Ratings: Slash (Kowalski/Male). Crossovers (X-Files). PWP.
Summary: It's not such a fresh start when you're stepping into someone else's shoes.
Timeline: Pretend that third season DS and second season XF coincided. You've believed less plausible things.
Disclaimer: I own plenty of nothing, and nothing's plenty for me.

I'll tell them what the smile on my face meant.
- Peter Gabriel

The Replacements
by Sitnah

Though Krycek had left DC in a hurry, by the time he reached Chicago his pace had slowed again. Rushing only led to mistakes and worse delays. Besides, Fox Mulder was beginning to have a track record of giving up just short of the goal -- as if he were afraid of having to think of a new one -- and had no doubt already convinced himself that Krycek was out of his reach. So Krycek allowed himself the luxury of going back to Boystown for a drink.

He chose a new bar, of course. No sense in taking superfluous risks, even with a haircut that made him near-unrecognizable to anyone who only knew him from before his FBI days. Still, once he stepped inside, it was familiar territory. Boys in tight T-shirts in this corner, aging queens in that (and how long before Krycek had to switch from the former to the latter himself?). A forty-five-year-old businessman with his suit jacket slung over his shoulder, as if he had only just stopped in and might be leaving at any moment. An off-duty cop with his badge carefully put away but his gun still in his shoulder holster. The bartender in a leather vest calmly drawing beer into tilted glasses. Krycek chose a stool several places away from the cop and asked for a beer as well.

The bartender nodded, but before he could say anything, a gaggle of students came in and made their way noisily to the bar. Krycek looked at their narrow shoulders and was struck with a moment of nostalgia. The boys crowded at the other end of the bar, and the cop moved down to make room for them. Krycek glanced over and the cop shrugged.

"Kids," he said tolerantly.

Krycek gave a brief smile and turned his attention to the glass the bartender had slid over to him.

His neighbor went on regardless. "That's how it oughta be," he said. "Lucky bastards. Just making a beginning. Fresh start in the world."

Looking up again, Krycek was startled by the serious look on the man's face. "Everyone can make a fresh start," he said.

"Yeah, well, it ain't so fresh when you're stepping into someone else's shoes."

Krycek's gaze fell to his beer again.

"You know something about that, huh?"

"What do you mean?"

But the cop shook his head. "Nothin'. Sorry. Just misery lovin' company, that's all."

Krycek gave the man a longer look. Wheat-stubble hair, wiry build, dusty boots just begging to be licked. Was there another weapon at his calf? "What makes you think that?" Krycek asked again, this time in a warmer tone of voice.

The cop turned back eagerly. "Just 'cause the way you looked just now -- looked like you might have been there yourself. Haven't you?" he pressed, as Krycek hesitated. "Gone into a new job all psyched up to impress the hell out of  'em, and found you'd never be able to live up to the rep of the guy who was there before you?"

That would be me. Ah, hell. "It was a woman," he said. Confession was supposed to be good for the soul.

"Oh, man, that's rough."

"Yeah," Krycek said. It had been rough. Scully’s a problem -- a much larger problem than you described. It had made his assignment much harder.

"By the way, I'm Ray," the cop said.

Krycek shook the offered hand. "Alex," he said without thinking. Next moment he could have kicked himself. But really, what harm could it do?

Ray lifted his glass to drink and Krycek caught a glimpse of holster strap. "Does your partner know how you feel about him?" Krycek asked idly.

Ray choked a little but managed to contain his splutter. "What --" he said when he could speak again. And then, after he had followed Krycek's gaze, "No. No, he does not. It's not the kind of thing a guy likes to spread around the law enforcement community, y'know? At least," pausing to give Krycek a once-over in his turn, "you oughta know."

Krycek smiled, but he was through with risky admissions for the time being.

Fortunately Krycek's silence did not seem to offend Ray, who merely took another swallow before continuing. "Besides, it would be pointless. I went in all gung-ho-like, but he let me know right off I couldn't do it. That it wouldn't be the same."

"How could it be?" Krycek said softly.

"Well, I thought maybe… But how can a guy compete with someone who ain't around to make mistakes?"

Ray's gaze had shifted from Krycek's face to an unidentified point somewhere in the middle distance. Krycek studied him just a moment longer before turning back to his beer. For a while they both remained lost in thought. Then Krycek heard Ray stir and shift beside him, and Krycek's attention snapped back into focus, though his eyes remained demurely downcast.

