Title: How the Ghosts Stole Christmas
Summary: What if... it was really Krycek with Mulder at the haunted house on Christmas eve, and not Scully.
Notes: Chung Jr. challenge at The Cube, I 'borrowed' pretty heavily from the script of the ep with the same title.
Mulder stepped across the threshold of his apartment building into the clear, cold night, gasping as his breath was stolen by an icy wind.
He hesitated fractionally, step checked by a sudden crawling sensation at the back of his neck and glanced casually around. The feeling was familiar somehow, which was why he was wholly unsurprised to recognize the shadow lurking near the mouth of an alleyway. Still moving with a casual, unhurried ease, he walked toward the alley, head bent to the wind, apparently oblivious to the shadow until he was just in position.
"What are you here for, Krycek?" he growled into his captives ear as he slammed the man into the wall and used his own body to keep him pinned there.
"Let go of me." The husky voice was soft but forceful though Krycek stood without resistance in Mulder's grip.
Mulder considered the command, hesitated and finally released his hold, though he remained crowded against the other man, giving him no room to maneuver and scarcely any room to breathe.
Alex Krycek stood completely still, his only movement the faint rise and fall of his chest as he breathed. "I was free tonight," he finally murmured with a helpless shrug. "So I thought I'd come by and say hi, Merry Christmas and all."
Mulder blinked and his expression went from confusion to disbelief to disgust in three blinks. With another flick of his eyelashes, his expression went blank and he stepped away from his nemesis. "Hi, Merry Christmas." With that, he turned and stalked away.
"What the hell is going on here, Mulder? No Merry Christmas punches, no Happy New Year insults?" Krycek demanded, his voice following Mulder down the street. "When did you start listening to me? Are you sick, Mulder?"
Mulder ignored him, not stopping until he had to insert the key to unlock his car door. He couldn't believe Krycek's nerve, showing up here outside his apartment for supposedly no other reason than to be friendly. It was totally against everything in his nature to believe something so innocent about Krycek, and yet... he found himself inexplicably wanting the man's company. Anyone would do, he told himself as he wrenched his door open. Anyone at all, it's just that Krycek happened to be in the right place at the right time and Mulder's resistance was weak.
He leaned over without a word of explanation and popped the lock on the passenger door. One word, one wrong move and he'd toss the son of a bitch out on his ass, no matter where they happened to be, Mulder vowed to himself. It made him feel better about letting a viper slide into the seat next to him.
The door opened, and Krycek peered cautiously into the dark interior, wondering what manner of insanity this was.
Mulder waited, hands clenched white on the wheel, having second, third and fourth thoughts about allowing this man to come with him. "Look Krycek, either get in or close the door. I don't have all night," he said calmly, "and I'm cold."
Gingerly, Krycek climbed in and Mulder studiously pretended not to notice his quizzical expression. "So, where are we going?" Alex asked, drawing the seat belt across his chest.
Mulder waited until he heard the click, then cranked the engine, and slammed the car into reverse. He was acutely conscious of the warmth of the body next to him, almost as if he could actually feel the heat from Krycek's bulkier form radiating across the car. It was a hell of a lot warmer than the frosty air coming to him from the frozen car heater, that much was certain.
Unseen, hazel eyes rolled in irritation. Silently, he drove out of town. The man next to him watched the scenery.
After 15 minutes of silence, Krycek turned to Mulder with an impatient sigh. "Come on, Mulder. You're not going to keep me in the dark again, are you?"
Mulder ground his teeth together in annoyance, clenching his hand in a fist. "What the hell am I doing?" he muttered. Taking his hated enemy along with him on an investigation was not the way he had intended on spending his holiday. The weird thing was how a strange feeling of peace always entered him, whenever the traitor was nearby. It made no sense, so he took comfort in the safety of anger.
"Give me one good reason to not kill you and dump your body in the gutter."
"Besides the fact that I can still beat you with one hand?" Krycek laughed.
Mulder's grip on the wheel tightened, his knuckles turning white as he tried to control his temper.
"Besides, you're dying to know my real reason for turning up on your doorstep. It makes more sense to have me in your sights, than stressing yourself out over my whereabouts."
Fighting to control his normally unflappable temper, Mulder wondered why he could see nothing around the red haze of anger when he dealt with Krycek.
