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The Best Lies, Part Three: Shifting Sands


Contains explicit male/male sex.
Pairing: Mulder/Krycek

Summary: A DNA test sends Mulder on a quest to discover the truth about his sister, leading to a mysterious database and an old enemy. Follows “Anasazi.”

Disclaimer: The X-Files is copyright Fox TV, Chris Carter, and Ten-Thirteen Productions. No infringement is intended.


Who is she, Mulder?
The woman you see when you look at me?
Is she someone who’ll follow you anywhere,
Believe your extreme possibilities,
Live for your truth?

Or maybe she’s a little sister,
Replacing the one you’ve lost.
Someone to be cared for and protected,
Teased and tormented,
Taken for granted,
Loved like family.

Perhaps you see a guardian angel
Hovering over you, watching out for you,
Saving you from yourself.
I don’t know who she is, Mulder.
She isn’t Scully.

But she may be what Scully is becoming.


Mulder sat, leaning on his elbow, mind only half on the microfiche pages as they flashed by, searching through corporate records, tracing Quaid-Markham’s ownership. It was a tangled web. He’d dug through several levels of parent corporations already, and still couldn’t pin it down. His life was like this microfiche, he decided – spinning by, almost out of control, accomplishing nothing. He was getting nowhere.

Langly had insisted that no one could have tampered with the blood-stained handkerchief Mulder had given him. If the blood on the handkerchief wasn’t Scully’s, well, that wasn’t his problem. His tests were accurate with the samples he was given.

Scully had investigated hospital birth records and could find no evidence that either of their mothers had had another child, or that either of them had been adopted.

Mulder had talked to Don Markham, who had offered to run another series of tests, but stood firmly by the results he’d already given.

He could prove nothing. It seemed to be the story of his life. And now, on top of everything else, the awful situation with Krycek continued to prey on his mind. He’d given up trying to find him, deciding it would be better if he just never saw Krycek again—unless it was to testify at Krycek’s trial. But he couldn’t stop himself from thinking about everything that had happened. He still couldn’t believe the twisted impulse that had made him respond sexually to a man he hated. What was it all about? Nothing about Krycek made sense, not from the moment he’d allowed himself to believe Krycek’s story about his father’s death. Why hadn’t Krycek just left the warehouse after Mulder had let him go? Why had he brought him the database tape? Why had he come to Mulder’s apartment, goaded Mulder into half-raping him? He could not afford to take anything that Krycek said or did at face value. Krycek was playing games with him. Dangerous, twisted games. Setting Mulder up for some new betrayal. Mulder was not even sure that Krycek hadn’t really killed his father, although Krycek’s story had seemed genuine at the time.

Page after page of microfiche flashed dizzily by…. Wait a minute, what was that? He reversed the microfiche reader, went back a page. There, not the parent corporation, but another subsidiary—

Purity Control.

* * *

Mulder thrust the hardcopy of the microfiche page triumphantly under Scully’s nose. She sat back and looked up at him, waiting.

“Quaid-Markham is the sister corporation of Purity Control.”

Scully’s eyes widened. She studied the page. “It can’t be a coincidence… how did you happen to choose Quaid-Markham in the first place?”

Mulder pulled a chair over to Scully’s desk and sat in it backwards. “Don Markham came to me about three years ago when one of his employees disappeared with a file full of confidential records. I helped him recover them. He told me if I ever needed any help with DNA analyses he’d be happy to do me a favor.”

“Then he initiated the relationship. Could they have been planning something like this that far ahead? And how did they know what Langly had told us?”

Mulder rubbed his forehead thoughtfully. “Maybe they didn’t. I still don’t think Langly’s involved in any conspiracy.” He stood and began to pace, frowning. “All right, it all started with Langly’s curious idea of a fun way to spend a rainy Saturday, running DNA analyses. Let’s suppose Langly’s tests were genuine—but the blood sample I gave him wasn’t really yours. Maybe it was Samantha’s, or a clone of Samantha’s. Then, to confirm his results, I went to Don Markham.”

“He’d been waiting three years for something like this. He went to Purity Control, and told them that you and I had come in for DNA testing. Did you tell Markham about the previous tests?”

“No, I just said I wanted our DNA analyzed and compared.”

“Well, it would have been reasonable for him to assume that we suspected some sort of genetic relationship. And we presented them with an ideal opportunity to set us up.”

“All they had to do then was have Markham fake the test results, then set up a phony database in a warehouse, and send us after it with an anonymous tip. And they had us on a string, right down the line.” Mulder stopped pacing and grinned. It still wasn’t proof, but it was an answer. One that made sense; one that fit all the facts. You always had that radar, Mulder, that ability to know what was real…. Krycek had told him that. He shook it off. “It’s still a big coincidence that their results were identical with Langly’s. Maybe they replaced your DNA profile with Samantha’s, too. Damn.”


“We should have kept the profiles from Markham’s tests. We could have compared them with Langly’s.”

“What do you want to bet that if we go back to Markham now, he’ll say the reports are missing?”

He grinned again. “No takers. But I’ll ask, anyway.”

Scully nodded. Her face was brighter, too. Mulder sighed with relief. Finally, some real evidence that the DNA tests had been a setup. Then his mood sank. It still wasn’t over, not until they had final proof. And that was something they might never find.

Scully’s smile faded, too. “Mulder? I… I asked my mother about this.”

“What did she say?”

“That she’d had no other children. That I wasn’t adopted.”

“I’m sorry, Scully. I know that must have been… hard.” He felt a flash of guilt, although he knew it wasn’t really his fault. But if he’d found the information about Quaid-Markham earlier, she might not have felt it necessary to go to her mother with this.

She shrugged. “It wasn’t so bad. She wasn’t upset, just confused. And curious.”

“What did you tell her?”

“I said that I’d received anonymous information that I had another brother, and that either he or I was adopted. I said that I had assumed it was false, but that I had to check it out.”

He nodded. “Well, if this whole thing was designed to shake us up, it certainly worked.” He still couldn’t imagine asking his mother about anything like this.

“Mulder, I’ve done all I can with checking into our birth records. You’ve talked to Langly and Markham. I don’t know what else we can do.”

Mulder sighed. “I know.”

“We could try another DNA test, I suppose,” she said, without enthusiasm.

“Maybe.” He was as reluctant as she was. “The only person I’d trust to do it at this point is Langly.”

Her lip curled in distaste. “You actually let that man stick a needle in your arm?”

Mulder grinned. “He was very gentle.”

“Does he give lollipops?”

“No, that’s Frohike’s department.”

Scully shook her head, smiling. “I would never lick anything I got from Frohike.”

“Aw, Scully, you’re breaking his heart.”

It was good to enjoy a little of their usual banter. There had been far too little of it since the day Langly had called with the news of the DNA tests he’d run. As impossible as it seemed, life was somehow returning to normal, even though they still didn’t know for sure whether they were brother and sister. It was a strange thought, and one that was more chilling than comforting. But Scully was right, they’d gone as far as they could. They could take another DNA test, but how could they ever be sure of the results? Unless some new evidence turned up, they were at a dead end.

