It had taken almost three months to arrange the deal--two of them spent finding out which of the various alien factions was holding Mulder, and then the last month in negotiations. They were happy with the trade, though, particularly since Marita seemed to have traces of the both the Oil and the vaccine in her system. His alien contacts were looking forward to hours of fun playing with her blood chemistry.
Alex Krycek was looking forward to hours of fun as well.
He'd had to knock Marita unconscious and tie her to a gurney to get her to agree to the deal, of course, but that had all been part of the fun from his point of view. Now he was waiting at the meeting point, out in the middle of the Arizona desert. It was one of the few places outside Oregon and Manhattan you could park a spaceship without anyone noticing and raising a fuss.
The aliens were late, but he had expected that. Sometime in the mid-seventies they had encountered the concept of being fashionably late, and they now applied it to every occasion. Including high-level meetings with the last member of the Consortium left standing.
He'd heard a rumor that Jeffrey Spender was in hiding in Florida, but Jeffrey didn't count. And Marita wasn't exactly standing any more either. Getting the gurney into the back of the truck one-handed had been a real pain, too.
Now the wind was getting stronger, and he saw a flash which might have been lightning--but probably wasn't--on the horizon. The flash repeated and resolved itself into a pattern of lights approaching too quickly to be so silent. As always, you couldn't even tell it was a ship until it was hovering above you. Too late for most of the schmucks who encountered his alien buddies, Krycek thought to himself, but less of a problem for him. Not since a certain agreement had been reached in the bottom of a South Dakota missile silo, anyway.
The usual column of light appeared, leading down from the center of the saucer to a spot just ahead of the truck. There seemed to be a couple of figures descending through it, along with... Oh shit, he thought, was that a pine box about six and a half feet long? He had specified that he wanted the man alive, damn it! Krycek slid out of the truck to stand just outside the light, glaring up at the figures there. The shapeshifters were hard to tell apart, but he thought this one was named Percy; the second body belonged to Cassandra Spender, although he wouldn't be surprised to see the Oil looking out of her eyes when she got here. But only Cassandra Spender would have picked that pink bathrobe thing to make an appearance in. He'd never really understood why the aliens didn't abduct supermodels to use as their hosts.
"Hey, Perce," Krycek said, when the figures reached the ground. "What's with the pine box?"
Percy--at least he hoped it was Percy--didn't respond. Cassandra Spender--or the Oil--answered instead. "He's unharmed. Mostly unharmed. But he was reluctant to move." Only the Oil, he decided, would use a phrase like reluctant to move.
"So you put him in a coffin," he muttered. "Great."
"Do you have the subject?" Cassandra asked.
"Yeah, she's in the back of the truck. Do you think Percy here could give me a hand with the switch?" She nodded majestically, although in Krycek's opinion the effect was ruined by the pink bathrobe. He took one end of the pine box and Percy took the other. Mulder was pretty quiet, although there might have been some kind of moan when they shoved the box into the back of the pickup. Then he climbed in and pushed Marita and the gurney out onto the ground. "I'll take this out to the ship," Krycek said. "You get the cooler and the bag in the passenger seat."
The gurney was difficult to steer across the dirt one-handed. When he got her back to the column of light, Cassandra was still there. She made a kind of humming noise as he pushed Marita into the light, then looked past him to Percy. "Are those the cookies?"
Krycek nodded. "And the beer."
"Good," she said. "Thank you, Alex Krycek. We are pleased to be able to offer you this gift in return."
"My pleasure," he said. "Don't mention it."
Once the three of them were back in the blue light they began to rise into the ship. Krycek watched until they disappeared into the ship and the ship itself vanished. "Beer and chocolate chip cookies," he said to himself. "Who'd have guessed?" Then he went to get the crowbar out of the back of the truck and start breaking the box open. He could already hear Mulder hammering away at it from the inside.
Fifteen minutes later he lifted the lid from the coffin and gave an appreciative whistle. Six feet plus of stark naked Mulder. Naked except for the bright orange ribbon the aliens had tied around his neck. Mulder stared back at him, somewhat less appreciatively. Then he gathered his strength and hurled himself at Krycek. The impact pushed the two men off the back of the truck.
"Krycek, you bastard!" Mulder shouted. "What the hell are you doing here? Where am I? What's going on?"
