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The Best Lies, Part Two: Picture in a Wallet


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.


Damn you, Mulder
You act like you’re the only one who ever got hurt,
Who ever lost someone he cared about,
Like your truth is the only thing that matters
Like King Arthur and the Holy Grail,
or something

So superior. So stubborn. So self-pitying
With your sad hazel eyes and puppydog face.
Well, there are some truths you can’t have.
So go cry to Scully,
or something

I have hazel eyes, too, Mulder
I have beliefs and dreams and longtime pain,
But you wouldn’t know about that, would you?
You never bothered to find out. I hate you…
or something

Or Something

Alex Krycek stepped out from the doorway and fell in step beside Mulder. He wore jeans and a black leather jacket—trying hard to look rough and dangerous, Mulder thought. It was not entirely successful. Krycek couldn’t completely overcome the soft, unlined contours of a face that still made you wonder if he was out past his bedtime. But it was a definite improvement over the bland off-the-rack suits he’d worn during his brief career as Mulder’s partner.

“What have you got for me, Krycek?”

Neither breaking stride nor taking his eyes off the sidewalk ahead of him, Krycek pulled a computer backup tape from his jacket pocket and held it out to Mulder. “I downloaded this from the computer that was in that warehouse. I don’t know how much good it will do you.”

Mulder took the cassette and slipped it into his own pocket. “Is this the database file?” He knew that Krycek would know which file he meant.

“I think so.” Krycek shrugged. “I don’t know Unix. I think I copied the whole hard disk, but… I couldn’t exactly ask for help.”


Krycek still didn’t slow down. Mulder stopped him with a hand on his arm. Krycek stood with his hands jammed in his pockets, glaring at Mulder. There was a bitterness in his eyes now—in the set of his mouth, and the tension in his shoulders—which, more than the black leather and tight jeans, made Krycek appear harder, less naive than he had last year.

“What?” Krycek said flatly.

Mulder held up the computer cassette. “Why, Krycek? Why give me this?”

“I told you I’d check into it. Didn’t you want to know what was in that database?” He looked up at Mulder from under dark lashes. Open. Reasonable. Utterly unresponsive.

“I know why I want it. I want to know why you want to give it to me.”

“You think it’s a setup.” His eyes narrowed, accusing. As if he had a right to be.

“The thought did occur to me.”

“Well, it isn’t.”

“Then what is it?”

“You’re not going to believe a word I say anyway. Why should I bother?”

Mulder smiled, his voice a soft purr. “But you tell such good stories. Tell me another one. Or do you only come up with them when you’ve got a gun to your head?”

“Why don’t you put a gun to my head and find out?” he snapped. “What do you want from me, Mulder?”

“I want information. And you’re not giving it to me.” On a sudden impulse, Mulder held out his hand and ordered, “Give me your wallet.”

“What?” Krycek’s voice was a choked whisper.

“You heard me. Give me your wallet.”

“I’m not going to… why should I give you my wallet?”

“You’re playing games with me, Krycek, and I don’t like it. I want to know who the hell you are. If you won’t tell me, I’ll have to find out another way.”

Krycek’s mouth worked, but he didn’t speak. He glared at Mulder defiantly for a few moments, then, lips pressed tightly together, he nodded once, pulled his wallet from his back pocket, and handed it over.

Mulder took it and turned it over in his hands. It was a plain brown leather wallet, completely ordinary. He opened the wallet and counted the cash, around forty dollars. The driver’s license was a phony, in the name of Alan Foxworth.


Krycek reddened. “Not my idea.”

Mulder memorized the address, even though he knew it would be no good. There was also a Visa card in the same name. A folded slip of paper with a phone number written on it. Mulder memorized that, too. A laundry claim check. Not much of interest. A good mole, Krycek did not carry incriminating items around with him. Mulder started to close the wallet, then, almost as an afterthought, he slid his finger into the space behind the credit card pockets, and found a slip of paper. There was a small noise of protest from Krycek as Mulder pulled it out.

Mulder stared at the paper in complete astonishment. It was a grainy copy of his FBI ID photo. Not the best picture of him, but clearly recognizable. Mulder held the photo up, with a questioning look.

“Krycek? What the hell is this?”

“Can I have my wallet back now?” Krycek was all but squirming.

Suddenly, Mulder felt embarrassed himself. He tucked the photo back and handed the wallet to Krycek, who jammed it roughly into his pocket.

“Are we through?” Krycek spoke through clenched teeth.

