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Alex Through the Looking Glass: Day One


Contains explicit male/male sex, BDSM, and disturbing themes.

Pairing: Mulder/Krycek/Krycek

Summary: Alex Krycek finds himself face-to-face with another version of himself in an alternate universe—a very dangerous and seductive Alex Krycek. Alex quickly realizes he may not live to see the morning, much less ever return to his own world.


Disclaimer: The X-Files belong to Chris Carter and Ten-Thirteen Productions. No infringement is intended.


Alex Krycek paused in front of the restaurant. Ikura, it was called. Japanese. He’d been walking for what seemed like hours and he was tired and thirsty. He felt vaguely that he should also be hungry, but somehow he wasn’t, really. But a little green tea and miso soup sounded good. It would be nice just to sit down and relax for a little while.

It had been niggling at the back of his mind for some time now that he shouldn’t really be in New York. Not now, anyway, and not in his work clothes: grey suit, white shirt, red and navy striped tie. Something was wrong, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. He didn’t really know this part of the city, although he seemed to think he knew just where he was going, and that didn’t quite make sense either.

Well then, it was time to stop. Rest and try to sort things out.

He stepped inside the restaurant. It was cool and quiet and peaceful here, and he knew at once that he’d done the right thing. He stood for a moment, enjoying the calm and smiling thoughtfully to himself.

“Your name, Sir?”

He hadn’t noticed the man appear behind the lectern. “Alex Krycek.” He knew he didn’t have a reservation, but somehow it didn’t seem necessary to say so.

“Right this way, Mr. Krycek.”

He nodded and followed the man to the back of the restaurant, where the private rooms were. That was nice—a room to himself. Although, once again, he had no idea why this should be. He bent to pull off his shoes and set them on the low step outside the small, paper-walled enclosure, then stepped up into the room.

But he was already there.

* * *

Now, this was how he should be dressed—nubby silk shirt in pale blue, chocolate brown fine wool trousers, elegant black leather jacket draped across one of the pillows before the low table. Of course, clothes like these were easily two months of his FBI salary. And why the hell was he standing here worrying about how he was dressed? Or how this other man was dressed. But this other man was him.

The other Krycek stared at him with widened eyes. The voice that spoke was his own. “You’re an X-File. You don’t want me, you want Mulder.”

The rush of heat to his groin took him by surprise—after all, this was himself he was looking at. But a self he’d only ever dreamed about. Was he dreaming now? Had he totally lost his mind? But the question was merely amusing, and unimportant. With dream logic, he decided that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, not to be missed even it was only happening inside a deranged mind.

He favored his rough silk and soft leather other self with his best cocky grin. The one he tormented Mulder with, knowing it would get him into trouble. Hoping it would get him into trouble. Knowing that this man would know exactly what he meant by it—and that his kind of trouble would put Mulder’s to shame.

“Of course I do. So do you. What’s the difference? It’s just masturbation, anyway.”

* * *

“Maybe.” Alex Krycek let his own smile widen, and looked his counterpart in the eyes. “We’d need to make further investigations to be sure. Don’t you think?” And then his gun was out, and he was back two steps, out of easy range. “Look, I’m sorry,” he said, meaning it. “We’re going to have to do the drill. Hands in the air… okay, now put your gun on the table. Left hand only, keep your right hand where it is. All right, now slide it away from you.”

He would have been more comfortable having the gun on the floor. But if this guy were as much like him as he looked, there’d be another gun in an ankle holster, there to deal with precisely this situation.

The problem was, you had to consider all of the possibilities. There were still people around who wanted him dead. It had annoyed those people, seriously annoyed them, when they learned that they would not be allowed to kill him. If they could arrange to replace him with a double, perhaps an incompetent double who’d get himself killed in some legitimate fashion as soon as he tried to do Krycek’s job: well, they would find that tempting, wouldn’t they? He wasn’t important enough to justify all the trouble; but then, you could never underestimate malice. As far as he knew, the technology didn’t exist to really duplicate a person’s appearance; but if dealing with the Consortium taught you anything, it was that just because you didn’t know something existed didn’t mean it didn’t.

