26 October 1998
"Let Go"
10/19/98
RATING: About a M15, I guess. Just some nice language and references. Oh, and m/m affection.
SPOILERS: "Terma" (kind of), "The Red and The Black" (you didn't know they kissed?) "The Blessing Way" (well, again, only kind of)
SUMMARY: An unexpected situation forces the schmoopsome twosome to admit feelings.
ARCHIVE: Anywhere, just drop me a line please. NOT to nick-fixx.
FEEDBACK: As always. AlexKrycek@innocent.com
DISCLAIMER: Of course, they're not mine. I don't think Alex will want to ever see my face (or fingers on the keyboard) again after this. FOX, 1013, CC, don't sue, because I have no money.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is a lot of firsts for me. So be gentle! ;) Beta by the lovely Frankie. Any remaining mistakes remain my own.


============
LET GO
by Fleur
10/19/98
=============

There's a knock on the door. Not that that's especially unusual, in here. The only difference is, that the knock isn't the professional rap of the nurses, or doctors. It's a more casual one. I don't look at the door...there aren't exactly many people it can be. I look out the window, at the somewhat small view I can see from here.

"Alex," comes a voice from the door, and I refuse to look. I won't. I know the voice, and even though it's not permitted in this hospital, I can smell the cigarette smoke that comes with it.

"Feeling any better?"

I still don't look, and he comes around to the side I'm facing. I have no choice but to quickly look him in the eyes, and the sight repulses me. Fucking sack of cancer. Ironic, to say the least. In response to his question, I shake my head slightly.

The bastard picks up my chart. I feel like telling him to drop it, not wanting him to know every detail of me, but don't. I can't. I guess it has something to do with fear. I never used to be afraid of anything. Nothing could touch me. Knowing you're going to die anytime kind of changes a lot.

I simply watch him, eyes hollow, as he sets the chart back down. He looks at me, then speaks again. It's unnerving to see him without a cigarette in hand or mouth. Hard to get used to. Not that I'll have to.

"We'll miss you when you go, Alex."

Sounds so positive. Not at all sorry. Not at all like he's going to miss me. What will he miss, having a pet rat he can order around? Not like I have any other qualities. I guess I used to be good-looking. Hell, I used to be whole.

I don't reply to that. I hate the way everyone says "when you go". "When you pass on", "no longer with us", "Is no more". Say it. I'm going to be fucking dead. Six feet under. Dead. Buried.

Maybe I'm avoiding it, too. It's hard. Everything I do is tainted with the thought that it might be the last time I do it. Death doesn't have much meaning. I can't think about the fact there won't be anything left. Can't imagine what it will be like.

Wishing it was different. There are a lot of things I think I would have done differently. My choice in careers, for one. I'd be a gynaecologist.

I guess I must have looked spaced out, because he simply walks out. I'm not sad to see him go. Although I don't get many visitors in here, I'd be happy to have some friends come.

Not that I have any. Don't fool yourself, Alex. You're a lonely, one-armed assassin. No one likes you, they haven't for a long time.

The door slams, and the sound echos through the room. Probably my imagination. I don't know, it's hard to keep reality straight these days. So much is hallucination at the moment. The drugs may have something to do with it, but I don't really know. Wish I did.

I wish he would come. Well, in more ways than one, but I just want him to come here and see me. I need to see him. When I called him 'Comrade' that night, I meant it. He's the closest thing to a friend I have, now. Now, ever. He used to consider me a friend, too. At least, I think he did. Called me "Alex". Now it's always "Krycek", spat out angrily, meant as an insult.

I miss the days we were partners. It wasn't supposed to be like it was. I was supposed to stay detached, to just spy on him. I wasn't supposed to fall in love with him. I wasn't supposed to jerk off thinking about him. Neither was in my job description.

But of course, when they told me about him, they failed to mention all his finer points. And are there ever a lot of them.

I hope he does come to see me. I sent him a message, by way of the FBI. Don't ask how, but I do have connections there. If he has anything remotely close to an inquisitive mind, which I know he does, he'll come.

I don't know what I'll say to him. He'll probably be happy. If he is...I don't want to break in front of him. I haven't yet broken over this. I don't have big emotional reactions very often, I don't go for them. And never in front of others.

For a while, I watch the door, then give up. A watched pot never boils. A watched door never lets the Fox in.

I stare at the blank, white ceiling for a while, then drift into uncomfortable sleep.