Since the cell in Tunguska, when Krycek had demanded he not touch him; Mulder found the desire to touch him overwhelming. But, there was something about the words and the tone the younger man had used that touched the profiler's brain. There was more meaning in his words than possibly even Krycek realized. So, now he was forced to simply fume impotently.
This time he was determined to get around his fury and actually profile the man. Maybe even figure out what went on inside Krycek's head.
After another ten minutes of blessed silence, Krycek spoke up again, "How much longer?"
"If you're attempting to sound like nothing more than that annoying green agent you pretended to be in the past, it isn't working, so shut-up," Mulder turned onto an exit.
Krycek's smile was feral, but he became silent.
Mulder slowed the car, peering in the dark at street signs. Finally finding the road he wanted, he turned down it, and after a short distance, parked in front of a large, gothic manor. Fog hung omnipresent low, hugging the thicket of overgrowth around the dark, creepy looking house.
Krycek's eyes widened in helpless curiosity. "Ghosts?"
The grin on Mulder's face lit his entire system. "In 1917, a young couple built this house and lived together happily. Unfortunately, war was waging in part of the world, while on the home front there was a flu epidemic. One night, they killed each other. Rumor has it they loved each other to such an extent that they formed a lover's pact." Mulder's voice was filled with unholy glee as he explained the situation to the traitorous rat bastard.
"We're going to explore a haunted house on Christmas Eve?" Krycek's tone was only mildly incredulous.
Mulder turned to him, eyes gleaming. "Do you have anything better to do? I thought you wanted to spend the holiday with me?" Not waiting for a response, he clambered out of the car and walked off towards the house.
After sprinting up the steps, Mulder watched impatiently, rubbing his arms with his hands in the cold; he waited while Krycek approached the house glancing around cautiously.
"How the hell have you lived so long without ANY survival instincts?" Krycek growled, finally stepping onto the porch.
Mulder ignored his comment and asked, "You know how to pick locks, right?"
"What?!" green eyes narrowed in disbelief.
Mulder snickered. The door suddenly swung open of its own volition, and with a shrug, Mulder crossed the threshold. Krycek turned around first, staring off into the distance, watching as another set of headlights approached the house, before following Mulder.
Inside the front hall stood a Grandfather clock, the soft double chimes indicating the time as a ten o'clock.
Mulder's flashlight swung around revealing cloth covered furniture, dusty tabletops, framed pictures and a staircase.
"So, what are we looking for? Evidence of ghosts, I'll bet. You want to talk to a ghost, don't you?" Krycek followed closely behind Mulder with his gun drawn, peering into the shadows cautiously.
"You wouldn't be interested in talking to a ghost?" Mulder turned to Alex, his eyes sparkling with good humor, until he saw the gun. "Geez Krycek! Put the gun away. It's not like you can kill a ghost a second time."
"Yeah, well, what if we come up against a live person? They can certainly die a first time."
"No one lives here, I checked. Now put it away."
"All the more reason to keep it out. If we do meet up with someone living, they shouldn't be."
"Krycek," Mulder's voice was lowered with irritation.
Stubbornly, Krycek shook his head.
Realizing the futility of attempting to convince Krycek to relinquish his self-protective instincts, Mulder shrugged and dropped the subject. He admitted to feeling a bit nervous himself. If the younger man felt safer with the weapon, what would it hurt?
Krycek stuck close, his eyes skittering in all directions. He watched as Mulder tried opening the different doors. "Come on, Mulder. They're all locked. Let's get out of here."
"You scared?" Mulder taunted him.
At that precise moment, one of the previously locked doors swung open.
"You better believe it," Krycek raised his gun again and approached the door, planning to investigate.
"I've got your back," Mulder assured him, not actually moving to help.
Krycek used his foot to open the door even more, and peeked around the corner. Seeing nothing, he stepped into the doorway. "Mulder," he asked, "are you sure no on e lives here?"
"Well, when we were in the car, the house was dark. Now look at this."
Mulder approached to see what Krycek was pointing out to him. They stepped into an elegant, turn of the century two level library. Above them was a lit chandelier, and harpsichord music played in the background. There was a ladder leading to the lower level, and all the furniture except that by the fireplace was covered with white cloth.
"Must have been some sort of electrical surge," Mulder suggested.
Krycek glanced at his watch when he heard the clock in the foyer strike the quarter hour, "did you happen to notice the clock downstairs was keeping perfect time?"