“Is that address for real?”

“What do you think?”

“Then how do I get in touch with you?”

A short, harsh laugh. “Forget it, Mulder.”

“Krycek, you’re not going to run me around like a trained dog. I’m not asking for your home address. Figure out a way for me to get hold of you. Or forget any more of these little get-togethers.”

“I’m risking my life to bring you this. I don’t owe you anything.”

“Don’t you?” Scully’s abduction. Duane Barry. Drug-induced psychosis. “Anyway, for all I know, this is just another setup, and you were sent here to screw me around again.”

“Fuck you, Mulder. Believe what you want.”

“You called me, Krycek. You wanted this meeting. If you ever want another one….”

“Shit.” Krycek dug in his pockets and came up with a matchbook and a pen. He scribbled something on the inside cover of the matchbook and handed it to Mulder. “That’s it, Mulder. Use it judiciously. I mean, if you’re going to kill me, I’d rather you just put a gun to my head.” Then he walked away.

Mulder watched until the leather-clad back turned the corner and disappeared. Then Mulder looked down at the matchbook cover.

A crooked smile played about Mulder’s lips. So the little rat-bastard had a sense of humor, and a self-deprecating one at that. I never know what to expect from you, Alex Krycek.

* * *

Mulder had to go to the Computer Analysis unit to find a Unix-based computer to read the data on the tape. Scully stood behind his shoulder as he studied the files.

“Is it the same data?” she asked.

“Looks like it. But I only saw a small part of the system. They could have made any number of changes in the rest and I would have no way of knowing.”

“Why would Krycek give you this?”

He hadn’t told her about the confrontation with Krycek at the warehouse, only that Krycek had called him that morning and asked for a meeting. “I have no idea.” What I told you when we first met, about following your work at the Academy, admiring you—that was the truth, Krycek had told him. Mulder hadn’t known whether to believe him then, and he didn’t know now. “Maybe he feels guilty about what he’s done and he’s trying to make amends. Maybe he’s feeding me disinformation on Cancer Man’s orders. Maybe he’s just insane. I don’t know.”

Mulder sat back. There on the screen was the database that had nearly destroyed his life just a few days ago. He pulled up record 1560*. Mulder, Samantha… Due to human incest taboo, removed from home to be raised separately. Surgery and hypnosis performed to reassign identity. (See also 1560, Scully, Dana). The first time he’d seen this, he’d run out of the warehouse to throw up in the gutter. He’d almost been convinced that Scully was Samantha, and the idea had plunged him into despair.

Now he could look at the words almost dispassionately. He still had no proof one way or another whether any of it was true—their investigations had turned up nothing further. But he’d chosen to believe it was a lie, cooked up by the Smoking Man and his cronies to destroy Mulder’s self-confidence, and to stop his search for his sister, Samantha. It would take more than words on a computer screen to make him believe that Scully was anyone but Scully.

“It looks the same to me,” Scully said, studying the screen.

“Yes. It’s the same file.” He typed in another search command. The response came back Krycek: not found. Mulder grinned over his shoulder at Scully. “Oh well. I guess he’s human, after all.”

Scully shook her head, smiling. “Will you be able to find out anything from this?”

Mulder’s smile faded. He sighed. “I doubt it. I’ll check it out, but there’s no way of knowing whether any of this is real. Or if it ever was.” I could ask around, Krycek had told him. But you won’t believe anything I tell you, anyway.

Well, you were right about that, Mulder thought.

* * *

“Scully, what do you think it means if a guy has your photograph in his wallet?” They were sitting in their office, later that afternoon. Mulder was trying to concentrate on his work, but he couldn’t get the strange meeting with Krycek out of his mind.

Scully smiled. “You’re a guy, Mulder, you tell me.”

“I don’t know, the only picture I have in my wallet is the blonde on my video rental card.”

“Well, who’s got whose picture in his wallet?”

Mulder suddenly wished he hadn’t brought the subject up. “Krycek. Has mine.” His face burned as he said it.

Scully opened and closed her mouth. “He’s messing with your head.”

“But he didn’t know I was going to be looking in his wallet. He didn’t want me to see it.”

Scully looked at him curiously. “So how did you happen to be looking in his wallet?”

“I made him give it to me.”

Her only response was an eloquently raised eyebrow.

Mulder shrugged, embarrassed. “I can’t figure him out. I don’t know why he would be doing this. And it makes me crazy that I can’t do anything about all the things he’s done. So I push him. It’s a very twisted little relationship.”