*It's shady. Dark. I can't see anything, but I know something's there. Someone. Nervously, I lean up against a tree and wait. Suddenly, the tree falls away from behind me, and it's all gone...darkness totally takes over all my senses--*

My eyes snap open suddenly, and harsh white light fills them. For a minute, I don't know where I am, then I remember. In the place I'm almost certainly going to be for the rest of my life.

There's another knock on the door, and I turn my head in hope. But it's the nurse. I guess she's nice, as nurses go, but I don't really like any of them. She smiles at me - the only one of them with a genuine smile.

"Feeling okay?"

Everyone asks that, it seems, in here. What am I suppsoed to answer? 'Of course not, I'm going to die. And you?'

Instead, I shake my head slightly, without saying anything. I think I've gained the reputation here of being the quiet one. Better than my reputation anywhere else, that's for sure.

She smiles again, understanding, and comes over to my bedside, to check the IV. I watch her, even though I've seen her do the exact same thing a thousand times. Possibly not a thousand times, but still quite a few...

When she's finished, and is leaving, she turns around as if suddenly remembering something.

"Oh, and Alex? You have another visitor. You're quite the popular one today, aren't you?"

I don't reply, but something - in another time, it might have resembled a smile - crosses my face instead. She leaves.

I hope it's him. I don't know who else it would be, who else would bother coming to see me. Unless it's another one of them, coming to pretend to be sad. I don't need to see them.

I hear footsteps down the hall, and a detached part of me wonders if they're supposed to sound that far away. I don't think so. They sound miles away, but I suppose they're just out in the hall.

The door was left open by the nurse, and Mulder appears in it. His expression completely changes when he sees me in the bed, and I can see he's struggling to decide what the proper reaction should be. He must be able to see I'm dying.

Mulder stands beside the door, quietly closing it. He doesn't meet my eyes at first, just stands there, staring, face a perfect mask. Leaning against the wall.

"Krycek," he says, as a greeting. For a minute, I wonder what to reply.

"Hey, Mulder," I say to him weakly. He's staring out the window. I wish he'd look at me.

"What happened to you?"

He's uncomfortable. I can understand that, because I am too - much as I don't want to be. If the roles were reversed, I suppose I'd also be like this.

I want to think of a smart, sarcastic comeback, but can't. I'm sure that's a sign of something. So I just reply truthfully.

"Cancer."

The expression that plays over his features would be impossible to describe. He doesn't say anything to it, just keeps up that blank face which is killing me.

Literally, I suppose.

I have to look away from him finally, and I focus on some wilted flowers on the windowsil. The nurse brought them in for me. I guess pity had something to do with it.

He still hasn't said anything. I finally think of something to lighten the situation.

"Hey, Mulder, when I die, want me to leave you my jacket?"

The joke falls flat, and I regret saying it. Mulder shrugs a bit and shifts his weight. I don't know what to say. I wanted to see him so much, and when I do, it's like this.

I wish the man would show some goddamn emotion. Wake up, Mulder, I'm dying. Take notice. Laugh, cry, curse, fuck me...I don't care what, just do something. I'm going crazy.

He finally moves, pulling a chair to beside my bed.

"You're going to die, Krycek?"

His face, this close...I can't look at him. I turn away again, and hate myself for it.

"Looks like it. Sucks to be me, huh."

I wish he'd say something, if only to tell me to shut up, because I'm making no sense. It'd be nice to be able to come to terms with it. I think I'm afraid of it.

He looks away, without a smile or anything. It's hard to get used to the fact he's not, for once, hitting me, slamming me against the wall, or otherwise abusing me. I look down for a while, then at him.

"Go on, Mulder."

He frowns. "What?"

"Laugh. Grin. Be happy. I'm never going to be here to bother you again. You'll be free of Alex Krycek."

My voice wavers a little at the end of that. Breaking. Because I don't mean a word of it. Well, I half do. That's the half that knows I probably don't have a week left. Won't see the movie on Saturday night.

I wish that weren't the more logical half.

His *eyes*. He just looks at me, as if I've hurt him by saying that. I don't see how. Surely it's true. In my idea of a perfect world, it wouldn't be -but in my idea of a perfect world, this wouldn't be happening.

"You dying doesn't make me happy, Krycek."

I want to say 'Call me Alex and hop on the bed, Foxy,' but he'd probably shorten my life even more and take my head off.

So instead I settle for a more sane reply, even if it isn't what I want.

"Sure, Mulder."

I meant that to come out incredibly sarcastic, but it didn't. What the hell is wrong with me?

Oh, sorry, Alex, you didn't notice? You're dying. I must have failed to mention it to you.

