Happy Birthday Ursula!!!
The insistent buzzing in his ear was starting to irritate Mulder. It sounded both distant and close, but most of all, it wouldn't stop. He squeezed his eyes shut tight before finally opening them in a pained squint against the rays of sun peeking thru the blinds. As his mind slowly woke up he realized the annoying buzz was his cell phone. He rolled over and peeked at his alarm clock. It was too early for anyone to be calling on a Saturday unless it was important.
Mulder carefully removed his arm from beneath his lover, trying hard not to wake the slumbering man, and sat up. Now that he could move freely, he bent down, placing a gentle kiss on the adorable nose. This caused the inevitable snuffle before Krycek rolled over and buried himself in Mulder's vacated pillow, his movements causing the sheet to slip off his hip.
He reached over and snapped open his cell right as it started ringing again. "Mulder," he croaked. Mulder relaxed against the headboard, idly rubbing his hand up and down Krycek's exposed flank.
"Mulder, it's Skinner, did I wake you?" The authoritative voice of his superior reverberated throughout his body from the receiver.
"No, sir," Mulder lied while trying to make sure his voice didn't croak again. "What can I do for you? It isn't Scully is it?" Mulder asked, instantly awake at the thought something might have happened to his partner. Well ex-partner. His current partner was still sacked out next to him. But why else would Skinner be calling on his day off? He glanced at the clock again. And at six am?
"Agent Mulder, Agent Scully is fine. This is personal. Are you busy this afternoon?"
Mulder's body and mind kicked into full wide-awake mode. He had often fantasized about this phone call. As his body jumped to attention at the prospect, he glanced guiltily at Krycek. Not too guiltily, since they had discussed Skinner at length before. Mulder's pupils dilated at the memory of that conversation and the wild rough lovemaking that resulted from it.
"Agent Mulder, if you already have plans, I won't interrupt them," Skinner said.
"No sir, I'm not busy. What can I do for you?" Mulder's voice still hadn't caught up to the rest of his body, so it sounded rough and not seductive like he had hoped. Skinner went on to explain what he wanted and gave Mulder some directions before hanging up. Mulder was intrigued by what was happening but he was more thrilled that Skinner had called him especially to look into it.
"Alex, wake up." Mulder nudged his lover. Krycek rolled over and snuggled up against Mulder. "Alex, wake up. Skinner called, he needs me." Mulder tried again.
"Wha?" Krycek murmured. Surely Mulder hadn't said Skinner needed him. Krycek rubbed his sleepy eyes and tried to focus on what Mulder was saying.
"Skinner has a case he wants me to investigate. I need to leave," Mulder explained again very slowly.
"Where? I'm going too."
"Alex, he didn't ask for your help. This is something personal, not bureau related," Mulder said gently. It didn't stop the adorable pout from immediately forming Krycek's pretty mouth. Mulder wanted to kiss the pout away, but he didn't have time.
"You're ditching me."
"I'm going to shower," Mulder said, exasperated at Krycek. He thought for a moment that maybe he had time for something else. He knew that was one sure fire way to get Krycek out of a pout. He climbed out of the bed but before entering the bathroom he turned and asked, "Are you coming?"
"I thought you were in hurry," Krycek mumbled sullenly even as he pushed the covers back to get up.
It didn't take Krycek long to decided that pouting was getting him nowhere, but a shower would. He scrambled out of the bed and headed to join Mulder. Mulder surprised him by grabbing him around the waist as soon as he entered the bathroom. Mulder pushed Krycek up against the wall and whispered in his ear, "Get that hot ass of yours in the shower and stop sulking before I do something besides fuck it again."
Krycek pushed his ass back into the erection that was nudging between his cheeks. Mulder decided he definitely needed to relieve some tension and went ahead and pushed in. Krycek was still slightly slick and loose from the night before, just enough to ease his penetration but dry enough to add a little more friction than usual without being painful. Mulder walked Krycek to the sink and bent him over, bracing him on the edge. He kicked Krycek's legs apart to give him more access before driving himself balls deep inside Krycek's ass.
Krycek was always so tight that he felt like heaven surrounding Mulder's cock and Mulder couldn't help plunging himself in with all his strength. Krycek raised up on his toes trying to give Mulder a better angle when Mulder pulled out and slapped his ass, the sound echoing through the quiet bathroom.
"Get your ass in the shower, now junior," Mulder growled out and slapped Krycek's butt again. Krycek grinned cheekily and climbed in under the spray. Mulder didn't leave him alone long before he stepped in behind Krycek and pressed him against the tiled wall with one hand and added a series of stinging swats to Krycek wet cheeks with the other. Krycek moaned and his cock leaped up slapping his stomach and spraying the shower wall with his come.