And that went for visitations from alternate versions of yourself, too. Open your mind to extreme possibilities. He smiled a little: that thought came out, inevitably, in Mulder’s voice. Voiceprint and fingerprint would at least suggest an answer to the question of whether this was an impostor or an Extreme Possibility. But if he was an Extreme Possibility, then there was a whole new set of problems. Like, whose universe is this, anyway?

Say he really is an aspect of yourself. You can’t trust him, not yet. But he’s not stupid, you’ll be able to talk to him.

And at least his visitation was cooperating so far. “Thanks,” he said. “Now take the jacket off. Slowly, don’t scare me. You know the routine.”

“Yeah, I know the routine,” his other self said. He looked a little shaky, but he was still grinning. The jacket came off, was tossed carefully to his feet. The shirt beneath the jacket and shoulder holster was cut close to the body: there were no more weapons concealed there. He needed trank darts for this, dammit, it was probably idiotic of him not to carry them routinely.

“Now the gun in the ankle holster,” he said. “Same drill—”

“I get the idea,” the man said, and flashed him that grin. Come and make me, the grin said. But he balanced carefully, keeping his right hand over his head, dropped to one knee and extracted the gun.

There could be another one concealed somewhere, but the point came when you had to accept some risk. He moved cautiously around his counterpart and came up behind him, keeping the gun steady. “Look, I’m going to have to knock you out for a few minutes,” he said. “It’s all right, I’m not going to do any damage. I just like masturbation better when I’m sure it’s not going to kill me, okay?” His left hand was already slipping around the man’s throat, fingers searching for the carotid pulses. “Tell you what,” he said softly. “If you check out, maybe I’ll give Mulder to you.” Then his hand tightened, and his visitation (other self? clone? brother?) slumped unconscious into his arms.

* * *

He came to lying on his stomach, arms and legs outspread. A tentative attempt to move confirmed that he was bound by wrist and ankle. And naked. Carefully he opened one eye, just a slit, and found himself staring at the wall. Naturally. No pretending to be unconscious and checking out his surroundings through almost-closed eyes. He swallowed uneasily. All right, just what the hell had he gotten himself into? He’d seen a man who looked just like himself—except a self with more money and better clothes and a lot more self-confidence. A man who had seemed to recognize him, and who made some cryptic remark about Mulder and the X-Files. And like a stupid teenager on hormone overload, he’d immediately made a pass and gotten a gun pulled on him. Very, very bright. It was a serious wonder that he was still alive at all.

This guy could be anybody. A secret twin, a doppelganger, a ringer sent in by the powers that be to take over because he was screwing up his job…. Well, one thing he wasn’t was a figment of Krycek’s imagination—he’d still never managed to tie himself up. The first words out of the man’s mouth had been, “You’re an X-File.” He also wasn’t was some total stranger who just happened to look like Alex Krycek. He was either a Krycek impostor or… ? God, Mulder would love this.

Still not turning his head, he took stock of what his limited range of vision could tell him. His outstretched arm was captured at the wrist by a wide leather cuff, lined with soft fleece. A sturdy metal chain ran from the cuff down over the side of the bed. The other three cuffs would be the same, chained to the four legs of the bed frame. Classic S/M gear. No surprise there—if there was another Alex Krycek in the universe (or another), he was just as likely to be into dominance and submission games as the Krycek now tied to the bed was. There was some slack in the chains—just enough for an entertaining struggle, if he felt inclined to provide one. Just a little bit of control to be taken away at his captor’s whim.

The sheet on which he lay was soft white cotton, clean and fresh. The wall at which he stared was painted brick, also white. Not standard apartment-beige, but pure colorless white. Fastidious and unforgiving. Wherever he was, it was the other man’s territory. And he was in deep, deep shit. Even if this was some genuine alternate-universe Krycek, that didn’t mean the guy wasn’t going to kill him. He didn’t seem like the kind of man who’d appreciate someone running around in his body and a cheap suit.

