Category: M/K slash

Rating: PG-13 for implied m/m, language, messy rooms. REALLY messy rooms.

Disclaimer: in 15 years, if They offer me these guys, just WATCH me sell out humanity... Sorry, CC-- you'll just have to learn to live with the guilt.

Spoilers: everything, but especially the Krycek and alien eps. Set about three years from "now."

Warning: it's NOT ONE OF THE BOYS, but there is a bit of CD in here... and I promised you a bloodbath... Some squickish stuff, some angsty bits, and all-around weirdness... Oh, and not beta'ed, either...

*
Promise
by Ladonna King
lking@agora.rdrop.com
*

Taking the corpse's chin with firm, impersonal fingers, Scully tilted the head up, pursing her lips when the wide eyes stared up blue. Sighing through her nose, she reached across the dead man's shattered chest and lifted a second head by its disheveled dark hair, ignoring the blond on her right. There was no body attached to this one. And his eyes were an anonymous brown.

"He's not here," she called over her shoulder, and Mulder stood away from the wall, brushing absently at the blood that had seeped through the shoulder of his uniform. Glancing up as the squad leader entered with a reassuring nod, he ventured out into the carnage, cautiously composing his face. Even though these men had been the enemy, no one deserved to die like this... torn to ribbons by warrior drones, blistered and swollen in a single, searing blast of radiation...

"Langly's sure the signal originated here?" he asked one final time, just to be absolutely certain.

"Positive," Scully scowled, pulling off her gloves with a snap as she rose. Dropping them carelessly to the floor, she scanned cold eyes over the mess before meeting Mulder's stare. "And while I don't have time for a more conclusive examination, I'd say these men died within an hour of Krycek's last transmission."

Mulder nodded once, watching the soldiers pick through the base's abandoned command post for intelligence and weaponry. They shouldn't even be here... Alex had *warned* them in that last message that this area was dangerously saturated with enemy troops, human and alien both. Alex's information was never wrong...

Which was why they were here, after all. Their superiors wanted Alex *back.*

"Don't worry, Mulder," Scully offered encouragingly. "I can't imagine why they slaughtered their own this way, but I doubt they caught him. I'm sure we'll have him back in custody soon."

"I'm not sure that's the best idea," Mulder frowned, shaking his head.
He hated fighting with Scully, especially about Alex, but that was all they'd *done* for the past year, since Alex had escaped from prison and started feeding them enemy plans once more. The same circular arguments, over and over again, whether they were chasing after Krycek one more time or trying to relax off-duty. "We'd be losing a valuable source of information--"

"Mulder, please," Scully snorted. "He's playing both sides against each other, just like always-- us against them. Don't tell me you can't see that."

"I'm sorry, but I just don't think it's that simple," he objected, lowering his voice as he stepped automatically closer, boots slipping a bit on gore. "A man that escapes from a maximum-security detention ward doesn't just sell out the people who helped him escape on a whim."

"Why do you think they helped him escape? And don't try and tell me he didn't have help. You saw the bodies, Mulder-- you can't argue with radiation burns. They knew we had him in custody and that he had to have talked, so why do you think they still trust him? He has to be feeding them as much information about us as he's giving us about them," Sully rolled her eyes, crossing her arms and tilting her chin up defiantly.

Over her shoulder, Mulder saw one of the soldiers shake his head without a word, a long-suffering expression on the man's face. It only made Mulder's temper flare brighter, embarrassment warring with frustration as he confronted his partner's stubborn refusal to face facts. "*Maybe,* if they still had him, but I don't think they do," Mulder insisted. "Look, I got inside his head, and I know what makes him tick-- I don't think he'd *do* that this time, not for these stakes--"

"Just because he wants to get into your pants, that doesn't mean you can trust him."

Mulder blinked, surprise silencing his words. Even the soldiers they'd been assigned froze, the enemy they watched for momentarily forgotten. Well. It had taken her seven years, but she'd finally gotten it off her chest... Briefly, he toyed with the notion of telling her Alex had already been in his pants, back when bad suits had been the man's uniform, not leather or prison blues.

