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Part 1:



MULDER'S APARTMENT 3:57 AM



It was really late. Or really early depending on how you wanted to look at it. It was also one of those rare occasions when Mulder was actually sleeping. These things thrown together made for one very angry Mulder when relentless pounding on his apartment door woke him up.



He got up from the couch reluctantly and made his way toward the door. Looking through the peephole, his mood did improve one bit. In fact, now he was pissed.



"What the hell do you want Krycek?" Mulder said angrily as he opened the door.



Krycek looked at Mulder but did not answer. He looked like he hadn't slept in days. His hair was a mess and his clothes disheveled. Whatever his reason for coming, it didn't seem to be violent. Mulder noticed the lack of weaponry aimed at him - when Krycek was involved, Mulder usually wound up with a gun to his chest.



"Well?" Mulder pryed.



"I need your help."



Mulder's first reaction was to laugh and slam the door in his face, but there was something about the way he asked. Like it was the hardest thing he ever had to do. So, he returned Krycek's penetrating gaze and stepped aside, wordlessly inviting him in. Krycek accepted and moved past Mulder to the living oom.



"I'm sorry if I woke you," Krycek said, realizing a moment to late how lame it was to say that.



"Why should I help you? Why should I even listen to what it is you have to say?" Mulder replied, ignoring Krycek's comment.



"I know there's no reason why you should help me. Literally. I couldn't give you one if my life depended on it. But....I didn't know who else to go to...there is no one else to go to. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't really important....I need someone I can trust...." Krycek finished quietly.



"And you trust *me*?" Mulder asked disbelievingly.



"In a way, yes. I mean, I know you hate me - and you have every right to - but I also know that your genuinely a good person, and if you decide to help I know you won't let a personal vendetta get in the way."



"So, what? Your using me?" Mulder was still angry, but more than that, he was curious.



"No. Like I said, there is no one else I can ask for help. No one's making you do anything. I didn't even bring my gun. I'm just asking if you'll hear me out." Krycek had never felt so vulnerable before, so weak. He was practically begging for Mulder's help.



Mulder sat on his couch and motioned for Krycek to do the same. They couldn't have sat further apart if they tried. Mulder turned to face the man beside him and gave him his full attention. "Go ahead."



Krycek sighed and then began. "Yesterday this was slid under my door," he pulled neatly folded papers from the inside pocket of his leather jacket and eld them in his hand, "I didn't know why anyone would want me to see these at first....but, I kept reading." He stopped and nervously cleared his throat, trying to conceal the emotion that was slowly rising to the surface. Apparently, when I was still working for the men in the Consortium, there was an experiment conducted....I didn't know about it. I don't even know how they did it...I - They must have drugged me or something..." he paused to regain his composure.

Falling apart in front of Mulder was not high on his list of things to do.



Mulder reached out and took the papers, giving Krycek time to gather himself. Medical records. One medical record to be exact, for a 4 year old boy. Mulder looked up at Krycek for an explanation. Mulder's usually quick on the uptake, but he was still utterly lost as to what Krycek was telling him.



"I don't know the specifics, " Krycek continued, "of how...or why...but, I think, according to those anyway - he's my son." His voice gave out a little as he finished his sentence, but at this point he was beyond worrying about being tough in front of Mulder. There were more important things at hand.



Mulder didn't know what to say. A son? Definitely didn't see that one coming.



Mulder skimmed through the record quickly, and sure enough, it mentioned Krycek as the father. "You think that he's being held somewhere? Even though the Consortium's destroyed?" Mulder asked, deciding to ignore all the questions swimming around in his brain and aiming straight for a plan instead.



"I don't see why else I would be given this," he opened his mouth to continue but stopped, searching for the right words. When nothing eloquent came to him, he decided to just be blunt. "Will you help me?"



Mulder thought for a minute. Why should he bother? Why risk his life to help Krycek, after all he's done to him, his family, Scully...the list goes on. And yet, when he opened his mouth to speak, none of this was mentioned. He asked, "Where? Do you know?"



"Uh, no. There's a doctor's name on the record though. I figured I would start there."



"Yeah...what time is it?" Mulder asked, noticing the confused look on Krycek's face.



"4:28, why?"



"Well, it's a little early but I have to shower and get ready. If you want to wait, we can go down to the FBI and look up that name, see if we can get a location." Mulder stood as he finished speaking.



Mulder was going to help. Krycek honestly hadn't expected that.



"Okay," he said simply.



Mulder nodded and headed towards the bathroom. he thought to himself before stepping into the shower.



A short time later Mulder reentered the living room, but he was alone. Quick glance around, no one there. A sound came from the kitchen. So he's still here. Mulder entered the kitchen and couldn't help but smile, even though he tried not to. There was Krycek, making coffee. It was a simple thing that would probably go unnoticed had it been anyone else, but to see Alex Krycek standing n his kitchen making coffee was to much. Too bad he didn't have a camera.



Krycek noticed a prescence behind him and turned. "What?" he asked, wondering what Mulder found funny.



"Nothing." He grabbed a cup and poured himself some coffee.



After a considerably long moment of silence, Krycek spoke, "Thank you."



"I should be the one thanking you, this is really good coffee. How come it tastes like crap when I make it?" Mulder asked, almost seriously.



"Maybe your doing it wrong." Krycek said drily. "But you know what I'm talking about."



"Yeah, I know. Don't go thanking me until we actually accomplish something.....We will you know. Accomplish something. We'll find him."



Krycek nodded. There wasn't much more to be said.





FBI WASHINGTON D.C. 6:12 AM



Scully wasn't at work yet. Thank God for the little things. Mulder didn't want to think of what her reaction would be to this unlikely duo. He walked over to his desk and started up the computer. Krycek followed and stood beside him awkwardly.



"Pull up a chair," said Mulder, "what's the name?"



Krycek opened the paper he had been holding, while pulling a chair alongside Mulder, and searched for the doctor's signature. "Dr. James Darek."



Mulder opened the FBI's database and typed the name into the search box. The computer whirred, Krycek and Mulder sat quietly waiting. In what seemed like an eternity later, but in reality was probably about thirty seconds, the search was finished. The screen had one name on it: DAREK, JAMES. DR Mulder clicked and a file appeared on the screen. 32 years old, brown hair, brown eyes, looked like a nice enough guy. Oh yeah, except for that whole experiment-on-innocent-people thing.



"Ever seen him before?" Mulder asked.



"I don't think so. I've seen so many faces over the years, so many doctors on the Consortium's payroll," he concentrated on the picture for a moment, then continued, "His address is there. West Virginia, not that far. It would be better if we could get an office address though."



Mulder scrolled down the rest of the file. "Well, that was easy."



Krycek followed Mulder's gaze to the screen. An office address, in D.C. "Too easy," replied Krycek skeptically.



At that moment Scully walked through the door and froze at the sight of Krycek. "Mulder?"



Mulder glanced up, so did Krycek. "Oh, hey - Scully, good morning."



"Mulder?" She repeated this again with an angry tone to her voice.



"Look, I don't have time to explain this, Scully. I'm not sure it would matter if I did anyway. I'm helping him with something...." he trailed off aiting for her to start in on him.



"What are you helping with?"



"I can't tell you Scully. I'm sorry. You just have to trust me on this one, I know what I'm doing." He wanted to tell her. God knows they could use all the help they could get, but on the way into work earlier Krycek had asked if Mulder would keep it between the two of them. He didn't think it was smart, but it wasn't his operation they were running.



Scully sighed. She gave Krycek a look that redefined the meaning of the phrase 'if looks could kill.'



Mulder was busy scribbling down the address of the doctor's office on a post-it note. When he finished he stood and walked towards Scully, reassured her that he would be fine, and then motioned for Krycek to follow him. He did, but as he got to the door he turned around. "I asked for his help...he was nice enough to do this even though he has every reason not to. This isn't a game, Scully, I'm not going to hurt him." And with that he left to meet Mulder waiting by the elevator.



Scully wasn't sure what to think.





DR. JAMES DAREK'S OFFICE WASHINGTON D.C. 8:22 AM



They walked through the double doors of the doctor's office and up to the receptionist's desk.



"We need to talk to Darek," Krycek spat.



So much for being polite. Mulder tried to smooth things over a little. With a smile he said, "we don't have an appointment but we just have a couple of questions and we'd really appreciate it if we could speak with him." Mulder pulled his badge from his jacket and flashed it at her.



"Let me see if he's available," the young woman replied as she got on the phone.



"Why don't you let me do the talking, huh?" Mulder whispered to Krycek, placing his hand on Krycek's shoulder. Before he could comment, the woman told hem to follow her.



