Safe Sex (Revised)
By Skinner Box
Summary: It all depends on how you define safety...
Rating: PG-13 for language and psychological unhealthiness
Spoilers/Timeline: pre-Tunguska, very minor Kaddish.
Disclaimer: The X-files and these characters belong to Chris Carter and Fox Broadcasting. I play with them out of love and for no profit.
Archive: please ask first
by Skinner Box
I. Indecent Proposal
He wasn't in it for the sex. And love? Please, they barely knew each other, barely spoke outside of dealing for information, or muttered pleas and instructions in the dark. No, he was in it, and in deep, for the one thing he'd never expected from the arrangement. Sashele was in it for the affection.
Put simply, and much to Alex Krycek's amazement, Special Agent Fox Mulder was, when not busy throttling handcuffed suspects, a cuddlebug. And God damn it to hell, if only he'd known he would have never proposed the whole insane arrangement in the first place. Not that he'd ever imagined that the man would take him up on it. No, no, no, no, no. Mulder, you maniac, I was only yanking your chain. Or something.
In the days, months and years since his great awakening to just what a lethal mess misplaced ambition and misguided patriotism had gotten him into, Krycek had taken assignments, off and on, from a certain power mad and yet unspeakably compromised cabal of old and older men. First necessity, later convenience, and increasingly his own dim but brightening sense of a larger plan and latent possibilities within it, had drawn him to drink time and again from that probably poisoned well. It was this particular group that, again off and on, had set him to surveiling the apartment of one Fox Mulder. A throwback to the summer he'd been the man's partner in the FBI, only less interactive. Until recently.
Really, when he wasn't on a case they guy was pretty pathetic. Read mimeographed- honestly, mimeographed newsletters from even more pathetic fools than he, called his partner at odd hours to natter on about same. And endless hours of low volume television, alternating between schlock sci-fi and soft to medium core pornography. He jerked off about as often to one as to the other, though not obsessively to either. Honestly, it was a relief when the master profiler folded his laundry.
But a job is a job, Sashele. So he'd watched. And observed. And finally put a few things together concerning Mulderboy's carefully circumscribed life. Kind of fun, profiling the profiler. The- admit it boychik- okay, admittedly pretty profiler.
And so, back in free agent mode, he'd decided to pay his subject a little visit, put his profile to the test. It had been an experiment for God's sake. Or at best a spot of recreational bear-baiting. For heaven's sake, it wasn't supposed to work.
Breaking into Mulder's apartment had been easy. There were times Penn Station saw less through traffic than that joint. So Sasha let himself in, made tea (baruch Hashem, he'd brought his own- Lipton, Mulder?). Among the refugees huddling together for comfort in the man's fridge he'd found a pot of jam, so he did the tea up right, sweet and fruity. Cracked a bottle of beer (Augsberger Dark, not bad, Mulder) for the agent, and set himself up on the sofa to wait. With the Goddamned TV off for once.
Secret Agent Man (or was that himself? Nothing terribly secret about the FBI, after all, always flashing those damn id cards) flung himself through the door just after seven, takeout- Sasha paused to sniff-takeout Korean barbecue, in hand. Goody, Krycek loved kimchee.
"Salve, nec minime puella naso," Sasha had caroled, bringing a lovely, silenced Glock nine millimeter to bear on his equally lovely target, "long time no see." Oxfordboy surely had a year or two of Latin under his belt, but he'd shown no sign of recognizing Catullus. Or perhaps he'd been too busy recognizing Krycek. He'd done quite an impressive sputter and fume, followed, predictably, by threat, insult, and finally a fine hazel-eyed glare. Very nice indeed.
Disarmed, dis-phoned, and with right ankle cuffed to left wrist (Sasha's own invention, for a combination of minimally impaired dexterity and limited movement on a seated subject it was hard to beat) Mulder was shortly in a position where civilized discourse was at least possible. On his own sofa, beer in hand, what could be comfier that that? At least if the man stopped snarling and twisting. Time for Sashele to lay it on the line.
"You're a man with a keen sense of moral culpability, Mulder. Given your fine bod and a certain quirky harmony about your face, I'd say your abysmal social skills aren't the principal reason you don't get laid. Don't throw the beer bottle, Fox. I can shoot you well before it hits."
He'd watched a fascinating interplay of brows, lips and frown lines before the agent had worked his face into its customary deadpan. Had he worked his voice into its usual monotone as well? Not quite.