And the fact was, he trusted Alex anyway. Implicitly. Because before his capture, Alex had made a promise, and the man had kept to it with a tenacity that left Mulder awed. 'I'll help you bring them down, Mulder. Whatever it takes... you have my word.'

Maybe it was time to explain to Scully how things really were between him and Alex Krycek...

A sudden commotion at the door had everyone whipping around, unslinging guns and taking aim. A short scream cut off wetly in the corridor, and somebody fired a staccato burst just outside, followed by a tortured-metal shriek of inhuman agony--

And then the ventilation grates blew open on every side, and the alien pack was upon them.

Mulder squeezed off a quick volley before something tore into his right shoulder, spinning him around as pain exploded across his senses. //Friendly fire,// he had time to think as a second bullet slammed into his chest, a third burrowing into his gut. Slipping on blood, he went down hard, cracking his skull on the unforgiving cement floor. White stars blossomed before his eyes, and his teeth snicked shut on his tongue, the taste of iron swamping his mouth. Dizzily, he tried to rise, limbs flailing uselessly, and a furry blackness threatened at the edges of his vision...

//Get up, dammit--//

The drones were everywhere, quicksilver and serpentine, and everyone was shooting, everyone was dying.

//Get *up--*//

Blood. Shimmering arcs of it. Underwater screams as the gunfire deadened his hearing, as pierced lungs filled. And then a second wave arrived...

//No--//

...and set upon their fellows like starving dogs.

But by then, it was dark.

***

When he woke, he was lying in a cooling puddle of crimson, his cheek pressed to the floor. There was blood matting his eyelashes, painting his lips, choking his liquid breaths. He couldn't make his right arm work, but that didn't bother him anymore. He didn't need his gun now.
Everyone was dead.

Part of a soldier lay across his legs, but he struggled free, rolling onto his left side and screaming when his shattered rib grated into his lung. It wasn't much of a scream. It bubbled and rasped, and nearly hurtled him back down into the warm darkness he'd just clawed his way out of. He didn't want to go back there yet. There was something he had to do first, somewhere he had to go, only a few feet away...

Navigating a landscape of corpses, he crawled painfully across the floor, like a smashed beetle that didn't have the sense to lie down and die. One clear objective burned before him, but it took so long to get there, an eternity before he collapsed half on top of a single body, impossibly tiny and frail in this company of felled giants. Pale skin gone paler, close-cropped red hair ominously darker, blue eyes so very, very blue...

"Sssc..." he coughed, blood trickling from his lips. //Oh God...// She looked so peaceful, but for the angle of her neck, the ruin of her throat. It had to have been quick. It *had* to have been.

//I never forgave you,// he screamed in his head, curling in on himself as the pain settled in his belly, a hopeless moan torn from his chest. Never forgave her for that call two years ago, leading the reorganized FBI to his door with Alex still there, Alex handing him a packet of plans as the building was being surrounded. One stolen kiss as they took up position in the hall. A whisper of 'I'll be back in three days' lost in a bellowed order to put down their weapons and come out with their hands up...

Never forgave her. Never. And now it was too late.

Hitching himself up closer, he wrapped his arms around her narrow shoulders, letting his head drop to press his bloody cheek to her white one, wracked by a single agonizing sob. He didn't want to die like this... he'd always hated being alone...

A flurry of motion at the door barely rated a glance, the deadly grace of a hunting alien drawing his eyes despite himself. No surprise to see it here. It must have heard him scrabbling around and come to finish the job. The only thing strange was the collection of gashes that branded its chest, as if his last hallucination had come true, and it had been fighting others of its kind... //At least I've been inoculated,// flashed through his head, hysterical laughter threatening at the thought. It could bleed on him all it wanted. It wasn't like it'd do any good anyway. The room was going dark again, and this time it had a feel of finality to it, of absolute goodbye...