As Krycek's hole pulsed out in time to his orgasm, Mulder grabbed a handful of each cheek and roughly spread them before plunging back inside Krycek's tight heat, letting the rippling muscles pull him inside. Mulder slammed into Krycek relentlessly. Krycek tried to brace himself on the slick walls but Mulder grabbed his hands and lifted them over his head and pinned them to the wall above him. Mulder buried his face into Krycek's neck as he pounded until he felt the tingling sensation deep inside and his balls draw up in anticipation. Mulder bent his knees and lifted up, grinding himself as deep inside Krycek as possible as he rode out the waves of his orgasm.
They stayed like that, Mulder kissing Krycek's back and shoulders until Mulder's softening cock slide out with a plop. Mulder turned Krycek around and attacked the perfect lips. He drove his tongue in, exploring the moist cavern with gusto. Finally he tapered off, letting the kiss end with tiny nibbles to Krycek's bottom lip. Mulder kissed his way up Krycek's face to whisper in his ear, "Don't ever leave me, Alex."
Mulder made one last attempt to soothe his lover's ruffled feathers with a goodbye kiss when they arrived at the garage to part ways. Krycek finally relented before donning his helmet and climbing onto his motorcycle. Mulder loved the image Krycek made. So different from the ill-fitting suits and over-gelled hair. Krycek on his cherry red and black 1947 Chief, wearing a well-worn leather jacket and aviator sunglasses, was the perfect image of a rebel.
He watched as Krycek kick-started the bike to life, the engine purring like a large powerful cat. Mulder turned to his sedan, immediately noticing the left backside was dipping lower than the rest of the car. He had seen this before, too many times. It was just what he needed to make him even later.
Krycek noticed Mulder's frown at the last minute. He followed Mulder disgusted stare to the car. Laughing to himself he re-parked the motorcycle and went to help Mulder change the tire. Mulder was cursing a wild streak when Krycek approached the car. He barely avoided being hit by the tire iron when it came flying out of the trunk.
Mulder slammed the trunk closed before kicking the bumper. "Hey, Mulder. Need some help?" Krycek offered with a smirk. He couldn't help being secretly pleased that Mulder was being delayed.
"No, I don't need any damn help, unless you have a spare tire in one of those saddlebags," Mulder barked out.
"Hey, I was just offering, no need to bite my head off." Krycek spun on his heel to head back to his bike. He was still mad that Mulder was ditching him and didn't like being yelled at this early in the morning.
"Alex," Mulder called after him. "Alex, wait. I'm sorry for taking it out on you. I just can't believe my spare is flat too."
"I…I could take you," Krycek shyly offered, peering up at Mulder through a veil of lashes. Mulder eyed him suspiciously. There was no way Krycek could have been responsible but it was awfully coincidental.
Krycek would not lend him the cycle, claiming that no one drove it but him. Krycek explained that it had been his father's and the only thing the man had left him when he died. It was the first time his lover had mentioned his family and Mulder wanted to ask him more, but after the extra long shower, he was running late. Mulder could almost smell the air of triumph that Krycek wore because he had managed to end up going along on the trip anyway. Mulder hoped Skinner wouldn't be too mad that Krycek was with him. He had thought about calling Skinner to tell him he would be later but Krycek looked so hot and he was a good agent.
Walter Skinner excused himself and walked outside to wait for Mulder. He didn't know what to think about his niece Sherrie's wild claims, but he had looked at the aftermath of the incident and if it was a prank, it was a good prank. Although ever since the divorce, Sherrie's mother Sandy used any excuse she could invent to try and get Walter to spend more time with her, but he honestly didn't think she would go this far.
She and Frank had only been divorced a couple of months, but in that time she had called him almost every week. They had never been close, even when he and Sharon had been married. Sharon loved her sister but insisted she was a spoiled flake and would do anything to draw the attention of men. Her constant flirting with Walter had made him uncomfortable and Sharon angry. After his and Sharon's divorce, Sandy had offered comfort that Walter had politely declined.
He hated to call Mulder in but as soon as his niece had babbled on about what had happened, Mulder's face had popped immediately to mind. Skinner indulged in a secret smile. Not that Mulder's face was ever far from his thoughts. Nor was the tall lanky body, the sinfully long legs and a mouth that just begged to be ravished. He glanced at the time; Mulder should be arriving soon, he thought, unconsciously standing just a little straighter and brushing imaginary dust off his shirt. He hoped that this time together would give them a chance to get to know each other better than just professionally. But slowly, Skinner thought. He didn't want to scare Mulder off.
