Moving Into the Shallows

by D. Sidhe

Date: Saturday, January 18, 2003 5:14 PM

The Rather Fetching Betty is evidently on page fifteen of his seventy page treatise on "Why Part Eight Of The Seattle Series Sucks". In the interim, I'm partly working on part nine, and partly fooling with this one, and partly doing about twenty other things, which I believe is the central theme of about six pages of TRFB's manifesto thus far. On a completely unrelated note, I'm looking for a new beta reader, and for someone willing to provide an alibi for the approximate time of TRFB's death. I'm willing to be flexible with the scheduling. Applications, suggestions, irate commentary on unfinished series preferred by the writer, and deeply confused questions about how exactly this fits in with various other stories I've written may, as always, be sent to (They can actually be sent a lot of other places, too, if you like, but you're more likely to get a reply if you send them to me.) Thank you, Erika.

     Whirlpool: Moving Into the Shallows
     By D. Sidhe: Erika
     Category: Pre-slash, WIP (sequel to The View from the Shore)
     Pairing: Langly/Krycek
     Rating: PG-13 for angst, language, and, as they say, sexual
     Archive: Knock yourself out.
     Summary: Langly doesn't know yet he's in over his head, but
     he is, and getting deeper.

Disclaimers: I don't own any of these people. I'm not making any money off this. No offense or infringement intended.

Spoilers: Same as before. Sorta all the early Krycek stuff. I don't really have a date to pin on this one. Sometime after "One Breath", but before "Anasazi" at the latest. Or you can call it AU, I guess. Krycek has been revealed as a double agent, maybe, and blamed for the abduction of Scully, but very little else has been revealed about him, and Melissa Scully and Bill Mulder are still alive. This still isn't a timeline story.

Beta: Betty looked at it and said, "What happened to the funny one you're writing?" That's as close as it came to beta.

Author's Note: Okay, it's still not funny. And it's never going to be funny. And it's not very complimentary to Krycek, and that's probably only going to get worse as this goes on. Frankly, I can see it ending up with serious non-consent issues, and probably a lot of really unpleasant things that my sister will freak out if she reads. If you're thinking this is a nice story, then I've done it wrong. If I'm doing it right, it's about power, and innocence, and manipulation. With any luck, it's also about words, and the way we use them, and what we say and don't say, and why. Eventually it'll probably turn into Hurt/Comfort, and given my stated preferences for Happy Endings, I think we can expect to see one for Langly, Byers, and Frohike, but that may be a long, long way in the future, and Krycek probably won't get much of a Happy Ending.

I didn't see him today. I didn't see him yesterday. All of a sudden, it's Friday, and I haven't seen him anywhere. And I'm anxious again, and wired, and bummed out, and lookin' around every corner for him. Byers drags me out to get the paper back from the printers, and on the way back, he gives me a look.

I stare out the window, hoping he'll get the message, but he doesn't.

"Langly, what's going on with you lately?" That soft voice. He's trying hard not to judge, I can tell. But he's assuming I'm fucked up, and he doesn't like it. "Is it something we can help with?" He's trying to be nice.

I shake my head, and don't look at him. "Just not feeling well," I say finally, knowing he's going to take that as confirmation of his little theory. Which I guess is okay. Better than the truth, anyway.

"Should you see a doctor?" he asks, all serious.

"No. Listen, Byers, I'm fine, okay? Just stay out of it." And he makes this little sighing noise, and he's officially going with the Langly's Strung Out theory. And you know what? It's fine with me. He's not going to do anything about it. If he knew about Alex, he'd probably figure it was his business. But as long as I get the work done, he's gonna stay out of this.

But I know he's gonna tell Fro, and they're gonna tut-tut at me again, so I start making plans to get the fuck out of HQ for the evening. But when we get there, and I'm around the side grabbing one of the boxes, he's suddenly next to me. And he puts his hand on my arm, and I kind of freeze. I can see him looking at me out of the corner of my eye. He's got that serious, worried look. And his voice is still soft, calm. "If I can help," he says, "I will."

I drop the box and straighten up and don't even look at him. "Then you can carry the fuckin' boxes, Byers. I need a nap." And I pull my arm away from him and walk away.

And he leaves the boxes there, and leaves the door open--in this neighborhood--and comes after me. "Langly, would you please just listen to me--"

I'm mad, all of a sudden. What I'm doing with Alex--whatever it is--it's maybe not safe, but it's my decision. It's my life. I'm more than just computers and games and music and the fucking paper, and I like it. "None of your fucking business, Byers. Keep out of it, okay?"

Frohike opens the door and starts to say something, and I push past him. And he says something like "What's with him?" and I stomp upstairs and lock myself in my room. They're talkin' about me, I know, but I don't care.

