Sex and Drugs and Rock n' Roll

by JiM

From: <>
Date: Saturday, October 13, 2001 12:53 AM

Title: "Sex and Drugs and Rock n' Roll" Author: JiM
Date: 10/01
Note: A tiny vignette, a bedtime story for Ness Rating: PG for language
Archiving: Nah, it's not worth it
Summary: It was a dark and stormy night...

Sleep deprivation. That's what it had to be. Skinner couldn't think of any other conceivable way that this scenario could be happening. Not in real life. Not in HIS life. In his life, the one single man he wanted to kill, the one who had tortured him, humiliated him, manipulated and blackmailed him, the one man he couldn't touch, the man that he had killed, that man did not appear on his doorstep at 1 am and say,

"I couldn't sleep. I saw the light on."

Skinner just stood and stared at a man he thought was dead and wondered if he were a ghost or merely some bizarre result of too many white nights and not enough alcohol in his bloodstream. But figments do not drip rainwater from the ends of foolishly long eyelashes. Night demons do not sniff loudly and wipe their noses on the backs of their hands. Their single remaining flesh-and-blood hands. Bad dreams do not slump against the doorframe and rub gingerly at the livid threadline of a garrote across their long white throats. At least, not usually. Maybe in Mulder's world. Skinner made a note to call Mulder and check in the morning.

He looked carefully at Krycek, who might or might not be a ghost. Then he reached out and grabbed a fistful of soaking cotton tee shirt over Krycek's chest and yanked him into the apartment. Krycek's arms flailed and he yelped as he nearly fell at Skinner's feet. Hand still twisted in Krycek's shirt, Skinner carefully closed the door. Then he turned to look at the assassin.

On closer inspection, Krycek looked worse than Skinner first thought. There were bruises high on his forehead, a trickle of blood from a split lip, a slash down the thigh of his muddy jeans and he had a rapidly blackening eye. His heart beat fast and frightened against Skinner's knuckles and he realized that Krycek was nearly hanging from his grasp. Freezing drops of water were dripping off Krycek's hair and chin and splashing down to land on Skinner's bare feet.

"Well?" Skinner growled.

"I need your help."

The last four words Walter Skinner ever expected to hear from this man. "Please tell me that you're suicidal and want me to help you out with that, Krycek."

Krycek's lip lifted in tired acknowledgment. "Not yet, Walter. But if I ever do get the urge, I'll put you right at the front of the line."

"Always the thoughtful one, aren't you, Alex?"

Skinner's knuckles began to ache from clenching. He slowly released his grip on Krycek's shirt and watched as the other man stumbled forward slightly, grabbing at Skinner's forearm for support.

"Well, you look like someone worked you over pretty good, boy."

Krycek just nodded and slowly straightened up. "Several someones over several days, actually."

"Shit. What did you do?"

Krycek shot him a look that might once have been a grin. "Sure - blame the victim..."

"Krycek, you haven't been a victim since you were in diapers."

Skinner was surprised to see what looked like a flash of honest pain on that battered face, before Krycek suddenly went alarmingly pale and swayed in his grasp. "Don't pass out on me yet, Krycek. Tell me why the hell you showed up here at 1 in the morning and why you *don't* think I'll just cuff you and put you out with the rest of the garbage."

Krycek just swayed even more decidedly and began to slide toward the floor. Skinner got an arm around Krycek and nearly yelped from the chill of the soaked leather jacket against his bare torso. He hiked the man over to his sofa and eased him down. Then he skinned the leather jacket away from Krycek's shivering back and tossed it into a dank heap by the door. The dirty tee shirt beneath the jacket was stained and ripped. There were track marks and bruises up and down Krycek's unmaimed arm and Skinner eyed them with disgust.

"You're using now, Krycek? Forget it. I don't care if your dealer wipes the street with you."

"Don't be stupid, Skinner!" Krycek spit, holding up his prosthesis. "I couldn't inject myself with this."

And Skinner had to grit his teeth at his own stupidity.

He bent to examine the damage more closely and saw between eight and ten track marks. They had been roughly done, the skin torn and bruised at each injection site. For the first time, Skinner looked up and met Krycek's gaze. His eyes were glazed and staring, the green nearly eclipsed by pupils blown wide.

"Oh shit. What did they pump into you, Alex?" Skinner didn't even notice his voice softening, nor his hands gentling as he stripped away the soaking cloth. Krycek did, but said nothing about it.

"They said it was some new, cheap replacement for heroin. More addictive, but it costs less than half of what heroin costs to process."

"They, who?"

Krycek shook his head. "It was a set up. They used to be Consortium ... subcontractors. I called them looking for work."

