Special Agent Fox Mulder was tired, irritable and wishing he had chosen to become a mailman or garbageman or anything except what he was. Even though he was officially off the X-files and forbidden to have anything to do with them, no one had asked him to return the boxes of burnt papers he had salvaged from the fire. But even with the help of the Lone Gunmen, it was a long and painstaking process to reconstruct the files from the scraps he had. Every weekend that he wasn't away grilling farmers about manure, he was travelling around the country trying to fill in the blanks by interviewing witnesses a second time. Despite his eidetic memory, he didn't have all the information.
So here he was on a Saturday morning, after spending the entire week tramping through fertilized fields, knocking on the door of Michael Flanigan's home. Michael was the only person to survive an encounter with one of the sex-changing aliens who called themselves the Kindred. Mulder only had a vague recollection of the young man's appearance from their meeting in his hospital room, having been far more intent on what seemed like proof of an X-file than on paying attention to the swinging single. Thus it was something of a shock when the door swung open and he found himself staring at Alex Krycek.
Mulder's eyes widened, then narrowed, his fists clenched, and he snarled Krycek's name before punching the younger man. The stunned man staggered back, allowing Mulder to follow him inside the house, leaving the door open behind him. He grabbed Krycek's shirt in both fists, shaking him like the rat he was.
Krycek finally managed to bring his arms up between them, shoving Mulder away. As soon as he was free, he moved to put the sofa between them, grabbing a statuette off one of the end tables and brandishing it at Mulder. "Look, pal, I don't know who the fuck you are, but you better get out of here now!"
Mulder sneered at him. "Sure, Krycek, now I'm supposed to believe you have amnesia or something? Or that you suddenly miraculously forgot who I am, that you killed my father, kidnapped my partner, murdered her sister, betrayed at least two countries that I know about, had me experimented on, betrayed me..."
"How many times do I have to tell you that I did not kill your father?" an exasperated voice demanded from behind him. "And how did you know I was here?"
Mulder spun around at the sound of the voice, staring at what was obviously Krycek, down to the black jeans and leather jacket and gun pointing at him. His movement shifted him to the side, and he had a perfect view of Krycek's face when he saw his twin behind Mulder. Krycek displayed absolute shock, so complete it couldn't be anything but real. In fact, he almost dropped his gun.
The other man did drop the statuette he still had raised over his head, fortunately, not on his head. Identical pairs of green eyes stared into each other, both men seemingly frozen.
Mulder stared from one to the other, noting minor differences. Flanigan, for so he assumed the second Krycek to be, had slightly longer hair and looked a bit younger, though that could simply be an effect of the life Krycek led. Krycek looked harder, more dangerous, and radiated an aura of tension that was absent in the other man. Thinking back to the night that he met Michael Flanigan, Mulder realized that he did look like Krycek then. If he had paid more attention to him, he would have assumed Krycek to be him when they met months later. It seemed that Krycek had longer ties with the Consortium that he had known or than Krycek himself had known, judging by his shock.
"Why should I believe you didn't kill my father?" Mulder returned to his familiar theme, drawing Krycek's stupefied gaze away from his double.
Krycek blinked several times before the familiar sharp gaze focused completely on Mulder. "Maybe because I wasn't even there! Why the hell would I want to kill your father? He worked for the Consortium. It would have been more than my life was worth to touch him. As far as I know, one of the shapeshifters killed him, something to do with how the factions were starting to split apart then. As for Scully, the only thing I did was slow you down to prevent you from being taken too. I only found out about the plan to take both of you that morning; there was nothing I could do for her, but I could save you. I knew they couldn't wait too long for you to show up. And her sister, well, I didn't pull the trigger; Cardinale did." Krycek shrugged, wondering why he bothered to explain. Mulder wasn't going to listen to him; he never did.
But both men had forgotten that they had an audience. Although shocked speechless at first by Krycek's words, Michael had listened to him and more importantly, had watched both men's reactions as they interacted. "Jesus, why don't both of you stop talking since you obviously don't listen to each other and just find a bed already?"
Mulder and Krycek turned on Michael at his words, neither of them prepared to admit to any attraction, at least not where the other could hear. But as soon as they looked at him, the shock of his similarity to Krycek hit them again, and they both froze, staring at him. Michael shifted uncomfortably under their gaze.
"And who are you, and what the hell are you doing here?"
Mulder blinked in surprise. "Yeah, what are you doing here, Krycek?"