* * *

There was a small slip of paper tucked into his mailbox. Mulder pulled it out, thinking it was some sort of advertisement. But it was a note, handprinted. A location, and a time. Signed, “Skippy.”

Krycek. Mulder found that his hand was trembling. Damn Krycek! Just when Mulder had decided to put Krycek out of his life for good, he popped up again. After everything that had happened, why would Krycek want to meet with him again?

Add that to the entire list of questions Mulder had about Krycek’s behavior. Mulder didn’t understand any of it. Could this whole thing be some sort of elaborate trap? Had Krycek been sent, deliberately, starting with the warehouse, to do everything he could to shake Mulder up and keep him off balance? He would have liked to believe that, but it hardly seemed plausible. How could they be sure that Mulder wouldn’t just kill Krycek? Or perhaps they didn’t care if he did. Supposing that the Smoking Man had no further use for Krycek—he might have given Krycek one last assignment to get back in Mulder’s good graces any way he could. And if Mulder killed Krycek instead, well, that would be a perfectly satisfactory result. The Smoking Man would be rid of a no-longer-useful agent, and have evidence to get Mulder charged with murder—two problems taken care of at once. Squeezed between the Smoking Man’s callous threat and Mulder’s implacable hatred, Krycek might begin to be bitter and desperate and unpredictable.

Mulder wished he could come up with as reasonable an explanation for his own behavior. His previous sexual experiences with men had been encounters of convenience and curiosity, amusing but passionless. He wasn’t particularly attracted to men, and if he had to choose a type he might be attracted to, it wouldn’t be Alex Krycek, whose looks he would classify as ordinary and undistinguished. Yes, Krycek had a certain sweetness, an awkward charm that Mulder had once found appealing in a protective, big-brotherish sort of way. Those feelings were far from the overwhelming urge to rut that had overcome Mulder when Krycek kissed him. It had to be just an aberration; a sudden boiling over of all the tumultuous emotions Krycek caused in him.

So what was on the agenda for this time? More dubiously useful information passed? Another attempt to goad Mulder into losing control?

Mulder sighed, shook himself, and went up the stairs into his apartment. Damn his curiosity, he was going to have to meet with Krycek. The time specified was nine P.M.; that gave him several hours to think it over, and to plan, and to decide….

He wanted Scully with him. But if he asked her to come, he was going to have to tell her… something. The meeting at the warehouse, at least—not the whole story. Even that much shamed him for some reason; he wasn’t sure why. That he’d terrorized Krycek, and enjoyed it? That he’d wept, and allowed Krycek to comfort him? He still had Krycek’s handkerchief, laundered and buried at the bottom of a drawer. He supposed he should return it, although the image made him very uncomfortable. He hadn’t been able to bring himself to do it before.

That he’d let Krycek walk away, and take the computer equipment with him? Or maybe it was just that what had happened at that warehouse disrupted the pure, white hatred he’d cultivated towards Krycek, and he didn’t like to admit that to himself, much less say it out loud.

But even less did he want to meet with Krycek alone. He didn’t trust Krycek; he didn’t trust himself. He wanted Scully’s calm, rational influence on both of them. He picked up the phone.

* * *

Scully sat in the easy chair across from Mulder’s couch. She’d listened to his story without comment, and was now sorting through her reactions, trying decide how best to proceed. She’d long ago found that it was no good railing at him for any of the impulsive and ill-considered things he did. He was used to being shouted at and ridiculed – he’d simply close himself off and ignore it. If she wanted him to listen to her, she had to be calm and non-judgmental. She schooled her features to a carefully blank mask—Mulder called it her “doctor face.” She was tempted to ask what on earth he’d been thinking when he’d almost made Krycek eat his gun.

But all she said was, “Why didn’t you tell me about this before?”

He shrugged helplessly. “I didn’t even want to think about it.”

“What do you think he wants now?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know what he ever wanted.”

“Why would he keep risking himself to meet with you? It has to be a setup.”

“I agree. But I still want to know what he has to say.”

“Mulder….” She bit her lip thoughtfully. “I know you were starting to like him, before you found out he was working for your enemies. I hope you’re not….”

“No, Scully. I don’t trust him, I don’t believe him, and I’m not going to let him get away with anything.” His face was flushed. “You knew right from the start, didn’t you? You never liked him.”

She smiled faintly. She’d like to think she’d been that perceptive. “Mulder, I was jealous. He was your new partner. And he gave you something I never could. He believed.”

“But it was a lie.”

“Was it? If what he told you at that warehouse was true….”

“That was just another lie. Or if it wasn’t—it doesn’t matter. He was working against me all along. I can’t let anything he says mean anything to me.”

“Then why meet with him?”

Mulder covered his face with his hand, and rubbed his forehead. “I don’t know.” Sighing, he looked at Scully. “I have to. Even if I don’t believe any of it, I have to know what he has to say. Will you come with me?”

She looked at him for a moment, then nodded.

* * *

Krycek frowned at them as they approached, hands jammed into his jacket pockets, pacing in short, two-step bursts back and forth on the sidewalk. He wore his usual black leather and jeans, his hair slicked back, grim and bitter.

Krycek ignored Scully, and looked only at Mulder. “I thought you’d come alone.”

“We did,” Mulder replied smoothly. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Scully suppressing a smile.

Krycek pressed his lips together, resentment and pain flaring briefly before the grim frown returned. “Fine. You’re joined at the hip; I should have known.”

“What do you want, Alex?” Mulder spoke softly, offering the first name in a gesture of appeasement.

Which only resulted in a narrowing of the eyes, and another flash of pain. Krycek opened his mouth as if to speak, then closed it and looked away. He shut his eyes briefly, then turned back to Mulder. It was as if Scully weren’t there. Abruptly, he said, “I found the original of that database.”

The words sent an electric tingle through Mulder. “Where?”

“In Crystal City. There’s an industrial complex there, with one big white building all by itself at the end. That’s where I delivered the equipment that was in that warehouse. I overheard part of a conversation I wasn’t supposed to hear. Since then, I’ve done a little quiet poking around. All the records are there. All the ones that are so sensitive, they’re not on the net.”

“What’s the address?” Mulder’s heart was pounding. It had to be a lie, of course, some kind of trap, but it would be a good lie, and the best lies were always closest to the truth….

Krycek named an address which Mulder memorized. Mulder’s photographic memory kept an image of an Arlington map. He located the address, and tested it against what he knew of the neighborhood. So far so good. “Can you help us get in?”

A slight noise of protest from Scully. Mulder, like Krycek, ignored her.

“Maybe.” Krycek’s cool hazel eyes appraised him. Krycek’s eyes were exactly the same color as Mulder’s own. Physically, there were no other similarities, except that Krycek was within an inch of him in height, but those hazel eyes stared back at him like the reflection in some dark, sinister mirror. “I’m not going to get myself killed over this.”

“I don’t plan to get killed over it, either,” Mulder replied mildly.

“You think it’s a trap, don’t you?” Bitterness like acid burned through his words. Was it for Mulder’s insistence on having Scully there? The humiliation of their last encounter? Or simply the impossible strain of the duplicitous game he was playing?

“I’d be a fool to trust you, wouldn’t I, Alex?” Mulder allowed a mocking tone to creep into his voice. “Do you think I’m a fool?”