The countryside was breathtaking, and seeing it from the back of a motorcycle was entirely different from seeing it through the windshield of a car. Mulder scooted in closer, relishing the feel of his groin as it pressed happily against the fabric of his jeans and nestled up tightly against his lover's plump cheeks. The vibrations of the classic Indian motor reverberated through his loins. The motor was not smooth like the models nowadays, but a deep rumbling that coursed through your very being, adding to the erotic feel of the ride.
It didn't help that every time Krycek shifted gears and gunned the engine, his ass wiggled back into Mulder. He's doing it on purpose; he knows what it does to me, Mulder thought. Then added, fine with me and scooted a little closer. He reached around Krycek's waist to groped hungrily at the tightly encased package. Krycek bucked into the his hand and the bike jerked to the side. Mulder chuckled and moved his hand back to Krycek's waist.
As the road curved ahead of them, Mulder tapped Krycek on the shoulder and pointed to a turn off. He had followed AD Skinner's directions to the letter, they were precise enough to lead a blind man. They rounded the corner of the long driveway leading up to the mansion. Whoever these people were, they were very well off, Mulder thought. Having grown up in an influential neighborhood on Martha's Vineyard, he recognized the signs of casual wealth. These people were of 'old money' and comfortable with it.
He spotted Skinner standing on the front steps waiting. Mulder used the last few moments of the ride to drink in the sight of his superior. Tall unassuming alpha male. The man was wore his masculinity like the owners of the mansion wore their money. It was an integral part of his being. Not thought about, it just was.
Mulder also knew the precise moment Krycek recognized the figure walking down the steps to greet them. The bike made a subtle swerve as Krycek tensed up. Having ridden nearly two hours behind the man, Mulder had seen how well the junior agent handled the large bike. Mulder was used to the immense effort it took to deal with his lustful thoughts when Skinner was dressed in his perfectly tailored suits, but only something as spectacular as Skinner in tight well-worn jeans could make him falter and it seemed to have a similar effect on Krycek.
Krycek parked the bike along side the walk leading up to the front entrance of the manor. Mulder waited until he had turned the engine off before getting off the back and stretching his long legs. He pulled off the helmet and hung it off the taillight, oblivious of the glare he received from Krycek. The junior agent made no motion to remove his helmet and except for the brief glare at Mulder for his motorcycle faux pas, Krycek seemed transfixed by Skinner's presence.
Mulder leaned over and tapped his shoulder, making motions for him to remove the helmet. Krycek slowly removed it and immediately ducked his head, but it wasn't quick enough to hide his blush from Mulder or Skinner. Skinner stood stone faced but Mulder couldn't help whispering in the closest elfin ear, "Stop staring, Junior, or Skinner's is going to know you want to jump his bones. Or is it that you want him to fuck your pretty ass?"
Krycek's head flew up, his sweet lips parted as he tried unsuccessfully to protest and Mulder was rewarded for his efforts as the blush deepened on Krycek's face. His amusement at his partner's expense did nothing to dampen his libido. He looked up hoping Skinner hadn't seen the playful exchange and was relieved that Skinner didn't appear to have notice.
"Agent Mulder, Agent Krycek. Thank you for coming," Skinner said, greeting the two younger men. "Although, Agent Mulder, there was no need to drag Agent Krycek out on his Saturday off, this isn't...well it isn't an official investigation."
"Sir," Krycek sputtered out eagerly. The slight tremor in his husky voice could have been mistaken for nervousness but Mulder knew better. "Mulder and I were playing basketball and..."
Mulder didn't miss a beat when he quickly added, "That's what took us so long, we had to get back to my apartment and we had to shower." Mulder coughed out a laugh. "Didn't want to stink."
Skinner glanced at his watch, confirming that there would have been no way the two could have showered and made it there in the time they had, unless they drove well over the posted limit or had showered together. His eyes widened at the image in his mind and he felt his cock take interest too. Quickly turning around to hide the evidence until he could clamp down on his lust, he waved the agents to follow him inside.
An older blonde woman appeared in the doorway, casually leaning against the frame and holding a nearly empty highball glass of amber liquid. Skinner quickly made introductions. "This is Sandy Blackburn, my late wife Sharon's sister," he said.
Sandy gracefully descended down the stairs offering her hand to Mulder. She made no effort to hold the satin robe she wore closed, and Mulder caught a glimpse of what she was really offering. Mulder liked looking at women as well as men and Sandy was very well put together.
"Walter, you didn't tell me you had such a handsome young man under you," Sandy purred, taking her time shaking Mulder's hand. "Can I offer you and your baby brother," she spared a glance at Krycek who was once again blushing, "a drink?"