"You first, Mulder, after all, you got here first." Krycek smiled smugly, knowing that it would infuriate Mulder. And it did, earning him Mulder's fist clenched in his shirt. Krycek lived for these little moments of physical contact, doing his best to antagonize Mulder whenever possible to get them.
"Hello!" Michael was starting to get annoyed about the weird courting ritual the two men were conducting in his living room.
"Sorry," Mulder muttered perfunctorily, reluctantly releasing Krycek, although neither man took the opportunity to move apart. "I'm Special Agent Fox Mulder of the FBI. I interviewed you, along with my partner Agent Scully, after your encounter with the sex changer several years ago. Several of our files were damaged in a recent fire, and I was hoping you would be willing to answer some questions again to help recreate this particular file."
Michael looked extremely uncomfortable. "Look, Agent Mulder, I do remember you now, but I've tried very hard to forget that that night ever happened. I really don't want to talk about it."
"I realize it was a very disturbing occurrence, Mr. Flanigan, but it would be most helpful if you would agree to let me interview you again."
Michael sighed and nodded. He supposed it wouldn't kill him. Then he turned his attention on his twin, who still stood close to the federal agent's side. "And you? Who are you?"
Mulder turned back toward Krycek. "Yeah, Krycek, how'd you get here?"
Krycek glanced at his twin, introducing himself before returning his attention to Mulder. "The Englishman left some things that were to be released to me in the event of his death. As I think you may have noticed, he died a few months ago, and I received the information, money and instructions he wanted me to have. Among them was this address and the instruction to come here. I also got a key to a safety deposit box at a bank here in town. Hopefully, it will shed some light on my disturbing similarity to our host here."
"I hope you don't think that I'm going to just let you go off, Krycek."
Krycek lowered his gaze to hide a grin. It seemed that he was going to have Mulder's company until they solved the mystery of his newfound twin. He hoped that whatever information the safe deposit box contained would be enough to make Mulder want to look into it. Not to mention that he wanted an explanation himself.
"Is this information you're talking about likely to explain why we look alike?" Michael wanted to know.
"Probably," Krycek shrugged, focused on Mulder and wondering if the other man was going to handcuff him again.
Mulder stared back, absently noting that Krycek's hair was getting longer again, long enough to get a good grip on.
Michael watched the two of them. The sexual tension between them was almost visible, and he wondered if he might not be able to get in on some of that. Ever since his encounter with that sex changing weirdo, he freaked whenever he tried to start anything with a woman. He just kept expecting her to change into a man and kill him somehow. It would have been an awfully long dry spell if one of his friends hadn't coaxed him into bed one time when they were both drunk. Much to his surprise, Michael had found that he liked men. Not better than women, but he did like them. He'd had several male lovers since then, and he wouldn't mind adding the two in front of him to the list. He figured he had a good shot if they stuck around for a while. Mulder obviously liked his looks, judging by the way he was mooning over Krycek, and Krycek would probably be as intrigued as Michael was at the idea of making out with "himself."
"Well then, if you don't mind, I think I'd like to tag along," Michael said in response to Krycek's last statement.
Both Mulder and Krycek started slightly, tearing their eyes apart to turn to Michael. They had forgotten he was there. "Sure, that's probably a good idea," Krycek said.
Half an hour later the three men were squeezed inside one of the bank's privacy booths with the safety deposit box. They had ignored the looks garnered by Krycek and Flanigan, simply sparing a moment to be grateful that this was not Michael's own bank and that the town was big enough that not everyone knew him.
Since the box belonged to him, Krycek had claimed the only chair, and Mulder squeezed in behind him. Krycek couldn't resist letting his head lean against Mulder when he tilted it back to look up at the agent while talking to him. "So, what do you think the odds are that this is going to explode when we open it?"
Mulder glared down at Krycek, but he didn't move away. In fact, he leaned into the contact. "Just open it, Krycek."
Michael had to turn away to hide his grin. He'd already decided that even if he didn't manage to get one or both of them as lovers, just watching them was sufficiently entertaining. They both tried so hard to pretend they were indifferent to each other, but they spent all their time getting closer to each other. He wondered how many people watched them in amusement, not knowing that no one had ever had the opportunity to notice. They almost never spent any time together without violence. Somehow, having Michael with them was letting them interact more normally, start to retrieve the ease they'd begun to achieve during their short time as partners.
Krycek smirked up at Mulder, rubbing his head lightly against his former partner before sitting up and turning his attention to the safety deposit box. He opened it gingerly, not entirely convinced that it wouldn't be booby-trapped in some way, but it opened without incident.
