The Secret

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)


Author's Notes: The M/K part of this story is really a sub-plot. Mulder's Secret (I can't say what it is, that'd give it away!) is really the main plot.


Krycek sat down at a table in a dingy little motel room somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Unzipping a black leather carrying case, he placed a computer on top of the table. It was laptop, a beautiful piece of work, black and sleek. It was Alex Krycek's pride and joy. He unplugged the hotel's primitive dial phone and plugged in a phone cable leading to his computer. The modem squealed as it signed him onto the 'Net, and soon he was surfing the web like a pro. Because he was a pro. He was beyond professional. Alex Krycek was an exceptional hacker.

It was a skill his superiors never used, a skill that Mulder didn't even suspect. But it was a very useful skill. In less than an hour Krycek had compromised the FBI database, and was searching through their records for any 'paperwork' recently filed by Fox Mulder. He discovered, to his astonishment, that Mulder had actually requested a vacation! Just a week, but even that was seriously out of character.

A few well placed keystrokes later, Krycek had access to Mulder's bank account. The record showed a cash withdrawal of $2000, which explained how Mulder was going to pay for his vacation, since he'd declined FBI funding. Krycek frowned a little, checking Mulder's credit cards on a hunch. None of them had been used in nearly a week.

Suspicion was swiftly rising in Krycek. His fingers flew over the keyboard, eventually opening the airport's records. No sign of a ticket in the name of Fox Mulder. A search of the local bus lines turned up equally empty. Now Krycek knew there was something going on. Mulder was never this careful. He always left some loose end dangling, made some small mistake that could lead Krycek right to his doorstep.

According to the FBI, he'd left on vacation yesterday. Since then there was absolutely no sign of where he'd gone. Krycek hacked into the database of the cell Phone Company and pulled up Mulder's records. The last call dialed out of or into Mulder's phone had occurred the day before he went on vacation. Krycek sighed - it was time to do some legwork.

***

It took a solid day at the airport, but Krycek had finally found the man who'd sold Mulder his ticket. Of course, the man didn't know it was Mulder - he'd called the agent Simon Redlum. A $200 bribe secured Krycek the destination of Mulder's ticket - Vancouver, Canada - and a little extra cash ensured he would be in Canada by the end of the day.

Krycek arrived in the Vancouver International Airport with no more than a backpack and his computer. Learning from his previous experience, Krycek asked after a man by Mulder's description instead of inquiring about Fox Mulder or Simon Redlum.

Here Mulder had called himself Mr.Fox. Krycek frowned at that. It seemed out of keeping with Mulder cautious behavior to use a pseudonym so close to his own name. Apparently, from how the clerk at the Hertz rent a car described him; Mulder was also acting unusual. The clerk, blushing, swore up and down that he'd flirted openly with her.

Later, in a motel room of just a little better quality than his last, Krycek once again went online. Once he reached his destination Mulder had apparently abandoned all caution. He had booked into a decent hotel under his own name the day before Krycek had arrived.

//Mulder is about to have a very unpleasant surprise, // Krycek grinned to himself.

That night, Krycek crept up to Mulder's hotel room and slid a pair of picks into the lock. He held his breath, hoping that even Mulder would be asleep at 2:30 in the morning. The last tumbler fell into place, and Krycek pushed the door open slowly. In the darkened hotel room Krycek could just make out the shape of someone in the single bed. Silently, he slipped into the room...

And was slammed hard up against the wall, an arm across his throat and a gun jammed into his gut. "What the hell are you doing here?" a voice growled dangerously.

It took Krycek a moment to realize that it was Mulder speaking, and that the form in the bed must have been a decoy. He looked at Mulder for a minute, straining to make out his face in the darkness, before an insistent jab with the gun forced an answer from him. "Looking for you!" he gasped.

"Why?" the pressure on Krycek's throat barely let up. There was something about Mulder that didn't seem quite right. His tone of voice was a little too cold, his posture a little too straight.

Buying time to think, Krycek answered the question, "Because you were being too careful. You never take vacations, and you never cover your tracks as well as you did this time."

