From: EMXC@aol.com
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 21:05:44 EDT
Mime-Version: 1.0
Subject: EMXC-"Reinventing Alex" 1/1

8/17/98

Finally tonight this is "Reinventing Alex" by MareZX

Summary: A one-armed man contemplates the events of The End

Title: Reinventing Alex
Author: Mare (MareZX@aol.com)
Rating: PG
Summary: A one-armed man contemplates the events of The End
Disclaimer: Not mine. Property of Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions,
etc. No copyright infringement intended.
Archiving: I'll handle ATXC & Gossamer. Anybody else who wants it, please
ask. I'd like to know where to come visit it.
Acknowledgments: Huge thanks to Jen & Ashley -- couldn't've done this
without you!

REINVENTING ALEX
By Mare (MareZX@aol.com)
5/20/98 - 5/29/98

Looks like my life's about to change yet again.

That seems to happen on a regular basis. This time, though, I think I have
a long-term plan that might actually work; probably the first time that'sever
happened. It's just that setting that plan in motion could be a bit... tricky.

Through the small window in the door, I watch the kid watching TV. I
remember being that young. Feels like that was a very, very long time ago;
another lifetime. I was a lot like that kid when I was his age. Life wasnever
simple for us; neither of us ever had much of a childhood. In my case, itwas
because of what my father did; his work for the Russian counterpart of the
Consortium. Not so with this kid. It's because of what he is.

The missing link, they say. Link to what? The old man won't tell me thatyet.
Is this kid a clone? Nah, then they would've gone after him with one ofthose
ice-pick things, not a high-powered rifle. A hybrid? Same problem. Unless...
he's a different type of hybrid. What if Bill Mulder's gray program actually
worked?

Now, wouldn't that be interesting? If that's the case, that would mean ourboy
Mulder fell asleep at the switch. I mean, how could he miss this? How couldI
have missed it? That's what I get for spending all that time in Russia --on my
own, outside the influence of the all-knowing group -- monitoring the other
situation. Another one (or was that two?) of the old man's lessons driven
home.

I have to admit, my deal with my British friend isn't working out at allthe way
I thought it would. When I handed over the vaccine, I thought it meant heand
I would be partners. I mean, we wanted the same thing, right? Imagine my
surprise when I found out I was to be his chauffeur and general errand boy.I
thought I was beyond all that, now that he knows who I am.

Wait, scratch that. Now that he has some inkling of who I was over there.He
knows nothing for sure, and besides, I'm not that person anymore. Not sureI
ever really was. I think I'm still learning who I am... or maybe the oldman's
teaching me. Creating me. See, he knew I wasn't happy with my new
assignment. (How could he not know?) So he immediately gave me another
one.

They used some of the vaccine I gave them to cure that double- crossingbitch
Marita, and then broke down and analyzed the rest. They tried to recreateit,
but their version didn't work. Didn't take long for the old man to figureout
that there was a secret ingredient; one that didn't show in the analysisand I'd
failed to tell him about. He never asked me what it was. Never tried tobeat it
out of me (or kill me for holding it back), like my former employer mighthave
done. No, he put me in charge of the vaccine production program.

Trust. What a concept.

After that, he started to explain the chauffeur assignment to me. Our little
vaccine adventure apparently showed him that I'm a player -- something he
never knew before. (Must remember to thank the Morley Man for that
glowing employment evaluation.) The old man says I just need experience
now. Stick close to me, he said. Watch and learn, he said. Someday this
could all be yours, he said.

He sure knows what buttons to push.

But that's why he's the (more or less) leader of the Consortium. And probably
the only reason he's been able to keep that position, now that everyone'sstance
on the alien war issue is known. Watching him now, I get the feeling I'm
learning more than I could ever want to know about the fine art of diplomacy.
So, of course, I have to ask myself... why am I getting these lessons? What
does he have planned for me? Obviously he's got something up his sleeve.
Some sort of long-term plan for me. It almost feels like... he's groomingme to
replace him or something.