"Just what are you implying, Krycek?" Mm-hmm, hook line and sinker. Say something weird enough and you have Fox Mulder's full attention. Sasha's utterance had, seemingly, fit the bill.
"You lead a dangerous life, Mulder. And you're a nice enough guy not to put any innocent person at risk by taking them to bed, or rather, sofa, with you." He'd paused, partly for effect, partly to gauge his audience. 'Yes, and?' was all he saw in the Mulder's schooled expression.
"I, Mulder, am hardly an innocent bystander. And my life is, if anything, more dangerous than yours. Keep that in mind the next time you get lonely." Ah, the joy of a well honed exit line. Sasha'd tossed the handcuff key into the stunned man's lap and dropped one floor down the fire escape before he'd heard that voice.
Not hostile, no sarcasm. Quiet and just a little bit rough at the edges. A voice with the ghost of tears in it.
Alex Krycek, from that moment, could be certified either a madman or an idiot. But the kimchee had been pungent, and the contact more so. And before he'd gone back out that window Goddamned Fox Mulder had ruffled Sashele's hair.
II. Bits and Pieces
He who gazes into the profiler may find that the profiler gazes back into him. Smug truth, for a man who doesn't often get a chance at either. Smugness or truth, that is. It's a little like playing with a heat seeking missile. But it has it's rewards. Fuck him, blow him, hell even kiss him silly, and you get nothing. But rest your hand on the back of his neck, settle his head on your shoulder and stroke his inky hair for the duration of a Knicks game, and paydirt.
It's a kind of self-test really. Assemble the profile from the standard materials, not much more than you'd have to hand for a typical case. Then test your model against the the actual facts, coaxed from the unwitting subject in bits and pieces. All for the price of a negligent hand at the waist or arm across the shoulder, the odd nuzzle when it's clearly not a prelude to seduction. At least not that kind of seduction.
His error, as I see it, was in assuming sex to be a major motivating factor in my life. My error, had I made it, would have been assuming the same of him. Not that the sex isn't...diverting. But it's not about the sex, it's about the puzzle. And the thrill of licking the panther's teeth. There is an element of that as well.
A stack of mental index cards. Deal them out, like crime scene photos across a motel bed, and see what you come up with. Match them up with the elements of the profile like a high-stakes game of concentration. Subject's early environment restrictive, a world of arbitrary rules that must be followed unquestioningly. Match it up with a black-hat yeshiva in Baltimore.
The particulars of that one were a surprise. Sprawled on the couch together, naked, spent. He's such a sucker for the hair thing. He's wearing it long in front, short in back again, and all I had to do was tug it forward into his eyes, brush it back again, cool, sweat-damp locks against the hot skin of his forehead. He chuckled against my chest.
"I've got to cut it again," he says, "I'm practically growing payos." Even I know what payos are- at least after that case in Brooklyn. Tug and brush, tug and brush, and I'm getting memories: bits and pieces of Sabbath singing, and peeking out between the fringes of his father's prayer shawl at morning services. He's got a lovely voice, really.
Subject lacks the intellectual insecurity typical of repeat killers with its concomitant self-aggrandizing. Match it up with 'the road not taken.'
Apples. The Scullys go apple picking every fall, all of them, in some burst of familial enthusiasm that has them comandeering a bunch of cabins in a Michigan state park. Scully brought me a sackful, sorted them out by type on the dining room table: macintosh, jonathan, the improbable northern spy. Guess who comes over for sex and decides to bake a pie? Walks right out and comes back within the hour with a bag of ingredients.
Snitch a few apple slices, play the flour on the nose game, and generally get in the way while he's, absurdity personified, rolling out piecrust with a semiautomatic just in reach on the counter.
"So Krycek, where does a hired killer learn to make pies?" Kiss the back of his neck. Bingo. Story time: in the counter-culture cooperative house of a friend of a friend, the week he's up to Chicago, interviewing for grad school. That's what it came down to, Medieval Studies at University of Chicago or Quantico. Macho patriotism or Latin poetry. Society's loss, I guess. He quotes Hildegarde of Bingen completely unselfconsciously. Not even an inkling that I'll have to look her up once he's gone. Damn good pie, too.
Bits and pieces. That's what profiling is, putting them all together in the right pattern, forming a coherent, more importantly, a predictive whole. That's what I'm getting for negligent touches to that warm skin, those fine cheekbones, his sooty hair. It's been a few weeks since the last time, what with one thing and another, but he's coming tonight. I can't wait.
Archived: June 03, 2001