"I told you it was going to look odd," Mulder's voice rang out. Krycek got the eerie feeling he wasn't being addressed, despite the fact he was the only other person in the room. He did notice, however, that Mulder sounded like Mulder again. "Be careful, damn it!" the agent said in that odd tone of voice.

Suddenly, Mulder pushed himself away from Krycek. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Krycek shut the door and flipped on the light switch. His eyes adjusted rapidly, until he could clearly see Mulder sitting on the end of his bed, clutching his head with both hands. Mystified, Krycek watched.

Mulder was muttering to himself, too low for the ex-agent to catch his words. He looked as if he was trying to hold his head together, as if it would fall apart if he let go. Finally, he seemed to calm down, and when he looked up he was just as Krycek remembered him.

"Look, Krycek," he began, sounding irritated, "I do not want to deal with you right now. I don't need this right now. So if you walk out that door, no one will ever know you were here."

Krycek stared in mild amazement. Mulder was offering him a chance to get away? Something was definitely going on. "Oh, no," he answered, "a secret that you're willing to let me go to keep is a secret I want to know."

"No," Mulder moaned, and Krycek knew he'd been all but forgotten. Mulder was holding his head again, "No! Not now..." he trailed off. Then, as Krycek watched, he stood and walked slowly toward Krycek. He stood straight and tall, unlike Mulder's usual slouch; and moved with an absolute confidence that was at odd with Mulder's usual way moving, as if his body was the farthest thing from is mind.

"Mulder...?" Krycek asked, confused.

"Sorry," Mulder said in that cold hard voice, "he stepped out for a moment." Mulder stopped walk a step or two from Krycek and folded his arms across his chest.

Suddenly, the implication of Mulder's statement it Krycek. He blinked, genuinely taken by surprise, before asking, "So who am I speaking to?"

"Simon. And, before you make a fool of yourself, I know perfectly well who you are," Simon smiled, but it was a smile Krycek's had never seen on Mulder's lips. "Mulder and I don't suffer from blackouts. We're always perfectly aware of what the other is doing."

"Split personality," Krycek murmured.

"I'm afraid that you caught us at a particularly bad time," Simon commented. "Mulder's control has been slipping lately, so I convinced him to take some time to get it back. Unfortunately, now that you know, I'm going to have to kill you."

"I don't imagine Mulder approves of that decision," Krycek said challengingly. Simon cocked his head for a moment, "No, he doesn't. He places some value on your life. In fact, he's trying to take the body back right now." Simon smiled evilly, "But Mulder runs this body nearly constantly, and he's kind of tired. I'm much stronger right now, and I know what has to be done. Mulder's weak, that way. He doesn't like to kill people. But, really, I'm protecting him by doing this." With that, Simon raised the gun he'd taken from under the pillow on the bed and pointed it at Krycek.

Krycek was certain that Simon was going to kill him. Mulder wouldn't, but Mulder wasn't in control right now... Then Simon's head jerked back and he lowered the gun, apparently involuntarily. A shudder ran through his body and then he was still for a moment. Krycek watched, fascinated, heedless of his own danger for the moment. "Mulder?" he asked, when it appeared Simon was no longer in control.

"Oh, no," whoever it was said with a low, throaty chuckle. "My name is Fox." Fox looked distastefully at the gun in his hand and tossed it to one side. "Simon tends to forget that I get control even less than he does, which means I'm just as capable of taking control when Mulder gets tired."

"How many of you are there?" Krycek asked, watching warily as Fox moved towards him. This personality moved smoothly, gracefully and Krycek realized suddenly that his eyes had become a bright ice blue.

"Just the three," Fox replied. "Mulder's personality was unstable enough to splinter, but Simon and I were strong enough to hold him together after our creation." Krycek tensed as Fox stepped deliberately inside his personal space. If it had been Simon, he would have felt threatened and would have defended himself by now. But it was Fox, and instead Krycek found heat blooming in his groin, his breath coming faster.

"What are you doing, Fox?" Krycek asked, swallowing. He'd been thrown off balance by his discoveries; though he'd been able to handle Mulder and Simon's aggressiveness, he wasn't sure how to react to Fox's attitude.