He looks at me, just stares, and I wonder what he's thinking. His eyes don't exactly tell me much - or have I just lost my touch at reading them - and his face still betrays no emotion.

"I'm not happy that you're dying, Krycek, even though I should be."

He thinks he should be? Great, we agree on something, finally. I think he should be, too, but I wish I didn't think that. I don't reply, so Mulder goes on.

"I don't know why I'm not. I used to think this would be the greatest thing to have happen - Alex Krycek, finally out of my life."

Well, at least he isn't lying to make me feel better or to save my feelings. I hate that. But I wish he didn't look like he meant that statement.

I feel like crying. And I promised myself I wouldn't.

"But I can't be happy about it. It's finally come about. My father's assassin is going to get what's been coming to him for a long time."

"I didn't.."

"Kill my father. Yeah, Krycek, we've been through this a thousand times. And I've never come any closer to believing you. And it's not going to change just because you're on your deathbed."

That remark, true as it could possibly be, I suppose, cuts deeply. I don't need to be reminded that I'm on my deathbed. Don't need to be told. I know it. And I'm trying to get used to it. Quickly, I look away again. I swear, if he keeps looking at me that way, I'll lose it. And then it'll all just go.

Mulder sighs a little, so quietly I hardly hear. Neither of us knows what to say, again, and I hate it. I've always hated silence. Especially when it's as tense as this, uncomfortable, awkward - I could go on listing, for a while.

For the rest of my life, I guess. However long that is.

+ = +

Mulder gets up again, paces around the room. I watch him, admiring, and I suppose a little jealous. It's been a while since I've paced around like that. Easy stride, no pain.

No pain. That's starting to be a foreign concept. Can I even remember what it was like, without the pain?

He stops at the pathetic flowers, looks at them, then turns around to me.

"Who gave you them?"

"Nurse," I reply shortly. No point in saying anything else, how I have no other friends to give me flowers, no one who cares enough to even notice I've been in here.

"They're dying.." he says quietly, and I wonder if he means the double meaning that comes across clear to me.

I nod, and shift a little in my bed. I wonder about his change of attitude, why he isn't yelling, cursing me out, laughing, being violent. It's unlike him. This is too quiet, too peaceful. He's treating me almost like he used to.

Maybe he's been thinking about that night like I have been. The night I went to his apartment.

I didn't know then, but I had cancer. Hell, I didn't know until a week or two ago. Originally, the kiss was simply intended to confuse him...but then I realised how much I wanted him. I always knew, but I didn't know. That doesn't make any sense. I make no sense. This whole fucking situation makes no sense.

Maybe it made him realise, too. Maybe he pursed his lips, wanting it on the lips. Maybe he longed to reach out, pull me in, kiss me back, take me...Maybe my imagination's running away with me again.

Mulder glances towards me in the bed again. His eyes are sad, which surprises me. He cares. I wouldn't have guessed that, otherwise.

"I've...I've got to go, now," he stammers, trying not to break my gaze. Turning, he walks to the doorway, then pauses. I don't know why, but I take the opportunity to ask him a question.

"Are you coming back?"

He looks down at the floor for a minute, then, without replying, leaves. What sort of an answer is that? A 'maybe'? A 'No'?

I hope it's a 'yes'. I want to see him again, even if it is like that meeting. It's just something I have to do, see him. He doesn't realise what it's like from my point of view, what it's like for me.

What it's like to not know how long you have left.

*I'm sitting, cross-legged, in the middle of a clearing. All around is dark, but a light is shining in the clearing, over my body. I'm watching from the side. A small creature comes into view, and I reach forward to pick it up with both hands. However, before I take it, the creature scampers off, and I close my eyes. Darkness takes over totally, and I am alone.*

Strange how I have two arms in dreams. Maybe my subconcious hasn't noticed. But in dreams, I'm always my whole, relatively healthy self. Like I used to be. Perhaps it's just that my subconcious is stuck in the past.

Wonder what Mulder's dreams are like. Wonder who's in them. In my perfect world, I'd be in them. Every night. Naked. But, this isn't my perfect world.

I'm cold. It's midnight, well, eleven minutes past, to be exact. At least, according to the bedside clock. Maybe someone's set it back. Or forward. I don't know. Would it even matter? I don't sleep according to it. I sleep at random times, for random amounts of time. Sometimes sleep doesn't happen.