Well, it was time to face the music. Slowly he lifted his head and turned to look out onto the room. There was his doppelganger, sitting in a chair on the opposite side of the room, watching him with half-closed eyes and a hazy smile.

That’s my face and I don’t like it looking at me like that, he thought. But didn’t say it out loud. He was in enough trouble already. (Typical of him to figure it out one gun and four leather cuffs too late.) He was scared shitless and his cock was so hard he thought he’d come if he moved. If this guy did turn out to be more interested in working him into a frenzy than working him over, he was going to be in for one wild ride. The sensible part of him—the scared part of him—wanted desperately to be out of there. The part that drove too fast and climbed out onto ledges and cruised leather bars wanted nothing more than to be right where he was.

But what he wanted was irrelevant, wasn’t it? It was all up to the man sitting across from him, watching him with his own eyes. If he thought he could hide his fear from that intimately familiar gaze, he would try. But he was entirely naked here, and not just of his clothes. So he offered his fear to the other, and hoped he would appreciate the gift.

The smile widened ever-so-slightly, and an almost imperceptible nod of understanding was returned. Should he be relieved, or was that just an attempt to lull him into a false sense of security? Damn. And he’d thought doing it with himself would be fun. Not, apparently, when you’re a manipulative bastard, and completely at your own mercy.

The other continued to regard him, saying nothing. Waiting for him to speak first. To protest, to plead, to wisecrack. He would do none of these. Quietly, he asked,

“What’s the verdict?”

“I think you’ll live,” the man said. “Probably. We’ve still got a lot to sort out.”

He wondered whether he should be relieved. The words were calm and businesslike, but the man was still giving him that pleased, speculative gaze, as though this were a game and he had just made his move. But, ‘a lot to sort out’—that could mean anything. So, all right, he was being fed his line. “Like what?” he asked.

“We have the same fingerprints.”

“Well, of course we do—” Then he stopped. What the hell was he thinking? “That’s impossible,” he said. “Even identical twins—”

“I know.” His own twin cut him off. “And a clone’s really just a high-tech identical twin—same genetic material. So if identical twins don’t have the same fingerprints, clones shouldn’t either. At least, I asked my closest medical source, and she couldn’t think of a reason why they would. I’m getting a DNA comp done, just in case there are more things in plastic surgery than are dreamt of in my philosophy. But really, I think I’d be surprised if they don’t find a match.”

So he didn’t know what the hell was going on here, either. That was reassuring, in a way. Win one, lose one: his captor hadn’t been sent to kill him, but whatever was going on made no sense at all. “So you were right,” he said. “I am an X-File. Or else you are.”

The man in the chair laughed, and something in his body seemed to relax a little. “And so were you. It is masturbation. Although I don’t know about the ‘just.’ ”

It reminded him of just how hard his cock was, and that struck him as unfair, under the circumstances. “It isn’t yet,” he said, a little reproachfully.

“Don’t worry.” It was a different voice suddenly, low and velvety. He rose and strolled over to the bed. Krycek twisted his neck, trying to follow the man’s movements. His body tensed involuntarily in anticipation. But the touch, when it came, was precise and clinical, a brief palpitation of the muscle of his right shoulder. “Do you have any drug sensitivities you’re aware of?” his double asked.

He had to bite back his first three answers. “I’m allergic to penicillin,” he said finally. “I don’t know of anything else.”

“So far, so good. Me too.” From what he could see, his twin was filling a syringe from a clear glass bottle as he spoke. This was getting scary again.

* * *

The man sat down on the bed next to him. Krycek could feel the heat from his body. “Here’s the thing,” he said. “Prisoner’s dilemma, sort of. If we really are the same person, if this is some kind of paranormal event, if neither of us has an unpleasant secret agenda, then we’re clearly better off trying to work together. You have some reason to think that you might be able to trust me, because I could obviously have killed you by now and I haven’t.”

“But you have no reason at all to think you can trust me, because I haven’t had a chance to refrain from killing you,” he offered. This was clearly a new level of perversity, something that had never occurred to him in his most overheated fantasies. See how long you can maintain linear thinking, on a complex problem, with your cock reminding you of just what it wanted every time you took a breath. Right. Explain that one in the back rooms.