Footsteps in the hall came accompanied by a whistle, two short, upturning notes demanding the thing's attention. Like a man calling his dog. And the drone crouched, tilting its head up and baring its throat in a submissive posture Mulder had never seen before.

A human figure in a long, dark coat stood framed in the doorway as Mulder tried to lift his head, the shadows swooping down for him again. Now he knew he was dead. And it was just like his warped mind to play these kinds of tricks on him, giving him Krycek's shocked horror to take with him as he went, and the sight of Alex's perfect left hand resting on the drone's slanted skull.

***

He wasn't expecting angels, but Mulder would have taken Alex over Jeremiah Smith any day.

"He's awake," the morph glanced right, away from Mulder, speaking to someone just out of Mulder's sight. Warm hands lifted away from his chest, a thumb smoothing once over his lip in a gesture somehow impersonal, as clinical as the fingers that tugged his collar straight. The morph had the fidgets, he realized with a disconnected awe.

"Good," a familiar voice rasped from the direction Smith was staring at, and Mulder jumped, blinking as he tried to struggle upright. Where the hell was he? And what the fuck was going *on?* "Thanks, Smith."

The morph smiled nervously as Mulder managed to sit up on his elbows, sprawled out on the grass in the middle of nowhere. //No, not nowhere... outside the base... but...// And when he turned his head...

The man sitting on the fallen tree certainly *looked* like Alex in profile... but Alex had a warrior drone's head cradled in his hands while the thing crouched on all fours at his feet, and he angled its face about with perfect confidence, frowning thoughtfully. "This one hasn't been fixed yet," Alex muttered, rubbing a casual finger over a particular spot on the back of the creature's skull before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a small silver cylinder.

Smith jerked beside Mulder, and Mulder just had time to catch the flash of Smith's change, features dissolving into a perfect blank before Alex thumbed the release to trigger a wicked-thin spike, slamming it into the back of the drone's neck. It writhed helplessly, but its claws sunk spasmodically into the ground as a shuddering hiss escaped it, flinching in long waves as Alex flicked his wrist sharply and pulled the spike out.

"That's better," Alex muttered quietly as a thin line of Oil trickled from the drone's pierced flesh, shimmering briefly in the late afternoon sun before sucking back into the closing wound. The whirring rattle tearing from the thing's throat was almost a whimper, almost pitiable as it shivered, collapsing to the dirt at Alex's feet.
Alex lifted his eyes to Mulder, terribly composed. "They're no good for fighting once they molt, but that's easy to fix. Most of the ones I get have already been frozen at this stage; maybe they wanted to breed this one," he snorted, glancing down at the slowly recovering drone.

Mulder wanted to latch onto the idea of arrested development in an alien species, wanted to know where this knowledge had come from, how many times that move had had to be practiced to perfect it. Anything to distract himself from the obvious, that a shapechanger had healed him, and that whatever was behind those green, green eyes couldn't possibly be Alex Krycek. "Who... who are you? What do you want?" Mulder forced himself to ask, only to have Alex roll his eyes and look away.

"How did I know that was going to be your first question?" the Alex-thing snorted, glancing up through sinfully long lashes. "It's me, Mulder. Trust me, it wouldn't be anyone else. Want to see the color of my blood?"

"I don't..." Mulder glanced up at Smith's still-blank face, eyeless, mouthless, lacking any opening for the Oil to attack, and shivered helplessly.

"Smith, knock it off," Alex grumbled with a frown. "I didn't kill it, now did I?"

"No, sir," Smith blinked, the sudden change assaulting Mulder with a strange feeling of vertigo. "May I...?"

"Sure, go on," Alex sighed, waving the morph away. "Just don't go too far. You make them nervous enough as it is."

"Yes, sir," Smith gave another anxious smile as he rose, glancing down at Mulder with a faintly encouraging expression. He was gone before Mulder could think to question him.

Turning the sheathed spike over in his hands, Alex looked down with a sigh, swallowing once. "Right before they broke down the door, do you remember what I said to you? I said I'd be back in three days. I touched your cheek, and you smirked a bit, and then you touched me right here," he breathed, fingers brushing his abdomen just beneath his ribs, "and there was a tiny shock of static electricity. It made me laugh..."

