Did he appear because
I fell asleep
thinking of him?
If only I'd known I was dreaming,
I'd never have wakened.

                 [Ono no Komachi]


08:50 EST 
Thursday 04 March
FBI Headquarters, Washington D.C.

"He's alive! That ratfink bastard is alive!" Mulder yelled the words at Skinner as he burst unceremoniously into his office.

The man behind the desk merely raised an eyebrow in a resigned fashion - at both the undisciplined interruption and the declaration shouted at him in an accusing tone. He'd heard Mulder claim bizarre things in the past, but this one wasn't merely strange, it was patently ridiculous. 

"Do come in, why don't you." He ordered in an even tone. 

Mulder pulled the door shut and continued heatedly,

"Walter, he's alive! Did you hear wh..." 

"I believe half the floor heard you. Agent Mulder." The words were chips off an iceberg. "Sit down and we'll discuss this, rather than you creating a public spectacle of yourself."

Mulder gaped at him, his mouth dropping open at this tone from Walter, then flushed angrily. He did however seat himself in the visitor's chair.

"Walter, I'm..."

"Behaving very poorly. You don't just barge into your superior's office every time you get excited about something." Skinner watched Mulder deflate somewhat, then continued. "Now, by "the ratfink bastard" I assume you're talking about Alex Krycek?" 

A sullen nod. 

"The late Alex Krycek?" 

Another nod. Skinner sighed. 

"So just what on Earth makes you think he's alive, Mulder? I put three bullets in him, one through the head. You were there. He died. End of story."

"I saw him yesterday."

13:19 PST
Wednesday 03 March
Vintner's Lounge, Hilton Hotel Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco


Mulder scowled at his watch. Hanson was late, and he was pretty sure it was on purpose - yet another one of the deliberate slights that had characterized this trip and revved his temper up to breaking point.

*Five more minutes and I order, politeness be damned.* 

He didn't much care for eating in public by himself nowadays. Whilst once he could cheerfully lose himself in a book, nowadays too many people knew his face, and he found the not-so-subtle whispers and nudges, and the occasional autograph seekers both distracting and embarrassing. Odd perhaps for the man Scully had once claimed had no shame, but there was a vast difference between attention caused by himself in the pursuit of truth and attention caused by being a notorious celebrity. It was a difference he didn't much care for. He sighed and scanned the menu again.

A trio of men on a table to the left of him stood up and he glanced over idly, cataloguing them from habit. 

Businessman, early 50's, rotund, maybe 5 foot 7 or 8, thickset bearded Italian features, dressed in Yves St. Laurent. 

*Nice tie.* 

Another male of obvious Italian descent, black hair and eyes, white flashing smile, about 6'2, late thirties. This one dressed casually, but in expensive slacks and a black silk shirt that opened at the neck to display a smooth muscular physique and a couple of gold chains. 

*Nice, full stop.* he grinned to himself. 

Not that the man with his back to him was any slouch. Shoulder length blonde hair, athletic figure, clad in cream linen shirt and pale blue jeans that clung attractively to a really great butt. The blonde reached over the table to shake hands with The Suit, then pushed back the chair and turned to the other male. 

A wrecking ball slammed into Mulder's chest. Gods, it was Krycek! 

Mulder stared in frozen disbelief at his re-animated nemesis. Through a haze he watched the dead assassin respond to some quip, laugh, turn and leave the table. As he walked past Mulder, something snapped inside,

"Krycek!" he snarled, surging upwards and grabbing the man by his arm. 

A startled face swung towards him and he was sure there was a momentary flicker of recognition before annoyance flared.

"Sorry, no Crysick here." the voice was exactly the same, molasses stirred into a shot of whiskey. 

"Don't fuck with me Krycek! I don't know how you or your little pals did it bu.."

"Look buddy, let go my arm." Definite menace now, the killer surfacing. He jerked his arm in Mulder's grip.

*'My arm?'* 

Mulder looked down and realized he was tightly clasping a real arm, not plastic. Those were real fingers, not a glove-clad prosthesis. 

He took a closer look at the man in front of him. 

Yes, the hair and eyebrows were seemingly natural honey-blonde, not black - however hairdressers were good at 'natural' these days. And the skin tone was exactly the same. That pert little nose was the same, with the same small frown-wrinkle at the top. Same cupids bow lips. Same cats eyes. Same pointy little ears.

But too young. By about ten years. This man was no more than twenty-eight, twenty-nine, if that. But God, he was the spitting image!

"Is there a problem, Peter?" 

The younger male companion came up behind the Krycek look-a-like, scowling at Mulder, body language aggressive. 

'Peter' twisted his arm from Mulder's grip. 

"No, no problem Vinnie." He stared at Mulder "Just a case of mistaken identity." 

"Yeah, yeah, I'm sorry, you look so much like him..." Mulder trailed off. 