"No ma'am, we're on duty." Mulder hastily added, "This is my partner, Agent Krycek."
"Oh this sweet angelic boy couldn't possibly be old enough to be in the FBI, why he's barely older than Sherrie," Sandy said, reaching out and stroking her hand along Krycek's face.
"Mother!" a slightly higher female voice sounded from inside the door.
"Sherrie dear, put on a fresh pot of coffee for Uncle Walter and his agents," Sandy made a dismissing motion with her hand. "Teenagers, they're a handful at that age."
The house was decorated in antique furniture and although it appeared cozy on the surface, it didn't have a lived in feel. A large white cat darted out the door between the men's legs, nearly making each one of them stumble as Sandy led them to the kitchen.
"Joxer!" Sandy screeched at the cat and then waved a dismissing hand at it. "Never mind him, he's been acting weird lately."
"Sherrie was up all night watching those horrible scary movies the teenagers these days are all fond of. I didn't want to bother Walter, but Sherrie insisted and he did promise to come out here if we ever needed him." She set a cup in front of Walter, stroking her hand across his back as she spoke.
"Ma'am..." Mulder tried to draw her attention back, "We should probably see the room where the incident occurred."
"Yes, Mother," Sherrie rolled her eyes, embarrassed by her mother's actions. Beaming at Mulder she continued, "I made sure not to touch anything so the event site would be uncontaminated."
"The event site?" Mulder gave Sherrie an indulgent smile.
"Sherrie is a big fan of the paranormal and quite a fan of you Agent Mulder. Now that I've had the pleasure of meeting you, I can see why," Sandy purred again.
Unfazed by her mother trying to embarrass her, Sherrie jumped up from the table, her eyes sparkling and grabbed Mulder's hand. "Come on, I'll show you."
Sherrie led Mulder by the hand with Skinner and Krycek following behind to the hall stairwell to a bedroom on the west side of the house facing the woods. The room was a complete mess. The bed was sitting in the middle. Books were strewn everywhere and the window was open. A slight breeze ruffled the sheers, beckoning the men to the window.
The sheers were ragged, like they had been ripped to shreds with a serrated blade or claw. Mulder ran his hand along the sill. It was covered with gouges and streaks of what might be blood. "Why don't you tell us what happened?"
"I was down stairs watching movies when I heard a noise. I thought at first it was Danny up when he was suppose to be in bed. I came up stairs and when I opened the door, his bed was floating in the air about there," she pointed to where the bed was sitting. "For just a second, I thought I saw several glowing eyes?" She looked at Mulder for encouragement. He rewarded her with a tight smile.
"The bed dropped down and I screamed. That's when Danny woke up. I could hear whatever was in here scramble through the window, so I came over here and looked out." Sherrie stood leaning out the window, pointing towards the woods. "I saw a bunch of them then, at least a dozen."
"A dozen what?" Mulder asked as he ran his fingers along the grooves.
"I don't know all I saw was their eyes. Dozens of small red glowing eyes."
"Look at these scratches on the sill," Mulder told Krycek. Krycek leaned over to get a better look. "A bird?"
"The claw pattern is all wrong, perhaps a raccoon. Raccoons are known to break into houses to forage for food,” the junior agent stated.
"On the second floor?"
The crease above Krycek's nose deepened as he concentrated. "And a raccoon has five digits, resembling a small hand. See how the claw marks only have three."
Mulder leaned down for a closer look, putting his hand on Krycek's shoulder for support. He noticed it almost at the same time Krycek did. "Besides, since when do raccoons wear shoes?"
Skinner let Mulder take the interview with Sandy. He found the woman vain and boring. Plus she had always been a little too touchy feely even while he was still married to Sharon. Now that Sandy's divorce was final, she was always finding some reason to hang on all over him. Skinner didn't particularly like Sandy taking up residence on Mulder's arm, but at the very least it gave him a break.
He followed Krycek down the path leading deeper into the woods surrounding the property. This was the first time he had gotten the chance to really take a good look at the grounds. Sharon had never wanted to visit here, she couldn't explain why, but she seemed to find an excuse for her late aunt to visit them in the city instead of them coming up here.
Skinner wondered what Krycek hoped to find. The supposed footprints they found on the windowsill did not reappear on the ground. The whole incident was looking more and more like the kids were just crying out for some attention. Danny especially. The quiet boy had said hardly anything since he had arrived.
Right now though, Skinner was concentrating all his attention to the spectacular view walking in front of him. He had noticed Krycek when the young man had first been assigned to his department, but the ill fitting suits and the copious amounts of hair gel did a good job hiding a very well built and sexy young man. The way Krycek's jeans molded to the full wide ass and the way each plump cheek moved with his steps was mesmerizing to Skinner.
