Paid In Full
Author: KinkyGrrl Diane (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Keywords: Krycek POV, slash, h/c
Spoilers: As if anybody cares about spoilers by now...
Archive: Ask, please.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Chris Carter and Them, yadda yadda. No copyright infringement intended, I write for love and feedback, not money.
Summary: Skinner has been tortured into revealing a vital piece of information by the Smoking Man, who orders Krycek to kill him, and Mulder as well. Krycek faces something of a dilemma.
Dedication: To Ursula, in hopes that it will cheer her up.
Notes: This fic was a response to Peja's Challenge to write a story that starts with the first line "There was something in his eyes that said he was broken". It loosely follows the events in Broken Promises
There was something in his eyes that said he was broken.
I knew it for a lie when I saw it, though. Skinner is indomitable. A force of nature. How many times have I watched him, over the neatly arranged clutter of his desk, being forced to agree to deceptions that must have eaten at the roots of his honest, straightforward soul? How many times have I faced him down, giving him the orders of a man he hated, holding his life in the palm of my black gloved hand?
Nothing can break this man. Nothing. We have managed to bend him, to divert him, to destroy his faith in his superiors, his government and, eventually, in his own strength and integrity.
He isn't broken. He can’t be.
"Messler. We have the address." The smoker hands my Hispanic counterpart a piece of paper and an envelope, and Skinner watches it as if the last piece of his soul has just been sold. "Make certain that his fingerprints are on the letter and envelope, and then seal it. If the wife is in the house, kill her as well, with the same gun. If not, no matter."
Rikki Messler smiles, takes his assignment and leaves. He likes his job. Killing rich white men. Must be a wet dream for a sullen faced boy not long out of the ghettos.
"Krycek. Dispose of him." He inclines his head toward Skinner. "He won't be of any more use to us."
By 'us' he means the Consortium. Not he and I. I'm not a part of anything any more. I'm not a player, I'm a resource. He made that perfectly clear when he tried to have me killed and then locked me in a silo to die.
I grin at Spender. "Consider him gone."
Skinner gives a choked gasp as they rip off the duct tape that binds him to the water pipes in the basement that Spender has been using as his prison. His left hand is burned from the heat of the pipe. Purple and yellow bruises cover his body, some long and slender, as if he had been beaten with a pipe or stick, some shaped like handprints. Some are mine.
Skinner doesn't even struggle as they pull his arms behind his back and tie them with rough hemp ropes. Has to hurt like hell. Most of his fingers are broken and he's lost some of the nails. Livid red cigarette burns freckle his skin, even a few on his naked buttocks. I don't stoop to check his genitals, but I don't doubt he's got them there, too. I wasn't involved in that part.
As I push Skinner forward, Spender's hand closes on my arm. "Alex…I also have another assignment for you. Perhaps you would like to combine the two. I'm sure you'll find them both equally pleasurable. Mulder is to be terminated as well."
Skinner's head comes up. "No!" he chokes. "We had a deal."
"I promised not to involve Scully, but I said nothing about Mulder. I would have been more willing to be merciful if you had given me that address before I was forced to put so much effort into obtaining it. Besides…Mulder has served his purpose and is of no more use to the organization which spawned him. Or to me. He might have been a valued member of this august body, as might you, but you have both chosen the path that leads only to death. I am merely hastening you on your way."
Skinner's face twists with rage and despair, but Spender reaches over and grips the man's crushed, bound hands in his own, and squeezes. Skinner's eyes roll into the back of his head and he drops to the dusty, blood encrusted floor.
"I'm going to need someone to carry him now," I grumble to Spender. No way in hell a one-armed assassin is going to be able to carry someone as big as Skinner.
Spender shrugs and summons two nearby lackeys, and they carry the unconscious man up to my car. I secure his ankles, then take a blanket out of my trunk and toss it over Skinner. Don't want anyone calling the cops on me as I drive down D.C.'s busy streets during rush hour.
"I may be a while," I tell Spender. "I'm not going to dump him in the city, and I've got to track Mulder down. I may take my time with him. He owes me a good time after beating the shit out of me and getting my arm cut off."
Spender smiles. He appreciates the darker passions in his employees. Makes them easier to manipulate. Stupid old bastard. He isn't nearly as subtle or perceptive as he thinks he is. "Enjoy yourself, Alex. Call me at least once a day with a status report."
