This is an old story I finally got to finishing. It takes place directly
after the events chronicled in "Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night." and
is rated 13 for M/M and F/F sugestiveness and a spot of necking. It is part
of the "Shelter From the Storm" series...

Disclaimer: 1013 and Alliance will need to hash it all out together...I'm
just borrowing them for the evening.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my tireless beta goddesses, Orithain,
Paula and Frankie, all of whom are totally necessary for my continued well
being. Thanks also to Nicole and Aries for their immoral support, and to
Rowanne for her threats...I mean requests for fiction!

OaT/X-Files X-over, for those who need more than one Nick per story line.

Plot: Alex gets himself into trouble, and has to be rescued.

Spoilers: Terma of course...don't think there are any others.

Feedback: Always appreciated. gets you to me.


The Devil Makes Work for Idle Hands."

by Dr. Ruthless



"I hate the fucking winter!" Nobody was listening because the only other
people in the room had heard him say the same thing six times in the past
half-hour. Alex Krycek, tired of talking to himself, and irritated that
nobody cared if he was bored, looked around for something to do.

He was still not particularly welcome in the FBI Headquarters. Scully had
reported his assistance in their recent case, and he had, for a while,
basked in the mild approval of AD Skinner and the rest of the familiar old
crew. He was there pending the completion of Skinners report, and had spent
most of his day dictating every last thing he could remember of the
Cancerman's headquarters, and the contents of the files he had been exposed
to. He had not been reinstated however, nor did he want to be. He still
pursued his own hidden agenda, and his employer was not the FBI. Being in
the Hoover building again made him feel edgy, as if he were caged somehow.
He gazed over at Fox, who was deep into writing his umpteenth report and who
wore his glasses as a signal that to disturb him would be punishable by a
fate worse than death. Scully sat, self-contained as a cat, glasses falling
down her nose as she typed.

He prowled restlessly for a few minutes until Mulder finally snapped.

"Alex, for God's sake, go out and play! I can't work with you fooling around
all over the place." Alex sulked for a second, and Scully, without even
turning her head, scored a direct hit on his cranium with the eraser that
she lobbed in his direction. Feeling more than a little aggrieved, Alex
mooched off out the basement in search of something to occupy his peculiar

Once out on the street, he turned up the collar of his leather jacket and
strode away from the warmth of the building. There was a fine, thin drizzle
that hit his face, and a wind that felt colder than Scully's welcome. He
groaned and walked purposefully off into the weather, head down and jacket
fastened close against the cold and damp.

Five minutes later, he was shaking himself like a puppy to remove the
moisture he had collected before wandering into the welcoming warmth of the
pub he had found. He blew on his frozen fingers and stepped inside the bar,
where there were several pool tables and a large screen TV, currently
showing a hockey game. He ordered a beer, and once he had it in his hand, he
drifted over and slouched against the wall to watch one of the games of pool
in progress. It had been several years since he had come here. He looked
around but could see nobody he knew. This was good; It meant that nobody
should recognize him either. He cast his mind back to the first time he had
been brought here.

The Cigarette Smoker had led him to a table at the back of the bar and had
effectively directed him to the mission that would change his life forever.

"You will go to Agent Fox Mulder with this file. You will insist on
remaining in charge of the case. When Agent Mulder attempts (as he will) to
shake you off, you will persist. You will stay with Agent Mulder, and you
will make yourself indispensable to him. I'm sure you will be able to think
of ways to do this, you're a very ...ah...bright young man." The Smoker
looked him up and down as he spoke these last words, setting off warning
bells in Alex's head. He continued, "You will also ensure that he does not
take a live suspect into custody. Do you have any questions?" The man
sitting beside him blew a cloud of evil smelling smoke in his direction, and
Alex gagged a little. He had heard of Spooky Mulder, as had everyone in the
division, though he had never met him. He had privately laughed about the
man's obsessions. Why live in a dark and demon inhabited world when there
were beaches, pretty girls, rock n' roll and fast cars? Alex lived a life
uncomplicated by commitment, with no more serious thoughts than whether to
play football or basketball. He wondered where this assignment was leading
and leaned forward towards his employer, forehead creased in a frown.

"I'm getting the feeling that you aren't telling me everything here, Sir."
fixing the boss with his best 'trust me' look.

"I'm telling you everything you need to know. Suffice it to say that I want
you to build a relationship with Agent Mulder, become his friend. Do
whatever it takes." A thought flashed through Alex's mind, scorching the
sides as it went.

"Um.... Is this Mulder guy gay? I don't do guys, Sir!" The Smoker smiled and
stubbed out the remains of his Morley.

"I'm sure you will find it in yourself to improvise, Mr. Krycek. Read the
file now, and be prepared to get in your claim as soon as you can. I don't
have to tell you that this is very important to a future government
project." With that, he had risen from his seat and left the bar, leaving a
thoughtful young agent to sit and speculate.

With a shudder, Alex came back to the present. Looking back over the past
four years gave him a sinking feeling he didn't like, couldn't deal with
just at present. He had been betrayed by his employer...he should say his
ex-employer. He had fallen for the man that he had been sent to shadow and
dropped into hell by his own double-crossing boss. Mulder had hated him. He
had spent years running,-not always certain from what, and lost practically
everything he held dear. His career, his physical perfection, his ability to
tolerate the darkness were all gone. He was left with a smoldering hatred
for the man who had destroyed everything he had valued in his life.

He closed his eyes for a second. The only good thing to come out of his
ordeal was Fox. He was grateful for Fox. The door to the bar swung open, and
as Alex glanced idly across, he hissed a sharp breath between his teeth and
drew back into the shadows. Cancerman was there, in the doorway, lighting up
a cigarette prior to finding a table. Alex wondered if he was meeting
another young idealistic soul and how long it would take to corrupt him.
Lurking in the back of the bar, behind the pool table, Alex watched his
nemesis as he ordered and drank a glass of something amber with ice in it.
He hoped it was toxic! Nobody approached the smoker, and Alex grew bored. He
was checking his watch for the time, when without warning, something hard
and cold was shoved into his back and a command was hissed into his ear.

"Don't move or you're dead." He froze.



Mulder had finished his ever-present paperwork. It had been a hard slog, but
worth it. It meant that he and Alex could maybe go out on the town tonight
instead of being tied to the computer screen. He understood his lover's
boredom, but he didn't know what he could do for the other man. It would
take time to get him reinstated in his old job, if it were possible at all.
Alex had been back in his life for only a few days, but already Mulder was
hooked. He couldn't concentrate on work for thinking of him. He daydreamed
constantly. Always in his visions were the wide spaced green eyes, the dark
lashes curling in a way that would send most women crazy with envy, (they
certainly sent him crazy with lust!) the carefully molded mouth and the
perfect skin. Mulder leaned back in his chair, flexing the muscles in his
back and shoulders, and hearing them crack as he stretched. He gave himself
over to imagining the incredible things that beautiful mouth would do to him
later. He shuddered as he ran a scenario in his head. Alex had the softest
lips and the most inventive fingers. Mulder felt as if he were a schoolboy
once more. Despite his age, and his short-lived marriage, he had very little
experience with close relationships and tended to think of sex as a solo
sport. Alex had proven to him that it could be fun for doubles too, and
always a quick learner, Mulder was developing skills he had previously never
suspected he possessed. He was learning things about himself lately, the
most exciting of which was that he loved Alex more than he thought he could
ever love anyone. He tried to remember why the man had instilled such rage
in him for so long, but all he could do was picture his face as it turned up
to him for a kiss, eyes plaintive and lips parted. He gave himself up to
imagining sinking into that soft mouth and sighed.

