Ghosts (X-Files novel by torch)

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You may be looking for the X-Files story by Anjou called Ghosts.

Title: Ghosts
Author(s): torch
Date(s): 1997
Length: 96,536 words, 9:34:17 hours
Genre: slash fanfiction
Fandom: The X-Files
External Links: Ghosts (The Flambeau Factory)
Ghosts fanfiction cover by ?

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Ghosts is a Mulder/Krycek X-Files novel by torch, written in 1997. It has elements of classic h/c and angst, and entwines a paranormal mystery/casefile story with a slow-burn build of attraction between the extremely reluctant Fox Mulder and the extremely un-reluctant Alex Krycek. It is followed by the much longer Lovers, as well as a couple of very short pieces. The entire series is known collectively as The North-West Passage.

Ghosts won the 1997 Whammy for Best Angst Fic, Best Long Fanfic, Best Mulder/Krycek Fanfic and torch won for Best Author.[1]

The story was ubiquitously recced among Mulder/Krycek fans for years, and was recced on crack_van less than two months after the comm started up.[2]

Plausibility of M/K

X-Files fanfic author Dasha K in an interview at Working Stiffs about the plausibility of M/K:

Does it break from the show's characterizations? Before last season, a lot of slash writers were able to say, with some pretty good justification, that there was just as much UST between Mulder and Krycek as there was between Mulder and Scully. Granted, it was hard to see Mulder being with a guy who'd killed his father and assisted in Scully's abduction (the main reason why I have issues with the M/K coupling) but you also couldn't deny the raw, simmering sex appeal that was generated between the two men. Also, I don't think it's too hard to see Mulder as bisexual. I can see him being experimental at Oxford or having the occasional relationship with a man.
I haven't read tons and tons of slash, but I've read some stories that seem incredibly plausible. In torch's "Ghosts," the relationship that springs up between Mulder and Krycek happens with a very natural and real touch.[3]

Related Fanworks

Ghosts Zine Project

The fan reaction was so strong that it led to a "Top Secret" project for fans to show their appreciation to torch for writing Ghosts, some of which has been saved as the Ghosts Zine Project.

From the Ghosts Zine website:

Welcome to the Ghosts Zine Home Page.

During the summer and fall '97 a project was run called 'Top Secret' to show our appreciation to Torch for her writing 'Ghosts'. By the end there were over 50 people involved, be it producing a page themselves, writing a 'love letter' to Torch or just supporting the rest.

These pages represent, to the best of my recreation abilities, the 'zine' section of the project. I have no copies of the personal letters which were also given to torch. Any one with questions, problems, don't like how I have recreated your page, links down, please email me at:

The zine was presented to the complete surprize of torch in a restaurant in New Orleans, Halloween '97. This page was erected to celebrate the one year anniversary of that event and moved to its current site on the second aniversary.[4]


Some sample art, please see the site for much more.

Also see Analysis of torch's Ghosts and Lovers by Allie, an essay that was a part of this project.


For the 2010 podbang it was podficced by podcath for darkemeralds.[5] The podfic is 9:34:17 hours long and available at the Audiofic Archive[6], and AO3

Recs and Reviews

Unknown Date

I am not saying that Krycek is doing penance by being with Mulder, I think it would be more accurate to say that Mulder is the person that Krycek would be involved with if he(Krycek) lived a more sane life, except that Mulder is more damaged than the person he would want to be involved with. If Mulder is the moral force, than his beating up Krycek is a way for Krycek to do penance for his wrongs. So, in that sense, it's penance. Being with Mulder in and of itself is not penance.[7]

I really love the depth that is in this story. This is yet another side of Mulder and Krycek that I have yet to see in any other story. Keep up the excellent work. Krycek/Mulder *****+[8]

Her Northwest passage series. I think this may have been the first Mulder/Krycek slash that I both read and believed. And yet, I'm not sure slash describes these at all. Cases and characterization and changes, most of all, perhaps? I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.[9]

