I don't need no walls around me.
And I don't need no drugs to calm me.
I have seen the writing on the wall.
Don't think I need any thing at all.
No. Don't think I need anything at all.
All in all it was all just the bricks in the wall.
All in all it was all just the bricks in the wall.
                        - "The Wall" Pink Floyd


Carpark, JEH Building, Washington

I stare down at the corpse at my feet, trying to distance myself from any remembrance of the man it used to be. That sly, abandoned vibrant man. Now just a sack of meat on the floor.

Abruptly pain assaults me, mapping itself in red throughout my body like the veins of a maple leaf. A small choke of pain escapes before I crumple to the ground. Part of my consciousness screams at the betrayal, then everything fuses into incoherent agony.  

Dimly through the black river rushing over my mind and sight I hear the sounds of a vehicle stopping, doors opening. Footsteps surround and pass me, clothing rustling, a grunt, slower, laden footsteps returning, thud of something heavy on a metal surface, doors slamming, an engine gunning and leaving.

The pain dissolves, my sight slowly clears and I'm lying on the concrete of the FBI carpark, sweating, angry, tremors shuddering through my frame, humiliated once more. And Alex Krycek's corpse is gone.


A couple of years later: 
The Welcome Inn, Red Light District, New Orleans

The night radiates heat. It's too hot for sleep, too hot for sex, possibly even too hot for breathing. I'm on top of the sheets because the poly-cotton rubs my skin raw in the humidity. The lights are off because the glare hurts my eyes, and the stark ugliness of the roach-hotel I'm currently holed up in makes me think too much of my own life - stripped of anything that isn't a necessity, empty of history. The room is dark and I have nothing to do but lie here sweating, listening to the radio and repelling nightmares.  

Yesterday was the worst one so far. My nightmares come in black and white. Last night was black. 

Black is choking and drowning in splintered-glass depths. Abandonment and fear. Black is helplessness. Black is despair. 

White is bare rooms and sharp voices screaming at me. Subjugation and pain. White is betrayal. White is hatred. 

And the cold - I'm cold all the time in those dreams. So cold my bones ache just thinking about it. That's why I headed south - to the warmth. Get the cold out of my bones, out of my head.

** You know they discarded you here in the darkness to disappear forever. The demon relinquished possession of you hours ago in spasms of oil and acid, but should it return, how could you protect yourself anyway? You're a snared animal in a concrete oubliette, imprisoned and defenceless. You scream your dehydrated throat raw with cries for help, punch at the locked and barred steel door, and shred your hands clawing the walls in the heavy blackness. But you've been abandoned, and the door's too thick, too solid to break down. There's no getting through it, and you're trapped, the heavy weight of the earth pressing down on you, the walls closing over, enfolding, slowly suffocating you in dim shadow. **

Jesus, Krycek, this shithole was the best you could afford? Thought you would have stashed away a tidy nest-egg for yourself after the Old Men went Crispy Critters. This isn't exactly how I figured you'd be spending your 'retirement'. 

The sleazebag behind the front desk is orbiting so far out I'm amazed I don't have to realign a satellite to communicate with him. And people think I'm spacey? At least the only times I do the hard drugs are involuntarily. Reality screws you in the head enough already - why you'd want to add self-inflicted chemical damage to that is beyond me. No matter how banal and pointless your life is. 

Getting the room number out of him is only difficult in the sense he can't concentrate enough to understand the question. Eventually he says, "Oh, yeah, Green Eyes. Think it's his night off. It's Monday right?" 

"No. Thursday. What room?" 

"Coulda sworn it was...fuck, I musta missed the playoffs..." 

It's not even football season. 

"Room number?"

Some of the annoyance in my voice sinks through the haze.

"Chill, man. It's his usual." 

I suddenly empathize with my ex-partners' frequently evinced desire to pull their weapons and shoot the object of their frustration. 

"Wan' me ta set you up?" 

He fumbles for the phone. 

"Er, yeah." 