Not only am I cold, but I'm lonely and miserable. It may sound cliched, but it's true. The streetlights from outside are casting an eerie light. Wish they wouldn't do that. A night nurse should be in to check, soon. I'm sure they have some way of knowing if someone's asleep or not. Can imagine how that conversation would go. 'You're not sleeping. Feeling okay?' 'No, I'm still in pain, I'm cold, lonely and miserable.' 'Ah well, see you in the morning Mr Krycek!'

Not worth it. May as well try to get to sleep. Not that I have much to wake up for. Another day of tasteless food, mindless happiness, fake smiles. Don't know if I can take that for another twenty-four.

I hope I don't dream.

*It's Scully. Is it? No. It's Melissa. Melissa Scully, her sister. Clad in a long dress, which sweeps the ground, and her long hair is draped over her shoulders. Her features are all exaggerated. Silently, she reaches out to me, and takes my hands. She tugs, and involuntarily I step forward...*

She's dead.

I blink my eyes several times, trying to dispel the memory of that dream. Melissa Scully is gone. I don't want to think about why she's beckoning me in my dreams. I hope it doesn't mean what I suspect.

I feel worse this time. Weaker. Sicker, if that's possible. This feeling of hopelessness...it's impossible to get used to. I'm going to die, and I can't do a thing about it.

Outside, the sun is just rising. I look out at the colourful rays of light, shining through the window, and long to be outside in them. Just one more time. But, somehow, I don't think that's going to happen.

It's getting harder to even think a day into the future. I'm wondering if it's because there won't be a day in the future to look forward to. Better not be.

It's hard to be any less negative. Positivity seems to escape me right now. It's hard to be positive with a sword continually hanging over your head. Sometimes I just want it to drop, and stop me from waiting and wondering when it will.

I suppose I should sit up, but I can't. It would take too much effort. There have been too many days like this lately, when it's really bad. Some days are fine. But most are somewhat harder. These days outweight the fine ones, and it's getting worse. Yesterday was fine. Well, relatively so - I got through without hurting too much. But already I can tell that today is going to be one of the worst.

Perhaps it will be the last.

A nurse comes in, despite how early it must be. I don't have the energy to check the clock. She takes a look at me, and I realise that I don't really know her.

She frowns, and I want to ask what is wrong.

Systematically, she checks all my vitals, then leaves again, without even saying a word. Why not? Don't people here understand that not saying anything is much worse than giving me bad news?

Soon, the woman comes back with a doctor. She looks at me, then pulls up a chair to talk to me.

"Are you feeling all right, Alex?"

"Why does everyone ask me that?" I reply weakly. "Do I look all right?"

"Actually, no."

I blink, and wonder if I should have been wanting everyone to be straight with me. Her face is the perfect picture of concern, and I wonder if it's sincere. She looks up at the nurse again, and she tactfully leaves.

"Is there anyone you'd like to see, today?"

I can hear what she's not saying; 'You're going to die. Want to see anyone one last time?' I don't reply, and she goes on, suggesting.

"Maybe your parents, siblings, girlfriend?"

I look away, and realise that I'm crying. For the first time since I came in here. It's suddenly hit me, now.

She makes no movement to comfort me, and I start crying uncontrollably. One part of me can't believe this, turning into such a wreck after going through all of this, and the rest of me is saying how I need it.

Eventually, there's a lull in the tears, and she touches my shoulder. I turn to her.

"Mulder. I want to see him."

She nods, and asks how they can contact him. I give her his phone number - I memorised it a long time ago, and she nods slightly.

And leans over and hugs me. I hear her whisper in my ear, "Be brave."

She stands up, and walks out the door. I simply turn my face and start crying a little, again. It's come to me that I'm never going to see a lot of people again. And it's the strangest ones that I'm going to miss.

Skinner, my ex-boss who punched harder than anyone I've ever met. Scully, with the ice-blue eyes and perfect red hair. The Smoking Man, I suppose I'll even miss him. He's been a part of my life for so long. The other consortium members.

My family. Even though I haven't known them for a long time, I'll miss knowing they were around. They won't even know.

All those people who won't care when I'm dead, or who might even be happy. And I'm sad that I won't see them. I won't see anyone.

Mulder, you've got to come. I have to tell you something.

I stay still, crying on and off, thinking about everything and yet nothing, at the same time. I don't talk out loud; there's no one there to hear me. A couple of nurses come in and leave again, but none of them talk to me.

And then he comes.

He's dressed so casually, yet it seems so appropriate. Jeans. A shirt, hanging out over the belt loops. Running shoes. His hair's a mess, but it all seems so perfect to me. He picks up the chair, and draws it next to my bed. He looks at me, and his features no longer show zero emotion.