As he zoned out, his partner glanced over at him and shook her head
disapprovingly. She was feeling more than a little disturbed by Mulder's
latest insanity. She could understand that Krycek was pretty, and that he
had a certain amount of charm, but really! The man was a slippery, double
crossing rat. He killed people without blinking and appeared to hire himself
out on a whim to just about anybody that would pay. Didn't that make him a
whore? Why he was battening on Mulder she didn't know, but she would find
out, and when she did, he was going to be history. In a way, she liked the
new, love-smitten Mulder. He was less argumentative, more considerate and
altogether less of a challenge to work with. On the whole however, she
wished she had her old, familiar, cantankerous Mulder back. She had never
quite given up hope that he would some day wake up and see that she was
desirable, and...well...desire her!

"Mulder, what are you doing tonight? Do you want to take in a movie? I'm
going to go see "The Mighty". I'm hearing very good things about it." She
tossed a pencil over at him, and it rebounded off his chin, making him jump
in his chair and practically tipping him out onto the floor.

"Hmmm...?" Mulder righted himself but still wasn't right there with her, she
could tell. "Sorry, I was just daydreaming there...what did you say?"

"Oh nothing, I was just asking if you felt going to a movie with me." She
felt cross. He was ignoring her in a manner calculated to make her feel very
inadequate, not something that sat well with her. She prided herself on her
resourcefulness and capability, so why should she feel so forlorn when this
nitwit in front of her sat mooning over a man with questionable morals?

"Jeez Scully! I think my evening's all booked up. I'll have to check
with...." He broke off hurriedly as she jumped to her feet, eyes flashing

"Don't say it!" she hissed at him, causing him to cower down in his chair,
pulling his tie safely off the desk and out of reach just in case. "I'm
getting really fed up with hearing about the one armed wonder rat! You are
so besotted I can't stand you any more." She whirled on her high heels and
stomped from the office, slamming the door behind her. Mulder watched her go
in blank amazement. Slowly, he shook his head, and reached for his
cell-phone. Pressing the speed dial, he waited for the response.

"Scully, it's me. What did I do?" He scratched his head in bafflement.

"Eat shit and die Mulder, I'm going on vacation!" came the terse reply,
followed by a click and the dial tone. Mulder slowly put down his cell phone
and surveyed the room. He was alone in it. Where did Alex go anyway? He got
to his feet, gathered up his coat and left the room in search of his lover.



Dana Scully emerged from the office of Assistant Director Skinner in a
slightly better mood. She had gone in to request a few days leave to attend
a conference on forensic medicine. She was not really hyped about the
presentations themselves, but she knew that she needed a break from the
situation here in Washington. She had watched the man she thought her own
private property (ready for collection whenever she wanted him) suddenly
lose his head over a pretty, murderous sleazebag. Not only that but he was
beginning to wear the sleek, satisfied look of a man who was screwing
himself into oblivion at every opportunity, while she was having a hard time
trying to recall just exactly when she last got laid. She had actually found
herself wistfully eyeing the bulge in Krycek's jeans this morning as he had
prowled around the office whining. This was not a good thing!

She had found AD Skinner in a good mood. He had listened to her request for
time to attend the conference and grinned at her.

"So they are starting to make you nauseous too?" he had said, and she had
relaxed as she realized that she didn't have to go through the rigmarole of
trying to explain her frustration. He understood. Wordlessly she nodded, and
good old AD Skinner had swiftly OK'd not only the trip but also the expense
account she had not dared to ask for. She trotted off to pack feeling a
little happier than she had earlier.



She had disembarked from her plane and was now standing in line waiting for
her rental car. She was feeling a little strange. Usually a careful planner
who meticulously prepared for every possible eventuality, she was a little
unsure how she had arrived here in Canada merely because she had been
annoyed. It was unlike her to storm off the way she had, and normally she
prided herself on being the voice of reason, tempering the excesses of her
partner. Not this time, she grinned ruefully to herself. He's going to think
I have a screw loose. I think I do too!

Picking up her car, she made her way through the underground parking lot to
the rental bay. Tossing her small suitcase into the back of the Sunbird, she
climbed in and adjusted the seat before putting it into gear and pulling out
of the berth. As she left the airport, she could see the mountains in the
distance, and on a clear, bright day like today she felt as if she were
heading for adventure.

As she approached the downtown hotel where she was to stay, she became aware
of some commotion outside the car. There was the sound of breaking glass,
followed by the revving of engines. She hastily pulled to the side as a car
careered past her on the wrong side of the road, followed closely by a
motorcycle. As she craned her neck to see what was happening, she felt an
ominous clenching in the pit of her stomach. It seemed as if she had seen
the rider of the motor bike before. As the two vehicles disappeared from
view, two more people could be observed running from the main doors of the
hotel. She saw them climbing into a car parked on the curbside. With a
U-turn in the face of oncoming traffic, they took off after the others.
Scully shook her head and pulled in to the space that had been vacated.

Later, after she had checked in and found the schedule for the conference
that began the following day, she pulled on her jeans and sweatshirt and
wandered down to the bar for a pre-dinner drink. The bar looked out over the
inlet, and she could see the lights of distant boats and buildings from her
seat by the window.

There were several other people scattered around the room, and she wondered
if they felt as lonely and bored as she did. Noise erupted at the entrance
to the bar as a group of three entered and took a table on the opposite side
of the room. She looked up to see who was disturbing the evening. One, a
lanky, fresh faced young man, eyed her shamelessly as he sat, long legs
stretched out in front of him. An equally tall woman sat beside him, and
they were both deep in animated conversation with a third person. He sat
with his back to Scully, and she could see that he had short, dark hair and
powerful shoulders. He seemed familiar, and she tried for a better angle,
but could not see his face. The woman, a beautiful Chinese girl, was angry
about something and was remonstrating with her companions. The tall man who
sat beside her was apparently not worried about this and was behaving in a
manner calculated to drive her into total fury. The third seemed quiet, and
although she could see that he spoke from time to time, for the most part he
appeared content to allow the other two to bicker. Appeared so, that is,
until he suddenly got up out of his seat and punched that tall man on the
jaw, sending him crashing to the floor over the back of his seat. Scully
looked on in blank amazement as the aggressor threw his hands in the air and
then strode out of the bar. His body was taut with fury, and his face was
contorted as he stomped out of the room. The man she had felt was so
familiar was none other than Alex Krycek. She felt in her purse for her cell
phone and hit the speed dial.

"Mulder!" The familiar voice of her partner answered her.

"Mulder, it's me." She smiled. She couldn't stay mad at him forever. She was
going to give him a shock anyway, so she should stop behaving like a
pre-menstrual neurotic and just be nice.

"Scully, I thought you were out of town 'til Tuesday." His voice sounded
puzzled, but she could hear stress in it and wondered what the problem was.
She thought she knew the answer. How could she check this out without
worrying him unnecessarily?

"I am, but I just wanted to ask you if you've seen Krycek lately."

"No, in fact I'm getting worried about him. Scully, what do you know?" His
response came back in a rush. She could tell that he was very worried
already, and her heart went out to him. She was going to make things worse,
she could just tell.

"I'm not sure Mulder, I'll call you later, OK?" Hanging up the phone and
stowing it back in her purse, she wondered whether she should just have told
him or not. Oh well, time would tell.



Alex was cold. He didn't know how long he had been in his dungeon, but he
was frozen, hungry and thirsty. He also needed to pee very badly indeed. He
stood huddled by the door, listening, occasionally banging and shouting, and
wondering if he had been left there to die.

He had done jumping jacks and some tai chi forms to try and keep warm in the
darkness, but the cold was really beginning to penetrate to his bones now,
and he no longer had the energy to keep moving. His nausea had subsided, but
his head still hurt, and he knew that he had bruises.

He didn't know how much time had passed when he awoke. He was so cold now
that he felt lightheaded, and his joints were stiff and sore. He had leaned
up against the door to go to sleep, and now the door was pressing against
his back painfully as someone on the other side attempted to open it against
his body.