Clumsy fingers stab the 2. The 1. The 4. I'm amazed they stretch to the luxury of room phones in this dump. Then again, I have a fairly good idea of most of the tenants' "profession". The phone gives three indistinct bursts before it's picked up. I can't hear the words but I hear the murmur that answers, too briefly for recognition. 

"Hey dude, gotta client here. Send him up?" 

There's a brief answer and the phone disconnects. 

"Sorry, man, he says not tonight." 

"Thanks anyway." 

I mutter ironically as I head towards the stairs and the second floor.

It's too hot here now and I'm edgy from more than just heat. I may not know much, but I know enough to see the writing on the wall and it's reading, "time to get the hell outta Dodge".

Maybe I'll head off to 'Frisco. There's a guy gave me his card last month, said he'd give me a job as a houseboy if I wanted. Of course he meant he wanted a round-the-clock f*cktoy, but hell, why not? He was nice. Stupid enough to hit on me, but smart enough to know not to hit me, not like that fucker back in Chesterfield. It'll take me a couple of days to sort things out here, but yeah, San Francisco sounds good.

Some little knot of stress I didn't realise was there relaxes. Sleep is still evasive however, so I get up, remove the bottle of cheap vodka from the water-filled sink, pour some into a tumbler on the bedside table and lie back down again, nursing the drink. The radio is playing 'The Wall'. I remember that film. Rebellion and rage spewing forth in a vitriolic blaze of flames and violence, reds and blacks.

"Music to burn down schools to."

That's what someone called it. Someone I knew, someone I thought was more a 'Dark Side of the Moon' kinda guy. Don't remember why that thought makes me smile though. But then I don't remember much these days.

The phone beside me rings.

** Be quick, be obedient, be silent. Don't say a word. Noise is punished, insubordination is punished, slowness is...terminated. Existence is a web of anonymous corridors and inhospitable rooms, ivory walls drained of colour, sterile by neglect as well as design. No, don't think of sterility - the labs wait for those not swift enough. Cold rebounds off battered pale Formica and steel furniture, a breeze fingering through all the silent children in the morning classroom. The windows are open - "to toughen you up" he said, but with quick sideways glances you watch the birds. Watch them fly beyond the compound walls, away from this uncaring blandness and into the wide free sky. Learn how to fake obedience. Learn how to react fast. Learn how to keep secrets. Learn how to lie. Learn how to kill. Learn to survive. **

Staring at the numerals on the door, I'm suddenly paralysed with indecision. I doubt he'll be happy to see me. Should I knock? Kick the door in? Run screaming down the corridor? 

I knock gently. After a couple of seconds a low voice calls,  


It's him. 

I'd know that breathy tenor anywhere. My stomach tightens in anticipation, whether of violence or other things I'm not sure. 

"It's me, Krycek. Open the door before I kick it in." 

Oh smooth, Mulder. Way to go. 

I listen carefully for the sounds of ratboy attempting to leave via the window. I hear the creak of bedsprings and a whisper of footsteps - moving towards the door, not away. The lock clicks, the door opens. He's standing behind it and I can't see much of him in the darkness of the room. 

"Look asshole, I said I wasn't working tonight. Piss off." 



"What's a cry-check? Or is that a who?" 

I can see the glint of his eyes, but the husky voice gives me no clue as to why the hell he's giving me the dumb routine. I push the door open and move into the room. 

"Look buddy, I don...SHIT!" 

He flinches and covers his eyes as I flick on the light. He's standing there in boxer shorts and a glare. 


He opens his mouth, but I leap in before he can say anything, 

"Look Krycek, I just want to talk, OK?" Hands up and open, "Nothing else, just talk." 

Krycek gives me an odd look, turns his back to me and goes and sits on the bed, propping himself up against the pillows. I'm surprised he'd leave himself vulnerable like that. I could have pulled a gun and blown him away.  

OK, maybe not. 

"Shut the door then." 

I shut the door before I realise I'm obeying him. I turn, expecting to see that infuriating smirk but he's just looking at me with a warily measuring expression on his face, as though he's scrutinizing an unanticipated conundrum. 