Krycek seemed to carry himself different out of the suits. Skinner would have sworn that Krycek was a few inches shorter than Mulder, but after seeing them side-by-side without suits, the men were very close in height with Krycek maybe sneaking in an inch over Mulder. Skinner musings were interrupted when Krycek's sweet husky voice broke through the silence.
"AD Skinner, look at this." Skinner looked over at Krycek. The junior agent's eyes were as big as a child's on Christmas morning. His honey colored complexion had a slight flush to match the dazzling smile gracing his face.
"I'd better call Mulder. He'll want to see this," Krycek exclaimed, sounding very much like the eager young puppy that followed Mulder around the Hoover.
Skinner shook himself and finally took a look at what had excited the boy. In the middle of a small clearing was a circle, a miniature version of a crop circle. Just what we needed: Mulder to drag aliens into this, Skinner scoffed mentally.
"I don't think it's what you are thinking it is Agent," Skinner said gently, not wanting to squash Krycek's youthful enthusiasm. The boy looked good flushed and excited and Skinner wondered what other things would achieve the same look.
"But Sir, look at the way the grass is perfectly flattened just like in a regular crop circle. Even this small, it's too perfect to be man made. Besides what is it doing out here hidden in the woods?" Krycek squatted as he reached into his jacket pocket, retrieving his cell phone and flipping it open.
Before he could hit the speed dial for Mulder, Skinner placed a hand on his shoulder. "Why don't we hold off contacting Agent Mulder," Skinner stated instead of asking. Krycek turned his head to find his face hovering right near Skinner's large package. He quickly turned his head before Skinner could see his blush. It was then he noticed a pile of sticks near the center of the small circle.
The sticks were arranged in a vague appearance of order, almost like a funeral pyre. Krycek moved from his squatting position to all fours, gently moving the debris aside with his pen. Skinner was distracted again as Krycek's full and lush ass strained against the fabric of his tight jeans. Not now, damnit, Skinner admonished himself mentally. It was taking everything in his power to not let his libido to spin out of control because the boy's ass was a work of art. It had been bad enough when the boy's mouth had been a hair's breath away from his crotch and he imagine sinking his cock deep between the adorable cupid bow lips. Skinner discreetly adjusted his jeans and hoped if Krycek accidentally saw he wouldn't understand the reason.
Krycek's sharp intake of breath had brought Skinner back from his lust filled daze. Krycek had found something buried underneath the sticks. Skinner moved in to get a better look. What he saw help send his lustful thoughts to the back of his mind. "Sir, look at this," Krycek said, waving Skinner to get closer. The body, or what was left of a body of a bird was buried beneath the sticks. Its mutilated body was already beginning to smell, the odor being stirred up by Krycek's poking around.
"A cat?" Skinner suggested.
"I don't think so, sir,” Krycek peered up at Skinner. "Look at the way the body is missing only the wings and feet. Even house cats hunting will go for the head or body meat first. There's no nutritional value in limbs."
Skinner didn't really know much about house cats so for the moment he took Krycek's word. "Get the body and some soil samples. We'll take them back to the house and see what Mulder has to say. I'm sure he will want to come back out here to see for himself."
Mulder had left Sandy and Sherrie in the kitchen, not having found anything new. He thought Danny was an odd little boy but in a way that reminded him of himself at that age. After Samantha's abduction, he had withdrawn into a world of his own, focusing on aliens and the unknown, trying to explain what had happened. Adorning Danny's bedroom walls were various posters from B-horror and science fiction films. Scattered about were classic EC comics in sturdy Mylar bags, lovingly protected from the elements. Mulder wished he still had his old EC's. His mother had thrown them out when he turned sixteen, telling Mulder that he was too old for that nonsense.
Danny's top of the line laptop screen saver flashed out words very familiar to Mulder...I want to believe. Mulder wondered if it was aliens, monsters or what exactly Danny wanted to believe in. Testing the waters, Mulder asked, "So you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?"
"Sure, don't you, Agent Mulder? Your name certainly has popped up in discussions about aliens and abductions on the MUFON message boards," Danny replied with a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
Mulder chose to ignore the snotty reply and continued wandering around the room trying to develop a profile on the strange young boy.
"My sister says I'm an alien," Danny said suddenly.
"That would make her an alien, too," Mulder said absently.
"No," Danny snarled out. "I'm adopted, but you know that already."
"Is that important? You being adopted?" Mulder asked, drawing Danny back from where he had retreated into one of his horror comics.
"It shouldn't be, but you are profiling me. Seeing if I'm crazy and making this up."