"Krycek," he murmurs, quietly, soothingly. I open my mouth, but he shakes his head, anticipating what I'm about to say.

"Alex," he begins again. Using my first name almost causes me to lose all control again, but not quite. He smiles gently, and I wonder when he decided I'm not the cold-blooded killer he once thought.

"Mulder," I say quietly, "Why did you come?"

I don't know why I had to ask that. What do I want him to answer? What do I expect?

"Because," he replies simply, "I realised that I don't hate you. I can't just let you go."

For some reason, I'd rather he didn't say 'die'. I'm glad he didn't. But I wish he didn't have to say either.

"You don't hate me?"

"No, I don't."

Nice to know that. Did you really have to leave it until I'm like this, Mulder? He's not avoiding my eyes - in fact, it is I that is having trouble meeting his.

Something breaks inside. I don't know how else to put it, but something gives, lets go. I can physically feel it, and my vision blurs in the slightest. I'm slipping. I want him to put his arms around me. I want to be held. I draw in a breath, and he hears, leaning forward.

"Alex?"

I nod, and shut my eyes for an instant. I feel almost like I'm fading, and I need to sleep.

"Hold me?" I suggest softly. I don't have the strength to beg, or ask coherently. He nods, understanding, and takes me in both arms, coming onto the bed.

Instinctively, I move my head for him to cradle, and he does so. Everything's darkening now, all I can feel, all I know, is Mulder, this close, holding me. His breathing. His heartbeat. I have to tell him something, even though I know it's going to be the last thing I'm able to do.

"Mulder.." I whisper, being unable to say it any louder. He murmurs something, and I realise he's heard. I finish; "I love you."

He strokes my hair a little, and I feel like crying, but the tears won't come any more. It's all too late.

"I love you too, Alex."

Let go.

*It's totally dark, and I am utterly alone. No lights, no gaps, just opressing darkness, all around. At least the pain is gone now. I don't know where I am. There's no way to tell. It's relatively warm. I don't know where to go, whether or not to walk. All I know is a feeling of complete and utter peace.*

==========

Hug an author, send feedback. AlexKrycek@innocent.com

 


 

27 Nov 98
Title: Too Late
Author: Fleur
Rating: Hell, it'd be only a PG13 to an M15. What's happening to me?
Spoilers: Small, for a fair few Krycek eps.
Summary: Mulder sorts a few things out.
Archive: Anywhere.
Feedback: Directed to AlexKrycek@innocent.com would be nice.
Disclaimer: If they were mine, I wouldn't put them through this.
Author's Note: Beta by the slightly drunk, but wonderful as ever, Frankie. I don't think Sue approves of this sort of silliness. <g>. Nicole also beta-d.
BIG NOTE: This is a companion piece to "Let Go". If you missed LG, it can be found on my website; [website address given by author no longer valid -- archivist] - and if you have read it, you'll know most of the plot. However, Our Fox does have a life outside of LG, and this piece also tells that. Of course, if you haven't read Let Go, I think this'll still make sense.


=======================
"TOO LATE" by Fleur
AlexKrycek@innocent.com
14/11/98
=======================

I don't know what I'm doing.

Well, I know what I'm doing, but not why I'm doing it. I'm still at work - but I'm not getting anything done. Scully's been shooting me weird looks.

I got a message earlier. I didn't talk to whoever it was that left it; someone brought it down to me.

"Agent Mulder - a friend of yours is in hospital. He wants you to visit as soon as possible."

All the rest of the message was, was the address for the hospital. I didn't even know who this person was. "A friend" of mine. I don't exactly have many male friends. A few enemies, but not many friends.

I think I've been staring into space for a bit too long, because Scully sighs and looks at me. I meet her eyes.

"Mulder, what's the matter."

I shake my head. "Nothing, I'm fine."

She raises an eyebrow. She knows what the message reads; I showed her it earlier. "Do you want to go to the hospital?"

I don't answer. There's no need to - she knows I want to go.

"Mulder, go. I don't mind. You're not getting anything done here."

I smile at her. "Thanks."

"I'll call you later."

I nod, get up, gather up my car keys and a couple of other items, and walk out the door.

The car trip takes longer than I expected. The traffic's heavy, of course... but I had expected as such. It's silent in the car - I hadn't bothered to turn the radio on. I'm still trying to figure out who it could be, that I'm now battling D.C. traffic to see.