“Apparently, even more twisted than you realized.”

“No, I… he’s not even….” Mulder stopped. He had no idea whether Krycek was gay.

“Actually, it would explain a lot. His obsession with you….”

“It doesn’t explain why he went to work for my enemies.” Although, hadn’t Krycek already answered that question? They told me I could be your partner if I worked for them…. Mulder had thought it was simple hero-worship, but maybe there was more to it than that. Krycek had followed him around like an eager puppy back then, during the brief time they’d worked together. He was always sitting or standing right next to Mulder, bringing him coffee, hanging on his every word. There was no obvious sexual element in it, but, as Scully said, it would explain a lot.

“Maybe he didn’t feel that way until after he started working for them. Maybe he thought it was the only way he could get close to you. Maybe he wanted to destroy you because he knew he could never have you.” Scully ticked off the possibilities calmly.

Mulder wished he could be so calm about it. “Scully, I really did not want to know this.”

Scully grinned. “On the other hand, maybe there’s a perfectly innocent explanation for why he carries your picture in his wallet.”

“There’s a secret microdot on the back. He forgot what I look like and had to remind himself before he came to meet me. It’s really a picture of his Mom and it’s just a coincidence that she looks exactly like me.”

They laughed and let the subject drop. But it continued to niggle at the back of his mind. It was one more unexpected aspect of a man who was already far too hard to figure out.

* * *

Mulder fell asleep on the couch, as usual. Sometimes he’d wake up later and drag himself off to the bedroom. Sometimes he wouldn’t. He was dozing through the late movie when the knock on his door brought him fully awake.

Heart pounding with adrenaline rush, he snatched his gun from the coffee table and held it ready as he went to the door. Nearly three A.M.; he rarely had company at all, much less at three in the morning.

“Who is it?” he asked through the door.

“It’s me, Mulder. Let me in.” A male voice, urgent and slightly husky. Krycek?

Mulder suppressed the urge to just tell him to go away, and cracked the door slightly. His curiosity was going to get him killed some day.

It was, indeed, Alex Krycek. He took Krycek’s arm, pressed his gun into Krycek’s gut, pulled him inside and shut the door.

Krycek held his hands up, palms outspread. “I’m unarmed, Mulder, come on. If I was going to try something, I wouldn’t be knocking on your door in the middle of the night. I just need to talk to you.”

Gun still on Krycek, Mulder pushed him up against the wall. “You don’t mind if I check that out for myself.” He forced Krycek to endure a thorough pat-down.

“All right.” Mulder stood back, gun lowered.

Krycek turned around, white with fury. “You son of a bitch, Mulder. You know that wasn’t necessary. I just wanted to talk to you.”

“Taking a pretty big chance coming here, aren’t you? Why didn’t you just arrange a meeting?”

“Because I had some things to say I didn’t want to say out on the street. And what do you care if I take chances, anyway?”

Mulder, his heartbeat gradually returning to normal, put his gun on the desk and went back to sit on the couch. “I don’t. But I don’t want to have to explain what you’re doing dead on my carpet, if someone follows you here and puts a bullet in your head.”

Krycek followed him and stood before him, glowering. “Well, I’ll try not to bleed on your carpet,” he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “Nobody followed me. I’m not stupid.”

“All right. Say what you have to say.”

Krycek glanced around uneasily, suddenly unsure of himself. “Did you find anything on that tape?”

“No. You know I have no way of knowing if it’s a fake. Either before or after you copied it. What was I supposed to find out from it?”

Krycek shrugged, frustrated. He spoke hotly. “I don’t know, Mulder. I thought you wanted to see it. I’m sorry I wasted your time.”

“Don’t play the hurt innocent with me, Krycek. You’ve got nothing to be upset about.”

“Okay, you don’t want my help, you can forget it. You won’t get any more information from me.”

“Fine. I never asked you to do it in the first place.”

Krycek paced angrily in front of Mulder’s couch. “You have had this attitude towards me from the day we met. Long before I did anything you had a right to get angry about. What is your problem?”

“My problem? You’re my problem. Let me see, working for my enemies behind my back, spying on me, helping them to abduct my partner….”

“But Scully’s all right. You’re all right. Nothing I did caused you any permanent harm.”

Mulder got up and stood facing Krycek, interrupting the other man’s pacing with a hand on his chest. “No harm? Three months of hell, worried sick about her—her mother bought her gravestone, did you know that? And who knows what they put her through, she still doesn’t remember. Only that she almost died. That’s what you did to me.”

