There Can Be Only One
(Not a Highlander fic)
Author’s Note: A ‘one of’ story. Sort of a QAF/X-Files crossover, but not really. Timelines!? We don’t need no stinking timelines! And my Krycek may be bad but he’s always in good taste.
“Mulder, where the fuck are we?” Alex Krycek grumbled as he woke up and looked around. Mulder had pulled off the highway; the change of road jarred Krycek awake.
“Pittsburgh? Why are we here?” As soon as Alex asked, he regretted it.
“I can give you the existentialist theory of creation, explaining why humans have been placed on this earth and their purpose or would you like the short version?” Mulder asked in his usual monotone way.
“I’ve listened to enough of your diatribes to last me a lifetime, the short version please.” Krycek gave Mulder a shark smile letting his dimples show.
“I’m hungry, tired and I have to pee,” Mulder deadpanned. Alex rolled his eyes. Before Alex could protest any further, Mulder pulled over to park in front of a diner.
“Charming,” Alex grumbled as he looked the diner over.
“Were you expecting the Ritz?”
“No, but I wasn’t expecting ptomaine either,” Alex snarked as he got out of the car to follow Mulder inside.
“Anywhere, boys!” a rather large woman with withering false eyelashes told them. Mulder chose a booth closest to the back. Alex slithered into the back seat where he could keep an eye on the whole diner and the door. Mulder sat facing him. Two glasses of water and menus were flopped onto the table. “I’ll be back in a minute to take your orders,” the woman said.
“Go pee, Mulder, your fidgeting is making me nervous,” Alex said as he picked up the menu.
“Yes, mother,” Mulder replied but quickly fled the table for the sought after relief.
The diner was fairly busy since it was close to lunch time and being a good little agent, Alex quickly ascertained the primary clientele. After a few minutes, Mulder returned.
“It’s about time. I thought I was going to have to send in a search party. Speaking about parties, were you having one in there?” Alex smirked and waggled his eyebrows. Mulder gave him a curious look. “Oh come on, Mulder, you do know where we are, don’t you?”
“In Pittsburgh, in a diner.”
“Oh for...” Alex quickly calmed himself, refusing to let Mulder get to him. “Mulder, let's use those powers of deduction that you’ve honed so well over the years. What kind of a diner is this?”
Mulder was about to speak but was quickly cut off by a hand in front of his face.
“Let me specify. The clientele, what can you deduce from the patrons of this establishment?”
Mulder took a quick look around. “Females appear to be in the minority,” he reflected. “And some of the men seem rather...”
“Flamboyant, I believe is the word you’re looking for,” Alex supplied. “Mulder, we are in a gay diner,” Alex squeaked.
“There is no such thing as a gay diner. I believe the correct term is gay friendly establishment. And I didn’t know you were homophobic.”
“I’m not but I prefer my protein on a plate rather than in a backroom somewhere. Order me a hamburger, medium with the works. I’ll be right back, Sugar Lips,” Alex drawled, smiling sweetly at Mulder then batting his sinfully long sable lashes at Mulder. He stood, leaning over the table to plant a wet one on Mulder’s lips. Alex then scurried to the bathroom, giving Mulder a glimpse of his swishing ass.
Mulder shook his head then picked up the menu.
“Ow!” Mulder shouted a moment later, abruptly standing and rubbing the back of his head. Alex was out of the bathroom a fraction of a second later with his weapon drawn.
“You son of a bitch! How could you?”
“How could I what? And what the fuck was that for?” Mulder yelled at the red-headed woman looking up at him with embarrassment. He subtly waved off Krycek who re-holstered his weapon and stepped back in the shadows.
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry. From behind, you look like Brian!” the woman said.
“Whoever this Brian is, I feel sorry for him,” Mulder pouted as he rubbed his head.
“I am so, so sorry,” the woman repeated. “You have his hair and his eyes,” she said, staring into Mulder’s hazel eyes. She quickly snapped out of it. “On me.”
“I beg your pardon?” Mulder was having difficulty following the conversation.
“Lunch is on me.”
“Fox, sweetie, are you pestering the nice lady?” Alex announced as he flounced out from the back to stand next to Mulder. He smiled down at the red head, flashing his deep green eyes that were framed by his perfect lashes.
“Honey, the boys will just eat you up,” the waitress cooed at Alex, who smiled prettily back at her.
Mulder and Alex sat back down in their booth to wait for their lunch.
“What the hell was that?” Mulder asked leaning forward to whisper.
“What?” Alex asked innocently, fluttering his eyelashes and demurely sipping his water through a straw.
“That! Your act.”
“Who says I’m acting,” Alex waggled his eyebrows. He understood the adage, patience is a virtue. Alex’s reward, a flustered Mulder. Alex took pity on Mulder. “I was taught to blend into my environment, so I’m blending. Get over it.”