I hate hospitals. I've been in and to enough, but they always spook me out. Too creepy. Just the atmosphere in them, is enough to freak anyone.

Luckily, the drive to the hospital takes nearly an hour. Gives me time to think.

It could be just about anyone, really. Who, male, considers me "a friend"? That's the sixty-four million dollar question.

Eventually, I pull up outside the building. It's tall, white, looming overhead, and intimidating me. Even so, I walk inside and up to reception.

The receptionist looks at me, expecting me to say something.

"I'm here to see someone," I begin, then realise just how ambiguous that sounded. "I got a message earlier in the day, telling me that someone had asked to see me, but I don't know who it was."

She reaches for a wad of memos, and asks me my name. I tell her, then inwardly grin as she fixes me with a `you can't be serious' look.

After about a minute of flicking through, she looks back up at me. "Here you are. Fox Mulder."

I don't see why she has to say that. I just told her my name. Maybe she's just testing it out, to see if it's real.

"Room 183, Mr Mulder," she tells me, then points to the elevator. I nod once, understanding, and walk over to it.

The elevator doesn't look like it will make it up the ride. For such an outwardly modern hospital, parts of the inside are surprisingly shabby.

I'm impressed when it does, and quickly step out. The halls are white. Everything's surprisingly white in here, and I hate it. It's very quiet - the only things breaking the silence are the low murmurs of voices, and the click of nurses' heels.

Room 183 isn't too far down the hall, and I soon reach it. The door's only slightly ajar, and I pause to look at the name beside it.

Alex Krycek.

I can't believe it. I've come here to see that double-crossing son-of-a-bitch in his hospital bed? He requested to see me? If he considers me "a friend", I'd hate to meet some of his enemies.

It'd be stupid to turn back now, I reason. I may as well go in there and see the bastard. Might even be cheering.

I still can't believe it's Krycek, though. He's about the last person I'd have guessed to be this male friend of mine.

I enter the room, pausing in the doorway to look at him in the bed.

It's bad, I can tell straight off.

I hardly recognise him - very pale, and he's lost a lot of weight, particularly in the face. His features stand out - his eyes are dulling, but with the rim of thick eyelashes, you can't exactly miss them. His lips are dryer, but still have their shape, although not their usual colour. The vibrancy, the spirit of the man, has almost totally left, and all that's left is his body.

Is he dying? He looks extremely sick, even if he's not.

"Krycek," I greet him. It sounds cold, impassioned - although I'm sure that is the correct way to speak to the assassin of your father, even if he is dying.

I can't look at him any more. It's simply too hard - so I stare out the window. There's not much of a view, although, what really can you expect? I sigh.

"Hey, Mulder," is his reply, trying to sound casual, but failing. His voice is strained, and sounds weaker than normal. I find myself almost missing that arrogant sneer of his.

"What happened to you?" I ask, and I know how uncomfortable I must sound. I am uncomfortable. I don't know what to think.

That question seems to stir something in him, and I can see plainly on his face his struggle for a more snappy answer. Eventually, he gives up on that idea.

"Cancer."

Shit. He is going to die. How the hell did he contract that? It's not right. The Cigarette Smoking bastard should die of cancer, lung cancer. Not his young subordinate.

Why do I care?

I know my face is blank. I'm trying to stay emotionless, at least on the surface. It isn't totally working.

I can't think of anything to say. Speechless. Luckily, Krycek speaks.

"Hey, Mulder, when I die, want me to leave you my jacket?"

That hits hard. I don't know how he can openly joke about his own mortality like that. I shrug a little, not knowing how to respond, and shift my weight a little. Still, I'm avoiding his eyes.

I can see Krycek's almost despairing. I'm not being fair - the man wanted to see me, and now I'm being like this. I can't help it, but it's surely not what he needs.

Why *do* I care?

I move, drawing a chair to his bedside, and sitting down in it. It's hard to keep my eyes trained on his face like this, hard to handle... and it's just as bad for him, I can see.

"You're going to die, Krycek?" I ask ever so tactfully. I'm good sometimes.

Krycek is the one who turns away this time, and I hate myself for saying that.

"Looks like it," he says quietly. "Sucks to be me, huh."

I wish he'd stop being so casual, flippant, offhand. It's making it harder for me.

Why do I care?

I look away from him again, without smiling. I can't believe how awkward this is. I shouldn't even be here. I don't know why he wants to see me, of all people.

Silence takes over then, and Krycek looks down.