“I… all I did was tell them where to find her. I didn’t know what they were going to do with her.”

“And you think that lets you off the hook?”

“No, but I just do what I’m told. I don’t make the decisions. What did I do that was so bad?”

Mulder grabbed Krycek by the collar of his jacket. “Are you insane? What did you do? You betrayed me! You turned Scully over to them! And you wonder why I don’t like you?”

Krycek struck Mulder’s hand away. “But that’s all over with! I’m trying to help you now. And you—you just humiliate me every chance you get.”

“Why are you helping me? Why do you care so much what I think? What am I to you, but a mark you helped try to destroy?”

“Mulder, it wasn’t like that. I told you. I didn’t know what I was getting into.”

“Then why didn’t you get out, when you found out what it was? Why didn’t you come to me? Why didn’t you let me save Scully before those bastards got her?”

“Scully, I’m so sick of hearing about Scully! There’s no room for anybody else in your private little world, is there? Just you and your precious Scully!” Krycek’s voice was cracking, near to hysteria.

And there it was. Scully was right. Mulder wondered why it had taken him so long to see it. “Scully has nothing to do with it. You just want to get me in bed.”

Krycek recoiled as if struck. “What are you talking about?” His choking words were barely audible.

“You heard me.”

Krycek turned his back to Mulder. “Go to hell.”

“So what are you telling me, Krycek? You don’t want me?”

Krycek whirled, strode up to Mulder and stood, inches from his face. He spat out the words. “I want you. I want to fuck you so bad, sometimes I think I’ll go crazy. I want you so bad, I risk my life to come here, I let you ridicule me and threaten me and push me around. But no more, Mulder. No more.” Then, abruptly, Krycek seized Mulder’s face in his hands, and covered Mulder’s mouth with his own, in a kiss as deep and white-hot as his fury.

At first, Mulder was too startled to pull away, but then his own fury demanded release, and found it in asserting possession of this man, who tormented and infuriated and angered him beyond reason. Mulder gripped Krycek by the shoulders, and returned the kiss with all his pent-up fire.

They fought for dominance with their tongues, in a kiss neither gentle nor kind. Mulder felt his fists clench, wanting to strike, and had to force his fingers to uncurl; then slid one hand into Krycek’s hair and tightened his fingers into what he knew was a painful grip. His mouth was rough and devouring. Krycek responded with his own strength, fingernails digging into Mulder’s back, one thigh thrust between Mulder’s legs. Mulder felt his cock harden painfully, constricted by his jeans, and was astonished by the intensity of his desire. But it wasn’t attraction, it was an animal need that had more to do with jungle law than human intimacy.

The kiss was long and hard. Krycek was skillful with his mouth and hands and body, you had to give him that. He very nearly took control. But while Mulder’s fury was for his betrayal, Krycek’s was for his frustrated need—as that need was filled, his fury dissipated, and he lost the battle.

Mulder felt it in the other man’s whole body; the strength just went out of him, and with a desperate gasp Krycek pushed himself away. He stood, his chest heaving, slicked-back hair mussed, reddened lips parted, face once again the raw innocent who’d somehow managed to get under Mulder’s skin and past his defenses. Suddenly, it was not entirely anger that motivated Mulder’s passion, and he felt a pang of uneasiness.

Mulder brushed the feeling away, unwilling to admit that there was still anything in Krycek that attracted him. But his cock ached, and Krycek was there for the taking. He searched out an image of Scully’s face as she lay in the hospital after her abduction, eyes taped and a tube down her throat, to rekindle the righteous fury that would allow him to do whatever he wanted with Krycek. Then there was a glint of fear in Krycek’s eyes, as Mulder grabbed his arm and dragged him into the bedroom.

Mulder flung Krycek down onto the futon, then stood over him, fists clenched. Momentarily unsure of himself, Mulder hesitated, wondering if he should give in to this dark desire, more a need to punish than to answer Krycek’s passion. He was not a rapist. But then, Krycek was not resisting.

He knelt down on the futon, and began to pull Krycek’s jacket off. Krycek struggled upright, shifting to assist Mulder in removing it. Divested of his black leather, some of his toughness was lost. Methodically, Mulder stripped him naked, tossing his clothes carelessly aside, pushing his hands away when he tried to help, or grasp at Mulder’s tee-shirt. He teased Krycek’s body as he undressed him, pinching the tender nipples, brushing the inside of his thigh, stroking the firm curve of his belly. Krycek moaned, almost fought, then finally yielded to Mulder’s touch.

