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Life or Death: An Oz/XF Crossover

by Maddie and Haven.

Alex Krycek rushed into the rebel facility, looking for his new trainee. He heard the commotion long before he saw it. A member of the staff ran out of a room as he approached.

"Krycek! Hurry! We're trying not to hurt him. But no one can get close enough to inject him."

Krycek went to the open doorway and looked in. Chris Keller, the man he was supposed to begin training, was currently holding off three guards, all of whom looked to be in worse shape than Keller himself.

"Keller!" Krycek yelled. Keller looked his way, but never backed down. "You have to let this go. If not, they're either going to hurt you or drug you. Calm down and I'll explain what's going on and answer your questions. Deal?"

"How do I know you're not lying?"

"You'll have to take that chance," Krycek said. He turned to the guards. "Back away."

As the guards moved toward the door, the one with the bloody nose pivoted and hit Keller in the stomach, hard. Keller went down as Krycek advanced on the guard.

"Son of a bitch! What the fuck's wrong with you?" Krycek shouted.

"That motherfucker broke my nose!"

"Tough shit," Krycek said, shoving the man toward the door. "Think about what management will do if they find out you injured their newest operative."

The man paled and quickly exited the room.

Keller was leaning against the wall when Krycek turned back to him. "Sorry about that."

"Tell me what the fuck is going on here."

Krycek sighed. "Tell me what you remember after your ... fall."

"Waking up here. Where the fuck am I? And who are you?"

"Alex Krycek. Have a seat."

Keller remained standing, still glaring at Krycek.

Krycek chose his words carefully. "The people I work for are impressed with your ... abilities. Your resourcefulness," Krycek said, cringing inwardly as the words he spoke brought to mind the recruitment speech Spender had given him years ago. "They want you to join our team."

"You a cop?" Keller asked suspiciously. "FBI?"

Krycek laughed. "No."

"So what's the deal? Who would I be working for?"

"Do you - - what do you know about aliens?"

Keller gave Krycek a narrow-eyed look that suggested he was questioning his sanity.

"Illegal ones, or little green ones?", he asked with a smirk.

Krycek smiled, thinking he might grow to like Keller. "Ah, not little and green, but ..." he paused, then decided to just say it. "Keller, we're on the verge of an alien invasion, and we need your help fighting it."

Keller stared at Krycek for a moment, then burst into laughter. Krycek waited until the laughter tapered off, then said, "I know how it sounds - -", which set Keller off again.

When his laughter subsided again, he asked, "What's your angle here, Krycek? What are you after?"

"Just what I told you." Seeing the look on Keller's face, he pointed a stern finger and warned, "Don't laugh."

"Sorry, pal, but you're either insane, or you're fuckin' with me."

Krycek made a wry face and shook his head. "Think back, what's the last thing you remember before you woke up here?"

The answer, when it came, stunned him: arguing with Toby and going over the railing. "Why aren't I dead?" Keller demanded.

"You were," Krycek replied, straight-faced. "Do you remember anything else?"

Keller did, but he didn't know how to put it into words. "So where am I? This doesn't look like Heaven *or* Hell."

Krycek nodded, a grim smile on his face. "You're back on earth. You were revived by an alien healer, so that you can help us fight the invasion."

"Yeah, well, I'm sure this is a great ... opportunity, but I'll just be on my way," Keller said, moving toward the door.

"Keller, it doesn't work that way. You either help or you die. They didn't revive you just for the hell of it."

"Look, send me back to Oz if you want, but I didn't ask for this shit."

"That isn't an option. You either work for us or you die." Keller didn't appear convinced, so Alex decided to take another tack. "Look, Keller, I know how hard this is to take in, but how else do you explain the fact that you're here, without a scratch, after the fall you took?"

Keller scrubbed his hands over his face.

"Let's go and get something to eat, and I'll tell you all I can."

Keller reluctantly followed Krycek to the cafeteria.

Keller took a bite of the food Krycek got for him and grimaced. "Jesus! This is as bad as prison food."

Over their meal, Krycek briefed Keller, revealing they were at a rebel base, where Keller had been brought after his death. When he told Keller he would be training him to kill Aliens, Keller once again erupted with disbelief and laughter.

"So, Krycek, say I believe you, and say we stop this... invasion. What then?"

"What do you mean?"

"What happens to me? I'm free, I go back to prison, what?"

"You'll go free."

"Okay, Krycek, one condition and you got a deal."

"Depends on what it is."

"I ... did something to get someone's parole revoked."

"And you want it reinstated?"

"I want him cut loose, not paroled."

"And why should we do this?"

"Well," Keller said, leaning back and looking shrewdly at Krycek, "obviously your people went to a lot of trouble to get me, so I figure I'm worth it to you."

Krycek grinned at Keller. "Who is it you want cut loose?"

"Guy named Tobias Beecher."

"What's he to you?"

"We did time together," Keller said, evasively. "And it's none of your business. Get him out, and I'll be your man."

Krycek shot him an appraising look that quickly morphed into a leer. "I'll hold you to that." Krycek pulled out his palm pilot and began typing. He glanced at Keller, saying, "Two or three days should be all it takes. I'll get you proof it's been done."

"You'll do better than that. I want to see him, see that he's out and that he's okay."

"They'll never agree to that. You can't be seen by anyone who knew you. You'll have to take our word on it."

"Fuck no, I won't. I don't know shit about you, or the people you work for. And I don't want him to see me," Keller said, then added softly, "I just need to know he's safe."

"This guy special to you?"

"Fuck you, Krycek. That's none of your business, either."

Krycek smirked. "I'll see what I can do."

Krycek and Keller sat in a car across from a park, looking out heavily tinted windows.

"Remember Keller, any attempt at contact with Beecher and I have orders to kill you."

"Whatever. Don't be so melodramatic."

Keller had been distracted all morning and now sat restlessly, tapping on the dash. Every time a car pulled up, he sat straight up. Finally a late model Lexus pulled up, and a man with short, dark blond hair got out. He was dressed in jeans and a dark blue t-shirt, and had two children with him, a girl who appeared to be around ten and a boy of five or six. The man held their hands as they walked to the swings. The man leaned down once, listening to something the girl said, laughing in response.

Krycek stared at Keller, watching as the tough guy facade he affected crumbled. As Keller watched Tobias Beecher laughing with his children, he whispered "Toby". He watched as Beecher pushed the kids on the swings, then abruptly shook his head.

"Let's go, Krycek."

"You sure?"

"I said let's go, dammit! I've seen what I need to."

Keller turned to look out the window and didn't turn back for some time. Krycek noticed the tremor in his hands as they lay in his lap.

They stopped at a motel for the night. Krycek set his bag down in their room, then asked Keller, "You want to go out for dinner, or order in?"

"Do what you want. I'm not hungry. I'm gonna take a shower."

Krycek ordered a pizza and flipped through the TV channels until Keller finally emerged from the shower. He came out naked and walked unselfconsciously over to his bag to dig out a pair of boxers.