"How do you explain this?" Krycek pointed at the smoking fireplace as they descended the fireplace. "This fire has just gone out."
Alex grinned, "don't look so disappointed," the relief was evident in his own voice.
"Why would anyone want to live in a cursed house?" Mulder wondered.
"It's not enough that it's haunted, it has to be cursed, too?"
This time Mulder grinned and nodded, telling his story with obvious relish, "Every couple that's lived in this house has met a tragic end. Three double murders in the last eighty years. All on Christmas Eve."
They both glanced above, when they heard a door slam and some thumping.
"There's that sound again," Mulder muttered.
The floorboards began to creak, and Mulder began moving furniture. Krycek turned away when the library door upstairs creaked. "Ermm... Mulder? The ladder leading upstairs is gone." When he got no response, he turned back, "Mulder?"
Mulder glanced up from the floor, where he had his ear to the floor. "I think there's a hiding space underneath the floorboards." He stood up and walked to the fireplace.
"What are you going to do?" Krycek asked, watching as Mulder brought back a fireplace shovel.
"There may be someone trapped under there, Alex. I have to get them out."
Mulder realized that Krycek was truly scared. "I can't believe it. Big, bad, consortium assassin is afraid of ghosts?" he was honestly surprised.
"I'm also afraid of oilians, other aliens, and one-armed peasants with knives," Krycek confessed, "if you can't control something, then you should fear it," he advised.
Mulder was unable to actually argue with Krycek's logic, so he turned back to work prying the floorboards loose. He pulled up some of the boards and exposed a very dead man.
"Well, I was half right, anyway."
Krycek peered over his shoulder and groaned, "Why is it that whenever we get together, someone always ends up dead?"
Mulder ignored him, in favor of pulling up more floorboards exposing another body. "Hey, Krycek, look at this."
Krycek shone his flashlight in on the two decomposed corpses. One appeared to be shot in the belly, while the other had a bullet in the skull.
"It looks like they were shot to death," Mulder observed.
"Great detective skills, Mulder," Krycek dead-panned. Looking closer, he noticed something. "You know what's weird?"
"They're wearing our clothes."
Mulder glanced at his own outfit, a white t-shirt and leather jacket, Krycek was wearing a black t-shirt with a leather jacket. Then he looked at the bodies. "Um, Krycek... that one on the left has only one arm."
"That's us," Krycek hissed, and grabbed Mulder's shoulder, hauling him to his feet and pulling him to the door.
"Like I'm going to protest," Mulder muttered, letting himself be dragged away.
They ran out of the room, and into... the library again. Mulder and Krycek swung their flashlights in opposite directions, and then over each other, before running for the door again.
"Hey Krycek, this is the same room," Mulder observed.
Krycek glared at him, "No shit, Sherlock."
They tried again, and entered the library once again. The dead bodies were still exposed, so they were left in no doubt that they were in the still room.
"All right, I think I'm beginning to... get this," Mulder decided, heading for the door.
Divining Mulder's intentions, Krycek shook his head and went after him. "No way are we splitting up."
"But if I go out that door, I should come out... that door."
"What if it doesn't work that way?"
Mulder suggested, "You prefer we be trapped in here together?"
"I didn't go under that wire in Tunguska for you for the food," Krycek growled.
"Why Alex, I didn't know you cared," Mulder grinned at him.
Krycek's eyes snapped fire. "Fine, go through there. I'll wait for you here, but if this doesn't work, I'm seriously going to hurt you," he warned.
"What could happen?" Mulder asked, opening the door and walking through.
Krycek watched as Mulder stepped through the door, and then waited for him to walk through it again. "Mulder!" he called out, running to the door. It slammed shut in his face. When he tried to open it, he found it to be locked.
They had been separated. He punched the wall in frustration. "You asshole!" he shouted at the empty room.
Mulder walked through the door, to enter the same room, only without the presence of Alex Krycek. He walked further in and the door slammed shut behind him. He ran back to it, only to find it locked.
"Alex!" he called out, pulling his gun from its holster. He shot the lock to the door, and opened it. Instead of a doorway, he encountered a brick wall. "Shit," he muttered, realizing Krycek had the right idea after all. He turned back to the room, and came face to face with an older man wearing a hat.
"Hey, who are you?" Mulder asked.
Maurice gave him a suspicious glare, and then looked at the damaged lock. "That's a question I should be asking. This being my house you're standing in. This isn't one of those home invasions, is it?"