They were led to a spacious office and told that the doctor would be with them in a minute. As soon as the woman closed the door behind her, Krycek reached into his waistband and pulled out his gun to check if it was loaded.



"You said you didn't have a gun!" Mulder said, whining a little more than he would have liked to.



"Last night-this morning, whatever, I said I didn't have it with me and I didn't. I wanted you to trust me, but I'm not stupid, " Krycek said as if that was obvious, "we took my car here, and I always carry a spare."



Mulder looked a little put off, but he couldn't blame they guy. If they were going to find his son they were going to need protection.



Just then the door opened and a man entered, walking over to Mulder and Krycek.



"Dr. Darek? I'm Agent Mulder, we just had a few questions." Mulder asked, shaking his hand.



The doctor turned to Krycek and held out his hand. There was an awkward pause and Mulder thought that this was going to be it, but Krycek cautiously raised his hand to the doctor's and shook. He didn't offer his name though.



"Your signature is on this medical record," Mulder got right down to business, handing over the papers. "Can you tell me about this boy, what was done to him?"



A glint of uncertainty flashed in the doctor's eyes. He studied the paper in front of him. Krycek figured he was trying to come up with a believable lie in the span of ten seconds. Turns out, he wasn't very good at it.



"I don't know what was done to him and I don't know anything about him, other than what I can read from here," he tried to say innocently.



Krycek was out of his chair and around the desk before Mulder had time to register what was happening, and what was about to happen. His gun was out held directly under the man's chin before Mulder even stood up.



"Tell me what you did to him! Where is he?" Krycek was inches from the man's face.



"I don't know!" cried the doctor, Krycek cocked his gun.



"Go ahead, lie again. Just give me a reason."



"Okay, okay...please, just back off..."



Mulder decided to step in, the doctor was sufficiently scared. "Back off, let's see if he has something worthwhile to say."



Krycek reluctantly moved back, but trained the gun on the man's chest. No need for him to forget who's in charge. "Talk." One word uttered so coldly that it sent a chill through the air.



"I was...I - I was the doctor working on this project. A project to develop human beings from existing human DNA..."



"Cloning?" asked Mulder.



"No..better than that. This would be a new person altogether. Different DNA, just as if it had been conceived the conventional way." The doctor paused.



"But?" proded Krycek, getting angrier by the second.



"But it's not the conventional way...we developed a way to simulate conception, using an artificial egg made in our laboratories. I could give you the science behind that but it would take awhile and I get the impression your in a hurry...Anyway, we still needed sperm because we haven't found the technology advanced enough for what that would take...then we use a surrogate to carry the baby to term. That's the gist anyway."



"How many came to term?" Mulder inquired.



"Just the one...it really was something, we were expecting failure. You know, first time experiment, there wasn't much hope put into it. Amazing really."



Krycek stepped forward pushing the gun roughly against the other man's chest.

"Where is he?"



"Can I ask what your interest is in this experiment?" The doctor was bold. It wasn't generally a good idea to mess with the crazy man holding the gun. But Krycek didn't answer, just stared.



"That *experiment* is his son." Mulder figured maybe the doctor had a heart in there somewhere and could take pity on Krycek. Anything to get a location.



Dr. Darek sat quietly for a moment. "What do I get for helping you?"



"You get a ten second head start before I kill you," Krycek whispered. The look on his face must have told Darek that this man was serious, deadly serious.



Almost frantically, the doctor grabbed a pen and slip of paper, wrote an address as quickly as possible and then turned to Mulder and held it out. Mulder leaned forward, took the paper and put his hand on the arm Krycek was using to hold his gun. Krycek glanced out of the corner of his eye and saw Mulder. Mulder's eyes were telling him not to kill this man, but everything inside Krycek was screaming that the world would be a better place without him. He owed Mulder, though.



They left the office building silently and didn't speak until they had been driving about twenty minutes.



"Where are we headed?" Krycek asked, realizing he hadn't seen the address yet.



"Airport."



Vague, but good enough.





T.F. GREEN AIRPORT PROVIDENCE, R.I. 2:48 PM



They were lucky to get a flight almost immediately out of D.C. Amazing what a little badge can do. They arrived in Providence a few hours later, rented a car, and set out.



"You want to get something to eat?" Mulder asked. Krycek looked at him and shook his head. "Come on, I'm hungry. You must be too."



"I don't want to waste time."



"It's been 4 years, I don't think another ten minutes are going to make much of a difference." As he said it he realized how insensitive it sounded.



"Fine. Do what you want."



Mulder pulled into the first fast food restaurant he found. As they were eating, Mulder started feeling a little guilty about what he had said.



"Sorry, about that before....we'll eat quick. Right?"



Krycek smirked.



"What's his name? Was there a name on his chart?" Mulder was making small talk. The silence was getting unnerving.



"No. No name."



"Well, start thinking." replied Mulder, he smiled at Krycek who smiled back. What just happened? Was that civilized conversation? Interesting.





ABANDONED WAREHOUSE PROVIDENCE, R.I. 4:17 PM



The address brought them to a warehouse. One that, from the looks of it, hadn't been used in many years. Both guns drawn, they approached the door and stepped inside. Nothing was immediately noticable as looking out of place. Then, Krycek nudged Mulder and nodded towards a door at the far end of the room.



"Stainless steel?"



"I doubt that's original." Krycek murmured.



They warily walked toward the door. When they reached their destination Mulder stood beside it and nodded, Krycek kicked it open and Mulder entered, gun poised and ready. It was empty save for an examination table, counters and cupboards lining the wall. All stainless steel. After breifly looking around, the passed through another door on the opposite end. Well, looks can be deceiving because this warehouse looked somewhat small from the outside, but now....In front of them was a long hallway, doors scattered on either side.



"I'll take door number one, please," Mulder said drily.



They peered through the tiny window of the first door. Empty, except some furniture, looked like an office. They continued down the hallway looking through doors, they were all unlocked but they didn't waste time looking around every room. This was getting old quick. Just as they started to wonder whether or not they had been tricked - and Krycek made a mental list of different ways Dr. Darek could *accidentily* die - they came to a door that was locked. They looked at each other. This might be it.



"Lock pick?" Mulder asked. Krycek shot him a devious grin. Of course he had a lock pick. Krycek was disappointed to find that Mulder, on the other hand, didn't have his with him. He knelt down in front of the door and within seconds had it open.



Another exam room. But this one looked like it hadn't been abandoned. Various instruments were left on counters and the table had a sheet over it. Everything had that overly clean look to it and it smelled like a hospital.



"Krycek."



Krycek looked over to Mulder who was looking through a window into another room. This room looked like a bedroom, though not nearly as nice or comfortable, but there was a bed. And someone on that bed. A boy.



Krycek stood with his mouth slightly open, unable to believe how lucky they were to find him this quickly - it had only been hours since they left Mulder's apartment, and know here they were. So close.



"Too easy," he said once again out loud, but more to himself than to Mulder. Unfortunately Mulder agreed.



"Door's locked." Mulder stated.



He tried to pick the lock but his hands were shaking, he wouldn't ask for help though. Mulder noticed this and placed his hand over Krycek's, took the pick, and opened the door himself. Krycek was grateful, but he'd never admit it.



Krycek stood in the doorway, Mulder behind him. "Go on, " Mulder said encouragingly. He didn't move, just looked back at the man behind him. He wanted to go in, he really did, but something was holding him back. "It's okay," Mulder continued, "just go in, I'm coming with you."



Finally, he walked toward the bed where the little boy was sleeping. Mulder followed. Krycek wasn't doing anything, just watching the boy. That would be all well and good later on, but right now they needed to move, so Mulder took the initiative. He lowered the bar on the side of the bed that was keeping the boy in and then looked to Krycek. Still not doing anything.



"Krycek?" He didn't get a reaction. "Alex?" This got his attention. Mulder pointed to the boy but Krycek just shook his head, so Mulder gently picked him up, grabbed the blanket that had been covering him and started out of the room.



They got back into the hallway and walked quickly toward the door leading back into the warehouse. So far so good. Although Krycek seemed to be keeping his distance from Mulder and the boy. That would have to be dealt with later. Okay, into the warehouse. Out the front door, over to the car. Everything was going smoothly. Krycek got into the passenger's seat as Mulder opened the driver's side door.



"Your going to have to hold him. We don't have a carseat or anything."



"Uh..okay." Mulder passed the boy over and started the car.



Without incident they drove away, and only then did Mulder realize the hell that this kid must have been through during the 4 years of his life. He glanced to his right to see the little boy curled up against Krycek's chest. Still sound asleep. Krycek absently rubbing the little boy's back in a steady rythem while looking out the window. He never in a million years would have predicted that he could be sitting next to Alex Krycek and not have an overwhelming urge to kill him.