"You want pizza, Keller?"


"You want to talk?"

"About what?"


"What are we, girlfriends? I'm going to bed."

Keller got in bed and turned toward the wall, his back to Krycek. Krycek turned off the TV and lamp and settled down to try and sleep. He'd barely dozed off when he was awakened. He sat straight up, reaching for his gun, and realized as he did that Keller was moaning in his sleep and that was what had awakened him. He put the gun down and sat on the bed watching Keller as he thrashed in his bed, still moaning. Krycek was reluctant to wake him, because he himself reacted badly to being awakened from nightmares. At the same time, he hated letting Keller suffer through the bad dream. He didn't have to make a choice, though, because Keller suddenly yelled, "Toby, no!", and sat up.

"Keller, you okay?" Krycek asked softly.

Keller, breathing heavily and eyes still wild, snapped, "Fine."

"Bad dream? I've been there," Krycek said sympathetically.

"I'm fine," Keller repeated. "Go back to sleep."

"I *do* understand, Keller. I have nightmares, too."

"You don't know shit about me, Krycek."

"I know you care about Tobias Beecher. And that after seeing him today, you had a nightmare. Trust me, I've been there. You think you're the only one who can't have what he wants?"

Keller's anger subsided and he slumped against the headboard. "I fucked it all up, Krycek. All I've ever done is hurt Toby. He's better off without me."

Krycek moved to sit on Keller's bed. "I did the same thing. The good times, the few there were, were the best. But the bad far outweighed the good."

Now Keller nodded. "It's like we couldn't stop hurting each other. *I* couldn't stop hurting him. I'm a real bastard, Krycek, always have been."

"But you love him."

"Yeah. He ... I think he's the only one I've ever really loved."

"What can I do, Keller?" Krycek asked softly. "We could talk, if you want, or I could leave you alone..."

Keller out his hand on Krycek's thigh. "Fuck me. Make me forget," Keller said roughly as he moved his hand up to Krycek's cock, stroking it gently through the soft boxers Krycek wore.

"Keller, are you - ah - are you sure?"

"Come on, Krycek, it's just sex. You want it as much as I do," Keller said, running his left hand down his chest as he used his right to dip inside Krycek's boxers.

Krycek arched into Keller's rough, demanding hand, as he reached for Keller to pull him forward. His hand went inside Keller's boxers and Keller gasped as the hand made contact with his aching cock. They jerked each other off until Keller gasped, "Wait, Krycek. I need more, fuck me."

Keller slipped his boxers completely off and got to his knees on the bed. Krycek slipped his own boxers off and dug through his bag for a condom and lube. He paused as he turned back to the bed, admiring the view. He uncapped the lotion and spread a generous amount on his fingers. As he began to slowly open Keller up, Keller pushed back on Krycek's fingers.

"Just fuck me, Krycek. I want it to hurt."

"I don't want to hurt you, Keller."

"Just do it."

Still, Krycek was careful, going slowly until he was sure Keller was okay. Then he fucked him hard. Keller grasped his own leaking cock, pumping it in rhythm to Krycek's thrusts. Krycek leaned forward and reached around to move Keller's hand.

"Let me."

Neither Keller nor Krycek lasted long after that. Krycek fucked Keller even harder, loving all the sounds he couldn't suppress. Keller went off first, pushing Krycek over the edge.

Keller didn't ask Krycek to get up, instead he rolled against Krycek. Krycek slipped his arm around Keller and listened as his breathing slowed and he fell into an exhausted sleep.

In the morning, Krycek was up first and already out of the shower before Keller woke up.

"I haven't slept this late in years," Keller commented as Krycek got dressed.

"Get dressed and we'll get some breakfast before we head back. Listen, Keller, about last night ..."

"It was just sex, Krycek. I don't expect a ring or anything," Keller said lightly as he headed to the bathroom for a quick shower.

During breakfast at a diner near their motel before starting the trip back, both men had keep conversation to a minimum. "This is actually good," Keller said as he finished his bacon and eggs. "Eggs don't even taste real in prison."

"How long were you in?"

"You don't know all this already?"

"I know generals, not specifics."

"I was in the first time when I was seventeen."

Krycek winced.

"I told you I was a bad boy, Krycek."

"What'd you do?"

"I was the lookout while a couple of buddies robbed an electronics store. I could've gotten off with just probation, but my old man thought it'd be good for me to go to prison. Make a man out of me. The judge agreed."

Krycek almost flinched at the bitterness in Keller's voice. "And the last time?"

"It was stupid. I was high, and decided it would be a good idea to rob this grocery store. I killed the owner. I would've been an old man when I got out. I did five years of an 88 year sentence. Up for parole in 50. You ever been in prison, Krycek?"

"Not the kind you mean."

"What the fuck's that mean?"

Krycek waved the question away. "A story for another time. Let's go," He said, picking up the bill and leaving a tip.

The ride back was a quiet one, with Keller withdrawn and silent again. Krycek didn't try and make conversation. In fact, he appreciated that Keller didn't see the need to talk all the time. He had appreciated that about Walter when they were together. Walter said what he needed to and left it at that. Mulder, however, was the opposite. For the brief time they were partners, Mulder's incessant chatter had driven him mad. He wondered how Scully could take it.

Keller stood watching in amazement as the replicants he and Krycek had just defeated bled green.

"This shit really is true," Keller said.


"Fuck, I thought I'd seen everything."

"You recovered from your initial shock pretty well," Krycek said, referring to Keller's quick reaction when the second replicant had come after them. He had to admit they worked pretty well together, their instincts remarkably similar.

"Good self preservation instinct. So, we gotta clean up?"

"Nah, someone'll be along soon."

"Good. Let's get drunk."

Krycek considered it for a moment. "Okay. I guess we deserve a break after this."

Krycek stopped at a liquor store, and Keller offered to go in. "I'm getting whiskey. I bet you want vodka, right?"

"How'd you know?"

"You got this Russian vibe. You brood."

"Oh, yeah?"

Keller grinned. "Yeah."

"Pretty observant, huh?"

Keller shrugged. "It was very useful back when I was running scams. You have to know your mark. Besides, didn't you tell me that I needed to be observant?"

"Yes, just not about me."

Keller laughed. "I'm going to get the booze."

They went to Krycek's room, Krycek telling Keller it was no fun getting drunk alone. "Besides," Krycek said, smiling, "I don't want you to accuse me of brooding."

They sat there and got quietly drunk. Keller broke the silence by asking, "Ever been married, Krycek?"

"No. You?"

"Four times. Twice to the same woman."

"No, really? So you're bisexual."

"I guess. I just like to fuck. You?"

"Nah. I mean, I fucked women in high school, and later, when I had to, but I consider myself gay."

"Yeah, well, I considered myself mostly straight until ..."


"Fuck you, Krycek."