"It's true, y'know, what he said. People aren't interchangeable."

"No," Krycek agreed, and waited.

"Still and all," Ray said, "I wouldn't mind thinking about someone else for a while."

"A breath of fresh air," Krycek murmured, as if to himself.

"Do you… do you have a place around here?"

"A place where he's never been," Krycek said. He lifted his gaze at last and met his own smile mirrored in Ray's eyes. "Yes."

Walking back to the motel, Ray let Krycek lead the way, but Krycek could feel Ray's presence warm behind his shoulder at every step. They said little until they reached the room and Krycek stood back holding the door open.

"Thank you kindly," Ray said then, with a curious emphasis Krycek couldn't quite parse. However, he followed Ray in and then spent a minute fiddling with the deadbolt and the chain until he was satisfied they were set properly.

Ray was standing in the middle of the room, watching impatiently. Krycek dropped the key and his jacket on a chair and went to stand in front of him.

"Well," Ray said, and he put both hands on Krycek's face and kissed him a little hello kiss. Krycek felt his own mouth go soft and willing, and he leaned forward trying to prolong the contact as Ray pulled back again.

"You're cute, Alex," Ray said after studying Krycek for a moment, and his fingers brushed briefly through Krycek's hair. "You got a, a CD player? Or a radio?"

Krycek raised his eyebrows but nodded in the direction of the radio alarm clock on the nearer nightstand.

"Greatness," Ray said. When he had found the station he wanted, he turned back to Krycek and said, "C'mon. Dance with me."

Krycek felt a slow grin spread over his face as he put his left hand on Ray's shoulder and found his right held in a warm grip. When Ray's arm went around him, he felt the lovely illusion of safety so strongly that he let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding.

Ray's lead was easy to follow, and he navigated them smoothly past the various obstacles of furniture as they circled around the room. Eventually Krycek pushed his hips a little closer to Ray's, and closer, till Ray slowed their steps enough to kiss him again. Krycek opened his mouth and felt a sweet rush in his cock when Ray's tongue pressed in.

After a bit Ray turned his face to the side and nuzzled Krycek's neck. "Listen, Alex," he said in Krycek's ear, "what do you like? You gotta tell me what you want."

"First, I want to take your boots off."

Ray smiled at that but let go readily enough. "Hang on a second," he said. He shrugged out of his coat, turned the radio down, and took the gun out of his shoulder holster before removing the holster itself. Then he sat down on the edge of the bed and repeated the performance with the ankle holster. Krycek took advantage of the lull to pull his own gun out of its SOB holster and draw the pick out of his sleeve.

"I oughta ask for your permit," Ray said, watching him.

"You show me yours, and I'll show you mine," Krycek said in his huskiest voice

Ray snorted. "Cute boy," he said. When everything had been laid in careful piles on the nightstands, Ray stretched his legs out and propped one heel on the ground. "Okay then."

Krycek let his smile slide away and went to kneel in front of Ray. He wrapped his fingers around the back of Ray's ankle, but before he began to pull, he bent down and touched his tongue to the leather.

Ray's leg twitched and Krycek lifted his head again. "Alex, you ain't from Canada, are ya?" Ray asked.

"Canada?" Krycek repeated, bemused. "What makes you say that?"

"Ah, nothin'," Ray said. He jerked his chin in the direction of his foot. "Nothin'. Go on," and again as Krycek hesitated, "Go on. Lick it."

Krycek bent his head to his task. The leather was scuffed around the toe but beautifully smooth where he swept his tongue along the upper. He worked his way around both sides and then slowly drew the boot off before moving to the other foot.

When both boots had been duly addressed, Ray reached down and pulled Krycek in closer between his knees. "Oh, what a good boy," Ray crooned to him, and a ripple of warmth went through Krycek's stomach. "You're my good boy, Alex. Now lick me here," and Ray rubbed his fingers over his cock through his jeans.

Krycek leaned eagerly in to the heavy seam as Ray's hands settled on his shoulders. No scent of smoke here, no tie bobbing against the back of his head. Krycek licked and sucked until Ray's cock seemed ready to push right through the denim. His own erection was already long past painful. Then the hands rubbing slow circles on his back moved up over his shoulders again and pushed him off. Krycek sat back and opened his eyes, sweeping his lashes up in the slow deliberate arc he had perfected.