“No, you’re not a fool.” Dripping acid.

If you touched him, you’d burn your hand. “Then you know I need more than this.”

“What do you need, Mulder? What do you need from me?” His low voice had a touch of huskiness that made it all but disappear when he spoke this softly. It made you lean closer, straining to hear him, watching his face carefully, creating a false intimacy, seductive and sweet.

“Why are you telling us this?” Scully’s voice broke in, causing Mulder to start, and Krycek to take a step back, glaring at her for a moment before his gaze returned to Mulder.

“Good question,” Mulder said. “Why, Alex?”

Krycek looked away. When he turned back to Mulder, his eyes beseeched Mulder to send Scully away and talk to him alone.

Mulder shook his head, a small motion that sent more pain cascading down Krycek’s face. “We’re joined at the hip, remember?”

Krycek stared at Mulder, accusing. There was recrimination in his gaze, intimate anger, and longing. Mulder chewed his lip, feeling the heat in his face. God, what must Scully be thinking? He’d been insane to bring her here.

Then Krycek cleared his throat. He stared at the ground as he spoke. “All I ever wanted, for as long as I can remember, was to work for the FBI.” He paused, pulling his jacket more tightly around him, hands still in his pockets. “I took law and political science classes in college. I didn’t care what my degree was in, as long as it would get me into the Academy. I applied the minute I was old enough.”

He looked at Mulder. “It wasn’t any big secret that I was interested in the X-Files. I was curious. I wanted to know everything. I saw how you’d get your teeth into something, and just wouldn’t let go. How you’d stand up to anybody in your search for the truth. I wanted to be like that.” He looked away again, shoulders hunched.

“When he first came to me, he made it sound like I’d be protecting you. ‘Mulder’s gotten into a dangerous situation,’ he told me. ‘Since the X-Files have been shut down, he’s become obsessed with investigating his own government. He must be turned from this course. We don’t want him harmed.’ ”

Just enough of the truth, Mulder thought. But who was the liar? The Smoking Man, or Krycek? Or both?

“Of course, he never mentioned to me that other people might be harmed. Well, I can’t really say that. ‘We are sometimes forced to do unpleasant things for the greater good. National security is at stake.’ ” Krycek mimicked perfectly the smooth, monotonous tones of the Smoking Man’s voice. He was really a very good actor. “I believed him, then. I thought I was serving my country. Protecting its secrets. Some things were too dangerous to know, even for you.”

“And now?” Mulder asked.

“Now?” The bitterness was back, thick and searing. “Now I’m a thug. My career in the FBI is over. And I’m… delivering computer equipment, and changing water filters, and… I still don’t know anything. I don’t know what I’m protecting. I’m just supposed to do what I’m told, follow orders, no matter what they are….”

He paused, took a deep breath, and continued with quiet intensity. “For all I know, he’s right, and helping you is a big mistake. But I’ve done things—the kind of things you don’t want to do without knowing why. And if I go down for this, I’m not going to go down saying ‘I was only following orders.’ ”

Krycek’s searing bitterness was almost too painful to look at. He’s a very good actor. Or… ? But the best lies were the closest to the truth. He pictured his enemy, cigarette smoke wreathed about his fingers, saying, Just bring Mulder to us. One last task, and then we won’t require anything further of you. You can be reinstated in the FBI, if you wish. There’s no evidence against you, only Mulder’s report, and he won’t be a problem any longer.

But Krycek would be a fool to believe the Smoking Man would ever let him walk away. He didn’t know anything; but he knew too much. And Krycek was no fool. So which way would he jump?

“Does he know that you’re here?” Mulder asked.

“No.” That quiet voice, just a slight shake of the head and motion of the lips, the word itself nearly inaudible. It begged, demanded to be believed, far more than a loud, insistent answer would have.

“Does he know you want out?”

A quick glance away, then a more emphatic, “No.”

Mulder didn’t say anything, just looked at him.

Krycek started to say something several times, then finally, “I don’t know. Maybe he does. What difference does it make?”

“Well, assuming you’re telling the truth, and you came to me on your own, I have to wonder just how carefully you’ve covered your tracks, and whether or not he knows about that conversation you overheard, and whether this might be a setup on his part to trap both of us.”

Krycek laughed—a brief laugh, but genuine. “Mulder, you really are paranoid.”

Mulder smiled back at him. “It’s what keeps me alive.”

A thoughtful frown, as Krycek weighed the possibilities. “I don’t think so. I mean, I can see an elaborate setup like this for you, but why bother with me? He could get rid of me any time he wants to.”

“Because you’re already in it. You’re doing his work for him. All he has to do is sit back and reel us in.”

Krycek shook his head. “I don’t think so.” He shrugged. “I suppose it’s possible. But that address is genuine. You can check it out yourselves.”

“We will. But Alex—I’m not going in there alone. If we decide this is for real, if we decide we can trust you—you’re going to help us.”

A strangled laugh. “My neck’s on the chopping block beside yours, is that it?”

Mulder nodded. “Exactly.”

“Fine. Fine.” Cold and bitter again, Krycek paced two short steps, speaking to the ground at his feet. “You don’t believe me, why should you believe me?” Suddenly, he stepped right up to Mulder, only inches between them. “Do what you have to do. Check it out. Then you let me know what you want from me.”

Once again, Scully’s voice broke in on the interchange between the two men, startling them both. “Can you get us a copy of the database file?”

“No.” Krycek directed that one word to Scully, then dismissed her again. To Mulder, he said, “What would be the point?”

Mulder nodded. What indeed? They would have no way of knowing if such a copy had been tampered with. It would be useless to them. And the Smoking Man would know that Mulder and Scully would not trust Krycek to bring the data to them—they would have to go in and find it for themselves. A wonderfully clever trap. If it was a trap. “We’ll look into it and let you know,” Mulder told Krycek.

Krycek nodded abruptly, then turned to walk away. Mulder grabbed him by the arm. Krycek whirled, glaring, but made no attempt to break away.

“Wait,” Mulder said, then turned to Scully. “I’ll be a minute. Meet you at the car.”

Scully also scowled. No doubt she was wondering why she’d come to this meeting in the first place. Then she nodded, and left them alone.

“What?” Krycek pulled his arm out of Mulder’s grip.

Mulder blushed. He reached into his inside coat pocket and brought out the handkerchief. “I just wanted to return this.”

Krycek took the handkerchief, then turned away, eyes tightly shut and knuckles pressed to his mouth. When he looked back at Mulder, his face was pale and shot through with pain. “Not necessary.”

“I wanted to. Alex….” He took a deep breath. What was there to say?

“Yeah.” Krycek pushed the handkerchief into his jacket pocket and turned blindly. He disappeared quickly around the corner, leaving Mulder alone in the sidewalk.

* * *

Scully sat in the passenger seat of the car, staring straight ahead, lips pressed firmly together. Mulder steeled himself as he slid into the driver’s side. “Scully… ?”

She took a deep breath, then shook her head, smiling ruefully. “Tell me again why you wanted me to come with you to meet him?”

“Sorry. I was hoping it would be a little less intense if you were there.”

“Mulder, are you sure you told me everything about what went on between you two?”