"And they found you a job as a lab rat?" Skinner slid his hand under Krycek's rough-bristled jaw and raised his head so that he could look into his eyes again.

Krycek's lips thinned into a feral grin. "Well, that was after they tried using me as a punching bag. That didn't work out so well for a couple of them at first."

There were more bruises on Krycek's chest and a few marks that looked like cigarette burns. The thin ligature mark on Krycek's throat was blossoming, the bruising darkening even as he looked at it. In the corner, the TV continued muttering its infomercials and fading starlet beauty tips as Skinner considered the wreck of a man on his sofa. Krycek was shivering and his breathing was shallow and way too fast. It took him a few moments to focus his glazed eyes on Skinner's face. He said nothing.

"So what do you want from me?" But Skinner knew, even as he asked, what Krycek was looking for. And he knew, with a sinking feeling deep inside, that he would give Krycek whatever he asked. He thought it might be the grass-green gaze that refused to look pleadingly at him.

The moment stretched on and Skinner felt like an idiot standing there, waiting for one of them to break and say it aloud. Finally, Krycek's torn lips parted and he said only one word.


"Christ, who the hell are you?!?! Quasimodo?!" Skinner was suddenly disgusted with himself, with Krycek and with the fact that he was wide-awake at 1 in the morning with a strung-out contract killer on his couch.

It wasn't fair.

"It never is," Krycek said softly and Skinner realized that he had said... no, whined his last thought aloud. "But at least you're used to that," Krycek added with a needle-sharp grin.

"I hate you," Skinner said tiredly bending to pull off Krycek's soaked sneakers.

"I know," Krycek said softly. "That's why I came here."

Skinner thought about that as he went and got a stack of clean towels. He dropped the pile into Krycek's lap, then took one and draped it over the startled assassin's head. He began meditatively toweling at the man's dark hair as he thought about it some more. Finally, he just said, "Why?"

"Because you'll do what's right."

Skinner's hands froze. "And if what's right is putting a bullet through your skull and dumping your body in the Potomac?" /I've done it before/ he thought with a peculiar spasm in his chest.

"Then you'll do the right thing," Krycek said softly from beneath the towel.

"That's the drugs talking," Skinner said uncertainly.

"Probably," Krycek agreed. "Better not waste your window of opportunity here, Walter."

"How large is my window exactly, Krycek?" Skinner grabbed a dry towel and started to work on Krycek's shivering torso.

"I figure that exposure and shock ought to keep me down for a good twelve hours. Figure another four or five days for the worst of the withdrawal...I'd say you've got a week to do whatever the hell you want with me."

"You're one sick fuck, you know that, Krycek?" Skinner tugged at the waistband of Krycek's soaked jeans. "You escape from... god-knows-who, who pumped you full of drugs and beat the shit out of you... to come here, to me. I shot you, you idiot! What makes you think I won't do it again?" Skinner was shouting by the end of this thought. Krycek raised his battered head and stared straight at Skinner.

"Nothing," he said simply.

"You came here because you want me to kill you?!" Skinner's fingers were still hooked around the belt loops of Krycek's jeans, but he dropped forward onto his knees in shock.

"Look, Skinner, I'd rather die quick and clean than what they had planned for me. You won't fuck around with it."

Mouth dry, Skinner asked, "How do you know I won't torture you first? I owe you for the nanocytes." /I've done it before/ he thought again, stomach clutching as he remembered pulling the trigger again and again and once again before it had been over.

Krycek's weak smile said that he knew that. "Yeah, you do. But it's not in you, Walter. You're not that kind of man."

"Bastard," Skinner said softly, feeling stabbed by the truth.

"True enough," Krycek said wearily.

"So you want me to kill you, Krycek? Is that why you came?"

Krycek shrugged, a weird one-shouldered movement that left the left side of his body absolutely still. "If you do, do it quick. Do it now."

"And if I don't?" Skinner's words grated past a stone lodged in his throat.

"Then -- can I have a glass of water?"

The first hitching, choking noise that came from Skinner's throat might have been anything. But then came another and another and suddenly, Skinner found himself laughing aloud. There was a soaked and beaten assassin on his couch, he hadn't slept in days and wasn't likely to anytime soon. Krycek was hyped on some unknown drug and asking for the coup de grace or a glass of water.

It really did sound like Mulder's life. Skinner made another mental note to call Mulder in the morning and compare notes.

Finally, he met Krycek's too-wide eyes and his bruised and twisted grin and said, "You want ice with that?"

Someday, I'll look back on all this, laugh nervously and change the subject. (courtesy of am w)

If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to JiM