Rating: PG-13 for language
Characters: Mulder, Krycek, Scully
Pairing: None in this part.
Genre: Casefiley fluffy thing.
Disclaimer: Not mine not mine not mine.
Summary/Author’s Note: I know a post-series lighthearted casefile sounds awful, but that is what this is. Right now it's gen, but knowing me, it will probably end up going all slashy.
Be not the slave of your own past.
Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far,
so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power,
with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
It was a beautiful day. Mulder was vaguely unhappy.
Not that he had anything to be unhappy about; he was healthy, fit, fed, occupied, had a roof over his head, and a nice SUV to drive. He craved a solid puzzle to work on, as always, but his mind tinkered pleasantly with smaller objects, working, as ever, on its own internal Mulder-logic. Can't complain...but I can, he thought.
Still: it was a warm spring day. Too warm for the coat he was wearing, but it had started out colder in the morning when he'd started the trip into town. Sunny. Blue sky. Errands accomplished; mail picked up; he was looking forward to lunch, a walk, and a long afternoon session on his computer.
Not a cloud in the sky.
He couldn't help wishing for just a little bit of trouble. Not something really bad, just something different. Familiar routine was never a situation he was comfortable with for too long; he needed excitement and the thrill of the chase. Research of the kind he was currently doing was all well and good, but he wasn't cut out for a life of unsullied domesticity. Not 24/7.
Where were all the liver-eating mutants hiding these days, anyway? Probably writing high-protein diet books. Lower your carbs and rid yourself of unwanted neighbors. Next Oprah's Book of the Month Club selection.
Absorbed in idle self-amusement, Mulder almost missed the body in the drainage ditch. He'd driven past it before he realized that the shapeless heap of black in his rearview mirror wasn't a trash bag; it was a man in a black windbreaker, curled on his side.
Whoa. He braked; stared for a moment. Talk about synchronicity.
Alive? He couldn't tell. Mulder reversed, pulled up beside the still form...and still couldn't tell.
Cautious as ever, he rolled the power window down; yelled "Hey!" but got no response. He beeped his horn; the only reaction was from a cow in a nearby field, which twitched an ear and stared blankly at him, as if to say asshole in its mild bovine way.
Mulder favored it with a glare. "They used to mutilate guys like you in the old days," he told it. I'm talking to a cow. Right then. See what a life of serenity and calm does?
He parked the SUV and unholstered his gun, pocketing the keys before climbing out. The guy in the ditch was probably just some poor drunk SOB, or possibly a dumped body, though that was rare out here. Certainly not a shapeshifting monster...but you never knew, right? Fucking rural idyll; nothing ever happens, he thought. I mean, it's wonderful; who wouldn't love it? He really ought to just call 911, but old habits and insatiable curiousity died hard.
He crept closer. "Hey..." he called again, and still got no response. He couldn't tell whether the man was breathing, but somehow he didn't feel dead; there wasn't that distinct sense of non-being you got around a dead body. No flies either, his mind noted automatically.
A slight breeze ruffled the man's dark hair; his back was to the road and to Mulder. Black jacket, black jeans, black boots. Goth or ninja? Mulder started to think, then mentally reined himself in. He was enjoying this too much just because it was out of the ordinary, but this was someone's misfortune, not an adventure dropped from the blue to entertain a certain bored ex-Fibbie...and not a game. He needed to stay focused.
Cautiously, his gun still trained, Mulder reached out his own boot and toed the man onto his back - and jumped back what felt like six feet.
Jesus. Jesus! ...No, whoever this was, it certainly wasn't Jesus. But it also couldn't be the person it looked like.
The movement roused the man slightly; he shifted, and Mulder could see a dark stain on his left side. Blood, and quite a bit of it.
The man's eyes opened, cloudy and unfocused, then settled hazily on Mulder's face. Eyes as green as the grass their possessor was sprawled on.
The wounded man cracked a weak, lopsided grin. "Mulder. What next. Somehow I knew you'd show up," he rasped, before his eyes fluttered shut again.
"Krycek? Krycek? What the hell - how - ?" Mulder spluttered, but there was no reply.
Mulder toed him again, once, then harder, resisting the urge to kick. Aw, shit. Well, shit! It couldn't be Krycek. It couldn't be anyone else. But whoever it was and whatever was going on, the guy was unconscious and bleeding.
He should call the cops. He should call an ambulance. He should call anybody. It could be a trap, a bounty hunter – no, no greenstuff – it could be anything. He definitely should not be shoving Krycek - if that's who this was - over his shoulder and manhandling him into the back of the SUV.
Damn, it felt good to be breaking rules again. It had been too long.
“Explain to me again why you didn't just call an ambulance?” Scully said in an exasperated tone, tearing a length of surgical tape off the roll.
Mulder just waved his hands. “Look at him. It's Krycek.”
“It can't be Krycek,” Scully said patiently. “He's got two arms. And he's alive.”
“Yeah, I'm still trying to figure that one out.”
“A clone,” Scully offered. “A shapeshifter. Plastic surgery. A twin. Come on, you're the one who used to come up with the boneheaded – I mean,” she corrected herself, as Mulder indignantly shoved his hands on his hips, “obscure theories. And whoever he is, he ought to be in a hospital.”
“Maybe he's protecting his identity.”
“By showing up on your doorstep? And since when are you helping Krycek, even if it possibly could be Krycek?”
Mulder was defensive. “I'm not helping him, I just want to know what he's doing here.”
“Well, he's not bleeding to death, no thanks to you.”
“Hey, I called you. You're a doctor.”
Scully shot him that look. Mulder crossed his arms.
“...and don't do the eyebrow thing!”
Scully did the eyebrow thing.
Half a decade later, she mused, and with both of them having died at least once, Mulder still got crazy when you stuck him in a room with Krycek. Correction – crazier. Apparently the effect was undiminished even when one of them was unconscious.
“It's not Krycek,” Scully repeated. I hope. God, I hope. “You're lucky the wound was clean and nothing vital was hit. I've given him an antibiotic; he'll probably drift in and out for awhile. Keep him hydrated when he wakes, and if he doesn't wake up in a few hours, call me.” She packed up her case and got up to leave.
“Nngh,” Mulder said, biting his thumb; staring at the man in the bed. “You'll take that bullet to have it analyzed, right?”
“Yes. I agree, it's very odd-looking. But Mulder,” and at his name, he finally looked around at her. “I don't like this. I really don't like this.”
He softened and came over to stand with her. “I know.”
He held the door for her. “And don't hit him,” she cautioned as she left.
“I'm not going to hit him!” He yelled.
At least...not yet...