"Yes, sir." I get in the car and start up the engine. I turn the mirror sideways and tilt it down, so I can keep an eye on Skinner as I drive.
Spender watches me as I pull out of the parking garage and into the D.C. rain.
Skinner doesn't even stir until I've put on several dozen highway miles. I watch him closely. His hands and feet are tied, but that isn't going to help much if he comes at me with his teeth.
I take the next exit, and find a quiet, muddy little road to pull into. The rain has stopped, but the sky is still a sullen grey. I see the tree-tops swaying gently in the wind, leaves rustling as if in anticipation.
He struggles to rise as he feels the car roll to a stop, but he's in too much pain and his balance is off. I yank open his door and grab his head, pressing it down into the seat, careful not to cut off his breathing. Without his hands he's no match for me, and his own efforts soon exhaust him. He lies, shuddering, on the faded cotton seat cover.
"Don't do this, Krycek," he whispers hoarsely. "Not Mulder. Please. Whatever that smoking bastard has offered you…I'll double it. I'll give you every fucking thing I own. Give me your word that you won't let them kill Mulder and I'll give you anything you want."
Some demon spawned in the pit of my sick little soul makes me ask. "Anything? You'll lay down on a mattress and let me fuck you through it, then just lie there and let me kill you?"
He looks sick. Broken. "Yeah," he whispers. "If that's what it takes, Krycek."
"How do you know I'll keep my word after you're dead?"
He doesn't answer.
I hate myself for even considering it. The temptation to take what he's offering is so great I can taste it, a bitter sweetness that aches all the way down. I've wanted him for so long. Silently. Secretly.
I want, oh, god, I want, but I know that ultimately the price I would pay would be far too high.
I take out my cell phone, activate my speed dialer. Skinner watches me with the eyes of a man who is already in hell.
"Hey, Mulder. Get your ass in gear. Someone's coming to snuff out your pet rat…"
"I thought that was you…"
"Shut up, Mulder," I say fondly. "The guy's wife is handing him the horns with some guy who's probably already dead by now. Don't know his name, sorry. They're planning a jealousy shooting scenario."
"How'd they find out about my witness? You dealing on the side, you little bastard?"
"I didn't tell them, you asshole. Jesus, Mulder, these guys have ways of finding out anything. Almost anything. Just get him the hell out of there and don't let on that you knew the hit was coming."
"As if I would. Dumb-shit."
"You should know." I can hear the smile in his voice. "Oh, shit, I almost forgot…Skinner didn't show up to work this morning and it's not like him. I went by his place and it looks like he packed up and went somewhere, took his toothbrush and traveling bag. Maybe it's nothing, but do you…"
"Way ahead of you, Mulder. Skinner's with me." Out of the corner of my eye, I see Skinner start.
"Really?" He sounds skeptical, and who could blame him? He's well aware that Skinner would as soon put a bullet through my brain as look at me.
"Yeah. Spender had him. He's…um…he's not in any position to give me trouble right now, and I intend to keep it that way."
"How is he?"
"Gonna need to call your partner in on this one, Mulder. Real soon."
"Shit. Alex…don't hurt him. Okay?"
Too late, Mulder. "Don't be a dumbshit, Mulder. If I was going to do him, would I have told you about it?"
"I know you won't kill him, asshole, but don't fuck with him. If Spender's been at him all weekend, he's…shit!" Mulder hisses. "He's the one who gave out the address. Isn't he?"
There's a moment of silence. "How bad is he?"
I think of Skinner's eyes, broken. "What do you expect, Mulder?" I say quietly. "He's going to need some watching."
"Let me talk to him."
I hesitate. "Mulder, you're running out of time."
"I'll be quick."
"Dammit…Skinner…here…" I hold the phone against Skinner's ear, see his eyes widen as he hears Mulder's voice. I suddenly realize that he hadn't really believed what he was hearing until now. Hadn't allowed himself to believe.
"Mulder? Yeah. M'okay."
No you're not, you macho asshole. You're two steps shy of the walking dead.
"No. Yes. The man is hispanic, about six feet tall, early twenties, name of Messler. Hurry. Take the phone back, Krycek."