Mulder leaned back on his heels, with Krycek laid out before him. His experience with men was limited—mostly clumsy and alcohol-lubricated gropings with classmates at Oxford—but he knew the basics of having sex with men, and he knew what he wanted to do now. He had condoms in the nightstand by the futon—seldom used, but there, just in case—but he needed something he could use for lubricant. He had hand lotion in the bathroom—it was water-based, so it should do. Mulder stood, gesturing for Krycek to stay where he was, and went to get the lotion. Am I really going to do this? he asked himself, knowing that the answer was yes. Something existed between him and Krycek that demanded this resolution; something that was not entirely betrayed trust and sexual obsession, although he didn’t want to look at it that closely. He returned to the bedroom, where Krycek remained just as he had left him, looking up at him with a strange expression in his clear hazel eyes.

Mulder got a condom out of the nightstand, placed it along with the lotion in reach beside the futon. Then he began to undress.

“All right, this is how it is. This happens once, and it happens my way, or it doesn’t happen at all. You get one chance to say no, right now.”

Krycek frowned, lips pressed tightly together. The bitterness was sharp on his face, but he didn’t move, and he didn’t say a word.

“Turn over.”

Krycek closed his eyes tightly for a moment, resentment flaring. Rebellion quickly suppressed, he obeyed, slowly turning over onto his stomach, legs slightly apart. He continued to look up at Mulder, anger flickering around the edges of his need. Mulder could hear the thudding of his own heart as he lay down beside Krycek, and ran a hand along the burning hot skin of Krycek’s back. Krycek’s body was smooth and white; youthful, not overly powerful, but firmly muscled. He sighed as Mulder stroked his back; gasped when Mulder probed between his buttocks. He buried his face in the pillow, gripping the edge of the futon tightly.

Mulder felt his own body responding to Krycek’s heat. His cool control dissipating, he brought his mouth down onto Krycek’s shoulders, and covered him with teasing bites and wet kisses, while his hands explored hip and thigh. He moved to lie between Krycek’s legs, spreading him farther with his knees. He stroked his hard cock along the crevice between Krycek’s cheeks, and Krycek writhed beneath him. It was intoxicating, controlling Krycek like this. Subjugating him with his own desire. The power was as delicious as the firm flesh flexing beneath his cock.

He reached for the lotion, poured a generous amount into his hand, and moved back onto his knees to allow himself access to Krycek’s buttocks. He slid his wet hand between Krycek’s cheeks and found the puckered entrance with his fingers. Krycek let out a tortured moan and lifted his hips to meet Mulder’s hand. Mulder entered him with his finger, stroking in and out, searching for the special gland, not sure how he would know if he found it. Krycek’s shuddering cry was the answer.

Mulder found that he was gasping himself, as he withdrew his finger, briefly, to reenter with two fingers. He was slick with sweat, his body burning, his cock throbbing. Krycek’s squirming, whimpering response was driving him mad. He wanted this desperately, even though he knew it would bring disaster. He reached for the condom, suddenly in a frantic hurry to finish it. His hands trembled as he ripped the foil and rolled the condom onto his cock. Then he settled between Krycek’s legs, guiding his cock to the moist entrance, and began to penetrate him.

Mulder was going too fast; Krycek cried out and tried to pull away. Mulder forced himself to slow down, but didn’t stop, even though Krycek’s body was now stiff with resistance. Then Krycek sobbed “Mulder, please….” and he relented. Pain wasn’t what he wanted from Krycek now—he wanted that wonderful, helpless, desperate passion. He withdrew and began again, careful this time, moving with shallow strokes, gradually deepening as Krycek relaxed and began to move with him. Finally, he pushed past the tight ring of muscle, and the full length of his cock slid in. Krycek’s sobbing moans were pure desire, now, and Mulder groaned his own pleasure. He relaxed for a moment, allowing his body to lay heavily on Krycek’s, enjoying the feel of the sweat-slick back and hips beneath him, and his cock fully sheathed in tight, hot flesh. You are mine, he thought, reveling in the possession, pushing away the unexpected wave of accompanying tenderness. He ran his hands down Krycek’s arms, from hard shoulders to strong hands, then gripped his conquest’s wrists and pressed them firmly into the futon. He began to move his hips, thrusting deep and hard into Krycek’s ass.