"That's not what you were going to say?"

"We're not gonna talk about him," Keller said angrily.

"Okay. What are we gonna do?"

Keller, anger disappearing, grinned broadly. "Let's fuck."

"You know, it's unhealthy to substitute sex for communication," Krycek said as Keller got up and moved toward him.

"You a shrink now? You sound like a nun I know. Let's fuck," Keller repeated as he rubbed his leg against Krycek's.

"I'm not sure I can get it up, I'm pretty drunk."

"Oh, I bet you can," Keller said, pawing at Krycek's jeans until he got them unbuttoned. Despite Krycek's words, his cock responded as soon as Keller's hand found it. "See, it wants to play," Keller said drunkenly, dropping to his knees to suck Krycek hungrily.

"Shit, Keller," Krycek gasped. "Your mouth is incredible."

Keller pulled away from Krycek's cock and looked up with heavily lidded eyes.

"Show me how you want it, baby," he said, bowing his head again as Krycek put a hand on his head, fingers tangled in the dark hair, and guided him, gasping again. Keller let him do as he wanted, offering no resistance. Soon, Krycek was coming, roaring out his climax as he clamped down hard on the back of Keller's head, shooting down the hot, tight throat.

"Fuck, Keller, that was unbelievable," he stared at Keller, at his red, swollen lips, head pillowed on Krycek's thigh. "Let me down there."

Keller moved back to allow Krycek to slide to the floor.

"Come here, Keller." Krycek leaned over to kiss Keller, but Keller turned his head, offering his neck instead. Krycek licked and sucked at the offered neck, working his way up to Keller's mouth. Keller moved his head away.

"I don't kiss."

"Why not?"

"Drop it, Krycek, I just don't," Keller said, pulling away.

"Okay, okay, come back. Let me get you off."

"Fuck you, Krycek. I'll get myself off."

"Come on, Keller," Krycek said, reaching out for him. "Come on, I'll make it good."

Keller allowed himself to be pulled back, and Krycek hurriedly pulled his shirt up and off and pushed his pants and boxers down, stopping to take Keller's boots off before relieving him of his clothes.

"Lie down for me," Krycek told him softly.

Krycek positioned himself to Keller's right side, licking his thick cock gently all over before engulfing it completely.

"Aww, fuck, Krycek ..." Keller moaned, arching off the floor.

Krycek reached up with his right hand. "Lick my fingers."

Keller did, sucking on each one, eyes dark with desire.

Krycek went back to sucking Keller forcefully, at the same time pushing his fingers into Keller's tight hole, seeking his prostate. Keller pushed against the questing fingers, and Krycek was soon rewarded with a muffled shriek.

"Shit, right there, Krycek, do it again," Keller moaned.

Krycek kept it up until Keller came, shuddering out his climax against Krycek's lips and fingers.

"We need to go to bed," Krycek observed, stretching out beside Keller.

"I don't think I can get up," Keller said sleepily.

Krycek sighed and dragged a blanket off the couch, moving to hold Keller close, and covered them both.

Keller awoke right after Krycek, both of them suffering from slight hangovers.

"I'm going to start coffee. Let's take a shower," Krycek said, standing and reaching for Keller.

They had a quick shower, and were feeling relatively human again by the time they finished their coffee.

"Why don't we get in some exercise before we get to work, Keller. Do you run?"

"Only if someone's chasing me. I lift weights."

"I'll make you a deal. You run with me, I'll lift weights with you."

"Deal," Keller said with a smile.

"Who's Walter Skinner?"

Krycek looked up sharply at Keller. "Where the fuck did you hear that name?"

"In connection with this Mulder guy you're always bitchin' about."

"What did you hear?" Krycek asked, grabbing Keller's arm.

"Take it easy, Krycek, some guys were just talking. Who *is* this guy?"

"None of your fucking business, Keller! Don't you have work to do?"

"Okay, Krycek," Keller said levelly.

Over dinner in the cafeteria, Keller said casually, "So, Krycek, you wanna talk now?"

"No. Drop it."

"You know, I thought we had gotten close enough, trust each other enough, that you can talk to me. He's your version of Beecher, isn't he?"

"Keller ... come to my room tonight. I'll tell you the story."

"He killed me."

"What?" Keller asked, eyebrows arched.

"I was revived, just like you. Walter's the one who killed me. I pushed him into it. That's how I was able to disappear."

"I thought you two had a thing."

"We did, but that was a long time ago. After I was recruited into the resistance, I had to kill him with nanocytes. I knew the pain would be worse than anything you can imagine, but I did it anyway. And then I brought him back."

"What are nanocytes?"

Krycek explained the nanocytes while Keller listened avidly.

"Shit! I know a few people I'd like to infect. So, why'd you do it?"

"To make him do what we needed him to."

"I see why we work so well together, Krycek. We're both fucked up."

"Yeah," Krycek agreed.

"So, wanna get drunk again?"

"No, I'm getting too old to drink like that every night. We can probably find something to watch on tv. Unless you play chess?

"Yeah, I do. Toby taught me."

They played a quiet game, Krycek emerging as the winner.

"Okay, Krycek, you win," Keller said with a yawn. "I'm turning in for the night. Training today wiped me out."

"You up to fucking first?"

Keller nodded. "Sure. Let's use the bed tonight though. We *are* getting too old to keep sleeping on the floor," Keller said, smiling, as he held out his hand to Krycek.

Once in the bedroom, they stripped quickly and quietly. Keller approached Krycek, hands reaching out to squeeze his shoulders.

"Kiss me, Chris? Please?"

Keller sighed and leaned in, kissing Krycek gently before taking full possession of his mouth, then sucking on his lower lip before breaking contact.

"Better?" Keller asked.

"Y-yeah. That was ... yeah." Krycek grinned.

Keller smiled back and pulled Krycek close, grinding their hard cocks together.

"You're sexy, Alex," Keller breathed in his ear as he grabbed Krycek's ass, pulling him even closer.

Krycek grabbed Keller's ass in return. "I love your ass, Chris. It's perfect."

Keller smirked. "Come on, let's get comfortable," Keller said as he turned Krycek toward the bed. "Get on your back for me," he said, his voice now a low rasp.

Krycek stretched out on the bed. Keller took a long moment to study the body laid out before him. Krycek wasn't as built as Keller himself, but more than made up for it with his sleek, lean physique. Even the livid black and bruises from combat with the trainers didn't detract from his beauty. Keller got on the bed, on his hands and knees, over Krycek. He leaned down to kiss Krycek again. As he did, he reached out to rub Krycek's nipples, taking one between his long fingers and pinching it. Krycek moaned into his mouth. As he broke the kiss, Keller said, "Alex, you are one sexy motherfucker. Especially when you moan like that." Keller pinched his other now-hard nipple. "You like this, baby?" Keller was rewarded with another moan. "I think you do, huh?"

"Feels - - ahh - - feels good," Krycek managed.