“Exactly. And I’m not quite ready to let you make the demonstration. So here’s what we’re going to do.” He brought his hand around, showing Krycek the needle. “If your body really is identical to mine, there’s nothing in here that’ll do any harm. It’s a cocktail. It’ll lower your inhibitions a little, make you feel safe, maybe be a little disorienting. It’s actually fairly pleasant stuff: if I liked recreational drugs, I might use it for that, too.”

“It’s something that got developed for interrogations.”

“Well, of course.” The voice was almost soothing. “It’s not dangerous, though, and this is a light dose. It’s not going to turn you into a zombie. It’ll just make it a little harder for you to lie to me convincingly, and a little easier for me to catch you at it if you try. So I’m going to give you this, and then we’re going to fuck, because it’s always easier to talk afterward.” He smiled then, a quick conspiratorial grin. “And, of course, just because. And then I’m going to ask you a whole lot of questions, and then maybe we’ll have enough to reasonably conclude that you and I are the same person, only from parallel universes or something.”

It was nice to at least have the courtesy of an explanation. All right, the guy had pulled a gun on him, kidnapped him, stripped him and tied him to a bed, and was getting ready to shoot him up with some probably-illegal drug. But he still managed to seem oddly trustworthy. Maybe, maybe this was going to be all right. “And if we do,” he said. “Then what happens?”

“Then I untie you and leave you to sleep it off,” his captor said. “And then I pour myself a large drink, and go call my friend Ted, who watches these terrible science fiction TV shows and tapes them, and find out whether he’s got tapes of some show I think he said ran last year, that was all about people traveling through alternate universes trying to get back to the one they started from. And if he does, I think I’m going to borrow them, and watch them and drink brandy until you come to. Okay?”

“Okay,” he said, and grinned back; and made himself hold the grin while the needle slid into his bicep, and the plunger went home.

* * *

I don’t like drugs! he wanted to scream, but he didn’t, since after all it seemed like the best solution, and he wasn’t being given any choice in the matter anyway. And ‘if I liked recreational drugs,’ his counterpart had said, which was one more similarity between them and one more reason to think they might really be…. But he didn’t want to think about that, he didn’t want to think at all, he just wanted the ache in his balls relieved and dammit, if he was going to have to be this scared he at least wanted a good fuck out of it.

The man continued to sit at his side, massaging the needle puncture in his bicep. It wasn’t what he wanted rubbed. The pain of the injection was irrelevant. No, not irrelevant, it was just adding to the fire of his need. A sudden wave of dizziness swept behind his eyes, tingled along his spine and settled over his tailbone. His hips twitched involuntarily. He pulled at the cuffs, frustration making his eyes burn. ‘Lowered inhibitions,’ hell—if they were any lower, he’d be screaming.

The soothing voice that sounded too damn much like his spoke in his ear. “If you’re like me, you don’t like being tied up. But I’m afraid you’re going to have to stay that way a little while longer. If all goes well, there will be time for other pursuits later.”

“I like being tied up,” he spat. “I like being fucked. I just wish you’d get on with it, Hotshot.” Too late he realized that this was probably not the best thing to say. Not if you wanted the guy to think you and he were the same person. At least he had the excuse of the drug this time. Not that that was going to do him any good.

The pain, when it came, was not really that intense—just a light slap on the butt, not even worth calling discipline. But it shot through his sensitized, drugged body like a cat o’ nine tails. He had to bury his face in the mattress and bite his lip, hard, to keep from wailing.

“Don’t call me Hotshot,” his tormentor said mildly.

“I’m not calling you Alex.” It was all bravado, this time, and the shakiness in his voice made that painfully clear.

The other chuckled in his ear. “Yes, we’ll have to sort that out later. Assuming there is a later.”

In another minute he’d be crying in sheer frustration. And that probably would get him killed. “Look, fuck me now or kill me, I don’t care, just please put me out of my misery.”

