Mulder and Scully walked through the crowded airport to where they'd left Krycek handcuffed to a handrail in the middle of the airport. He'd thrown his sweater over his hands to conceal the cuffs and was trying to nonchalantly stand in the middle of everybody's way.
Mulder was fuming and didn't try to hide it. Scully stared at Krycek with disgust, but there was also something in her eyes that seemed to say this was only what she expected of him.
"Is this some kind of joke?" Scully clipped.
Krycek wore an aloof expression of arrogance. He sneered at her. "What?"
"Show him." Mulder's voice vibrated with tension.
"What is it?" Krycek divided a quick glance between them.
"*Expose* it for him, Scully." Mulder laid heavy disdain on the word that Krycek had been using so freely earlier.
Krycek didn't lose any of his arrogance as he stared at Scully expectantly.
Scully opened the zippered bag wide enough for Krycek to see inside. There was nothing but a large chunk of black rock. A very unremarkable- looking chunk of black rock.
Krycek stared in disbelief at the bag as if he had expected something much more fantastic. Or maybe just something *more*.
"What'd you get for Halloween, Charlie Brown?" Mulder sneered then stalked away.
Krycek stared after him in frustration. This was not going according to plan. First off, Mulder wasn't supposed to be beating him up and pushing him around as much as he was. Second, they were all supposed to be working together. These two weren't supposed to be dragging him around like a chained dog to do their bidding. Thirdly, the bag was supposed to contain something so fantastic that Mulder would instantly be intrigued and be asking him for his help.
And lastly, he wasn't supposed to be constantly affected by Scully's sneering disdain like an itch inside his skin that he couldn't scratch. He had been concentrating intensely on Mulder ever since he'd stepped from that truck. If he concentrated hard enough he could ignore the awareness that licked through him every time he glanced at her. Mulder was the target anyway. He shouldn't even be noticing Scully. But he was. Much more than he was comfortable with. Much more than was smart.
Every time she stared at him with that same sneering disdain, he felt his own hot temper flare and try to burn through his icy control. So he worked hard at ignoring her and concentrated on Mulder.
But Mulder had walked away.
He stared down at her red head as she bent over the cuffs and freed him from the rail then securely fastened the cuff around his other wrist in front of him.
He watched, a little bemused, as she carefully draped the sweater over his wrists, then still without a word, tucked the bag under one arm, took his arm in a firm grip and started off, not even bothering to look at him.
Krycek hadn't really looked at her yet either. He'd been carefully trying not to look at her, but now he couldn't help himself. He looked her up and down and saw she was much thinner than before, much more worn down. There was no trace of the fiery-tempered woman he'd had a run in with before. All he could see was sternly controlled ice. She was much more pale, too. Last time he had seen her the vivid blue of her eyes could do laser surgery on the most vulnerable parts of his body, but now her eyes seemed pale and washed out under the fluorescent lights and her complexion was sickly-looking.
The one time she met his eyes he read only scornful disgust. Underlying the scorn he detected a distant coldness as if nothing that happened really effected her. There was no trace of the woman who had wildly twisted against him and whispered that tormented question he remembered so well. Did he ever get lonely?
He tried to shake that memory off. She'd thought he was Mulder at the time. She never would have let him touch her if she had known. She definitely wouldn't have let him kiss her. Unfortunately, the memory of her abandoned response was singing through his head and heating his blood.
Scully tugged Krycek forward, all business and coldly distant. They started walking, following Mulder who, Scully assumed, had taken off for the car. Mulder had been moving fast and his long legs had already carried him out of sight in the milling throng. Scully craned her neck to search for him, but there was no sign. That was the problem with being short. You could never see anything.
Scully tried to pick up the pace but Krycek was dragging his feet. After throwing him an irritated glance she settled to the same slow pace as he. Short of pulling out her gun and prodding him along there wasn't much she could do. He was a head taller than she was. She couldn't push him around like Mulder did. Another disadvantage of being short. All the men she met towered over her and she hated it.
Trying to ignore the speculation heating his blood, Krycek strolled along beside her, throwing Scully sidelong glances that he hoped she didn't notice. As they passed from the brightly-lit airport lobby and into the darkness outside, Krycek realized her grip on him had loosened. She wasn't paying attention to him. Probably worried about Mulder's state of mind, Krycek thought with a sneer.
They started along the sidewalk in front of the airport, Scully swinging her head back and forth, searching for Mulder, expecting him to be waiting for her. Krycek threw a quick look around but didn't see Mulder. He was probably off somewhere pouting.
They walked along the sidewalk, Scully craning her neck and searching for Mulder, until they came to a low wall and a dead-end. The sidewalk ended and the lights barely reached this far. Scully pulled him to a stop and after another quick look around for Mulder, she prodded him forward across the street.