Stumbling to his feet, he moved slightly to allow whomever it was free
passage. There was still no light, and he could not make out any details of
the person who was entering the room. The door, which he had expected to
creak, opened smoothly and quietly, and the footsteps were also quiet.
Lurking behind the door, Alex prepared to pounce in the direction of whoever
had come in but was shockingly pre-empted as his arms were seized and a hood
thrust roughly over his head. He struggled desperately, but to no avail. He
was bundled to the ground, his arms secured behind his back, with ties at
elbow and wrist, his feet hobbled together at the ankles with only about six
inches of slack between his feet. Lying face down in the clammy darkness,
his head inside a hood made from some coarse, itchy fabric, and someone
kneeling on his back in just exactly the spot that made his full bladder
agonizing, Alex wished he had stayed in bed that morning.

He wondered how his assailant could see to catch and truss him up so

"What do you want from me? Why don't you just let me go?" As he yelled out,
he received a cuff on the back of the neck. Nobody said anything to him. He
was starting to feel seriously spooked. He hated the darkness, and he didn't
know why he had been apprehended. Why didn't they just put him out of his

More footsteps came, and after a minute or two he felt himself yanked to his
feet and pulled roughly.

"Hey, Guys, I'd really appreciate a bathroom at this point. I'm in serious
danger of an accident here if I can't go pee." Once more a blow to the back
of his head let him know his opinion was neither required nor appreciated.

They pushed and pulled him for some feet before he stumbled against a set of
stairs, smacking his knee into one of them. He bit off a cry and began to
climb. Sixteen stairs, there were sixteen. He hung onto the number, thinking
insanely that sixteen was going to be an unlucky number for someone.

He suddenly felt light on his face through the cloth that covered it and
with lightness came warmth. He wanted to cry out it felt so good. Something
that was unmistakably a gun was thrust into the back of his neck, and he
felt the ties being released on his arms. He was pushed forward and for the
first time heard the voice of his captor.

"Use the toilet. Any sudden movement and you're history." Alex gulped.
Fumbling for his fly, blind in the claustrophobic hood, he shuffled towards
the urinal. The relief was incredible. He felt almost human as his guard
jerked on his elbow, pulling him off balance and almost toppling him as he
staggered backwards. He yelled out and once more received a blow, this time
so hard that he crumpled and fell.



The dinner had been OK, not great, not wonderful, but OK. She wondered what
to do to kill time until she felt sleepy. Emerging into the shadows of the
evening, she set off for a brisk walk to take in her surroundings. Heading
down the staircase from the cafe on the mezzanine in her hotel, she caught
sight of the tall couple she had seen earlier in the bar. The tall man was
still irritating his beautiful companion, and she was standing with her
shoulder turned to him, every inch of her radiating annoyance. She looked
up, spotting Dana, and they shared the rolled up eyes and shrug that united
them as a sisterhood who knew just what pains in the ass men can be. Dana
grinned at her, and she wandered over to chat.

The woman would have made a wonderful model. Tall, lean and exotic, she had
on a very short skirt and high boots. Her short hair was slicked back from
her face, and she was stunning. Dana craned her neck upwards as she
approached and smiled. She was happy and a little relieved to think that
there was someone she could talk to. She had been feeling very isolated,
unaccustomed to being totally alone and not sure if she liked it. She wasn't
sure if she liked the feeling of not having a case to work on either. There
were usually too many things filling her day, and she had forgotten how to
spend free time. Maybe this girl would be able to point her in the right
direction, and she would have fun after all.

"Hi! I think I saw you earlier didn't I?"



He was tense and angry. He had spent the past several hours trying to make
his partner understand that you just don't behave like a child all the time.
It's all right to be carefree, but downright irresponsibility was different.
Mac had deliberately placed a young woman's life in danger with his foolish
posturing, and Vic had been forced to put his own safety on the line in
order to save her. Mac had appeared to be completely uncaring about the way
things had gone down and had laughed at Victor, as usual. When Mac had
mocked him this last time, right in front of Li Ann, he had come to the end
of his tolerance. He had risen, punched the taller man full on the jaw and
then left quickly before he could be goaded into doing anything worse. He
knew he wasn't the world's greatest brain, but he wasn't stupid, and he
resented the implication that he was.

Though not given to the quick flashes of brilliance that were his partner's
signature, Victor Mansfield was loyal, honest and fierce. He was a careful,
kind, methodical man who would not give up until he had solved a mystery and
seen the wrongdoers behind bars. If he had a major fault it was his very
quick temper. He did not suffer fools gladly, and in his mind at the moment
Mac was shaping up to being a prize asshole.

He strode out of the bar after he had knocked Mac down, not sure where he
was heading, but grateful to be away from the constant barbs that the taller
man constantly planted. As he flung himself out of the door, he reflected
that he was living a life of constant aggravation and fury. It was only a
matter of time until he developed ulcers. He stomped down the marble steps
that led to the hotel's main doors, and was just making the turn to go to
the parking lot for his truck when a low, soft voice cut through his

"Victor, walk with me for a minute." He turned and stopped like a mouse that
had just seen a snake. The Director was wearing a pinstriped man's suit,
bowler hat and vest. She did not, however, look like a man. She wore no
shirt under the vest, and her cleavage would have been most interesting to
Vic if she had been anyone else. Vic swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry. As
the Director took his arm, he shuddered quietly, wondering what was coming.

"I expect a certain standard of behavior from my operatives, Victor." Her
voice never rose above a purr, but his stomach clenched at the ominous

"What do you want me to say? I got that girl out of trouble after your
precious Mac decided that she was expendable. Did you want me to just walk
away from it? I'm sorry, I can't do that." He spoke quietly, his tone
matching the Director's, but his eyes flashed angrily, and the crease across
the top of his nose reflected his irritation. Vic might be scared of this
woman, but he would never back down. "The man's a liability. Can't I go back
to working alone?"

The Director didn't respond immediately. They walked on in silence, and
Vic's stomach slowly began to churn as he waited for the blow that was sure
to fall. When she did speak, it seemed to be totally unconnected.

"What do you know about cloning?" He did a double take at that, but his boss
and nemesis appeared serene as they ambled along the sidewalk. He thought

"Not a whole lot. I know it's been done with plants and some animals. Wasn't
there a sheep or something?" Vic frowned as he sifted through the snippets
of information he had stored in his brain.

"Very good, Victor. There was indeed a sheep. I want you to take a little
trip for me, Victor. There have been some very worrying developments in the
field of cloning, and our sources show a tie-in between events happening
here in Vancouver and certain extremely dark developments that are currently
occurring in Washington. Now for reasons I can't go into right at this
minute, the only person I can send to look into things just happens to be
you. However, I don't want you to think that this is some kind of a reward
for your recent behavior. Let me remind you that you are mine now, and you
will do what I say. You will return right now and apologize to Mac, and then
you will complete your current tasks. I want you packed and ready to travel
to Washington the day after tomorrow. Contact Dobrinski for the information
we have on file about your upcoming assignment." She paused and turned to
Vic, who was looking at her with a broad grin that hardly dimmed when she
mentioned apologizing to Mac. Patting his face with her slender fingers, she
idly drew her index finger down his neck to fondle the ex-cop's chest. "Oh,
and Victor... Try to wear something a little more dressy. You are,
after all, going to the US Capitol. See if you can impress them with your
beauty, if not your brains." With that parting shot, she turned on her heel
and strode off leaving Vic looking after her with a faintly puzzled
expression on his face.

Shaking his head, he turned and began to re-trace his footsteps, heading
back to the hotel he had so recently left.



Standing in the hotel lobby, conversing with the beautiful Asian woman, Dana
was relaxing for the first time in a very long while. She was right to take
some time away from her claustrophobic relationship with Mulder. The two
women had made a date to go out shopping the next afternoon and were now
discussing restaurants in the area. Dana had her back to the door when
Victor Mansfield walked back into the hotel. Spotting Li Ann, he made his
way over to her, hoping to find out where Mac had gone.

"Hey, Li Ann. Have you seen Mac? The Director wants us to take that package
back in to HQ now, not tomorrow." A familiar husky voice made Dana draw her
breath in sharply. Turning, she found herself looking at Alex Krycek. She
shook her head and tried to make the vision go away, but it was still Alex
when she looked back again. The man gazed at her incuriously. Li Ann had
already indicated that Mac was still in the bar. The puzzled expression that
this red-haired stranger was wearing finally sank in. Vic wasn't sure what
he had done.