"Good, would you like me to show you to the door?"
Mulder gaped at him, "That's very funny."
"I wasn't making a joke."
Mulder glanced back at the door, "Have you looked at the door?"
"Uh-huh, I'm looking at it right now."
"Tell me what you see."
The older man looked behind Mulder, and answered, "I see a door with the lock shot off it. You going to pay for that?"
"That's a door with a brick wall behind it," Mulder informed the man.
The ghost gave him a disbelieving look, and clearly humored him when he replied, "Okay, sure."
Mulder shook his head, "You're playing tricks on us."
"If I am. I'm sorry, because I don't know any tricks."
"Yeah? That's a trick in itself, isn't it? You've been playing tricks on us since we got here."
Maurice glanced around. "Am I to take it we're not alone?"
Mulder chuckled. "Ah, that's very funny, coming from a ghost."
The older man began to laugh heartily. "Yeah, oh... the gun fooled me a little at first. You're a ghost hunter, huh? And you think I'm a ghost, huh? I've seen a lot of strange folks come around here with a lot of strange equipment but I think you're the first to come here armed."
"Strange folks?" Mulder asked.
"Like those folks under the floorboard?" Mulder turned and shone his flashlight on the floor, but the corpses are missing and the floor looks untouched.
"How did you do that?" Mulder wanted to know, nervous, but curious as well.
Maurice gave him another odd look. "I didn't do anything."
Mulder walked to the part of the floor where he knew the bodies had been. "There were corpses here--bodies buried under the floorboards," he sounded lost.
"Why don't you have a seat, son?"
A short time later, Mulder was sitting down, with his face in his hands.
Maurice sat in the chair next to him. "You drink, take drugs?"
Mulder shook his head.
"Are you overcome by the impulse to make everyone believe you?"
Mulder looked up at him in surprise.
Maurice went on to explain himself, "I'm in the field of mental health. I specialize in disorders and manias related to pathological behavior as it pertains to the paranormal."
"Wow, I didn't know such a thing existed," Mulder replied, sounding impressed.
"My specialty is what I call soul prospectors--a cross axial classification I've codified by extensive interaction with visitors like yourself. I've found you all tend to fall into pretty much the same category."
"What category is that?"
Maurice smirked, "Narcissistic, overzealous, self-righteous egomaniac."
"That's a category?"
"You kindly think of yourself as single-minded, but you're prone to obsessive compulsiveness, workaholism, antisocialism... fertile fields for the descent into total wacko breakdown."
Mulder began to realize the man was intentionally pushing his buttons. "I don't think that pegs me exactly."
"Oh, really? Waving a gun in my house? Huh? Raving like a lunatic about some imaginary brick wall?"
Mulder looked over at the door, seeing the bricks still blocked the way.
"You've probably convinced yourself that you've seen aliens. You know why you think the things you do?"
"Because I have seen them?" Mulder suggested.
"'Cause you're a lonely man. A lonely man chasing paramasturabatory illusions you believe will give your life meaning and significance and which your pathetic social maladjustment makes impossible for you to find elsewhere," Maurice explained patiently.
"Paramasturabatory?" Mulder couldn't hide his amusement at the word, but was irritated at the accuracy of the man's hits.
"Most people would rather stick their finger in a wall socket, than spend a minute with you.
Mulder had had it, "All right, now just... just back off for a second."
"Spend every Christmas this way... Alone?"
Confidently, Mulder shook his head, "I'm not alone."
"No, I came here with my..." he paused, trying to think of how to define Krycek, without giving the old man more to use against him, "an old acquaintance. He's somewhere in the house."
"Behind a brick wall?" Maurice suggested, sarcastically.
Mulder smiled and nodded.
"How'd you get him to come with you? Did you just... take him for a ride, and sort of end up here?" Maurice wondered.
Mulder's smile disappeared, but an interesting smirk appeared in its' place. "He'll follow me anywhere, out of curiosity if nothing else."
"You know why you put up with him, even though you can't stand him, right? Because you're afraid. Afraid of loneliness. Am I right?"
"I just want to get back to him," Mulder snapped at him.
"Good... easy. Piece of cake." Maurice stood up and walked through a clear doorway. He turned back to face Mulder. "Brick wall," he indicated the doorway, "or brick wall," he pointed to his head. "Go ahead, change your life."