"What about this?", Keller asked as he leaned down to suck at a nipple.

"Uhhn, yeah, Chris, harder."

Keller teased him with catlike licks, then bit down sharply, not quite drawing blood.

"Shit, yes, like that!"

Keller chuckled as he did the same to the other nipple, then licked his way down to Krycek's swollen, leaking cock.

"Let's see how you like this, baby," Keller crooned as he fitted his mouth over Krycek's erection.

"Aww, fuck, Chris, your mouth - - " Krycek gasped as he arched toward Keller's mouth.

"Easy, baby. We got a long way to go. You're not coming yet."

"Chris, please!"

"Uh-uh. I'm taking care of you, remember?"

Keller moved his hand between Krycek's thighs to play with his balls before extending a finger to rub along Krycek's perineum.

"God, Chris, that feels so good," Krycek moaned.

"That's what I want, Alex, I want it to feel good. How about this?" Keller asked as he pushed Krycek's knees further apart to bury his face between his sexy lover's legs. He nipped and licked at the sleek thighs, smiling as Krycek shuddered, crying out in pained pleasure.

"It's okay, baby, I'm gonna make it better."

"Fuck me, Chris? I want you inside me."

"Soon, Alex, soon. I promise. You got a rubber and some lube?"

"Lube, bedside table, top drawer. No condom though. I want you raw."

Keller reluctantly looked away from his highly aroused lover to retrieve the lube.

"Put your legs on my shoulders," Keller directed. He uncapped the lube and coated his fingers. He worked one into Krycek carefully.

"Ooh, baby, you're tight."

Krycek could only plead, "More, Chris, please."

Keller smiled and eased in another finger.

"Oh, yeah, come on, Chris, fuck me!"

"Okay, Alex, here we go."

Keller lined up his aching cock with Krycek's tight hole. "Ah, shit, Alex, do you know how good this feels? Your hot ass around my dick, gripping it tight?"

"I know, Chris, it's good, don't stop."

"Just gettin' started, baby."

Keller began with slow thrusts, but as his own arousal grew and Krycek became desperate, Keller thrust harder, his lover meeting each one with equal intensity. Keller lasted until he felt Krycek's climax begin. Feeling Krycek clamp down, and seeing the look of pleasure on his face pushed Keller over the edge and he came, too.

"Keller, if we live through this, what *are* you going to do? Find Beecher?"

Keller laughed bitterly. "No. He's better off without me. You don't know what I did to him, Krycek. Are you going to find Skinner and tell why you did what you did?"

"Walter will never forgive me. Do you want to tell me about you and Beecher?"

"You sure you want to hear this? Once you do, you'll have an even lower opinion of me than you do already."

Alex shook his head. "I don't. You remind me a lot of myself. You do what you have to. I respect that."

Keller grunted. "That's one of the first things I ever said to Toby. "I do what I have to.' Okay, you asked for it," he said. In a detached voice, he continued. "When I got to Oz, I was assigned to Toby's pod. He had this feud going with an ex-cellmate of mine, Vern Schillinger. Vern was a real bastard. He led the Aryans at Oz. And when Toby first got there, Vern made him his bitch. Just like he did with me, my first time in. Only, Toby eventually fought back, which started the war between them. Vern wanted me to help him break Toby."

"And you did."

"Oh yeah. Alex, I need something to drink," Keller said, getting up. "You?"

"Sure, whatever you're having."

Keller handed Krycek his drink and sat, downing half of his in one gulp before continuing his story.

"I made Toby fall in love with me. And after he did, I told him I didn't want anything to do him. See, Toby's an alcoholic. Right after I told him I loved him, I got myself sent to the hole. I can't remember now if that was part of the plan or if I just couldn't face him. Toby started drinking again while I was in the hole. When I got out, I ignored him. Told him I'd made a mistake."

"But you really did love him, didn't you?"

Keller took another drink, draining his glass before answering. "Yeah, but that didn't stop me from breaking his arms, or helping Vern break his legs."

Krycek winced. "Shit."

"See? I'm a real bastard. But you're right. I loved him. When he finally got out of the hospital and came back to our pod, I asked him to forgive me."

"Did he?"

"Eventually. He always did. Except this last time. He saved me from execution, and I returned the favor by getting him put back in prison," Keller said, squeezing the glass he was still holding tightly. "'cause I'm a worthless son of a bitch and just couldn't live without him."

The glass shattered in Keller's hand, but he only stared at the blood running down his arm. Krycek jumped up and ran for a towel.

"Dammit, Chris! Are you crazy?"


Krycek merely shook his head as he removed what glass he could see from Keller's hand. He lightly pressed the towel over the cut.

"Come to the bathroom. We need to wash the cut and see if there's any more glass in it. Unless you want to go to the hospital?"

"No, you do it."

Keller sat on the counter as Krycek rinsed his hand, then found tweezers to pick out the slivers of glass still in the cut. Krycek also found disinfectant, warning Keller before he poured it over the cut. Keller never flinched, and Krycek bandaged the hand carefully. When he was done, Keller reached for him.

"Fuck me, Alex."

"Not tonight. I don't want to take advantage of you."

Keller laughed. "Good one. We both know I'm the one taking advantage. Come on," Keller purred, running his hands under Krycek's shirt. "You know I can make you feel good."

"I know you can. But not tonight. Come on, I'll put you to bed."

Keller pouted, but followed Krycek to his bedroom, letting Krycek undress him down to his boxers. He got into bed as Krycek undressed, then Krycek slid into bed, reaching out for Keller and pulling him close. As he held Keller, he stroked his hair and murmured to him.

"I fucked up, Alex. I always fuck up," Keller said, his voice muffled against Krycek's shoulder. Krycek felt the tears start, but only held Keller closer as he sobbed out the things he'd done, the murders he'd committed before Beecher, because of Beecher, and for Beecher.

"Shh, I know, Chris, I know. I've killed, too."

"I'm going to hell, Alex."

"You don't know that. No one knows."

Krycek held Keller until long after he'd fallen asleep, thinking how very much alike they were. And how, at first, it had just been sex between them, but now there seemed to be more. On his part at least. Krycek wasn't sure he could ever compete with Keller's love for Beecher. But, they both accepted that they couldn't have the men they wanted. Who was to say they couldn't find some happiness with each other?

Krycek awoke when he felt Keller stirring beside him.

"Good morning," Krycek said softly as Keller turned to face him.

"I really made an ass of myself last night, didn't I?" Keller said, rubbing his eyes.

"You were fine. I'm glad you trust me enough to tell me."

"You know, me and Toby never got to do this."

Krycek looked at him questioningly.

"We never got to wake up beside each other, never got to take our time. There was always the chance a hack would come by and we'd both end up in the hole. The best we had it was during this lockdown. It got to where the hacks didn't give a fuck, didn't check like they should. But there was still the tension there."

"I'm sorry, Chris. When Walter and got time together, it was usually rushed, but nothing like that."