For some reason, I have a flash of memory, from when we were partners. He was told to take me home and basically put me to bed. He drove, and I was quite out of it. When we got inside my apartment, the two of us just sat on the couch and talked for a while. We watched a bit of television, drank some beer... and then eventually he put me to bed, so to speak. By that time, I was extremely close to informing him I sleep a lot better when there's body heat from another next to me. I didn't, however, and he left. I never seize opportunities until they're no longer available.

Krycek suddenly looks up, and I wonder if he knew I was thinking about him.

"Go on, Mulder."

I frown, thinking I've missed a part of the conversation. "What?"

Krycek continues. "Laugh. Grin. Be happy. I'm never going to be here to bother you again. You'll be free of Alex Krycek."

His voice almost breaks at the end of that, and he looks down again.

It's cutting, that's all I can say. He expects me to be happy? Hell, I think I should be. Possibly my worst enemy is going to die.

You know, they say that enemy is not a word of hate, it's what we call our lovers when we don't love them any more. I can't remember who said that, but it's not true. Not for Krycek and I, anyway.

Slowly, carefully, picking my words, I reply, "Your dying doesn't make me happy, Krycek."

"Sure, Mulder."

That sounds weak. Knowing him, he meant sarcasm, but it didn't come out right.

"I'm not happy that you're dying, Krycek, even though I should be."

That's true enough. I should be. I want to be. But I can't be. Krycek doesn't say anything, so I continue, "I don't know why I'm not. I used to think this would be the greatest thing to have happen - Alex Krycek, finally out of my life."

He looks like he's about to cry, although I don't know why.

"But I can't be happy about it. It's finally come about. My father's assassin is going to get what's been coming to him for a long time."

He interrupts. "I didn't..."

"Kill my father," I finish for him. "Yeah, Krycek, we've been through this a thousand times. And I've never come any closer to believing you. And it's not going to change just because you're on your deathbed."

Shouldn't have said that. I want to take it back. Badly. But I can't, and Krycek really looks stung by the remark. He looks away again, and I sigh softly.

After a few more minutes of that awkward silence, I get up and pace around the room.

There's a vase full of flowers, but the flowers aren't fresh. They're dying. I wonder about the symbolism of that.

"Who gave you them?" I ask, indicating the flowers.

"Nurse."

"They're dying," I say softly, and wonder if he takes the double meaning that's unintentionally included in that statement.

After a minute more, I glance back at Krycek in the bed. "I've..." I stammer, "I've got to go now."

He nods a little, and I walk to the door, then suddenly pause, for no good or apparent reason. He asks me a question.

"Are you coming back?"

I don't answer, simply looking at the ground. I don't know *what* to answer, so I simply leave.

The traffic's lessened since I arrived at the hospital, and I'm soon back at my apartment.

Scully's left a message on the machine, asking to call her. I don't know if I can... I'd have to tell her about the hospital, and I'm not sure I even understand my feelings.

I shouldn't be sad. I shouldn't feel the degree of depression that I currently do, due to the fact I've found Alex Krycek is going to die.

Why do I care?!

Maybe talking to Scully will cheer me up.

Fine. I dial her number quickly, and she soon picks up.

"Scully, it's me."

"Mulder? Are you okay?"

Observant, is Scully. Always picks up on my moods.

"Kind of."

"How was the hospital? Everything okay?"

"Not really."

So I'm not very talkative.

"Who was it?"

I gulp. "Krycek."

"*Alex Krycek*?!" she exclaims, and I can almost see her face. I know how much she hates him.

"He's, uh..."

"What?"

"He's dying."

Silence on the other end.

"Krycek's dying?"

That's what I said, isn't it, Scully?

"And you care?" she continues.

Gotta hate the way she always asks the right questions.

"I don't know, Scully. I shouldn't. I shouldn't care that the double-crossing rat who's betrayed me a million times over, killed my father and many others, and got you abducted, is going to die. I don't know why I do."

She's silent for a minute. "You don't hate him."

What the hell?! "Of course I hate him. He's a lying, murdering bastard."

"You never hated him, Mulder."

I don't say anything. She's going to explain what she means. I hope. Or I swear I'll hang up this phone.

"You hate the fact he betrayed you. The two of you were friends, and you know you don't have many friends, Mulder.."

I almost smile, at that one. She continues.

"You felt awfully betrayed when you found out he wasn't sincere. And that's what you hate. You don't hate Krycek, despite what he's done to you. I know you, Mulder."

She does. Too well. How does she know all that?

I hate to admit it, but she's totally right. How can she be so perceptive?