The quintessential X-Files story - everything good about the X-Files and queerer. A wonderful paranormal plot wrapped about with sexual tension like silk and violins strings. This story makes me happy even though it's sad.[10]

In 1997, I was a senior in high school, and the internet was almost brand-new. The previous year, I'd gone to Yahoo! to see what pages there were for the X-Files, and the Mulder/Krycek Romantics Association had a page up. If I recall correctly, it had blinking red hearts--could I possibly recall this correctly? It was the first time I'd heard of slash (though I did know about fanfic before) and I was immediately, instantly, absolutely hooked. (I was right on time, too, since I think that M/K was one of the first big internet pairings--if it'd only been K/S I don't think I ever would have gotten interested.) I read everything I could get my hands on, including all the really terrible stuff. I joined the mailing list. Then "Ghosts" came down the line. It came out in four parts,[11] and I can still remember how incredibly exciting it was to get a new part. I loved the intensely sympathetic take on Krycek: the story was funny, sexy, painful in a very subdued, real way, and incredibly intimate. Torch often takes her main characters out of their home environments, a subtle way of drawing them into close intimacy with each other. Here, Mulder, Krycek, and Scully almost immediately leave DC and head for the middle of nowhere; we get well-drawn cameos from minor OCs (another frequent feature of torch's writing) but basically, they're on their own. This story raised the bar for slash fiction writing, as far as I was concerned (and I think this was true for others.) It's definitely been surpassed--when I look at it now it seems like a beginner's effort compared to her later work. (Personally, I'd name 'China' and the Here is Greenwood fic 'The Best Policy' as torch's best work, and the 'Ghosts' sequel 'Lovers,' while still relatively early work for her, is also significantly more accomplished.) But at the time, I thought I'd never read a piece of fanfic that used language so well. I adored it, and for the sake of my high-school self, I still do.[12]

An absolute must-read. Torch has a staggering amount of insight into the characters and spins an utterly captivating tale. It's beautiful. Just read it. The sequel "Lovers" is also very good, though I prefer "Ghosts".[13]

I'm not sure this story even needs an explanation, or a rec, for that matter. It took fandom (not just XF fandom) by storm when it was written, and I can't believe there's anyone who hasn't read it. But just in case -- go read this. It's a case story that throws Krycek in with Mulder and Scully, trying to deal with his past as he and Mulder deal with their present. The characterizations are spot-on, and the pacing is absolutely perfect. Really. Go read it. You won't regret it.[14]


Mulder begins to see Krycek as a human being, but first as a capitulating enemy. Krycek is the enemy who feels remorse. He cries and has nightmares about killing Mulder's father. Krycek *does* feel remorse. He is attracted to Mulder as a way to do penance. They start by humanizing each other. Krycek becomes not just an enemy, and Mulder becomes more than a victim or part of a plan. Because they both need someone, they then become involved.

Krycek experiences a sense of vulnerability after losing his arm. He needs comfort. And he's not going to get it. He's not going to get it because he doesn't have anyone who he has been kind or loyal enough to for them to want to comfort him. In other words, he hasn't done anything to deserve comfort. He wants to deserve it. So he tries to think of someone who'll give it to him. Someone who he's hurt. Because only someone he's hurt can give him absolution.

Mulder, for the first time, sees someone experience remorse over hurting him. In his world, where people who care about him (his parents) hurt him, only someone who hurts him can take away the pain. Not only that, but Krycek has suffered for his crimes; he has lost an arm.