Mulder got up and started to walk through the now clear doorway. He ran into an invisible wall... which turned into bricks the minute he hit it. Maurice was out of sight. Mulder turned back into the room, rubbing his nose to see the library was dark again.
"Mulder?" shaking his hand after hitting the wall, he turned and jumped when he saw a woman standing by the fireplace. "Who are you?" He aimed his gun at her.
"Lyda." she squeaked, when she saw the gun. Then more bravely, she continued, "I live here, and who may I ask, are you?"
Alex shook his head. "You don't live here, no one lives here." The gun didn't waver.
A huge gaping hole appeared in Lyda's abdomen, and she gave him a slight smile. "You're right, I don't *live* here. In which case, your gun isn't going to help you much."
This time, the gun wavered, and Alex fell back. "Huh?" he blinked once, before shaking his head and stepping forward again. "Nice parlor trick. I don't believe in ghosts."
Her appearance became normal again and Lyda looked around with a smile and asked snidely, "Then what are you doing here?"
"It's my partner."
"He believes in ghosts?"
"Oh, you poor child. You must have an awful small life. Spending your Christmas Eve with him... Running around chasing things you don't even believe in."
"I don't see how you can talk. Spending all this effort on perpetrating a lie, just to entertain ghost hunters."
"Don't change the subject," she snapped. "I can see it in your face, the fear, the conflicted yearnings, a subconscious desire to find fulfillment through another. Intimacy through co-dependency."
Krycek laughed, "did you rehearse that in a mirror?"
Lyda glared at him, "certainly not."
Krycek lowered his gun with a fatalistic shrug, "the only thing I fear is Mulder's death. Without him alive, the world wouldn't be worth living in."
Lyda's frown dissolved, and was replaced by a huge smile. "You do love him then. I wasn't sure, you both being men and all. But, I try to be up with the times, and I think it's wonderful."
"What are you talking about? I don't love the bastard. He hits on me every time we meet. Who would love someone like that?"
"Don't be silly dear, that's known as foreplay."
Krycek gaped at her.
Maurice entered the room without opening the door, and walked to stand next to Lyda. "What's foreplay?"
"This young man," she began, then turned to Alex, "what's your name?"
"Krycek, wait a minute, who are you?" he asked of Maurice, his gun arm raising again.
"I'm Maurice, her husband." he turned to Lyda, "We really attract them, don't we?"
Krycek clicked off the safety of his gun and snarled, "Where's Mulder?"
"He'll be coming."
"Go stand over there until he does. Both of you," he pointed his gun by the fireplace.
"This violates our civil rights!" Maurice protested. "I have friends in the ACLU."
"Put your hands up."
They just looked at each other and Krycek shot Maurice. The bullet went right through the ghost and a chunk of brick from the fireplace fell from the impact.
Krycek stared in disbelief for only a moment, before he began pacing and muttering, "fucking bastard, he had to find a house with real ghosts." Then he turned his attention back to them, "so is it true? You convince couples to form a lover's pact so they'll kill each other?"
Maurice turned to face Lyda. "We used to be so good at this."
"He's trying to distract us. He was telling me earlier that his partner hits on him all the time."
Maurice nodded, sagely. "That was the foreplay comment. I spoke with that Mulder fellow, and it seems he feels the same way for Krycek. Though I've yet to figure out why they call each other by their last names." he shrugged.
"What do you mean, Mulder feels the same way? How does he feel about me?" Krycek interrupted, disbelievingly.
Maurice gave Lyda a wink, unseen by Krycek and turned his attention to the young man. "Seems he thinks a lot of you. He said he'd trust you with his life. Called me crazy when I suggested you might leave him here."
"You're talking through your hat, old man," Alex informed him, rolling his eyes.
"This hat?" Maurice removed his hat, showing the hole made from the bullet.
"I hope you don't expect that to shock me," Alex mocked him, not noticing when Lyda left the room.
Maurice gave him a sharp look, "Any reason it doesn't?"
Cut scene to Mulder:
Flashlight in his mouth, Mulder strained to lift himself up onto the upper level of the library. Lyda watched from the lower level until he made it, and then appeared before him, on the upper level.
"Are you Agent Mulder?"
Mulder gave her a suspicious glare, "Who are you now?"
"What are you doing, using my chair for a ladder?"
"I'm trying to get out of this room."
"Trying to get out?"
Mulder tried to push past her, "Excuse me."