Fox hummed in the back of his throat and slowly looked Krycek up and down. "I love that name," Fox said quietly, his voice unmistakably husky. "Mulder never liked it, so I claimed it for my own. Fox. I like the X sound. Pleasant associations," he chuckled again. He was standing so close to Krycek that the ex-agent could feel the heat radiating off his body. "I like your name, too. Alex. There's that X again," he smiled a little. "I wish Mulder would use it more."

Abruptly, Fox's eyes glazed over. When they cleared he sighed, sounding regretful. "Mulder wants the body back. He and I get along pretty well, usually. So I guess I'd better give it to him. Just remember, he and I agree on most things," Fox smiled again, and ran one hand lightly down Krycek's chest.

The transition was much smoother this time. Fox closed his eyes, and when he opened them again Mulder was back. They were still standing so close they were nearly touching, and Mulder jumped back away from Krycek. "Oh, shit," were the first words out of his mouth.

"I suppose you're wondering how I'm going to use this information," Krycek said, feeling much better now that he was back in control of the situation. "I've told you I want to help you, Mulder, and you've never believed me. So now I'm going to prove it to you. I'm not going to tell anyone. Not the Syndicate, not the FBI, not Skinner, not even Scully. And I'm not going to ask you for anything in return for that silence. Not even my safety."

Krycek was halfway out the door when Mulder called out, "Alex." Krycek stopped, but didn't turn around. "Would you come back tomorrow?"

Surprised, Krycek turned, "Why?"

Mulder licked his lips nervously, "Because I need help, and I can't tell anyone why."

"You're right Mulder, you do need help," Krycek grinned. He nodded once to indicate he'd return, and left the room.

In the morning Krycek returned to Mulder's room and simply knocked on the door. "Come in," Mulder called out. Inside, Krycek could see that Mulder sitting on the bed, attention fixed on the television as he flipped from one channel to another. "There's absolutely nothing on," he commented, watching the TV so intently that Krycek knew he was practicing holding onto his control.

"What do you need me to do?" Alex asked, trying not to break Mulder's concentration.

"First, I need you to help me convince Simon he doesn't need to kill you," Mulder said tightly.

"Well, then let him out so I can talk to him," Krycek said.

"I think he'll kill you if I let him go," Mulder said, turning his attention carefully away from the television.

"I can take care of myself," Krycek answered firmly. Mulder shrugged, and the next thing Krycek knew, Simon had launched himself off the bed and had tackled Krycek to the floor. The former agent grunted and executed a roll that put him on top of Simon, sitting on his waist and pinning both arms to the floor. "I told you last night that I wouldn't give you away," he said to Simon, "so why am I still a threat."

"You're word isn't enough," Simon growled. "Even if you never tell anyone, you're a weakness just by existing. He refuses to kill you, even though he has had the opportunity and the motive."

"I've always wondered about that," Krycek commented, "care to explain why?" Krycek could see Simon freeze up a little, and realized that Mulder was trying to stop him from saying anything. Finally, with great effort, Simon said, "It's because Mulder loves you."

It took a moment for the statement to sink in, but when it did he went into such shock that Simon was able to gain the advantage in their struggle. Past the hands that circled his throat, Krycek gasped, "Don't you think it will hurt Mulder more to kill me than to let me go?"

Krycek hadn't thought the words were strong enough to make Simon cease his assault, but the man let go anyway. "Yeah," Simon commented, "he and Fox were screamin' pretty loud about it there."

For a long moment, the two men were silent. Krycek could see that Simon remained in control, and he finally spoke. "If I loved him back, I'd stop being a threat, wouldn't I? I'd become a strength, because Mulder would know I wouldn't hurt him."

"Yeah, but you don't love him. Even if you said it, it'd just be to save you ass. You're a survivor; I know that even if Mulder doesn't. I don't blame you for the things you've done, 'cause I understand why. Mulder, he beats himself up about loving you because he doesn't understand. So I know that you'd say anything to keep me from killing you right now."