“All right.” The sudden capitulation was as startling as it was welcome. He lifted his head and watched the man stand and begin to undress. “By the way, there’s no need to try to control yourself. The room is soundproof, the chains are strong, and any little excesses we’ll just chalk up to the drug.”

And for some reason, that made him want to cry, too. It’s the drug, he told himself, not entirely convinced. Stockholm Syndrome. Nerves. Adrenaline OD. Come on, Alex—and I mean you, not the other guy—get a grip. You are about to learn the true meaning of the phrase, ‘Go fuck yourself.’

He was aware that his mental pep talk was making very little sense. What the hell was this drug? If this was a light dose, he didn’t want to know what a normal dose was. Of course the effects would be compounded by fear and however the hell long it was since he’d last eaten and possibly the aftereffects of interdimensional shift….

He giggled suddenly. It was true, he was an X-File. Where the hell was Mulder when you needed him? He felt a sudden stab of need for his partner. Partner? There was something wrong with that, but he couldn’t quite remember….

The other Krycek, now naked, came back to the bed. He was holding something in his hand. A condom and a small bottle of lubricant. Ah well, Alex thought. They’ve got it here too. His other self slid on top of him and stroked his hair soothingly. “You’re really flying, aren’t you? I didn’t think it would affect you that strongly.”

“You forgot to take into account the inter… interdimensional shift. Shift.” His voice echoed strangely in his ears. Or was he really saying everything twice?

“Mm, yes, that must be it.”

Funny, now he was agreeing with himself. Except he sounded indulgent, like he was humoring himself.

Fingers slid between his buttocks, cool and slippery. Ah, that was good. “Mulder,” he moaned.

The fingers left him. Now why did they do that? It was feeling so good. A hand slipped around his throat and held it firmly. “Not Mulder,” his own voice admonished. “You know who’s fucking you. Who am I?”

“Not Mulder.” Well, of course it wasn’t Mulder. Mulder wouldn’t tie him up and fill him full of drugs and most of all Mulder wouldn’t keep on talking when he needed Mulder’s cock up his ass. Only one person ever gave him this much grief, and that was himself.

The hand around his throat gave him a little shake. “Who am I?”

“You’re me.”

“Give me a name.”

Demanding, wasn’t he? Why did he keep harping on that, when it was perfectly obvious? “Krycek. You’re Krycek.”

“And who are you?”

I’m Krycek, too, stupid. But he had a feeling this pushy other self wouldn’t like that. “I’m Alex.”

The grip around his throat softened to a caress. “You’re Alex and I’m Krycek. All right, we’ll go with that, for now. Don’t call me Mulder again.”

“I won’t.” Now will you please, please fuck me?

The fingers resumed lubricating and opening him. He relaxed, finally, sighing with the pleasure of being penetrated. His wrists and ankles burned—he must have been struggling against the bonds, but he didn’t remember it. That was nice too. Spreadeagled and bound and fucked. Very, very nice. Too bad he couldn’t get Mulder to do this. Leave out the damned drugs, of course, and the death threats, but the rest of it was awfully good.

After a time, the fingers slid out of him again. He heard the familiar sound of a foil condom package tearing, and presently felt the head of a cock, guided by a hand, nudging against his anus. He squirmed against it, trying with his limited range of motion to push himself onto it.

“Not so fast,” his voice whispered into his ear. The other Krycek lay on him, covering him, gripping his shoulders, working his hips slowly, with the same clinical precision he seemed to use for everything. The Alex version had that in him, too, he knew—if he concentrated and pushed all doubt and desire from his mind, he could achieve that cold, perfect control. But it was so much easier to just force himself to relax, to lie still, and yield himself to another’s will. He could stand it now—just barely—waiting patiently to be filled, now that the process had begun. Mulder liked it this way too—slow and in control, with Alex lying still beneath him. Just last night it had been Mulder on top of him….

No, not last night. That was the night they came back from the case in Montana; something else had happened after that, something Alex didn’t want to think about. Just think about this: nice hard cock working its way into him. Just a little more pressure now, and he’d be in. A slight shift, a tiny motion of the hips and it would happen. But wait. Let Krycek-in-control have it his way.

