RATING: Completely harmless
KEYWORDS: Scully/Krycek, possible friendship, some conspiracy
SUMMARY: Krycek returns, despite all odds and some 15 years later. Guess who he calls. Oh - and Mulder is missing. As usual.
SPOILERS: Mainly Existence and Tithonus. Also touches of Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose and William.
FEEDBACK: Yes, please! :) You can reach me at the address given on my main page (http://hem.bredband.net/MsFanfic in case that's not where you found this story).
(1st draft; 2002-09-15; final version 2002-10-04)
I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night Alive as you or me I said, "But Joe, you're ten years dead!" "I never died", said he. "I never died", said he.
(Joe Hill - Alfred Hayes. (Thanks, Asialee, for letting me know so I could get my sources straight.))
San José, CA, April 17, 2016
All this day, he had been wondering what to say when she picked up.
I think you know me.
Great, that would make her hang up right away.
Dana, I know you've no reason to trust me, but ...
And just why the hell would he use her first name?
Scully, please don't hang up until you hear what I've got to say.
As if she couldn't come up with the idea herself. She'd hang up alright, with or without his prompting.
A simple, non-committal Hey?
In the end, he opened with those same words he had used to his employer-turned-enemy, so many years ago.
The first words he said, over the phone after fifteen years, and at first she did not even recognize the voice. Maybe it had lost some of its edge - she couldn't be sure - but it still had the same huskiness to it, and in a moment she did indeed know it.
"What do you want, Krycek?"
"To see you. We need to talk."
"I have no need of talking to you, Krycek. Goodbye."
"Wait! Please. Badly phrased - I need to talk. To you. Name any place where you'd feel safe."
That irked her. Who did he think he was, to presume she'd be afraid of him?
"Right here will do. I assume you know where I live?"
"I could find out from your phone number, if you want to play games. But I'd rather you told me."
"Ok", she said after a brief pause. "But first I want you to tell me something. Did you kill Mulder?"
"No. Not for want of trying, I admit. Mulder is gone, no one knows where. Maybe he was abducted again."
"I don't believe you."
"Then why did you ask?"
She hated his logical pragmatism. Always had, the few times she'd met him. Realizing she had been on edge since she picked up the phone, she deliberately sat down.
"Alright, Krycek. 271 Elm Lake Court. Come soon and don't stay long. I want this over with."
"I'll be there in ten minutes", he said, and disconnected.
Twelve minutes later, the doorbell chimed, and she rose with a sigh. She didn't even bother to check the fish-eye. It wasn't like she had anything to fear. Not for her own sake. Anymore.
Still, nothing had really prepared her for the sight that met her as she flung the door wide. He had aged, that was true. He should be - what, 54 by now? A little more lined, a little heavier - but well-proportioned and looking as hard as ever. A perfectly dashing streak of silver in his dark hair - she wondered if he had added it himself but decided that vanity was hardly one of his characteristics. It had to be natural. He was still as tall, his shoulders still wide and angular; no mitigating roundness to anything about him as yet.
And of course, those piercing green eyes with their long, thick lashes. Still the same.
She had expected him to marvel at the sight of her, to falter, perhaps to withdraw by a wary step or two and ask her what the trick was. But apart from a momentary widening of his eyes, he showed no reaction. In fact, she could have sworn she detected a smile.
"Is your mother home?" he asked as he shoved past her, as yet uninvited.
It took her a moment to realize that he was joking, and it annoyed her. For a while there, she had actually thought he did not recognize her.
"Very funny. Now, what did you want to talk about?"
"Aren't you going to ask me in?"
He had stopped just inside the door, which she had not yet closed. She shrugged, and slammed it shut.
"Take off your shoes", she said fastidiously, pointing to the row of her own various footwear, neatly arranged by the door. "I just had the carpets changed."
To her surprise, he did as he was told. Apparently, it was more important to him not to annoy her than to be able to make a fast getaway. He must be slipping.
"Sit down if you must", she said, pointing to the couch.
