The Rat Prince
by Mord
Pairing: Mulder/Krycek
Rating: ermm...PG-13?
Disclaimer: Never seen 'em before in me life.
Summary: October challenge. A reworking of 'The Frog Prince', that is to say the violent and aggressive Grimm version where frogs are beaten and not kissed. Something of an experiment in style.
Spoilers: Probably everything up to 'The End'.

The Rat Prince
by Mord

Once upon a time, when wishing was having, there was a government bureau whose agents were strong and good and true, but the most driven was so beautiful that all the stars and planets, who had seen all of the universe, marvelled whenever they shone upon his upturned face. Indeed, sometimes they felt he looked to them simply to share his faith. Deep within the bowels of the bureau there was a small office, crammed to the brim with strange tales and notions to twist the blood of even the most secure, and in this office, behind a neglected desk, there was a poster. Simple in design, its muted covers proclaimed the needs of the most beautiful of the bureau's agents. For these were his possessions: his office, his desk, his stories, his poster and his truth. In the midst of denial and disbelief from his fellow agents, Fox, for such was the name of the exquisite man, would descend to his basement office and sit by the edge of the poster. He would look upon the image of hovering visitation, repeating its proclamation "I want to believe", until it was the only remnant in his world. Then would Fox knew peace and receive the strength to pursue his obsession. It was his favourite place, his favourite moment and his favourite thing. Now one day it happened that Fox was called to his office, but instead of his space, his files and his poster, there was nothing but smoke and destruction and Scully clutching his arms. So kind of her to hold him together.

Fox's eyes swept around the blackened room, the heat of departed flames smothered his skin. His files were destroyed, his sacred place violated, his dreams faded into the scorched mass of twisted metal. It would almost have been better if his flesh had withered instead of his heart. Fox looked into his future and saw nothing. Darkness perhaps, cold taunts pressing in from all sides. So strong he could feel the pressure on his arms. His faith slipped away under the assault. When he looked down, he saw only Scully trying to comfort him. Her hands touched his flesh and where they did so it burned. Had his little sceptic played him all along? He tried to see a way around the pain it was so deep that he could not see its bottom.

Fox stood for hours in the gloom. Scully tried to make him leave, to go home and sleep. But he refused to leave. He could not. This was all he had; even the poster that sheltered his faith was gone. Its remains were nowhere to be seen, but so much was charred paper, melted plastic, burnt metal and scorched flesh. How could he see? How would he know? At some point, Scully left the room. He couldn't remember why or when, or even if she had really existed in the first place. The stench of acrid smoke still hung in his nostrils and permeated his clothes. He thought that maybe he should cry, but he couldn't. As he was thus lamenting, someone called out to him, "What is the matter with you? Your sadness would turn a stone to pity." Fox looked around to see where the voice was coming from and saw him, saw the rat standing in the doorway. Black-clad in leather with a strange slouch to the left shoulder. Fox's pain glinted in Krycek's eyes. Whether exuding or absorbing anguish was a secret never to be told.

Fury in behind Fox's mind, swelling to escape. His eyes watered, a growl sounded low in his throat, his fingertips tingled. He itched to kill someone, something. He wanted to smash Krycek's face into the wall and then kiss it all away. So kind of Krycek to appear right on cue, almost as if he'd known or set the flames on their journey himself. "You." He couldn't bring himself to say the name of his betrayer, the one who had kissed and ran, loved and left.

"I still have a name, you know, Mulder." Krycek leaned against the blackened doorframe, seemingly unmindful of its fragility and disease. Fox took a step forwards, itching to prevent further damage to the room and his life. "Get out!" Fox wouldn't use that name, couldn't use it. Not anymore. It reminded him of dark sweetness and cloying passion. Krycek grinned. His eyes sparkled. He was beautiful. He exuded depravity.

"I suppose this is your doing." Fox's voice was as smooth as a freshly made bed. Rage no longer held meaning.

"Do you really think I would burn away your dreams and come back to taunt you when you have nothing else to lose?" Fox took another step toward the rat, toward his rat; the one he loved and loathed with equal venom.

"I can help you," Krycek continued with the ever-present gleam in his darkening eyes, "but what will you give me if I bring back your poster?"

"Poster?" Fox muttered. How could the rat know of the importance of that single sheet of flimsy paper?