"No, no. You can't get out that way."
Mulder hesitated and poked her in the shoulder. Finding her to be solid, he pushed her against the wall.
Mulder opens the door, only to be confronted by another brick wall.
"I don't know who you're calling a frump, but I certainly don't appreciate that-- being manhandled, or called names. Certainly not at this hour."
"You're a ghost."
Lyda frowned, "Oh, more names!"
They walked down the now visible ladder to the chairs at the lower level.
"What happened to the star-crossed lovers?"
Lyda raised her hand off-handedly, "Let me tell you, the romance is the first thing to go."
Mulder's eyes lit up with realization, "It's you. You're Lyda, and that was Maurice. But... you've aged."
"I hope your partner finds you more charming than I do." She pranced over to the bookcase. "Let's see, where is it?" Lyda muttered to herself, as by themselves, the books pulled out of the bookshelf.
A smile touched Mulder's lips as he watched in fascination.
"No, no, no, no...." Lyda continued muttering to herself, "there it is," she selected a book; The Ghosts who stole Christmas. "I was young and pretty once, just like your partner."
"Don't let him hear you say that," Mulder laughed.
Lyda ignored him, paging through the book. "Whoo! Look at us. Maurice was so handsome." A fire blazed to life. "He didn't have a gut." She handed the book to Mulder.
Mulder looked at the attractive couple, and the Chapter title- Tale of the Star Crossed Lovers.
"I hope you're not expecting any great advantages to all this."
"To all what?"
Lyda gave him an exasperated look, "I'm assuming you came here with similar misconceptions."
Mulder shook his head. "We came here looking for you."
"Oh yeah? You didn't come here with that sweet young man to be together for all eternity?"
Mulder snorted, "God, no!" then in an undertone, he added in disbelief, "sweet young man?"
Lyda ignored him and continued, "Because you're filled with despair and woeful Christmas melancholy?"
Mulder looked at her in confusion, "Why?"
Lyda sighed. "Maybe it was your partner then."
"Unlikely." Mulder crossed his arms over his chest.
"You knew this house was haunted."
"Maybe you two should have discussed your real feelings before you came out here. I'm speaking from experience."
Lyda lifted her chin. "I'm not going into semantics. A murder-suicide is all about trust."
"I thought you had a lovers' pact."
"Poetic illusion aside," Lyda laughed, "the outcome, Mulder, is pretty much the same." Lyda stood and opened her robe, exposing the bullet wound.
"Oh!" Mulder had the grace to look shocked.
"I don't show my hole to just anyone," Lyda tightened the sash to her robe again.
Rather disgusted, Mulder asked, "Why are you showing it to me?"
"It isn't like you're going to be eating any Christmas ham now, is it?"
"Oh, wait. You're trying to tell me that Krycek is going to shoot me. Krycek wouldn't shoot me."
Lyda shrugged. "Suit yourself, but if you shoot first, for him, the rest is an act of faith."
"I wouldn't shoot him. Beat him to a pulp maybe, but I wouldn't shoot him."
Lyda looked startled, but regained her equilibrium quickly, "Maybe he shoots himself."
"I wish! No, Krycek wouldn't shoot himself. He's a survivor."
"The bodies under the floor--maybe that was just a kind of Jungian symbolism. Or maybe, it's a secret lovers' pact."
Mulder snorted, "We're not lovers."
"And this isn't a pure science. But you're both so attractive, and there'll be a lot of time to work that out." She handed him a gun, "go ahead, take it."
Mulder quickly checked his holster and realized his gun was missing.
"Take it. Think of it as the last Christmas you'll spend alone."
Lyda disappeared, and the gun fell into a surprised Mulder's hand.
Scene cuts to Krycek:
"Where did that crazy wife of yours go?"
"To check on your boyfriend. Do you have any idea of why he brought you here to this house?"
Krycek sighed, "let me guess. To kill me, and then himself, so we could be together for all eternity, right?"
"It's not a joke," Maurice protested. "Do you realize how seriously disturbed that man is? How dark and lonely? What he's capable of?"
"Yeah, I do," Krycek replied, knowingly.
Suddenly there was a commotion outside the door, and he heard Mulder pounding on the door. "Krycek?!"
"Mulder!" Krycek ran to the door.
"Want this?" Maurice held out Krycek's gun.
Krycek stared in surprise, before his eyes narrowed. "How did you get that from me?"