He could tell they had the attention of most of the room now. The Maitre d' was cutting through the tables towards them, a grey shark drawn by the thrashings of a wounded fish. 

*Just what I need to cap off this lousy day, getting thrown out of a restaurant.*

He raised his hands and tried to apologize again,

"Look, I'm truly sorry, you just really look like someone I know and I reacted without thinking. I'm sorry."

"Guess you didn't like him much, huh?" The tone and jade gaze was pure Krycek insolence.

Mulder's lips tightened. 

"No." he replied shortly.

"Is there a problem, Mr. Zambrini? Mr. Mulder?" 

The shark arrived and circled, uncertain as to which was his legal prey.

"No. Peter and the gentleman were just discussing something." Peter's companion answered. 

"Yeah." Peter added. "Well, it's been real, Mulder. See you later." the words were softly mocking.

He turned and walked away. Zambrini threw another glare at Mulder then followed him, throwing an arm over the younger man's shoulders as they walked away, their conversation drifting back, 

"Who was that creep, Peter?"

"Dunno, never met him before. Isn't he that Spooky Aliens guy? Y'know the one th..."

Their conversation passed from hearing. Mulder flushed in mortification as someone a couple of tables over snickered in the silence, but he kept watching. As the pair exited the main doors of the restaurant he saw Peter glance into the glass's reflection and smile. 


It was Krycek! 

He didn't know or care how, but it was that bloody ratbastard. He turned to pick up his coat and follow Krycek, but was blocked by the figure of the Maitre d'. 

"You won't be staying for lunch then, Mr. Mulder." It was a statement rather than a query.

"It's Agent Mulder." he gritted "And no, I won't."

"We're sorry your companion didn't show up. Let me show you the way out." 

He had obviously been judged the offending party in that little scene. He clenched his jaw in frustration as he was escorted from the premises via the other door. 

09:00 EST 
Thursday 04 March
FBI Headquarters, Washington D.C.

"Mulder..." Skinner sighed. "Mulder...Fox. OK, look at it this way. First point: you say this man was about thirty? That's about ten years younger than Krycek would have been now. Second point: he had both arms. Last I heard only lizards regenerated limbs. Not rats. Third and most important point: People don't usually bounce back from fatal gunshot wounds to the head."

"Walter, I know it sounds crazy but it was him."

"What about a clone? That's the obvious explanation. It would account for the age and arm also."

"No. You aren't listening to me!" Fox jumped to his feet and started pacing around the room. "The Resistance had the healers, the medical technology - they could have easily brought him back, regenerated his arm andů" 

"Knocked a dozen years off his age as a long service bonus? Really Mulder, that's farfetched even for you."

"Walter! First point: he knew me - he recognized me." 

"You are rather famous now, you know." 

"Second point:" Mulder ignored the interjection "He said 'Guess you didn't like him much' - past tense. I used the present tense. He knew Krycek was dead."

"So he's a Consortium flunky! We know we didn't get every single one of them. And they knew we took Krycek out." 

Skinner could see he was talking to a brick wall.

"Third and most important point: he was baiting me. He called me 'Mulder', not 'Mr. Mulder'. As he walked out the door, he used the reflection in the glass to check on me. A normal person would have turned to look. And then," Mulder's voice filled with outrage "He smirked."

06:00 PST
Thursday 04 March
47 Laurel Crescent, Arden, San Francisco


Not the word for it. 

Shit! Shit! Shit! 

Much more appropriate. He sighed softly, watching the morning sun cast a zebra crossing shadow through the blinds on the bedroom wall opposite him. 

Of all the damn restaurants in the world for Special Agent Fox Mulder to lunch in. The one person in the world just loopy enough to leap to conclusions - rightly or wrongly. 

He sighed again.

Not that he'd exactly helped the situation. He'd been so stunned to run into the man he definitely hadn't played it the best way. In fact, he'd been all over the place. 


He didn't want to run again. He was tired of running. Tired of hiding. He'd served his time, unappreciated though it had been. He'd done his service - furnished blood, sweat and tears as well as various other bodily fluids to the cause, including a couple of which had been much more than he'd cared to experience. Yeah, he'd done his duty, his bit to help save the world, even stayed behind afterwards to help tidy the mess away and put the chairs up. 

And now he'd finally slipped free of the shackles various masters had chained him with over the years. Shackles no power on earth or any other part of this damn universe could make him go back to, no matter what. No, no more chains. No more protecting the cause of freedom for the whole wide world, with no hope of freedom or survival for himself. No more waking up with the certainty of time running out a tight gnawing in the pit of his stomach, the taste of despair a dry iron tang in his mouth. 

Looking back he sometimes couldn't understand how he'd made it through all those barren years. No one to turn to, no one to lean on, no one to trust. Sometimes only his will to survive, his determination to win and a warped sense of humor getting him through the things he'd had to do or which had been done to him. 

