It had all ended suddenly. Fifty years of Colonist plans revealed to a stunned world in a revelation to beat all revelations. Mulder had found the evidence he sought through the Resistance, and while the world reeled from the shock, what remained of the Consortium tried to disappear, or hide their involvement.
A knock at the door of Mulder's apartment brought him to his feet. He approached it warily, knowing he had moved straight to the top of the Consortium hit list simply because he knew too many secrets that could expose those still in hiding. He had already turned down Witness Protection, knowing that was not a deterrent to such powerful and connected individuals. It was more likely that they'd be the ones setting up his new name and cover, putting him exactly where they wanted him. Call it paranoia, but it had kept him alive so far. Plus he'd already spent enough time flying beneath the radar at Dana's remote house before Dana decided it was time to leave all this behind her - which included him. He had only recently returned to his old apartment.
"Who is it?"
Mulder was momentarily stunned into silence but a quick glance through the security peephole showed it really did look like Alex Krycek, super-rat, standing in the hallway right outside his apartment door. That or a shapeshifter, or a ghost, or a supersoldier, or any one of a number of other supernatural events that had fascinated Mulder for as long as he had lived. He even contemplated the possibility that it was the real Alex Krycek because Mulder had seen too much to discount that even after having witnessed Skinner shooting Krycek in the head at close range.
After all, who was to say that the man who died in that underground parking lot had been the real Alex Krycek.
"What do you want, Krycek?"
The man in the corridor frowned in an all-too familiar way, probably expecting a different reaction. Krycek shifted his feet and looked away before turning to face the peephole, but the secretive half-smile and gleam in the eyes was all Krycek.
"I've been assigned to protect you."
Mulder felt a slow grin spread across his face, one of disbelief mingled with mirth. He opened the door and stared straight into the face of the man he had considered his mortal enemy until a few days earlier. Since then he had learned a lot more about Alex Krycek - double, triple.... quadruple agent. Super-spy, and super pain in his ass. He'd learned that a lot of his information about the Consortium, that had eventually led to their ruin, had been provided indirectly from Krycek through various contacts and sources.
It still didn't make them friends.
Keeping the grin in place, Mulder looked Krycek up and down, sizing up the man who stood before him; his eyes lingered on the missing left arm.
"My bodyguard? Some bodyguard you'd be, Krycek. You couldn't even manage to guard all your own body parts."
Krycek's eyes took on a hard glint, that half-smirk frozen in place as he flexed the slightly more human-looking, robotic hand. Mulder had seen prototypes of that technology during one of his investigations into a supercomputer that had started to build its own robotic army. Strangely enough, the aliens had seen Skynet as just as big a threat to their colonization plans and had dealt with it. It was probably one of the few times when human and colonist had actually had a common goal.
He stepped back as Krycek pushed into the apartment, closing the door and following him down the hallway. Mulder's grin faded from evil mirth to a slow-burning desire as he studied the figure moving ahead of him. There was a time when his attraction to Krycek had angered him. Neither of them were that young anymore but they had both kept in good physical condition. The leather coat fitted Krycek's shoulders perfectly, narrowing down the body to finish where thigh met torso. Long legs were encased in almost sinfully skin-tight jeans that flared at the ankle just enough to cover the top of military style boots.
He licked his lips, almost wishing Krycek would slide off the coat so he could see the jean-clad ass, bringing back memories from those few times when their paths had crossed over the years. He wanted to compare past and present memories of more than just the face of the man now turning back to him.
The years had been kind to Krycek; he was still... beautiful. In all the texts he had read of avenging archangels, Krycek would have fitted in perfectly with his wide, innocent looking eyes and soft Cupid's bow of a mouth. Beautiful and terrifying.
Krycek was frowning again judging by the small crinkles across his nose and between his eyes, and if Mulder wasn't aware that this man was a dangerous killer then he might have considered him cute. It wouldn't surprise Mulder to learn that Krycek had used his looks to his advantage.
"Still trying to puzzle me out, Mulder?"
"Oh I know exactly what you are," Mulder retorted, except that was a lie.
Krycek was an enigma wrapped up in a puzzle and shrouded in lies. Every time Mulder thought he had a label to smack onto the man's forehead, Krycek did something to surprise him. He was a cold-blooded killer but not a psychopath or even a sociopath. More like a soldier, trained to eliminate a threat. Every single one of his known kills had a purpose, though that purpose didn't necessarily come to light immediately, or even until years later.
Even the murder of Mulder's father had eventually yielded a humanitarian reason that was light years beyond silencing a possible traitor to the Consortium. It was hard to reconcile the man who had read him bedtime stories with the man who had orchestrated the abductions needed to fill the colonist motherships with potential host bodies, before they perfected the cloning technology. His father had been a weak man who had started to grow a conscience, but a little too late, and if he had lived then he would have gone down in history as a butcher and traitor to humanity, forever sullying Mulder's family name. Mulder doubted Krycek had killed Bill Mulder to save his family name though.
Krycek called his bluff.
"So what am I to you, Mulder?"
His voice was low and soft, menacing and yet almost breathy, and Mulder felt a shiver running through him that had everything to do with lust rather than fear. He saw Krycek's eyes widen a fraction, as if he had read Mulder's mind, though it was more likely that Krycek was an astute reader of body language. And Mulder's body language was speaking so loud it might as well have been screaming.
Mulder watched as Krycek's tongue darted out to glisten the lower lip, catching all the other tells that spoke of a long-held, reciprocated desire. He knew he could destroy Krycek in this moment by ruthlessly denying what they both wanted, by mocking Krycek for his weakness of not only wanting this but believing it was his for the taking. He could take his revenge without laying a single hand upon his former nemesis, out of sheer malice, except the blow would cut him just as deeply.
Despite some evidence to the contrary, Mulder was no masochist - a hedonist, perhaps, seeking pleasure even at the occasional expense of pain. He was no sadist either, willingly inflicting emotional or physical pain on another. The only exception had always been this man standing before him but even Mulder could see that it was the Maelstrom of all the emotions swirling around and between them - betrayal, lust, fear, grief, need and, yes, damn it, even love. They had gotten under each other's skin from the moment they met, burrowing deeper with every shady meeting and altercation.
Mulder continued to watch as Krycek removed his leather coat, laying it carefully over the back of the battered couch that Mulder had so long preferred to a real bed. He moved closer as Krycek sat down and removed his boots, looking up at Mulder through long, dark eyelashes before taking off his socks too. When he stood up, Mulder was so close that his body brushed the length of Mulder's, with one hand running up Mulder's side from knee to waist, leaving them standing chest to chest, eyes and lips only inches apart.
Later, Mulder couldn't say who leaned in first, could only remember the electric desire sparking between them as their lips met in that first real kiss. That kiss led to more shedding of clothing, to heated skin touching skin, limbs entangling as they fell together. Even the coolness of Krycek's robotic hand was erotic as it brushed over Mulder's side, igniting fresh passion that was already smoldering as they devoured each other with hard, uncompromising kisses.
It had taken years to reach this burning point, and it was over far too soon, but as Mulder lay naked against Krycek's strong body, he knew this was not a one time only.
"So... are you really my new bodyguard?" Mulder wondered if he would hear another lie wrapped in elements of the truth.
"I didn't exactly lie, Mulder. I was assigned to protect you... once. A long time ago." Alex smiled softly and touched his lips to Mulder's sweaty forehead in a gentle kiss. "I just never stopped."