"Danny, I'm not the enemy. I'm here to help you and your family get to the bottom of this. Since it happened to you, in this room, it would help if you were more forthcoming." Mulder said with patience he didn't know he had. He felt sorry for the kid. He remembered all to well what it was like to be different. Mulder picked up Danny's school notebook and flipped through the pages while continuing to question Danny.
"Tell me what happened last night."
"I already went through this with Uncle Walter. Ask him."
"It would be better to hear it from you first hand. Besides, you might remember something now that you didn't earlier." Mulder stopped, held mesmerized by the nightmarish drawings of death, devils and weapons lining the pages of the notebook.
Danny sat on the bed smirking, waiting for Mulder to react like everyone who was nosey enough to snoop through his belongings. Mulder didn't react though; he calmly closed the notebook and addressed Danny again. "So what happened?"
"The bed moved, that's all I remember. When I went to bed it was up against that wall where it's been since we moved in. When Sherrie screamed, I woke up and it was in the middle of the room."
"You didn't see anything? Nothing like what your sister says she saw?"
"No," Danny replied and went back to reading and Mulder took that as his cue to leave.
The greenhouse was filled with many overgrown and untended plants. Mulder walked around picking at an occasional dead leaf as he thought about Danny. The boy was hiding something but he was closed off enough that Mulder couldn't get a fix on what it was. He was still thinking about Danny when Skinner and Krycek returned.
"Mulder, what do you think?" Skinner asked after they had laid the remains of the bird out on the potting table. Mulder studied the decimated body, hating what it might mean about Danny.
"I don't know enough right now, sir," Mulder said, trying hard not say anything to insult Skinner's family.
"You think it was Danny?" Skinner responded, to Mulder and Krycek's surprise.
"Sir, we don't have enough evidence..."
"Agent Mulder, my nephew has always been a little odd. Ever since Sandy brought him home the boy has given me the creeps."
"I still think that it is too early to make that kind of assumption, maybe we should go back out to where you found the body."
They led Mulder back to the clearing in the woods and straight to the circle. The pile of sticks were larger and they could just see a hint of white sticking beneath the brown wood. Mulder already knew what they would find. None of them looked forward to telling the already frightened family but it had to be done.
Krycek spotted Danny at the foot of the long staircase, sitting alone and looking much like the little boy he was. Sitting beside Danny, Krycek gave the young man a small smile.
"You doing okay? I know all of this can be kind of scary."
"I'm not scared," Danny muttered sullenly. Then catching the truly empathic look in Krycek eyes amended his statement. "It's only scary because..." Danny chewed on his bottom lip. Krycek waited patiently, not wanting to frighten the boy into further silence. It was obvious there was more than met the eyes about the strange child, but Krycek didn't agree with Mulder and Skinner as to the reason.
"If you had a secret, how do you decide if you can trust someone enough to tell them?" Danny asked quietly.
"If the secret is the kind that can hurt people or puts them in danger, then it's better to tell the secret to someone as soon as possible. Before things get worse." Krycek felt the words sink in. He could trust Mulder. And possibly AD Skinner. He shook his head, no, his secret was worse than anything this child could possibly be hiding.
"Can I trust you, Agent Krycek?" Danny asked, hope in his voice.
"Yeah, you can trust me. I won't let anything bad happen to you, I promise. What is it, Danny?"
"Come on, I'll show you."
Danny led him down a path past the area where they had discovered the circle. Deeper into the woods they traveled until they came upon another clearing.
"I found this not long after we moved in here. I brought limbs and anything else I could find and built this fort." Danny shrugged like it was not that big of an accomplishment, but Krycek was impressed. He spotted an odd formation on the side of the 'fort'.
"This looks a termite mound, but I've never heard of one this big in North America."
"Termites." Danny chuckled, but the sound was hoarse and filled with loathing. "I thought it was cool at first, you know, when they came to me."
"The Little People. At first all they wanted was small stuff. Then they started coming into my room, just one of two of them. Now there's so many of them and they want me to give them knives and stuff. They said if I didn't, they would hurt my family." Danny stated flatly.
"These little people speak to you." Despite the boy's fears, Krycek thought there was still the possibility the kid was making it up.
"They don't speak in words, but they have no trouble letting me know what they want. This afternoon it was a knife, next thing you guys find Joxer. I think they want you to leave, but then who will protect my mom and sister?"
"Listen to me, Danny. No matter what they told you, you are not in danger. Mulder is an expert in these things. He will make them leave you and your family alone. You've got to trust us and I need you to tell Mulder exactly what you told me."
"No! They said if I told they would kill me! I trusted you!"
