Archive: Yes to CKoS, Archive/X--others please ask, I rarely refuse.
Title: In out of the Rain--Precipitation, part two Author: Merri-Todd Webster
Series/Fandom: XF
Pairing: M/Sk
Rating: PG
Feedback to: lonchura@yahoo.com
URL: http://members.tripod.com/lonchura/ Warnings & Spoilers: Post-series, so slight spoilers for a lot of things--"Biogenesis," "Paper Clip", and "SR-819".
Comments & Thank-yous: I didn't lie when I said I wasn't committing to any sequels for "Dark and Stormy Night"! I was tricked, you see-tricked by the Guys into starting a post-series, M/Sk/K extravaganza. So this is part two of Precipitation, a series. Wish me luck, I have no idea where I'm going with this--but it feels juicy.


In out of the Rain
(Precipitation, part two)
by Merri-Todd Webster
(29 August 1999)

"Aren't you going to invite me in?" Krycek asked.

The only thing which motivated Mulder to do so was the fact that the rain was lashing against his naked body. It was unexpectedly cool and raised goosebumps. He stumbled out of the way and waved, "come in," feeling as he did so that he was making himself a victim to the vampire--Dracula cannot enter unless he is invited. Krycek, soaked to the skin and dripping like a waterfall, took two steps into the house, just far enough for Mulder to close the door behind him, and found himself face to face with Walter Skinner.

"What the hell are you doing here, Krycek?"

Krycek slung sopping hair back from his forehead, hitting Skinner with cold droplets. "Coming in out of the rain, I hope." He took in the state of his hosts--one barely dressed, the other not at all--and flashed a teasing grin. "Hope I'm not interrupting anything, but I got here as soon as I could."

Mulder left the room without a word and returned, shortly, wearing the same shorts and a t-shirt he had recently discarded and carrying his bathrobe and a towel, both of which which he handed to Krycek.

"Thanks." Turning his back on the two men, Krycek unceremoniously began to strip. His briefs were still

pretty dry, so he left those on as he towelled off. The robe was soft flannel and very comfortable.

"Wait a minute." Mulder went to Krycek and pulled the robe down off his left shoulder, pushed it back off
the man's arm. "You have two arms." He ran a rough hand up and down the chilled skin.

"You noticed." Krycek shrugged the robe back up. "I'm glad--it might make my story more credible."

A few minutes later, the three men were sitting in the

spacious, red-tiled kitchen of the house that Fox Mulder and Walter Skinner jointly owned, drinking coffee and eating Aunt Fanny's pecan twirls, one of Mulder's weaknesses where food was concerned. Skinner had gone upstairs to put on jeans and a shirt.

Krycek was not much concerned about being the least-dressed person at the table. He polished off three pecan twirls and half his mug of coffee in happy silence, ignoring the stares coming at him from right and left. Mulder looked wary and distrustful, Skinner black and potentially violent. Then he refreshed his coffee, deluged it with cream, and took a sip before wiping the cinnamon from his mouth.

"You're not going to believe me. I know you're not going to believe me. But I'm going to tell you anyway." He looked from Mulder to Skinner to Mulder, and decided to jump right in. "The Alex Krycek who was found dead in Alaska, the body you ID'd and Scully autopsied, was a clone. I'm the original Alex Krycek."

Silence for a moment. Then Skinner banged his coffee mug on the table and got up. "I don't have to listen to this bullshit--"

"Walt--" The dull quietness of Mulder's voice, the sudden blankness of his face, told Krycek that Mulder was listening, would eventually come round to believe him--Mulder always recognized the truth, no matter how bizarre its disguise.

Krycek leaned back in his chair, enjoying the cozy way it creaked under him. "A clone created when I was still a child. Maybe when I had that tonsillectomy at age seven." He sipped his coffee and gestured with the mug toward Mulder. "I'm a child of the Project, Mulder, just like you. Your father was one of the government people involved. My father, and my mother, were some of the scientists."

"You told me once your parents were Cold War immigrants," Mulder observed. Krycek shrugged.

"Well, that was half the truth. My father was second generation, my mother *was* a Cold War immigrant. He was a geneticist and she was a physicist; they met because of the Project. If it weren't for the fucking conspiracy, I might not be here."

"Another reason to hate the Consortium," Skinner muttered. Krycek ignored that.

"I was raised to be part of the conspiracy; I knew about it from the time I was about fourteen." He sipped more coffee, grabbed another pecan twirl. "I didn't know until later that being part of it meant there was a clone for back-up, just in case I got killed or defected--like you did."

A strange look flitted across Mulder's face, too quickly to be categorized, but not too quickly to be noticed. He's jumped ahead and reached the right conclusion--again, Krycek thought. Damn, he's quick. But that'll help. "Defected?" Mulder said.