"I figured we could stay at a motel tonight. When he wakes up he's probably going to be really scared. It won't look good for two guys to bring a kid on a plane who won't stop screaming. Might look a little shady. So...I guess we should stop and get some food first."



"Yeah. Sounds good." Krycek thought a minute and then said, "Well, we accomplished something, so....thank you."



Mulder looked at him and smiled. "Your welcome. Come up with any names?"



"A middle name but not a first yet."



"O...K...Are you going to share?"



"Mikhael."



"Hmm, nice. Any special meaning, or do you just like the name?" Mulder asked.



"I just like it. Most of the names I was thinking about are Russian. Kind of a family thing. Not that I'm trying to hold up any sort of tradition...I don't even remember the last time I talked to anyone I was related to."



"How did you end up with Alex if all the names are Russian?"



Krycek laughed. "It's Alexei actually."



"Ohh. Middle name?" Mulder was suddenly very curious about Krycek. He realized he knew nothing at all about this man, except for a few scattered things. But nothing personal.



"Christian."



Mulder nodded, and then there was silence.



"Ack," Mulder said out of nowhere.



"Excuse me?"



"Your initials...A.C.K."



"Very good. Nice to see that an Oxford education counts for something," Krycek said rolling his eyes.



Suddenly, and very loudly, Mulder's cell phone rang. He grabbed it as quickly

as possible, but it was too late. He looked at the phone, saw Scully's number, and answered. "Scully? I'm okay, but I'm gonna have to call you back," and he hung up.



By now he had pulled into a convenience store parking lot, parked on the side, and turned off the engine. The boy was waking up. Krycek looked worried. How was he going to react?



"Hey... ," Krycek said as the boy looked around, still groggy. The boys eyes were wide, taking in his surroundings. Mulder wondered if he had ever been outside before. "It's okay... , " Krycek continued reassuringly. "You're okay."

He continued to look back and forth between Mulder and Krycek. Then he, very noticably, started to shake. Mulder reached into the back seat to where the blanket had been thrown, retrieved it and wrapped it around the young boy, who had now started crying.



"You don't have to be scared," Mulder added, "we're not going to hurt you."

Krycek continued rubbing the little boys back as he curled himself as tight against Krycek as he could. As scared as he was, the only thing he could find to hide behind was the very thing he was afraid of.



"Why don't you go inside and get what we need so we can get to a motel."



"Yeah." Mulder went in the store and shopped faster than he ever had in his life. The scene inside the car didn't change much in the few minutes he had gone. He started the car and drove to the nearest motel, which was about a 15 minutes ride. Along the way, Krycek periodically uttered different things to the boy, trying to make him comfortable. Mulder could see that that was not going to be easy.





MOTEL WARWICK, RI 7:41 PM



Mulder had gotten the key to the last available room. He walked back to the car.



"Look's like we're sharing," Mulder said holding the key in front of him.



"Fine," replied Krycek, as he got out of the car with the boy clutching on to him for dear life, still crying.



They got into their room and from there all hell broke loose, kind of.



First, Krycek put the boy down on the bed in order to take off his jacket. Big mistake. Now that the boy had somewhere else to hide, he no longer needed Krycek. He instantly threw himself under the covers, then as an afterthought, covered himself with a pillow.



Mulder went over to the bed and sat on the edge, next to the lump in the middle.



"Hey buddy....you don't need to do that," he took the pillow away and pulled the cover back to reveal the boy's face. His eyes were red and puffy and his face was streaked with tears. Mulder brought his hand up to the boy's face and wiped some tears away with the back of his fingers. The boy flinched at the touch. "My name's Mulder. This is Alex. Do you have a name?" The boy looked from Mulder to Alex, confused. "It's okay. Alex here will come up with one. Are you hungry?" He shook his head. "Okay....what about something to drink? Do you want some juice?" He didn't reply and Mulder figured that was good enough. He needed to get something in him. He went to the chair where he had placed the bag of groceries, brought out a 20 ounce bottle of apple juice and went back over to the bed. He was accutely aware of not only the boy watching him, but Krycek too. Krycek was acting the way he had in the warehouse, keeping his distance.



Mulder unscrewed the bottle cap. "Can you sit up for me? Come on.." He took the boys hand and helped him into a sitting position with little resistance. He held the bottle to the boys mouth and tilted it up slightly. The boy drank, and Mulder asked Krycek, "Do you have a name yet?"



Krycek looked at Mulder. "I was thinking...maybe, Nikolas."



"I like that. Nikolas Mikhael." Mulder looked at the boy who had stopped drinking and realized how much this kid looked like Krycek. Same brown hair, green eyes....an innocent look about him.



"Want some more?" Mulder said bringing his attention back to the juice.



"No," Nikolas replied meekly. The first time he talked to them. His voice was so weak, so....little.



Once again, Mulder's phone rang and as he stood to get it he caught Krycek's eye and nodded toward the bed. Krycek took Mulder's place, but didn't say anything.



"Mulder."



"Ah yes, Fox. How are you? How are things going with the little one? I must say, it would be an interesting site to see you or Alex caring for a child. Together, no less." replied the all to familiar voice on the other line.



"What the hell do you want?" Mulder whispered, not wanting to upset Nikolas.



"I'm just a concerned party. I wanted to see how things are going. That warehouse you broke into may not of had security, but it was well-equipped with top of the line surveillance equipment."



"Your nothing but a cigarette-smoking bastard."



"A bastard who is willing to let you and your two new friends walk away from this."



Mulder thought for a moment, looked over his shoulder to find Krycek watching him. "What do you want?" Mulder asked a second time.



"Alex has something I want. I've wanted it for some time, but now I've grown tired of waiting. It's a small price to pay for the life of his son, I would think."



"You sent him the medical record? So you'd have something to bargain with?"



"I'll be in touch with you soon. I suggest you pass this information on to Alex."



Click. The line went dead.



Mulder sighed. He should of known it was to much to hope for that they could just leave with no complications.



"What did he want?" Krycek tried to keep his voice steady, but the anger seeped into his tone and Nikolas pulled the blanket up a little higher.



"After," Mulder answered with a nod towards the other man's son. Krycek understood the implication, but he didn't want to wait til later. Mulder showed no signs of swaying on this decision though.



Mulder had walked to the other side of the bed, leaned over to get the juice that had been placed on the night table and sat down. Slowly, so as not to frighten Nikolas, he shifted himself so that he was leaning against the headboard. He then gently took the boy under the arms and pulled him closer until he was leaning against Mulder's side. Nikolas made sure the blanket moved with him.



"Some more juice?" Mulder asked.



"Yes please." Mulder was suddenly overcome with emotion, though he didn't show it. Yes please? How cute is that? He placed the bottle at his lips and waited until he took a sip. Mulder put the cap back on and placed the bottle beside him. Nikolas had started shaking again. Mulder put his arm around him and moved down a little until his head was just above Nikolas'.



"I know your scared, and you don't know us....but we won't hurt you. Everything's going to be okay." Mulder wondered if he was overstepping his boundaries, he was acting like it was *his* son. Glancing at Krycek he saw, if anything, a look of relief. Krycek was glad he didn't have to deal with this alone. So, he went on.



"Can I ask you a question?"



Nikolas nodded.



"Back in that place, where you were when we took you - "



"No!" Nikolas said frantically turning his body into Mulder, burying his face under his arm. "Don't wanna go back," he said in a muffled voice. "Don't want to, please?"



Krycek looked like he was going to cry.



"We're not taking you back. Ssshh, don't cry...you don't ever have to go back there. It's all right....we won't talk about it anymore, okay?" Mulder hugged him close to his body.



Krycek, not knowing what to say, laid down on the other side of Nikolas and ran his hand up and down the boy's side, comforting him. It took awhile, but he fell asleep with both men holding him, giving him security he had never once felt in his short life.



After he was sure Nikolas was sound asleep, Mulder began to tell Krycek about the phone call.



"He said you had something he wanted," Mulder said quietly. "Do you know what he's talking about?"



"Yeah."



"What is it?"



"When I stopped working for them, I knew I couldn't just walk away. If I wasn't holding any cards, so to speak, they would have no reason *not* to kill me. So, I took a little souveneir..." Krycek slowly pulled himself off the bed and began to pace slowly back and forth. Mulder watched him.



"So, are you going to give it to him?"



"I have to, don't I? What choice do I have? " Krycek's voice broke as he finished the sentence.



"Well, tell me what it is."



"It's a disc. It has a lot of information on it, records, names, everything. Everything they don't want out in the open," Krycek paused. "I was going to give it to you....eventually."



Mulder didn't feel like trying to figure out if that was true or not. It didn't matter now. As if on cue, the cell rang. Krycek grabbed it before Mulder could move.