"I'm gonna fuck you," Ray said in a low voice. "I'm gonna fuck you till your brain goes outa commission and you can't remember who I ain't."

"Ray --" Krycek said.

"Strip for me," Ray told him. Krycek got up and pulled off one piece of clothing after another, too blood-heavy to move quickly, but too impatient to make any art of delay. "Now me," Ray said, and Krycek stood over him and lifted the sweatshirt and T-shirt up together, his fingers brushing against Ray's sides, and then at last his hands could open Ray's jeans and slide them out of the way. He rubbed his nose against the hard cock pushing out the flimsy cotton of Ray's boxers. "Those too," Ray said. When they were both naked, Ray pulled Krycek up to sit next to him and kissed him for a long wet minute.

Then without warning Krycek found himself pushed back onto the bed and he lay there trying to catch his breath. A flap of white cloth filled his vision, and the dry rustle of latex was in his ears, and for a moment he thought Scully was coming with a scalpel to find out how he had died. He blinked and Ray was leaning over him.

"You're so good at doin' what I say, Alex," Ray hissed as he lay down at Krycek's side. "You gotta do something for me afterwards, okay? You gotta tell him."

Ray's hands were tugging at Krycek's hips. Krycek moaned. "Tell him what?" he forced out.

"Tell him he doesn't always hafta do what the Ice Queen says. Tell him he doesn't hafta follow in his father's footsteps. Tell him he doesn't hafta play their games at all…"

Krycek shifted back against the fingers pushing into his ass.

"You tell him for me, Alex, 'cause he ain't here to get the ben--" Ray paused to rearrange his grip -- "the benefit of this himself. You gonna tell him?"

Krycek's throat was dry. "Yes," he whispered hoarsely, and Ray's cock was thrusting into him. Then his body knew it was over at last -- the long empty months at the FBI, over; being ditched like a bad date, over; watching him walk away down the hall, over…

"Yes," he repeated. His fingers curled down between the sheets, and Ray's hand brushed them away to wrap around Krycek's cock. Krycek gasped and closed his eyes, surrounded, filled, taken care of.

Ray was talking again. "Now tell me somethin' else," he was saying. "You gotta think now, focus, right?"


"Okay, so -- tell me -- who I ain't?"

"Mmm." Krycek pressed his lips shut on the syllable.


"Mmmmm…" because neither of them really wanted that spoken aloud, and it was so good when the answer was right from both points of view, he could nearly --


"Oh, fuck," and Krycek was coming, spilling into Ray's hand, and a heartbeat later he felt Ray coming too, a pulse of sheer energy inside him. It was perfect.

They lay in companionable silence for a while, until Ray finally shifted and pulled away. The condom made a slippery landing in the wastebasket, and Ray mopped at their bodies with the bottom corner of the sheet. Then he stretched luxuriously.

Krycek turned over to look at him. Ray's hair was stuck to his forehead with sweat, making him look faintly like Luke Skywalker. Krycek reached over and pushed the hair back into its bolt-upright spikes.

Ray smiled at him. "He's a fool," he said simply.

"Thought we weren't going to think about them," Krycek pointed out.

"You know better than that," Ray answered, still smiling.

Krycek rolled onto his back again and folded his hands together behind his neck. It had been a good idea to come to Chicago. Tomorrow he would move on, farther west -- an all-American journey, his was -- to the Dakotas perhaps, there were some potential contacts among the militia there. He could change cars and get back on the road…

Ray had been lying on his side looking at Krycek. After a deep sigh, he pulled himself into a sitting position and stretched again. "I gotta head out," he explained. "I gotta be at the station early tomorrow, this case, y'know."

"Yeah," Krycek said. He got up and went into the bathroom for some water, leaving the door open so he could keep an eye on his weapons while Ray moved around the room getting dressed.

When Ray picked up his coat, Krycek went out and accompanied him to the door. Ray put his hand on the back of Krycek's neck and pulled him in for a brief kiss. "You're one in a million, Alex," he said. "See ya around."

Krycek smiled again. "See you," he answered.

Ray nodded and left. Krycek reset the locks behind him.