And--There's this game box on the shelf with all the other ones, and inside it, there's a cell phone I bought. It's prepaid, anonymous. Untraceable. Like the one Alex has. The one he said was for me--just for me. And I pull it out, and I call him. I don't expect him to be there, but he is. He answers the first ring, and he says, "Ringo?"

Jesus, he wasn't lyin' about it being just for me. If anybody else was callin' him on that line, he'd never in a million years answer the phone that way. And he sounds glad it's me again, and I start to relax, the guys just kind of fading away, and I start breathing normally again.

"Ringo?" he says again, and I realize I didn't answer him.

I take another breath and let it out, and say, "Hey, Alex. You busy tonight?"

And he doesn't say anything for a couple seconds, and I get nervous again. He's busy, he's changed his mind, he doesn't want to see me, he's mad I called... And then he says, "Nothing I can't put off. What's up?" And I almost smile.

"Wanna have dinner? I know a great little place."

And he laughs, kinda, and now I do smile. "Sure."

"Great, that's great," I say, and I realize how dumb I sound, like a chick who finally got a date the day before prom. Lame.

He doesn't seem to care. "So what's up?" he says again.

And I shrug again. I don't wanna talk about it. "Just gotta get out of the place a while."

He lets it go. "Sure," he says again. "Where do you want to meet?"

So I mention a Chinese place I like, a place Byers and Frohike never go because they don't like the MSG, but who cares. Who wants to live forever, right? I've got ink and dust and crap all over my shirt, so when we hang up, I change. And I find myself doin' something weird: I'm combing my hair, I shave, I pick out my best jeans. Like it's a date, for Chrissakes. I almost put on some of Frohike's cologne, but change my mind once I get the bottle open. The stuff is makin' my eyes water.

The guys are talking as I go downstairs, and when they hear me, they shut up and just watch me. But they don't say anything, so I ignore 'em. So, okay, I'm ten minutes late to the place, and believe me, that's good for me. That's practically early for me. But he's not there. I look around, and don't see him, and I wonder if he decided not to come after all, and I'm disappointed again, and I think about going back home, but if I do the guys will see me coming back so soon after I left, and they'll know... Well, I don't know what they'll know, exactly. What a loser I am, I guess. So I get a table, and I wait, and the whole time I'm tellin' myself I'm better off if he's decided to leave me alone. But I know I don't believe that, and I don't know if I want to believe that. I'm on my second beer when he shows up.

He's got that leather jacket on, and that black shirt under it, and those tight jeans again, and his bangs are in his face and his hands are in his pockets as he talks real quiet to the woman at the counter, and she smiles and gestures, and he looks up and sees me. The hand comes out of the pocket, and brushes his bangs back, and the green eyes--and the smile--and I forget everything I was just thinking. God, he's hot. That smile goes straight to my dick and I have to kind of shift a little 'cause it's getting uncomfortable.

He comes over and sits across from me, peeling his jacket off. He's got great shoulders. Fuck, he's got great everything. Everything I can see anyway, which is a lot more than it should be with him dressed. His bangs are back in his eyes, and he pushes them back again, kind of absent-minded. "Something came up," he explains. "I was afraid you wouldn't wait."

Holy shit. He was afraid I wouldn't wait. "You're nuts," I say without thinking. And then I wince.

And there's a look kind of goes over his face, but it's gone so soon I don't really know what it is. But maybe it's not the best idea to call him nuts, you know? And I kind of laugh a little, it's weak, but I'm nervous. "I mean," I'm trying to explain, "I mean, I can't believe you'd think I'd skip out on you like that." And he's just looking at me, so I start babbling. "I mean, I've been looking for you for days, and I thought maybe you didn't want to see me anymore, so when you said sure, why would I skip out?"

He half-smiles. "I got busy," he says, and maybe I don't want to think about that. "I was waiting for you to call."

The waitress comes over, and he asks me what's good, what do I want, and he orders for us, which is good, 'cause I'm still pretty tongue-tied. He seems to do that to me, I guess. When she goes away, I kind of shrug and say, "I thought you might get mad if I called."

He frowns a little. "I gave you the number, Ringo. I said you could call anytime."

I laugh a little, relieved. "I know, but I just thought..."

And then he smiles again, God, that smile, and he says, "If you don't call, I can't see you. I can't exactly call you, and I can't just drop by."

I laugh at that, and he laughs with me. Totally true, and it should've occurred to me sooner. He's really messing with my head, I guess. If I keep hanging out with him, I think my brain is going to melt down. But if he keeps smiling at me, it's an okay trade off.

The girl brings over a beer for him, and he takes a sip and sets it down. I don't think he really noticed her, he's just watching me. "So what's up?" he says finally.

"What do you mean." I know what he means, but I don't really want to get into it with him.