"Fuck you," he answered quietly. Mulder was glad that it didn't end upbeing Scully.



"Alex, nice to speak with you again."



"You can have the disc, but then you leave us alone....Mulder too."



"How selfless of you....Well, I assume you'll need to get back to D.C. first?"



"It's not there, I'd have to go and get it."



"I'll give you four days starting right now. Then I'll be in touch. Remember, if you don't give me the tape, I now have something to take from you." Then he hung up.



Krycek looked over at Mulder and then sat on the edge of the bed. "I've got four days."



"We can get a flight out tomorrow and be back by the afternoon." Mulder stated.



"The disc isn't in D.C."



"Where is it?"



"Russia. In a safety deposit box in a bank."



"Oh."





Part 2:



Krycek opened his mouth to speak, closed it, and then quietly asked Mulder a big favor.



"I know it's asking a lot...after everything you've already done...But I - I can't bring him....I mean, I could maybe find someone else..."



"Who?" Mulder asked smiling. Then added, "I'll do it, he can stay with me."



Krycek heaved a sigh of relief. He was staring to hate Mulder less...a lot less.



The three of them slept in the same bed, Nikolas in the middle. Mulder, as usual, wasn't sleeping well. His mind was reeling with everything that had happened in the last 24 hours and also the fact that he was now in the same bed with Krycek....Alex. He called him Alex earlier. Maybe he could do that more often, if they're going to be civil to one another it seemed like an okay thing to do.



Anyway, morning came. Mulder was up first and he got them three plane tickets - two headed to D.C. and one to Russia. Krycek woke up next and Mulder took this opportunity to speak with him before Nikolas woke up.



"Hey....I was thinking," Mulder started as Krycek climbed out of bed, "you should maybe tell Nikolas your his father today, before you leave. This way he'll know your going to come back, you know?"



"How do I tell him something like that? He's going to wonder where I was for four years."



"Just tell him the truth, or as much as you can anyway. Tell him your his dad and that you didn't know about him until a few days ago and that's when we came for him," Mulder said simply. Krycek thought to himself. Nikolas stirred on the bed. Both men looked over at him. Slowly, he started to wake up and when he opened his eyes he quickly pulled the blanket over his head. Krycek walked over and sat beside him, gently pulling the blanket back so that his eyes were showing.



"Hi."



"Hi," Nikolas said silently.



"I wanted to tell you something...can you put the blanket down for a minute?"



Nikolas pushed the blanket a way from his face but kept a tight grip on it, just in case.



"Do you know what a dad is?"



Mulder was surprised for a second, he hadn't even thought of the fact that he might not even know.



Nikolas nodded, he looked sad and at the same time he looked proud that he knew. "They told me I don't have one, but I know every one else does." And after a second he added, "I don't have a mom either."



Krycek had tears in his eyes. He assumed that Mulder did too. He was right. Krycek took the little boys hand in his own and squeezed reassuringly.



"Yeah," Krycek paused uncomfortably, "well, it's true that you don't have a mom....but...you do have a dad."



"They said I didn't." Nikolas said defiantly.



"I know. They didn't tell you the truth..."



"Who's my dad?" Nikolas asked curiously.



"I am." Krycek answered. "They never told me about you...I'm so sorry...." Tears were running down his cheeks. "I would never have let them hurt you....if I had known. Nikolas...I'm sorry, sorry...." He pulled the boy close to him and gave him a hug. They stayed that way for a few minutes, until Krycek pulled away so that he could see Nikolas's face. "I'm not going to let anything bad happen to you, okay? I promise."



Nikolas seemed to be taking it all in. His little brain was trying to keep up with the flow of information, and then, out of all the questions he could ask, he says, "Who's Mulder then?"



Krycek and Mulder exchanged a glance. "He's a friend." Krycek answered confidently, pausing to see if Mulder would refute the statement. "He helped me find you."



Nikolas nodded, satisfied with that answer. "So, I can call you my dad?"



"Of course...if you want to," Krycek replied. Nikolas gave a little smile and then snuggled up to Krycek, pulling his blanket over himself and Krycek's lap.



"And I'll live with you?"



"Yeah.." replied Krycek.



The last thing Mulder wanted to do was interrupt this scene of domesticity, but they had planes to catch. Also, he wasn't sure that, after this revelation, Nikolas would want to be separated from his father. This might take some time.



"Alex....we should start getting ready to go."



"Yeah, I know." But he didn't move. He didn't want to, for once in his life....he had a place where he wanted to stay. A few minutes later he got up.



"C'mon Nikolas, you have to take a bath then we have to get ready to go." He picked him up and brought him into the bathroom. While Krycek was helping him with his bath and getting him ready, Mulder packed what little they had brought with them. Krycek brought Nikolas out to Mulder so he could shower himself.



"Want some breakfast?" Mulder asked.



"Yeah."



Mulder gave him a muffin and some juice that he had from the convenience store. Shortly after, Krycek emerged from the bathroom. Now he had to tell Nikolas that they weren't going home together.



"Before we go...Nikolas, your going to go on the plane home with Mulder..."



"And you too." Nikolas added.



"No...no, I have to go on a different plane because there's something I have to do before I go home. You'll be okay with Mulder though and I'm not going to be too long."



Nikolas had tears in his eyes, and Krycek picked him up and sat him in his lap. "I don't want to leave you, but it's only for a little while. You'll have fun with Mulder." He paused and then, as an afterthought added, "He has fish." As if that would make everything all right. Did he even know what fish were?



Nikolas buried his head in Kryceks shoulder. "Don't want you to go." Nikolas mumbled.



"I know, buddy. I know."



Mulder stood up and grabbed the duffel bag, motioning for Krycek to hurry up. Krycek stood, carrying Nikolas and they all left for the car.



The drive to the airport was quiet. Krycek sat in the back with Nikolas. When they arrived, Mulder was lucky to find a somewhat close parking spot. He got out of the car and so did Krycek. Krycek went around the car to Mulder's side to get Nikolas out of the backseat, but stopped before he opened the door.



"Mulder?"



"Yeah?"



"Um, since he's only got those clothes that he's wearing, I figured maybe if you went out you could grab him something else, so here." Krycek handed him some money he pulled out of his pocket. Mulder took it but he had a feeling that's not what he had wanted to say.



"Sure."



"And, uh....thank you...not just for taking him while I'm in Russia...but, helping me in the first place." He paused, "You know it was a pretty stupid thing to do. I could have been setting you up."



Mulder laughed. "I took my chances. And your welcome. The past couple of days have been 'different' to say the least....But I'd do it again if I had to. I learned something anyway."



"What's that?"



"You can be a nice guy.....sometimes."



"Thanks." Krycek replied sincerely. He leaned toward Mulder and Mulder was sure that he wasn't doing what it looked like. But he did. He hugged him. Mulder responded instantly, wrapping his hands around the other's back. After a minute they stepped apart.



Krycek smiled and opened the door.



They got inside the airport and after their goodbyes, they set off in different directions.





MULDER'S APARTMENT 1:33 PM



"Here we are." Mulder said opening the door and walking in with Nikolas, hand and hand. He encouraged the boy to enter the living room. Mulder followed behind him and went to check his answering machine that sat on his desk. The light flashed. He pressed the 'play' button, knowing full well who it was going to be.



'Mulder, it's me. Just wanted to see if you were home yet. Call me when you get this, I'd like to know what's going on.'



Scully. He owed her an explanation, but he wasn't sure he had one that would make much sense. He told himself he would call her later and turned to Nikolas who had walked over to the fish tank and was staring at them with fascination.



"You like them?"



He nodded excitedly.



"Do you want to feed them?"



"OK."



Mulder poured some fish food flakes into Nikolas's hand and then lifted him up so he could place them in the water. Then, he put him down so he could continue to watch them.



"They're eating it!" he observed happily.



"Yeah, well they haven't had anything since I left so they're probably *really* hungry. Speaking of hungry, do you want something to eat?"



"Yeah...please."



"Okay, let's see," Mulder walked into the kitchen with Nikolas trailing behind him. He didn't have high hopes for what he would find there. Probably nothing for a suitable lunch. As he predicted, there wan't anything that could even be scraped together to make something 'decent', nevermind something good.



"Why don't we go out to eat? C'mon let's go."



-------------------



Mulder drove to the closest 'McDonald's', figuring that most kids like it there, why should Nikolas be any different. Even though he's probably never had it before in his life.