But the nightmare was over. Nowadays he had his own white picket fence, station wagon, wife and 2.5 kids - well, actually it was more like a bungalow, sports-car, lover and itinerant cat, but the premise was the same. 

He'd settled down into the normality the majority of the civilized world took for granted and which he'd barely remembered from his childhood. And to which, to his own surprise, he'd adapted quite well. 

So OK, he still had the habits. Checked rooms when entering. Never sat with his back to the door. Investigated those he came in prolonged contact with. Was always armed somehow. Still had nightmares. 

But he had relaxed. 

Learnt to make noise whilst walking. Learnt to converse without paring it down to minimal information and a tease. Learnt to enjoy company without searching for ulterior motive. Learnt to live without the expectation it could be his last day. 

In essence, learnt to be human.

09:15 EST 
Thursday 04 March 
FBI Headquarters, Washington D.C.

"You expected a Krycek clone, especially one that's probably a Consortium stooge to act any differently?" Skinner was unsure whether to smile at Mulder's outrage or kick him in disbelief at his naivety.

"It was Krycek." Fox sat down again, crossing his arms, intransigence in every line. 

"Fox," Skinner decided to try a different approach "Alex Krycek really is dead. I know sometimes it's hard to believe it happened. No," he halted Mulder's protests before they could begin, "I'm not going to go into that. But you have to accept it. He's gone. You were there. You saw him die."

*And you still miss him.* 

The phrase hung silently between the two men, and something that could have been pain showed in two sets of eyes.

"But this man?"

"We'll run a check on him. If he's Consortium, we don't want him running around free. Though as he's still alive, it's doubtful he was anyone important."

"All right. But I want to see the file." A spark of anger returned to Mulder's voice.

"OK. Now get back to work, Agent Mulder." 

Despite the words, his tone was gentle. Mulder got up and moved to the door. 


Skinner called, then walked around his desk and over to the agent. He looked down into clouded hazel eyes. He reached up, brushing his thumb across the full pouty bottom lip, the most intimate touch he had ever allowed during work hours. 

"How about I make us a booking at Barcelo's tonight?" 

Mulder gave a small smile.

"Yeah, that sounds good."


06:15 PST
Thursday 04 March
47 Laurel Crescent, Arden, San Francisco

So should he run? Although every instinct screamed for him to start packing, he didn't think it was the wisest thing to do. They would investigate him, he knew. But his cover was rock solid, created using the best Consortium resources. The only thing they had on him was the suspicion of being an Alex Krycek Clone. And of dyeing his hair. 

He snorted in amusement. 

No, if he ran, they would look for him. True, he had other identities, but he'd prefer not to. Peter Alexander Landau was squeaky clean. No links to the Consortium. No links to the KGB. No links to organized crime families. Nothing bar a few speeding tickets and parking fines. 

He'd just tough it out.

Besides, he liked his life here. For the first time since he was a child he was happy. Not just content to be alive, but happy. 

Thirty years of nightmares and impossible fantasies were over. And they could stay that way too. Unlike some, he had no difficulties in releasing his hold on the past. The future had been fought and vanquished, and now it was the present he lived for. 

Part of that present stirred beside him. He looked over to see Vincent's dark chocolate eyes on him. 

"Deep thoughts for first thing in the morning, Peter."

Vincent reached over and stroked the little wrinkle between Peter's eyebrows with his thumb. 

"No, nothing important." he lied easily.

"Hmm," Vincent looked disbelieving but didn't pursue the subject, aware his skittish lover would either stonewall or evade if asked. "Well, let me divert you with something important then."

The thumb trailed down his nose and brushed across his lips. He parted them and Vincent slipped it inside. He curled his tongue around the digit and sucked gently, pulling it further inside his mouth, then gently laved his tongue up and down it, sliding it in and out of the wet cavern. Vincent groaned. Peter slowly licked across his lover's palm, exhaling softly into it as he went, then flicked his tongue across the pulse point on the wrist.

"Shit!" groaned Vincent "Enough with the early morning torture."

"Do you want to f*ck me babe?" the question was smoke and embers, waiting to catch.

"Yeah, hell yeah." The hand was pulled away as Vincent rummaged on the bedside table. Peter watched Vincent toss a tube of lubricant onto the bed, then roll a condom onto his hard penis, feeling the blood rush to his groin at the sight of Vincent's obvious eagerness. And then Vincent was pushing him onto his side, up against him in an avid press of warm skin and breath, dragging his hands up and down his body roughly. Peter arched in pleasure into the grip as his nipples were thumbed. Vincent felt the tension in his lover's body and knew he wanted to be taken hard, driven to the point where he forgot all the bad things he always refused to discuss. He bit Peter's collarbone, then nipped his way up his neck, accompanied by little gasping whimpers. Peter started pressing back against him with his hips, and Vincent pushed him over onto his stomach, bearing down on him. Peter gave a choked moan.