“Yes.” And how was he going to expect her to believe that, when he was blushing like a schoolboy? But what else could he tell her? That he had dreams about Krycek? That when Krycek stood face to face with him, the hair on the back of his neck stood up? That he could not stop thinking about what it had felt like to have Krycek pinned beneath him and his cock up Krycek’s ass? “I didn’t mean to shut you out.”

“Mulder, I hope you’re going to be able to be rational about this. We can’t trust him. Letting him lead us into a secure government installation would be insane.”

“You didn’t believe him?”

She pressed her lips together thoughtfully. “If he was lying, he was doing an excellent job of it. He’s obviously in a lot of pain about something.” She flashed him a brief smile. “I’d love to get him on a polygraph sometime.”

He managed to smile back. “So would I. Think he’d go for it?”

“But even if he is sincere, there’s always the possibility that he’s being set up as well. It’s just too dangerous.”

“But Scully, if that building really does contain the original of the database, as well as who knows what other data, we have to at least think about trying to get in.”

“We can think about it. But if it looks too risky….” She shook her head, sighing. “I don’t know why I’m even talking to you about it. You’re going to do it anyway, aren’t you?”

“It’s the best chance we’ll ever have to find the truth about that database. Don’t you want to know that?”

“Of course I do. But I don’t want to get killed trying to find out.”

“We’ll be careful, I promise. I don’t want to get killed either. This is just too good a chance to pass up.” He should listen to her. He should not take foolish chances. He should not under any circumstances trust Alex Krycek.

He already knew that he would.

* * *

Mulder returned to the microfiche records. The address Krycek had given him proved to be even more difficult to trace than Quaid-Markham, but the trail led eventually to the same end—Purity Control.

Scully had decided to investigate Krycek himself. “He graduated from Dartmouth in nineteen ninety with a degree in political science. His grades were excellent.” She sat on the edge of Mulder’s desk, reading from her notes. “He was twenty-three, the minimum age for acceptance at the FBI Academy, when he attended in nineteen ninety-two. He was fourteenth in his class.”

Mulder sat back in his chair and crossed his arms.

Scully looked up from the computer. “I talked to several of his instructors. They all said he was very bright, that they expected him to do well.”

“So we know he’s smart. Anything else?”

“I talked to a couple of his classmates. He had a nickname at the Academy.” She paused, biting her lip. ” ‘Spooky, Junior.’ ”

Mulder’s stomach lurched. “So it’s true.”

“It would seem so.”

Mulder took a deep breath, and shook his head. “Everything he’s told us that we’ve been able to verify has been true.”

“Well, it would be, wouldn’t it? He wouldn’t lie about anything we could check up on.”

“No. Scully, did anyone say anything about Krycek’s personal life? You know, friends, or… girlfriends?”

She looked at him appraisingly. He hated that look. Sometimes he felt like she could see right through him. “No. He apparently had no close friends among his classmates. Whatever his private life was, he kept it to himself.”

Mulder nodded. Although there was no official policy against gays in the FBI, there were always ways to keep open homosexuals out. If one wanted to go far in the Bureau, it was best to stay in the closet. Not get too close to anyone. Lead a double life. Good training for a counter-agent.

“You’re planning to go through with this, aren’t you?” Scully asked.

“I have to. You don’t have to come with me.”

She looked away, frowning. Then she turned back to him, her blue eyes intense. “You know I’ll come with you. But, if I’m going to risk my life on this—on Alex Krycek’s word—I have to know the whole story. Everything that went on between you two. I think I have a right to know.”

She’d gone through so much with him. Sometimes he thought he’d do anything for her. He wouldn’t, really, of course. Not quite anything. His obsession came first, before anything else, even Scully. But he wished it were true. She deserved that. And she deserved to know, now, what she was getting herself into by getting involved with him and his sick relationship with Krycek. She was right. He would have to tell her. And he would die of humiliation.

He stood, and took his suit jacket off the back of his chair. “Not here. Let’s go to my place.” They were safe enough, isolated down here in the basement. No one would come down, or overhear. It still felt far too public for the things he had to tell her. And maybe he was stalling just a bit, hoping that between here and his apartment a miracle would occur and he wouldn’t have to go through with it.

But no miracles occurred. They drove to his building in silence, went up the stairs, sat in their usual places on couch and easy chair.

Mulder stood. “Do you want some coffee?”

“Mulder, sit down. Just tell me. You’re only making it harder.”

He sat. He wished she wasn’t sitting right across from him. He stared at the coffee table, unable to look at her. “All right. It happened the night after he brought me the tape. He showed up at my apartment at three in the morning.” He took a deep breath. All right, just keep talking, just get it out and get it over with. “We talked. We were both angry. I accused him of wanting to get into bed with me. He… one thing led to another, and we ended up in bed. It… wasn’t very nice.” He shut his eyes tightly and prayed for the earth to open up and swallow him.

Very long moments passed. Mulder couldn’t open his eyes, couldn’t bear to look at her. To see the shock and disgust on her face. To confront her disappointment.

Her words were unnaturally calm. “I hope you were… safe.”

He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He opened his eyes. She was wearing her “doctor face”—only this time it was pale and severely strained. “Scully, I don’t know if you could call anything about it ‘safe,’ but, yes, I used a condom.” And just told her who did what to whom. He cringed.

She seemed, amazingly, relieved. So she doesn’t want me to shrivel up and die of AIDS. It doesn’t mean she still has a shred of respect for me. She asked, “Is he in love with you?”

Love? That was a very frightening thought. “I don’t know. If he is, it’s an extremely sick sort of love.”

“What about you?”

“No! Scully, I—it wasn’t like that. It was just anger, and frustration, and—he started it.” And that was an incredibly stupid thing to say. “Scully, I don’t know why I did it. At the time, I just wanted to punish him. And he—he let me do it.”

“He probably knew you’d die of guilt over it.”

She was being so calm. So understanding. He was going to start crying in a minute. Was it possible to feel any more humiliated? “He wasn’t very happy about it either. He cried all the way out the door.”

She looked away, hand on her mouth. Her “doctor face” was failing. She shifted in her chair, and forced her composure to return. “Well, that explains the pain he was in, anyway.” She turned to Mulder. “But, Mulder, it’s all the more reason for you not to trust him now. You can’t seriously believe, after all that, that he means to help you.”

“I don’t know, Scully. Why did he help me after what I did to him in the warehouse? Why did he bring me that tape? I haven’t been able to figure out anything he’s done. I wouldn’t assume there are any easy answers about why he’s coming to me now.”

“Mulder….” She paused, struggling again to keep her calm demeanor. “Have you talked to him since… ?”

“No. Not until today.”

“Well, don’t you think you should? Try to get things straight between you?”

“I’m not exactly proud of how I acted. But compared to what he did—I don’t really feel like I owe him any apologies.”

“Then how can you want to go through with this? Mulder, this is insane. Talk to him. Or forget about it.” She stood up, abruptly, began putting on her coat.