"He believes I *care*, that I still have the moral standards to be ashamed at revelation. Only Mulder, I think, only Mulder would believe that someone like me would be bothered by what a seventeen year old girl might think of him. My chest tightens and the pain feels wonderful." --Krycek, Ghosts

Mulder makes Krycek feel human. He plays the role of his incarnate conscience. And Mulder, the conscience, forgives him.[15]


"Ghosts" has been recommended before on this ng, but I'll say it again: go read. Now. If you only ever read one XF slash story, or one slash story, read this one. It is just sublimely good. It haunted me (no pun intended) for days afterwards. I took a trip to London and all I could think about was "Ghosts" and how stupid it was of me not to have read the sequel before cutting off my own Net access... Now, of course, I am a hopeless slash addict. And a pusher too.[16]

Just let me add a note-anyone who has even the teensiest vaguest curiosity about M/K-read. Ghosts. NOW. By torch, the most beautiful piece of writing in the entire universe of fanfic...[17]

Second that. It's magnificent. It's such a treat to find someone who can write really intensely passionate erotica without getting bogged down in sticky physical detail. There's an M/K kiss scene in this that's one of the hottest things you'll ever read, and no detail in it goes below the shoulder, or has to. The mind really is the biggest erogenous zone. =) Plus, it manages the tough task of humanizing Krycek without sacrificing his mystery and danger. I am NO Ratboy fan, but I felt much more interest in him after reading this one.[18]

All right, I'll come right out and say it. If you don't read torch's work, you're nuts. Long, intricate, BRILLIANT stuff with characterizations so right, they hurt. If she wrote MSR or gen, we'd have to kill her. The writing is so clean, it squeaks. (torch is a copy editor in RL, so you don't have to worry about mentally correcting as you go.) Beautiful. -- Rating: 5+++ Lashes [19]


Aaah... memories. I found my first slashfic when my best friend sent me to a M/K site as a joke. She now regrets that :o)

I don't remember the name of the fic, but I *do* remember loving it. I immediately printed it out. Within a month, I had found several slash archives, and what I call my "shipper phase" was officially over.

The real turning point in my transformation from shipper to slasher had to be when I read "Ghosts". I then knew that I didn't have to turn to MSR if I wanted to read romance.

Since then, I started devouring slash in large quantities, as well as reading slash in several other fandoms. I found that it's ruined me for reading about heterosexual relationships. Romance novels haven't been the same since. <g> [20]

The best Mulder/Krycek romance I've ever read. And this really is a romance, this is not just about sex (though sex scenes are smoking hot). Scully is never left behind, and the featured cases are just as intriguing as the relationships. Torch is the master of her craft, what can I say? [21]


I just have to recommend the amazing X-Files novel Ghosts by torch. It's one of the best things I've ever read. Even if you think you don't like slash in general or M/K (that's Mulder/Krycek, for those who aren't familiar with X-Files fanfic) in particular, try this story. It's bittersweet, lovely, and heartbreakingly, painfully angsty. It's also one of the sexiest stories I've ever read, even though there's no actual sex; the UST, however, is so thick you can cut it with a knife. It just blew me away. (Or, if you'd rather get it in smaller parts, you can go directly to the author's page.)[22]


Ghosts and it's sequel Lovers are like the proverbial X-files M/K fanfic. If you haven't read it, then you are seriously missing something. It is obligatory to rec this story just in case some newbies have yet to discover it. It is one not to be missed. It is angsty, sexy, and defines everything that is the M/K fandom. I'm done singing it's praises for the moment. You may have noticed that many of the stories I rec I have a hard time just summarizing what they are about. I usually describe how they make me feel or the essence of what I got they were trying to say. This is another one of those difficult to summarize stories. Just saying it is about this or that would be too simple. It is complex and rich in that way that just draws you in. Torch is a wonderful writer who weaves a fabulous tale centered around the boys. Whether new to the fandom or maybe you just haven't gotten around to reading this yet it is a must read. A fabulous story with an intriguing plot and definitely plenty of love, longing, and angst to satisfy any M/K fan. Go on now, shoo read torch's fics. I insist.[23]


Chances are (if you're not a total newbie) Torch has written something in your fandom, so you already know how good she is. Ghosts and its sequel Lovers are wonderful reads -- Scully is Scully, Mulder is Mulder, and Krycek is hot like a hot thing. There's some fabulous interaction, an actual X-File, the dialogue works, and ... you need to go read this story.[24]