"Pardon me, do I know you?" Vic's voice was throaty, just like Alex's. She
shook her head wonderingly.

"No, er...that is I don't think so. It's just that you look so much like a
friend of mine back in Washington. You could be his twin." Her voice trailed
off; he was looking at her with some interest now.

"Washington? Are you from Washington? Are we talking State, or DC here?" His
smile was sweet. Dana decided that the difference between this man and
Krycek was apparent at this moment. Krycek smiled rarely, but then to be
fair, he had not had many reasons to smile. She put out her hand.

"I'm Dana Scully. I'm here on a conference just for the weekend, but I work
in Washington DC." she smiled. "Why? Do you know someone down in

"Nope, not a one. Sorry. I'm Victor Mansfield, and I'm only interested
because I have to go to DC next week. I've never been. Look, maybe you'd
like to have a drink and tell me a little about the place." Dana looked at
the man towering over her. He was cute. She found Alex sexy, but this man
had Alex's looks without the feral aura that Alex carried with him like a
shield. Not only was he cute but he was looking at her with the kind of
interest she had not seen displayed towards her for some time. She looked at
Li Ann, wondering at the expression she saw flitting over the tall woman's
face. It looked as if Li Ann was trying her best to decide whether she
should be jealous or not. Making up her mind, Dana nodded. She was on
holiday, well, sort of, and she was damned well going to have a good time.
Vic punched his very real left fist into the palm of his right hand and
grinned widely. Holding out his hand to usher her before him, he escorted
her back into the bar leaving Li Ann who called out that she would see her


As he followed Dana into the bar, Vic studied her rear view. She was classy
and elegant despite her casual clothing. Vic liked her clear skin and red
hair. It would be nice to make a friend down in DC if he was going to have
to go there. Pointing to the bar, he raised his eyebrow in silent inquiry.
Dana considered.

"I'll have a Long Island Iced Tea, please." She deserved a little relaxation
and had decided that things were looking up. Vic held a seat for her, and
then sauntered over to the bar where he speedily acquired drinks for the two
of them. As he returned to where Dana was sitting, she spotted the tall man
he had been arguing with previously zeroing in on him.

Vic appeared to be feeling better about the newcomer, or maybe he was merely
on his best behavior, but he actually smiled at the taller man, and their
conversation appeared to go well. He put their drinks down on the table and
sat, his ankle casually resting on his knee. Dana had time to study him, and
he was certainly worth studying.

He was dressed casually in a black, V-necked sweater, and blue jeans that
were tight enough to display his nicely developed thighs. He moved more than
Alex did, constantly tapping and fidgeting. He also smiled a lot more, she
noticed, and in many ways his smile was infectious. She felt herself warm to
him in a way that she had never been able to warm to Alex. Leaning forward,
she offered a smile of her own.

"So, Vic, what was it exactly you wanted to know about DC?"



He was cold. It was dark, and he had no clue as to where he was, or what
people wanted with him. He did not know what time it was or how long he had
been in the dark. He felt lightheaded, but at least he was conscious now.
The drugs they had injected into him had begun to wear off.

He paced around his small, dark cell. He had felt around the walls
repeatedly but had been unable to find anything that might help him. He had
measured out the cell by pacing it out and knew every ridge and irregularity
in the brickwork. It was no help. He had no idea how he could get out. His
captors had relieved him of his prosthetic arm, ensuring that he had no
spare gun and no knife. He still had the lock picks in the seams of his
jeans and a serviceable garrote coiled into his belt but would have traded
them both for his knife.

He knew he had to do something to keep warm. He moved into one of the Tai
Chi forms, pacing out the moves slowly and deliberately, not needing to see
as he balanced stretched and crouched, a flickering black flame in the
velvet darkness of the cellar. As he worked his way through the form, he
felt his body warming and his head began to feel as if it belonged to him
once more.

He reflected on the happenings of recent months. He had found his heart's
desire, only to lose it again almost immediately. Never in a million years
would he have imagined that Fox Mulder could have fallen in love with him.
He could still not believe it. His mind wandered back to the brief couple of
nights they had spent in each other's arms since they had finally declared
their love for one another. It seemed as if fate was conspiring the keep him
apart from Fox. They had been separated in Vancouver after only a single
night because he had been shot. He had found his way back to Washington and
was on his way to meet up with his lover once again when his ex-employer had
used a strange weapon on him, sending him to a ghostly existence neither in
or out of the real world. Alex had thought he was dead, and although he was
now alive and kicking, he had missed out on the loving encounters he had
been looking forward to. Following his return from the grave, he and Mulder
had spent just one night together before he had ended up here, in a
godforsaken cellar, captured by Lord alone knew who.

If he only knew who it was that was keeping him here he might be able to
formulate a plan. He sat in the corner beside the door, in the area he knew
was drier than all the rest and began to think about the couple of nights he
had spent with Fox. Staring into the darkness, he willed an image of Fox to
float in front of him. His eyes grew moist as he recalled the two of them
rolling about in fits of laughter after Mulder had managed to cut Alex's
forehead open with his teeth. He closed his eyes, picturing Mulder lying
beneath him, eyes closed and lips parted as Alex drove into him, filling

Alex lay back and unfastened his jeans, preparing to pass the time as
pleasantly as he could under the circumstances.



Fox Mulder had had a rough few days. He had fallen hard for a lying,
cheating rogue with a pair of beautiful green eyes and a voice like cream
stirred into brandy. He was not used to having anyone in his life and was
finding it almost impossible to think of anything except Alex. The man had
betrayed him once, and as a result, Mulder had hated him. Not only had he
hated him, he had beaten him, abused him and been the direct cause of his
loss of an arm. Mulder had not even cared about the mutilation until Alex
had somehow managed to get under his skin by confessing his love for him,
Fox Mulder, brutal abuser.

Mulder could picture him as he had stood in the hospital room, expecting
Mulder to hit him. He had not attempted to defend himself, until in the end
he stood defiantly waiting for the blows to start and had ducked his head to
kiss the fist that was poised to strike him. Mulder could not say quite when
it had happened, but he had fallen in love with Alex Krycek. He had offered
his heart when he should have known better. Now, the cheating son of a bitch
had disappeared without trace, leaving him with an ache in his heart that
felt like a stab wound. The rat-bastard had left him flat. It seemed that he
had also alienated Scully, his best friend, before he had gone away. Mulder
was alone now, lonely, hurting and unsure whether he wanted to live on
without him.

He had searched almost every bar, pool hall and club on this side of the
city and was now very close to giving up. It had been three days since Alex
had left him alone to write that damned report. He had shown photos of Alex
to anyone who would stop to listen to him, and so far nobody had admitted to
having seen him. Mulder pulled the collar of his topcoat up around his ears
and shivered. The wind was an icy blast that threatened to flay the skin
from his cheekbones, and mixed with it was sleet, lashing like knives as he
walked. He ducked into the bar that he had been aiming for, and his sharp
intake of breath attested to the momentary agony of thawing flesh.

Moving up to the bar, he ordered a scotch and leaned against a stool for a
moment, luxuriating in the warmth that had begun to permeate his frozen
body. After a few minutes watching the pool players, he sipped at his drink
and turned to the man behind the bar.

"I'm looking for a man." He waved Alex's photograph at him, watching
carefully for any flash of recognition. The man's eyes opened wide
momentarily, and Mulder felt a quick surge low in his belly.

"What do you want him for?" The man was cagey, and Mulder contemplated
grabbing him and pistol whipping the information out of him. Taking a hold
of himself long enough to quell the rising tide of anger he was
experiencing, Mulder fixed the bartender with a soulful look.

"The rat-bastard owes me money. He owes me big time!" The man nodded,
obviously buying into the fiction.