Mulder was saved from further conversation by their lunch slung onto the table.
“Where to next, Mulder?” Alex asked as they left the diner, with several phone numbers in their pockets.
“A hotel,” Alex parroted back. “You gotta date?”
“No, Alex, I’m tired of driving.” Alex held out his hand, snapping his fingers for the car keys. “Do I look suicidal to you? I’ve seen you drive. We’re staying the night.”
Mulder checked his GPS for the nearest hotel. They checked into a passable hotel with clean rooms, cable and room service.
“Now what?” Alex grumbled. He grabbed the remote for the TV, flopped on the nearest bed then started channel surfing. “Even the TV sucks here.”
“Put a sock in it, Krycek. I’m taking a shower then going to sleep,” Mulder grumbled as he disappeared into the bathroom. Alex ignored Mulder as he changed the channel again.
Mulder woke up hours later to darkness and the uneasy feeling that he was all alone. He groaned, scrubbing the sleep from his eyes. As he turned to flip on a light, Mulder felt the crinkle of paper under his cheek.
“How sweet, Krycek left me a love note.”
‘Went to Babylon to find trouble’ the note read.
“Great. Just what I need, Alex and trouble. And just what the fuck is Babylon?” A vibrating noise momentarily distracted him. He reached for his phone. “Mulder.”
“You’re awake!” Alex shouted.
“Did you see my note?”
“Yes, thank you. It made quite an impression,” Mulder replied rubbing at the crease on his cheek. “Where are you?”
“You said you got my note, Mulder.”
“It was a bit vague.”
“I thought it was rather direct. I’m at Babylon!”
“Mmm, hey daddy, let's play,” Mulder heard someone purr.
“Give me a minute, baby, I’ll take care of you,” Mulder heard Alex reply.
“Okay, honey,” Mulder heard.
“Sorry. I was talking to my new friend.”
“It’s nice that you can make friends, Krycek,” Mulder droned.
“Mulder, why don’t you join me!”
“I think I’ll pass.”
“Oh come on, Mulder, lighten up! Take a walk on the dark side. Here, listen.” Alex held out his phone so Mulder could hear the thumpa thumpa music. “They’re playing your song.”
“What song is that?”
“Let’s Hear It For the Boy!”
“Since when is that my song?”
“You don’t know what you’re missing!” Alex singsonged.
“I do know what I’m missing.”
“Oooo, do tell!”
“Alex, you sound like an old queen!”
Alex laughed. “When in Rome... If anything, you’ll keep me from getting into any REAL trouble. Come on, Mulder, you like a challenge. Think of this as an experiment or maybe one of those weird cases you’re so fond of investigating. There are some very interesting characters walking around here.” Alex watched a well built young man wearing chaps and little else parade by, giving him the eye. “Ooohh yeah, real interesting,” Alex growled.
Mulder groaned. “I have nothing to wear.”
“Take one of my t-shirts and you’ve got to have a pair of jeans somewhere in your bag.”
“See? Instant club clothes.”
“Any advice about my hair?” Mulder didn’t have his usual haircare products with him so his hair was flopping in front of his eyes.
“Au naturel,” Alex teased.
Mulder sighed. “All right, how do I get there?”
“Not a fucking clue. I saw a commercial about the place so I just grabbed a cab, asked the driver to take me to the wildest place in town and here I am!”
“Aw Mulder, you sound almost cheerful,” Alex drawled.
“Honey, let me show you how we do it in Hazelhurst,” Mulder heard above the noise.
“Gotta go, Mulder!” Alex said before the line went silent.
“I don’t believe this,” Mulder grumbled to himself as he got out of the cab near the club and stuck a pair of tinted glasses on his nose. He wanted to remain as anonymous as possible.
The line for Babylon was wrapped around the block. Mulder glanced up at the door and the big burly bouncer who took up the width of it. He blew the hair out of his face then turned to walk to the end of the line. A heavy hand on his shoulder changed his mind.
“We always have room for you, Brian,” the bouncer said as he steered Mulder up the stairs.
“I’m not Bri...”
The opening of the door drowned out whatever Mulder was trying to say.
“How am I going to find Alex in this?” Mulder mumbled to himself as he pushed his way through the crowd of men to go down the stairs. Circumventing the dance floor, Mulder found his way to the bar.
“Water, please,” he ordered. A bottle of water was placed in front him, Mulder opened the bottle then turned to watch the dance floor. The floor seemed to be the only place with any kind of light albeit strobes and colored spots.
A dark skinned young man approached. “New look, Brian? I like it. Maybe you’ll throw out your one time only rule since you’re looking so different tonight,” the young man flirted shamelessly. Mulder shook his head. “I’ll be in the back room if you change your mind,” the man purred leaning close to Mulder’s ear.