Inside were a video cassette, a file, and some medical charts, one bearing Krycek's name, another with Flanigan's and several marked with names of other people they didn't know. Yet.
Glancing through the files quickly, Krycek was relieved to discover that he was the original. The others were clones of him, some of them only hours younger than he was. His cells had been harvested from almost the moment of conception, as soon as they were sure he would still develop normally, not because they were concerned about him but because they wanted a continuing source of easily cloned cells. He shuddered at some of the descriptions in the files, and Mulder placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. He had been reading over Krycek's shoulder.
Krycek twisted around to look up at Mulder, an expression of abject misery in his eyes, and Mulder couldn't resist leaning down to kiss him gently. They stared at each other, unable to believe that they had finally taken that step, and neither noticed when Michael picked up a file and began to read. They did notice when he dropped the file with a gasp.
Seeing the pain on the face so like Krycek's, Mulder reached out to him, drawing Michael into his embrace. Krycek stood up, wrapping his arms around both men so they were all caught up in a three-way hug. Mulder found himself with a head on either shoulder, and looking down, he couldn't tell which was which without looking at their clothes. If someone had told him that morning that he'd end the day with Krycek in his arms, his head tucked under his chin, he'd have had that person committed. But here he was. With two Kryceks. And he was...happy.
Krycek was finally where he'd wanted to be for the last several years, in Mulder's arms. He didn't quite know how it'd happened, but he wasn't going to argue with the results. This was the first time Mulder had ever touched him where he didn't sense violence just beneath the surface, at least since the day Mulder discovered he was working for the Consortium. He snuggled closer, trying to remember the last time someone had just held him. He couldn't.
Michael was still in shock from finding out that he was a clone of the man beside him. The idea had gone from being something in a science fiction novel to being his life in a matter of seconds. He was still trying to grasp it. The warmth of the two men wrapped around him was slowly cutting through the chill of his shock, and like Krycek, he snuggled closer to Mulder, tightening his grip on the other man's waist.
Mulder held the two men protectively, wondering how it happened that he was the strong, nurturing one all of a sudden. Scully would kill herself laughing at the very idea. Scully. He looked down at Krycek again, the man he had wanted to kill earlier today, and he knew there was no way he could make his partner understand his change of heart. Not to mention that taking Krycek, and probably Michael for that matter, back to Washington would be the equivalent of painting a target on him.
He sighed and freed one arm to pull out his cell phone, ignoring the murmur of protest from the man it had been around. He dialed a familiar number and waited until it was picked up. "AD Kersh? This is Agent Mulder, sir.... . I don't think it matters where I am, sir, since I'm on my own time right now. What I called to tell you was that I'm taking some time off. I have 18 weeks accumulated vacation time, and I'm taking them, effective immediately." He pulled the phone away from his ear at the bellow of rage. "I'm sorry you feel that way, sir. However, the fact remains that I do have the time coming to me, and I am taking it. If you are still of the same opinion when I return, you can have my resignation then. As of this instant, I am on vacation." Not giving Kersh a chance to respond, Mulder broke the connection.
"Mulder, are you sure you know what you're doing?" Krycek was stunned by his former partner's actions. He'd have sworn that nothing was more important to Mulder than his job, yet here he was, endangering it, and for what? For Krycek? He couldn't let himself start to believe that. The tiniest of moans escaped him, and he started to pull away from Mulder.
But now that Mulder had finally admitted to himself that he wanted Krycek, he was damned if he was going to let him get away. He twisted to follow Krycek's move, not even noticing when Michael dropped into the chair to watch them avidly. He pushed Krycek up against the wall of the cubicle, pinning him there with his own body. Staring into Alex's eyes, he rubbed their groins together, gasping in pleasure at the sensation.
Alex decided that he must have been drugged somehow and everything that had happened since he walked through that door and found Mulder and himself was a drug-induced hallucination. So he might as well relax and enjoy the fantasy. It wasn't as if he would ever have a chance with the real Mulder.
Mulder had no idea why Alex had suddenly relaxed and was kissing him back, but he wasn't complaining. He loved the results. He opened his mouth wider, letting Alex in, feeling him explore every inch of his mouth before he probed the interior of Alex's mouth with his own tongue, tasting Alex for the first time. He tasted of the coffee he'd drunk in the car and mints and something that was uniquely Alex. Mulder thought he might grow to crave that flavor.
Alex moaned into Mulder's mouth. If this was a dream, he never wanted to wake up. Mulder tasted just the way he thought he would, sweet and a little salty from the sunflower seeds he was always eating. And his tongue. God, his tongue! It was everywhere, driving Alex insane.