"Come on, Mulder. I shared your dreams once. Who else understands? Who else knows? Does little Miss Sceptic know?"

"Leave her out of this!" As far away as possible. He did not want to think of her pity or her pain.

Krycek smiled: a slight flicker of lip against lip which only Fox would ever notice. "No doubt you could buy another, Foxy."

Fox did not shout, he did not scream, he inched closer to his prey and grabbed a handful of leather. Ignoring the smooth feel of passion against his fingers, he concentrated on what lay beneath. But that was an even bigger mistake. "Don't call me that. Ever."

"You used to like it." Krycek pouted, but the glimmer of humour flowed behind his eyes. "You used to beg me to call you that." His gloved hand came to rest on the Fox's hip.

Fox swatted at the hand that moved slowly around his hip to stroke his ass. He stared at the man standing inches from him. So close he could feel the heat rising from his flesh and taste the sweat on the forehead. But the harder he looked, the less he saw, until there was only green framed by strands of silken black.

After an aeon of watching and waiting, Krycek stepped away. Fox let him and watched in bemusement as his own hand fell away from leather and lingered by his side.

"What will you give me?"

Fox was silent - he had nothing more to bestow.

"What do I get out of this... bargain?"

Fox watched as Krycek strutted across the floor, through the debris and decay that had held him together when all others were against him, when his prince had turned rat.

Krycek stalked around the outskirts of Fox's flesh. Watching. Waiting. Fox needed, he needed something to cling to. Besides, he could betray with the best of them. Krycek deserved it. "Whatever you want, dear rat," he said finally, "my clothes, my money and apartment, and even the shirt on my back. How about I fake your death for you? Then you could escape those men who are so fond of your ass." Perhaps he could fool the young rat. Some days he could not bear to know they existed in the same world and were apart, that they would always be apart. The rat scowled. "I don't want your clothes, your belongings, nor your death threats." Fox tried not to whimper as the rat licked his lips. "You know what I want."

Fox laughed. "After everything? After the litany of crimes on your soul." He did not turn to look as leather and denim circled him. Even when Krycek stopped behind him and hovered near the edges of his space, he did not move. Instead, Fox held his breath and tried to stop the pain from pounding at the inside of his skull on its way to freedom. "Are you insane?"

"Perhaps," said the rat. "But, if you will love me and accept me, and let me sit next to you at your table and eat from your plate and drink from your cup and sleep in your bed, if you will promise this to me, then I'll bring your lonely heart back to you."

"Oh, yes," he replied too quickly, "I promise all of that to you." Should he get his poster back, then he would be whole again. And the rat could be disposed of. If not, he would enjoy trying. As soon as the rat heard him say "yes", he took Fox's hand and all but dragged him from the room. Fox tried not to wince at the touch of leathered glove on his fluted skin. He allowed the rat to pull him along the corridor further into the depths of the building. Thoughts of being pulled to his bedroom by a smiling junior agent were hastily pushed away and filed under disgust, contempt and need.

So abruptly did the rat halt at the end of the corridor that Fox slid into his back. Instinctively, his arms remembered and went around the slim waist. Motionless for a moment before Fox remembered that he hated the rat, that he had to be punished.

The rat reached behind a filing cabinet and threw a roll of glossy paper at his feet. Fox bent to pick it up, but the rat grabbed his wrist. Green and hazel met across the divide. "Tonight," the rat whispered.

"Tonight, I shall come for your promise."

Fox nodded. He was filled with joy at the sight of his poster, at the memory of his dreams. All that remained was to punish the rat for returning them to him. Silently he watched as the leather-clad rat strode away.

At midnight came the knocking on the door, the beating of a heart against the wood, knocking knocking on the door, begging to be let in. Fox lay on his couch watching alien visitations on his glowing TV. So soon? He was not ready. His dreams returned, his life replaced, how could he let the rat back in?

Another knock, more vibrant than the first. A voice called out, "Agent, finest, open up the door for me!"

A pounding at the door, so fierce it seemed to bend and crack before the fists of dark desire. A voice called out:

"Fairest agent of the bureau,
Open up the door for me,
Don't you know what this evening,
You said to me down by the fire?
Fairest agent of the bureau,
Open up the door for me."

"Begone rat, you are not for me." Fox roared for all to hear.