Mulder may not have been interested but his nether region seemed to be in disagreement with his brain.
“Hey, Brian,” a medium height brown haired man greeted Mulder. The man waved at the bartender for a drink. “Is the boy wonder back?” the guy asked.
“I’m not Brian,” Mulder said raising his glasses just a bit off his nose. The man took a good look.
“Oh sorry, I thought you were a friend of mind. Sorry to bother you.” The man moved to the other end of the bar.
“Hi, Brian!” a set of triplets singsonged then surrounded Mulder. “Would you like one of our specials?” The boys asked, each licking their lips in anticipation of a ‘meal.’ Mulder shook his head. The boys pouted then went on to greener pastures before Mulder could say a word.
“I’m not Brian,” Mulder turned toward the touch on his shoulder.
“I know you’re not, you’re Mulder,” Alex said. “And from what I can see, you can make a killing here. Not literally, of course,” Alex added at Mulder’s scowl.
“How would you know?”
“I’ve been watching you.” Alex indicated the catwalk above the dance floor. “You’ve been leaving a string of broken hearts from the minute you entered the joint,” Alex teased.
“Ease up, Mulder, I’m not here to give you a hard time.” Alex tried for sincere but the double entendre made him smirk. Alex could see Mulder glare even in the dim light and through the tinted glasses.
They leaned against the bar, staring at the throng of men gyrating on the dance floor.
“Hey, Mulder, can you do that?”
“Do what?” Alex pointed toward the dance floor. “You mean make myself look like an unstrung marionette on steroids caught in a Nor’easter?”
“I can. Can you?” Mulder asked in disbelief. Krycek narrowed his eyes. “Ah, yes, you excel blending in, don’t you?”
Alex smiled then grabbed Mulder’s hand to lead him to the dance floor.
“Who is that?” a good looking muscular man asked a tall thin flaming queen. They were standing on the stairs sipping drinks, taking a break from the crowded dance floor.
“The one with dark hair? He’s just passing through town but he certainly knows his way around,” the queen announced proudly as he sipped a Cosmo.
“No not him, him, the brunet.”
“Is that Brian?” a nerdy looking man asked his friends. The three squinted in the dim light.
“If it is, then someone is going to be in big trouble when a certain blond boy gets back,” the tall queen warned.
The music changed and Alex drew Mulder in closer.
“What are you doing?” Mulder asked in Alex’s ear.
“Slow dancing. You know the concept. The music slows, so you do too,” Alex murmured. His hot breath was causing an interesting reaction below.
“You’re still not driving,” Mulder grumbled. Alex laughed then danced Mulder across the floor.
“Can’t be Brian,” the nerd said. “Brian doesn’t dance that well.”
“Hey, look, they’re leaving,” the muscle man observed.
Mulder and Alex wound their way through the club and out the door.
“Hey Mulder, look at this great Corvette!” Alex exclaimed as he gently caressed the shining metal with his hand. “Now someone appreciates his machine.”
“Why do you assume it’s a he? You think a woman can’t appreciate her machine?”
“No, I’m sure many woman could appreciate a classic like this but this one reeks of testosterone. Besides, I saw the guy who got out of it just as we left the club,” Alex grinned.
“Ass,” Mulder groused.
“Excuse me,” a tall gorgeous hazel eyed brunet purred as he brushed passed Mulder. He opened the passenger side door of the ‘Vette, rummaged around for a minute then slammed the door shut.
“Nice ride, man,” Alex sincerely complimented, batting his eyelashes.
“Thanks,” the gorgeous brunet replied, smiling at Alex with a noncommital smirk.
“Brian, did you find it?” a cute little blond called to the brunet.
“Got it, Sunshine!” The little blond’s smile lit up the alley as the brunet walked to the blond’s side and planted a loving kiss.
“I feel like dancing my ass off!” the blond shouted as they got closer to the club door. The bouncer immediately cleared their path and opened the club door.
“Just don’t dance too much off. I have plans for your ass later,” the brunet said, patting the ass in question as they disappeared into the club.
“Come on, Mulder, let’s go back to the hotel. You look like shit,” Alex teased. “All that driving, it’s not good for you.”
Alex hailed a cab then stuffed Mulder into it.
“You’re still not driving,” Mulder grumbled. Alex laughed as he told the cabby the address.
“And so we bid the fair burgh of Pitts a fond adieu,” Alex said out loud as he pulled onto the interstate.
Mulder groaned. “Shut up, Krycek; just drive.”
“Don’t be mad at me! I’m not the one who ate three lemon bars all at once.”
“I couldn’t help it. That waitress kept feeding them to me. Said something about needing to fatten me up.”