He shrugs and says, "You sounded unhappy. Bad day?"

"Kinda. I don't want to talk about it, though, okay?"

He nods like that's cool with him, and starts talking about a movie he saw. Which is a little weird. But, I mean, it's not like he's out whacking people all the time, probably not at all. I mean, I don't believe everything I hear. So maybe it's just, you know, Mulder-talk. Mulder can get pretty fucked up when he's drunk.

It turns out we like some of the same kind of movies, the science fiction ones. But I like action movies, and he likes, you know, those artsy ones. So we're having a pretty good time arguing about what movies are best when the food comes. And I haven't really eaten much in a few days, so I dig in. And he digs in like he hasn't eaten in days either, and for all I know he hasn't, but probably not for the same reason.

I reach for more sweet and sour, and he's reached for something else at the same time, and his hand kinda brushes against mine, and I freeze, that shock again. He doesn't move his hand away, and I realize I'm holding my breath. I look up, and he's got those eyes on me again, and that look's in them, I don't know if he's laughing at me or not, and I don't care. I can't believe how fast I got in over my head with him.

He pulls his hand away, finally, and I start breathing again. "Sorry," I say. He smiles, still looking into my eyes, and says something. I'm watching his face, and I don't really hear it. "Huh?"

He laughs. "I said, do you want another beer?"

I nod, and I realize I'm blushing. "Be right back," I say, standing up. "I gotta just..." and he nods, so I head for the can, where I splash water on my face. Cold water. Very cold. I'm looking at myself in the mirror, and I have kind of a glazed look. What is this guy doing to me? I shake it off. He's not doing anything, for God's sake. It's not like he has some magic power over me. He's just... and I kind of smile at myself in the mirror. He's just got Charisma eighteen. And he's totally hot.

When I go back, he's already halfway through his new beer, and he smiles. "I thought you'd climbed out the bathroom window."

I laugh, that's pretty funny. "Nah. Just feeling a little warm." I didn't mean to say that, but I don't think he notices.

He puts his head on one side a little, brushes his bangs out of his eyes again, and looks at me. "You want to talk about it?"

I shake my head and pick up my glass.

"You don't have to," he says casually, just like that. "I'm not going to make you." I like that he's understanding, that he's not gonna pry. Not like Byers. I swallow half the beer in a couple gulps and try not to get mad again.

Two or three glasses later, I'm not really keeping track, and we're talking about really old science fiction movies. The stupid ones with the giant animals going around eating people, the ones that are so bad they're funny. The ones we both like.

Finally, he says, "I guess we should get out of here before they throw us out." And he stands up and drops some money on the table.

"My treat," I say.

He frowns. Even his frown is hot, but it's nothing to that smile.

"Hey, come on, I invited you. My treat."

He shakes his head. "You can get it next time." And that's that, I guess.

I stand up while he's putting on his jacket, and realize I'm a little tight. I haven't done a lot of drinking in a while, and I guess I'm not used to it anymore. He puts something back in his pocket, a cell phone, I guess, and turns around. Then he grabs me by the arm.

"Are you okay, Ringo?"

I nod. "Yeah, I'm okay."

He looks at me pretty close and says, "God, you're drunk. I shouldn't have let you drink so much."

I shake my head and try to say I'm fine, but he ignores it. "Shit, what do I do with you?" he says, but he sounds more amused than mad. He drags me outside into the cold and the dark, and leans me against a wall. "I can't take you home," he says, kind of thinking it over. "And I'm not going to just leave you here like this."

I try to say I'm fine again, and he just shakes his head. He puts his hand on my shoulder, flat against it, and kind of pins me against the wall like that, and I notice how good he smells. I guess it's the leather.

"Come on," he jerks his head to one side. "It's too cold to stand out here." I kind of like the cold, it's sort of clearing my head some, but before I know it, I'm sitting in his car. He starts it up and turns on the heater.

"Where're we goin'?" I ask, sort of confused. It's a nice car. It's clean, and comfortable, and it purrs like a kitten. I sink into the seat and just kind of relax.

He shrugs. "For a drive, I guess. You're pretty screwed up, and I'm not just dropping you off somewhere till I know you'll be okay."

"I'm not screwed up," I say, but I can hear myself slurring it a little, so maybe he's right.

He puts his hand on my knee, and my whole skin tingles. "Yeah," he says, smiling, "you are. Not much, but enough."

I kind of slump a little, and he doesn't move his hand. "You want to talk about it?" He's looking at me out of the corner of his eye, and I can see the streetlights blurring as they go by.

"'m not fucked up, Alex."

He shrugs. "It's no big deal," he says. "I'm not going to take advantage of you or anything."

