Story Title: Taken
Chapter Title: Part 1:
The Choice
Author: Zoë
Website: http://slashfactory.com/
Fandom: X-Files
Story Pairing: Ultimately, Mulder/Krycek, but also K/O, M/O, Sk/O
Chapter Pairing: None
Rating: NC-17 for m/m sexual content
Warnings: None
Archive: Full House Slash Archive. All others, please ask.
Spoilers: Canon through Duane Barry, then I diverge. However, there may be parallel references to episodes up through Requiem.
Beta Thanks: Lorelei. This story is better because she worked on it.
Special thanks to Louise for helping with my technical issues.
Summary: Krycek makes a different choice after the events of Sleepless, but it leads to disaster.
Disclaimer: Alex Krycek, Fox Mulder, Walter Skinner and all other X-Files characters belong to Chris Carter and 1013 Productions. No infringement of rights is intended. Jaden MacKay is mine, mine, mine. Don't anyone mess with him.


Taken, Part 1: The Choice


**

Skyland Mountain
Tuesday, 9 August 1994
8:46 P.M.


A small figure stumbled out of the dark, running awkwardly. Mulder was certain his heart had stopped, then he realized it was Scully, blood spattered, but alive. She was gagged and bound. He met her half way, caught her in his arms. His fingers immediately went to work on the binding around her wrist. The instant her hands were free, she wrenched the gag away.

"Christ, Scully. We thought you were gone."

"No!" She paused, panting for breath. "We've got to get help. He's still got Krycek."

"What?!"

"Krycek... he's still back there!"

Mulder pulled out his weapon. "Stay here."

"Like hell," Scully barked. "Give me your backup."

They didn't have time to argue, so Mulder retrieved the .38 from his ankle holster and passed it to her. "Don't move out of my sight."

Scully glared at him for a nanosecond before running back up the hill. Mulder followed, easily overtaking her. The car was empty. A few seconds later they found Duane Barry. He stared into the night sky an expression of glee on his face.

There was no sign of Krycek.

"No!" Scully yelled into the darkness.

The area was suddenly flooded with lights. Helicopters. The illumination made it clear that Krycek was nowhere near.

Mulder grabbed Duane, forcing him roughly onto the ground, not caring if the man had to breathe dirt. He cuffed him roughly then flipped him over. "Where's Krycek!"

"Who?"

Mulder shook him, banging Duane's head against the ground. "Alex Krycek!"

"He's with them." Duane looked back to the sky, as if it explained 'them.' "I wasn't sure they'd take a substitute, but they did! They did! And now I'm not going anywhere!"

"Mulder..." He turned to find Scully hunkered down, picking something up with a tissue. He manhandled Barry until they were close enough to see.

Krycek's badge. Liberally covered with blood.

Keeping hold of Duane Barry, Mulder hauled him toward where Scully was inspecting the back seat of the car. "There's so much blood," she whispered in horror, afraid that Krycek's attempt to save her life had cost him his own.

Mulder's grip tightened on Duane as he surveyed the blood-soaked back seat. Something like a lead weight settled in his stomach.

Scully forcibly put Barry prone on the ground again while Mulder searched the immediate area. Barry just craned his neck to look at the sky, chanting about how they weren't going to get him.

In the car Mulder found another Bureau service weapon. The other they'd found on the ground half way up the hill. Scully identified hers as the one in the car. The other was probably Krycek's.

"Agent Mulder?" A man's voice called from a distance.

Mulder looked up to find several local law enforcement officers with guns at the ready advancing on their position. Mulder held up both hands. "I'm Mulder. That's Agent Dana Scully."

They lowered their weapons and flashlights. "We were called by the park attendant right after you arrived. Are you okay?"

"We're okay, though Agent Scully needs medical attention. The man in cuffs is her abductor."

One deputy took Barry while another checked Scully for injury. The Sheriff crossed to Mulder. "The FBI is en route. One of their choppers should be here any minute. They'll meet us at the visitor center. I'm sure everyone will be relieved that both of you are okay."

Mulder shakes his head. "There was a third agent. Alex Krycek. The Bureau doesn't know Barry had him as well. He's still missing."

The Sheriff immediately radioed a request for manhunt support on the mountain. Mulder answered a few more questions then followed Scully to the visitor center. The first priority was to interrogate Barry. But as soon as they walked in the door, they ran smack into AD Skinner, whose relief at Scully's return was tempered by the news that another of his agents was missing.

