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Alex Through the Looking Glass: Day Ten and Beyond


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.


There was a huge wrenching feeling, as if he’d been dropped from a great height in all directions at once, and a vast rushing noise that seemed to come from deep within his head, and a dizziness so overwhelming he lost touch with everything, and he felt all his muscles clench and his nerve endings scream and the breath rush out of his lungs—

And then it was over, and he was lying gasping for air on the table, drenched with sweat. And he knew—before he even opened his eyes to the dark, or moved his hand, or felt the table under him, he knew. He was home, in his own universe. The Krycek and Mulder of the other universe were gone, forever, winked out of Alex’s existence. That was loneliness and pain, and his mind reached out, calling in sudden panic, Brother!

Krycek was there. Alex slumped back on the table. The link was still there, but it was no longer simple and natural as breathing—it was muted slightly, like sound under water, and it took constant effort to maintain. I’m home, he sent across the link. It worked, brother. I’m home. I don’t know how long the link will last.…

Take care, Little Brother. Go find your Mulder, flowed smoothly into Alex’s mind. Along with happiness that the experiment had worked. Encouragement. A small cold touch of emptiness, that the universes now separated them.

Alex sighed, smiling sadly. Krycek was right—it was time to go now. Find his Mulder—

No. No longer “his Mulder.” Just “Mulder.” Just one in the universe, and not Alex’s, until he’d made things right between them. Time to let that other universe go, and come back to his own.

* * *

Fortunately, as they’d hoped, the hospital room he’d appeared in was empty this late at night. He was able to creep unnoticed out of the room, and then make his way out of the hospital, with only a few sheepish grins and apologies to the hospital personnel he encountered on his way out into the street.

New York. His New York. Alex stood on the sidewalk and took a deep breath. He felt strange and disoriented and oddly reluctant to begin his work to contact Mulder. Partly, of course, it was fear of what would happen—that he would find Mulder bitter and angry and unforgiving, Scully dead, his enemies in control. Fear that he’d be captured by his former employer, given back to the aliens, experimented on and discarded. Fear that too many years had passed and he’d lost all his chances. Fear that he’d find that he’d made a terrible mistake in coming back here. But most of it, he was sure, was just the strangeness of universe-hopping—of having his component atoms rearranged and shifted and squirted right out of one existence and into another. He remembered the strange, lost fog he’d wandered around in for hours when he’d first arrived in Krycek’s universe, and was glad at least to have his memory of the days that had gone before.

Barely nine days he’d spent the other universe. But it had been a very full nine days. Alex jammed his hands into his jacket pockets, feeling the wads of paper and cash, the John Lennon CD, and the letter from one Mulder to another. He took another deep breath and began to walk, wondering: this time, if he just let his feet take him where they would, where would he end up?

But his feet took him nowhere except where his mind directed, which was to the corner, where he bought a newspaper and caught a cab and directed the driver to take him to the nearest cheap hotel. There, he checked into a room and turned the television on to CNN and sat down with the newspaper and the telephone, and began to put his life back together.

* * *

Almost exactly forty-eight hours later, he was standing behind a tree across the street from Mulder’s apartment building, watching Mulder go up the front steps. It was the first time he’d seen his Mulder since his return—still his Mulder, no way he could stop thinking of him that way—a powerful jolt to Alex’s guts, even from a distance, even in the dark. He watched the lights come on in the apartment, watched Mulder’s shadowed form moving inside. Alex had never been in Mulder’s apartment, although more than once he’d dropped him off in front of the building after a long night’s work. Why had Mulder never invited him in? Why had they never planned evenings together outside of work? What had they really been to each other? Had any of it ever been real? All they’d had were three short, magical nights in Montana—only a few weeks ago to Alex, but here six long months had passed—long enough for Mulder to forget, to convince himself that it had all meant nothing.

Scully had come back, thankfully. It had happened the same here as it had in Krycek’s world—she’d been gone three months, and come back nearly dead. It had shaken Alex to learn about that—she’d lain for days in the hospital, not expected to survive. But she was all right now, with no apparent ill effects, so at least Alex didn’t have that guilt to live with.

But it also meant that he had no excuse not to just march right in and tell Mulder the truth, and accept the consequences.

* * *

He crossed the street and entered the building. His hands were shaking as he approached Mulder’s apartment door. The rest of his life would be decided in these next few hours. As horrible as it had been not to know, he was afraid now to find out, to face Mulder, to feel the inevitable pain.

He took a deep breath and knocked.