Not quite sure how I feel about that. On one hand, power is a nice thingto
have. Addictive, too. Once you've tasted it, as I have, you just want more.
Looking at it that way, this replacement thing sounds pretty good. On the
other hand, though... I have to wonder whether or not there'll even be a
Consortium left to run by the time the old man's gone. If there is, chancesare
the current members will be gone too. What will the next generation be like?
Will there even be a next generation? Do each of them have some young guy
like me following them around, learning? If they do, how are they training
them? Will I even be able to control them? I don't see why not; I've probably
had some unique training the fat one and the rest can't provide for theirheirs.
Still... this could be dangerous. The next generation won't be the sameas this
bunch, and will, I'm sure, be trained differently than I am. Different rules.
Different methods. If I'm reading this right (and that's a pretty big if),my
Limey pal is showing his hand by letting them know I'm working with him,but
he's also showing them that there'll be continuity if I take over. If oneof theirs
does, the old ways will be gone. Maybe they want that. Maybe that's why
there's so much tension between them and the old man already...

That must be why he has me sticking so close to him. First, to learn. Second,
to keep me away from the rest of the Consortium. They don't trust me; never
did. They don't trust him anymore either, or he them. All the more reasonfor
them to kill me if they don't find me useful. Or just for the fact thatI'm
working with the old man. Great, now I have to watch my back against yet
another threat. I swear, if it didn't mean going to the federal pen forthe rest of
my life (however long or short that might be), I might seriously think about
turning myself in to Mulder and his Fibbie friends. Living under the constant
shadow of death threats gets kind of old, y'know?

Sometimes I really do think about it. Not often; mostly during weak moments,
like when the pain in my shoulder gets so bad that the only thing that takesthe
edge off it is half a bottle of painkillers (oh, okay, aspirin; I'm not*that* self-
destructive) and half a bottle of vodka. Sometimes the thought of havinga real
doctor look at it, having it taken care of properly, maybe even gettinga
prosthetic that fits right, is almost too appealing. That could probablyonly
happen if I turned myself in. I'd ask the Consortium doctors to do something
with it, but I've been told that would be counterproductive. Another oneof the
old man's lessons -- never let them see your weaknesses.

That's what usually brings me back to my senses when those thoughts start
creeping into my head. Call me crazy, call it some stupid macho thing, callit
whatever you want, but I'm not about to let anybody think that having onlyone
arm is a weakness. Why should I let a little thing like pain... constant,
sometimes severe, sometimes debilitating pain... stand in the way of whatI
want? I've had to prove to all of them -- maybe myself too -- that it doesn't
matter. Which probably explains how I found myself parachuting into the
mountains of Quebec. Great. One more part I never thought I'd play. First
I'm a freedom fighter, now I'm a role model. Poster boy for the disabled.
Wonderful.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, parachuting. Bringing about the Return of the
Morley Man. I guess it didn't take long for them to figure out that their
assassination attempt failed. When the invasion date was pushed up, I knewhe
was still alive -- his little act of revenge. They must've figured out thesame
thing, but how they knew where he was, I have no idea. Guess I haven't been
introduced to their intelligence system yet.

Coming face to face with the man who twice tried to kill me was very weird.
Before it happened, I thought about it. A lot. Fantasized about it, even,
usually during those aspirin-and-vodka hazes. Thought about what I'd do,how
I'd kill him. It would have to be slow and painful, of course. It wouldhelp if
there were an abandoned missile silo handy to lock him in. Nothing wrong
with a painful, messy gut shot, either...

He gave me the chance, too. Stopped when I commanded him to, turned and
just stood there. "Go ahead. Take your shot, Alex," he said. Whatwas he
doing using my first name? He never had before, ever. In fact, he's notone to
use names much at all. So why now?

It was probably a good thing he did, though. Hearing that jarred me just
enough that I was able to get my impulses under control and *not* do ashe
asked. Got my mind back on my mission. I was sent to bring him back, so
that's what I did.

That was where yet another of the old man's lessons -- probably the most
important one, to hear him tell it -- came into play. I've always kind ofthought
of myself as a planner (I hardly ever do anything without thinking aboutit
first... at least, that's how I've always looked at it), but he thinks I'mrash.
Impulsive. According to him, I may think, but I don't think things through.
(And maybe he's right, too -- how many of my plans have ever worked?) He
thinks I need to learn to plan more carefully and control those impulses;to
channel them into something more constructive.

To that end, he's kept me on a pretty tight leash since we made our deal.He
wouldn't allow me payback with Mulder, but that's mostly okay since I know
we need him. He wouldn't let me kill Marita either, which is a little tougherto
figure out. She screwed us both over; why save her? But he never said
anything about not teaching her a lesson, and boy, do I have one in mindfor
her... See? The lesson learned -- I'm planning carefully.