He did, and as she made a move to take the armchair at the end of the table, at right angles to him, he looked almost pleadingly at her.
"Could I please have something to drink? I'm parched."
She gave him a long look. "No tricks, Krycek."
"For godssakes, you have an open kitchen, you can see every move I make. Besides, what tricks would I possibly try now? I'm not even armed."
"You're a liar, Krycek", she said calmly. "I don't care whether you're armed or not."
She went around the armchair, out into the small kitchen overlooking the room. There wasn't much space in this apartment, but she liked it. Had liked it. Until she got him for a visitor.
"What's your poison these days, Krycek? Vodka?"
"I'm still a marksman, Scully. Water will do."
She cranked some ice into the glass before filling it. What the hell, she might as well be civil. But she would not drink with him. Not even water.
"So, what happened?" she asked as they were both seated. "I heard you tried to shoot Mulder, then Skinner shot you. Dead. Yet you seem to be you. Either my information is wrong, or you're just another clone. Which is it?"
"Oh, I'm me alright. Want me to prove it? No, that's right, you just had the carpets changed." He did a good job of keeping the sneer out of his voice. Didn't quite succeed though.
"That won't help you", Scully shot back. "You go and bleed in the bathroom or the kitchen if you like. Frankly, I don't care right now what you are. What I want to know is why you're here."
He sighed and stood. Making his way around the table, then heading for the kitchen. He searched a couple of drawers before he found what he was looking for on the counter top. Then he motioned for her to join him.
"We'd better get this over with. Or you won't believe a word I say."
"What makes you think I will anyway?" But she did follow him. Just as she'd thought. He'd found the block of kitchen knives. "Guess you'd have a hard time slashing your own hand. Want me to do it?"
"I'd rather you left my hand alone. It's the only one I've got." He gently pressed the knife point against the skin of his throat, well clear of the larynx or any major vessels. He pushed slightly, just enough to prick the skin. The blood that trickled down to his collar was undeniably red.
"So they're making red-blooded clones now?" she quipped, not really believing it. The green blood of the clones had proven too formidable a weapon to abandon just to impress the actual humans. "Here, let me."
He had made a bit of a mess trying to wipe off the blood with one hand and no mirror. She tore off a piece of paper from the kitchen roll and washed it off - with cold water, the better to staunch the flow. He was using some kind of after-shave, very unobtrusive; she had to be this close to him to notice.
"So they were right", he said, quietly. "You're invulnerable. At least that's what I heard." He shot the knife a meaningful glance but made no move to pick it up again.
She finished cleaning him up but did not move away immediately. "Would it surprise you to know that I'm not?" Just to be on the safe side, she stepped out of his reach as soon as she'd said it.
She returned to her armchair, and he to the couch, picking up his half- finished glass of water. The ice was already melting.
"Is that why you came?" she asked. "Because someone told you I was invulnerable?"
"Partly. I wanted to find out what they'd done to you this time."
"They have done nothing, Krycek. And it's not vulnerable I am, it's immortal. You can hurt me all you want, and I'd probably scream, but I can never die. I'm doomed to live forever, and to look this way forever - meaning I'll have to start changing my identity eventually." She stared off in the distance for a moment, smiling. "An old man once told me I wouldn't die. He had proven many times over that he was in a position to know. Mulder believed him. I did not."
"No. I never told him about the - prophecy. And he hasn't been around lately. Are you looking for him?"
"Not particularly. He didn't do anything to stop Skinner."
"You were holding a gun on him."
"Not after Skinner's first shot. Fact is, I wasn't holding a gun at all by then."
"You're telling me Skinner shot you in cold blood? He must have thought you still had the remote control on you somewhere."
"He told you about that?"
"Not at first. Finally, he had to. He had another seizure, and I recognized the symptoms. He's still in hospital."
"Which one?" Catching her look, he grinned. "Just kidding. I don't have the remote anymore. Haven't had it for a long time."
"Then how come he had this seizure?"
"How should I know? Maybe he's getting old. Maybe there are other remotes out there. I haven't exactly been in touch."