The rat said, "What you have promised, you must keep. Come and let your love rat in."

Fox knew this to be true. Thanks to the machinations of the rat, he was restored. Yet, now was the time to rid the world and his bed forever of the scourge of the rat.

He went and opened the door, and the rat loped in, then followed him to the couch.

"Just one question. Why didn't you simply pick the lock?"

"You promised, Mulder. You promised to let me in." Fox lay down and watched the rat's every move as Krycek produced Chinese food and balanced it on his chest. Fox felt the heat seep into his bones. He held his visitor's gaze for scant seconds before sliding aside to make room.

"Good boy," Krycek whispered. He sat against Fox's hips and stroked a thigh. A tap on his nose and Krycek was prying chopsticks between his fingers. Wood fought with leather fought with flesh. The rat bent so low that Fox thought he was to be kissed. Disappointment merged with pleasure as words were whispered. "Feed me." Fox hesitated, until finally the heat seeping into his chest, the warmth of the body next to his and the plea lurking deep in green eyes commanded him to do it.

Slowly, he fed his captor. He did it, though he did not wish to. The rat slurped and smiled through his meal, but every bite stuck in Fox's throat. Finally, he said, "I have eaten all I want and am tired. Now take me to your room and I shall remind you of what you've been denied for so long."

"I sleep on the couch these days. You can have the floor."

The rat tapped a gloved hand on the wall and removed his gun from its holster. He placed it on the table next to that of the agent. "The bed, my sweet."

Fox trembled under the gaze of the rat and did not dare to even touch him, and yet he was supposed to sleep in his beautiful, clean bed. One touch of hand or mouth or thigh and he would be lost once more. The rat became angry. "You should not despise someone who has helped you in time of need," he said.

Fox rose and led the way to the bedroom and winced when he was followed. He lay down on the orderly bed he had not slept in since the last time his rat had betrayed him. He lay on the bed, all the time plotting how to best the rat. Krycek came creeping up and said, "I am tired, and I want to sleep as well as you do. Hold me or I'll tell Scully, Skinner, everyone about the times I've buried myself in you, about the betrayals and the way you always begged me to go deeper and to never stay away." With that Fox became bitterly angry, rose and threw the rat against the wall with all his might. His fingers tightened in leather, his other hand curled around the rat's neck, his body pressed his tormentor against the wall. Too late, he remembered his gun was on a low table several feet away. It may as well have been miles. His grip tightened on the rat's neck and he forced it away from him until Krycek's beautiful head hit the wall. Fox was breathing hard, the captured breathing harder. Despairing of his plight, Fox leaned his forehead against a firm chest, almost burying his face in the heated leather of the loved and loathed.

He had to do this, had to rid himself of this creature before he was subsumed by his aura, by his need. Fox raised his face to Krycek's and for the second time that day mourned the loss of devotion. He stared at the rat and the rat stared back. His grip loosened and Krycek's mouth moved closer his eyes never straying from Fox's own. The meeting of lips was exquisite; the melding of minds ethereal.

Fox almost relaxed into the kiss, almost allowed himself to be drawn to the inevitability of the subtle relationship that was theirs alone. Krycek had taken too much from him, stripped him bare of peace and tranquil thought, left only a notion of what it may be to be loved. Burying his father had been easier than this, the abduction of Scully had been a walk in a very small park, his near death in a desert, in a hospital ward, in a train were nothing compared to the pain of not burying his face in the rat's neck, in not sliding his sweating hands into thick dark hair, in not dragging splendour into his bed. Furious at himself, Fox tore lips from flesh.

"Now you will have your peace, you disgusting rat!" Fox released his rat who slumped to the ground, back to the wall, legs splayed wide around Fox's ankles. But when he fell down, he was not a rat, but a prince with radiant eyes.

Fox crouched and reached a hand out to his rat, afraid to touch, terrified to pull back. The rumpled creature on the floor met his eyes somewhere between hope and longing. The single word, the name of his enemy escaped before he knew it was remembered. "Alex." Fox tired to smile, but his lips still felt the taint of this man who had destroyed him only to re-create his passion for his quest. There was nothing more to be done, nothing more to say. There was only the touch of hand on cheek, of glove on thigh, of love on hate.



Archived: April 04, 2001