She stood before him. Outwardly, she was calm; but she had a redhead’s volatile temperament all the same. She just held it still and under control. The fire was in those sapphire eyes, and the set of her full mouth, all the more forceful because she didn’t bluster and shout. “Mulder, I understand. You have very strong feelings towards him. Anger, frustration, the need to control can express themselves as sexual impulses. Especially when there’s some attraction—on his part at least. But you have to deal with it now. You have to get a grip on yourself. Or this whole thing is going to blow up in our faces.”

He nodded. “I know, but—I’m afraid if I try to talk to him, I’m just going to make things worse.”

“Then let’s forget it. We can get at the truth some other way. Some way that doesn’t involve Krycek.”

“I can’t forget it,” he mumbled.

“Then I’ll talk to him. I should talk to him alone, anyway. Can you set up a meeting?”

“Scully… why do you want to talk to him?”

“I just think I should see for myself whether or not I think he can be trusted. And as long as you’re there, he’s not going to hear a word I say.”

Another long pause. “I don’t know if he’ll do it.”

“If he doesn’t, he doesn’t. Will you try, though?”

A big sigh. “All right. I’ll try.” Then he stood. “I’ll drive you home.” He couldn’t talk about it any more; he felt like he was going to be sick.

She shook her head. “I’ll get a cab. You look pretty shaken up.” She smiled sympathetically. “It’s all right, Mulder. Call me later, if you want.”He felt that he should protest, insist on taking her home. But she was right, he felt completely drained. He just stood there, dumbly, and watched her leave.

* * *

Scully sat on a cool limestone bench, engraved with the sayings of Kahlil Gibran, watching the hypnotic waters of the fountain splash, sipping coffee from a styrofoam cup. It was lovely and peaceful here, a tiny oasis of calm in the frantic city. Whatever else one might think of Krycek, he had good taste in clandestine meeting places.

She’d thought a lot about Krycek during the past few days, and still couldn’t make up her mind what she felt about him. She’d never been Krycek’s partner, never been tempted to like the man, or to trust him. She’d only met him a few times. The first time was over an autopsy – she’d been rude to him, resenting him for working with Mulder, and he’d nearly thrown up at the sight of the partially autopsied body on the table. Not a very auspicious meeting. Then, when Duane Barry had taken Mulder hostage and she’d gone to the scene with the information she’d found, Krycek had met her, telling her to calm down. She’d snapped at him and brushed him aside. So she had her own bad behavior towards Krycek to deal with—nothing on the scale of what had gone on between him and Mulder, but still her pettiness bothered her. Krycek had always been perfectly professional towards her.

As for Krycek’s betrayals—well, he was just a man doing a job. That job happened to be working for their enemies—but she didn’t take it personally, like Mulder did. Watch out for him, surely; arrest him if there was evidence for it; never trust him. But hate him? It just wasn’t in her. Even his part in her abduction didn’t stir much beyond a tightly controlled anger, whose heat she kept firmly banked down. She would not let it sway her judgment of him now. Nor would she fall for his air of tortured innocence. Someone must be the voice of logic and reason in all this; and, as usual, that lot fell to her.

shifting sands

Krycek was right on time. He stood for a moment on the other side of the fountain, watching her through the spray of the water, an inscrutable expression on his face. The thought flashed unbidden: Mulder had sex with him. Touched those plush, round lips with his own. Felt those strong, slender hands on his body. An image of the two of them entangled, naked, appeared in her mind. Embarrassed, she pushed it away, even as her body tingled.

Then he nodded slightly, and walked around the fountain to sit on the bench beside her. He sat with his hands jammed into his jacket pockets, staring straight ahead.

Scully picked up the other styrofoam cup sitting on the bench beside her and held it out to him. “Coffee?”

He looked at her, startled, then took the cup. “Thanks,” he mumbled.

“It’s black. I didn’t know how you take it.”

“I like cream. But it’s all right,” he hurried to add, taking a sip to show her it was acceptable. “I….” He stopped, gave a strangled laugh. “I was going to say, in the FBI we learn to drink anything.” He looked away.

Scully bit her lip. Well, so much for not letting him get to her. “Krycek….”

“I suppose I should thank you,” he interrupted.

“You already did.”

“Not for the coffee.” There was that tortured laugh again. “For saving my life. I suppose now you’re wishing you’d gone ahead and let Mulder shoot me.”

She had come upon the two them outside Mulder’s apartment building. Out of his mind with drugs, Mulder stood holding a gun on Krycek, about to pull the trigger. She’d only been thinking about Mulder – afraid he’d throw his career and his life away with this horrible act of madness and revenge. She’d stopped Mulder from firing in the only way she could—by shooting him in the shoulder. She remembered the look of shock on Krycek’s face, in the split-second before he’d grabbed his freedom and run like hell.

“No, I don’t regret what I did. But I did it for Mulder, not for you.”

“Of course.” Krycek had gone cold. He set his coffee cup down on the bench beside him. “What do you want, Scully? Is this a tag-team thing now? Mulder’s going to sit this one out while you have a go at me?” Biting resentment smoldered in those lovely, dark-lashed hazel eyes.

Oh, yes, she could see how he’d gotten to Mulder. Right into bed, and then cried about it afterward, just to pile on a little more guilt. “You’re very good.”

He shot her a look. “What do you mean?”

“You’re a manipulative little bastard, aren’t you?”

For a moment, he just stared. Then, to her surprise, his face softened and he smiled ironically. “I do my best.”

She found herself smiling back. And this is all just part of the game, isn’t it? “Well, can we try turning it off for a while? You’ve got Mulder so twisted up he doesn’t know what he’s doing. If you really cared for him, you wouldn’t want to do that to him.”

Krycek frowned, running a hand through his dark hair. “I care. But it’s hard to be nice to somebody who hates you so much. He twists himself up, Scully, that’s not all my doing.”

No doubt there was some truth to that. “He told me everything that happened. I don’t think adding sex to the situation was exactly calculated to keep things calm.”

His mouth hung open. “He told you that? Jesus.” He stared at the ground, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees. “I don’t believe it. You really are joined at the hip, aren’t you?”

Scully felt herself reddening at his obvious discomfort. “He didn’t want to tell me. And, ordinarily, I wouldn’t pry into his private life. But my life is on the line with this. I felt I had to know the whole story.”

“And now that you know?” he asked quietly, still not looking at her.

“It doesn’t change my relationship with him, if that’s what you mean.”

He turned his head to look up at her. It’s the eyelashes, she thought. He can’t help looking like a wide-eyed innocent. He doesn’t even know he’s doing it half the time. But the words were not so innocent. “Don’t you sleep with him?”

Her face was hot. But it was a fair question. “No, I don’t. He’s my partner.”

“Don’t you want to?”

She definitely did not owe him the answer to that. But perhaps confidence would inspire confidence. Yet how to explain her feelings for Mulder? She cared for him deeply, but only with a certain restraint. Sometimes he felt to her like a gaping black hole of need; she was afraid to get too close, knowing he would consume her. She felt it her responsibility to stand clear of that maelstrom of obsessive emotion, ready to pull him back when it threatened to overwhelm him. She could not give him the blind loyalty of a lover.

But Krycek wasn’t afraid, was he? He walked right into Mulder’s blinding passion and fury, let it have him, and came back in bitter pain, ready to take it again. The only question was, was he doing it for Mulder, or for Mulder’s enemies?