He looks good. I wasn't expecting that, especially considering the last time I saw him he had a 9mm bullet hole in the middle of his forehead. 

But he does look good - his hair is longer than I've seen it in years, dark and glossy as an otter's pelt. His skin is tanned and healthy and his eyes have the colour and clarity of Brazilian emeralds. His frame is well muscled and tanned, and his... holy shit! He has an arm again! No hand, but there's no mistaking the arm that ends in a stub is actually real, not plastic. 

"What happened to your arm?"  

I demand. 

"Car crash."  

He answers. 

OK, rewind. That wasn't what I was asking but I know how he lost it and 'car crash' wasn't even in the ballpark.  

Something here is very wrong.

This guy knows me.  

He doesn't like me much, but he knows me. So how were we acquainted? Friends? Workmates? Lovers? 

Too much anger for the first. Too much concern for the second. The last, well, there's attraction there, no matter how much he tries to hide it. But somehow it doesn't fit. There's a sense of latent hostility, a thread of restrained violence, in his attitude. Maybe too much for that as an explanation - I do not enjoy pain. 

He's standing near the door, looking at me with a shell-shocked expression, so I take the opportunity to check him out. Tall, with a runner's physique, floppy chestnut hair and sharp hazel eyes. Handsome in a geeky kind of way. Expensive suit and tie, though the latter is pretty hideous. Handmade shoes. It all adds up to upper-middle-class white-collar worker, but there's something about him that doesn't strike true for that, something teasingly familiar about him, a feathery light tugging at the edges of my memory. And that makes me tense. 

I wave him towards a seat. I don't offer him a drink. He collapses onto the furniture in a pile of long limbs, and the rickety chair wobbles drunkenly. For a second I think he'll tip over. I take another sip of vodka and watch him right himself. He looks as off-balance as the chair. Whatever or whoever he was expecting, I'm obviously not it.

Curiosity and the urgent desire to know are practically screaming in my brain, but my instincts are telling me go slow, go cautious. In the absence of superior knowledge it makes sense to obey your instincts, but I guess sometimes you just have to lift off and nuke 'em from orbit.

"So. Tell me why I should know you."

** It's past midnight, the deepest darkest hours. In the depths, lights glitter and sparkle distantly, diamonds on black ice. It's freezing, a sharp wind cutting at the shuddering ball you curled into, trying to retain some warmth whilst chained to this steel aerie. You stopped yourself crying a while back, the icicles scraping down your oesophagus more painful than your numbing feet and clenched fists. Your limbs are almost immobilized with cold now and if you fall asleep you think you'll probably freeze to death. But it's just a few hours more you tell yourself. You can survive this, you will survive this. Not all the cold is physical though, and deep inside, one of your few tenuous beliefs in decency has frozen and withered at the idea he could do this to you. That you have so little worth, deserve so little consideration it doesn't matter how he treats you. You rattle the chains again, trying to shake some feeling and warmth into your hands. An outdoor light blossoms beside you, blinding white, but it brings the prospect of more pain, not relief. **



He doesn't remember me. 

I almost don't believe it; almost think it's one of the manipulative little bastard's mind games. But too much doesn't add up. The total lack of recognition in his eyes. The disregard with which he turned his back on me. The absence of his usual defensive cockiness or paranoia. And like a dulled knife blade, that edge, that darkness which used to vibrate around him, is gone. 

"What do you remember about the shooting?" 

Green eyes widen, surprise flits across his face. 

Oh shit. 

He doesn't remember the shooting. 

"You don't remember being shot?" 

The dark fringe swings across his face as he shakes his head in negation.  

"You remember what happened before the shooting?" 

There's a careful blankness to his face now that's familiar and new at the same time. It doesn't take me any great leap of intuition, 

"You don't remember. Anything." 

The full lips purse. He hesitates, then shakes his head silently again. 