Alex finally had to pull away, gasping for air, and Mulder started mapping his features with that luscious mouth and tongue. He traced the bridge of Alex's nose with the tip of his tongue, then along the mobile eyebrows to his temple. Alex luxuriated in the sheer joy of Mulder's touch, yelping in surprise when Mulder nipped his jaw before lapping away the slight hurt. Mulder traced the jawline up to Alex's ear and nibbling on the soft lobe. His tongue flicked along the whorls, making Alex shiver with pleasure. His hands fluttered shakily over Mulder's back, seeking something to grasp on to. Finally they settled on Mulder's buttocks, tracing their shape, cupping them, pulling Mulder into the cradle of his hips.
Mulder reached up and ripped Alex's T-shirt in half, sliding his hands inside the flaps to caress the pale flesh beneath. He noticed Alex's pallor and vowed to make sure he got out in the sun more often. Then his hands reached the already hard nipples and all other thoughts flew out of his head. He pushed the remnants of the T-shirt out of the way so he could see what he was finally touching. He stroked the nipples lightly, ignoring the pleading sounds Alex was making. He gently traced around one with the tip of his finger, gradually circling closer until he was rubbing the aching nipple.
"God, Mulder, please!" Alex was willing to beg.
Mulder grinned at him, pinching both nipples unexpectedly, making Alex cry out and arch into the touch, pressing their hard cocks even closer together. He lowered his head to take one nipple between his lips, lightly flicking the tip of his tongue over it while making sure not to touch it with his teeth.
Alex's fingers, now on Mulder's shoulders, dug in as he whimpered his entreaty.
Mulder finally bit down on the nipple, making Alex cry out with the pleasure. He sucked the nipple hard for a little while, finally releasing it to nip his way down Alex's torso to his navel. He licked around it, probed gently with the tip of his tongue, drawing a giggle from Alex, then tugged on the hairs below with his teeth. Alex drew in his breath in a gasp as Mulder continued ever lower.
Reaching the waistband of Alex's jeans, Mulder leaned back on his haunches where he was now kneeling in front of Alex and unfastened his belt and jeans. Staring into Alex's eyes, he pushed them down, grinning slightly when he realized that Alex wasn't wearing any underwear.
Once the clothing was around Alex's ankles, Mulder leaned back in, nuzzling against the hardened flesh that was begging for his touch. He pressed closer, burying his nose in the crinkly hairs of Alex's groin, inhaling his scent, while Alex quivered above him. He let out the barest tip of his tongue to touch the balls before him, and Alex groaned loudly. He liked the sound. He drew one ball into his mouth, sucking lightly, then switched to the other. He kept that up for a while, going back and forth while Alex moaned and whimpered above him. Finally he tired of that game and traced the large vein on the underside of Alex's penis up to the head.
Mulder considered his next move carefully, lapping once at the beads of pre-cum covering the head of Alex's cock. He sucked Alex's erection into his mouth, stroking it with his tongue because he had to taste it, but he released him quickly, prompting Alex to grab at his head.
"Hang on, Alex. I have something you'll like even better," Mulder murmured, pushing to his feet and unfastening his own pants. His erection sprang free as soon as he lowered his boxers, and Alex stared hungrily, licking his lips. "I want to be inside you, Alex. I've wanted that ever since the first moment I saw you. All big green eyes and long lashes and that godawful suit. But I wanted you then, and I want you now. Will you let me take you, Alex?"
"God!" Alex whimpered. "Yes, anything, whatever you want, just fuck me! Now! Please."
Mulder turned Alex toward the table, bending him forward over it so he was positioned for Mulder's entry. Mulder scooped up as much of Alex's pre-cum as he could and applied it to his ass, trying to ease his entry. His own cock was slick from the copious amounts of pre-cum dripping down it. He placed the head of his cock at Alex's entrance and pressed forward, trying to ease past the resistance. He kept pushing, and Alex suddenly shoved back, forcing Mulder deep inside him, tearing a groan from each of them.
Alex gripped the far edge of the table, pressing back into Mulder's thrusts. He started to cry out with each stroke, gradually getting louder.
Not wanting them to be interrupted, Michael knew he had to muffle Krycek's cries. And since he was hard as a rock from watching them, he used his own cock to quiet Alex.
Alex's eyes flew open when a cock suddenly slid inside his mouth. He stared at Michael in surprise, having forgotten he was there. Then he started to suck on the cock in his mouth. He was beyond any refinements just then, but the suction and warm wetness of his mouth were enough to pleasure Michael while he watched Mulder fuck Alex. He started to fuck Alex's throat, going deep while Alex relaxed his throat muscles to take him even deeper.