“Breathe,” Krycek instructed. So he took a slow, deep breath, and Krycek pushed, and his cock slid in, and they were one….

And that was definitely the drugs. Alex moaned and thrust his hips up against the groin pressing into him. His hands scrabbled for something to hold onto, and found the chains binding his cuffed wrists to the bed. He gripped the chains and whimpered and wriggled, and if he didn’t get fucked through the mattress now, he’d have serious doubts that this was any kind of Alex Krycek on top of him….

Krycek-on-top didn’t disappoint. He settled in and fucked hard, pressing heavily into him—harder than Mulder, who was more used to women and had to be teased into getting rough. Between the hard thrusts pushing him forward, straining his legs against the cuffs on his ankles, and his own fists pulling at the chains at his wrists and drawing them tight, he was truly immobile. Couldn’t move. And Krycek had his hand at Alex’s throat again, holding him firmly, just a slight constriction on his breathing. Couldn’t move and couldn’t breathe. Something very scary was happening, even scarier than naked-and-tied-up-with-a-gun-on-him. Cock pounding into him, that was good—not part of the scary stuff. But can’t move, can’t breathe….

Heavy rushing noise. Bright white light.

He screamed. Tried to struggle, but there was nowhere to go. Krycek didn’t miss a beat, just gripped him harder and kept fucking him. Alex tried to push the images away, but they were flooding his drugged and battered mind now, and wouldn’t stop. They were an odd and terrifying counterpoint to the searing pleasure of being bound and fucked by someone who did it exactly the way he wanted it.

Duane Barry drinking the poisoned water he gave him, and collapsing to the floor.

The smell of sex, sweat dripping in his eyes, fleece lining of leather cuffs rubbing against his wrists and ankles—

Mulder, frantic and exhausted, looking to him for help with haunted eyes, never knowing his partner had betrayed him.

Sounds of flesh slapping against flesh and two sets of lungs gasping for breath—

Weeping as he packed after receiving the call telling him to pull out, knowing he was leaving Mulder forever.

Exquisite friction of cock moving inside him, thrusts driving him into the mattress, rubbing his cock against the cool cotton sheet—

Blinding white light filling his apartment as he fell to the floor, paralyzed and helpless, felt long slender fingers on him, looked into huge, inhuman eyes.

He was screaming again, and sobbing, and his hands and feet had gone cold. And he’d been abducted by aliens, how fucking absurd! He almost wanted to laugh but he was crying too hard. And then he was shuddering in the grip of a powerful orgasm. And the other Krycek was thrusting faster and faster and then he was groaning and pressing into Alex and pulsing his own release.

Tears continued to stream from Alex’s eyes. He really ought not to be crying like this. But the harder he tried to stop, the harder he cried. He’d had to leave Mulder—and right when poor Mulder needed him most. He’d known of course that it couldn’t last, but somehow he’d managed to ignore that fact, and go on as if he really were Mulder’s partner, pretending to himself that the reports he made were really nothing worse than anything Scully had done. Then, suddenly he’d found himself killing people and helping to abduct Scully and they told him he had to pull out…. And all that was bad enough, but then to be abducted by aliens and dropped into some other reality where he was kidnapped and threatened and drugged by another version of himself—it was all just too much. Any sane person would cry after all that. If any person was still sane after all that. The other Krycek lay on him, still-hard cock inside him, stroking the weeping man’s hair thoughtfully. He rested his right elbow on the mattress by Alex’s shoulder and put his chin in his hand.

“What’s happening?” Krycek asked.

It was several long moments before he could choke out any words. “I remember.”

“Remember what?”

“What happened. Oh god, Mulder was right!” And then he had to wait for fresh sobs to subside before he could speak again. The other man just waited calmly.

“They came and took me.” They? And now he was talking like Duane Barry. “The aliens. Little grey men. I was abducted.” His laugh was choked and hysterical. He decided he’d better not do that, either.


“Yesterday, I guess. We took Scully. Mulder was so damned unhappy.” He paused for several choking breaths. “I killed Duane Barry. And we were supposed to take a lie detector test. So they pulled me out.”