“Mulder’s my friend,” she began, finally breaking the silence. “I care a great deal for him. And he’s attractive, there’s no doubt about that.”

Krycek’s tight smile showed his agreement.

She continued, “But I have to maintain a certain distance. I have to be able to tell him when he’s getting off track, even when it means making him angry, or hurting him, temporarily. He needs someone to do that for him.”

“You don’t think he should do this, do you?” He was more resigned than bitter, now.

She allowed herself to smile at him. “There’s only so much I can do. I can’t go around shooting him all the time.”

He returned the smile. “You think that’s the only way to stop him?”

She sighed. “Probably. He wants that information very badly.”

“Do you think, if I give it to him, he’ll stop hating me?”

“I don’t know. You put him through a lot of pain. But… I don’t think hate is the only thing he feels for you.”

“I know. If it was, I wouldn’t bother.”

She looked at him curiously. “You know, it’s so easy to forget that you know exactly what you’re doing.”

He shook his head. “I don’t know what I’m doing, Scully. He twists me up as bad as I twist him. I shouldn’t be doing this. But it’s the only thing I can do.”

Scully took a deep breath. “You know, I think I believe you.”

“And you didn’t even have to put a gun to my head.”

She lifted an eyebrow.

He shrugged, grinning. “Bad joke. Ask Mulder. You’re going along, then?”

She nodded. “It’s the only thing I can do, too.”

* * *

Mulder prowled unhappily around his apartment. Scully’s meeting with Krycek had gone satisfactorily, but she still wanted Mulder to talk to him before they made up their minds. She was right, of course. He had to try to settle things with Krycek, at least in his own mind; he had to do what he could to make sure that Krycek didn’t jump in some unexpected direction under stress, right in the middle of a break-in.

He started up his computer and sent a one-line e-mail message to Skippy1121: I need to talk to you. Then he lay down on the couch and picked up the TV remote. He had a feeling he would not sleep tonight.

* * *

The knock on the door woke him from a light doze. He moaned and pushed himself upright, the remote falling to the floor as he sat up. His heart thudded. Two in the morning. It had to be Krycek. Why couldn’t the man visit at a reasonable hour?

“Who is it?” He yawned as he called through the door.

“It’s me, let me in.” Krycek.

Mulder sighed opened the door. “What is it, Krycek?”

Krycek spread his arms. “You wanted to see me. I’m here.”

I didn’t mean at two in the morning. Still, he stepped aside and let Krycek come in. He caught a slight whiff of alcohol as Krycek passed. Great, he’s drunk. But he was steady on his feet. Steadier, in fact, than Mulder, who was still groggy from being awakened.

The usual black leather. A strand of dark hair in his face. “What do you want, Mulder? Have you decided what you want to do?” A slight expansiveness was the only indication that he was under the influence. But there was a strange glint in his eyes.

“Maybe. First I need to talk to you.”

“Why? You never believe anything I tell you anyway.”

“I want to believe.” The irony of his saying that to Krycek was not lost on either of them. “You still haven’t told me anything that makes sense. Why are you doing this, Krycek?”

Krycek prowled around Mulder’s apartment. “I never meant for my life to turn out like this.” He stopped and looked at Mulder, choked out a despairing laugh. “I screwed up big time.”

“I know. But that still doesn’t explain why you are helping me.”

“Am I helping you?”

“You say you are.”

He grinned at Mulder. It was a desperate grin. “I’m giving you information. Maybe that information won’t help you. Maybe you’d be better off without it.”

“Maybe. But I still want to know why you’re doing it.”

Krycek stepped up to Mulder, jabbed him in the chest. “Because you’re the one, Mulder.”

Mulder pushed Krycek’s hand away, and took him by the shoulders. “Make sense, Krycek. What one?”

“You’re the fox, Fox.” He giggled. “You know, in Japanese legend, demons often take the form of a fox. Vengeful ghosts. Betrayed women. They come back as foxes to seek their revenge.”

“You’re drunk.” Mulder released him, and stepped away wearily. “Why don’t you go home?”

Krycek drew himself up. “I’m not drunk.” Then he lowered his voice to a conspiratorial murmur. “Maybe this is just the real me.”

“Then tell me. How does the real you feel about me?”

His grin dissolved, sharply, into shards of pain. “How do you feel about me, Fox?” He used Mulder’s first name as a battering ram. “Do you hate me? Do you hate me so much you just can’t think of enough ways to hurt me? Beat me and try to kill me, shove a gun down my throat, fuck me…. You told Scully about what you did to me, for God’s sake, do you have any idea how humiliating that is? What now, Mulder? What’s on the agenda for tonight?”

Mulder swallowed uneasily. “Look, about what happened last time….”

“The sex, you mean? You want to do it again? I’ll do it again.” There was a wild look in his eyes.

“No, I….”

But Krycek hadn’t waited for Mulder’s answer. He stepped forward and slipped his hands around Mulder’s waist, sinking down to his knees. Then his hands were rubbing Mulder’s hips, stroking his groin, inflaming desire with a practiced touch. Mulder groaned, tried to step back. But his knees had turned to water. This is not supposed to happen again. But his mind was a haze of conflicting emotions. Did he owe Krycek this, for last time? And why the hell did it feel so good?

Now Krycek was unbuttoning Mulder’s jeans, easing them down over his hips, running his hands over sensitive exposed skin. His smooth cheek and warm lips rubbed against Mulder’s groin, nuzzling his cock ever-so-gently. Mulder’s mental debate was fast disintegrating, sense abandoned to sensuality. I’m going to hell, he thought, and Alex Krycek is the devil. Then Krycek flicked his hot, wet tongue over the head of Mulder’s hard cock. And Mulder’s half-formed protest died.

Krycek cupped Mulder’s balls in his hand, then circled the base of Mulder’s cock with strong fingers. The other hand gripped Mulder’s hip. Moist lips and swirling tongue sucked him in. Mulder gasped, thrust into Krycek’s mouth, tightened his fingers in Krycek’s hair. All right, let it happen. Pure sex. It meant nothing; it was just bodies clashing. Krycek’s hand massaged his hip, then felt between his buttocks. Mulder grabbed Krycek’s wrist and pulled his hand away.

Krycek let Mulder’s cock slide out of his mouth, and got to his feet. His smile was cold. “What’s the matter, Mulder, you can dish it out, but you can’t take it?” Mulder was prevented from answering by Krycek’s mouth on his. He tasted the tongue that had just been on his cock. Krycek rubbed against him, and slid his hands down Mulder’s back to grip his bare buttocks. Mulder clutched at Krycek’s black leather, then suddenly pushed Krycek away and stood with his hands on the waistband of his pants to keep them from falling any further, searching Krycek’s face. He felt a tiny chill at the triumph he saw there.

Krycek smiled. “Don’t look so scared, Mulder. I’m not going to hurt you.”

“You’ll understand why I don’t exactly trust you.”

Krycek flinched. “I’m not the one who plays power games in bed.”

Mulder felt sick. “I… I’m sorry about that. That’s why I really wanted to talk to you, to apologize. I didn’t mean to be so rough.”

Krycek laughed. “You think that was rough? Haven’t done it with men much, have you?”