Krycek was too winded from the fall to answer. His attempts to get Mulder off of him only left the two of them rolling around in the dirt. Mulder kept up a steady stream of abuse and questions, until suddenly he shouted, "Fuck!" and fell silent.
"What?" Krycek asked.
"I think I rolled onto some cactus," he admitted. Letting the other man go, he stood up and twisted around, trying to look at his ass.
Krycek had not intended his first close contact with Mulder's ass to consist of picking needles out of it, but even he could see that the needles would have to come out before anything else could go in. Muttering a curse in Russian, he got up as well. "Come on. I have a first aid kit with tweezers back in the truck."
Since Krycek couldn't hold the flashlight and the tweezers at the same time Mulder ended up bent over the passenger seat of the truck, his butt in the air. The light in the cab wasn't very strong, and Krycek kept needing to run his good hand over Mulder's ass to find the needles. He'd been sorry to see the orange ribbon go, but Mulder had removed it as soon as they got to the truck.
"So, Krycek," Mulder began, "Ouch--what's this all about?"
"I've rescued you. From the aliens."
"I didn't need rescuing," Mulder protested. Although it hurt each time Krycek plucked a nettle, there was something surprisingly pleasant about having the other man so close to his ass. "We were having a great time! I was teaching them to play bridge, and they were showing me--ouch--their vacation pictures from the Grand Canyon. And Cassandra Spender was there, and Samantha too. Well, someone who looked like Samantha, anyway."
"So you were looking forward to a life of bridge parties with Percy, Sam and Cassandra? Jeez, Mulder, and you say I'm a sick bastard."
Mulder ignored that. "What did you have to do to get me out of there? Sell yourself as a prostitute? Hand over state secrets? Betray Scully?"
"Scully's fine," Krycek said absently. "She was in the area a little while back but had to head back to DC--some kind of family emergency. And something about a giant bat--Marita didn't get all the details. Skinner's looking out for her. No, I did a trade for you. Beer and cookies."
"Beer and cookies?" Mulder asked. He straightened up and turned around so that he was facing Krycek, wincing slightly as his ass rested against the passenger seat.
"The aliens never got around to telling you about their plan, did they?" Mulder shook his head. "OK, what you have to understand," Krycek said, "is that the whole conspiracy was a mistake. The aliens didn't intend to colonize the earth. They were just looking for a bar."
"A bar." Mulder repeated.
"They love beer. You don't think the sudden growth of the microbrew industry in the US is a coincidence, do you? And the aliens are the people behind that whole 'real ale' movement in the UK. The problem was that sometime in the mid-sixties they became addicted to chocolate chip cookies, and for a while they thought that they would have to take over the planet to ensure their supply. We worked that all out a couple years back, but it's taken a long time to dismantle the whole conspiracy."
"So, no conspiracy."
"And Scully's fine."
Flesh and blood can only resist six-plus feet of naked Mulder for so long, and Krycek had reached his limit. He wrapped his one good hand around the back of Mulder's head and kissed him for all he was worth. He'd wanted to do this for years, and now was his moment. The conspiracy was finished, the aliens were happy, Marita was out of his hair for good. And if Mulder killed him for it, well, at least he would die happy.
To his surprise, Mulder didn't even threaten to hurt him. Instead, he started kissing Krycek right back, with equal enthusiasm. When they finally fell apart, gasping for breath, Krycek was staring at him, his eyes glazed. "Mulder?" he asked.
"You mean... you... I thought you hated me."
"Nah," said Mulder. "I've had time to do some thinking. I meant to tell you, but you disappeared."
"So... you and Scully never..."
Mulder laughed. "You're kidding, right? Scully's been dating a surgeon over at George Washington for the last three years. Although, you know, sometimes I wonder if she's cheating on him with Skinner."
"Oh..." Krycek said, still somewhat dazed.
Mulder started to kiss him again, then, and he lost his train of thought. A few blissful minutes later, he became aware that Mulder was trying to say something. "What?" he whispered, moving his mouth away from Mulder's and starting to kiss the other man's neck.
"Could we--ooh!--take this somewhere more comfortable?"
"Sure," Krycek said. "I have a friend who owns a bar in Bora Bora."
Where they lived happily ever after.
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