Though both Mulder and Scully wanted to stay with Barry, Skinner dispatched the two agents he'd brought with him to handle the suspect, while he handled the interrogation of the only witnesses.

Mulder bounced off the walls, wanting to charge into the dark night and find Krycek. Skinner controlled him with a few terse words and the occasional glare, then turned his attention to Scully. "Are you sure you don't need medical attention before we go over this?"

"Sir, I'm fine. I don't think we have time to waste."

"Agent Scully, let's start at the beginning. What happened at your house?"


24 Hours Earlier

Scully dropped the groceries on the table without concern.

She picked up the phone to call Mulder. // Damn machine. Where was he? //

"Mulder, it's me. I just had something incredibly strange happen. This piece of metal that they took out of Duane Barry, it has some kind of a code on it. I ran it through a scanner and some kind of a serial number came up." She paused for a moment. "What the hell is this thing, Mulder? It's almost as if... it's almost as if somebody was using it to catalogue him."

A noise outside the window caught her attention. Like an animal in the bushes. Phone in hand, she walked to the window and raised the blinds. Coming face to face with Duane Barry. She screamed when glass shattered around her. "Mulder!"

Protecting herself from flying glass is what gave Barry the upper hand. But she fought him until her head cracked against the glass table.

Scully knew she was in trouble and frantically searched for an opportunity to get away, but her attempts were in vain. She was dazed and bound and he was much stronger.

"Barry!" A vaguely familiar male voice shouted. "Don't you fucking move! Put Agent Scully down. NOW!"

Duane Barry had her gun. She needed to warn him... it was too late. She fell to the ground as two shots fired simultaneously. One was near, the other farther away.

When Barry hefted her into his arms again, she knew who had won that battle. He stepped over something. She registered a bloody form sprawled on the ground. Alex Krycek. And he appeared to be dead.

Krycek. Mulder's partner. Mulder was here. She tried to yell to him around her gag.

Effortlessly, Barry gave her a violent shake. "Shut up!" Then he dropped her in the trunk.

"No!" Her cry was muted by the gag, and it didn't stop the trunk from closing. Every second felt like an hour as she listened carefully. It seemed to take forever. One door closed, then another. The car was started and Scully stifled a sob. Mulder wasn't coming.

Scully struggled against her bonds, but couldn't loosen the rope around her wrists. Christ! If her hands weren't tied, she could get to the trunk release and just roll out. Her struggles intensified, but it was pointless. Eventually, she stilled, trying to think ahead to some way out of this. The only chance she had was to win this with her wits. But the car never stopped, there was no chance to act.

Between the head injury, the motion of the car and sheer exhaustion, she dropped off to sleep.

The sound of a siren jolted her awake. // Please let that be help. //

She could barely make out the murmur of voices, then the quiet was obliterated by the sound of gun shots. The car was back in motion. Someone else was dead, and god only knew where she was headed.

The hours crept by. Scully tried to stay alert, hoping for some opportunity to escape, but the car kept moving.

A change in terrain caught her attention. She listened carefully, trying to gather any useful information. It sounded and felt like an unpaved road. The path was also uphill and beginning to curve sharply... She realized they were headed up a mountain or a hill. The car stopped, she tensed, waiting. The trunk was opened. Even though it was night, it hurt her eyes, brighter than the interior of the trunk.

Scully tried kicking out, but Duane Barry had a solid grip on her and hauled her out of the trunk. Her crucifix caught on something and was torn away. She fought harder. Relentlessly, Barry dragged her up the hill.

Something crashed into them. Scully hit the ground hard, her breath knocked out of her. She rolled away from Barry, peripherally aware of a struggle.

"Scully! Get out of here!" She registered Krycek's voice. He wasn't dead, but she had no time for relief. "Scully, dammit, get backup!"

She staggered to her feet, quickly taking in a deathly looking Krycek wrestling with Barry for the gun. The gun went off, the bullet hitting the ground dangerously close to her. "Fuck, Scully! Go!" Krycek screamed at her.

She was still bound and gagged, so she stumbled to the car, hoping to find something to aid in getting her loose. Nothing. It was obvious Krycek was losing. She had to get help. Then Krycek was down, unmoving on the ground, and Barry was looking for her. She took off, hoping to run into someone... anyone. She ran right into Mulder's arms.