He won't let me kill the Morley Man, either. He knows I want to; even agrees
with me that it's probably justified. But he still won't let me do it. Thatmade
the flight back to D.C. unbelievably tense. That black-lunged SOB knowstoo.
He kept talking to me during the flight, trying to goad me into something.I
guess I took the old man's lessons in restraint to heart, because I don'tthink I
said a single word to the guy the whole time. Did nothing to him. I don'tthink
I would've been faulted if I'd happened to give him the odd "accidental"whack
upside the head with that damn fake arm, but I didn't even do that. I thinkthe
smoker sees that as weakness, cowardice. Too bad for him. I see it as a
victory.

Have my priorities changed, or what?

If I thought the flight back was tense, the meeting with the Consortiumwas
even worse. He knows they were the ones who had him shot. Thing is, I don't
think the old man had anything to do with it. Don't think he even agreedwith
it. It was the fat one, the one who's challenging the old man's leadership.He's
one all of us have to watch. I don't think anybody's safe from that one.Or
from the Morley Man either. He said all was forgiven, but does anybody
believe him? I sure don't.

Ol' Smokey seems to find it amusing that the Consortium still needs him.I find
it amusing that he's the one now getting the assignments I used to get.Guess
there are a few perks to moving up the Consortium food chain, even as littleas
I did. With any luck, I won't be the hit man anymore. Good thing, too. I've
never really had the stomach for that... unless it's personal.

So they sent the Morley Man to kill the chess match shooter. What the fatone
and the rest didn't know was that the old man tacked on another assignment-
bring back the kid. The rest of the group want the kid dead. Not sure why,
unless he really is a successful gray hybrid or something. Apparently theold
man's got other ideas -- again.

I think the old man's gotten himself (and me, by extension) in the middleof a
three-way power struggle this time. The smoker used to at least pretendto
recognize his authority, and that of the rest of the Consortium. Not anymore.
Now there's nothing but contempt in his face when the two of them speak.(I
know that expression well...) I can understand the old man's problem with
him; those methods of his are a bit... harsh. (Sounds pretty funny comingfrom
me, doesn't it?) Let's face it; a man of his talents could've easily snatchedthe
kid without killing a federal marshal and almost killing an FBI agent. (An,
um... friend... of Mulder's, I understand. Wonder what'll happen when hefinds
out who shot her...)

I've seen a lot of stuff in my time, but I have to say I've never seen anything
spookier than that kid in there. After the old man put him in the car, Iwatched
him in the rearview mirror, and he was looking at me. More like looking
*through* me, really. You know how sometimes someone looks at you and
you get the feeling that they're almost reading your mind? It's really creepy
when you *know* they're reading your mind. He's got this really intensestare,
and it's just... creepy. He never said anything, not like he did to theold man.
(I think that unnerved him a bit, being called a liar to his face. Wonderwhat he
was thinking that made the kid say that?) I knew he knew what I had in mind,
though... and I kind of got the feeling that he didn't disapprove. Must'veread
the smoker's mind, too.

Once the old man got back in the car, I figured our business with the Morley
Man was over. I watched him walk away, confident in the old man's
cowardice (never discretion, not to him). And mine. That made me hate him
even more than I already did. "I got a nice straight shot," Isaid, mentally
taking aim.

"No," the old man told me. "He's useful. And you may needhim in the
future."

That made me stop and think. *I* might need him? For what? He'd only say
that if he really did mean for me to take his place in the Consortium. Orcarry
out his work in some other way...

I glanced into the rearview and met the kid's eyes again. What did the oldman
have in mind? He knew... but it didn't look like he was going to let mein on it.
He just turned his head slightly and watched the Morley Man walk away.
Maybe I wasn't allowed to kill him, but nobody ever said I couldn't scarethe
bastard a bit. So I buzzed him with the car on the way out of the lot.

Too bad I couldn't get closer. A lot closer.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I might need him, plan carefully, curb the impulses,etc.,
etc. The old man can teach me all he wants, but sometimes there's just no
substitute for revenge.

I guess in this case it'll have to be very carefully planned revenge.

I look through the small window again. The kid's still watching TV. Withthe
amount of TV he's watched lately, shouldn't he be going blind or something?

The fact that that particular thought came to mind should surprise me, maybe
even scare me, but it doesn't. In the short time he's been with us -- aday or so
I've grown very protective of him. Don't know why, really. Maybe just
because everybody seems to want something from him, and that's... not fair.
(*That* thought coming to mind does sort of scare me... when was the last
time I cared whether or not something was fair?) I mean, human or not, genius
or not, psychic or not, he's still just a *kid*, y'know? And kids shouldn'thave
to face all that stuff. They should be allowed to be kids. I wasn't, andlook
where I ended up.

