It's Pic's birthday today, and this is her story.
Disclaimer: Any resemblance between these lovely boys and those of 1013 should be taken as a token of respect. We mean only to honour them and not to profit by them.
Notes: This comes from a conversation with Niff, from long ago, where we sketched out the idea. She is to be credited for her contribution to the way that it went. We hypothesized that there must have been something between Krycek and Mulder that we didn't see on Requiem, so this was Requiem's missing scene.
Beta by Jennie, and much thanks. It needed a lot.
Rated: possibly PG-13. A little slashy.

Conversation in a Basement, by Dr. Ruthless (and Niffusa)


Fox Mulder sat in the basement of the FBI building, apparently lost in thought, face hidden by the shadows that clustered around. Other than that which shone from the open doorway, the only light in the room fell from the desk lamp, and the edge of the light fell on the long, strong fingers that were the only part of Mulder that moved, fiddling absently with a pencil. He seemed asleep, his spectacles reflecting only lamplight as he sat. When the dark figure filled the doorway, casting a shadow that loomed in the bright patch on the floor, Mulder finally looked up, startled at last.

"I'm glad to see some things don't change." The husky voice was well remembered. Mulder sighed and leaned forward, removing his glasses as he stared up at the dark presence before him.

"What are you doing here, Krycek?," he said, his voice harsh in the quiet of the small and cluttered room. "I thought you left to go chasing aliens."

Krycek didn't respond straight away. He stood, looking down on Mulder, a dark figure obscuring the light from the doorway, his face full of shadowy planes. "There are some things I think we need to get straight; it's time to clear up a few misconceptions," he said, finally.

"I'm not following you, Krycek. What don't you think I understand?" Mulder's voice, for once, held puzzlement rather than anger, and his expression was one of confusion, changing swiftly to annoyance as Krycek gave a sarcastic laugh.

"Mulder, I'm not sure you've understood anything from the start." Krycek sauntered into the room and hooked a chair with one foot, pulling it towards him and seating himself with a flourish that was as insolent as the rest of his bearing.

"Go on. I'm all ears," jeered Mulder, ostentatiously replacing the pencil with which he'd been fiddling precisely in the center of his desk blotter and leaning forward to prop his elbows on the desk in an attitude of spurious interest. Krycek watched, a flash of teeth in the gloom betraying his amusement as he began to speak.

"The work I do is dirty, but someone has to take out the trash before the rest of the world starts to get sick from the stench." Krycek seemed to study Mulder's face, and then leaned forward himself, speaking intently, his silky voice low and urgent. "Who else is going to do it? You, Mulder? You and your sanctimonious bullshit? You really want to save the world? Only a killer can fight a killer; how else do you stop someone with nothing to lose?" As Mulder's face changed, Krycek stabbed a finger in his direction. "Cling to your precious principles and ethics; that's a weapon they can and will use against you. You'll never win. Add fire to fire and the end result is the destruction of the battlefield. I fight on their battlefield so no one else has to -- or would you rather the entire population become tainted with their disease of self-preservation? If you know about the battle going on, then you are not an innocent caught in the middle of a're a player. Players know the risks."

Mulder scoffed, an expression that was almost a smile on his face as he listened to Alex's impassioned diatribe. "Krycek, you've had your head up your ass so long you truly believe that it's always nighttime." Shaking his head scornfully, Mulder continued, "You can't save the world on your own. They're everywhere, and you're not God."

"Not God - more his angel of justice, if you will." The response was quiet, but serious. There was not even the vestige of a smile on his shadowed features.

"All you want is to be in charge." Mulder's voice was still scornful. "Go on, admit it. Angel?" He made a small sound of disgust. "Some angel!"

"I won't let them get away with paying the price for their own asses at the cost of the rest of us." It was obvious that Mulder's derision had flicked Krycek on the raw. "Just because it's safer, cleaner and easier to claim righteous indignation doesn't mean you'll get the job done."

Mulder laughed mockingly. "How can you even begin to measure the cost when you love no-one, care about nothing, value only yourself? You're skewed, Krycek. You've lost sight of the world you say you're trying to protect."

"Keep clinging to your illusions of self-sacrifice, Mulder. The fact is you're a coward - hiding behind illusory values of right and wrong that don't apply."

"*My* illusions of self-sacrifice?" Mulder was indignant now, prodded out of his complacency by the stinging words. "Will you listen to yourself? You have a direct line to God? Don't tell me; he told you to betray everyone to further your own ends."

"Oh, for God's sake, who do you think you're kidding?" Krycek's own snort of disgust fell loud in the still air of the basement office. "You sit there in a grave of self-pity over what you perceive as a conspiracy designed to persecute you personally." He stood, as though so driven by his thoughts that stillness was no longer an option. "And as far as 'my' ends go...what the hell do I gain by the life that I lead?"

