children were really those missing and if they were really human.

He caught a glimpse of a young man, sallow and very thin, standing on the outskirts of the crowd. The bone structure was right, the untamed black curls were right and the downward curve of trembling lips were right. "Peter!" Krycek choked out and the boy's head rose and green eyes met green eyes and tears began to flow from both pairs.

They met in the middle of the crowd, oblivious to anyone else and, like Mulder had done a few minutes before, Krycek swung the slight frame of the boy high in his arm, feeling no pain, and twirled about in a paroxysm of inchoate joy.

The soft sounds of a perfectly pronounced `Alexi', `Alexi', echoing in his ear and warm, perfectly, wonderfully, human tears rained on his neck.

Much later, in the warm, softly lit motel room, the two pairs of siblings sat quietly exhausted. Mulder had put away his gun long ago, and whenever his eyes met Krycek's there was only soft joy and a great calm in them.

Krycek ran his hand through the clean, sweet, soft, damp curls at the nape of his brother's neck and Mulder patted Samantha's hand repeatedly, occasionally raising it to his lips. They were quiet and Peter's drooping head and Samantha's soft sighs indicated that the younger two were already asleep.

Krycek eased the boy down on the bed, lingering for a gentle kiss on the boy's brow. Mulder tucked Samantha in and, kissing her hand once more, laid it upon the coverlet.

As one, Mulder and Krycek went through the open connecting door to the other room and heaved great sighs as they sat on the bed and toed off their shoes.

"Why didn't you ever tell me?" Mulder asked, all the enmity gone from his voice, in an exhausted rasp.

"I thought they were all dead," Krycek answered and lay on the bed, the strain in his back and shoulder finally easing.

Mulder sighed. "I never gave up hope," he said.

"I know," Krycek, murmured, waves of absolute exhaustion flowing over him. "But then, you never realized how closely you were watched or how minutely I was followed either. There was no way to tell you without bringing about the end of your patronage and yours as well as my life. This was their ultimate ace in the hole, `the truth about your sister'."

"Did my father know?" Mulder said as he lay down side by side with Krycek.

Krycek sighed. "Well, yeah, and it was in the MJ documents also. He was going to spill the beans to you and if he had, the Smoker would have killed both you and your sister."

"So you killed him first to save me?" Mulder turned his head towards Krycek.

Krycek closed his eyes, "I thought they were all dead. I thought he was going to tell you that and put an end to your hopes. I shot him because the Smoker said it was him or me and I wasn't ready to die."

Mulder blinked sleepily at Krycek, shrugged and turned on his stomach, pillowing his head in his arms. "You're still under arrest," he said in a faint voice and fell asleep.

Krycek pulled the cover over them both and said, "Somehow, I'm not surprised." But, Mulder didn't answer and Krycek stretched his hand out, brushing Mulder's arm and joined him in sleep.Their dreams, he knew, had already come true.


"Two Babes in a Wood"

My dear do you know,
How a long time ago,
Two poor little children,
Whose names I don't know,
Were stolen away
On a fine summers day,
And left in a wood,
As I've heard people say,
Poor babes in the wood! poor babes in the wood! Oh! don't you remember the babes in the wood?

And when it was night,
So sad was their plight,
The sun it went down,
And the moon gave no light!
They sobbed and they sighed,
And they bitterly cried,
And the poor little things,
They lay down and died.
Poor babes in the wood! poor babes in the wood! Oh! don't you remember the babes in the wood?

And when they were dead,
The robins so red,
Brought strawberry leaves,
And over them spread;
And all the day long,
The branches among,
They mournfully whistled,
And this was their song;
Poor babes in the wood! poor babes in the wood! Oh! don't you remember the babes in the wood?

If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Flutesong