The sun was shining brightly on this late autumn morning. The sky, an azure blue, was a beautiful backdrop to the red-gold foliage of the tall silver birches that lined the avenue that led to the big house but it was deceptive. The air was crisp with a light north-easterly breeze that brought the temperature down near freezing point. Still, it was not cold enough for snow, which was a blessing in its own way despite the English desire for a White Christmas.
Alex Krycek pulled the collar of his leather jacket tight as the chill seeped into him. His breath formed small white puffs in the outside air. He glanced across at his walking companion. The Englishman was immaculately dressed as usual. An expensive cashmere coat hung from his thin shoulders; a non-descript scarf tucked elegantly around his neckline. Thick fleece-lined, leather gloves kept his hands pleasantly warm.
"You need warmer clothes, my dear boy. I will speak to Fortescue when we reach the house."
"I don't need any hand-outs."
The Englishman humphed. "Such pride. Like your father."
"And you can leave him out of the conversation."
The Englishman stopped so abruptly that Krycek had taken an extra step before it registered. He turned to face a man who, like him, should have been dead.
"Your father was a good man, Alexei... and a good friend. I promised him and your mother that I would take care of you."
Alex snorted in derision as he raised the prosthesis, studying his false arm momentarily.
"Yeah. I see you did a good job there."
The seamed lips pursed in annoyance and regret. If he had known about the ill-fated trip to Tunguska in advance then he might have been able to send word with the Camp controller. It might have saved both Krycek's arm and prevented Mulder's suffering. He sighed. It was far too late for regrets. Alex sniffed.
"You know something. While we're having this little 'chat' perhaps you can explain why you're still here... and why *I'm* here. And don't 'my dear boy' me."
"Alex..." The admonishing tone was almost condescending. "I have been involved in this *business* for a long time. I... what is that quaint American expression... aahh yes. I know the score. I planted the bomb myself. I detonated it myself."
Krycek frowned, deepening the crease over the bridge of his nose. The Englishman smiled slightly at that small physical reminder of the father... of the friend he had lost.
"Divide and conquer. Those 'foolish old men', as you are apt to call them, are eyeing each other suspiciously now, wondering who the killer is and when.. and where he will strike next. Their paranoia will be their undoing."
"And who will be their killer?"
"Why you, my dear boy. I've made arrangements for you to take more of a 'starring role' in their little conspiracy. You leave for New York in three days. You will be my eyes, my ears... and my angel of death."
Alex smiled. Suddenly the air did not seem so chilly as the warm sensation of impending revenge curled within him.