“And all this happened yesterday?

“I don’t know! Yes. Or the day before, or something. I went home to pack, to get out. And then it happened.” Tears still dripped from his eyes. And he couldn’t even move his hand to wipe his face. Well, he’d already come all over the sheet, so he didn’t suppose it would matter if he wiped his nose on it too. Still, with his cold alter ego looking down on him, he couldn’t quite bring himself to do it. So he sniffed and dripped and felt like a damned fool. And wanted desperately to beg the other Krycek to untie him now. But he supposed he’d better not do that either. “They came to my apartment. There was a bright light, and I couldn’t move, and there were little grey men—well, you know the story. It was just like that.”

“So they abducted you. Then what?”

Krycek-on-top was cool and inscrutable. Alex had no idea what was going on in the other’s mind. Probably deciding that even if this was a genuine Alex Krycek, he didn’t want such an emotional idiot for an alternate self, and he’d better kill him anyway. “I don’t know. I don’t remember anything after that, except being here. In New York, I mean. Wandering around all morning not knowing what was going on. Not even knowing that I didn’t know what was going on. And then I ran into you.”

He tried very hard to find his cocky grin. He was not sure whether or not he was successful. “So, can we just chalk this up to the drugs?”

Krycek didn’t respond. He was still looking at Alex, thoughtful and serious, still stroking Alex’s hair absently, cock beginning to soften in Alex’s ass.

I’m dead, Alex thought. He thinks I’m making the whole thing up and he’s going to kill me and I’m going to end up in the Hudson and it’s such a dirty river…. Well, at least I had a great fuck before I died.

* * *

“Okay,” he told Alex softly. “It’s okay.” He lay where he was, stroking his visitor’s hair, feeling the trembling in the bound body slow and then begin again in response to some thought or memory.

He was going to take him back over it a few more times, he knew; once you’d really learned any basic safety skill it got into your nerve endings, made it almost impossible to shut the routine down until you’d gotten all the way through to the end. But the truth was, he didn’t think Alex was lying. Which meant that he’d been through a harrowing day and a half or so, and it was time to give him a break. Untie him at least, so you could hold him while you made him run through the story again. And if he was wrong, if Alex was lying, the answer still came out the same: untie him well before the drug wore off, while his judgment was still knocked to pieces. Maybe he’d make a move then, and the drug would make it easy to handle him, and you’d have your answer.

He pulled out of Alex’s body, and felt the sudden rigidity in Alex’s muscles. It made him feel oddly protective. “All right, it’s okay,” he said again. “I’ll be back in just a minute.”

A kind of shuddering laugh from the bound man. “You gonna bring a gun?” he said. “No, guess not, these are nice sheets….” Whatever the next words would have been were lost in the convulsive laughter. Alex shook his head and tried it again. “Bet you’ve got lots of nice sheets.” Now the words were carefully enunciated, like those of a man who’s had too much to drink and knows it.

Krycek let himself laugh back, sharing the joke. “I do have lots of nice sheets,” he told him. “But I’m not going to shoot you on any of them. Or poison you, or hit you on the head, or strangle you. Or kill you at all, okay?” Something in the cadence struck an echo in his mind: Not in a box, not in a tree, not in a car; Sam, let me be…. “I’m going to be dead boring, and get you some orange juice, all right?”

Alex was still giggling. “You’re lying. You don’t have orange juice. You have, I don’t know, raspberry juice. Golden raspberry juice. And you’re going to shoot me and dump me in the river for wearing a cheap suit.”

He leaned over and kissed the back of Alex’s neck. “Yeah, that must be right,” he said. “I was getting confused.” The trembling seemed to be gone, at least for the moment. He gave him one last reassuring pat on the head, and went to collect the things he wanted. That came first: no matter how much he was inclined to trust Alex, he was not going to untie him and then leave him where he couldn’t watch him, even for a couple of minutes, even drugged. Not yet.