"He's got nowhere to go this Christmas. No one to go with. Did he happen to mention a story about a lovers' pact?"
"Yes, he did. Give me my gun," Krycek didn't dare get too close to the man, not wanting to set him off; but he wanted his weapon.
Maurice held the gun out of reach, "the man is acting out an unconscious yearning. The deep-seated terror of being alone."
"He's not alone, he's got Scully," Krycek protested, wondering why the fact suddenly seemed so irritating.
More pounding on the door. "Krycek, are you in there?"
"I'm here, Mulder," he called out. "I don't want to be, but I am," he muttered.
"Open the door," Mulder demanded.
Alex strode confidently to the door. It wouldn't open.
Maurice stepped forward, holding his gun out to him. Krycek grabbed it. "Open the door," he demanded.
"I've seen it happen too many times in this house," Maurice warned.
"I don't believe you, just open the door."
Maurice reluctantly opened the door.
Maurice opened the door and Mulder entered the room, gun drawn.
Alex blinked, "Mulder?"
Mulder turned to face him, and fired the gun.
Krycek jumped, "Mulder?"
Mulder advanced on him. Krycek still held his gun, but didn't raise it to defend himself. Mulder fired again, shattering a mirror behind him.
"Mulder, what are you doing?" Another bullet went past his head. "Mulder."
"There's no getting out of here, Krycek. There's no way home." Mulder pulled the trigger once again.
"We had an agreement, you jerk. I let you hit me without fighting back, you don't kill me. Put the gun down!"
"Are you going to shoot me, if I don't?"
"I'm not going to shoot you, you know I can't shoot you. I don't want to kill you." Krycek backed away, nervously.
Mulder stalked him, chanting, "It's you or me, me or you. One of us has to do it."
"Mulder, look. We don't have to do this."
"Oh yes, we do."
Krycek glanced around wildly, "we can get out of here."
"Even if we could, what's waiting for us? More loneliness! Then another 365 more shopping days till even more loneliness!" Mulder answered, maniacally.
"You're lonely? Shit Mulder, you've been lonely for forever. Why are you flipping out, now?"
Mulder lowered the angle of his gun and fired. Krycek dropped his gun in shock and stared down at the bullet wound in his gut. He looked back up at Mulder, who was biting his lower lip, as if in pain himself, but he still had a wild look in his eyes. Slowly, he fell to the floor, still staring at his ex-partner.
"Merry Christmas, Krycek," Mulder raised the gun to his own head, "and a happy New Year."
Maurice rushed over to stop Mulder from firing the gun.
"Let me go!"
"Mulder," Krycek whispered, watching as Mulder was restrained from shooting himself.
"Let me go, let me go, let me go!" Mulder whimpered, unhappily, unable to get free from Maurice.
Krycek lost consciousness.
Mulder transformed back into Lyda, and she began laughing against Maurice's chest.
Scene cut to Mulder:
Mulder walked through the door, into another version of the library and saw Krycek lying on the floor, bleeding. He ran over to him.
Krycek opened his eyes. "Mulder, is that you?"
"What did you do?"
"I didn't believe it, Mulder."
"You didn't believe what?"
"I didn't believe that you'd do it... That I would..."
Mulder looked down to see Krycek had raised his gun to his chest.
"Merry Christmas, Mulder."
Without pulling away, Mulder asked, "What are you doing?"
Krycek fired the gun. Mulder, in shock falls back, bleeding from the chest.
Lyda, lying where Mulder had just perceived Krycek, giggled happily. An old phonograph player begins playing "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
Without looking back at the now empty spot, Mulder stumbles out of the room, bleeding heavily.
Krycek came back to consciousness and rolled over, groggily crawling out of the room.
Music still filled the house, "Have yourself a merry little Christmas Make the Yuletide gay From now on, our troubles will be miles away Here we are, as in olden days
Mulder reached the foyer and fell against the wall, a trail of blood leading him to the stairwell. "Krycek?" he called out, seeing the other man a few feet away, crawling to the door.
Music: Happy golden days of yore, Faithful friends who are dear to us Gather near to us.
"Krycek," Mulder gasped out, trying to get the traitors attention.
Music: Through all the years, we all will be together...
Krycek rolled over painfully and pointed his gun at Mulder. With difficulty, Mulder managed to return the favor.