"If you'd lost the things that I have..." murmured Mulder, and then looked up at the black clad figure that was stalking about his office. "So, what do you gain? Go on. I'm sure you're going to tell me."

"Don't you think I would rather be ignorant of what's happening?" Krycek sounded hurt. "Living in blissful blindness to the selling of my planet for the personal gain of a handful of others?"

The derisive laughter was harsh in the empty basement. "You stay alive... if you can call that living. Why do you do it, Krycek? Why not call it quits? You've done enough harm."

"Harm? You ungrateful bastard!" Krycek was looming over him now, his words hissed out as they tumbled from his lips. "I only stay alive because I'm good at it...and because I'm good at it, I'm the one who has to keep fighting."

"Why not retire on your 30 pieces of silver?" The taunt was calculated. "I'm sure that Melissa Scully's ghost won't bother you. My father will stay in his grave."

The familiar litany didn't have the effect that Mulder seemed to be seeking. Krycek snorted again. "Don't start that crap with me. You know I didn't kill Melissa; I've got the forensics to prove it."

"Crap? They *are* dead, Krycek. Dead, on your whim. What about Barry? He's dead too. All the others... dead, dead, dead. Don't you ever count the cost?" Mulder's voice broke and he put his hands over his face for a moment or two, his words subsiding into choking silence.

"Cardinale is dead too. Who do you think arranged that one? And not even a thank you for the gift of justice given." Krycek paused in his pacing as he spoke, and Mulder stood up, striding round the desk to face him.

"You know, execution is fine except for one thing. You can't give them back their life if you fuck up. Who made you the divine arbitrator, Krycek?"

"You did, you patronizing egomaniac."

Mulder cast his eyes up to the heavens. "Don't you miss your humanity? Whatever happened to love? Whatever happened to the need to trust? I never 'made' you anything. I trusted you and you let me down. You betrayed me, and I loved you." The last was spoken softly, meant more for himself than for Krycek, but it was heard anyway, and Krycek raised a hand as though to ward the harsh truth away.

He raised pain filled eyes to Mulder, shining too brightly in the lamplight. "You were supposed to be the savior of the planet, but your cowardice kept getting in the way. Someone had to do what you couldn't find the balls to do."

"That's bullshit, and you know it," retorted Mulder. "You're just trying to change the subject, because you don't have an answer for me."

"You glory in your guilt; you've made a fucking career out of it." Krycek was shouting now, his body stiff with a rage that made his normally fluid movements jerky and graceless. "You want something to feel guilty about? Try the fact that you stood in the eye of a storm that threatened everyone and everything on this planet, and you valued your own life above it all. Once again...what you've lost is all you can think about."

"When did I do that?" Mulder sounded genuinely taken aback. "You have me confused with yourself perhaps?"

Krycek's words were relentless. "You're pissed because you loved me and you think I betrayed you. What a crock!"

"You're wrong, Krycek." Mulder was quiet once more, considering. When he finally spoke, there was desolation in his voice. "I'm outraged because you think you're the only one who ever made a sacrifice."

"What sacrifice have you ever made that it wasn't imposed on you from the powers that be?" Alex, too, was calm, but his words were harsh, each of them hitting home like body blows. "Scully was TAKEN from you; you didn't choose it. Samantha was TAKEN. Are you seeing a trend?"

"You... You left me." It was the cry of a small child finding himself alone in the dark.

"I had other things to deal with besides you wanting to play footsie! You're an egomaniac, pure and simple." The words made Mulder flinch.

"I've done what I can. I've never backed away from the battle. How can you say that I'm a coward?"

Krycek hadn't moved. He remained half lit, a green-eyed icon from some Byzantine altar, inlaid with jade and gilded, still dispassionately pronouncing his judgment. "Because you stood and looked into the face of evil and you let it live, and then you condemn me for picking up your slack."

That got Mulder's attention. "You mean Cancerman?" he asked in disbelief. "And you didn't? You looked in his face for years. Kissed his ass, too. I never did that."

"Means to an end, moron!" snapped Krycek, nettled. "I had to deal with your inability to act. "

"If you'd come to me, we could have worked together, but instead you chose to subvert Skinner, and work underground like the sewer rat that you are. We could have done it together, Alex." Again, Mulder's voice held a plea.

Krycek snorted, then turned away. "I cannot deal with you passing judgement on those who are willing do the things that need to be done." He took a step towards the door, but turned back once more as Mulder grabbed his shoulder.

"I do what I can, when it needs to be done. Think how far we could have gone together. We could have had them begging for mercy."

Krycek began to laugh, albeit mirthlessly. "Who do you think you're deluding?"

"Why do you think I'm deluding anyone?" Still, Mulder seemed to be pleading. "Are you so far away from honesty that you can't recognize it any more?"


Sue aka Dr. Ruthless
<> ICQ#14783367 <Alyosha303 on AIM>

My friends would follow me anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity.

Archived: November 13, 2001