The spark. Mulder remembered the spark, the way Alex had hid his jump with a sudden chuckle, something a camera might not pick up, that a bug couldn't record... "Jesus," he breathed, shock opening up the ground underneath him. Alex-- his Alex-- after all these months... He wanted to close his eyes and breathe a prayer of thanks, wanted to drag the other man close and bury the loneliness eating at him in that familiar scent. Wanted to still the terrified voice that insisted something had gone terribly wrong. "Alex... what's *happened* to you?"

Alex's laugh was humorless this time, and he didn't look up. "You don't have any idea, do you?" Alex mused aloud, watching the alien struggle to its knees. When it lifted its head, Mulder watched Alex stare expressionlessly into its huge eyes for a long moment before reaching out, laying his hand over the same spot he'd stabbed minutes before. This time, the gesture was soothing, and the thing leaned into his touch, trilling a grating thrum as Alex stroked the thing's skull with his thumb. "Why are you here, Mulder?" he asked suddenly, eyes still fixed on the drone's. "I warned you not to come."

"They sent us... they sent us to capture you," Mulder admitted shakily, reminded instantly of Scully's tiny body lying cold on the floor.

"They can only bring you back so far," Alex said quietly, and Mulder knew what the other man was trying to say. A morph could heal, but not resurrect... "Smith's one of the rebels," he added suddenly, and Mulder let himself be distracted, relieved. "The drones wouldn't mind a piece of him, but they know better than to disobey. Mostly, he tries to stay out of their way, but they get itchy when they don't know where he is. I think they consider him a threat to me or something..."

Mulder wanted to close the gap between them, but he didn't want to get any closer to the drone. He wanted to meet Alex's eyes, but the thought of what he might see, or worse, *not* see, left a gnawing emptiness in his gut. Why was Alex being so *distant,* dammit? What had happened to him? "How are you controlling them, Alex?" he asked, cold fingers tickling his spine. "That thing didn't even try to attack when you..."

Nervously, Alex licked his lips, dropping his head for a moment before straightening. When he released the drone, it slunk away, not rising from all fours until it was many yards away. Alex turned to face Mulder slowly, lashes fluttering uncertainly before lifting, piercing Mulder with a bright green stare--

--that washed suddenly black, a film of Oil caressing the emerald of his eyes. Mulder froze, heart jerking madly in his chest until Alex's lashes dipped again, the Oil gone in an instant. //Then it's not Alex... not really Alex... oh fuck, *Alex...*//

"Hear me out, Mulder," Alex said gruffly, ducking his head again. "You have no idea what's going on here, I promise you that. No one... no one helped me escape," he offered suddenly, shrugging one shoulder.
"That was me. All of it-- the radiation burns, everything. But it wasn't my cell I escaped from. I broke out of a lab, three stories below that."

"A lab," Mulder repeated slowly, realizing suddenly that he was completely unarmed. The Oilien could probably take him out before he put Alex out of his misery anyway, but at least he'd die knowing he'd *tried...* Alex had had such a horror of the things...

"Yes. A group of scientists were trying to come up with ways to fight fire with fire-- to give us our own alien warriors, walking weapons. They also experimented with the other type of Oil, the stuff that came in on the Piper Maru. The kind that got me in Hong Kong. It's like a queen bee-- the others will do anything to protect it. They figured if they could dilute the stuff, get it to merge with a human host without taking him over, so that the human was still in control but still had all its capabilities..." he sighed, shaking his head. "They did the tests on criminals, mostly. And by then I'd told them everything I knew. That was a mistake."

//Oh god... they used him for a guinea pig... because of me...//

Alex glanced up and quickly glanced away. "Their 'weaker' version killed all the others. Except me. I'd already been primed for it, tailored for it by the real stuff. I was their big success. Only there's no antidote for it, and it's not smart enough to want to leave. I'm going to have it in me until I die. And it doesn't just give me an edge with drones-- it draws them right to me. They'll even kill each other for me, and that goes against every instinct they have. They only know 'us' and 'them'-- so I end up with new 'recruits' every time I get in a skirmish.