"That's what happened, sir." Dana Scully drummed her fingers on the tabletop, then glanced up at Assistant Director Skinner.

Skinner nodded, no doubt in his mind that Scully had told the complete, unvarnished truth. Question was why did Alex Krycek of all people know to come to her aid? And where was he now?

Mulder slapped both palms on the table. "How did Krycek get the upper hand with Barry? Wasn't he restrained in some way?"

Scully looked at him askance. "I'm sure Duane Barry thought Krycek was at death's door. Would you bother tying up someone who was slowly dying in the backseat? And I don't know that he got the upper hand. Barry was still firing shots and Krycek was on the ground when I took off." Deep inside she felt a seed of guilt taking root. Though she rationally knew there was no other choice, leaving Krycek behind was something she would always regret.

Mulder shook his head in denial. "You don't know that he was seriously injured... you don't know that it's his blood in the backseat."

Skinner put up a hand to stop Scully from replying. Then he carefully navigated the complexities of Mulder's odd statements. "Well, Agent Mulder, when forensics is done, we'll know for certain whose blood it is. Until then, we have to assume the injured party was Agent Krycek."

Mulder looked less than happy at that pronouncement. "Okay, but if he was at death's door, how did he manage to subdue Barry enough for you to get away?"

Scully glared at him. "Mulder, we don't what was going on with Krycek. He could have been unconscious most of the trip. He could have been waiting for an opportunity to act. And we've both seen people at death's door do some amazing things in the interest of survival. What I do know is the man I saw wrestling with Duane Barry was not healthy." She paused considering Mulder's apparent suspicion of Krycek. "What are you stewing about?"

A.D. Skinner gestured to Scully to allow him to handle it. He took a deep breath, then glared at Mulder. "Agent, it sounds like you're making a backhanded accusation. Are you implying that Agent Krycek was in some way responsible for, or complicit in this situation?"

Mulder's entire body drooped and he let himself sink into a chair. Scrubbing his hands over his face, he muttered, "No. I think I am." He looked up into two twin expressions of shock.

In measured tones, Skinner said, "Would you care to illuminate that statement, Agent Mulder?"


Two Days Earlier
Monday, 7 August 1994
11:30 P.M.


Mulder flagged down the bartender and requested another beer. A beer appeared in front of him, but not from the bartender. His eyes followed the hand up to a strong wrist, muscled forearm, rolled-up sleeve, broad shoulder, smooth jaw, delicate nose, beautiful green eyes. Mulder sighed. "What is it, Alex?"

Krycek released his hold on the beer, pushed it in front of Mulder. "I need to talk to you."

Thinking again about sending Duane Barry to lock the door, Mulder took a long swallow before replying. "It's been a long night, Alex. Some other time."

"Mulder, this is too important to wait."

"Fine. Spill it."

"It wasn't chance that I was assigned to you." Alex watched Mulder carefully, waiting for the explosion.

Mulder considered getting irate, but it seemed like a gargantuan effort at the moment. Besides, it wasn't really a surprise. "And?"

"And? I, uh, it doesn't bother you?"

"Of course it does. But it's not a surprise. How do you think Scully and I got to be partners? They're always sending someone in to spy on me." Mulder took a swig off the beer. "So who's keeping tabs this time? The Director? Surely not Skinner."

Krycek frowned. "I don't actually know his name, but he's around all the time. From the Pentagon. The older guy who chain-smokes-"

"What?!" Mulder slammed his beer down, causing foam to spurt out the top. "What have you been telling that black-lunged bastard?"

Alex took a few cautionary steps backward, putting a couple of barstools between them. "Nothing they didn't already suspect. Look, he told me you were a loose cannon, completely off the reservation. Enough of a risk that you could do serious damage to the Bureau. So I agreed to this assignment. Because... because I care about this job. It's the only thing I've ever wanted to do."

"Oh, spare me your boy scout idealism."

"Fuck you, Mulder. It's not like you didn't create this situation."

"Is that what you came here to say, Alex?"

"No. It's not. For whatever it's worth, I believe they lied to me. About you and about what they wanted from me."

"Yeah. Whatever, Agent Krycek," Mulder said to his beer. "Talking down Duane Barry was enough for me for one day... just go away."