"You know, you once told me you were never in a *real* prison. You ever gonna explain that?"

"One day I will. I've never really told anyone."

"Keller, tell me about your parents. What do you remember?"

"I don't wanna talk about that."

"You didn't get along with your father, did you?"


"Work with me here, Keller. This is important."

"How does my childhood have anything to do with all this?" Keller asked, gesturing to the base in general.

"More than you think," Krycek said, then softer, "help me out, Keller, it'll become clear soon."

Keller sighed, then said, "Yeah, okay, I didn't get along with my old man. I left home as soon as I could. It was like he hated me, as far back as I can remember. He was always telling me I was more trouble than I was worth."

"And your mother? What did she have to say about it? Think carefully."

"She was good to me. She used to argue with him all the time about me..." Keller frowned, lost in thought.

"Keller, what is it?"

"Get off my back, Krycek!" Keller exploded. "What the fuck is this about?"

"All right, forget that for now. Think about when you were in prison the first time."

"Now why the fuck would I want to do that?"

"Keller!" Krycek yelled in frustration. "I can tell you this, but unless you remember it for yourself, you'll never believe me."

He went to Keller, touching his arm. Keller jerked away.

"Look, I know it's hard thinking about all that. I have a lot of memories I don't want, too. You're not the only one who's done things just to survive."

"All right, Krycek," Keller said wearily. "What do you want to know?"

"When you first got to prison, were you... injured in any way?"

"You could say that. When Vern raped me that first night, I fought him. He broke a couple of ribs, and he ripped me up pretty bad."

"So you went to the infirmary?"


"Did you heal quickly?"

"Not quick enough to suit Vern," Keller grimaced. "I spent a lot of time on my knees until I healed up."

"And the next time you were hurt?"

"There was a fight between the Aryans and blacks. I was stabbed. Got sent to the hospital in town."

"And that took a long time to heal also?"

"No, it... I got over it pretty fast."

"And your injuries since then?"

"A broken arm, another stabbing, I got shot. Everyone talked about how fast I healed."

"Amazingly fast. You never get sick, do you?"

"Not really."

"What do you remember about being in the hospital, after you were stabbed?"

"I don't know, I was pretty out of it."

"What do you mean, there's no coffin?" Tobias Beecher asked, perplexed. "No, I'll get to the bottom of this myself."

Beecher sat frowning at the phone. He had arranged to have Chris Keller's body moved to his own family plot - - not a popular decision with his family - - and now they were telling him there was no coffin in the grave.

He wondered who would take his call, being a disbarred lawyer and ex-con, when he remembered a holiday party he'd reluctantly attended after his release. There, while he was tempting fate by accepting a drink from the free bar, he'd been approached by a middle-aged man who recognized him and introduced himself as a friend and classmate of his late father's. He'd said something about working at the FBI, but Toby had been too busy worrying he wouldn't be able to stop at one drink to pay much attention to what the man had been saying. He thought hard, and was able to come up with a name, but nothing more. There was nothing else for it, he'd have to call the general number and hope someone at the switchboard would be able to forward him to the correct party.

Walter Skinner looked at his secretary's neat writing on the message slip. Tobias Beecher called. 2:10 p.m., Monday. No message other than it's personal and he asks you to call him at the number below.

Walter considered tossing the slip into the trash -- although he'd been Harrison Beecher's friend during college, the son certainly wasn't a chip off the old block and, truth be told, he hadn't been impressed by what he'd observed at the party. The man had made a beeline to the bar and seemed more interested in the contents of the bottles than any of guests. Still, Harrison had once helped him out of a tight spot and he could at least find out what the son wanted. He punched the numbers into his telephone and waited for the ring.


"Tobias Beecher?"

"Yes, this is Tobias Beecher."

"Good. Walter Skinner returning your call."

"Oh, thank you. I was afraid you wouldn't call back." Toby paused, trying to come up with a graceful way to ask for what he wanted. Skinner remained silent, waiting.

"Listen," he continued. "I know I'm being presumptuous, but I'm hoping you can help me. Or least tell me whom to approach. I've been trying to get Oswald State Correctional Facility to release the body of one of its deceased inmates, but they can't find it."

"Do you mean it was buried in an unmarked grave?"

"No, they know where he was buried, but when they tried to exhume his body, it was gone. Neither his body nor the coffin were there."

"And you're sure this wasn't a book-keeping error; he was buried in different plot than what the records indicate?"

"I'm as certain as I can be." Beecher murmured self-consciously. "I'm not on the best of terms with the warden."

"I don't know the man myself," Skinner replied, "but I can have one of my agents to look into it. Give me the particulars."

Two days later, Agent Mulder reported to Skinner's office. In the interim, he'd met with the Warden, interviewed a dozen inmates and as many guards, and spoken with the secretary of the for-profit corporation that owned the prison grounds. Witnesses to the burial were certain that the correct site had been excavated, and everyone was in complete agreement that no coffin had been revealed when the grave was opened. Mulder insisted the missing body was a part of a larger conspiracy, but could not offer any evidence in support of his theory. He had expressed willingness to continue the investigation, but Skinner suspected that was simply a ploy to avoid transcription duties.

That night, Skinner called Beecher from his apartment to relay the bad news. He recognized Beecher's voice from the hello and said, "Beecher, Skinner here. I sent one of my best investigators to the prison but he wasn't able to learn anything. Mr. Keller's body is missing and no one knows when, why, or where it was taken."

"What do I do next?" Beecher asked.

"I've read my agent's report and there's a slim chance the corporation that owns the prison knows more than they're saying. It's a poor lead and, frankly, the case isn't significant enough to justify the FBI's involvement. I am willing keep ears open and let you know if Amalgamated Industry Defense Systems comes up in other investigations."

"Amalgamated Industry Defense Systems -- AIDS? Its acronym is *AIDS*? You've *got* to be kidding me."

"No, I'm serious."

"That has to be someone's idea of a sick joke."

"I expect so," Skinner agreed. "But I checked, and that is the the company's legal name. There isn't much to go on. It's privately held and that only the legally mandated reports have been filed."

"There's nothing else?"

"Not a thing. Even if you have the time and resources, there's only a slight chance you'd learn anything useful by digging into their corporate structure."

"I have the time -- and legal experience with corporate structures -- but not much else in the way of resources."

"If you believe working from Washington would help, I can offer the use of my guest room," Skinner said, surprising himself.

"So you're saying that my DNA was altered while I was in the prison infirmary?" Keller bellowed.

Krycek nodded yes, trying his best to remain calm. "If it helps any, you aren't alone. Mine was too, by hosting that Oilien I told you about. And it isn't as though yours has shortened your life or turned you into a monster. It simply increased your natural healing ability."

"And that's why I was rescued by the resistance?"

"Right. To be partnered with me, since our DNA is compatible and, as our scientists hoped, I now heal faster too."

"And that's why you seduced me?" Keller snarled.