I wonder why I believe him, this man who lies as easily as breathing, who’s betrayed me and fooled me and twisted me with his untruths for years. But I do. He's a treacherous lying fuck, but I believe him.

"You do remember who you are?" 

It's really a futile plea, rather than a question, and I'm instantly ashamed of the begging note in my voice. He ignores me, leaning over to refill his glass from the vodka bottle. Well, I guess that's one thing that doesn't change.  

I groan and bury my head in my hands. 

Christ, Krycek, only you. 

God, where to begin? 

I raise my head. 

"OK, let's start at the beginning. Your name is Alex Krycek. My name is Fox Mulder and I'm a Special Agent with the FBI..."

I can't believe I'm actually saying this. 

"So I'm really this treacherous backstabbing assassin called Alec Krycek wh.." 

"Alex Krycek." 

*Likes to correct me, doesn't he?*

"Sorry, Alex Krycek, who used to be a Fed and now runs around stealing secret government data?" 

"You don't seem too upset."  

Accusation creeps into the monotone. 

I know I'm pretty damn good in a fight, but an assassin? A one-armed assassin at that? I think this guy has been watching "The Fugitive" a bit much. And as things stand, I sure as hell am not a computer hacker. 

"They're just words. I don't sense any connection to what you say. If I said your father was a psychotic serial killer would you get upset?" 

The Fibbie flinches a bit, but slowly shakes his head. 

"No,” I continue, “Because the allegation may be unpleasant, but it’s also meaningless." 

He looks pissed. Which considering he's completely nuts, isn't a very comforting thought.  

Inflation - it'll be the death of this great country. Just look at the type of government employee your tax dollar gets you nowadays. The phrase 'going postal' starts threading through my mind. I wonder if I can get the gun out of the side drawer before he pulls his. And just what I'll have to bribe Vinnie downstairs with to let me use the furnace. 

** Noise first. Electronic beeps. Rustle of moving bodies. One. Two. Scent. Acrid smell of disinfectant. Sensation is next. Pain hits you in a full-length body slam. Shock causes you to open your eyes. Bright lights stab down and you shut them quickly, a white flare smeared across your retinas, setting your brain on fire. When you try to move, your limbs feel heavy, anaesthetized. You realise you're naked, cold, and lying on a chill hard surface. Sharp, incomprehensible voices pierce and widen the jagged tear in the middle of your head. Something slaps your cheek and you open your eyes reflexively. Pale blur of faces and blinding lights again. Your stomach roils in nausea. Too bright. Too loud. Too much pain. For once, darkness comes to the rescue. You submerge away from the white glare into deep waters. **

Shit, he must remember something. I've tried to soft-pedal what happened with Duane Barry, the FBI, the DAT tape and the silo. But no-one swallows that kind of story, true or not, without some kind of expression - of disbelief, scorn or just sheer terror at the nutcase talking to them. I'm not that far gone I don't realise how much of a loony I sometimes come across as. And I haven't even got to the really weird stuff yet.  

But he's just sipping his vodka, eyes half-shut, mouth half-smiling, lounging back against the pillows like some male odalisque, painted in shades of gold and chestnut and cream. Swallowing the whole thing calmly. As calmly if I were telling him bedtime fairy stories. It isn't natural. Maybe I shouldn't believe him after all.  

"So." he drags the word out, through incredulity and into mockery "What happened next?" 

Screw it. He wants to be that way, no more pussyfooting around. 

"Next we went to Russia, where you tried to abandon me in a gulag and some friendly local peasants hacked your arm off. Just below the shoulder." 

Bam! It's like a switch is flipped. He goes white and still, and that edge of darkness is there. Those thick dark lashes rise slowly and suddenly I'm the specimen on a microscope slide.  

"Do continue, Agent Mulder."

At first I just thought it was the drugs.

I tried to cut down on them as much as possible; especially during the times I couldn't get the decent stuff. No telling what some of that crap was doing to me. However, when you've gone past retching with pain to trying not to breathe too deeply because even that brings agony, a few hallucinations during your good spells are small potatoes. The prospect of long term damage doesn't mean jack shit when going without chemical relief means all you want is for someone to put a bullet in your head, right here, right now.