"Figures. He has shifty eyes!" Once again Mulder fought back a surge of fury
and concentrated on extracting the information from the other man. "Yeah, he
was in here 3 days ago. He got into a rumble with a couple of other guys. I
guess you aren't the only one he owes money to?" Mulder nodded, a sick leap
swooping through his stomach as he realized that he had at last found a
positive lead. " I guess he went with a couple of the regulars in the end.
He didn't seem to be too happy about the arrangement, so it looks as if they
were after the same as you."

Mulder closed his eyes, worry gnawing at his chest as he pictured the kind
of trouble Alex might be in. "Do you know where I can find any of these
guys? I'd be real happy to talk to them." He slid a 20.00 over the counter
towards the man, who made it disappear very quickly.

"Yeah. Ray over there is one of them." The bartender jerked his thumb over
at the far pool table, towards a tall, heavy set man wearing a check shirt
and filthy blue jeans, who was idly taking shots at the pool balls between
gulps at a pint of beer.

Mulder nodded his thanks as he moved off towards the back of the room. He
found a table and placed himself so he could observe his quarry. His mind
was racing. He was beginning to think that Alex was in trouble after all and
that he had maligned him by assuming that he had just walked out on him. He
wasn't sure if that was good news or not. He began to picture Alex lying
dead or seriously hurt somewhere. His chest tightened as he envisaged
nameless horrors.

Sometime later, the solitary pool player slouched over to take his jacket
from the rack and left the bar. As he left, Mulder was right behind him.

The man left the bar and began to walk away down the street. Nobody else was
visible in the sodium glare of the streetlights. The sleet had turned into
snow. Mulder did not feel that it was much of an improvement as the wind
lashed small, hard pellets against his face. He quickened his pace and
caught up with the other man, his gun held ready in his pocket.

"Ray, I want to talk to you." The man paused and turned towards Mulder.

"Bite me!" He turned to walk on, and Mulder reached for the back of his
collar, hauling him off balance as he swung against the back of the man's
head with his gun. His captive reeled, and Mulder thrust the pistol into his
back, shoving him face first into the brick wall.

"No thanks, I haven't had my rabies shots! I want to know everything you do
about Alex Krycek. I want to know where you took him, and who has him now. I
want to know it right this minute, and if you are very co-operative you will
win a prize." The man heaved backwards at Mulder, and Mulder put a bullet
into his shoulder.

"I'm not joking, you bastard! The next one will be your kneecap. How do you
feel about artificial limbs? Think you'd like to try one?" White faced, the
thug slid down the wall to sit in the snow at Mulder's feet.

"Don't shoot me. I'll tell you." The man was virtually squeaking in his
fear. "We were paid by an old guy to take him and make sure he was delivered
to an address out in the suburbs. We took him out there about three days

"Was he OK? What did you do to him?" Mulder had his hand at the other man's
throat, and was raising his gun to hit him. The other man flinched.

"We didn't hurt him, honest. We injected him with a knockout drug, but he
wasn't hurt. He was fine when we left him, honest!" He gave Mulder the
address. Mulder stepped back, still holding the gun on the other man.

"Get up!" He staggered to his feet, and Mulder snapped cuffs onto him,
shoving him in front of him to where he had left his car. "I can't let you
go just yet. I don't want you warning them that I'm coming. You're going to
have to stay out of the limelight for a little while. He threw the cuffed
man into the back of his car, secured the cuffs by clipping them around the
iron frame of the seat, and pulled away from the parking lot.

As he drove, his cell phone rang. Thumbing it open, he raised it to his ear.


"Mulder, it's me. Where are you?" Scully's voice cut through Mulder's dire
imaginings. "I just got back, and there's someone I want you to meet."



As Mulder's car pulled up to the building where she lived, Dana Scully
tugged Vic Mansfield's sleeve and pointed through the window. She was
fascinated to see how Mulder would react to her companion. Vic had heard at
great length about Mulder and his theories, and despite Dana's attempts to
be supportive of her partner, Vic was expecting to meet a rare nutball. He
was looking forward to it, knowing that he would be able to share his
experiences on his return and looking forward to a good laugh.

Mulder approached the apartment block. Vic got an impression of a tall,
elegantly tailored man, dressed in a dark grey wool overcoat, with a lighter
grey suit beneath. His hair was dark, and his face, at that point set in a
scowl, was handsome, with a finely sculpted mouth and a pair of expressive
eyes. Scully moved to admit her partner, holding the door so that he could
enter. He was already speaking as he came into her living room.

"I've got a lead on where Alex went, but I'm going to need some assistance
to get...." Mulder's voice stopped suddenly, gasping as he caught sight of
Vic. With a curse, he moved swiftly across the room to pin the unsuspecting
ex-cop against the wall, running his hand around to the back of his neck and
pulling his face forward to kiss him hard. There was a pregnant moment when
Mulder thought things were looking up, and then Vic managed to get his
frozen brain in gear, and yanked Mulder away by the hair, coughing and
spluttering as he did so. Mulder pushed forward with his forearm against
Vic's throat. Vic kneed the hapless Mulder in the balls and as he folded in
the middle, followed through with a vicious chop to the back of his neck
that felled him neatly. Turning to Scully, he held his hands out, palms up.

"What? What the hell was that? What did I do?" He stood looking aggrieved,
while Mulder moaned and groaned in his heap on the floor.

Scully was hooting with most unlady-like laughter. Tears ran down her cheeks
as she attempted to contain her mirth. She collapsed onto the couch, holding
her sides as she laughed. Mulder slowly pulled himself up off the floor and
stared at her, as indeed did Vic.

Finally, she was able to stop laughing long enough to gasp out a few words.
"Mulder, meet Victor Mansfield. Vic, this is my partner, Fox Mulder." She
went off into a renewed spasm of laughter while Vic and Mulder surveyed each
other distrustfully.

Mulder heard the introduction, and blinked. He looked at Victor, trying to
process the information that his Alex was not unique. He opened his mouth
and closed it again. The man in front of him was Alex; he would swear to it.
He moved closer to the man before him, and Vic raised both hands in a
gesture that was part placatory and part threat. Mulder's eyes widened as he
watched Victor's left arm bend up, and his very real left hand clench into a

This was not Alex Krycek. Mulder shivered.



His head throbbed. He could hear a strange, high pitched sound a little like
a dentist's drill, and there were muffled voices somewhere to his left. He
had fallen asleep and was now waking to find that he had been moved. He
thought he must have been drugged because his head hurt and his limbs
tingled. There was a hood over his head once more, and he was tightly bound
on a hard surface. His chest appeared to be strapped down, and his arm was
immobilized. He was laid in a spread-eagled fashion, and his ankles had been
fixed tightly, pulling his legs apart. He was naked.

He felt a faint breeze against his skin, and his senses swam as he fought
off the effects of whatever drug he had been given. He had remained
comparatively cheerful up until this point, but he could feel his optimism
crumble as he visualized his predicament. As far as he knew, he was not
going to be rescued. Nobody knew he was here, and there would be no rescue
attempt. He was helpless, trussed up like a turkey ready for the oven, and
with his clothing had gone his last remaining weaponry. He could not see his
surroundings but was ready to bet that he was going to be put through some
kind of unpleasant ordeal. To crown it all, he was feeling very sick, and
really wanted to vomit very badly indeed.

He lay as still as he could, thinking that his captors might not realize
that he had awoken. His ears were acute and he attempted to sort out some
way of gaining information about his surroundings. At first the sounds
echoed inside his head, making it swim, but gradually he became aware that
the drilling sound was not right there in the room with him. As a door
opened and then closed, the volume rose and then dropped back to its
original level. He could hear several sets of footsteps and a peculiar
grating sound somewhere behind his head. He licked his dry lips and realized
that he was thirsty. A moan escaped his lips.

Suddenly the door opened once again, and heavy heels clipped the floor as
somebody approached him. A familiar, hated voice impinged on his ears.