"You didn't have the remote when he shot you?"
"Would I have entered the lion's den without it? But I never had a chance to use it. He shot me several times. Broke my arm in two places. The other one wasn't much good. As you know."
Scully tried to picture this. She knew Skinner could be ruthless - possibly a hangover from his time in 'Nam. She knew he had all reason to hate Krycek. But this? She shook her head slowly.
"He wouldn't. He may be hot-tempered, but I've never known him not to be fair."
Krycek sighed. "Believe what you will, he wasn't. I had just decided that I couldn't shoot Mulder after all. Alright, I should have. My mind was screaming at me to do it, but I - just couldn't go through with it. Funny, isn't it? Anyway, just as I was beginning to release the trigger again, slowly, Skinner showed up. I don't blame him for the first shot. It hurt like hell, but he only wanted to save Mulder. Or so I figured. I went down, tried to reach my gun - which of course I had dropped - and he shot again. That finished my arm, and I knew I didn't stand a chance. I managed to push the gun away with my artificial hand, just so he would stop shooting. He didn't."
"Are you saying he saw you were unarmed - saw you surrender in fact - and still he shot you? Lying down?"
Krycek didn't answer.
Scully shook her head again. "No, that can't be right. Mulder told me you were standing up when you took what we thought was the final bullet."
"Yeah, sure. Did he happen to mention which hand I used for support? I must have back-flipped up or something."
Scully was silent for a while. He had to be lying. She wished she had questioned Mulder while he was around, but she had had other things on her mind back then, and frankly, she hadn't been very interested. Now, she didn't want to believe this dirt about Skinner. And why should she? Krycek was only trying to badmouth Skinner for some reason. To sow doubts in her mind about her old friend and former supervisor.
"How did you survive?" she asked. "Was it one of the alien shapeshifters? I'm told they are remarkable healers. At least some of them. Maybe all."
He leant closer to her, over the corner of the table. Close enough that she could see the scar on his forehead, like a Third Eye. "The shapeshifters leave no scars", he said. He straightened and slowly pushed his jacket off his right arm. It took him a while to accomplish it with his left. The short sleeve of his T-shirt did nothing to hide the long, deep marks on the well-muscled arm beneath it. He waited long enough to give her a good look, then shrugged back into his jacket - a much quicker process than taking it off.
Scully swallowed for some reason. "Then how?" she asked.
"There is a story about a military man - a Finnish commander I think - who took a bullet in his head, and the only difference, once he got out of the hospital, was that he took up writing poetry. I don't write poetry."
When she made no comment, he went on, "I probably don't have as good coordination between the right and left halves of my brain as I used to, but hey, who's to notice?" He raised his artificial arm a little.
"It could be tested in other ways", Scully said. "If you really want to know."
"Don't bother. I'd like to think that even that has begun to heal over the years. I'm fine. Fine enough anyway. Now what about you? Did they throw in immortality as a bonus when they abducted you, or did it happen later? And what about your kid - is he immortal too?"
Scully laughed a little. "It's not hereditary. In fact, it's not even genetic. It's a gift bestowed - and as I said before, they had nothing to do with it."
"Then how?" he echoed her question of a few minutes ago.
"A good old X-file, believe it or not. An old man - not the same one who told me I wouldn't die - passed his own immortality on to me. He was named Alfred Fellig when I knew him - he had had many names before then. He had incurred the - talent by accident, and he passed it on almost by accident. He considered it a curse, and he wanted to be rid of it. Now I've got it, and I haven't made up my mind yet. Maybe in time I'll get to the same point of desperation he was - I don't know. It hasn't quite started becoming inconvenient yet."
"How did you find out?"
"Ever after the - incident, I healed much faster than I had before. Still, I was slow catching on. I must have had the ability for years before I realized. Then I was in an accident, and I knew. After the first shock that is, and after thinking back. And no, I never told Mulder. I imagine he still thinks I just had a narrow escape that time."
"Why didn't you tell him?"