"Hey, Scully, I'm meant to be the psychologist here."

"Self-blindness. Don't worry about it."

I can hear her wry smile.

"I'd better go," I say.

"Okay. Bye, Mulder.."

I hang up the phone, and wander aimlessly around the apartment. It's pretty late - I'd be well advised to get some sleep.

The apartment's pretty dark. Might have something to do with the fact it's night and I don't have any lights on.

I don't bother to turn any on, and just lie down on the couch, flicking the television on. I turn a video on, but it doesn't do much for me. I've seen it so many times, I know every movement of the bodies, every moan.

I fall in to restless sleep after a while, and start to dream.

*The floor is hard, and I'm alone. There's a wind creeping up, and when I look down, I'm completely naked. It's freezing, and I want to call out, but can't. I don't know what to do. No one's around.*

The phone ringing brings me out of it. There sure must have been a lot of dreamless sleep, because now it's morning. Light's streaming through my window, and I have to shut my eyes and feel around for the phone. Eventually, my hand finds it, and I bring the reciever up to my ear.

"..llo?"

"Fox Mulder?"

"Mmm," I reply sitting upright.

"This is Doctor O'Brien."

Krycek's doctor. Shit. I don't say anything, opening my eyes and waiting for the doctor to continue.

"Mr Krycek has requested you come and see him."

"Is he okay?" I ask, somewhat anxiously. The tone of my voice surprises me.

A distinct pause. "Well, to be perfectly honest, no. He's gone downhill quite a bit."

I half-freeze. It's too soon. "I'll... I'll be right there."

Before he can answer, I hang up the phone. Screw work, I decide. Quickly, chuck on clothes - jeans, an untucked shirt, and running shoes. I grab the keys and jog down to my car.

At this time of morning, the traffic isn't at all bad. The trip to the hospital only takes about half an hour, and I don't have to say much at reception, this time.

Trying hard to keep my emotions in check, I go up to Krycek's floor.

A nurse meets me on the way.

"Mr Mulder?"

I nod. "Is Krycek all right?"

She sighs a little. "I think you should go and see for yourself."

I simply look at her. "Is he going to be all right?"

A sigh. "I'm afraid not. His vitals have taken a turn for the worse. Frankly speaking, he'll be lucky to see lunchtime."

Oh, god.

"I'm sorry, Mr Mulder."

I nod, and brush past her, trying not to cry. Goddamnit, I can't. I don't care about him. I can't care.

I walk in the doorway, and look at Alex in the bed. He does look worse. Weaker, less like himself... and much sicker. I cringe, and draw the chair up to the bedside again.

I wish I didn't care.

"Krycek," I begin softly, looking square into his eyes. He opens his mouth to say something, but I anticipate it. "Alex.."

I smile a little, trying to hide what I feel.

"Mulder," he practically whispers, "Why did you come?"

Good question. Why did I?

"Because," I say almost as quietly, "I realised that I don't hate you. I can't just let you go."

He looks somewhat surprised. "You don't hate me?"

I wish his voice wasn't so weak.

I don't. Scully knew that. Scully's too observant, sometimes.

"No, I don't."

Saying that does something to him, because he visibly pales, and his eyes dilate even more than they already are. He draws in a breath sharply, and I lean forward to him.

"Alex?"

He nods, and shuts his eyes for an instant. In a hoarse whisper, he suggests, "Hold me?"

I look at him for a split second, then something truly wrenches inside me. He's slipping, he's going.

He's dying.

I move onto the bed, and hold him in both arms, just cuddling. He moves his head so I can cradle it, and I do so, stroking a hand through his hair, comforting.

If someone had told me two days ago I'd be on Alex Krycek's hospital bed, holding him in his last moments, I'd have likely smacked them upside the head.

He whispers my name, and I bend my head down to hear what he has to say.

"I love you," he says simply.

He what?

I don't believe it. This man, who has hit, hurt, betrayed me, a thousand times over, loves me. That, however isn't the most unbelievable thing. The fact is...

I love him too.

How can I? How can I love someone who has caused me such pain, such hurt in my life... and is now going to die.

I can't. Surely. But it's true. Maybe that "enemy" statement is closer to the truth than I had thought.

"I love you too," I reply, and a tear slips down my face, finally.

Suddenly, Alex's head is a little bit heavier, his body resting on mine more than a few seconds earlier. That's all the transition is between life and death, breathing and not, love and hate.

Goodbye, Alex. I'm sorry I didn't say something earlier.

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Feedback'd be nice. AlexKrycek@innocent.com