I start laughing, that's pretty damned funny. I don't think I say anything, I hope not, anyway. I'm screwed up, and I'd probably say something like "go ahead", and God, that'd be embarrassing.

He keeps driving, but he's moved his hand off my knee. This is a really nice car. It's a quiet ride, and it's smooth. It's like being a bubble in the stream, you know? Closed in, quiet. Moving along and not breaking. But I wish he hadn't moved his hand.

After a while, I don't know how long, I'm feeling kind of drowsy. He's turned the radio on at some point, quiet jazz, which normally I don't like, but it kind of suits the mood. He hasn't said anything in a long time, and suddenly I sigh. "Just the guys, on my case, you know?" That sounded almost coherent, and I'm pretty proud of myself.

He nods a little, but doesn't say anything. He probably doesn't like the guys any more than they like him, I realize. But he doesn't say anything.

I try to explain. "They think I'm gettin' fucked up, y'know?"

He makes a little noise, and I can see him kind of smiling. "You are, right now."

"Nonono," I say. "I mean, they think I'm usin' again." I can't even tell you how much I didn't mean to say that. But he doesn't say anything for a while.

Then he says, "That's stupid." And I'm blinking at him. He glances at me, and shakes his head. "You're obviously not. They really don't know you any better than that?" He sounds kind of surprised.

I shake my head. "Guess not." After a while, I say, "Been actin' pretty weird, I guess."

I can see him frown a little. "Because of me?" He sounds really surprised now.

"Yeah. I guess."

"You didn't tell them?"

I shake my head again. "Nope." Then I shrug. "They'd get pissed."

"They don't trust you?" Kind of annoyed. "You're an adult, making your own decisions. Why should it be any of their concern?"

I don't know what to say to that. So I don't say anything. Then he puts his hand back on my knee. "I shouldn't have said that," he says quietly. "They're your friends. I'm sure they're just trying to do what they think is best for you."

I knew that, but hearing somebody say it, it sounds kind of... creepy. I mean, they're not my parents. I am an adult. So I kind of sit and think about it, and his hand on my knee is warm. Feels good. Finally I shrug again. "I guess." I'm just staring out at the lights going by, and the yellow line going under us. Listening to the music. Feeling his hand. I guess I am pretty fucked up, because my head is starting to feel huge and hollow, like when you have a bad head cold.

After a long, long time, I realize he's talking to me. He's using that quiet voice I associate with Byers, but I think I like it better comin' from Alex. A lot better. And I'm listening to his voice, and I don't even hear the words, really, but it doesn't seem to bother him.

Then he's quiet again, and his hand is gone, and I look around and I realize I must have fallen asleep. I've gotta be really fucked up to fall asleep in Alex Krycek's car. I mean, Jesus. Even if Mulder's not right about him.

I take a deep breath, and he glances across at me again. "Feeling better?" His voice is still low and calm.

I nod. I am, really. I haven't been sleeping much, and it did help. My head's a lot clearer, too. "Yeah, sorry. Didn't mean to go to sleep on you."

"It's okay. You look like you're not getting much sleep." Sometimes I think he can read my mind.

"I'm okay."

He nods, accepting it. "Ready to go home?"

I'm not, really. I'm... I'm enjoying the company. It's a good mood, a good moment. But it must be pretty late, and he's probably got things to do tomorrow. I shake that off. "Yeah. I think I can handle it," I smile a little, kind of embarrassed. "I didn't mean to get drunk on you, either. Sorry about that."

He shrugs. "If that's the worst you do when you've had a bad week, you're okay. Do you know where we are?"

I look around. "Yeah. About eight blocks from HQ."

"Yeah." Okay, he knows where I live. I knew that. "Can you get home okay from here? I don't think you want the guys to see me with you." He doesn't sound like it's bothering him.

"Yeah. I'm okay. Thanks, Alex." I dig around in my pocket for a piece of paper and a pen. He gives me a quick look, but pulls the car over. I write down the number to the cell I bought. I haven't given the number to anybody else, and it feels a little weird giving it to him. "Here," I say, feeling kind of cold suddenly. "You can call me at this number."

He takes it, smiling, and the cold feeling starts to go away. "Thanks, Ringo."

"Prepaid cellular," I say. I think I'm going to start babbling again, so I open the door and get out. I'm standing pretty steady, which is good. "I'll tell you when I change it. Call me anytime, Alex."

He grins, that smile, Jesus, that smile. "I will. Be careful getting home, okay?"

I nod, and close the door, and he waits till I start walking before he leaves. I guess he was making sure I'd go in the right direction, and that makes me laugh. I shove my hands in my pockets, feeling pretty damned good, and I go home. I may be in over my head, but I think I'm starting to learn to swim.

end part two

Harpy Handmaiden of the Goddess of Irony

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