"Fine. I'll leave. But not before I tell you what I came here to say. So if you want me out of your hair, just shut up and listen." Mulder's glare was all the cue Alex needed to finish. "I went into this believing what they told me. The problem is you didn't turn out to be what they said. You haven't been wrong about anything that I can see. In fact, I believe you. But if they lied about one thing, what else are they lying about? If they're not truly trying to protect the Bureau, what are they trying to do? And why are they so interested in every word you say to Agent Scully?"

And that nearly got Alex punched in the face if he hadn't seen it coming. "You leave Scully out of this!"

"I'm not the one who brought her into it. You are. You're the one who couldn't leave her alone."

"Scully has nothing to do with anything. So, why don't we just put this show on hold 'til tomorrow? We can finish this drama in Skinner's office and see if you have a job left at the end of the day."

Alex gave up. "You do whatever you feel you have to, Mulder. So will I."

Skinner stared at the table, cautiously choosing his words. "I don't recall getting a visit from you yesterday."

Mulder looked up, guilt etched into the lines of his face. "So much happened with the Barry case. Krycek didn't even show up for work today. I-I thought it could wait a day."

Before Skinner could reply, Scully interjected. "There's nothing to say that it would have changed anything. Let's just focus on finding him." However, her eyes told Mulder this wasn't over yet.

Skinner's glare told Scully to back off. But the chirp of Skinner's cell interrupted whatever went along with that glare. "Skinner. ... Yes. ... Well, that's not much of a surprise to anyone in this room. ... Never mind. What else? ... That actually does make sense. ... No, I'll explain to HRT directly. ... The new samples are en route. Blood evidence is top priority this go 'round. ... Check it against Alex Krycek before you run it through the database. I have a feeling it will save some time. ... Exactly. After blood evidence, anything they turn up at Krycek's apartment is priority number two." With an air of aggravation, Skinner disconnected the call.

"Well," Scully prompted impatiently.

"That was forensics. The blood found outside Scully's wasn't a match for Scully or Barry, so they ran it through the database and came up with Alex Krycek." Skinner contemplated the back of his hand for a moment.

"They're just finding this now?" Scully asked with incredulity.

"Blood evidence was a lower priority because we had no idea there was a second victim. Although had I been aware of Agent Krycek's conversation with Agent Mulder, and that he was MIA, we might have taken note sooner of the second piece of news from forensics... that Agent Krycek's Bureau car has been parked near Scully's house since yesterday afternoon. It wasn't noticed sooner because there were a lot of Bureau issue cars in the area." Skinner gave up his new contemplation of his tie. "One more question, Mulder. When Scully was abducted, why didn't you then mention your conversation with Agent Krycek?"

Looking tired, Mulder only managed a weak shrug. "I didn't think it was related." Mulder frowned in contemplation. "Is it related? Alex was watching Scully because he was concerned about something related to the Bureau, but what does that have to do with Duane Barry? And why aren't we asking Duane Barry?"

"Barry is being interrogated as we speak, Agent. And you're correct, we don't know they're related. But we also don't know that they're not. You withheld potentially vital information after your former partner was abducted and now your present partner is gone. This doesn't-"

"Sir," Scully interjected, "isn't this all academic at the moment? Why aren't we out there looking? We need to find him." She broke off abruptly. "He saved my life."

"I'm aware of that Agent Scully," Skinner stated coolly. "We have a lot of people out in the dark looking for him."

Before Scully could respond, Mulder interjected, "Sir, they're not going to find him that way. Scully and I should be heading this investigation."

"No, Agent Mulder!" Skinner barked, "Agent Scully's next stop is an Emergency Room, and you still have some questions to answer."

An uproar from the hallway drew Skinner out of the room, but not before ordering Mulder and Scully to stay put. Mulder and Scully shared the few minutes Skinner was gone in silence. When Skinner returned his expression was grim. "Duane Barry is dead. We don't know how. He started to choke and was dead in seconds.

Scully suddenly felt the weight of the past days' events. With Barry dead, their chances of finding out what happened to Krycek were gone. Feeling the tears coming, she laid her head on the table in an attempt at maintaining her dignity. She felt a large, warm hand on her shoulder. "Let's get you to a hospital, Agent Scully.

**

End Part 1

09.07.05

I hope you enjoyed the first chapter. Feedback is always greatly appreciated.

Zoë

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