"Try again, Keller," Krycek gibed. "That's not how I remember it."

Keller roared, attacking Krycek with his fists.

Krycek fought back for all he was worth. The room became a scene of complete chaos. Tables and chairs were knocked over, artwork was knocked from the walls, the glass framing shattered and strewn everywhere. The combatants fought ferociously, rolling on the floor, wildly throwing punches, each scrambling for the upper hand.

Keller, on top of Krycek, landed a solid blow to Krycek's jaw. Exhausted, he rolled to the side and flopped onto his back. Krycek, dazed, rubbed his jaw and looked to see what Keller's next move would be.

Keller breathed heavily, trying to catch his breath. When he had, he caught Krycek watching him. "What the hell are we doing, Alex?" he asked, anger gone as suddenly as it had arrived.

Krycek shook his head, regretting the movement instantly. "Hell if I know. Blowing off steam, I guess."

"Are you okay?"

"Well, other a headache and a sore jaw, I think so. Are you?" he asked sincerely.

"Yeah, I think I am now."

"Good," Krycek said with a tired grin. "I've had enough fighting for one day."

Keller gave Alex a wicked grin and asked, "Want me to kiss you better?"

Krycek laughed and held his arms open.

Keller laughed back, "We are a pair, aren't we?" He rolled into Alex's arms and kissed him for all he was worth.

Walter Skinner sat in his recliner, assessing his house guest. Tobias Beecher looked sober, but the story he was spinning beggared belief. "You're saying that the company running Oswald State Correctional Facility is linked to a string of suspicious fires and explosions at meat processing plants and plastics manufacturers?"

"Right. All of the facilities that were completely destroyed were held by shell companies that in turn trace back to the same parent corporation. The one that controls Oz."

"Any idea as to who is behind those fires?"

"I'm not certain, but one name that keeps appearing is Richard Matheson, the former Senator."

Skinner clenched his jaw. "That's a name I'd hoped to never hear again."

Beecher raised an eyebrow, but forbore asking why.

"Anything else?" Skinner prompted.

"In several cases, Mannerly Industries attempted to acquire the properties before they were destroyed."

Skinner nodded, recognizing the name. He fondly recalled a jubilant Alex telling him about his mentor. Then he shook his head, mourning the loss of the beautiful young man who had gone from being being his lover to a heartless murdering bastard. Krycek may have no longer been the man Skinner once loved, but he doubted he'd ever forgive himself for killing him.

Keller and Krycek returned to their operational headquarters for debriefing after the day's raid on the Consortium's last remaining hybridization facility. Although the laboratory had been destroyed, the raid had otherwise been a disaster. Terminating the alien-human hybrids had not only cost the resistance the lives of seven agents, but a portion of the raid had been caught on video tape by local news media.

Krycek was disturbed to learn his image had been broadcast on the 11:00 p.m. news, although there he was described as a plant worker fleeing the fire. When the newscaster announced that the source of the fire had already been traced to faulty wiring in the plant's warehouse, he breathed a sigh of relief.

It had been an utterly exhausting day, from the battle to gain entrance to the hybridization facility, from the horror of dealing with the half-human monsters growing in row after row of tanks, to retrieving the bodies of their wounded and dead, and escaping the area without being detained by police or the media. Alex noted absently that Keller's clothing was as torn and tattered as his own and, he imagined, his face and hands were as embedded with soot as Keller's own.

The team discussed the remaining missions and strategized how best to accomplish them with the few resources they had remaining.

In D.C., Fox Mulder lay dozing on his couch. He'd been watching an monster movie before he fell asleep, but awakened when he heard the tones announcing a news bulletin. He opened his eyes when he heard the words "fire and explosion," and was stunned to see someone who looked like the long dead and unlamented Alex Ratbastard Krycek running from the scene. He briefly wondered if Alex had a twin brother he hadn't known about, since the person fleeing the fire clearly had two working arms. His next thought was of clones and resolved to speak with Skinner in the morning.

Toby Beecher walked home from his AA meeting, wondering whether he would ever learn what happened to Keller's body. He wondered if his children missed him or if they were pretending to themselves he was still in prison. He worried that he was imposing upon Skinner's hospitality and wondered if he should give up the search and go home to what remained of his family.

Later that night, Skinner, who had become rather fond of coming home to a waiting dinner with a quiet companion, noticed Tobias' pensive mood and wondered how soon Beecher would be leaving DC. Although he'd had doubts about his own sanity for offering a virtual stranger a place to stay, Beecher was a surprisingly easy to get along with. Although he was generally quiet, he had a lively mind and was an excellent chess player. And as far as Walter could tell, he had never even looked inside Skinner's liquor cabinet.

Skinner supposed he was comfortable having Beecher around because it felt similar to the sexless marriage he'd shared with his wife prior to their divorce. There was no drama, a fact Skinner appreciated.

He would miss Beecher, he was certain. Perhaps it was time to begin dating again. After his last relationship with a woman fell apart, he'd resigned himself to spending the rest of his life alone. His taciturn nature ended up repelling the very same women who originally found it enticing, believing themselves to be attracted to the strong and silent type, only to discover they secretly craved his undivided attention and open communication. Skinner knew he'd never be that man. And as for men, there was only one he wanted in his bed, and that one was long dead, put in his grave by Skinner himself. Skinner sighed and got up to pour himself a drink.

Although he knew better, Skinner asked Tobias if he would like a drink himself.

Toby smiled somewhat regretfully. "Yes and no. Part of me wishes I could, but it's like we say in AA, "One drink is too many and a river isn't enough. If I could stop at one, the way you do, I'd be a happy man."

Skinner mulled this over. "I wonder if that's true. I think in the greater scheme of things, the ability to start and stop drinking at will isn't all that important. I honestly don't know what would make me happy, other than a time machine to go back and fix my mistakes."

"You may be right," Toby commented. "If I had a time machine and was allowed to change one thing, I wonder what I'd choose." Surely not running over that little girl should be on the top of the list -- if he hadn't, he'd have never gone to prison, met Vern Schillinger, been raped, become addicted to heroin, and his son Gary would have never been kidnapped, tortured, and murdered. On the other hand, it would also mean a life spent without ever having known Chris Keller. He wondered if instead of saving Gary the way a good father should, he'd choose the moment before Keller threw himself over the rail, ending their fight by admitting that he not only still loved the infuriating man, he'd never stop.

Skinner knew what moment he'd pick. Without a doubt, he'd go back in time and capture Krycek rather than killing him.

Mulder, as he promised himself he would, barged into Skinner's office the following morning carrying a video tape obtained from Action News. "You have to see this --"

"Don't tell *me* what I have to do, Agent Mulder!" Skinner snapped, looking up from the stack of reports on his desk. He put down his pen and glowered at his agent.

"Sorry, Sir," Mulder apologized in his monotone. It was difficult to judge whether he was sincere. "What I meant to say was that I have something you want to see. Did you see the news last night? About that fire?"