Maybe that's why I kind of appointed myself his protector. He really does
remind me a lot of myself at that age. I guess I just... feel the need tooffer him
the guidance (or as close to it as somebody like me can get) that I didn'tget at
that age. And maybe... I'm sort of trying to make up for the kid in thegulag.
That was something I really didn't want to do, but... In any case, I guessI just
don't want this kid to end up like me.

I slip into the room and sit down. I don't think he notices me, becausefor a
while he continues to stare at the TV screen. Then, quietly, "You'renot going
to kill me."

His words startle me a bit, maybe because killing him is the furthest thingfrom
my mind. "No, I'm not going to kill you."

"You won't, no matter what they tell you. You're not a killer."

I'm not? Seems I've done my share of killing, especially over the last couple
years.

"You only did what you had to do," the kid says, still concentratingon the
screen.

Is that what I'm thinking, or is that some sort of judgment about my moral
center? Hell, it can't be what I'm thinking. I've killed people, not allof whom
deserved it. I've killed because I was told to, and killed to save my ownass.
How can he say I'm not a killer? Just because I don't plan to do that anymore
(with a few notable exceptions...) doesn't mean I can erase my past. I tryto
speak, and find my throat very dry all of a sudden. "How do you knowthat?" I
finally ask.

He shrugs and says nothing.

Amazing how all it takes is a few well-placed words to send your mind reeling.
I've thought about the things I've done, tried to rationalize them, beenfairly
successful at it... but I've never been able to make myself fully believethat
simple statement the kid just made. They say he reads minds, but... thatdidn't
come from my mind. So where did it come from? What else does he know?
Who... or what... the hell is this kid?

I glance at the door and see the old man hovering outside. He knows I feel
protective of the kid, and he wonders why. I think seeing me in here bothers
him a little. What does he know about our guest that he hasn't told me?

"You called the old man a liar," I say to the kid. "Doesthat mean you think he
wants to kill you?"

"No, but the other ones do." He finally turns from the TV. "Theone who shot
the FBI lady, and the rest of them."

"Why?"

He shrugs. "They're afraid of me." He shuts the TV off and turnshis full
attention to me. "You're afraid of me too."

I rub my left shoulder, trying to massage out the ache that's starting to
intensify. Great time for it to flare up. Just perfect. "You're tellingme things I
didn't think; things I don't believe. Shouldn't I be afraid of you?"

He studies me, reassessing. "You're not," he decides. "Youwant..."

I fish the aspirin tin out of my pocket -- never leave home without that
anymore -- and dry-swallow four pills. A year and a half since the arm was
hacked off, and it still hurts like it happened yesterday. Maybe if I getthis
under control quickly enough, I won't have to resort to the vodka. "Iwant...?"
I prompt him.

We stare at each other for what feels like a long time before he finallyspeaks.
"You want your arm to stop hurting," he says. "And you don'twant me to end
up like you."

Sounds like this kid's been taking the old man's diplomacy lessons, too.
Sometimes what people don't say is more important than what they do say.

"The old man wants to test me some more," the kid continues, "buthe wants
to protect me too, like you do. He wants to talk to you about it now."

I glance over at the door just in time to see the old man tap on the glassand
motion me outside. He speaks even before the door closes fully. "There's
been an incident."

It's two incidents, really. He tells me that the fat guy and the rest knowwe
have the kid. And then he tells me that Mulder's office burned. Maybe the
kid's rubbing off on me -- I know exactly at whose feet to lay blame forboth
incidents.

"We can't protect the boy anymore," the old man tells me.

No, we can't. And we have other obligations to honor, too. Which is why,
later that night, I find myself, complete with throbbing shoulder and stoicchild,
ringing Dana Scully's doorbell.

The kid was happy to find out he'd be going back to Scully. He likes andtrusts
her; probably feels more comfortable with her than with anybody else he'sbeen
in contact with lately. I think I'm more comfortable seeing her than Mulder,
too. I know she'll take care of the kid, and... well, she's slightly lesslikely than
Mulder to shoot me on sight. I think.

I don't know which one of us she's more shocked to see. She ushers us bothin
and fusses over the kid for a while -- making sure he's comfortable, gettinghim
something to eat, settling him in front of the TV -- before turning herattention
to me. "What the hell is going on here, Krycek?" she demands.