Mulder ordered Nikolas a happy meal and got himself a cheeseburger and fries. He took out his wallet and paid the kid behind the counter, and for the first time since the airport he remembered he had Krycek's money is his pocket. When they took their seats, Mulder pulled out the money he had been given and counted. Two hundred dollars. How much did he think he was going to spend on clothes? Although it does make since, considering that the only things that Nikolas owns are the T-shirt and jeans that he's wearing and the blanket that Mulder had taken back at the warehouse. He seemed to be attached to that. That had been one thing Mulder was happy he thought of on the spur of the moment. Things probably would have been a lot harder had he left the blanket.



"Can you open this?" Nikolas's voice pulled Mulder out of his reverie. Nikolas held out the toy that had come with his meal.



"Sure," he said taking the toy, "there you go. Hey look, it's a fish." It was one of the toys from the movie, 'Finding Nemo.'



"Just like yours!" Nikolas said excitedly.



"Yeah. You know I used to have one that was blue just like that."



"There were no blue one's at your house." Nikolas answered.



"She's not there anymore, I went away for a long time....and, uh, she didn't make it." Mulder finished uncomfortably.



"What was her name?"



"Molly," answered Mulder.



"You could get another one." Nikolas offered.



"I was thinking about doing that, I just never got around to it." He drank some soda and then added, "Maybe we can get one today, you can pick it out for me."



Nikolas was really excited and he finished eating as quickly as possible so they could get going.





MALL 3:45 PM



They stopped at 'Old Navy' first. Mulder picked out some things, with Nikolas's help. Two pairs of jeans, Two pairs of khaki's, two T-shirts (one blue and one grey), a long sleeve red T-shirt, and a black sweater. They spent almost eighty dollars there, which left enough to go shopping somewhere else.



They walked through the mall heading toward 'Gap Kids,' Mulder figured they would have some good stuff. He never shopped for a kid before but he thought he was doing a pretty good job. On the way they passed the 'Disney Store.' Mulder caught the sight of Nikolas' eyes when he saw all the toys. He wanted to go in, but he didn't ask.



"Why don't we go in here?" Mulder asked smiling.



Nikolas didn't even answer, he ran right in. He walked around looking at each and everything and Mulder followed him, letting him take his time. They reached a display of 'Finding Nemo' merchandise which made Nikolas very happy.



"You can get something if you want," Mulder told him, "and what about this shirt, huh? Do you like it?" Mulder held up a 'Finding Nemo' shirt.



"Yeah!"



"Okay, well pick out something else, and then we'll get going because we still have to go to another store."



After much internal debate, Nikolas decided on the stuffed blue fish, 'Dory.' Mulder paid for the two items and they left the store and headed towards their previous destination. They entered the kids 'Gap' and Mulder looked around,

Nikolas was no help, he was busy carrying the bag with his stuffed fish and he didn't seem to notice much else. Mulder grabbed a pair of black cargo pants that he thought would look cute and a white polo T-shirt. On his way to the register, a rack to his left caught his eye.



He walked over and picked one of the items off the hanger. Mulder thought. He paid for the pants and shirt, and the little black leather jacket.



On the way out of the mall they stopped in the music/video store and Mulder purchased the 'Finding Nemo' video. As he was buying it he realized that Nikolas's fascination with fish probably didn't have so much to do with the fish themselves, and more that they were probably the only animal he's ever seen. It would make things a lot easier if he knew exactly what had happened over the past four years.



They left the mall and went to the first pet store they came across. Nikolas, after almost half an hour, picked out a fish that was yellow and green.



They headed home and as Mulder looked in the rearview mirror at Nikolas, he noticed that for the first time he looked *really* happy.





Part 3:



That night, after putting Nikolas to bed in his out-of-use bedroom, Mulder took his ritual spot on the couch. After a few horribly written and acted late night sci-fi movies, he fell asleep, only to be awakened soon after by the ringing telephone.



"Yeah.." Mulder answered, his voice still groggy from sleep.



"Mulder. It's Krycek..."



Suddenly wide awake, Mulder asked, "What's up? Is something wrong?"



Krycek sounded out of breath. "I got the disc. I'm trying to catch the next plane. I just wanted to let you know. How's Nikolas?"



"He's fine....he misses you." Mulder said softly.



"It's only been a day." Krycek replied, though his voice betrayed his cool exterior. He missed Nikolas as well.



"So, are you sure everything is okay? You sound like you've been running."



"Yeah, well...I had a couple of detours along the way...nothing I can't handle. I'm at the airport, I'll talk to you soon." Before Mulder could reply, the line was disconnected.



Mulder lay awake, the glow of the TV excentuating the concerned look on his face. Eventually, sleep overcame him and he reluctantly drifted off.



For about an hour he rested peacefully. But then he woke with a start, and he wasn't sure why. He sat up, listening for the source. Then it hit him. Nikolas.



He ran to his bedroom and knew immediately that the sound had been Nikolas's cry. The little boy was curled on his side with his blanket over him. Mulder sat on the bed and put his hand on Nikolas's trembling shoulder.



"Hey...Nikolas...it's me, Mulder. You okay?"



He did not receive an answer, only more shaking. Mulder gently pulled the cover back to allow him a view of Nikolas's face. He ran his hand back through the boy's brown hair. Mulder stopped, momentarily, with his hand on Nikolas's head. He felt hot. He touched the back of his hand against the boy's forehead. Very hot. Mulder went to the bathroom , retrieved a thermometer and returned to the bedside. His temperature was 103.6.



Nikolas was now shivering uncontrollably. Mulder reacted quickly, grabbing his cell phone and calling Scully as he began to run a cool bath. After reaching Scully, promising to explain the details when she arrived, he picked up Nikolas and brought him to the bathroom.



"It's okay...you'll be okay...I'm just going to give you a bath..."



He quickly took the pajamas off and helped Nikolas into the water which, to his warm body, was freezing.



"I'm cold..." Nikolas cried.



"I know...this is going to help you though...you just have to stay in here a little longer."



Nikolas cried continuously until Mulder couldn't take it anymore and helped Nikolas step out of the tub. He knelt in front of him, wrapped him in a towel and dried him quickly. Nikolas was still crying and shivering. He leaned into Mulder's hands as he was dried and Mulder held him up as he finished. He then put the pajamas back onto Nikolas, doing most of the work while Nikolas stood in front of him. After finishing, Nikolas leaned into Mulder and cried even harder. Mulder leaned back against the wall, pulled the boy over and wrapped his arms around him.



"Sshhh....it's gonna be okay...it's alright..." He tried his best to be reassuring even though he had no clue what the hell was going on. Mulder didn't know what else to do, so he sat there and held on, offering the only thing he had...comfort.



A few minutes later, Scully let herself into Mulder's apartment using her copy of his key.



"Mulder?"



"In here..."



Scully followed the sound of his voice through the bedroom to the bathroom. She was shocked to say the least. She didn't expect anyone to be with Mulder, least of all a child.



Mulder stood and carried Nikolas back to the bed and gently placed him in the middle. As he moved to stand up straight Nikolas grabbed his arm, so he sat beside him instead. Nikolas pushed as close to Mulder as possible and rested his head on Mulder's leg, with is arm wrapped tight around it. Mulder watched the boy as he got comfortable and began to stroke his hair.



"Scully, this is Nikolas. Nikolas, this is my friend, Dana Scully."



"Hi Nikolas." Scully replied, looking to Mulder for an explanation. Nikolas didn't reply, his head was now buried between Mulder's leg and the bed.



"Uh, Mulder?"



"He's Krycek's son. Very long story. I called you because he woke up crying and he had a temperature of almost 104. I gave him a cool bath but I didn't know what else to do."



Scully saw the thermometer resting on the bedside table and motioned for Mulder to take it again. It was 102. Better, but not great.



"Do you have any Tylenol?" Scully asked.



"Just the adult dosage."



"That'll have to do for know. We have to give him something to get the fever down, I'll just break it up and give him a piece."



Scully left to get the Tylenol and water and returned with a very small, almost miniscule piece. She handed it to Mulder who nudged Nikolas to get up.



"Here, put this in your mouth and swallow it with this water."



"No.." Nikolas shook his head.



"You have to, come on. It'll help you feel better," Mulder said.



Reluctantly, Nikolas did as he was told and curled beside Mulder once again. Within minutes he was asleep.



"Sorry I woke you Scully. I guess it just kind of scared me...I don't know what to do with kids, especially not sick ones."



"Well, it looks like you're doing a pretty good job to me."



Mulder smiled. "So I guess you want the story now?"



Scully nodded. He told her everything, from the second Krycek had knocked on the door. She sat in silence listening intently. He also mentioned that the medical records were in the living room and that she should take a look. After discussing Krycek at length, and the risk's Mulder was taking trusting in him, Scully said she would leave so he could get his rest.



"You've been through a lot. Get some sleep, and I'll call you tommorrow. If you need anything just call."



