Spoilers: "Two Fathers"
Author: Dahlak <kdahlak@usa.net>
Rating: PG-13 (?)
1) What Hal wants, Hal gets.
2) Nothing X Files is mine. I wouldn't want Spender anyway; however, I will admit that after "Two Fathers," I wouldn't mind having Krycek.

"Tactics: Underpromotion"

There is something exhilarating about death.

Supposedly there's an assassin personality profile. I don't fit it and I'd never want to work with anyone who did. Oh, I guess it does describe Peskow. But I had worked for him in the days of my youth, misspent crisscrossing the crumbling Republic. I kept that little notebook for him, detailing the when, the where, and the how of each job. I wonder if he ever realized that each entry had more to do with my imagination than my actions. I never planned how I would kill a man. I just followed my target for a few days and until it _felt_ right. What I lack in foresight, I make up in instinct.

When The Chimney told me to drive his useless progeny to this job, I planned to let the flamer put the wimp out of his misery. I would then go in and talk to him. Find out what they knew, what they wanted--if he was trying to get the Syndicate to form an alliance, something had to have changed... Then, of course, he would have had to die.

While I was standing in the shadows watching Jeffy-boy about to lose his pathetic life, the adrenaline rush convinced me that having my own personal pawn might be better than a few minute chat with a human flambeaux chef.

It was easy to slip the stiletto into the base of his skull. I regretted that, a little. Doing it one-armed should have been more of a challenge. The struggle would have made the triumph sweeter. But even so, it felt good. And Jeffy's face when it was done. The shock, the horror, even that little spark of fear, skirting just under the surface. Beautiful. I almost felt a little regret that he had not been able to do it himself. That, that would have incredible. I would have owned him after that, in a different way. I better one, I think. It could have forged him into something better than a tool. It's a shame he was too weak.

He circled the body, watching it bubble and hiss. So many secrets Daddy had never told him. I never would have thought it would have been so easy. A hand on his shoulder, first in a firm grip then a gentle kneading motion until he acknowledged it with a frown.

"It's okay, Jeffrey. It's over." And his eyes were so full of despair. So easy. He could say nothing. All he needed was a little push. A little hint of the truth to push him over the edge, to turn him against Daddy. I had always wanted a sidekick. "Shhh." So easy to be soothing to someone so gullible.

"You did good. You got him distracted for me. I never could have killed him alone." His eyes widened and I was amazed that he believed that. Too easy. I curled my lips into a soft, understanding smile. "The first time is always the hardest."

Suddenly I realized how much he had aged since he took over Mulder-watching duties. Oh, no, the dear boy was in way over his head. No guile or finesse to him at all. I wonder if all boys who grow up without fathers turn out that weak. But it suited my purposed so I really shouldn't complain.

I pushed him into the chair, "It'll be fine." He offered no resistance, just allowed himself to led. *You want a father figure, little boy? You still haven't learned that lesson?* Too easy. I reached my hand down to stroke his face. A soft caress of his cheek and I leaned down to whisper against his ear: "It will all work out."

A hitch in his breathing let me know I had him. "Shhh, it's okay." It was more than okay. Smokey was going to pay for every failed attempt on my life and I'd be able to maneuver myself into power. Oh, definitely much better than okay. I knelt before him and pulled him against me, stroking his hair. "We do these things, not because we want to, but because we must. Shhh."

Hot tears wet my neck as he wrapped his arms around me. "Shhh. Cry; it's okay." *Fool. Did no one teach you anything about the danger of showing your vulnerabilities to the world? You'll know better when I'm done.* He had no idea what he was, never mind what I wanted from him. "Shhh."

I lowered my hand to his back, rubbing it with the kind of circular motion that's so comforting to babies. "Get it out now; you'll need to be strong when you give your report."

His crying was subsiding, yet he never loosened his hold on me. Too easy. I turned so that I was breathing against his mouth, careful not to touch his lips. "Shhh." His body tensed, then, yet I made no move.

Suddenly, with more force than I would have expected from his wiry body, he pulled me tighter against him. He gave a strangled little cry and began to attack my mouth with a brutal kiss. His hands raked my body and I decided that saving his life had been worthwhile. No spirit, but a little latent ferocity can often compensate for that. His hands found my zipper and I was just getting ready for a good, life-affirming fuck when he pulled back.

"I'm sorry." The first words he had spoken to me since he left the car. "I'm not . . . like that. It's just..."

"Of course not." I stood up and nodded at him, showing the depth of my understanding. "It's a natural reaction to death. The need to show that _you're_ still alive. I knew that's all it was."

He sank back into the chair and whispered "Thank you."

"Of course. I'm going to check the house, see if he left anything behind. Why don't you get yourself together? Then we'll go back--if you're ready."

He gave me another nod as he wrapped himself in silence. Too easy. I wandered the house for a few minutes, finding no telecommunications devices more sophisticated than a cellular phone. I gave Jeffy-boy more time and tried to judge how best to approach him. He knew nothing, that much was obvious. I almost wondered whether Smokey had sent his son off to die; the boy had no idea what he was up against. But I'd heard enough about Smokey's dreams of a legacy to dismiss that guess.

Decided on a course, I returned to the living room. Subtlety just did not belong in the same room as a Spender so I went for the obvious approach and hoped that the kid had never been assigned "Julius Caesar" in an English class or that he would just be too dense to notice.

He didn't disappoint me.