"We can't protect him anymore."

"Who is 'we'?"

I ignore her question and sink into a chair. The pain in my shoulder isstarting
to wear me down. It's too soon, but I need more pills. Or stronger pills.Or a
couple shots of vodka...

"Krycek?" There's a warning tone in Scully's voice. She has allthe patience in
the world with the kid, but absolutely none with me.

I take a deep breath and try to concentrate on what I'm saying. "Studyhim," I
tell her. "Learn from him. Start over with him."

She frowns at me. "Start over?"

"I know what happened." I know, and I just can't believe thatsomebody as
paranoid as Mulder doesn't have backup files somewhere, but if he does,it
looks like she doesn't know about them. "I know who did it. Mulderdoes
too."

Her face changes. She's interested now, and moving toward the phone. "Can
you prove it?"

"Not yet, but I think Mulder can, eventually." I rise, tryingmy best to ignore
the pain, but it isn't working. "Start over, Scully," I tell her."Don't let him
win. The truth is still out there, and you're closer to it than ever. That'swhy
he burned your files, you know. You're getting too close. Don't give upnow."

I move toward the door, but her hand on my arm stops me. "That's it?"she
asks.

"Yeah, that's it. You expected something else?"

She steps back and looks speculatively at me. "You never give up something
unless you think you can get something in return. What do you want,
Krycek?"

Ask the kid what I want. He knows. "Nothing."

Now the standard skeptical Scully-look is back. "Nothing? You're justhelping
us out of the goodness of your heart?"

I suppose she's right to be skeptical -- don't think I've ever given upsomething
without at least trying to make some sort of deal -- but the words she chooses
and the sarcasm with which they're said still piss me off. "I did yourwork for
you. You should be thanking me. And you're not in any position to go
questioning people's motives, are you? I'd think you and Mulder would be
grateful for any help you get at this point, no matter where it comes from."

I have to stifle a gasp as the pain in my shoulder cranks up another notch.By
now I can tell this is going to be a really bad spell, probably the worstin recent
memory. I need to get out of here fast, go somewhere and numb myself
against it. "There is something you can do," I tell her, and handher the
envelope I pull out of my jacket pocket. "Give that to Mulder. Maybeyou
don't understand, but he will."

He'll understand, all right. He'll remember the little chat we had in his
apartment. He'll remember what I said to him when I left. He'll rememberthat
we're on the same side, that we want the same thing. The old man and I helped
him twice already. What's in the envelope will tell him how he can returnthe
favor.

She accepts it without taking her eyes off mine. "I'll see that hegets it."

"Good."

I want to move, to get the hell out of here, but another stab of white-hotpain
hits and freezes me. This time even Scully sees it.

"Krycek? Is there something else?"

Can I ask her? The idea is almost too tempting... "Yeah, somethingelse," I
say through gritted teeth. "Safe passage out of here?"

She considers this for a second. "Agreed."

This is much easier than it's ever been with Mulder. Well, Dana Scully is
nothing if not fair-minded.

I still haven't moved. My continued presence in her apartment is startingto
annoy her, I can tell, but for the most part she covers it well. "Whatnow?"

We stare at each other for another long moment, until the continued pain
finally breaks down my resolve and I sink back down into a chair. "Doyou
think you could... offer your medical opinion about something?" Myvoice is
soft, and I can't look her in the eye as I ask.

Another first. Alex Krycek, actually asking for help.

She carefully studies what remains of my left arm. She's surprisingly gentle,
both with the injury and the questions she asks about how it happened. She
never says I deserved it, though I bet she's thinking that. One thing Ido know
she's thinking -- that it easily could be Mulder's shoulder she's lookingat, not
mine. I manage to avoid mentioning that it should've been him, not me.

She can't do much to help, although she does offer me stronger painkillers-
narcotics, which I usually try to avoid (I prefer my own methods of reaching
oblivion). It doesn't matter anymore -- I take the pills and pocket theextras
she gives me. She says whoever did the job butchered it (no kidding) andI'll
need further surgery to fix the mess in preparation for a prosthetic thatfits
properly. She recommends someone. I take the card, fully intending to go...
someday. Probably not until another weak moment like this one hits, butI
think I will go.

I leave Scully's apartment feeling like everything's different. Relationshipsare
changing. My priorities are changing. The direction of my life is changing.I
don't know exactly where it's going, but I think I have a plan.

I know it won't be easy, but y'know what? For the first time in my life,I think
things are looking up.

-Fin-