* * *

The door opened, and there was Mulder. His Mulder. As close as the other had been, this one was perfect—every shade and nuance, every inch, every cell of him the man who turned Alex inside out, who defined the universe in which Alex existed. It was a shock almost as shattering as the one that had brought him home.

And then this Mulder’s soft, mournful hazel eyes were widening in shock, then brightening with tears, and his gentle mouth was grimacing in joyous pain, and the hands Alex had wondered if he’d ever see again were reaching out to take Alex’s arms, squeezing them as if to test their reality, then gathering him in, pulling him inside the apartment with rough eagerness, kicking the door shut behind them, and pressing him tightly against the adored body.

“Alex,” Mulder whispered hoarsely. His hands mauled Alex’s shoulders, gripped the back of his neck. “Alex. My god. You’re back.”

It was all too much. It was good beyond reason, and heartbreakingly sad. Without thinking, without will, Alex’s arms went around Mulder’s back and his face into Mulder’s neck, and there was nothing at all he could do except try to force his lungs to breathe and hold helplessly to Mulder.

It seemed that Mulder had been moving them back into the apartment, because now they were in the living room, and when they stopped, Mulder took Alex’s face in his hands and stared at him with a smile that was full of tears and wonder. “Alex,” Mulder repeated softly. “You’re back.” He pulled Alex to him fiercely. “I want to know everything. What did they do to you?”

Alex gently disentangled himself. They stood gripping each other’s arms. “I don’t remember much of it.” Oh, god. Mulder didn’t know. He knew Alex had been abducted, still thought him to be an innocent victim. The betrayal was yet to come. Alex’s voice was dull and edged with pain. “I remember being in my apartment, the bright light and the noise, seeing the little gray men, and then it all went black until about a week ago.” And now he was back to where he had been in Montana—he still had to tell Mulder the truth, watch his betrayal shatter everything between them, beg for forgiveness, risk losing it all.

“A week ago? Where were you?” There was accusation in the tone: Why didn’t you come to me immediately? Even that accusation was a tearing pain, and it was oh, so easy compared to what was to come.

“I was in New York. Only it wasn’t our New York.” He stopped, suddenly, let out a short, burbling laugh. “You’re not going to believe this, Mulder. It was another universe almost just like ours, with another Mulder and another Krycek and Scully and everybody. The aliens left me there, and the other Mulder and Krycek helped me get home.”

Mulder’s eyes widened, disbelief on his face, and shock, but also that spark of wonder that meant he was on the trail of some new extreme possibility. “Another universe?”

“Yeah, I had implants that were keeping me there. We took them out. Here.” Alex ran his hand over the tiny scars beside his nose, where the surgery had been.

Mulder took Alex’s face in his hands again, turning it up to the light, thumbs running over the scars, inspecting them closely. “Do you have the implants?”

“No, I gave them to the other Mulder. I had to leave them there, they were holding me to the other universe. I have some other things, though. And Mulder—”

But now Mulder was leaning in to kiss the scars, and to caress Alex’s face with his lips, to brush his mouth softly over Alex’s eyes and cheeks and finally settle onto Alex’s mouth. The kiss was gentle at first, then it grew more urgent, and their tongues joined and their arms wrapped around each other, and Alex could feel Mulder’s heart pounding against his chest, and he was lost in a sea of passion.

When Mulder finally tore his mouth away, it was to press his lips to Alex’s ear and whisper, “I want you. Now.”

He couldn’t let it happen. “Mulder, wait—”

Mulder was already pulling him toward the bedroom. “I want to be inside you. It’s been so long.”

It was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do, but he planted himself firmly and refused to budge. “Mulder, listen to me. I want you too, but we need to talk.”

“We can talk after. Alex—” He stopped, suddenly, and Alex could see the wheels turning behind his eyes. Montana, Alex’s reluctance, that last night after Scully’s abduction when Alex had driven him home—Mulder, I want to be with you, you don’t know how badly, but there are things I have to tell you, that I just can’t tell you now. The spark of betrayal kindled.

“Just let me explain, please, Mulder. For once, let me tell you how it was for me.”

“No!” Mulder pulled away, face crumpling, joy fading from his eyes. His voice was soft, broken, almost a wail. “No, don’t tell me.”

Alex stepped forward, reached out a hand, stopped when Mulder flinched away. “Mulder, please, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, but I have to tell you. I don’t want any more lies between us, please, it’s because I love you that I have to tell you the truth.”

Mulder stood trembling, staring, fists working. “You helped them take her.” There was more sadness in it than anger.