"The one at the plastics place? I read about it in the paper this morning. I'll agree we seem to have had a disproportionate number of fires over the past six months, but there's no evidence that it is anything than mere chance at work."

"I think this will change your mind," Mulder predicted, indicating the VHS cartridge. "If you'll allow me?"

"Go ahead," Skinner said, waving Mulder toward the cart of audio visual equipment.

Mulder turned on the monitor, inserted the tape, and pressed play. On the screen, glowing orange flames lit the night sky, smoke poured from one side of the manufacturing complex. In the foreground, a man was seen running across the property, flames literally licking his jacket until he stopped and rolled to extinguish them.

"And?" Skinner asked.

"Take a close look at the runner," Mulder said, stopping and rewinding the tape. "Doesn't he remind you of anyone?"

Skinner frowned. The man was built along the same lines as Krycek, but he was wearing dark clothes and was so covered in dirt and soot that it was impossible to distinguish his features.

Mulder paused the tape, catching the runner in the center of the display. Skinner could now see a resemblance to Krycek, but it was also clear the runner had two working hands.

"It's a clone, Krycek's clone," Mulder announced.

Skinner scoffed. "And you can prove this?"

"Not yet," Mulder admitted. "But remember that investigation you had me do out at the prison? Looking for the prisoner's body? Didn't I tell you I thought there was a conspiracy at work? I did a little research morning---"

"Called upon your hacker friends, you mean."

"Well- - yes. But what we discovered is that the plastics company is owned by Amalgamated Industry Defense Systems, the same folks that run Oswald State Correctional."

"Interesting. But not proof," Skinner responded, making a mental note to tell Tobias Amalgamated's name had come up in an investigation.

"No, not alone it isn't," Mulder agreed. "But I feel certain that if we catch the clone, we'll be well on our way to learning what happened to Keller's body."

"And how do you propose capturing him? I don't want the media involved."

"I'm not surprised."

Skinner looked at Mulder sharply, but he didn't follow the comment with any remarks indicating he knew about Skinner's personal relationship with the former agent. Skinner relaxed.

"I spoke with the plant manager this morning, to learn whether he could identify the man on the video. He was certain the man was not one of his people and hinted that he could be found on Mannerly Industries' payroll. Apparently Mannerly is not only Amalgamated's largest competitor, but a few weeks ago plant security identified one of their new hires as a corporate spy working for them."

"Very well, Agent. But be discreet."

Over the next several weeks, Tobias Beecher analyzed the complex paper trail that linking dozens of shell companies with Amalgamated and tracing their ownership back to specific individuals.

Mulder, at the same time, concentrated on Mannerly Industries, using his remarkable profiling skills to determine which managers were involved in the conspiracy and attempted to predict their next major action.

Throughout, Skinner funneled information in between Beecher, Mulder, and, through Mulder, to the Lone Gunmen.

Keller and Krycek, oblivious to these parallel investigations, were busy tracking down and destroying the extraterrestrials intent upon preparing earth for alien invasion.

It all came to head on a bright winter day.

Keller was breaking down the door to the records room in Amalgamated's corporate office when he heard "FBI. Drop your weapon."

Keller twirled, "Who the fuck are you?"

"FBI," Mulder repeated before feeling the cold muzzle of a gun pressing against the back of his neck.

"Mulder, what the fuck are you doing here?" Krycek demanded.

"*This* is the guy you've been bitching about for all these months?"

"None other," Krycek confirmed. "Drop your weapon Mulder."

"No way, Clone," Mulder replied. "Drop yours."

Krycek laughed, pressing the barrel harder into Mulder's neck, "I'm no clone you dumbass. I'm your worst nightmare. Where's Scully? Or did you come in without backup as usual?"

"She's on her way," Mulder prevaricated.

Keller, spun away from the door and threw the battering ram he'd been getting ready to use at Mulder, shattering Mulder's wrist. The gun and battering ram clattered to the floor as Mulder screamed.

Krycek sighed. "Now we're going to have to gag him."

"Wouldn't it be easier to shoot him?" Keller asked.

"Yes, but contrary to what Mulder here believes, we're the good guys."

"Sure you are," Mulder muttered sarcastically. "That's why you're breaking in and why you broke my wrist."

"Shut up, Mulder," Krycek replied calmly, pulling out the obscenely sharp boot knife he always carried in his boot. With it, he cut three long strips from the bottom of his shirt. The first he tied firmly around Mulder's mouth, resulting in what should have been a deadly stare judging by the hatred in Mulder's eyes. With the second, he rigged a sling and rested Mulder's forearm in its cradle. With the third, he tied Mulder's good hand to Mulder's belt. "Be good and I won't cuff you," he warned.

Keller retrieved Mulder's gun and tucked it into his waistband, before picking up the battering ram. He used it to give the door a solid whack and watched with satisfaction as the door frame caved inwards and the door swung open. "Let's get what we came for and get the hell out of Dodge."

Krycek nodded, already on his way to the filing cabinets. He quickly rifled through the drawers, seemingly pulling files at random. "Shit, there's more here than we expected."

"Here, use this," Keller said, grabbing the room's waste paper basket and dumping its contents onto the floor. "It's pretty big and it'll be easier to carry."

"Good thinking, thanks."

Krycek dumped the files into the receptacle, grabbed one side as Keller grabbed the other, and then grabbed Mulder with his free hand. "Time to go, Handsome."

Mulder stumbled, but Krycek roughly yanked him back onto his feet. "Don't test me, Mulder. I don't like you any more than you like me."

Mulder glared, but had no choice but to obey. He was steered past the elevator, through a fire door, and then propelled down the stairwell until they reached an outside exit. When they exited the building, they were met by a man dressed in a janitor's uniform. "Bomb squad's here," he said. "We think we found where they rigged it but just in case, you got what we need, right?"

"Yep, right here. Plus a souvenir," he said, indicating their prisoner.

"Mphgh!" said Mulder.

"Shut up, Mulder," Krycek and Keller said in unison. "Hold him a second, would ya?" Krycek asked the custodian.

"Be happy too. Car'll be here in a second," said the janitor as a sleek black limo rounded the corner. The car came to a stop beside them, Jeremiah Smith at the wheel.

Together, Krycek and Keller hoisted the trash can onto the car's dance floor. "Now you, Mulder. Get in," Krycek said, grabbing hold of Mulder's arm before he could try to make a break for it.

When Mulder hesitated, Keller pushed him through the door and clambered in after him. Krycek grinned at their associate, climbed in and shut the door. "Home, Jeremiah."

Jeremiah laughed, so surprising Mulder that his eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets.

"The warrants are being served this afternoon," Skinner said, addressing Tobias Beecher. "The conspirators should be under lock and key by nightfall."

"I'll be glad when this is over," Beecher responded. "I miss my children and it's past time for me to start paying them attention."