*Christ, he never says much, but those noises he makes drive me friggin' crazy.*

Vincent sucked Peter's lobe, then breathed into his ear, loving the shudder that action always produced,

"Oh yeah, that's right, babe, I'm gonna ride you."

He undulated against the body trapped and trying to move under his.

"I'm gonna take you and fuck you and make you mine."


Oh yeah, Vincent thought, he loved it when Peter craved it like this. He was just so, so needy - an alien emotion to his lover most of the time. He placed his hands on the muscular shoulders beneath him, pushing Peter down further into the mattress. He shoved the supine figure's legs apart roughly and knelt over them, immobilizing Peter.

"You want it, honey?"

A moan and abortive wriggle were his only reply. He placed his erection between Peter's cheeks and slowly dragged it down, moaning at the pleasure of smooth skin gliding against the nerves on the underside of his cock. Oh yeah, he could do this forever sometimes - propelling his dick up and down the sweet valley between Peter's butt.

"God, you have the world's greatest arse, Peter. I'm gonna cream myself just humping you."

"Don't you dare you bastard! You said you were going to f*ck me! So fuck me already!"

Vincent grinned at the frustrated edge to his lover's voice. He stroked his left hand down Peter's back, then grabbed the lubricant from where he'd laid it. He flipped the top back and squirted a line of it down Peter's crack.

"Jesus! That's cold you bastard!"

Vincent laughed, then laid his penis in the same place and started humping Peter again, slowly sliding his erection up and down the now-slick valley of tensed buttocks and surging hips. Yeah, that was good, so good. He rocked against the soft skin, falling into a rhythm with Peter's increasingly frantic movements. Peter was whimpering constantly now and he knew that was the signal that he had to do something soon. He moved back on his knees between Peter's legs and used his thumbs to spread his buttocks apart, exposing the small dark pink little flower he wanted to see. He leant forward and blew on it, pulling back as Peter cried out and jerked up. He chuckled. Peter was just so needing it this morning. He wondered whether he should make him beg, but decided no. Peter could be pissy if teased too much. He pressed his left hand palm down on the small of Peter's back, stilling him whilst Vincent dragged his thumb across Peter's anus. He ignored the whimpered cry this brought and slowly circled it around and around, digging a little deeper and deeper each time, until he sank his thumb in, slipping easily past the relaxed circle of muscle and into the passage beyond. Peter arched like a cat under him.

"Vinnie, Vinnie, please, please."

The velvet voice was rough with pleasure, sending a jolt of desire through his already rock-hard cock. Shit, he needed to finish this. He removed his thumb and quickly thrust two lubed fingers back in its place, scissoring them sideways and up and down, roughly stretching his lover's passage. He pulled them out, and grabbing Peter's opposing hip and shoulder, centred the weeping head of his erection over the entrance.

"I'm gonna fuck you now, honey."

He muttered into Peter's ear, waited for the choked whimper he knew would result, then speared deep into his lover's body. And oh god, he was so hot and tight and just so f*cking hot, Vincent lost any ability to think or seduce and just pressed him down into the bed and rutted.

Peter cried out involuntarily as Vincent's dick penetrated him, then Vincent withdrew, thrust back in hard, withdrew and returned a third time, hitting that magic gland within. He cried out in pleasure, whilst Vincent chanted above him,

"Oh fuck, honey, yeah, yeah sweet oh yeah,"

Peter bucked his hips upward, demanding more and Vincent slammed into him again and again. Filling him like he wanted to be filled and enveloped and surrounded,

"Oh yeah oh yeah oh fuck oh uh uh uh"

The strokes were coming shorter, harder, thrusts faster, Vincent grunting animalistically on top of him now, body weight pushing him down, hot skin and muscles and sweat driving, smothering him, rigid dick pumping in and out of his arse, wet slapping sound of groin against his buttocks, and the thrusting movements rubbing his penis back and forth against the sheets as Vincent pistoned in and out harder and harder, breath panting and the torment of almost release coming and coming and there! He screamed as he came, anal muscles spasming around Vincent's cock, dragging his lover yelling into orgasm with him, clenched hands on his body, warm rush of liquid inside.

And then the soft sweet tumble through limbo.

Back to the reality of a boneless mass on top of him, gasping breaths, and the sweaty slick of skin. He gently rolled Vincent to one side, then flopped back forward again, panting.

When they could almost breathe normally again Vincent pulled Peter onto his side and spooned up against him.

"Better?" he murmured. His only answer was a tired smile, but he took that as a yes and slid into sleep.

Alex Krycek lay quietly in his lover's arms and thought about what he had almost cried out.

It hadn't been Vincent's name.


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