“I told them we were going to Skyland Mountain. I stopped the tram to slow you down. I gave Duane Barry the glass of water they gave me for him, I still don’t know what was in it but I can guess. I never knew what they were going to do to her. I didn’t think they were going to hurt her, but I knew damn well they’d hurt you if you got in their way.” Alex stopped, wrapped his arms around himself. He’d gone cold inside, he couldn’t stop shivering. The pain in Mulder’s face, the deflated hang of his shoulders, stabbed him like knives. Mulder looked as if he’d been beaten. It was Duane Barry all over again, and Alex couldn’t bear it.

Alex took a step forward, then stopped. What was he going to do, throw himself at Mulder’s feet, grovel and beg for forgiveness? He’d do it in an instant if he thought Mulder would understand, but what if it only repelled him? “Mulder, I never wanted to hurt you. Or her, or anybody. I got in over my head, and by the time I figured it out, I didn’t know how to get out of it. It was wrong, but I didn’t know what to do. I’m sorry, Mulder, please forgive me.”

But Mulder was shaking his head, slowly, and backing away. The pain in his face was growing hard. “You were working for them all along.”

“They recruited me right out of the Academy, sent me for special covert training. They made it sound like… Mission Impossible. I was a stupid kid, I thought it would be exciting. I thought I was serving my country.”

“Spying on your fellow agents?” Mulder’s voice dripped bitterness. It was like acid in Alex’s veins.

“They told me you were dangerous, that you kept poking into things you weren’t supposed to know. That you used the X-Files to further your own agenda, and you had friends in high places protecting you. I believed them at first. I made the reports, buried the evidence. But it didn’t take me long to figure out you weren’t what they said you were.”

“But you went right on working for them. Why didn’t you come to me then and tell me?”

“Mulder, I couldn’t. You never would have believed me, you’d have refused to work with me and they’d have had to do something else to keep you under control. And I didn’t know what they’d do to me if I tried to quit. I thought it would be better if I stayed. You’d have someone on your side, even if you didn’t know it. I thought I could protect you. At least, things wouldn’t get any worse.” It was no good, Mulder was determined not to hear him. Alex could see the refusal in his face.

“You were going to protect me by lying to me.” Mulder’s voice was acid bitterness.

“I tried. I stopped filing reports, except when I had to. I lied to them as much as to you. I told them you were no danger, that you were nowhere near the truth, even when you were. I put myself in danger to keep them away from you.”

Mulder flinched at the words, taking them as blows, steeling himself against them, not to believe. “And how were you protecting me by sleeping with me?”

Alex felt his stomach turn to ice, and his chest tightened until he thought his lungs would stop. This was the real betrayal, the one he couldn’t forgive himself for, so how could he expect Mulder to? “I tried to stop it from happening. I tried so hard. I knew it was wrong, Mulder, and I hated myself for it, but I just couldn’t say no to you. I wanted you so badly, and there was nothing I could say to you that would make sense.…” There was a sudden sense of deja vu—but no, it wasn’t deja vu, he really had gone through this before, with Krycek’s Mulder, in the other universe. Krycek’s Mulder had been angry, too, but he had punished Alex, with fists and whips, until all the pain and anger had been scourged away, and then Krycek’s Mulder had forgiven him. Your Mulder will, too, he’d promised. If only it were true.… “But after Montana, when I knew there was no way I could refuse you, I knew I had to tell you the truth. I tried then, that last night in Montana. I’d made up my mind to tell you then, but you begged me for one more night, and I let you talk me into it. I’m not blaming you, Mulder, I know I could have insisted. But one more night—I wanted it, too. I knew it might be the last one. I’d tell you when we got home—I didn’t think it would matter in the long run, just one more day or two. But then Duane Barry took Scully, and you were so unhappy, I couldn’t tell you then. I promised you I’d tell you after, and I meant it. And now—this is the first chance I’ve had since then to tell you, and I’m telling you.”

“You were going to tell me the truth—but then you helped them take Scully. How could you do that, when you knew what she was to me?” Mulder spoke softly, now, the anger drained away, leaving only pain, raw and naked.

“There was nothing else I could do,” Alex replied wearily. “They would have killed you before they’d let you have her. Killed her too. I know you don’t want to hear it, Mulder, but I was protecting you the only way I knew how.”

Mulder shook his head. He was running out of arguments, Alex could see that, but still he refused to accept that Alex was not an enemy. “You’re not who I thought you were. How can I ever trust you again?”

And how could Alex answer him? Mulder wanted to forgive him, but he was afraid to let himself. Afraid to let himself be vulnerable, to expose himself to more betrayal. He’d been hurt so much—how could he be convinced to take that chance again? Then Alex remembered the letter—the one Krycek’s Mulder had written for him to give to his Mulder. Maybe it would help. He dug in his pockets. “Mulder, I have something for you. A letter for you, from the other universe’s Mulder. Will you read it?” He held it out: an ordinary white envelope, with Fox Mulder’s signature scrawled across the seal of the flap.

