Fox Mulder was just putting his son, William, down for his nap when the door bell chimed. The toddler put his hands over his ears and started squalling. The former-FBI agent let him cry. He had to get used to the sound. They were on their fourth doorbell already. He peered out the peep-hole. He stared for a long moment, then went to get his gun and ice-pick. If it were a clone, the gun would do the trick. If it were an alien shapeshifter, the ice-pick to the back of the neck would kill it in a spray of green blood.
He opened the door fully, with his gun in his hand. The man on the step put up his hands. Two hands, Mulder noted, both human. The eyes are the right color. The hair is longer than expected, and that's not his jacket. Krycek had been buried with his leather jacket. It was the one thing he thought he should do for the man. He had helped after all. "State your business."
"Mulder?" The man blinked at him. "You have a kid? Who's is it?"
"Cut the bullshit."
"Listen, Mulder, you're the only person I could find who might know what the fuck is going on, so I came here. I know you probably hoped I was dead when you didn't hear from me, but I just...
"I said cut the bullshit. Who are you?"
The green eyes studied him warily. "Krycek. Alex Krycek. We worked together at the FBI once? You normally call me something along the lines of 'you bastard, you killed my father' when, one, I didn't kill your father and two, you were drugged out of your ever-living head and Agent Scully had to shoot you."
Mulder's eyes narrowed. "Prick yourself and draw blood."
The man scowled at him. He pulled a pocket-knife out of his jeans and cut his arm. It bled red. "I'm not one of them. Okay? Can I have a bandaid or something?"
"Who are you?"
"I told you already!"
"Prove you're Krycek."
"What do you want me to do? Bitch about sunflower seeds in my car? Recite DOT statistics? Go down on my knees and blow you right in front of the neighbors?" The green eyes were more desperate than angry. He paused in mid-rant. "Hostes alienigeni me abduxerun. Qui annus est?"
Mulder blinked. He was thrown back to Oxford for a moment. He translated quickly and couldn't help the twitch of amusement. 'I was kidnapped by aliens. What year is it?' "Better, but still not good enough."
"Oh, come on, Mulder! I'm here. I'm bleeding. You have a kid and I have no idea where the Old Bastards are and whether or not I'm going to wake up with an alien under my skin again. Jesus, Mulder! The last thing I remember, I was puking up an oil-alien in a silo in the middle of bumfuck nowhere and after a bright light and more nightmares than I deserve, I woke up in the middle of the DC suburbs. You're the only one who's in the phone-book because there's no way I'm going near Skinner and Agent Scully scares me," he ended. He looked pathetic. "I figured you'd at least try to arrest me or something. Not that I did any of the things you've accused me of yet."
William stopped crying. "Come in, tovarish," he said. The green eyes fixed on his mouth. Mulder smirked. He'd been taking Russian lessons for over a year now.
"You going to tell me what that means to you?"
"So your parents weren't Cold War immigrants?"
"Well, yeah, they were. I'm first generation American, but when did you learn Russian?"
"And you're not a Russian double agent?"
Krycek looked at him as if he were insane. "Okay," he said slowly. "I'm going to come in and get a bandaid out of your bathroom. Then, you're going to explain to me, in small American English words what the fuck is going on here. And then, if I'm really lucky, you're going to kill me, get me drunk, or take me in so the Consortium can kill me."
"I'm not in the FBI. The Consortium is dead. You were cleared of all charges posthumously. And I know you're a Russian spy because you told me. Bathroom's on the right. Vodka's in the freezer."
"Vodka sounds just right."
"Oh, and, Alex?"
"Yeah?" The man looked at him, lips tight in worry.
"It's 2006." Krycek's mouth opened and closed a couple times. Then, he sat down very carefully on the beige rug in the hallway, blood running down his arm and heading right for the pristine carpet that Dana Scully kept clean. Mulder caught the blood with a handkercheif. He held it to the cut. "You going to faint on me?"
"Manfully pass out."