"If I'm such a survivor," Krycek began, taking a steadying breath, "then why do I keep risking my life for Mulder? Haven't you noticed that I keep showing up to help him even though I suffer for it?" Krycek waited tensely. He wasn't tense because he was hoping Simon would swallow a lie, he was tense because he'd just given up the one secret The Syndicate hadn't been able to pry from him.

Simon looked wary, but thoughtful. He gave a minute shrug, and Mulder was back, shivering a little. Alex stepped forward hesitantly, touching the side of Mulder's face and looking into the FBI agent's confused eyes. "I love you," Krycek whispered, and leaned forward to kiss Mulder gently, slowly on the lips.

There was a moment of hesitation on Mulder's part before he melted into the kiss with a choked sound of surrender. The kiss was just a taste, a brush of lips against lips, a confirmation of what they both wanted. When they broke apart, Mulder murmured, "How can I love you? After all you've done, how can I want you - all of you - so badly?"

"We're drawn to each other," Krycek whispered back. "We can't help it, we can't fight it...we can't question it." Mulder sighed almost helplessly and, his arms finding their way around Krycek's waist, kissed the other man again. This kiss was pure, raw hunger. Mulder's tongue touched Alex's lips, and found them opening eagerly. Their tongues stroked against each other, tasting and exploring. The kiss went on, each devouring the other, until lack of air forced them apart.

Simon and Fox were forgotten as Alex and Mulder, who had held themselves away from the other for so long, finally came together.

***

Much later, the two men lay spooned together under the covers of the bed in Mulder's hotel room. A soothing peace had overcome Krycek, and under it's influence an idea occurred to him. "Mulder," he said, realizing as he spoke that Mulder refused to be called Fox because he wasn't Fox. "Mulder, I've got an idea about your problem," this referring to Mulder's loss of control of his other personalities.

"What?" Mulder asked, turning over so that he faced Alex.

"You've been trying to dominate Simon and Fox. Why not treat them more like partners? Let them out when they feel they can contribute to a situation. They share a body with you; they have the right to share a life with you."

"Alex," Mulder said incredulously, "people would notice. It would be obvious!"

Krycek snorted, "This from the psychologist in the room. Mulder, most people trust what they see. They see you, they'll assume it is you. If they think you're acting a little odd, they'll shrug and blame it on circumstances they aren't aware of. It helps that not many people know you very well. They won't know what to expect from you, so you're free to act however you want. Give Simon and Fox a little credit. I'm sure they can pull off a pretty good 'Mulder' when it's called for."

"What about Scully? And Skinner?" Mulder challenged.

"So you have a talk with Simon and Fox and make it clear to them that whenever those two are around, you get exclusive control until they're gone." Krycek waited for Mulder's reaction. The FBI agent seemed uncertain, so Alex asked a question he was pretty sure would make his point. "How did you pass the psych screening and the FBI training?"

Mulder looked surprised. "Simon, Fox and I all wanted to be an agent. So we had a long talk about who was best suited to the job. I was chosen. Then the three of us agreed that I would have sole control of the body for two entire years. It was enough."

"So make another agreement with Simon and Fox," Krycek said reasonably. "When they feel they can contribute to a situation, they ask you for control. When you think you should have the body back, you ask for it."

"And when Scully or Skinner are around, I immediately get control," Mulder finished slowly. "It makes sense."

"One other thing," Krycek said, looking Mulder in the eye. "You are my lover. I love you. Not Simon, not Fox. I don't even want either of them in my bed." Mulder's eyes unfocused for a moment and Krycek knew he was consulting his other personalities. "Okay. Everyone thinks we ought to try your idea."

"Good," Alex smiled and kissed Mulder slowly. "We can spend the week getting you used to the idea."

***

About a week later, Mulder strode down the halls of the FBI. If he walked a little straighter, if he met people's gazes instead of dropping his, no one noticed the difference. His gaze caught AD Skinner's, and he nodded briefly before taking the stairs down to his office.

He opened the door and stepped in to find Scully waiting for him. In a smooth, near seamless transition, Simon gave way to Mulder. "Hey, Scully," he greeted her cheerfully. "Get anything done while I was gone."