“There are two words that come to mind that work very well in situations like this; no, thank you.”
“That’s three words.”
“Come on, Mulder, what’s eating you? It can’t be just the lemon bars. You’ve been acting weird ever since we left the diner yesterday.”
“Did you ever wonder what it would be like to live someone else’s life?” Mulder asked as he watched the countryside go by.
“I do it all the time, Mulder,” Alex responded a lot more honestly than Mulder was a aware of. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, really. I just got a small glimpse of a life I could have had.”
“What life? You mean clubbing every night and anonymous sex? Mulder, that’s not a life, that’s a fantasy. Just because we don’t see what those guys do during the day doesn’t mean they don’t lead ordinary lives like we do.”
“Krycek, we don’t lead ordinary lives.”
“And that’s just my point.”
“Krycek, do you ever make sense?”
“Sure I do, Mulder, I make a lot of sense. And so does your life.”
“What’s so great in my life?”
“Mulder, you have a purpose.”
“Oh please do not get all Star Trekkie on me. It is necessary to have purpose,” Mulder quoted sounding like a android.
“Tell me why would you want to be one of them?”
“Yeah, for real.”
“They have fun. They’re good looking, obviously having more sex than we are.”
“Speak for yourself.”
“They seem so carefree.”
“Let me tell you something Mulder, no one is that carefree. They all have problems just like everyone else. Besides, you’re just as good looking.”
“What problems could they possibly have?”
“You really want to know?”
“Yeah, enlighten me, Krycek.”
“Okay. Let’s take that southern belle I spent some quality time with. He left home in his early twenties and hasn’t been back since. It seems that his kind is not wanted back in Hazelhurst, Mississippi. That big musclebound hunk, is HIV positive and that little brown haired guy is his partner. They adopted an ex-hustler who’s also positive. Oh, and the little guy has a kid with a pair of lesbians that moved away to Canada so he hasn’t seen his little girl in ages.”
“How do you know all this?”
“I’m good at what I do. Now, that nerdy guy is a recovering alcoholic. He used to own a gay porn website. He’s now a legit accountant.”
“Okay, now you’re bullshitting me.”
“I swear on my mother’s life,” Alex said as he held up a hand.
“Both hands on the wheel!” Mulder demanded. “And you don’t have a mother, you were hatched.”
“Ha ha. Mulder, those guys back there are no different from you or me. They go to work and they like to play. No, I take that back. You work and don’t play.”
Mulder and Krycek drove in silence for a while.
“What about that Brian guy? What’s his story?”
“Ah, your doppelganger? It’s an interesting one. And a long one.”
“We have the time.”
“He is a king amongst men. Owns his own advertising agency and is doing quite well. Parents are dead and from what I found out, good riddance. He has a son with that same set of lesbians, and he’s the main support for his son and the other kid too. Seems this Brian doesn’t discriminate. He has a bit of a reputation.”
“That’s an understatement. What you’ve told me so far seems idyllic.”
“Looks can be deceiving. That little blond he was with...”
“Yeah, about him, is he legal?’
“Very,” Alex laughed. “The little blond was a victim of gay bashing when he was in high school. He was attacked the night of his prom, in front of Brian.”
“In a way, it was a good thing too. Brian caught the guy but more importantly called 911 and they got the kid to the hospital in time. It was years ago but the story remains legendary in their part of the world. So you see, Mulder, everyone has a story. It’s good to be you and only you.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Are you referring to ‘the project’?”
“Yes. I hear cloning is making great strides lately,” Mulder said nonchalantly then glanced over at Krycek’s left arm.
“Verboten topic, Mulder.”
“You know I’m going to pester you until you tell me.”
“Mulder,” Alex growled menacingly.
“Krycek,” Mulder growled back.
The battle of wills lasted for the next fifty miles. Mulder lost.
“Come on, Alex, tell me,” Mulder whined once more.
“Mulder, I can’t. You never know who’s listening.”
“In the middle of Pennsylvania?”
Alex pulled over into a truck stop. There was a vending machine so he bought a couple bottles of water. He sat at a lone picnic table at the far end of the truck stop. He offered a bottle to Mulder.
“Mulder, I really can’t go into details, for your sake as well as mine. Let’s just say you are unique among men.”
“I can’t tell if you’re lying.”
“I know and I’m not. I swear on all things you hold dear, there is only one Fox Mulder. The mold was broken when they made you.”
“What about Alex Krycek?” Mulder wasn’t convinced.
Alex finished his water then threw the bottle away in the nearest trash bin. He got up to walk back to the car.
“There can be only one, Mulder,” Alex smiled, baring his pearly whites and dimples. Then getting deadly serious, Krycek repeated as he pealed out of the truck stop.
“There can be only one.”
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