When they arrived at the training facility, Krycek was told Management wanted to see him. He shrugged and told Keller to keep an eye on Mulder while he was gone.

When Krycek returned a short while later, Mulder was exactly where he'd left him. "Has he been any trouble?" Krycek asked.

"None at all," Keller responded. "Do you have anything to report?"

"No, it's good news I think. The FBI has put Amalgamated's CEO, CFO, and CIO under arrest and is holding all of the board members for questioning."

"Amalgamated?" Mulder squawked through the gag.

Keller looked at him curiously. "What did he say?"

"I don't know," Krycek replied. He pulled out his boot knife and cut the gag free. "Say that again?"

"Uhmalgumateit. Mouf's dry."

"Ah," said Smith. "Just a minute."

He returned with a glass of clear liquid and held it up to Mulder's mouth. "Drink."

Mulder, too thirsty to argue, did.

It was water.

"Better?" Smith asked.

"Where am I? Why am I here? When did you get back? And who is that guy?" he asked nodding toward Keller.

"I'm Chris Keller," Keller said.

"Keller's clone, you mean," corrected Mulder.

"No, Keller himself," interjected Smith. "I restored him, just as I did Alex here."

"What! Why?"

"Because we needed him."

"That murdering ratbastard? You needed him?"

"Yes, that's right," said a voice that sounded remarkably like Walter Skinner's. "They did." Mulder looked around for the source and saw someone who looked exactly like Skinner enter the room.

"And I see he's located my missing agent," he said, looking directly at Mulder.

"I'm afraid he's a little worse for the wear," Krycek agreed. "One of my associates was a little overzealous when he tried to stop us from obtaining vital records."

"Associate!" Mulder spluttered. "He means that gorilla over there!"

"Shut up, Mulder," Keller and Krycek once again said in unison.

"That's good advice, Mulder," Skinner concurred. He turned to the one man he didn't recognize. "And you are?"

"Chris Keller."

"It's good to finally meet you, Mr. Keller. Finding you -- or I should say the search for your body -- gave us a merry chase. Tobias will be pleased to learn you have been found."

"Tobias?" Keller asked, stunned. "Tobias Beecher? You know him?"

"Certainly. He's been living with me for the past six months," Skinner replied.

Krycek, who had actually felt his heart leap with joy when he'd heard Skinner defending him, felt his spirit plummet. Keller, likewise, felt abandoned. Although he'd repeatedly told Krycek that Beecher was better off without him, had secretly harbored hope that one day, after everything was said and done, he'd have redeemed himself enough that Beecher would give him a second chance.

Krycek and Keller exchanged a glance that spoke volumes. They might not be each other's first choice, but they still had one another and they *were* good together.

Resigned to his fate, Krycek turned his attention to Smith. "Jeremiah, if you wouldn't mind, would you please fix Mulder's wrist?"

The healer nodded, walked over to Mulder, and gently removed his arm from the improvised sling. Mulder felt warmth spreading through his forearm and hand and became nearly giddy with relief when the pain of the multiple fractures ended.

"Thank you, Alex," Skinner said. "And thank you, Jeremiah."

Krycek blinked at him in surprise. "Why are you here, Skinner?"

"Your boss invited me when she learned we'd served warrants on Amalgamated Industry Defense Systems' principals. She wanted to meet with me face to face, to explain the goals and methods used by the Resistance and to provide her personal assurance that colonization effort has been thwarted. And," Skinner said smiling, "so that I can retrieve my missing agent before he causes trouble."

The next morning, Mulder paced angrily in front of Skinner's desk. "What are you going to do about Krycek?"

"Do about him?"

"He's a murdering ratbastard!"

"He saved the planet and he saved your life. Do you know what would have happened if he'd left you in the records room? Shortly after you were rescued--"


"--Rescued, Amalgamated's private security force stormed the building. You'd have been shot on sight."

"So you aren't going to do anything?"

"I'm thinking of inviting him to dinner," Skinner replied absently.

"What?," Mulder shouted, aghast.

"Dinner," Skinner said firmly. "You've helped me make up my mind."

"I want you to come with me," Krycek told Chris Keller.

"What? Hell no. I do *not* want to have dinner with the man who is living with my ex-lover!"

"You think *I* do? That I *want* to have dinner with my ex-lover -- not just my ex-lover but the man who killed me! -- when I know he's sleeping with Beecher? Are *you* nuts?"

"So don't go!"

"I have to. Orders from above. Skinner's a strong ally now that he knows what's going on."

"Screw the orders!"

"Screw you!"

"Not tonight, I have a headache."

"Keller," Krycek whined, "please. I'll make it up to you when we get back."

"You bet your ass you will."

Skinner met Krycek in the restaurant's vestibule. "I see you've brought along Mr. Keller," he said smiling.

Keller, unhappy with the entire situation, frowned but said in a level voice, "You can call me Chris."

"Thank you, Chris. Feel free to call me Walter. Our table is right this way," he said, leading the men into the steak house's main dining room. Keller started to balk when he saw where Skinner was heading, as none other than Toby Beecher was seated at the table.

Krycek, quick on the uptake, grabbed Keller's arm muttering, "Oh no you don't."

Toby, catching sight of Chris Keller, couldn't keep the joy off his face. His face literally glowed with happiness and his eyes called out to Chris like beacons during a storm at sea. He leapt to his feet, holding open open his arms.

Keller glanced at Skinner to gauge his reaction, but Skinner seemed surprisingly un-upset. Krycek, too, was puzzled by this non-reaction. "Doesn't seeing them together bother you?," he whispered to Skinner.

"No, why would it? Tobias has been searching nonstop for Keller since the day he learned his grave was empty. I'm glad for him."

"But you're living with him!" Krycek hissed.

"Staying in my spare room you mean," Skinner whispered back as the penny finally tumbled. "You're jealous! You thought we were together!"

"Damn right I did," Krycek hissed angrily.

"Well we weren't. I haven't wanted *anyone* since I realized it was you I want most of all."


Skinner grinned and bumped shoulders with Alex, watching Tobias hug the stuffing out of Chris Keller, who in turn looked as though he'd never let go, "It's all going to work out fine, Alex. Just you wait and see."

- The End -



Title: Life or Death: An Oz/XF Crossover
Author: Maddie and Haven.
maddiec24@mchsi.com and haven@cruelhaven.org
Websites: Maddie's Fanfiction and Haven's Slash Archive
Feedback: Yes, please!
Fandom: X Files/Oz Pairing: Alex Krycek/Chris Keller, past Skinner/Krycek and Beecher/Keller
Warnings: This story is not a deathfic. It does contain m/m sexual relationships and mention of past rape and sexual abuse.
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: Assume everything for both series, although it's AU for both. Archive: Ask
Disclaimer: All X-Files characters belong to Chris Carter and 1013 Productions. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made.
Summary: Chris Keller joins the Resistance.
First Published: January 1, 2010

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