"Yeah, all your backlogged paperwork," she said, but smiled. "You seem very relaxed. Vacation did you good, I take it?" she raised an inquiring and amused eyebrow.

"Yeah, well, I just needed to sort a couple things out," Mulder said after a slight hesitation.

"There's nothing wrong, is there?" Scully asked, looking concerned.

"No, no," Mulder assured her, "I'm all right."

Over the next month, all went smoothly. If there was any change in the way he was talked about, it was only to remark on his increased aggressiveness regarding non-paranormal cases or his new tact with witnesses. Neither Skinner nor Scully noticed much of a difference, though the former complimented his improved performance.

Another aspect of Mulder's life had changed as well, though it was a difference no one knew about and - hopefully - would never notice. Nearly every week, Krycek would visit him. Every time he came, Mulder greeted him passionately and happily, and every day that passed he felt less guilty about loving Alex.

Allowing Simon and Fox to take a role in his life, though a secret one, seemed to have brought them forward in his mind. Mulder had, with practice, become able to hear them without any more outward sign than a slight unfocusing of his eyes. The three personalities had used their week's vacation practicing gaining and releasing control until it could be done invisibly.

Having Simon and Fox almost constantly talking to him had to affect Mulder's attitudes a little as well. They were still distinct personalities, but Mulder had come to understand a little better why Simon understood Krycek. Fox's presence made Mulder a little more aware of the physical side of things, which he'd tended to forget before.

But, though having Simon and Fox playing an active role in his life made Mulder feel more comfortable with himself, it was a secret that could be wearing. Alex was the only person who knew Mulder had multiple personalities, and so Mulder was most relaxed with the man who had been his enemy not that long ago. Mulder was just getting confident that his secret was safe, when the other shoe dropped.

It was during a particularly difficult murder investigation. Though the killer was entirely mundane, Mulder and Scully had been called in to assist because Mulder was the best profiler in the FBI and Scully was his partner.

They'd found the killer holed up in a warehouse, but he'd put up one hell of a fight before taking off at top speed. They might have lost him if Simon hadn't taken control, pushing himself to catch the suspect and tackle him to the ground. Simon was much better at hand to hand combat than Mulder, and had the suspect - Fred Winters - subdued quickly. Though they'd captured him, Mulder was shaken at having to give Simon control in front of Scully. Simon had asked, and Mulder had agreed, but it still made him worry Scully would notice a difference.

She didn't say anything until they arrived at his apartment building, when she got out of the car with him and came up to his apartment. After she'd closed his door behind herself, she turned a worried gaze on him. "Mulder," she began, "are you okay? You seemed pretty shaken up after you brought Winters down."

"I'm okay, Scully, honest," Mulder said. Inwardly, he winced. His own nervousness at giving Simon away had been what she noticed, not the change itself.

"I wasn't going to say anything," his partner said seriously, "but you've been acting...differently lately. You seem more relaxed more in control than usual. I've heard things from other people, too, that make me think something's changed. I thought that change was for the better, which is why I didn't mention it. Now, I'm not so sure."

"Scully," Mulder said, smiling a little, "I'm fine. I guess I just really need that vacation to sort some things out. I feel a lot better now."

"Mulder, I don't care if you think you're better. I want to know what's different. I'm your partner, you know you can trust me, right?" As she spoke, Scully moved to sit next to Mulder on the couch. He glanced away from her guiltily as she spoke of trust and she put a gentle hand on his cheek turning him to face her again. "Tell me," she asked softly.

Mulder felt a sudden tugging sensation in his mind and realized, too late, that Simon was taking control. All Scully saw was Mulder, so she was shocked when he pushed her violently away, growling, "He belongs to Alex!"

//Simon! What are you doing? // Mulder asked, within their head.