I yank the phone back to my ear. "Are you gone yet?"
"I'll send Scully. Where are you?"
"Out in the middle of fucking nowhere. I'll take care of him, Mulder. Just go."
The phone disconnects.
Mulder trusts me. It's a heady feeling.
I turn my attention to my prisoner. His eyes are desolate as they met mine. "I told you, Krycek. Anything."
He thinks I called Mulder because of our deal. The big man's brain isn't working right now, hardly surprising, the shape he's in. Again, I fight the temptation to take what I know he'd give me. If I want it. Fuck.
"Skinner. Think about it. If you turn up dead now, Mulder will know to blame me."
He blinks, his dazed eyes barely focusing on me. I climb up into the back of the car and pull a knife out of my boot. He doesn't even flinch as he sees it, only closes his eyes and turns his face down into the car seat.
I cut away the ropes that bind him, and the agony from his hands and arms stops his breathing for a minute. Finally, he takes a gasping breath, and opens his eyes again. "What do you want, Krycek?" His eyes are red rimmed, brimming over with pain-tears. "Just…tell me. Give me time to…" His voice trails off listlessly.
"Hey, relax, Skinner. Take it easy." I lay my hand gently on the back of his neck. "Sorry. I thought you'd figure it out from the phone call. Mulder and I have been working together for a couple of months, now. Little bastard subverted my ass to the Cause of Truth and Righteousness. Besides…" I hesitate for a moment, then decide that Skinner's so out of it that he won't remember much of what I do to him in the back seat of my car. I lean over and brush my lips lightly over the skin between his shoulder blades, then pull the blanket up to cover him. "We have a lot more in common than you'd think. I'd like to put a bullet through that cancerous bastard's black heart, too."
"He's not the only one I'd like to see dead." Skinner's glaring at me now. He looks a little perkier. "Why did you let me think you were going to..?" His lips clamp together.
"Because I'm an asshole, Skinner. You and Mulder should get together and share notes some day. Form the Krycek Vilification Society. Oooh, and invite Scully to join, too. Speaking of…" I climb out of the car and pull out my cell phone, activating another speed dial.
No, I don't have much of a social life. Just because my speed dial numbers all belong to business associates and enemies…
"Krycek." She learns quickly. The one time she mistook my voice for Mulder's is something she'll be regretting for a long time. Hey, a single guy's got to get his kicks somehow…
"You at home?"
"Why? And if you ask me what I’m wearing I swear I will use your balls for target practice the next time I see you."
If they did actually have a KVS, Scully'd be the spokesperson. Chilly, chilly, chilly… "Cause I'm supposed to deliver a package to you."
"What kind of a package? From who?"
Fun as it would be, I don't have time for twenty questions, or playing 'let's fuck with Scully's mind'.
"I've got Skinner. He's gonna need stitches and tape and finger splints and a hell of a lot of bed rest."
"Bring him over. I'm here."
"No can do, Red." I love calling her that. I can almost hear the sound of her gritting teeth over the phone. "He's supposed to be dead. We'll meet you at the Embassy Suites in Old Town."
"Oh, spendy. Are you paying, rat-boy?" That's Scully's best effort at verbal retaliation. She's much better with a gun.
"Nope. Mulder is. I swiped his Master Card," I snicker. "See ya there, Red."
I hang up the phone. Skinner's eyes are closed again. He's so pale his skin is almost gray. I get a couple more blankets out of the trunk, cover him, and tuck my jacket under his head. "You hanging in there, Skinner?" I ask quietly.
"Just do what you're going to do, Krycek."
I wonder what's going on in his head. Maybe he's expecting me to make him suck me off before Scully gets there. Maybe he's expecting me to double cross them all. I close his door, get in the car and drive.
I book us under the name George Hamilton. I get a wheelchair and cover Skinner completely before bringing him inside. He insists on taking a quick shower, alone, as we wait for Scully's call, and I wait anxiously outside the bathroom door. I don't think he's suicidal, but my life won't be worth shit if Scully gets here only to find Skinner face down in a toilet bowl.
He comes out in a towel.
"Fucking impressive set of bruises, Skinner. And everything else." I'm being a flippant asshole again, but that's the only way I can deal with what I see. He's going to be scarred for the rest of his life, and it will be a long time before his fingers manage any fine work. I hope Scully brought enough finger splints. I yank back the bedcovers and take his towel away.