"I guess I was going to. I just wasn't ready yet. I didn't know how he would take it. Hell, I didn't even know how I was taking it. Then he was gone again, and there was no need to tell anyone."
"You already knew a distorted version. Might as well let you have the truth. But if you came for some sort of elixir of immortality, I can't help you. There is no such thing."
Krycek leant forward, putting his elbows on the table and supporting his chin on his hands. In fact he was only using his right for the actual support but he made a good show of the posture. It looked almost natural.
"I admit I was curious", he said. "I heard these rumors, and I guess I wanted it from the horse's mouth, pardon the expression. But that's not why I blew my cover."
"You believed me dead. I think even Skinner believes me dead. I could have gone on letting you believe that, but there are more important things at stake here, than my life."
She tried not to show her surprise. "I thought that was all you cared about."
He nodded. "Yeah. So did Mulder. You were both wrong, but never mind that now. It's your son. He escaped surveillance."
Scully grew cold. "You know where he is?"
"Not anymore, that's the point. Of course they found him, soon after you had him adopted. Whatever possessed you to think they wouldn't? I argued for killing him of course, but I was outvoted. They wanted to wait and see. They said he seemed harmless after what Spender J:r did to him. Then, as he was approaching puberty, they realized his superhuman qualities had only been dormant, and now it might be too late. They told me to move in quickly, but he was gone before I could get to him. He's fifteen now, and dangerous as all hell. Possibly worse than Billy Miles and the rest of that lot. I came to you as a last resort. I'd had hoped you'd know where he is."
"You came to ask me to tell you where my son is, so you could kill him?" Scully asked incredulously. She sounded near laughter - or maybe tears.
"Or die trying. Come on, Scully, he's not your son. If anything, he's the Smoker's. The old man had him engineered, and he set him off by activating that chip in you. The kid is a prototype. His kind was meant to supplant the human race on this planet. I don't have much hope, but I'm gonna do all I can to stop him. This world isn't much, but it's all we've got so far, and I like it the way it is. I'm glad you told me he's not immortal."
If Scully was surprised at this take on the mystery of her son's conception, she did not show it. "He may well be invulnerable though", she said caustically. "If he's as superhuman as you think."
Krycek nodded. "I've thought of that. I'll figure something out."
"Leave him alone, Krycek", Scully warned him. Her voice was all cold menace. "He's just a normal kid."
"You haven't seen him in fifteen years. I have."
"You harm a hair on his head, and his immortal mother will come looking for you. Don't think I won't find you."
Krycek stood - wearily, she thought.
"He hasn't got any hair. Guess it'd only be a nuisance to a superkid like him."
"Whatever. You do one thing to hurt him, and I'll hunt you down. That's a promise."
Krycek walked around the table as if he were about to leave. Then, having rounded it, he paused and looked down at her. "I hope you will. That's the other thing I wanted to talk to you about. In case the kid comes after you. Of course, I didn't know you were immortal. Still, if ever you need help ..."
She stared up at him. "It'll be a cold day in hell before I ever ask for your help, Krycek!"
"Depends on what mythology you're rooting for", he said calmly. "In some, hell has always been frozen. Never say never." He dug into his jacket and brought out a folded piece of paper. "If ever you need me, go north. Over the border. But remember - you can't take anything with you. Leave everything; belongings, your current ID's - all. Go to Vancouver." He dropped the piece of paper on the table. "To this address. Ask for the Director."
"Boss or alias?" she asked derisively.
"Neither. But she'll know where I am. Or she'll find out."
Scully picked up the paper and read it. "I suppose I'm to memorize this address and eat it?"
"You got it", he said, and as far as she could tell, he was perfectly serious. Well, maybe not about the eating part. Perhaps fire would do, or some other safe means of destruction.
"Thanks", she said, mainly to get him to leave.
He made for the hall and started putting on his shoes. The stringless kind. Of course.
"You're welcome", he said. Shoes on, he opened the door and paused for a moment in the doorway.
"... whenever you come", he finished the sentence.
The door fell shut behind him.
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