Krycek grabbed the boy around the shoulders to keep him from escaping. "Danny, they can't harm you, we won't let them." The boy seemed to calm with the physical reassurance. "Come on, let's go back to the house."
When they returned to the house, Krycek sent Danny to his room to wait for them and then sought out Mulder and Skinner to explain what he had found out. He found them in the greenhouse still examining the body of the cat. They all heard the scream at the same time and went running into the house.
Mulder was the first to arrive with Skinner and Krycek close on his heels. They found Sandy in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the front staircase, shaking miserably.
"Sandy, what happened?" Skinner asked, kneeling beside her and gently helping her to sit up.
"Ooh, my ankle. I think it's broke," Sandy exclaimed when her leg moved.
"Krycek, go into the kitchen and get some ice," Skinner barked.
"Mrs. Blackburn. Sandy. Can you remember what happened?" Mulder asked the injured woman. He suspected she had been drinking again and stumbled, but she seemed pretty shaken up.
"I was coming downstairs and I thought I heard Joxer. He's never been gone this long before, you know. I called out to him and the next thing I know, I was falling down the stairs. When I stopped, I rolled over to try and stand and that's when I saw it...him...it"
"You saw what?"
"One of Aunt Elsie's little people."
"Yes. We all thought Aunt Elsie was a little on the crazy side, but now I'm not so sure."
"Which way did it go?"
"I don't know. I started to scream and it just disappeared."
"Disappeared? You mean it ran off?"
"No, it was there and then it was just gone." Turning to Walter she said, "Walter, love, do you think that nice young agent of yours could get me a drink?"
"I wouldn't advise any alcohol right now, lets see if we can get you moved to the sofa," Walter answered, gently lifting her off the floor. Mulder searched around for any evidence to support Sandy's claims.
"Sir, look at this," Mulder said, holding up a piece of handmade rope twine. "I think I found what tripped her."
Krycek couldn't find anything to put the ice cubes in, so he settled for a bag of frozen peas. Sherrie skidded to a halt at his side, breathing heavy and with obvious panic in her voice, she told him, "Danny's disappeared. He went up to his room and Mom sent me to get him for dinner. I saw the door slam shut, but when I got there, it was locked from the outside."
"I knocked and knocked, but he wouldn't answer. I could hear a scuffle and then I heard him cry for help. Mom's was screaming at the same time. I didn't know what to do," she sobbed out.
"I'll check on Danny, take this to your Uncle Walter." Krycek shoved the peas in her hands and ran up the back staircase. He pounded on Danny's door. When the boy still failed to answer, he slammed his body against the door, busting the lock. The room was empty.
Leaning out of the window, he could see a trail where something was dragged into the woods. He ran back down the stairs to tell Mulder and Skinner what had happened.
"Mulder, Sir. Danny's disappeared. I think he was taken. I'm going after him," He said as he rushed past them and out the door.
"Alex, wait." Mulder said, trying to stop him. Skinner put his hand on Mulder's should to stop him from following Krycek. Leaning in he whispered, "Are we sure Danny didn't do this too." He help up the tiny rope. "Let Krycek talk to Danny again alone first. As soon as we get Sandy settled we will go after the both of them."
"Help me!" Krycek recognized Danny's voice. It sounded loud in the eerily quiet woods.
"Hang on Danny, I'm coming to get you."
Krycek paused, trying to get his bearings and figure out what direction Danny's voice was coming from. The woods seemed to echo making it hard to pinpoint the source. He was so preoccupied with finding Danny he never saw the log swing down.
He woke up, his head pounding and unable to move. He realized quickly that his arms and legs were tied to stakes in the ground. Krycek yanked unsuccessfully on the handmade ropes, the fibers cutting into his flesh. He spotted them out of the corner of his eye at first. They approached slowly, not flinching when Krycek yelled and increased his struggles.
Standing above his left hand, they set the blade next to his fingers and started to saw. Krycek screamed and tried to pull his hand away, but the rope held him fast. He bucked against the restraints and the strange little creatures hissed and laughed. One approached Krycek raising another little knife towards his face.
"Mulder, are you buying any of this?" Skinner asked.
"Well sir, in each culture there are legends of little people. Some kind of subterranean dwellers."
"You don't think Danny has anything to do with this."
"He just doesn't fit the profile. He obviously has issues, but to kill the cat and hurt his mother doesn't fit in with his."
"Sherrie, stay here with your mom, Agent Mulder and I are going to see if we can't help Agent Krycek find your brother."
"Hurry, Uncle Walter. I know I tease him, but Danny's my brother. I don't want to lose him."
"Sherrie, nothing's going to happen. Just stay here and we'll be back."
As Mulder and Skinner took off towards the woods, Mulder asked, "You didn't seriously think Danny had anything to do with this did you, sir?"