"Mr. Krycek. I'm so glad you could make it today. I've been looking forward
to seeing you again. I have one or two things that I need to discuss with
you." The Cigarette Smoking Man lit a Morley. Alex heard the rasp of his
lighter, and then, the familiar acrid smell of the smoke hit him, sending
fresh waves of nausea over him. He moaned again.

Footsteps behind his head made him jump a little, and then rough hands were
untying the folds of cloth that were around his face, pulling it away and
making his eyes water and screw themselves up following their long sojourn
in the darkness of the cellar. For a while the strong light was so dazzling
after the darkness that his eyes were no use to him. He could make out only
vague shapes surrounded by rainbows. Desperately he tried to clear his
vision, needing to see where he was and what threatened him.

Slowly his eyes began to tolerate the light once again, and he began to make
out the crow-like silhouette of his ex-employer. He could turn his head
through a limited arc, and this was enough to let him see that there were
two large, ugly guards, one on each side of him. He could see a small,
slender woman with her hair tied back under some kind of cap, wearing green
surgical garments. He could not see what she was doing, but it obviously
involved her entire concentration. Finally, with a mental shrug, he turned
his head back and fixed his eyes on his nemesis.

"What do you want from me?" His voice was cracked and rusty from lack of
moisture. He began to cough and felt his gorge rising as he did so. With a
supreme effort he swallowed his feeling of sickness, refusing to allow the
old man looming over him to see how uncomfortable he was feeling. "Are you
just going to have me lie here and look cute?"

The smoker gestured expansively with his cigarette. "All in good time, Mr.
Krycek. I have a proposition to put to you. Meanwhile, allow me to make you
more comfortable." He gestured to one of the goons at Krycek's side, and he
stepped forward with a water bottle and a straw. He placed the straw between
Alex's lips, and as he began to suck, the water flowed, cool and sweet into
his dry throat, washing his mouth clean and improving his spirits
remarkably. For a moment he closed his eyes and gave himself up to the sheer
bliss of a cool drink quenching his raging thirst. At last, he heard the
gurgling sounds that indicated that the bottle was empty. He allowed the
straw to fall from his lips, and mumbled a "Thank you" to whoever might
choose to accept it.

The smoker had been standing back, eyeing Alex's body, displayed for him on
the metal table where he was lying. Now he came forward to stand over Alex.

"When you were first assigned to Fox Mulder, you were directed to get close
to him in any way you could. Do you remember? You have been very successful.
More so than I could possibly have hoped. Now it's time for you to complete
your long delayed mission, Mr. Krycek." The smoker took a long drag of his
cigarette, allowing the ash from it to fall onto Alex's belly. Alex fought
not to react.

"What are you talking about? What are you going to do to him?" Alex's voice
had begun to betray him. His fear for Mulder was now so strong that he was
fighting back the urge to plead for him. He wanted to beg the smoker to go
and find another target, to make him leave Fox in peace.

"That's not your concern. All you have to do is bring him to us, at a place
and time to be appointed, and we will allow you to go free. We will even
return him to you once we have finished with him." The smoker smiled. He
appeared to be genuinely amused.

"No! You can do what you like to me, but you can't have Fox. I sold him out
to you before, and I won't do it again." Alex closed his eyes. Sweat was
beginning to stand out on his forehead although the room was not warm by any
stretch of the imagination. His mind raced over the possibilities of what
might come next and he was afraid.

"My advice to you is not to make your decision without careful thought. The
doctor here is with us only for another few hours, but she has been looking
forward to seeing you again." Alex studied the nondescript woman in the
white coat who had moved up to stand beside his tormentor. He had no
recollection of ever having seen her before and could not imagine what the
other man meant until he saw a film of black slowly curl across the woman's
eyes. Alex felt faint. He knew beyond a doubt who this was, and he could
feel a scream welling up as he recalled his last encounter with the thing
that rode the doctor beside him. He turned his head away.

"What are you going to do to me? Are you going to make me like her? Are you
going to put that stuff into me again?" His voice was trembling a little,
and he cleared his throat. He wanted to go out with dignity if he could but
suspected that it wasn't going to be possible after all.

"Oh, no! You are for some reason immune to the infection or we would have
taken that course right away. It would have been so much more convenient,
don't you think? No, you are part of a large genetic research program, and
we require your tissue for further experimentation. You and Mr. Mulder both
have certain genes that we cannot allow to slip through our fingers. We have
decided that if you feel unable to co-operate with us regarding our
requirements, there is no choice but to remove the tissue we require so that
it can be stored until it is needed, and then, ah... dispose of the
surplus." Alex's mind was racing. They were going to remove parts of him and
then kill him. They were going to remove parts of Fox too. Maybe they would
let Fox go, but he didn't think so.

"What are you talking about? What tissue are you going to remove from us?
You're going to kill us both, aren't you? Why even bother having this
conversation?" Alex was shaking now; he had never felt so helpless.

"Now, now, Mr. Krycek! You have proven very useful to us in the past. One
hates to throw a good weapon away. It's always better to attempt first to
sharpen a dull knife, don't you think? The Consortium would like to have you
working for us again, but there are of course questions about your loyalty.
We would need assurances of your continuing desire to be of service to us.
Consequently, we are asking that you deliver Fox Mulder to us. The tissue
that we require is testicular, and we are aware that you do not wish to lose
your testicles. Should you be willing to co-operate with us, there are
methods we can employ that would leave you still able to have sex if you
wish. If you remain adamant in your refusal, there is really not much to
discuss. You will not be requiring your gonads in the grave, will you?" The
black-clad man smiled as if he had made a joke, and Alex struggled with the
straps that held him. He knew it was hopeless, and a part of him wanted to
beat himself up for it, but he absolutely could not stop himself.

"How long do I have to think about it?" Alex was trying to buy time however
he could.

"I think we can allow you to ponder your situation for a short while. Shall
we say six hours?" The smoker lit another cigarette and glanced at the alien
doctor for confirmation. She nodded curtly, and taking out a stethoscope and
a number of other instruments, she began a complete physical examination of
the quivering man on the table.

"It will take some hours to ready the cryogenic receptacle. We can wait
until then. This specimen is healthy and will not deteriorate in so short a
time." So saying, she covered Alex's body with a white paper sheet, and the
two left the room together. After a minute or two, the goons who had stood
guard over him during the conversation also turned and left, but not before
Alex had observed the tell-tale film of black oil that clouded their eyes.



The two men drove off into the night, conscious of the fact that there was a
large man on the back seat with a bullet in him. Vic had checked their
captive out as they entered the vehicle and had secured him thoroughly using
a roll of duct tape. The man was so trussed up now that he bore a strange
resemblance to a silvery sheened mummy, and from time to time he moaned. It
was not possible to do more than moan because his mouth had also been duct

"You know, duct tape is the Force they were going on about in Star Wars!"
Vic was grinning as he spoke.

"Hmmm...? How do you mean?" Mulder was driving fast, taking chances that
made Victor wish he were behind the wheel. He wondered how he could take
over the responsibility of driving without starting a war.

"Haven't you noticed? It has a dark side and a light side, and it binds the
universe together!" Vic waited for a laugh. None was forthcoming. "You know
what? I've got an associate you really should meet! You guys have so much in
common. His name is Nathan, and there isn't a conspiracy he doesn't know
about. You really have to meet him." Vic sniggered inside as he pictured an
encounter between the two of them. Glancing at Mulder, he realized that the
man was very worried and was not taking in much of what he was saying. He
felt a twinge of sympathy for him. He briefly patted Mulder's shoulder but
took his hand away when the other man flinched. "Hey! We'll get your friend
out. Don't sweat it. As soon as we take a look at what we're up against,
we'll be able to make some plans."

"I'm sorry! I'm just not good company. How long do you think it will take to
get some kind of plan formulated?" Mulder's voice was harsh and strained.
Vic sensed that the man was seriously upset about what was happening, and he
fell silent, allowing Mulder the brooding time he so obviously wanted. They
drove on in silence. Victor pondered what he knew of the situation. So far
all he was aware of was that the captive they needed to rescue was a friend
of the man sitting beside him and that there was a resemblance between this
mysterious captive and Victor himself. He needed to know more.