"Thanks, Scully."



As she left, she grabbed the medical records to look at in the morning.



Mulder slid down to lay next to Nikolas as quietly as possible. He got himself comfortable, with Nikolas now using Mulder's arm as a pillow, and fell asleep.





PART 4:



Once again, Mulder woke to his phone ringing. He quickly glanced at the clock before picking up. It was 11:37 am.



"Mulder."



"Hey, it's me," Scully answered. "Did I wake you?"



"Yeah, but that's okay. It's getting late anyway."



"Well, I just wanted to check on Nikolas but I guess you wouldn't know anything yet."



"No," Mulder replied, "Let me call you back in a little while, okay?"



"Okay." And with that they both hung up.



Meanwhile, Nikolas had woken up and watched Mulder on the phone. Mulder placed the phone back on the nightstand and turned to the little boy lying next to him.



"Hey buddy, how are you feeling?"



"Cold."



Mulder took his temperature. It read 102.7 .



"I'll be right back okay?"



Nikolas nodded and Mulder retreated to the kitchen and quickly returned with some orange juice and a small piece of tylenol leftover from the previous night. After having Nikolas take it, he brought him out to the kitchen and asked what he wanted for breakfast.



"Nothing..," he replied softly.



"You should have something...let's see.." Mulder looked around for something suitable. "How about a little bit of cereal?"



Without waiting for a response he made a small bowl and sat Nikolas down at the table with his cereal. He ate it slowly, with Mulder watching him. Mulder then remembered to call Scully back.



"Hey Scully."



"Hi, what's going on over there?"



"Well, I took his temp when I hung up with you and it's almost 103 so I gave him some more Tylenol."



"With a persistant fever like this, I would normally recommend that you bring him to the doctor, but in this circumstance I think it would raise too many questions. You know, I did notice something this morning, when I was looking at his chart. It says he was getting injections of something, but it doesn't say what. His symptoms could be a mild form of withdrawal."



"Withdrawal? What could they have been giving him?" Mulder asked nervously.



"Could have been anything. Without running a full tox screen on him I have no way of knowing."



"Mulder...." Nikolas interuppted.



"Hang on Scully...What is it?"



"I don't feel good....my stomach hurts...." he replied quietly.



"Scully, he's not feeling well...I have to go."



"Okay Mulder, talk to you later."



"Alright, come on, " Mulder picked him up and carried him back to the bedroom. He sat him on the edge of the bed, but he instantly jumped off and ran to the bathroom. Mulder followed quickly behind. Nikolas, now crying, made it to the toilet and begin vomiting what little he had in his stomach between sobs. Mulder sat behind him and rubbed his back, waiting til he finished.



"Sshh...Your gonna be okay....it's alright...." he tried to say reassuringly.



When Nikolas finished, Mulder pulled him back to sit between his legs resting against his chest. He stroked Nikolas's hair and tryed his best to calm him down.



After sitting on the floor for almost twenty minutes, Mulder heard a sound at the front door. He listened intently, ready to jump up and get his gun off the nightstand.



"Mulder? I'm back..."



Krycek. And not a moment too soon.



Mulder looked down and saw Nikolas fast asleep. As quietly as possible, but loud enough for Krycek to hear, he said, "In the bathroom."



Krycek entered Mulder's bedroom and went to the entrance of the bathroom, leaning in with a hand on either side of the door.



He face, which had been smiling, instantly dropped at the sight before him.

Something was obviously wrong.



"What happened?"



"He's been sick since last night. He had a fever and was shivering....now vomiting."



Krycek sat in front of the pair already on the floor. He rubbed his hand along Nikolas leg, looking very nervous.



"I called Scully and she came over last night, I talked to her this morning too. She thinks it might be withdrawal. Apparently, they were injecting him with something. I had to tell her everything....I didn't think you'd mind...since he was sick."



"Yeah...I mean, no, I don't mind."



"Why don't you put him in bed, he'll be more comfortable."



Krycek leaned forward and took the little boy in his arms, brought him to the bed, and placed him under the covers. Only then did he open his eyes.



"Dad?"



"Yeah...I'm right here. Get some sleep, I'll be here when you wake up."



Nikolas closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep.



"I love you." Krycek whispered, more to hear himself say it then anything else.



Mulder, standing on the other side of the room, heard him - though it was barely audible. He smiled, went to sit on his couch and waited for Krycek.



A minute later Krycek walked in and sat beside Mulder.



"Rough day?" Mulder said sarcastically.



"You could say that."





PART 5:



"So what happened in Russia?" Mulder asked curiously.



"I had some guys following me. I wasn't sure who they were but they never approached me, so I just tried to lose them, I got the disc and went straight to the airport."



"So you got it then? That's good."



Krycek went silent for a minute. "Yeah....I had it. When I got back to D.C there were some guys hanging by my car...they, uh, they got it."



"What!? So now what do we do?" Mulder was amazed at how quickly this whole situation had also become *his* problem.



"Nothing. I recognized them. CSM sent them to get the disc. Impatient bastard."



"So they were there and you handed it over to them nicely? Doesn't sound right."



"No. I don't go down without a fight....you've had your share of dealings with that," he added with a smirk. "They knocked me around a little, took it out of my jacket and took off."



"Are you okay?" Mulder was genuinely concerned.



"Yeah sure...no guns atleast." Krycek looked suddenly uncomfortable.



Mulder now noticed how stiffly Krycek was sitting. "Your hurt." It wasn't a question.



"Don't worry about it Mulder. I've been through worse."



"C'mon let me help you."



"You already have." The weight of those words could almost be felt in the room. Mulder gazed into the eyes of a man who he felt he was only now starting to know. Ignoring Krycek's previous protest, Mulder leaned forward and eased Kryceks leather jacket off his shoulders. Kryceks hand went up to Mulders chest to push him away, but was quickly withdrawn. Whether it was because of the pain, or awkwardness of their situation, Mulder didn't know.



Mulder looked down at the front of Krycek's long-sleeved black t-shirt and noticed a stain. Though he couldn't see the color, he had no doubt as to what it was.



"Let's get this off."



With a sigh, Krycek gave in. Mulder pulled the arms of the t-shirt off then pulled the rest over Krycek's head. There was a gash about 2 inches long running horizontal across Krycek's abdomen. There was a lot of blood, but most of it was dried, and it didn't look too deep.



"Knife?"



"Yeah...you don't have to do this."



Without answering Mulder left the room and returned shortly with a damp cloth and bandages. Also some antiseptic stuff that Scully had left there last time she had tended to him.



"Mulder the boy scout," Krycek said.



"Yeah, I seem to remember buying these after your last visit." Mulder meant it to be a somewhat light-hearted statement, but the animosity that was usually between them was all to apparent.



Krycek nodded.



"Lie down, it's easier that way."



"You trying to have your way with me Agent Mulder?" Krycek replied, trying to bring some levity back into the room.



"Maybe later," Mulder answered cryptically.



Krycek narrowed his eyes and glared at Mulder for a moment before stretching out, on his back, on the couch.



Mulder wiped the area with the cloth, cleaning it as best he could and then applied the antiseptic ointment. Krycek winced.



"Sorry," Mulder said as he finished and bandaged him. "Good as new."



"Thank you. For this....for everything." Krycek used every ounce of self control he had to not start crying. His eyes filled with tears, but he desparately held them back. It had been a very long 3 days. Mulder sat on the edge of his couch and ran his hand through Krycek's hair. It had seemed like the right thing to do, but for the life of him Mulder couldn't figure out why. Yet there was no protest.



"Alex...." Mulder whispered, "it's okay."



What was okay? Krycek wondered what Mulder meant. Okay to cry? Okay to show emotion? Okay to be more scared then he has ever been in his entire life to have someone sleeping in the other room whose life was entirely dependant on him?



"It's okay." Mulder repeated. Krycek couldn't do it anymore, couldn't hide. He started crying. Mulder shifted his position so that he was sitting behind Krycek, with a leg on either side, and Krycek leaning back against him. Krycek turned into him and half-hugged, half-held on for dear life as he sobbed. Mulder embraced him and drew circles on his back with his hand.



"Everything will be okay." He couldn't be sure of that, but Krycek was grateful to hear it. It was comforting. He was being comforted. That in and of itself was new.



They had been laying like that for awhile when they soft footsteps echoing down the hallway. Nikolas appeared from around the corner, shivering, with his blanket wrapped around him and dragging on the floor. Krycek sat up and Mulder swung his leg off the couch.



"Come here buddy," Krycek said. He pulled Nikolas in between himself and Mulder and Nikolas put his head in Krycek's lap. "He feels really hot."