But as the migraines grew less frequent, the pills got fewer and the world became clearer. That's when I realised my arm really was growing back. Muscle and skin and bone, regenerating like a lizard. Like nothing human.

And that scared the shit out of me.

** You wake already struggling against the hands that hold you down, automatic reaction. In the dim illumination of the firelight, their faces are unrecognisable masks aflicker with red light and black shadows, devils in human form. When you realise what they want to do to you, you go mad, struggling and cursing and howling like a wild animal. Too many, too strong, and all you do is wrench your own muscles against their solid weight. They start to cut you and the steel rending through your arm is agonising, torture, like nothing you’ve ever suffered before, a dimension of agony never visited before. A little part of your mind insists this isn’t happening. This can’t be happening, it’s a horror movie nightmare. But the pain of the hot knife tearing through your muscle is undeniable. Your screams are barely more than hoarse exhalations of air now. And then they can’t get the knife through the bone; no matter how hard they saw. You feel a bright jagged spike of agony as it’s broken, then sink into unconsciousness the way your blood soaks into the forest floor. **

I tell him the rest of it. Krycek’s taking me seriously now. He even asks a couple of questions, intelligent ones. Good to see the mind is still as sharp as ever, even if the memory’s gone AWOL.

He’s frowning, that cute little wrinkle between his eyes he gets when he’s concentrating on a sticky problem.

“So Krycek, d…”



“My name’s Thomas. Thomas Greene. With an ‘e’. You can call me Thomas. Or Mr Greene,” The last is a dig, “Not ‘Krycek’.”

“OK, ‘Thomas’,” it feels weird calling him by a first name, even if it isn’t his. I’ve spent so long depersonalising him with the use of a surname. “Does any of this ring a bell for you?”

He frowns harder and rubs his eyes.

Oh great, not only was I some doubleagent-assassin, but I was also part of an alien rebel group trying to prevent colonization of the Earth. By other aliens.

Can this story get any wilder? Better yet, can I sell someone the movie rights?

OK, maybe he isn't lying. Incredibly, my gut is saying 'go with it, believe him'. No matter how fucking Twilight Zone he sounds. The ID looks real - then again, so does my ID. And he seems to believe what he's saying. Yeah, and so did Jim Jones. Yet insane though it is, what he tells me resonates in my mind, little murmurs of 'yes, that's right', or 'no, that's wrong' which persuade me there's some kernel of truth in what he's saying. But I'm not going to tell him that. Because I don't want to believe. Just like I don't want to remember.

Why would I want to remember that my nightmares are true?

** It’s a bright, cold day. You watch the man get out of the car, walk to the door. His face is a shifting blur in the way faces are in dreams, but you see the flash of teeth. You look away, annoyed and restless. Something’s wrong. The red flash of the dashboard clock catches your attention. A spike of terror spears up through your guts to the base of your skull. The world goes white and silent and you realise you’ve opened the door and thrown yourself out of the car without conscious thought. You’re running desperately now, shouts behind you. The noise of the end of the world, then heat and pressure and bright flame toss you through the air like a rag doll. You crash to the concrete in a heap, bounce once or twice, breath knocked out of you. Lie there stunned for a second or two, static roaring in your ears from the explosion. You stumble to your knees, get on your feet, up and run again. Away from the fire and the voices and the betrayal. You think you’ve broken some ribs, know you’ve sprained some joints, but you don’t mind. The pain tells you you’re alive when you’re not meant to be. Not wanted to be. **

"You really don't remember anything?" 

OK, there's an underlying note of annoyance in my voice, and his eyes flicker irritation at me. That's an expression I recognise. 

He rubs the back of his neck, rolls his shoulders. He’s kept fit and the muscles ripple across his torso. He doesn’t seem to notice my distraction. 


I sigh. I can see this will be like drawing teeth. 

“So how far do your memories go back?” 

“A couple of years.” 