“Then what’s the problem?” Mulder began pulling his pants up, slowly.

“Mulder, I just thought if I let you do what you wanted, you might stop hating me so much. You didn’t.”

“How do you know? You didn’t really stick around long enough to find out.”

“God, Mulder. How long do you think it takes? You couldn’t get away from me fast enough. I thought you were going to throw me in the trash with the condom.”

“Krycek, I… it was a mistake. I’m sorry.”

“No, the mistake was thinking that sex for you was going to be anything more than just another way to punish me.”

“Well, what about now? This is your way of punishing me, isn’t it?”

Krycek stepped closer to him, and put one hand on his, stopping his distracted and not-very-effective attempts to get his pants back on. “I don’t want to punish you. I want this to be the best sex you’ve ever had. I want this to be so good, you’ll never be able to forget it, no matter how hard you try.” He took both of Mulder’s hands in his, lifted them to his mouth, kissed the knuckles gently. “I want to be the face you see in your wet dreams.” He released Mulder’s hands, stroked Mulder’s temple, traced his fingers lightly down the curve of Mulder’s jaw. “I want you to think about me every time you lay down with someone else, for the rest of your life.” He ran his hand through Mulder’s hair, then leaned forward to place a warm kiss on Mulder’s lips. “I want to haunt you until the day you die.”

Mulder’s erection, which had begun to fade when he’d stepped away from Krycek, was now full and hard again. “You already do.”

Krycek smiled sadly. “Not the way you haunt me, Mulder. No way.”

Mulder took Krycek’s face in his hands. Such a young, innocent face. Mulder remembered the way Krycek had looked after he shot Augustus Cole—scared, shaky, panicking because he couldn’t find the gun he’d been sure Cole had. He’d thought he was saving Mulder’s life. He remembered the way Krycek had brought him coffee that horrible day after Scully had been taken, and asked how he’d slept in a voice so gentle he could hardly hear it. Mulder wanted that kid back. He didn’t want to know the other things Krycek had done—the reports to his enemies, the interference, the spying. And other, worse things. But those things had been done; the innocence was a lie. He could not trust this man, no matter how sweetly he talked or how skillfully he made love. He must not allow himself to be seduced.

But it was a little late for that, wasn’t it? Let Krycek have his way. Then it would be over, and Krycek would have no more hold on him. “All right. Do what you want.”

Krycek smiled and, with a slight inclination of the head to invite Mulder to go with him, went into the bedroom. Mulder took a deep breath and followed.

Krycek dug in his jacket pocket and brought out a small tube of KY jelly and a condom, which he placed on the nightstand. Mulder swallowed nervously. Had he imagined that Krycek might not demand this of him? It was only fair. But it scared him far more than he wanted to admit.

Krycek took off his jacket and tossed it onto the chair, then stepped up to Mulder and slipped his arms around him, stroking Mulder’s back as he pulled his tee-shirt up. “Just in case,” he whispered in Mulder’s ear. “I’m not going to do anything you don’t want me to do.” He looked into Mulder’s eyes with a sly smile. “You get as many chances to say no as you want.”

And with Krycek reminding him of how Mulder had taken him, how could he say no to anything? Especially when Krycek was pulling off his tee-shirt, kissing his neck, nibbling at his earlobe, stroking his chest, teasing his nipples with his thumbs. I really have to get laid more often, Mulder thought; he could almost forget how good it felt to have someone else’s hands on his body. And, give him his due, Krycek was good. Not since Phoebe Green had anyone been able to ignite such fire in him. Although maybe it wasn’t the skill so much as the danger, the certain knowledge that he was heading straight for disaster, that led Mulder into these doomed, passionate affairs. Mulder had never been one to play it safe, nor to look for longevity in relationships.

He sighed and reached out for Krycek. Between caresses, they undressed each other, dropping clothing carelessly in the floor, stroking the skin they uncovered. Mulder, naked, knelt before Krycek, sliding the jeans down Krycek’s legs, pulling them free of each foot as he stepped out of them. Mulder kissed each knee in turn, ran his hands up Krycek’s legs to his thighs. Krycek’s hard cock bobbed before his face. He hesitated a moment before running his tongue along the shaft, and taking the head of the cock into his mouth. Krycek moaned, and his hips stiffened, but he did not thrust. Krycek was being gentle; it was almost more frightening than if he’d been rough and demanding. Mulder let the cock slide deeper into his mouth, moving his tongue on the silky skin, bringing one hand up to grip the base of the shaft. He was not terribly good at giving blow jobs, he knew, but he would do his best. If he could satisfy Krycek this way, perhaps he wouldn’t be required to yield anything else. And Krycek was responding – his breathing had quickened, the hip beneath Mulder’s hand was moist with sweat, his hands twisted in Mulder’s hair.

Then a few drops of slick liquid oozed onto his tongue. Unprepared for the sharp taste, he managed not to shudder, but his rhythm was interrupted. Krycek pulled away, gently, and sank to his knees in front of Mulder, with a reassuring smile. He kissed Mulder deeply, probing tongue taking the taste of the precome away.

Hands on Mulder’s shoulders, Krycek urged them over onto the futon. Mulder was not quite sure how he ended up on his back, with Krycek on top of him, lying between his legs. His hard cock moved against Krycek’s, which was still wet from Mulder’s tongue. They kissed, rubbing their bodies together. Mulder felt himself heating, dissolving into the deep, wet kisses and the sweaty friction of chest and stomach and groin sliding over him. Then Krycek slipped his hand between them, and began to stroke Mulder’s cock. Mulder moved his hips, trying to thrust into Krycek’s grip. Krycek ran his hand up and down the shaft, squeezing and stroking, working him nearly to a frenzy. Then he cupped Mulder’s balls in his hand, squeezing gently, then probed past to the tight ring of Mulder’s anus. His fingers stroked the entrance lightly. Mulder whimpered; his knees came up, spreading to expose himself more fully to this intimate caress. A tiny voice whispered to him that he must protest; his body demanded more. The voice ignored, he lifted his hips to meet the invasion.

Krycek took his hand away, leaving Mulder gasping and aching for his touch. He reached to the nightstand and took the tube of KY, squeezing it out onto his fingers. Then he slipped his hand back between Mulder’s legs, and resumed his probing caress.

The jelly was slippery and cool between Mulder’s buttocks. The tender flesh, unaccustomed to sex play, throbbed with sensation. Then Krycek’s finger slid inside him, unerringly finding the spot that sent explosive waves of pleasure through him. Mulder moaned, gripping Krycek tightly with hands and thighs. He rocked with the strokes of Krycek’s finger, pleasure only increasing when a second finger joined the first.

Presently, Krycek stopped stroking, leaving his fingers unmoving inside Mulder’s body. Mulder looked at him, silent plea on his face. Krycek smiled. “First time?”

“No.” Mulder’s reply was a ragged whisper. But, be honest, he was not exactly experienced at this. “Second.”

Krycek kissed him. “All right, then. You get the almost-a-virgin special.” He kissed him again, then kissed Mulder’s chin and throat, and trailed kisses down his chest and stomach, moving down between Mulder’s legs until he was kissing Mulder’s cock, sucking him in. He began to move his fingers again, and Mulder was caught between the sensations of entering and being entered. He groaned and bucked, knowing he would not last long like this.