Mulder went to retrieve the thermometer. After taking his temp, Krycek read the results, "103.2"



"Maybe we should bring him to one of those emergency room/clinic type places. They won't ask as many questions as a hospital or doctors office and we need to do something."



"Okay. I'll get him dressed." Krycek replied.



"I'll get the clothes out for you." Mulder grabbed jeans and a shirt from the shopping bags and handed them to Krycek. When they came out of the bathroom Mulder was holding the little leather jacket.



"He needs a jacket right? I figured it's what you would have gotten."



Krycek smiled and took it from Mulder. He put it on Nikolas and couldn't help but laugh. He looked like a mini Alex Krycek. "Thank you, Mulder." He picked Nikolas up and they headed out the door.





PART 6:



CLINIC

3:36 PM





They went to the closest clinic to Mulder's apartment, which was about thirty minutes away. They made it there in a little over fifteen thanks to Krycek's skillful, yet sometimes illegal driving. Mulder went straight to the front desk, got the necessary paperwork and joined Krycek and Nikolas in the waiting room chairs.



"Okay..." Mulder read as he began to fill out the form, " Name....Nikolas...Mikhael....Krycek.... Address?"



Krycek looked at him with an uncertain look on his face.



"That should be the easy question." Mulder stated.



"Can we just put yours? Not like it really matters, half of that form is going to have to be a lie anyway."



Mulder, deciding to let it go for the time being, wrote down his own address.



"So, no insurance...you do have money with you?" Krycek nodded. Mulder continued, "Doctor....What should I put?"



"Scully?"



"Yeah, that way she can field any questions that might arise." Mulder replied as he wrote down the name.



After filling out the form to the best of their combined ability, Mulder handed it to the receptionist. She told him to go to room three. The three of them headed to the room to wait.



"So who exactly am I, in case the doctor asks?"



"What do you mean?" Krycek asked.



"Well, your his father....Am I just tagging along for the ride? Or how about a crazy uncle?"



"Uncle's fine." Krycek laughed. "Imagine if we were brothers?"



"I'd rather not." Mulder said smiling.



The doctor then entered, interrupting their conversation. "Hello. I'm Dr. Taylor. How are we doing today," he moved his gaze towards Nikolas. Nikolas in turn slid closer to Krycek, who was sitting next to him on the exam table. Krycek told the doctor Nikolas's symptoms and the doctor listened intently. When Krycek finished, he took his stethoscope from around his neck, placed it in

his ears and stepped towards Nikolas.



Mulder was hit with the sudden realization that this was not going to be easy. Neither him nor Krycek had thought about what Nikolas's attitude toward doctor's would be. Probably not great.



"I'm just going to listen to your heart okay? Just like this," he demonstrated it on himself, noticing Nikolas's nervousness. Nikolas shook his head.



"It's okay, I'm right here. He's not going to hurt you." Krycek tried to sound confident, but Mulder figured he had just come to the same realization.



Dr. Taylor raised his hand with the end of the stethoscope to Nikolas's chest.



"No...leave me alone," Nikolas mumbled, backing away as far as he could. Krycek put his arm around him.



"Just let him do this Nikolas. It'll just take a second." Nikolas leaned into Krycek, so Krycek picked him up and placed him on his lap. He then nodded to the doctor. Dr. Taylor listened to Nikolas's chest, while Nikolas squirmed and tried to get away. Krycek held onto him, and kept saying that everything was okay. By the time the doctor finished with that one task, Nikolas was crying.



After a few routine things which took much longer than they normally would have, due to Nikolas's lack of cooperation, the doctor said that everything seemed fine which left one more thing. Blood tests. Krycek and Mulder looked at each other.



Nikolas was still crying, soaking the front of Krycek's shirt. The doctor left the room and was replaced shortly by a friendly looking nurse. She set up her tray on the table next to Nikolas.



"Okay, can I see your hand Nikolas?" Nikolas, still crying against Krycek, shook his head 'no' and buried his hands between himself and Krycek's chest. "It's not going to hurt," the nurse continued, "it'll just be a little pinch on your finger, that's all."



Krycek took Nikolas's hand gently and held it out so the nurse could get it over with. Nikolas cried even harder. She cleaned his finger and pricked it as quickly as she could. After taking his blood she put a band-aid on him. "All done, " she said. "That wasn't too bad was it?" Nikolas did not answer, instead he continued to cry, so she smiled at Krycek and Mulder and left the room.



"All done, buddy. Calm down." Krycek said quietly. Nikolas's sobs continued with gasps for breath between them. Mulder stood up and walked over to them, placed his hand on Nikolas's back and said, "Hey...your okay. We're almost done here, we can go in a few minutes....try and calm down though, okay? Your gonna make yourself sick."



The doctor came back in to tell them that someone would get in touch with them as soon as they got results. Krycek thanked him and they walked out to the car.



The ride back to Mulder's apartment consisted of mainly Nikolas crying and Mulder and/or Krycek telling him to relax.



Mulder carried Nikolas up to his apartment and continued to hold onto him after Nikolas refused to be put down. Krycek went to the kitchen to see if there was anything to make for dinner, and found nothing.



"I'm going to run to the store for some groceries." Krycek said, walking back into the living room.



"I can do that if you want to stay."



"No," he answered, a little too abruptly, "I'll go. I'll be back soon."



Krycek looked at Mulder for a second before leaving and Mulder wasn't sure what to think. He did notice that he didn't say goodbye to Nikolas.





PART 7:



"Where's daddy going?" Nikolas asked when he heard the door close behind Krycek.



"He's going to the store to get some food, he'll be back soon." Mulder sat down, still holding Nikolas, and turned on the T.V. After a few minutes, Nikolas drifted off to sleep and soon after that, Mulder was out too.



Almost two hours later, Mulder woke up. He looked around briefly. "Alex?" No answer. He got up slowly, so as not to wake Nikolas, and looked around his apartment. It was empty. His first instinct was to call him, but he didn't know the number. He was starting to worry. What if something happened and he needs help?



"Mulder?"



Mulder walked from the hallway where he had been standing into the living room. "Hey Nikolas."



"Where's daddy?"



"Um...he's not back yet. Are you hungry?"



Nikolas nodded. Mulder picked up the phone and ordered a pizza. While waiting for the pizza, he decided to call Scully.



"Scully."



"Hi Scully, it's me. Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner."



"That's okay, how is everything?"



"Well, Nikolas was getting worse and then Alex - uh, Krycek came home and we decided to bring him to a clinic. They took some blood so we're just waiting on the results. Oh yeah, I put you down as his doctor. I didn't think you'd mind."



"No, that's fine. What are you up to now?"



"Just ordered a pizza for me and Nikolas...um, Kryceks out."



"Oh. You want some company?"



"Sure."



Scully arrived half an hour later, yet still no sign of Krycek. Mulder was pacing while Nikolas watched cartoons so it only took a split second for him to answer the door once Scully knocked.



"Hey...come here." Mulder pulled Scully into the kitchen as another person knocked at his door.



"Wait here." Mulder paid for the pizza, got a plate and gave Nikolas a slice to eat on the couch before returning to Scully.



"What's up Mulder? What's wrong?"



"Krycek's been gone for more then two hours. He was just going to get groceries. I don't know if something happened, or if he just took off...."



"Do you think he would? Take off without saying anything?"



"I would say no...but then again, how would I know? I don't know him. I know he went through a lot to get this kid safe so it seems really stupid to throw it all away, but I don't know!"



"Maybe he just got side tracked and he'll be here soon. Give it a little more time. Worrying isn't going to solve anything."



"Not worried." Mulder mumbled. Scully gave him a disbelieving look. "Nikolas need him."



"Yeah....I know. Besides, in the mean time he has you. So, I wouldn't worry too much about Nikolas."



Mulder nodded and they joined Nikolas in the living room. He ate pizza and watched 'Spongebob Squarepants' with Scully and Nikolas, which happened to be the biggest Friday night plans he had in a very long time, but there was only one thing on his mind. Alex Krycek.



"I should get going Mulder it's getting late. Nikolas should probably be getting to bed."



"Yeah, thanks for coming over, " he said as they walked to the door.



"Don't worry Mulder, I'm sure he'll come back." Scully gave him a hug. "Bye Nikolas."



Nikolas yelled goodbye from the other room. Mulder closed the door behind Scully and rejoined Nikolas.



"Let's get you cleaned up and in your pajamas, okay? Come on." Mulder turned off the T.V. and led Nikolas to the bedroom.



Once Nikolas was settled and in bed he said, "You said daddy would be back soon."



"I know, I thought he'd be back by now. I don't know what's taking him so long, but don't worry. He'll come back." Nikolas nodded but did not look reassured, so Mulder added, "He loves you."