Fic Hate Discussion: 2004

Overrated? *truly* overrated? Torch's "Ghosts". Honest to God, 700K of Mulder and Krycek and Scully riding in a car. Mulder watches Krycek; Scully watches Mulder; Krycek looks out the window, then watches Mulder in the rear-view mirror when he thinks Scully's not looking. I couldn't get past the first 20K. I skimmed a bit, then I gave up. And this story is on every recs page in the entire fandom. Why? why? why? I have *never* understood what's so great about this story, and I never will, 'cause I'm not going to waste my time plowing through something that causes tears of boredom to spring from my eyes. Torch writes good clean prose, no question, but this was just *dull*.[25]

I'm in a minority, but I was truly left cold by a story that everybody else seemed to love. *shrugs* And it's not like I had any prejudice against M/K, either. I slashed 'em all with equal fervor in my XF days.[26]

I liked the place in the story when M&K finally got it on. The frustration was a bit toooooooooooooooooo drawn out, but torch's language is beautiful, whatever she describes. I think she is deservedly lauded because she was one of the first, if only for that.[27]

It was one of the first really long, satisfying fics in M/K fandom. That might explain its appeal back then. I remember how we were all sitting on the edge of our computer chairs waiting for the next part to show up in our inboxes when she was posting it in MKRA.[28]

Ghosts had a convicing M/K story - quite hard to pull off for that pair.[29]


Absolutely loved the story, brilliant plot, however the romance was extremely sappy and the switch between 1st person present and 3rd person past serves no purpose (and the first person Krycek POV is just bad). Still highly recced.[30]


  1. ^ 1997 Whammy Winners, accessed August 24, 2010.
  2. ^ rec on crack_van dated November 20, 2003, accessed August 24, 2010.
  3. ^ from Working Stiffs Interview with Dasha K. (Part Two)
  4. ^ announcement post
  5. ^ podcath. for darkemeralds! from podcath! Ghosts by torch, 20 December 2010. (Accessed 21 December 2010)
  6. ^ For a download link see announcement post for now.
  7. ^ Analysis of torch's Ghosts and Lovers by Allie., Archived version.
  8. ^ Slash Recs of ScarletFBL: X-Files Recs. (Accessed 02 April 2015)
  9. ^ Recommended Reading - Rhi's Favorite Links, Archived version
  10. ^ Novel-Length Recs, Archived version
  11. ^ Ghosts 1: I know where I'm going, Ghosts 2: And I know who's going with me, Ghosts 3: I know my dear love, Ghosts 4: But I don't know who I'll marry.
  12. ^ from Ceciliaregent, added by her when she created this article 24 August 2010‎.
  13. ^ Worlds Enough. Sylvia's X-Files Slash Recs. (Accessed 03 April 2015)
  14. ^ Arduinna. Arduinna's Fic Recs: fandoms U - Z, 15 June 2005. (Accessed 21 December 2010)
  15. ^ from Analysis of torch's Ghosts and Lovers
  16. ^ Katherine F at, March 18, 1998
  17. ^ comment by L.C. (this is possibly Laura Cooksey) at FanFic Referral, March 30, 1998
  18. ^ comment by John Dee at FanFic Referral, April 6, 1998
  19. ^ from The Acid Desk #1
  20. ^ comment by Bushgrrl at First Slash fanfic you ever read..., March 18, 1999
  21. ^ Some Groovy X-Files Fanfic, recs by Anna Otto
  22. ^ Aimee's Recommendation Page. The second set of recommendations, via Wayback: 2000. (Accessed 10 April 2015)
  23. ^ The Slash Slut's Recs, via Wayback, June 2001. (Accessed 21 December 2010)
  24. ^ recced at Crack Van, November 2003
  25. ^ anonymous at Fic_Hate, July 13, 2004
  26. ^ anonymous at Fic_Hate, July 13, 2004
  27. ^ anonymous at Fic_Hate, July 13, 2004
  28. ^ ellensmithee at Fic_Hate, July 14, 2004
  29. ^ lovogo at Fic_Hate, July 15, 2004
  30. ^ kanata. New recs, 23 April 2006. (Accessed 21 December 2010)