Mulder snorted. "Stay here. You move and I'll shoot you with the entire clip, carpet be damned."
Krycek nodded jerkily. "Eight years?"
Soon enough Mulder had the younger man, and he was pretty sure that this really was Krycek, sitting in the front room with a mug of sugary tea. He dialed Scully's cell number. "Hey, Scully, it's me. Can you get out early? I need you to check something."
"Mulder," she started, "if this is another one of those I-didn't-know-poop-came-in-this-color-is-he-sick discussions..."
"Krycek's sitting in our living room. Right now he's the color of a sheet of paper and heading towards fainting..."
"Manfully passing out."
"excuse me, manfully passing out on me."
"I don't know."
"I'll be home in two hours. Give him something with sugar, tuck him in on the couch with the afghan and don't let him near the baby."
"See you soon." Mulder hung up on the sound of her kiss. "Dr. Scully says to tuck you in on the couch and let you sleep it off."
"Three cheers for Agent Scully," Krycek said. His eyes were a little wild. "Wake me up if I have a nightmare. I don't want to freak out the kid." He untied his sneakers and tucked them under the couch, with the laces tucked inside. Mulder blinked. There was no question that this man was Alex Krycek now. Habits like that were hard to learn and shapeshifters never bothered. The younger man curled up on the couch and screwed his eyes closed as if that would keep reality from intruding. Mulder left him there and went to check on William.
Dana Scully looked at the man who was sitting on her living room couch. He stared back at her, cat-green eyes a little too wide. His fingers twisted and twitched along the seam of his jeans. He was barefoot and unarmed. She continued to look at him, cataloging his features and the strange tension that pulled his shoulders back. His eyes flicked to Mulder, then back to her. She crossed her arms and fixed her with her best motherly stare. He seemed to shrink and edge closer to Mulder. "You had to call her, didn't you," he accused. "You couldn't just, I don't know, shoot me?"
"Alex," Mulder's voice was full of compassion and humor, "shut up."
Krycek flinched at that. He looked like a cornered animal. Scully approached him with caution. "Let me take a look at you," Scully said. He ducked his head and looked up at her through his lashes. It wasn't seductive, it was scared and Scully felt something in her chest warm. She slowed down her movements. "I won't hurt you," she promised. "I'm the one that kept *him* from killing *you*, remember?"
"I also remember helping you drag his unconscious body back to your apartment because of that."
Mulder snorted. "I thought she'd called Skinner."
"Krycek was there," she said archly. It coaxed a small smile from her patient. She ran through a basic check. "I'm going to take a vial of blood."
He shivered. "You might have trouble with that. There's some scar tissue." He offered his left arm for her to work with. She gasped. "I know," the dark-haired man said, "looks pretty nasty. Glad I don't remember it. After you make Mulder sure I'm not an alien, will you tell me why, exactly, I shouldn't be worried about Cancerman because Mulder just sort of pats my head and says 'be a good boy and I'll give you a dog biscuit' in Russian and I'm starting to get a tiny bit worried about his always tenuous grasp on sanity."
"He started taking Russian lessons awhile ago. He just wants to practice."
The green eyes met hers with a frustrated frown. Scully felt almost bad about teasing the man, but it was refreshing to have the upper hand. She took two vials of blood for testing.
"Fox is going to make us dinner, then you are going to sleep in the guest room. If you're nice, I'll make sure he uses a silk tie not the handcuffs."
Krycek dropped his head into his hands. "Better than the foot of the bed," he muttered.
Scully smirked. "Well, I'm fine with it, but I Mulder doesn't like pets."
The spy looked at her with bewildered horror. "You've developed his sense of humor. My God. They were right. Insanity is infectious."
"Who was right?" Mulder asked.
"Fowler. She said that anyone who worked with you for more than three years was infected with some part of your insanity. Luckily, I got out intact." He paused. "Mostly."
"You had my sense of humor before you met me."
"Yeah, it's one of the reasons they picked me. I fit the profile for a best friend. Either that or they thought you were gay and that I might be able to get dirt on you or something." Krycek shrugged. He looked much more himself with that gesture. "So, the kid's what? Two? You adopted?"