The cell phone rang in Mulder's pocket, and he groped in his jacket for it,
flipping the top one handed and grunting into it. Wordlessly he handed the
phone to Vic.

It was Dana. She had heard from Mac, who had announced that he was going to
be arriving in Washington at 6am. Glancing at his watch, Vic mentally
calculated how much time they had before they needed to go and pick him up.
It was now 2am. He nodded to himself. That would be plenty of time to drop
off their captive before they needed to go to the airport.



He came awake screaming. They were coming for him with hot knives. They were
going to cut off his arm. He could not move, and there was nothing he could

He slowly returned to reality. Nightmares were a part of his life, and he
had come to accept them. Usually he knew that he would get through the
nightmare and be able to greet the day. This time it was different. He was
helpless, strapped to the table with no means of breaking free. He was
awaiting an alien to come and perform obscene surgery on him, and he could
do nothing but wait for the end, knowing that he was alone at last.

He pictured Fox, sitting in the car with him, waiting for him to take a
flight out of Vancouver. He could see his misery as he waited to say
goodbye, not knowing when, if ever, they would meet again.

He recalled Fox grieving for his supposed death, while he looked on,
helpless and unable to do more than watch him.

He pictured the man he loved lying in his arms, all passion spent, grey eyes
half-closed in sheer bliss as he recovered from their lovemaking. He had to
do something. He just had to.

The door was pushed open at that point, and the doctor-thing came in,
bearing a metal bowl. He felt a cold thrill of fear running down his back as
he realized that time was running out for him.

The white clad woman twitched off the paper that was covering Alex and began
checking his vital signs. Nodding to herself, she made a few notes on a
chart, and then taking soap and a razor from the tray, she proceeded to
shave his groin. Alex opened his mouth to try and communicate with the
creature, but to no avail. She ignored him totally and continued with her
task. As she finished, she dried him off and then replacing the sheet, she
disappeared through the door, leaving Alex behind to worry and finally to



They were waiting for Mac. Mulder was dubious as to how this person would be
able to help him in his attempt to find Alex. He was by this point, however,
willing to take any help he could get. A study of the house had revealed
guards patrolling large grounds, and an electronic surveillance system that
would certainly alert the occupants as soon as the boundaries were breached.
He had observed Victor in action as the two of them had checked out the
unknown enemy's headquarters and grudgingly been impressed.

Mulder knew he should not hold it against Victor that he happened to look
exactly like the man he loved, but he couldn't help resenting the fact that
Vic still had two arms. He wondered what was going through the Canadian's
head as he watched him pacing in an agitated fashion. Finally, just when
Mulder could not stand any more of Vic's restless behavior, Vic looked up
and Mulder observed a cocktail of emotions flitting across his face. Vic's
face had lit up, making Mulder's breath catch in his throat as he watched
him. Looking around he saw a tall, skinny guy with rather large ears bearing
down on them.

//He loves that man. How strange that they should be so much like Alex and

As Vic waved, the other man loped up and gave him a gentle punch on the

"Thought you could handle everything without us, did you? Hah! You can't do
anything on your own!" The man was soft spoken, and his eyes twinkled with
malicious good humor. Mulder suddenly felt very tired.

"Come on. we need to go now. We'll explain everything in the car on the
way." Mulder cut across Victor's protests. He was anxious about his lover.
Watching the two of them together just made him miss Alex more.

"Hold on for one more minute. The others brought checked baggage. They
should be out in a little while." Vic gaped at Mac.

"The others? What others? Did Li Ann come?"

Mulder felt as if he were attempting to knit fog. He could not quite get a
handle on the conversation and was inclined to be a little peeved.

"You brought your girlfriend or something? Oh, that's just great. And she
brought her holiday outfits with her no doubt. Terrific. I hope you brought
a tux. We're certainly going to need to go over that wall in formal gear."
Mulder gritted his teeth and snarled at the world in general.

As Mac and Vic processed Mulder's outburst, two women appeared from the
baggage claim area. They both carried slim suitcases, and both appeared to
be in a hurry. The one in front, a slender, elegant woman with long red hair
and a set of incredibly long, sharp red fingernails, approached Mulder.

"So you are Agent Fox Mulder." She put up her hand and ran her forefinger
over Mulder's lower lip and down to his chin. "I'm very pleased to meet you
at last. I've been studying your work on conspiracy theory very closely."

"We should go." Victor gestured to the exit and started walking, leaving the
others to follow if they wanted to. Mulder moved quickly, trying to catch up
with him as he headed for the vehicle.

"Who are these people? What are they doing here? Are they aware that they
are going to be in great danger? We can't have hangers on at a raid like
this! Their lives could be in jeopardy." He was angry and became even more
so as Victor flashed him a very amused grin.

"You don't need to worry about either of them. I'll introduce you properly
once we get to the car. LiAnn is deadly in her way, but the Director..." Vic
shuddered, leaving his sentence unfinished.

"The Director? Which is the Director? Doesn't she have a name?" Mulder was
still mad. Vic, arriving at the car, waited for Mulder to unlock it, and
then went around to the trunk to place the ladies' suitcases inside. When he
returned, the others were already in the car and had begun to introduce
themselves to Mulder. Mulder appeared to be a little stunned.

Vic opened his sheaf of notes and began to go over the information he and
Mulder had gleaned during the night. The Director, who had listened without
speaking, suddenly brought out a building plan, which she unrolled,
spreading it for them to study.

"I just happened to have this with me, and I thought it might prove useful.
Coincidentally, Victor, this is the very case I asked you to look into. You
could not have done better if you had actually been investigating it." Vic
smiled at the compliment before suddenly spotting the veiled insult within.
The smile left his face and he tossed his head in irritation.

Mulder had been driving and had remained silent as the four other occupants
of his very crowded car bickered. Now, as they arrived at the street where
the house they were targeting stood, he held up his hand for silence, and
indicated the large gates of the property and the cameras that were trained
on those gates. He caught sight of Scully's car, parked a little way down
the road, and pulled in behind it. The contingent climbed out of the
vehicle, and Scully came up to them, greeting LiAnn with evident delight as
she did so.

The morning was still very gloomy, and a fierce wind was blowing the snow
into drifts. Mulder had lost the concealment that nighttime would have
afforded him and was now very worried indeed. It was just not possible to
sneak in snow. The footprints gave you away every damned time. He wondered
how the hell they were going to get in unscathed.



He was shivering. His cool had long ago deserted him, and all he could do
now was imagine the things that were going to happen any moment. He had
prayed. He had wept a little, for the first time since his childhood, as he
tried once more to find any way of helping Fox to escape this fate. He knew
that he was now a goner but wanted to defy the Smoking Man one last time if
he could. He could only see images of Fox, lying where he lay right now,
waiting for the knife to fall on him. Visions of his Fox, castrated and
bleeding, welled up before his mind's eye. Alex Krycek, sometime G-man,
triple agent and hired assassin, prayed in as many languages as he knew for
the God he no longer believed in to save the only man living or dead that he
cared about.

The door opened, and the Smoker entered the room with a smile, pausing to
light up his latest cigarette. Alex closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

It was showtime.



She was crouched around the corner from the gates of the mansion they were
attempting to raid. She could see the others close by, weapons drawn, and
wondered how they would get to the house itself without the cover of night.
The early morning light was barely enough to see by, and the drifting snow
made it unlikely that anyone would be passing by on a pleasant stroll. She

The woman known as the Director approached the gates very confidently. She
wore leather pants that were tightly molded to her slender figure. Long,
spike heeled boots and a thick fur jacket made her look very warm as she
strode towards the gate.

Pressing the button on the intercom, she spoke confidently to the guard who
answered, and following a brief conversation that Dana could not quite hear,
the gates opened. The Director sauntered through, pausing just before she
got clear of the gates. The guard emerged from his shelter to address the
frail looking woman, and the two of them headed towards the shelter. After a
few moments, the Director emerged once more and beckoned the party in. As
they entered the shed, the gates closed behind them.