"I guess if your sister's abduction hadn't torn apart your parents' marriage, you would have been told about the conspiracy in another year or so, found out the part you were supposed to play. That's what happened to me." He grinned sardonically. "All of us little crown princes, heirs to the throne, being groomed to take over the world--a Vichy government groomed from childhood to rule in partnership with the aliens."

"Complete with brood mares to breed the next generation of collaborators." Mulder's tone was thick with disgust.

Nobody objected when he reached for the last pecan twirl, so Krycek devoured it hungrily. It had been a long time since he'd had good junk food like this, the sort of thing you found in a happy kitchen, a happy household.

"A clone." Skinner still sounded more disbelieving than anything else. "So just when did this clone take over for you?"

Krycek looked at Mulder. "After the business in Hong Kong. When the alien oil took over my body, and I wound up locked in a missile silo with that thing and its ship. I figured I'd starve to death in there, or dehydrate, if I didn't lose my mind first."

Mulder nodded, and Krycek relaxed just a fraction. Even though he hadn't heard the whole story yet, it was beginning to make sense to Mulder.

"I was groomed for a career in government--FBI, CIA, NSA, those were all possibilities. They picked FBI because that's where you'd gone, Mulder. I have the degrees, I have the training, I even got some field experience prior to working on the Augustus Cole case with you." He fixed his gaze on Mulder's eerily blank face. "But my assignment, from the beginning, was to make myself your partner. To replace Scully, gain your trust, and eventually persuade you to work for the Consortium, like a good little boy."

The coffee pot on the table was empty. Krycek held it out toward Mulder, hoping for more, but Mulder put the pot in the sink and wandered away. He came back with a tray on which were a bottle of Glenfiddich and three small glasses.

Krycek accepted the scotch with a small smile of appreciation. Too much bad vodka in his youth had ruined his taste for it; a good scotch, on the other hand, was a real pleasure, and rarer even than pecan twirls. He warmed the glass in his hand for a minute, tasted it, and then went on.

"I failed in my assignment. I didn't keep your trust, and you broke my cover. So I was busted down to flunky. I've always been a good shot, so they sent me out as a hit man." Skinner snorted. He met the older man's glare with a little necessary insolence. "I didn't come here to tell you I was innocent. I'm a good liar, but not that good. I *did* come here to tell you, among other things, that I didn't do everything you think I did."

Krycek turned to Mulder. "Yes, I killed your father. He was going to tell you everything, and he was going to do it in a way that would have ruined their chances of ever getting you on their side, so he had to be killed. And I was sent to kill Scully. If I'd gone alone, I *would* have killed her, when I caught up with her, but I wouldn't have shot the wrong woman like that idiot Cardinale.

"Still, they blamed me for that. They tried to kill me
repeatedly, especially once I had my hands on the DAT tape." He looked at Skinner, wondering if the man would accept what he was about to say. "I owe you an apology for that. When I beat the shit out of you in that stairwell--"

"You had *help*," Skinner growled.

"--it wasn't you I was thumping. It was the smoking man and all those other old bastards who'd screwed up my life. I wasn't just doing my job, there. I was taking out my shit on you, and that was unfair. I'm sorry."

Skinner snorted. "That's touching, Krycek." He got up. "You beat me within an inch of my life, and ten years later, you come back and say you're sorry, you were taking out your frustrations on my gut, you shouldn't have done that. Would it have been okay if you'd just knocked me out and taken the tape?"

"From my point of view, yes," Krycek said coldly. "I was a professional. I wanted to do my job well. My feelings shouldn't have influenced my work--and if they hadn't, yeah, I would have just coldcocked you and taken the tape, and you'd have felt a lot less sore afterwards."

Skinner started to say something more, probably something even angrier, but Mulder put a hand on his arm and the older man subsided. Krycek shifted in his chair a little and once again addressed himself primarily to Mulder.

"You have only seen me, the real me, once since Hong Kong. I never went to Russia with you. I didn't get my arm lopped off. I did break into your apartment, right before the top men in the Consortium got fried, to tell you about the rebel faction. I know you followed up on that tip because I've been watching *you*. But everything else that has happened since Hong Kong has been the clone. That's the Alex Krycek you know."

He turned to Skinner, fingers tightening on the glass of scotch. "I did not have you infected with the nanocytes. I did not force you to tape Mulder's and Scully's visits to your office. I did, however, clean up the mess my clone had made by leaking the information that made it possible for Scully and the others to break down the nanocytes and flush them out of your system." He flashed a grin at Mulder. "Your hacker friends are good at following bread crumbs. I just threw down some tasty ones, and they followed the trail."

Skinner's face had taken on an expression not unlike that of a baffled bull in the ring, not sure whether or not to charge the flickering red cape. Mulder was almost smiling, sitting on the edge of his seat, the tumbler of scotch forgotten.

"So why are you here, Krycek?" Mulder asked in an exaggeratedly monotone drawl. "What haven't you told us yet?"

"That my clone is not the only one the Consortium made for backup." Krycek drained his scotch. "There's one of you."

***