But Krycek did not give him long. Soon he released Mulder’s cock and sat back on his heels, letting his fingers slide out. Mulder lay gasping for breath. He looked up at Krycek, who was also breathing hard, sweaty spikes of dark hair hanging in heavy-lidded eyes, his face suffused with passion. Krycek took the condom from the nightstand and tore it from its foil wrapping, closing his eyes as he rolled it onto a cock stiff and throbbing with need. Then he took the KY and applied the cool jelly to his latex-covered cock, and more to Mulder’s ass.

He smiled at Mulder. “Ready?”

Mulder could only nod. He felt a slight thrill of fear as Krycek lifted his legs, pressing his knees to his chest, and settled between them, with his cock pressing against the entrance to Mulder’s body. You can say no any time, he reminded himself. But he did not want to stop, he just wanted reassurance that Krycek was not going to hurt him. But what good was reassurance, when you didn’t trust anyone? Especially not Krycek, who’d shown decisively that he was not worthy of Mulder’s trust. He would just have to hope that Krycek meant what he said about wanting it to be good for him. This was insane, he thought; Krycek was the last person in the world he should allow to do this. He could hardly remember the reasons he’d thought it necessary. All that was left, now, was a body brought to the edge and still demanding release. A body that knew no better than to respond to a traitor’s touch.

But while Mulder’s doubts raged, Krycek continued to press into him – not even a thrust, just a gradually increasing pressure, that, from the strained look on his face, was requiring great concentration and restraint. Mulder could not help pushing back, seeking further penetration. Krycek stopped, then, relaxed for a moment, took a deep breath and began to move slowly in and out, still a gentle motion too restrained to be called a thrust. Mulder could feel himself opening up, taking in more; he knew when he was ready, and thrust himself forward onto Krycek’s cock, fingers digging into Krycek’s shoulders, his own cries mingling with Krycek’s as he impaled himself fully.

Mulder wrapped his arms tightly around Krycek’s back. Krycek’s cock stretched and filled him. Krycek began to thrust in earnest, now, still slowly at first, gradually increasing in speed and depth. Mulder just hung on and let Krycek set the pace. His cock scraped against Krycek’s belly, as Krycek’s cock stroked into him. It was an intense pleasure, more diffuse than the heat of fucking, which centered in cock and balls – this filled his whole body, right out to his fingertips.

Krycek’s movements were becoming more urgent; he was groaning now with every thrust, and drops of sweat were falling from his brow. Mulder was approaching climax, too, but was not yet there when Krycek cried out and thrust into him, hard. Mulder held him tightly while he gasped for breath, face buried in Mulder’s neck.

“Don’t you dare stop now,” Mulder murmured.

Krycek chuckled throatily into his ear. “Don’t worry, Mulder, I won’t leave you hanging.” And, a few moments later, he gathered himself up and continued, with deep, hard, teeth-grittingly pleasurable strokes, until Mulder moaned and stiffened and his semen spurted out between them, wetting them both with the milky fluid. Krycek collapsed onto him, breathing hard, kissed him wetly on the cheek.

Mulder stretched out his legs, reality already returning to dampen the pleasure. Krycek reached down to keep the condom on his softening cock as it slipped from Mulder’s body, then stripped it off and tossed it into the trash in one smooth motion. He lay on his side beside Mulder, head propped up on his elbow. “Mulder?”

Mulder looked away. “What?” All right, even if it was the best sex I’ve ever had, it doesn’t change anything. You’re still an amoral little toad, and I’m still insane for doing this.

Krycek fell onto his back. “Never mind.”

* * *

Presently, Krycek sat up, looked around for his tee-shirt. He turned back to Mulder, holding the shirt in his hand. “You know, Mulder, this is really sick.”

Mulder closed his eyes, not sure whether to laugh or cry. “I’m glad you realize that.”

“So what now?”

“I don’t know.” Should he be glad this was settled, or sorry he’d allowed it to happen? “Are we even now?”

“Even?” Krycek choked out an incredulous laugh. “I thought I was unforgivable.”

Mulder pushed himself up onto his elbows, shaking his head. “I don’t mean about everything. I just meant… this.”

“The sex, you mean? Yeah, you fucked me, I fucked you, I guess we’re even. I didn’t know we were keeping score.”

Mulder sighed. How was it that everything he said and everything he did just made things worse? “Sorry. I just thought….”

“Forget it.” Krycek drew up one knee, and rested his chin on it. “So are we on for a little breaking and entering?”

He seemed completely sober now. Steady and calm. Had the whole thing been another act? A game to get Mulder back in bed? Was Mulder ever going to know what went on in Krycek’s head?

“Yes. We’re on.” Scully would be outraged, if she knew. We didn’t straighten anything out. We just had sex again, and I’m more confused than ever. But I’m going through with it anyway.

“All right. I’ll check things out, see what I can set up. I’ll let you know.” He started to pull on his tee-shirt.

Mulder put his hand on Krycek’s arm. “Alex.”

“What?” Krycek’s dead calm was unnerving.

“Stay.” He was headed for disaster again, Mulder knew, but he couldn’t let Krycek walk away like this.


Mulder took the tee-shirt out of Krycek’s hand and tossed it aside. “Just stay a while. Indulge me.”

Krycek stared at him. The mask of calm slowly fell away. Anger first, then bitterness and pain and hopeless longing filled his face. He closed his eyes, and blinked away tears. Then he slid into Mulder’s arms, and they lay back down, Krycek half on top of Mulder, head pillowed on Mulder’s shoulder.

He fits there, Mulder thought drowsily. I never would have thought.

An hour later, he woke, and Krycek was gone.

* * *

“I talked to Krycek last night.” Mulder sipped his coffee, willing his hand to be steady.

Scully set her coffee cup down on the desk, and sat across from him. “And?”

“I told him to go ahead. I don’t think it’s a trap.”

She took a deep breath, sipped her own coffee. “What makes you think so?”

Because, if it were a trap, he wouldn’t have come to me drunk and thrown himself at me. He would have been cool and calm and full of reasonable explanations. He wouldn’t have risked spooking me by making things even crazier than they already were. He wouldn’t have fucked me.

“He’s scared. If it were a trap, he wouldn’t be so scared.”

“Maybe he’s too scared to be reliable.”

“I don’t think so. He’s got it under control. Scully, you really don’t have to go along with this if you don’t want to.”

“I’ll come. I just want to make sure you know what you’re doing. That you’re not letting your need for the truth color your judgment.”

Do I know what I’m doing? “If I really believed it was a trap, I wouldn’t go.”

She nodded. “All right. I trust you.”

Mulder gripped his coffee cup tightly. You shouldn’t, Scully. But you always do, don’t you? “He’s going to let me know when he’s ready.” If Scully gets hurt this time I really will kill you, Krycek. But if Scully got hurt, whose fault would it really be? Krycek’s—or Mulder’s?

Bad idea, Mulder. Very bad idea.

He felt as though he stood on the tracks watching a very big train barrelling towards him.

And, like a deer caught in headlights, he could only stand and watch it come.

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