Mulder reached out to take the envelope, reluctant fascination playing across his face. Good, Alex thought. Thank heaven for Mulder’s curiosity. Whether he believed in the letter or not, his driving need to see everything in the universe would force him to look at it, think about it, distract him a little from nursing his hurt. And maybe create a little chink in his armor.

* * *

Mulder opened the envelope slowly, and spent many long minutes staring at the sheet of paper he withdrew from it. The disbelief was hard on his face at first, as he read, and his jaw jutted out determinedly, steeling himself against whatever it was he was seeing on the page. But then the color started to drain from his face, and the paper in his hand trembled, and he began to shrink in on himself, and it seemed that the words on the page were striking out at him, and falling true to their targets. Finally, he lowered the paper and looked at Alex.

“Have you read this?”

Alex shook his head. “No, it was sealed when he gave it to me. I didn’t think I should, anyway. It’s between you and him.”

Mulder’s attempt at a derisive laugh was sharp and desperate. “You really expect me to believe that this is from an alternate universe version of myself?”

Alex shrugged. “What I expect has nothing to do with it. You’ll either believe it or you won’t. He wanted to write it for me, I didn’t ask him to. He—” Alex had to stop for a moment, remembering: a Mulder diamond-edged with his need for pain, who was not gentle or kind but who had gentleness and kindness in him, who had taken in a lost interdimensional traveler and done his best to make him feel comfortable and cared for. “He was nice to me. He didn’t have to be, but he wanted to help.”

Mulder held out the letter, and said softly, “Go ahead and read it.”

Alex took it, and read:

How do you write a letter to a self you’ll never meet?

I’ve been thinking about that for hours now, picking up the pen and putting it down again. It seemed easy when I first had the idea: I’d tell you about things only I could know. Like how I used to call my sister “Spamantha,” how it always made her angry, how she’d launch herself across a room at me like an attack dog, flailing and kicking; how I always used to think it was funny until afterward, when she was gone, and how I hated myself for it then. Or like Dad’s pen, the one I’m using to write this letter, that fascinated me when I was little because it had to be filled with real ink from a bottle, and how he threw it across the room one night and was angry when it didn’t break, how he looked like he was going to take it and smash it but stopped suddenly and looked at me, and then didn’t seem angry any more, just sad; and how he gave me that pen a few years later because I’d always loved it. All those things. And you’d remember, and believe me.

But now I’ve thought, and I know better than to count on any of that. The universes are different: maybe you never teased our sister, or maybe in your world she thought it was funny too; maybe Dad never had that fountain pen, or you never cared about it, or he never lost his temper that night, or he did and he finished smashing it. Or you could read this and think, after all, I’m not the only one who knows these things. Who knows what Samantha could have told them, over the years? Or what they could have learned from Mom or Dad?

So Krycek is right, and Alex is right, too: if you believe I could be who I say I am, it’ll be because you recognize the texture of your own thoughts in my words.

I didn’t believe this alternate-universe stuff at first, when I walked into Krycek’s apartment and found Alex there with him. They were identical, right down to the fingerprints, and I had them both standing in front of me, and it still took Krycek, with his cold linear reasoning and his pile of results from medical tests, to convince me it could possibly be true. And now, I keep wondering why it was so hard for me.

“I want to believe,” I say. It’s true, too: I come in with a bias toward believing anything that orthodox science or government authorities want to dismiss. As long as I have people in power telling me it’s not true, as long as the world would be a more dangerous place, and people in power a little more corrupt, if it were true, I want to believe. So why, when I see an extreme possibility that calls for hope as well as for anger, should it be any harder to believe? Why should it be so threatening to accept a universe in which some secrets turn out to be benign, where everything is not always for the worst, by operation of natural law?

I don’t know the answers. But I think you should be careful not to judge Alex too harshly. The things he has to tell you are no harder to accept than many other things you’ve believed; and nothing he’s done is evidence of evil intent. If he made mistakes, they were made innocently enough, and he did all he could to protect you once he realized what he’d become involved in. And you will remember that he tried to tell you the truth, before there was any crisis, before his safety or cover could possibly have been threatened, at a time when he had nothing to gain and a great deal to lose by telling you the truth. If you can put your rage and your feelings about betrayal aside long enough to hear him out, you’ll find that none of those feelings should be directed at him anyway. You’re not talking to an enemy.