His passion grew quickly, and so did Krycek’s, and soon they were both gasping and thrusting with increasing heat, building to an impossible climax. Krycek came first, screaming into the pillow, grinding his hips against Mulder’s groin, muscles clenching on Mulder’s cock. Mulder pushed into him hard and gripped him tightly, riding out the waves of his orgasm, then drove to his own climax with three more long, sharp strokes. His release shot through him like electric fire, stiffening every muscle in his body, filling him with shockwaves of pleasure, until, sated, he collapsed into a boneless puddle, body still tingling with creamy satisfaction.

The afterglow lasted only a few moments. Mulder groaned, then, and lifted himself up, the air chilling his sweaty skin. He held the condom in place while he withdrew from Krycek’s body, then peeled it off quickly, trying not to look too closely at it as he reached over Krycek to toss it into the trash. He rolled over onto his back, away from Krycek, and lay with one arm flung over his head, the back of his hand resting on his forehead. A sick, sinking feeling washed over him.

Oh my god, what have I done? I just fucked Alex Krycek. How could he have possibly thought that there was an excuse for this? Krycek still lay with his face buried in the pillow. Mulder didn’t look at him, but he was aware of Krycek’s body shaking, muffled sounds emerging from the pillow. He was crying. Mulder’s sick feeling increased. He had wanted to punish him, but not like this. Should he try to comfort him? That would be a hollow and useless gesture. Probably just make things worse. If they could be any worse. Mulder had never been so ashamed in his life.

He wanted it. I didn’t force him. But he had taken him in anger, not in love, or even kindness; made him give up all control, and treated him like a slab of flesh. What might it have been like if he’d allowed Krycek to really make love to him? The memory of that soul-searing kiss came hauntingly back, and he forced it away, hot tears spilling from his own eyes. Alex Krycek is a morally bankrupt little toad, he insisted to himself. Krycek’s betrayal still burned. Trust did not come easily to him, and to have it shattered as Krycek had shattered it wounded him to the core. But now he had his own betrayal to counter it. Wrong did not justify wrong.

Krycek stirred, sat up on the edge of the futon, back to Mulder. Mulder turned to look at him, and saw tooth marks on Krycek’s shoulder. Mulder hadn’t remembered biting that hard. His stomach churned with shame. He reached out to touch Krycek’s arm.


Krycek jerked away from his touch. Mulder had no idea what to say. Krycek leaned forward to begin gathering his clothes. He pulled on his tee-shirt, then stood, back still to Mulder, to pull up his underpants and jeans. He had to search the room more carefully for his shoes and socks. Mulder could see the silent tears still falling, tiny wet drops dripping to the carpet, as Krycek sat in the floor to put his shoes on. Finally, he grabbed his jacket, shrugging into it as he got to his feet.

At last he turned to face Mulder. Now it was Krycek standing, fully dressed, looking down at Mulder lying naked in bed. Mulder felt a tiny pang at his vulnerability. But there was no anger or resentment in Krycek’s face any longer, only heartbroken misery.

“Alex… I didn’t mean….” He struggled for words, knowing that there were none.

“Yes, you did.” Tears still sliding down his face, Krycek reached into his back pocket for his wallet, and brought it out. He took the small picture from its secret hiding place and let it fall, fluttering, to the bed.

“Goodbye, Mulder.”

Then he turned and walked out.


He jerked to attention, found Scully standing by his desk with her arms folded, looking very impatient. “Sorry. What were you saying?”

She sighed. “Mulder, you haven’t heard a word I’ve said all day. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Nothing.” Three nights ago Krycek had walked out of his apartment. Mulder hadn’t heard from him since.

“You’ve been like this for days. Are you sure you’re all right?”

He’d sent several urgent and increasingly indiscreet messages to Krycek’s e-mail address, none of which had been answered. “I’m all right. I just haven’t been sleeping.” And the last time he’d said that, it was because Krycek had been spiking the water in his building with drugs.

Perhaps she made that connection too, and it was what prompted her to ask, “Have you heard from Krycek again?”

He flinched. “No,” he mumbled, face burning. “No, I haven’t seen him. Why do you ask?”

“Just wondered.” She regarded him thoughtfully for a long moment. “Mulder? Let me know if you want to talk about it.”

He nodded. There had been that phone number in Krycek’s wallet, perhaps he could be traced through that. Or the “Alan Foxworth” alias. There must be some way to find him, if he wouldn’t relent and answer his e-mail.

Maybe by the time he found him, he’d have thought of something to say.

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