Mulder watched the two identical men, turned on to see Michael sliding in and out of Alex's mouth. The sight was too much for him, and he slammed deep inside Alex, once, twice more, muffling his cry as he came by biting down on Alex's shoulder. That set Alex off, his come shooting out over the hand Mulder was stroking him with, and the vibrations of his cries made Michael come as well.
Michael eased out of Alex's mouth before collapsing back into the chair to watch Mulder grab Alex by the hair, twisting his head around to claim a deep, possessive kiss. Mulder stayed inside Alex for a while longer, loving the feeling, and Alex was happy to have him there. He couldn't hold back a faint whimper when Mulder finally withdrew, and Mulder pulled him up into his arms.
Staring into his eyes, Mulder whispered, "Now that I have you, I'm never going to let you go. You're mine now."
Alex searched Mulder's eyes, finally seeing that he meant what he said. A singularly sweet smile passed over his face, and he hugged Mulder, feeling the older man's arms tighten around him in reaction.
Michael watched the two men somewhat sadly. Whatever their problem had been, they'd obviously gotten over it. They sure didn't need him tagging along after them like some fifth wheel. He arranged his clothing and turned toward the door, intending to slip away. He thought he'd just try to forget about what he'd learned from the files. He seemed to be good at wiping away bad experiences. As he reached for the door handle, he was startled to feel an arm snake around his waist and pull him back into Mulder and Krycek's arms.
"Where do you think you're going?" Mulder wanted to know.
Michael looked confused. "I was going to let you be alone. You don't need me here." He shrugged unhappily. "You can come back for that interview whenever you want."
"What do you mean, we don't need you?" Alex was understandably startled by this statement only moments after having Michael come in his mouth. "You're part of this. Don't you want to find the others, see if we really are all clones?"
"Not we," Michael replied a little bitterly. "You're the original model, Krycek. The rest of us, if there are others, are just copies of you. Unnecessary."
"That's like saying that in every set of twins, one is less real than the other. Each of you - and I happen to believe that these others do exist - is as real as Alex is," Mulder stated. "But that's beside the point. Don't you want to come with us?" He pouted slightly, intentionally. He'd noticed when they were partners that Alex could be distracted by his mouth and figured that it might work on Michael too.
Michael had to swallow hard before he could speak. "Sure, I'd love to follow you two around while you're developing the great romance. Let me guess, you need a driver?" he sneered, trying to cover how much he did want to go with them.
Mulder blinked in surprise. "I know you kind of got the short end of the stick that time, Mike, but I thought you'd give us a chance to make it up to you. Give us a chance to get to know you properly."
"But,... but,... I thought... the two of you...." he trailed off in confusion.
Mulder sighed, slid one long-fingered hand around the back of his skull, and pulled him into a kiss that wiped all thoughts of leaving from his mind. When Mulder finally released him, Michael stared up at him in bewilderment, blinking.
"You want me?"
Alex shook his head. "We both do. But hell, we only met a couple of hours ago. Can't you let us have a little time to get to know you? Right now I keep expecting you to react to things like I do, and I imagine it's even worse for Mulder. Let us get past the surface."
"And yes, there probably will be times when we'll ignore you to concentrate on each other. I'm sorry about that, but we have several years of catching up to do." Seeing the question in Michael's eyes, Mulder shook his head. "We'll explain some other time. It's a little too close right now." He didn't want to take the chance of falling back into their usual pattern of violence and denial. "So, are you coming with us?"
Michael nodded slowly.
They all rearranged their clothes, smoothed their hair and gathered up the contents of the safety deposit box. As they left, Alex glanced back fondly at the cubicle and met the gaze of a young woman sitting at a desk nearby who was staring after them with a slightly glazed look in her eyes. She blushed when their eyes met, and Alex realized that she had heard them. He grinned and bowed slightly, getting a smile from her as he left.
Back in the car, the three men looked at the files again. "So which one do we go looking for first?" Michael asked.
Alex held up a picture. "How about this one? He's a cop in Canada. How hard can he be to find? By the way, remind me never to grow a mustache."
Staring at the picture of another Krycek-lookalike, this one sporting a cheesy-looking mustache, Mulder vowed, "You can bet on it! So, we're all agreed?" When the others nodded, he looked back at the picture. "Okay, you'd better get the guest room ready, Victor Mansfield. We're on our way."