"And as for the others-- the strong ones, the *real* Oil... You've been wondering how I managed to get all that information? They think I'm one of them," he growled through gritted teeth, hands clenching on the silver cylinder. "And for all I know, they're right."

"Alex," Mulder shook his head quickly, "no, there's got to be some way to--"

"I've *tried,*" Alex snarled, standing abruptly and stuffing the spike back into his pocket. Mulder scrambled immediately to his feet, but Alex took a wary step back, frowning doubtfully at Mulder. "Look, they had the vaccine at that lab," he explained quietly. "It didn't do anything for me at all, no matter how much I took. I know I OD'ed on it at least once, but the... the Oil just healed me. Smith even tried to get it out of me once, but it didn't do any good. I'm stuck with it, that's all there is to it..."

Mulder felt sick, furious regret twisting his insides. "I'm sorry," he breathed, shaking his head helplessly. "I wish..."

Alex smiled suddenly, almost the way Mulder remembered, swift and fierce. "I know. Me too," he shrugged. "C'mon, Mulder. I'll get you back to safe territory."

"Alex?" Mulder blinked, taking a hesitant step forward. "Alex, it's been a year since I've even *seen* you... can't we--"

"Mulder," Alex's face turned instantly hard. "There is no 'we.' Not anymore. And if you think I'm going to share you with this *thing* that's inside me, you'd better think again."

*That* was the Alex he knew, all right... *his* Alex, alive and well and scared out of his mind. Mulder wanted to tell Alex he trusted him, that he knew without a doubt who and what Alex was, that he had no one else to live for now. Instead, he demanded, "Then finish what you started in my apartment two years ago. Kiss me goodbye, Alex, because the next time I see you, I'm going to wring your fucking neck."

Alex shrugged once, but Mulder saw the way the man's shoulders hunched inward, his spine tensing miserably. "Fine," Alex muttered, and let Mulder approach, only looking up when the swing of Mulder's fist registered on his survival instincts.

Too late. Alex went down hard, and Mulder dropped onto his chest, wrapping his hands around Alex's throat before the other man could struggle. "It's okay, Alex, just let it go," he whispered through clenched teeth, riding the other man's reflexive thrashing. Fine line he was walking... He knew exactly how fine. Alex was staring up at him in pained disbelief, his face going red, then purple, but Mulder was watching a different struggle going on behind those vibrant eyes, the Oil's drive to protect its host clashing with Alex's unwillingness to hurt Mulder, even now. "Don't fight it, Alex," Mulder murmured, bending close. "Everything's going to be fine."

He counted his racing heartbeats when Alex passed out, one, two, and three--

--and then it was happening, open eyes washing black, the Oil on the move and Mulder stooped quickly before he could change his mind, claiming Alex's open, gasping mouth in a kiss as the thick burn of Oil exploded on his tongue, crawling over his face as it wept from Alex's eyes, and he loosened his grip, tried hard to force a breath through the slime, but Alex suddenly *convulsed,* sucking Oil and air in and out, through Mulder, in Mulder, and he was falling, sliding into agony and warmth--

***

Someone slid strong arms around his shoulders, but Mulder didn't want to open his eyes for the third time that day and wake alone. All he could see was Alex dying under him, by his hand, his fault, his *fault--*

(Mulder,) a quiet voice whispered inside his skull, tasting of sun-warmed pine. (I know you're awake. I can feel you. You stupid sonofabitch.)

Blinking, he stared up into Alex's sad eyes, remorse and love-- and he could feel it, like it was his own, or it *was* his own, and Alex--

Green eyes washing black, and he could feel the answering pulse inside himself, only he wasn't afraid.

And he wasn't alone.

(Never again,) Alex promised, and held him close under the trees.

***
end
***