* * *

He was half-annoyed to realize when he got to the refrigerator that Alex was right: he didn’t have orange juice. What he had was pear cider, from yesterday’s Greenmarket. Oh, well. Lower glycemic index, better for him anyway. There was too much stuff to carry, he was going to have to make a couple of trips. Juice; telephone to plug into the jack in the back bedroom; robe, yes, let the poor bastard at least have something to put on when he finally manages to get out of bed and we’ll worry about real clothes later; a couple of hot towels, should be towels in the bathroom attached to that bedroom but Cynthia doesn’t always remember to do it…. It felt a little silly, like getting ready to wait out a siege in his spare bedroom. But after all this was what that room was for, this was one of the reasons why it had soundproofing, and a lock; because you never really knew precisely what was going to follow you home.

When he returned from his second sweep through the apartment, carrying the telephone and two bathrobes, Alex had stopped laughing. He’d left him waiting too long: Krycek could see the rigidity in the muscles of his back. He put the phone down, found what he wanted. Then he moved carefully into Alex’s line of vision, so that Alex could see him, see what he was carrying: nothing scarier than a towel and a key. “I said it was all right,” he said gently.

“Sure you did,” Alex answered. Now he sounded bleak and frightened.

Krycek sat at his side, showed him the key. He stroked the length of the stretched right arm. “Give me some slack on the cuff, okay?” It wasn’t really necessary, but it gave Alex something he could do, a way to participate. After a moment the muscles under his hand loosened, and he leaned forward and released the first of the restraints, tossing the chain to the floor, out of easy reach. He felt the shudder run through Alex’s body. Of course: Alex hadn’t let himself believe Krycek was really going to untie him. Krycek reached for the towel and ran it gently over Alex’s face. After a moment, Alex moved to take it from him with his free hand. Krycek gave it to him and let him cry into it while he unfastened the remaining chains. Finally he slid into the bed beside Alex, and took the shaking body into his arms. “It’s okay,” he repeated. “I’m not going to kill you. But I’m afraid I need you to tell me all of it again. I need all the details. All right?”

* * *

An hour later he was sitting across the room from Alex, making phone calls. Alex was curled on the bed, half dozing: it would be a few hours before that gave way to deep sleep.

If he remembered correctly, Scully had some family-related thing she was supposed to do this weekend. That was good: she’d be relieved that he wasn’t asking her to drop everything and come up.

She was in the lab when he reached her. “They’re going to rush your DNA thing for you,” she told him. “But it’s still not going to be done until early next week…. Look, Alex. It makes me nervous when you send us DNA samples. Something’s going on, right? Are you sure you don’t need me to come up there?”

“I’m sure,” he told her. “It’s one of those maybe things. You know: maybe something’s going on. If everybody really saw what they think they saw, then, maybe. Not good enough to actually justify disrupting anybody’s plans.”

“No, it doesn’t sound like it.” She sounded relieved and exasperated with the universe, all at the same time. “No witnesses ever turn out to have seen what they think they saw—hey. Is it at least good enough to make a plausible excuse?” The tone was cheery and conspiratorial. It was still okay, she wasn’t looking for the excuse for herself.

“Could be,” he said. “What’s Mulder doing?”

She laughed; he’d gotten it right. “Persuading the citizens of rural Louisiana that their teenage daughters haven’t made a pact with the Devil.” The rhythms of her speech changed: she was quoting Mulder. “That they do not fly through the bayous at night, or dance naked around boulders. That even if they do, this does not give them the power to kill schoolteachers by cursing them. He said this afternoon that there’s really nothing more he can do there, he’s just holding the local police department’s hand. I know he’d be grateful.” She paused a moment. “I wish you would. He’s getting all edgy again, I don’t think it’s good for him.”

“Well hell,” he told her. “Anything for you, Dana Katherine. —Oh, one thing maybe you could do for me. If you happen to think of any convincing reason, any at all, that two different people could have identical fingerprints and identical DNA, could you give me a call?”

“Well, okay,” she said. “But I think you’d be better off asking the OJ defense team.”

“Yeah,” he said. “I thought so, too.” He talked amiable nonsense with her for a few minutes more; and rang off; and called Mulder.

Continue to Day Two