“What’s the first thing you remember?” 

He gives me a measuring look before answering. Maybe his reticence wasn’t just a result of his ‘job’. Even now he parcels out the truth like it was a luxury in limited supply.  

“Some medical facility. They were doing all sorts of tests and things.” 

Remembering what the ‘tests and things’ done to me were like is almost a visceral sensation. From his lack of expression, I’d guess his were of a similar calibre.  

“And then?” 

“I left.” 

This time I just raise an eyebrow. I’m not going to prompt him for every damn crumb of information. I suddenly miss the days I could cheerfully beat it out of him. Some flash of hostility must be showing because Krycek, sorry Thomas, becomes unexpectedly cooperative.  

“I was somewhere in Michigan. I got out of state as fast as possible. I didn’t know who I was or what was happening, but I wasn’t going to let them take me back. I figured I’d best get as far away as I could and hope they didn’t find me. Stayed a while in Maryland. I was having some problems with headaches,”  

Considering his pain tolerance threshold, I figure they were probably blinding migraines.  

“Then I got some cash together, and started heading south.” 

No mention of how he got the money or the ID that would have been necessary. It’s a given both were illegal however. 

“You’ve been drifting since then?” 

“Pretty much. Thought I might head over to Orlando next. Go see Disney World.” 

And I’m the Easter Bunny. He wouldn’t head north again, so probably the West Coast. San Diego, San Francisco. Big cities, lots of people, easy employment. Of a sort. What I don’t understand is why he’s _here_. A cripple, especially a beautiful one, is both noticeable and vulnerable. He has other skills - besides killing - ones that will get him a job without people noticing him. Maybe it’s not just his memory that’s screwed. What sort of damage did the bullet do? Looking at the flawless forehead it seems impossible there was ever any injury done, but what would I know? Who knows how serious it is? I need to get him to Scully. See what she says.

He stares at me and I can tell he isn't buying it. Damn, scratch 'Frisco. Maybe it's time to head somewhere a little cooler. The doubt suddenly dissolves into worry. For me. I can't remember ever seeing that expression on anyone's face before.  

"Have you had any flashbacks? Any things or places that seem familiar?" 

Even his tone is softer. I'm teetering on the edge. I want desperately to know what's happening, to rid myself of my constant sense of paranoia and apprehension. I want to stop running from faceless men and unknown reasons. I want to know who my enemies are. But is there anything else left behind in my past that I want back? My dreams say no. Fox Mulder says no, though he doesn't realise it. Then almost as if I'm remote controlled, I hear my voice saying, 

"Sometimes I have...dreams. I remember scenes, incidents. But they're all disjointed." 

"Incidents? What kind of incidents? What happens in them? Can you describe the people?" 

Damn, but this guy is pushy. The air around Agent Mulder is starting to sparkle and my head is starting to pound. Shit. One first class migraine heading my way.  

“Not really, I never see faces. Just events. Usually bad ones.” 

I stand up, and he startles. Seems he’s still at least wary of me. I guess if I really was an assassin he has reason to be. 

"I'm getting a headache."  

I explain and then curse myself for pandering to his apprehension. I walk over to the sink and take the pills out of the medicine cabinet. I shake four out and wash them down with a handful of lukewarm water.   

"I need to sleep now. How about you come back in the morning?" 

Suspicion floods his face. 

"Look, in ten minutes I'm going to be doped out of my mind and in no state to talk to you anyway. I'm not going anywhere. Come back tomorrow, around noon and we'll talk some more." 

The tone of my voice tells him this is non-negotiable. 

"How about I stay here?" 

I raise an eyebrow. Do I believe this guy? Yes. Do I trust him? Not a chance in Hell. 

"Sure, Vinnie downstairs can probably set you up with a room." 

'Because you sure as hell aren't staying here' remains unspoken but clearly heard.

"OK. I'll be back tomorrow."