Jesus. No man should ever be capable of doing that to another man.
"Still want that fuck, Krycek?" he asks bitterly. He settles painfully on the bed.
I cover him up, and go sit in the bathroom for a while.
After a while Scully arrives. I let her in, then retreat to a chair by the window. We're on the fifth floor, so I'm not worried about anybody looking in, but good habits are worth keeping, my father always used to say, so I draw the curtains shut.
There's a rustle as Scully pulls the sheet down. "Oh my god," she says softly. "Sir? I'm going to give you an injection for the pain."
After a while, the hoarse rasp of Skinner's breath eases into the deeper regularity of sleep.
"Krycek. You didn't have anything to do with this, did you?" she asks, too casually.
Not by choice. It would have looked pretty damned suspicious if I hadn't been willing to do a little damage to a guy who Spender knows I hate. Sorry, Skinner. Just one more reason to hate me. As if you needed one. "Oh, sure, Red. You think I'd still be anywhere nearby if I did?"
"Off performing miracles and circus tricks. Saving the day. You know Mulder." There's a discoloration on the gauzy white curtains. You'd think that for two hundred dollars a night they'd be able to keep their curtains clean.
"His cell phone is turned off."
"I'm not surprised. I doubt he needs the distraction right now."
"Then I guess you're elected to tell me what's going on here. Spill, rat-boy."
I wouldn't take that from anyone but Scully, but it's so amusing to hear her descend to petty name-calling I almost enjoy it.
So I tell her. She already knew about Thomas Symonds, the former Consortium pencil-neck who agreed to turn state's evidence and expose all the sordid details about the alien-hybrid experimentation that's going on. He has extensive knowledge of most of their top facilities on the east coast, and if the smoker can't silence this guy like he promised, they are going to have to shut down most of their operations and scramble like hell just to keep the Project from splintering.
Small wonder Spender was willing to throw Skinner away like this.
It was stupid of Mulder to keep Skinner in the dark as to how important this guy is, but Mulder's still not willing to trust anyone but Scully. And sometimes me. Go figure.
Still, Skinner managed to hold out until the smoker threatened to have Scully brought in and questioned in Skinner's place.
It's a shitty thing to do, telling her that, but Skinner deserves to wear those scars proudly. They need to know that he didn't go down easy.
We don't speak again until several hours later when Mulder calls to tell us that Rikki Messler has been taken into custody.
Two days later they haven't let me leave the hotel room and I'm going stir crazy. Between the three of them; caustic and sullen and manic by turns, they manage to have me just hours away from putting my own head down into the bowl and leaving it there until I'm out of my misery.
Finally, Mulder comes to me as I crouch in the corner of the bathroom carving little divots out of the pristine tiles. "Hey. Don't do that. This is all on my credit card."
"Of course it is, Mulder," I tell him through gritted teeth. "That's why I'm doing it."
It's pretty obvious that my career with the Consortium is over. When Skinner turns up alive the smoker will suspect that it didn't happen by accident. Even now he's probably hunting me down. I should be gone by now and the fact that Mulder won't let me leave is really pissing me off.
"We've got a solution."
I give him the Look. Mulder's ideas are not something any sane person would want to be involved with.
"It's better if you don't know the details."
"Better for who?" I've learned to ask these questions.
"Better for…better for the plan."
That's Mulder-speak for "if you knew what we were going to do to you you'd run like hell".
"Uh-uh, Mulder. No way. That's it. I'm out of here." I leap to my feet and stride out of the bathroom. Enough is enough.
Scully catches me as I'm opening the hotel room door. There's a sting and a loud hiss, and my limbs turn to water and I fall into darkness.
Their plan worked. I'm back running errands for Spender. He wasn't pleased that I'd screwed up and let Mulder get the jump on me, but it did amuse him that I'd been dumped on his doorstep by Skinner and Mulder, naked and beaten up, after being thoroughly worked over and having the work "prime" clumsily excised out of my ass.
I'm glad I wasn't conscious for that.
Skinner slipped a note under my door a couple of weeks later. I don't know where he got the address. I've moved recently, and I'm still not speaking to Mulder. The note said "Paid in Full."
That's what he thinks.
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