"William's ours," Mulder said quietly.
The double-agent's jaw dropped. "But..." he began. "Okay, that can be part of the what the hell is going on discussion. Right up there with why couldn't I find Marita, when did you two actually get together, why isn't Mulder at the FBI, what the f... heck happened with the Consortium, why I can't find any record of anything in the papers, and why there's some guy named Dogget answering the phone at the office." Scully appreciated the hastily substituted swear-word.
"Let me get these tested first," she stated. "Fox, dinner?"
"Right." He turned to Krycek and said something in Russian. The younger man looked disturbed.
"The cabbage is in the carryon?"
Mulder frowned. He repeated his original phrase.
"Again, I say, 'the cabbage is in the carryon?' What are you *trying* to say?"
"Would you like soup or chicken?"
Krycek blinked. "Хотите суп или курица? They don't sound anything alike!"
Mulder's eyes narrowed. "How many languages do you speak anyway?"
"It's in my FBI file and I know you read that."
"Russian. English. Spanish."
"Latin and Greek. My father was a college professor," he offered. "Soup. If it comes from a can. I've been in your kitchen before."
Scully's lips twitched. "I'm the one who cleans the kitchen."
"Still, soup's the best option. Thanks."
The off-hand courtesy threw Scully a little bit. She wasn't used to it. William crawled into the room. He could walk, he just didn't like to yet. "Mulder," she snapped. "You were supposed to put him in his playpen."
The toddler stopped. He looked up at Krycek, then put his arms up in the universal "up" gesture. The spy shot a glance at Mulder. Scully glared as her partner nodded. The glare softened as Kryeck carefully lifted the toddler up and settled him on his lap. "Hi," the spy said with a sweet smile. "Decided you wanted to be in on the party, huh, little guy?"
"Unka Rat," William announced pushing one finger against Krycek chest.
Mulder's smile widened and his eyes danced.
"You taught him that, didn't you," Scully accused. "Stop giving him bad habits."
"I am not a habit," Krycek contradicted. "More of a nagging thought. And you can call me Rat if you want to. I don't mind. Your daddy does it too." William nodded sagely at that. Then, he set his head down on the tee-shirt clad chest and started sucking his thumb. The spy pulled the afghan up and around William's shoulders. "He's lucky he doesn't have Mulder's nose," he said with an evil grin. "He would be constantly falling over."
"Hey!" Mulder protested. He continued on to the kitchen though.
Scully sat down on the couch next to Krycek. "Tell me the last thing you remember."
"Throwing up alien-oil in a silo and screaming for someone to let me out." He dropped his cheek to rest on William's head. "Then, there was a seriously bright light and I don't remember anything but fragments after that."
"You had a little brother?" she asked, considering how comfortable he was with the baby.
"No, a son. He'd be, hell, fifteen now." He closed his eyes.
Scully put a hand on his arm. "Would be?"
"They were holding him against me. He was probably dead before the ink was dry on my contract." Krycek's voice was flat. She couldn't tell if he was trying to hold his emotions in check or if he really had reduced his son to a statistic of a lost soldier in the war.
"And your wife?"
"Wife? The kid was Marita's. I was going to be taking care of him. House husband." He batted his lashes at her. At her snort he added, "and teaching him to be a good little assassin like his daddy. And tell Mulder I am not a Russian spy, would you? I'm a double agent. There's a big difference."
"Double agent? American agent inside the KGB?"
"American agent inside the KGB." Krycek nodded. "Or was. Until eight years happened to slip away while I was somewhere bright and cold."
"You remember anything more than that?"
He frowned at her. It was the same look he got when he was trying to figure out if Mulder's evidence was real and it made her heart stop. This was the real Krycek, she'd stake her life on it. "No. They pumped a lot of drugs into me. Or something that kept me docile at least. I'm not sure if I was really unconscious, or if I'm just repressing like crazy."