Reluctance practically oozes from his voice, but he leaves. I lock the door behind him and put the chair under the handle. Not that it'll do much to stop anyone entering, but it'll make enough noise to warn me. I toss off the remainder of the vodka and settle down to lapse into what I know from experience will be a restless, unpleasant doze.

** The city is hot and dank. The people are cold. Here you are an outsider, an unwelcome foreigner. Not a tourist or a businessman to be greeted with smiling faces and open palms, but an impoverished fugitive, and the inhabitants of the slum you live in know it. They avoid you as a man marked for trouble. You spend your days surrounded by a river of lilting, piercing voices, but you drown alone. The only human contact you have is with your clients and god knows you’d rather have avoided that, rather be doing anything else. But you can’t read the written language, can barely get by with the spoken language. That’s a major problem in getting any other type of job here. You can’t afford to draw too much attention to yourself anyway. Currently you don’t have sufficient money to leave safely, head towards Australia like you’d planned. A few more weeks and you’ll have enough. You’re counting the days until you can get out of this hellhole of raw humidity, harsh lights and grim poverty. There’s a knock on the door and you go to greet your next customer. ** 

It's 11 am by the time I can restrain myself no longer. As I walk through the lobby, the new kid on the desk barely glances up from the thick fantasy novel he’s engrossed in. His interest vanishes completely when I head for the stairs. 

I half expect Krycek to have done a bunk, though he’d looked so pale and nauseous last night I’m betting he couldn’t have gotten far. Not far enough to evade me, anyway. But when I knock, he opens the door. In a sleeveless t-shirt, boxer shorts and a frown this time. His hair is mussed; the green gaze is dull. There are dark smudges under his eyes and he doesn’t look like he got much rest. Serves the bastard right.  

OK, so my back’s stiff and I’m hot and cranky from sleeping in the car. 

He motions me in, and then turns back to the bed. I shut the door without him asking and go sit on the chair. When we’ve both settled, we look at each other, neither of us willing to be the first to break the morning's tranquility.  

In the light of day, his room is even more dilapidated than I'd thought, the shadows of night having softened some of its shoddiness. The sunlight shines through cracked glass panes, brown with dirt and fly droppings, onto bare boards and peeling wallpaper. The only half-decent piece of furniture is the bed, which looks to be a hospital cast-off from the early part of last century.  

I wonder how he can bear living like this, moving from flophouse to flophouse, not knowing who he is, always looking over his shoulder, never trusting the authorities or hospitals enough to come forward and ask for answers. Sure, it's probably not much different from his life before, but then he was a dangerous man. Now, well now I'm not so sure who or what he is. And neither is he. 

I break the silence. 

“The headaches. Have you seen a doctor?” 

“Sure, this fine establishment's brain specialist made a housecall just yesterday.”  

The dripping sarcasm is the Alex I know and lo..loathe. So. No decent medical treatment. And I'm betting the pills on the washbasin are of the non-prescription variety. 

“Thomas, it’s obvious there’s something wrong. I know people who can help you. Why d…” 

“Dr. Scully?”  

It’s odd hearing him speak of her in such formal terms. 


“From what you say, she’d rather put another bullet in my brain. Just like your boss.”  

I ignore the reference to Skinner. 

“She’s a doctor. She wouldn’t do anything to harm you.”  

He looks sceptical. I guess that’s understandable given what I’ve told him of his and Scully’s relationship – or lack thereof. 

“Look, come back to Washington with me. Scully has friends who’re specialists. They’ll keep their mouths shut. We can get some tests done privately, find out what’s the matter, get you well again.” 

He’s still looking dubious. 

“No-one will know you’re there, we’ll keep you safe. Don’t you want to get rid of the headaches?”  


His question is abrupt. 

“Because you obviously need medical attention.”  

I would have thought that was obvious. 

“No. Why are you helping me? What do you get out of this?”  

Ok, maybe not so obvious, but a very Krycek question. I have to choose my next words carefully. He’s always been very good at reading people, probably one of the main reasons he’s still alive. Or rather, why he lived so long the first time around. That’s confusing. I shake my head. He looks annoyed, starts to speak but I raise my hand to silence him. 