Dana looked around the guardhouse and took in the surveillance monitors. She
could see two recumbent forms stacked in the corner and was about to go to
them when Vic pre-empted her, motioning her back before attacking them with
the duct tape, swaddling them in the stuff and grinning as he surveyed his

"I go through so many rolls of this stuff. I should buy shares!" He drew his
gun and moved over to where the Director was quietly issuing instructions.
Mulder suddenly exclaimed and pointed to one monitor, which showed what
looked like a medical room. There were people moving to and fro around a
table, but what drew Mulder's gaze was a face he knew well standing beside
it. It was the man he thought of as Cancerman. He moved closer to the
screen, and with a sudden feeling of great horror, he realized that there
was a gurney beside the Cancerman, and that on the gurney was a man who
looked very much like Alex. Even as they watched, the doctor came forward
and removed the sheet that covered him, leaving Mulder in no doubt
whatsoever that his lover was being tortured in some way.

She turned away and began to lay out a series of glittering blades on a tray
beside Alex's head, and Mulder could stand no more. He made for the door
despite Scully's attempts to call him back. With a sigh, the rest of the
group followed him, and they ran for the house.

Arriving at the front door, Mac made short work of the lock, and they
entered the building. A guard who had been sitting, dozing beside the front
door looked up in astonishment as they entered. Vic hit him behind the ear
with his pistol, pausing to wrap a few turns of the ubiquitous duct tape
around him before moving to follow the others.

Mulder was running down the corridor, trying doors and flinging them open as
he ran. At the end of the corridor there were two staircases, and he came to
a stop, unsure where he should go next. Scully caught up with him, and the
two of them looked at each other indecisively. Then Li Ann, who had been
sorting through the plan of the building, began to climb the stairs. Victor
and Mac followed in her wake, and Mulder watched them around the first
dogleg before turning to Scully.

"We'd better go down then."

Soberly she nodded her head.

"A wise decision, Agent Mulder." The voice was deep and throaty, and Mulder
turned hastily, to see the Director emerging from one of the side rooms,
stuffing a bundle of papers into the bag she carried. "Let's go down and
check if your friend is there. If the others find him, they wll be able to
handle it."

As they started down the stairs, Mulder heard Alex's voice, shouting his
name. He turned.

"That was Alex." He spoke flatly.

"Mulder, how can you tell? It could have been Vic. They sound alike." She
had descended a few more steps as she spoke, and when a shot suddenly rang
out from below, she fired her own weapon. There was a hoarse cry and then
silence once more.

"No. It was Alex. He's the only one in the world who actually calls me Fox.
He's up that way." They turned and ran up the stairs the way that the others
had gone. At the top of the staircase, there was a commotion. What seemed
like a large crowd was milling about screaming. Mulder, waving his gun
wildly and yelling that he was with the FBI pushed his way through the mass
of humanity. The Director was rather more direct. Drawing a pepper spray out
of her bag, she proceeded to render anyone in her path helpless and choking.
The three agents ran for the room at the back from which most of the
commotion seemed to be coming.



The doctor had laid out her tools very deliberately. She had washed her
hands and donned a surgical mask, above which her oil-filmed eyes were
sinister. Then she had left the room for a few minutes, only to return with
a large metal container on which Alex could see beads of condensation. She
placed the container down beside the table where Alex lay, and then turned
to look at the Smoker. He was in the act of lighting up yet another of his
cigarettes, and there was a brief pause. Then the Smoker approached Alex
once more.

"Well, Mr. Krycek, we appear to have run out of time. Have you arrived at
any kind of decision yet? The good doctor is impatient to begin." He smiled
benignly, and Alex felt the goose bumps rise on his skin as he observed the
man's evil joviality.

"No deal. I won't give you Fox." He felt somehow clean and empty once he had
spoken. There was no more now. He had given Fox his last gift. He wondered
if Fox would ever know.

He closed his eyes once more and lay, waiting for it all to be over. He felt
the table on which he lay shudder a little, and then his legs were being
parted even further as they were raised high in the air. He had never felt
quite so vulnerable. He concentrated on his mental image of Fox the last
time they had made love, hovering over him in the half-light as he cried out
Alex's name.

He felt cold moisture being drawn over his testicles and the smell of
alcohol told him that the surgery was about to start. He screamed Fox's name
out loud and then fell silent. What would be, would be.

The Smoker tossed his cigarette butt onto the linoleum, and turned towards
the door without speaking. The doctor came around to the tray to pick up the
first of her blades, an evil looking scalpel. Alex felt the blade against
the flesh of his perineum, and then suddenly there was a muffled sound. The
doctor fell to the floor. At this, the Smoker, who had been opening the
door, turned and ran for another door at the other end of the room.

Alex was mystified. He opened his eyes to try and see what was happening and
caught sight of a tall, beautiful Asian woman, wearing a kevlar vest and
dressed in black. She was occupied at that precise second in beating up one
of the guards. Alex suddenly found himself renewing those desperate prayers
as he hoped against hope that he was going to be able to get out of there.



Vic had by now run out of duct tape and was improvising with the surgical
supplies. He and Mac had enjoyed a brief battle with a couple of guards who
had felt that they should not pass. Between them, they had accounted for
five guards and one woman who appeared to be some kind of lab assistant who
had run screeching at them and attempted to dig her fingers into Mac's eyes.
Vic had shot her without any compunction, and Mac had flashed him a brief
smile as they moved along the corridor. Bursting into the room where they
had seen LiAnn go, they were met by the sight of one comatose guard, one
very dead doctor, and no sign of LiAnn. At the other end of the room a door
stood open. They both headed for it, but Vic turned back quickly as he heard
a moan from the table beside the window.

Mac joined him as they moved swiftly to see what was making the sound.
Together, they began freeing up the buckles and Velcro that held the
prisoner captive. Mac suddenly froze. "My God, Vic, it's you! Look at him,
he's exactly like you. The captive was attempting to sit up. It was
obviously very painful for him and Vic was moving forward to help him when
Mulder burst into the room. Scully and the Director were behind him, but he
didn't stop to wait for them. As he spied the naked man struggling to sit up
on the gurney, he let out a cry and ran to his side. He threw his arms
around the reclining man and glued his mouth to him, not heeding the fact
that there were others in the room watching with great interest. As Vic
watched the two men kissing each other passionately, he felt a twinge of
jealousy, and then became aware of a very rapid hardening of his own cock.
He felt very strange, watching himself kissing another man. The two of them
had forgotten about bystanders and were engaged in the kind of lover's kiss
that Vic could barely recall ever having the opportunity to experience. It
was as sexy as all hell, but made him feel sad. He had nobody.

He turned to find Mac eyeing him speculatively.

"What? What's the matter?" He felt unaccountably nervous.

"Nothing's the matter, Victor, it's just...." Mac broke off his speech and
grabbed Vic by his shoulders, pulling the surprised man in to envelop him in
a kiss every bit as passionate as the one they had been watching. Vic felt
the bottom drop out of his stomach as Mac's lips touched his, and his cock,
already stiffening at the sight of Mulder and his lover, began to ooze and
throb. He moved closer to Mac and allowed his lips to open under the
relentless pressure of Mac's lips.



Scully, who had finally entered the room, stood watching the four men, and
her expression was one of dismay. She had found her own version of Alex, and
right in front of her eyes he was being stolen. Everyone seemed to have
someone except her. The Director stepped forward, placing a caressing hand
on Dana's shoulder.

"My dear Dana, you look a little upset. Don't be. You were only going to get
second best with Victor, wasn't she, Li Ann?" Dana felt the long fingernails
lightly scraping the skin on the back of her neck.

Li Ann came to stand on her other side, putting her hand up to stroke Dana's
hair. "Oh, yes. The Director is always right. There are far more things to
enjoy than just plain white bread!"