Music: Until then, we'll have
"Ah, I'm not going to make it," Krycek whispered, lowering the gun, before he fell back onto the floor.
Mulder held his gun on the other man, "No, you're not. Not without me, you won't."
"Are you afraid, Mulder?" Krycek gasped, "I am."
Mulder lowered his gun, "I am, too."
They both roll over painfully, to face each other.
Music: Faithful friends who are dear to us, Gather near to us...
"You should have thought of this, earlier," Mulder scolded him, without anger.
"You should have."
"You shot me first!" Mulder accused him.
"I didn't shoot you. I never would have shot you. You shot me," Krycek protested.
Music: If the fates allow, Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow.
With dawning realization, Mulder stood up. "Krycek."
Krycek coughed, "What?"
"I can't," Krycek admitted.
"Get up, you're not shot. Remember Cole?" Mulder held his bloody shirt away from his chest.
"It's a trick. It's in your head, like the gun and bible thing, remember?" Mulder walked over to offer a hand to Krycek.
Krycek nodded, letting Mulder pull him to his feet.
"You see," Mulder pulled away Krycek's bloody shirt. Alex looked down for a moment, and together they ran out the now unlocked door. Once outside, they looked at their suddenly clean shirts, then ran to Mulder's car, completely ignoring the car parked a few yards away.
Music: Faithful friends who are dear to us Gather near to us once more Through the years, we all will be together If the fates allow Hang a shining star upon the highest bough And have yourself a merry... little Christmas now.
Inside, the clock struck eleven. Maurice and Lyda watched their departure from the window.
"We almost had those two, didn't we?" Lyda murmured.
"Almost had them," Maurice chuckled, "but I think we may have better luck with the man and woman that entered the house a little after those two."
Lyda smiled at him, "oh yes, they're even lonelier than the two departed oddballs. And all that artillery they brought in with them, I'm going to have fun."
"That's my girl. We'll save our reputation, yet."
"They're in the bedroom, aren't they?"
Maurice laughed. "Let's go get them."
Scene fade out...
Later that evening in Mulder's apartment:
Mulder handed Krycek a beer. "What were you really doing here?"
"There was a hit put out on you tonight," Krycek confessed, taking the can, and relaxing further back into the couch.
"I should have known. Did you know who would be coming after me?"
"Yeah, a married pair of assassins that call themselves the deadly duo. Talk about a dumbass title," he rolled his eyes, then continued, "I heard tell that they were planning to kill you, and then drop you off as a Christmas gift. I don't think we have to worry about them anymore though."
"Why not?" Mulder wondered.
"Because, that was their car in the driveway earlier tonight."
Mulder grinned, realizing, "They haven't got a chance against Lyda."
Krycek grinned back, surprised to realize he was enjoying himself.
"Heh, I told Lyda you wouldn't kill me," Mulder brought up, already pushing the knowledge of his near death aside.
Krycek's brow raised. "Did you now? How could you be so sure?"
"I'm still alive," Mulder shrugged.
Krycek couldn't argue with him so he changed the subject, "did we really just meet a pair of ghosts?"
"Did they really want to get us to spend eternity TOGETHER?"
At this, Krycek laughed, and decided to tease the older man, "Aww, come on Mulder. You know you actually like me. We have issues. We're trying to find intimacy through co-dependency."
"We aren't intimate!" Mulder protested vehemently.
Krycek gazed at him from lowered lashes. "Would you like to be?"
Hazel eyes opened wide. "Are you serious?"
Surprised at the response elicited, he replied, "Sure, why not? It's Christmas, let's get it on," he suddenly saw a chance to take their odd relationship further than ever before. If it didn't work out, he wasn't the one that would start feeling guilty.
Mulder squinted suspiciously at him. "What color is your blood?"
Krycek laughed, "you saw it earlier tonight, remember?"
"Well, it is Christmas," Mulder murmured, more to himself.
Krycek smiled, "Good will to your fellow man?" he grabbed Mulder's wrist and pulled him down to sit next to him.
"I'm supposed to just forget what you've done, and you're going to pretend you don't detest me?" Mulder wondered, still disbelieving, but not moving away.
"You always forget what I've done, besides, I don't detest you, Mulder. I just don't like you," Krycek informed him, reaching out to Mulder's neck, pulling him closer.
Mulder nodded, accepting this truth. "Well, that's all right then," he decided, not pulling away when Krycek leaned in for a kiss.