Look: love is important. Too important, and too rare, to toss it away for the sake of anger, or wounded pride, or to preserve a vision of a world where there are only enemies and allies, where evil is always evil, clear and unambiguous. I told Alex that if you didn’t believe him I’d see you thrown out of the Society of Alternate Universe Mulders. I’d do it if I could, too, because you’d deserve it. No one of us who has a chance at real love, clean and untainted, has any business throwing it away. It matters too much.

Try not to be a jerk about this, okay? For all of us.

* * *

Alex pressed his eyes shut, and took a deep breath. Oh, Mulder, he thought, to that other Mulder. Thank you. He had expected… something like this, certainly, but not… this. Not from the Mulder who had to be tortured into admitting he loved someone. “This is nice.” It was an utterly inane thing to say, but anything more would cause him to break.

He handed the letter back to Mulder, who took it and folded it with great care, laying it gently on the desk, as if he, too, found that only the smallest, most careful movements could be allowed, else all the world would collapse.

Alex stepped up to him then, suddenly uncaring whether the world collapsed or not. He took Mulder’s right hand in his, and slowly sank to his knees at Mulder’s feet. Mulder must understand the gesture, he thought—after all, he was Mulder, and the Mulders were different, but not that different. In any case, Alex needed to make it. “I’m sorry, Mulder,” he said, and it was his game voice, pure and humble, and yet not his game voice, because he meant every word of it with all his heart. “I’m sorry I hurt you, and I’m sorry I lied to you. I love you so much. Please forgive me.”

* * *

There was a single frozen moment, when Alex had only time to think that if it all had to end, here at Mulder’s feet was where he wanted to end it. Then there was a sharp, agonized intake of breath from Mulder, as if breathing were the worst pain in the world, and then Mulder was on his knees, too, and his arms were tight around Alex, and he was covering Alex’s face with hot, desperate kisses.

* * *

It was a good four hours later, at least—Alex hadn’t looked at the clock all evening, and didn’t want to make the effort to do so now, but he knew that hours must have passed. Mulder dozed peacefully at his side, at last. Despite the lateness of the hour, Mulder had had no intention of letting either of them sleep until he’d satisfied his passion both for Alex’s story and Alex’s body, as many times as he could manage until exhaustion took them. It had been almost—well, no, it had been amusing, watching Mulder struggle between his insatiable curiosity and his lust, like the proverbial donkey who starves to death between two piles of food, unable to decide which one to eat. Alex had done his best to give him as much as he could take of both.

Alex smiled to himself, as he pulled the tangled blanket up, and rolled over to slide an arm around Mulder’s chest, and lay his head on Mulder’s shoulder. He pressed the length of his body, naked skin to naked skin, against Mulder. Mulder made a happy little noise, shifted a little, and tightened his arm around Alex’s body. Not quite awake, Alex thought, but not quite asleep.

Alex moved his head just enough to press his lips against Mulder’s collarbone, letting himself drift again into the wonderful memory, just an hour or so ago, of lying here on his stomach in Mulder’s bed, with his legs apart and his face crushed into Mulder’s pillow, while the man he’d crossed the universe for lay heavily on him, thrusting joyfully into him, as though he’d found the secrets of the heavens in penetrating Alex’s ass. You’re mine, Mulder had declared, and Yes, forever, Alex had gladly replied.

They still had a lot to talk about. The DOD files, and how best to proceed in cracking them. How to handle Alex’s return. Whom to tell, besides Scully. Alex was stunned and moved to discover that Mulder had been keeping his apartment for him, so he still had a home to go home to, whenever they decided it was safe. So much to talk about, so much to do—but they had a lifetime to do it all in now, and each other to do it with. Everything would work out—it just had to, after everything Alex had gone through to get here. But he wasn’t going to worry about the future now. He was home, and he’d told Mulder the truth, and Mulder had forgiven him, and that was enough.

Well, there was one more thing to do. Alex cleared his mind, and then reached out across the universes, to another part of himself in another place and time. The link was fading, dissipating like fog in summer sun, and it took several minutes of effort, but at last he was rewarded with that precious presence, cool and ironic and so familiar, yet so different. Then he summoned up an image of himself, lying as he was, entangled with his Mulder, naked and sated and oh, so happy, and sent the image across the link to his brother. Everything’s fine, he thought to both of himselves. I’m with Mulder. Everything worked out. And a beam of pleasure came back to him, pure and bright and lovely.

* * *

In an easy chair in a large, imposing apartment in another New York, gazing out a picture window that took up most of the wall, Alex Krycek sat up for a moment, and smiled.

Back to Day Nine | The End