//Do you forget I'm your protector? // Simon replied. //I won't hurt her, 'cause she's your partner and she's good at it. But you're for Alex, not anyone else. Besides, it's time she knew. //

"Mulder, what's wrong?" Scully asked, alarmed after overcoming her shock. She'd moved even further away than he'd pushed her. "Alex who? Alex Krycek? What are you talking about? Mulder?" Scully watched in amazement as the man she believed was her partner got a pack of cigarettes out a desk drawer and it one up.

Simon brought the cigarette to his lips and took a long draw, exhaling slowly. "Sorry," he said, regarding the tip of the cigarette, "Mulder's not in right now."

"I don't know what kind of sick joke you're playing here," Scully said angrily, "but cut it out."

"Sorry, Scully, this is no joke," Simon said coolly. "And you're not speaking to Mulder. I'm Simon." He held out his hand for an introductory handshake and Scully took it, mildly stunned.

"Simon? Who are you?" Scully asked, knowing the answer but afraid to hear it.

"Oh, surely you're familiar with multiple personality disorder, Doctor," Simon said scornfully.

Scully hesitated before asking, "Does Mulder know about you?"

"Yeah," Simon responded, puffing out more smoke. "We're all completely aware of each other and what we're doing. Gets rid of that lost time problem nicely."

"All?"

"Me, Mulder and Fox. You haven't met Fox yet, have you? Here, I'll let him introduce himself." Scully felt she'd slipped into a permanent state of shock by this time, and was incapable of feeling any more.

She was wrong.

Mulder - rather, Simon - abruptly looked down at the cigarette and grimaced, quickly stubbing it out. "I wish we could convince him those things are disgusting," Fox commented in a silky smooth voice unlike either Mulder's normal tone or Simon's growl. "Strange, isn't it, how he's the only one that feels the addiction. Oh, by the way, I'm Fox," one again a hand was held out for introduction. Scully noticed that this time, it was his left hand. The handshake was firm and lingering, and Fox followed it up with a sweep of his eyes. "You really are a beautiful woman," he said. "Mulder never says so, but I've always thought so."

"How did I not notice this before?" Scully asked as the reality of the situation finally sunk in.

"Well, the three of us decided that only Mulder would be allowed control while you were present. So, until today, you've only ever met Mulder. But Simon and I have been taking what chances we get for control. I can do a pretty good Mulder, when required."

"When is it not required?"

"Well, we can all be ourselves when Alex is around," Fox shrugged.

"Alex Krycek?" Scully asked doubtfully.

"Yeah. We've been seeing him on a pretty regular basis, lately," Fox revealed carelessly.

"What?!" Scully exploded. "I want to talk to Mulder, right now!"

"Scully..." Mulder began, but was cut off.

"Mulder, what's this about Krycek? A regular basis?" Scully stood, hands on her hips, facing Mulder. It was this tableau that Krycek walked in on. Scully was facing the door, so she saw him before Mulder did. Her first reaction was to draw her gun on Krycek, which made Mulder turn to see who she was threatening.

"Bad timing, I guess," Krycek stated.

"Yeah, really bad," Mulder agreed, stepping into Scully's line of fire. "Come in, if you don't value your life," he grinned weakly. Krycek came in.

"Mulder, you're in my line of fire," Scully told him tightly.

He ignored her, telling Alex, "Scully just found out about us, Simon and Fox. She's...a little upset."

"Mulder!" Scully exclaimed in frustration, lowering her gun. "Would you explain to me why Krycek, of all people, has a key to your apartment?"

"Because we're lovers," Krycek said baldly, before Mulder could phrase it more softly.

Scully's knees went weak, and she collapsed onto the couch. "This is too much," she murmured.

"Scully, we need to talk," Mulder said unnecessarily. "I still want to be an agent, I still want you to be my partner, and I still want Alex."

"Why?" Scully asked weakly, "Why do you want him?"

"Because I love him," Mulder admitted, "and he loves me."

"You're right, we need to talk."

***

They were up the whole night, but between the four of them, Mulder, Fox, Simon and Krycek were able to bring Scully over to Mulder's way of thinking. She wasn't happy about it, but she wanted to help Mulder and he was her best friend. Her loyalty went a long way.

Now they just had to hope that neither Skinner nor the Syndicate discovered their secret.

--End--