PART 8:



After spending half of the night with Nikolas, assuring him that Krycek would be back, Mulder spent the following day doing much of the same. He was starting to need reassurance himself. Something bad happened to him, or he just left. Mulder was mad either way. If he was hurt, Mulder had no way of finding him. If he left, well, Mulder wouldn't know what to do.



He went to bed that night feeling like he was lying to Nikolas, since he really didn't know if Krycek would be back or not. When he eventually fell asleep, he had tears running down his cheeks, much the same way Nikolas had a couple hours earlier.



Mulder's door opened slowly. Mulder sat up quickly, shook his head to wake himself up, and reached for his gun. Krycek walked through the doorway. Mulder was still tempted to reach his gun.



"It's just me." Krycek said quietly.



Mulder stared at him, not sure what he should say first. He was really pissed and really happy that he was back. That thought alone made him mad again.



"I....I'm sorry..." he offered, waiting for Mulder to react.



"Your sorry?" Mulder answered just as quiet. "Well then that makes everything alright."



"No...I just...."



"What? You just what? Where the fuck have you been?!" Mulder got off the couch and started towards Krycek, who didn't move a muscle. "Why did you leave? I had no idea where you were, if you were dead or if you were just too much of an asshole to call and say you needed awhile to yourself. God...Nikolas....did you even think of him?!"



"He's all I thought about."



Mulder pushed Krycek into the nearest wall and stood inches from him. "Fuck you. If you were thinking of him you should have told him what you were doing. He thinks you left him."



"I wouldn't...."



"You did! You came back, so what? You left in the first place! You know, he cried himself to sleep the past two nights. Thinking that his daddy changed his mind and didn't want him anymore."



Krycek, though he tried not to, started to cry. Mulder ignored it.



"So where did you go? You owe me that at least."



"It's not important....I just needed to think. My whole life is different now, Mulder. I'm glad I have Nikolas, but it was a lot to take in..."



"You think it isn't hard on him? You shouldn't have left." Mulder now had tears running down his cheeks.



"I know...I'm sorry, I am....I should have called at least to tell you I was all right." Krycek leaned forward a little and, sensing no resistance, pulled Mulder close to him. Mulder hesitated for a minute and then brought his arms up around Krycek's back.



"I'm sorry Mulder," Krycek whispered into his ear.



Mulder was now sobbing and for the life of him he couldn't figure out why. He should be mad, but he was so glad that Krycek was here, alive, and holding on to him. Nothing else seemed to matter.



Krycek walked him over to the couch and they sat down together, Mulder resting his head on Krycek's shoulder. They were silent for a few minutes, until the question that had been nagging at Mulder for the better part of two days got to him.



"Where do you live?"



"What?"



"Where do you live? You wouldn't tell me at the clinic."



Krycek sighed. "I don't live anywhere really."



"Everyone lives somewhere. Even if it's the street. Something tells me you have enough money to keep yourself off the street."



"You could say that."



"So?" Mulder prodded.



"I have enough money to bounce from motel to motel every few nights."



"Seriously?"



"It tends to be best not to stay in one place for too long." Krycek replied.



"Even now? There's no more Syndicate, you work basically for yourself right?"



"Yes."



"So, you can find a place now right? Settle down, so to speak."



"I'm going to have to."



"Don't you want to?" Mulder asked.



"Of course. It's.....It's just never going to be completely safe....that's why I left, I was thinking about all this."



Mulder sat up and looked into Krycek's eyes. "You'll protect him."



"Yeah...."



"Well until you find a place you can stay here." Mulder was surprised at how easy it was for him to offer that.



"Mulder - " Krycek started but was cut off by Mulder's look. "I don't know what to say, Mulder."



"Say that you'll stay."



"I will."



Mulder returned to Krycek's shoulder and they both fell asleep that way.





Part 9



Krycek woke first and gently moved Mulder away so he could get up. He went to the bedroom to find Nikolas lying awake.



"Nikolas?" Nikolas looked up.



"Daddy!" He scrambled out of the covers and to the edge of the bed where Krycek met him. Krycek crouched down next to the bed so he was eye level with Nikolas.



"Hi buddy, how are you feeling?"



"Okay. Are you staying home now?"



"Yeah I'm not going to go anywhere. Sorry I left the other day and didn't tell you." Krycek took the boy in his arms. "Come on, let's go wake Mulder up."



Mulder was already awake, still sitting on the couch.



"Hi," Nikolas said happily.



"Hey..." Mulder replied, half awake.



"Daddy, wanna see the fish Mulder bought me?"



"Uh, sure." Nikolas ran to get the stuffed fish from the other room.



"Mulder, I know I said it last night but I need you to know...I meant what I said. I'm sorry....I'm sorry for scaring you."



Mulder shook his head, then became slightly confused.



"Uh, I never said I was 'scared'."



"The implication was there."



"I don't remember using the word 'scared' at any point in our conversation and I'm sure that if I had used it, it was probably in regards to Nikolas."



"Whatever," Krycek said smiling. "Your crazy you know that?"



"I've been told as much, though most people like to use the word 'paranoid'. But hey, whatever floats your proverbial boat."



Krycek looked at him like he was crazy. Or paranoid. Nikolas came running back with his toy, thrusting it into Krycek's arms.



"That's cool, did you thank Mulder?" Mulder laughed. "What are you laughing at?" Krycek asked.



"You. Specifically, you teaching someone good manners." Krycek laughed too. "And he did, he was very good."



The phone rang and Mulder rose to get it.



"Hey Mulder, it's me," Scully said.



"Oh hey."



"I wanted to let you know that the doctor you brought Nikolas to just called me. He said all of the test results came back clear. He says it was probably just the flu, or a bad cold."



"Do you think that's what it was?" Mulder asked skeptically.



"Well, how's he doing now?"



Mulder covered the phone with his hand. "It's Scully, she wants to know how he's feeling." Krycek and Mulder both looked to Nikolas, who said, "Fine."



"He say's he's okay."



"Maybe the doctor is right. Or, maybe whatever they gave him isn't detectable - or it was but by the time they took blood it was already out of his system."



"Yeah." Mulder replied quietly.



"You okay Mulder?"



"I'm fine....I just wish we knew what happened, you know?" Mulder looked to Krycek who looked equally concerned.



"Well maybe one day he'll be able to talk about it. But even if he doesn't, it's behind him. He'll be okay now."



"Yeah...I know."



"I'll let you go, if he feels sick again you can give me a call."



"Thanks Scully."



Mulder put the phone down on his desk and returned to the couch. "So what's for breakfast?"



"Don't look at me, it's your house," Krycek replied.



"Yes, but I wasn't the one who was supposed to go and get the food, which leaves the responsibility with you."



"Ha ha, very funny. So, we'll go out to eat, and on our way back we'll go to the store. And by the way, normal people have food in their houses anyway, whether other people live with them or not. You can't lay all the blame on me." Krycek, ignoring Mulder's mock look of being insulted, turned to Nikolas. "Go get some clothes and I'll be in in a minute to help you."



"Still your fault, " Mulder mumbled, pretending to be hurt.



"Oh, poor baby."



"You know, I'd be nice to me if I were you. You are a guest."



"Okay, okay, I'll be nice." Krycek slid himself over right next to where Mulder was sitting on the couch. "I don't want to mess up what we have going here," he said more quietly.



"We have something going?" Mulder said, his voice shaking slightly.



Krycek leaned in slowly, giving Mulder time to protest. He stopped when they were only an inch apart. Mulder could feel Krycek's breath against his lips. Mulder slowly moved his hand from his side to Krycek's chest. He held it there for a moment, not moving. Krycek thought Mulder was going to stop him. Mulder thought about stopping him. Instead, he moved it up around the back of Krycek's neck and pulled him in that last inch. Their lips met briefly, but Krycek pulled away and looked Mulder in the eyes, silently asking him if he was okay with this progression in their relationship.



"Alexei," Mulder said, pausing to catch his breath, which suddenly seemed impossible, "kiss me."



xx The END xx







"I Got You" by Nick Carter



People tell me, you stay where you belong

But all my life I've tryed to prove them wrong

They say I'm looking for something that can't be found

They say I'm missing out, my feet don't touch the ground

But there are moments when you can't deny what's true

Just an ordinary day, like when I met you



It's funny how life can take new meaning

You came and changed what I believe in

The world on the outside's trying to pull me in

But they can't touch me, cause I've got you



I want to thank you, for all the things you've done

The most for choosing me to be the one

And it hits me when I reach for you, that I'm afraid you won't be there

Maybe I am in too deep

But I don't care

I'm right where I belong, I got you

I'm gonna prove them wrong

You can't deny what's true and they can't touch me now that..

I've got you
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