"No, Mulder." Skinner pinched the bridge of his nose. "But Little people? Trolls? I thought maybe it was a cry for help or attention, until the cat. By the way, just what are you teaching your partner, Mulder?”
“I'm not sure what you mean, sir,” Mulder responded nervously.
“If Danny's really in trouble instead of just crying for attention, Krycek should have waited for us instead of running off by himself. As I recall, that is more your style.” Skinner's face remained impassive for just a little longer before he graced Mulder with a small smile and a wink. “I might not always like the way you handle an investigation, but I can't deny your exemplary results, Agent Mulder. Krycek is learning from the best in my view.”
Mulder had the decency to blush under Skinner's unexpected praise. “He's going to make a fine agent. I'm glad he's my partner. I know I fought it at first, but Alex is...” Mulder stopped mid-step without warning causing Skinner to stumble into Mulder's back.
Before them in the path was Krycek, tied spread-eagle and struggling helplessly to free himself. Mulder liked what he was seeing despite the circumstances, and he licked his lips unconsciously at the thought of repeating this scene in the bedroom. He realized that he was staring and hoped Skinner hadn't caught him.
Well, well, Mulder thought. Looks like I'm not the only one enjoying the show, he noted after seeing the wide-eyed stare their superior was giving the scene before them.
“Help me.” Danny screamed again. Krycek looked up from his struggles, finally spotting Mulder and Skinner.
“Hurry, they have Danny,” he yelled, renewing his struggles against his bonds.
“Sir,” Mulder asked even as he was turning to follow Danny's voice.
“Go, Mulder. I'll get Krycek free and we will be right there.” Skinner waved Mulder off while digging in his pocket. He retrieved his pocketknife and knelt down to start cutting on the twine, ashamed that he had enjoyed the sight instead of immediately helping him.
“Boy, what the hell happened to your hand?” Skinner asked after noticing the blood covering Krycek's left hand and wrist.
“It was them, Sir. I saw them. The tried to cut off my fingers. We got to hurry before they hurt Danny,” Krycek told him.
"Settle down, boy," Walter said as he helped Krycek stand. Krycek swayed a little and leaned against Skinner as he examined the injury.
“Well it looks nasty and you've lost a good amount of blood, but I think you'll live.” Skinner gently wrapped a handkerchief around the wound.
“Help me!” Danny's voice sounded raw.
“I'm coming, Danny. Hang on,” Mulder's voice carried shortly after Danny's shout.
Skinner and Krycek hurried after Mulder's voice. They came upon him straining to keep hold of Danny who was encased in a tangle of ropes, ribbons and twine. Ignoring the shock of seeing the strange little being fighting with Mulder, Skinner jumped in and grabbed Danny around the shoulders. Between the two of them, they managed to win the tug-a-war. The trolls quickly disappearing into the brush.
"I'm going after them," Mulder exclaimed. He rolled Danny into Skinner's arms and stood up to run after the trolls.
"No, Mulder. It's too late. I can't let you go alone and Danny and Alex are both hurt," Skinner said gently, hoping that Mulder's concern for his partner would keep him from running off.
Mulder looked at his partner and then Danny. Both were white as sheets. Mulder finally noticed the bloodstained wrap around Krycek's wrist. "Your right, sir. They're gone by now anyway." He took once last glance at the brush the creatures had disappeared into.
"You think they are still out there?" Krycek asked Mulder. They had loaded the family into a cab and sent them into town. Sandy's ex-husband was meeting them to take them home with him. Danny was shaken up but seemed to be recovering quickly with his family's concern.
"No telling with trolls. I'm sure they're out there, it's more a matter of where," Mulder responded wistfully. He had been so close.
"Agent Mulder, Agent Krycek, I appreciate all your help today. It might be considered inappropriate by the bureau, but after what we've been through, I don't care," Skinner started to say.
"What's that, sir?" Mulder asked, not letting Skinner finish.
"Can I buy you both dinner?" Skinner asked, then said, "That is after we have Agent Krycek's hand checked out by a doctor."
"Yes," Mulder answered quickly.
At the same time Krycek said, "My hand is fine."
"We'll get it checked out anyway," Skinner said with an indulgent smile, making the younger man blush.
"Well, Alex, you won't be able to drive the Indian with that hand, I guess I get to drive it after all," Mulder said, reaching for the keys with a cheeky grin.
"Yes, I think it would be best if he rode back into town with me," Skinner agreed putting his arm around Krycek's waist to help him to the car. Krycek spared a moment to glance over his shoulder and reward Mulder with his own cheeky grin before leaning hard into Skinner for support.