“Before, we were never quite sure where you stood - if you were Consortium through and through, or if you were playing them for a fool the way you’d done to us. Since you’ve been gone, a lot of the work you did to help the rebels has been made known to us.” 

Labs torched, VIPs blackmailed, traitors assassinated, companies dissolved, data stolen. And those were the obvious actions. Underneath, not just destruction and death, but a whole rebel network whose reins rested in the hands of one Alex Krycek and his alien buddies. It was no wonder the Consortium had been so desperate to get hold of him when they realised. And taking up his slack has not been an easy task for any of us, in more ways than one. I grin without humour, 

“I guess I overestimated how much of your work revolved around me…around the X-Files.”  

That’s not an easy thing for me to admit. Humility has been a new and unwelcome requirement in my life these past couple of years. Most of the wounds are healed, but the scars still ache when I prod them. 

“However it’s become obvious that without your involvement, we’d be in a hell of a lot worse situation than we are now. I won’t lie and pretend there aren’t a lot of hard feelings between us – not just between you and me, but also between you and Scully and Skinner. Some of your methods were a little…brutal. Some of your mistakes had tragic consequences, and not just for you. But when it comes down to it, we owe you. A lot.” 

And it’s not the whole truth, but enough that the rat can tell it really is 100% genuine cheddar. 

So I'm scum-sucking slime and an unsung hero at the same time? Maybe Agent Mulder should get Dr. Scully to treat me for schizophrenia while she's at it.  

"I guess that was your idea of an apology, huh?"  


His face fills with outrage.  

"I have nothing to apologise for!"  

"No? Well, seems to me I may have been a bad-guy, but you didn't exactly ever give me the benefit of the doubt."  

That may or may not be true, but the urge to needle him for a reaction is both strong and oddly familiar. Those hazel eyes flash green and he clenches his fists. The animation suits him but I tell him, 

"I wouldn't. I may have one hand missing but I can still whip your ass."  

He blanches, more than is reasonable for the threat, and suddenly I have a whipped puppy-dog sitting in my chair.  

"Kry.., Thomas, I'm sorry. I said there were hard feelings. It's not going to be easy, but I really do want to help you."  

Yeah, and you're from the IRS, or something damn similar.  

Still. What he's offering is seductive. Sure, the migraines are getting less frequent, but that could be a bad thing. He knows a lot more than he's telling as well. About my background and my medical condition. His boss - who I'm really not keen on meeting - shoots me in the head but he doesn't find it astonishing that I'm alive, walking and talking. Last time I checked 'Krycek' was not a pseudonym for 'Christ'.  

He also says my arm was cut off. Yet bar that initial astonishment and the occasional stare, he hasn't mentioned the fact it's growing back. Either he has the highest shock tolerance levels a human can achieve or he knows or suspects a lot of things he hasn't told me. 

If what he says is true, I'm not just an escaped science experiment as I'd feared; and I have worse enemies than I ever suspected. He and his friends are willing to protect me. And if he can find me, so can my enemies.  
Maybe I'm a damn fool to believe him. He's given me no hard proof. What he says matches my nightmares though - getting shot in a carpark, getting my arm cut off in a forest, living in an Asian city, half a dozen other situations I'd rather not dream about again.  

Shit! Why bother with all this damn worrying. This is what I've subconsciously been wanting and waiting for these past months.  

"OK, I'll come to Washington with you." 


Triumph blooms on his face. I continue, 

"How else am I going to get you to spill all those nasty little secrets you aren't telling me?" 

The look on his face is well worth the price of the admission.  

** The first shot echoed around the shadowy carpark like a roll of thunder, followed by the clatter of iron as your gun hit the concrete. Pain and fear swamp your desperation. Second shot. Resolve and consciousness start to flee before the onset of dusk. You put your hand out, try to deny what you know is coming. You can't see his face, but you know it's stone. Hatred carved in stone. The muzzle flashes again. You never w... 

The darkness is complete. **

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