Krycek was tired of getting pushed around and irritation pricked through him. They crossed the street and headed towards the parking area. He felt a stronger surge of annoyance pulse through him as she pulled on his arm once again, trying to get him to move faster.
It was an oddly-shaped parking lot, crammed between buildings and going down three levels. There was a chain link fence around it but the area they were in, closest to the airport, was partially encircled by a high concrete wall. The wall ran a short distance and had occasional patches of landscaping along it in a token attempt to beautify the stark area.
They were passing through a dark stretch where the wall made a sharp turn in front of them, jutting out in a dead end before it angled back around, when Krycek was struck by a sudden impulse.
Before he thought it through he let the sweater slip through his fingers and trail to the ground. With one more step it was jerked to the ground and he let out a startled sound.
Scully glanced at him impatiently and automatically bent to retrieve it. When she stood, the sweater in one hand and the bag containing the rock in the other, Krycek made his move. His right hand streaked under her coat and snatched her gun. She let the sweater and the bag drop as she scrambled at his hands to stop him, but she was off balance and he didn't let her catch herself. He shoved her back and kept shoving until she was against the wall. One hand bunched up in the clothing just under her breasts while his other hand held the gun aimed at her throat, the handcuff chain taut between them.
Scully stared at him in outrage and made an instinctive move to escape. She quickly froze as Krycek nudged her between the breasts with the barrel of her own gun. His hand tightened on the fistful of clothes and pressed her harder into the wall.
Krycek was breathing heavily and glaring at her from inches away and was pleased to see rage flare hot in her eyes. Finally, a sign of life. He'd been starting to worry they had beaten her down so far, she'd lost all spirit.
For the life of him he didn't know why the idea should bother him so much.
Her hands came up to lightly grip his biceps, but that was as far as she got before his grip on her tightened in warning.
Krycek loomed over her, his body completely concealing hers, creating a disturbing island of privacy. All she could see was his shadowed form looming over her.
Scully was suddenly intensely aware of the heat of his body so close to hers. The memory of the kiss they'd shared so long ago tore through her. Scully sucked in air desperately and tried in vain to push the memory back and down and away, to somewhere she'd never have to think of it again. She could do it. She was good at not thinking about anything she didn't want to think about.
To cover her confusion and, more importantly, her sudden awareness of him, she glared at him. She hated him. She'd concentrate on that.
"Give it up, Krycek," she growled. "Mulder will be here in a minute. You won't get far."
"Yeah," he agreed softly, his eyes cold. "He'll be here. But will it be in time to save you?"
Scully wanted to shiver and close her eyes at his menacing tone but refused to give in. Never show fear. Not ever. Especially to a killer holding your own gun on you.
Scully glared at him fearlessly. "Either way, Mulder will get you. Dead or alive, it's your choice."
Her unreasoning confidence in Mulder infuriated him.
"You have such confidence in Mulder," he sneered. "The same guy that walked off and left you alone with a prisoner that's twice your size. Did you ever think that maybe he just doesn't like having you around? Why else would he treat you the way he does? Or maybe he figures this is an easy way to get rid of the snoopy partner he never really wanted anyway."
She knew he was lying. Scully and Mulder had been trusted partners for far too long to have any suspicion left between them, but his words dug at old scars that weren't fully healed. The hurt of being mistrusted and viewed as a spy, but also the hurt of constantly being left behind while Mulder ran off to investigate some vital lead. A vital lead he didn't trust in either her abilities or loyalties enough to let her in on. There was always a part of her, a small part, true, but a part of her, nonetheless, that wondered if he really trusted her as much as he said he did.
His words stabbed deep with painful precision at old uncertainties and, totally disregarding the gun aimed at her, she pushed at his arms and tried to wriggle free of his hands.
Krycek growled a low warning and jerked her back.
She panted and glared at him. "Maybe he just trusts me to be a competent agent," she spit out. "Maybe he believes I can take care of myself."
"So go ahead, Scully," Krycek taunted in a low, rough purr. "Take care of yourself."
With a wordless snarl, she shoved at him again and struggled to get free. He easily lifted her up off her feet and pressed her back, his knee sliding between her legs and pinning her to the wall.
Scully took a startled breath as his thigh pressed between her legs. She arched and gripped his arms hard as the intimate contact forced her to straddle his leg.
"Get away from me," she gasped desperately. This was going in a direction she didn't want to explore. She wriggled in his grasp, but that only made it worse. She inadvertently stroked against him and heat shot through her. She gasped in a short breath. He jerked her forward and slammed her back into the wall, just hard enough to get her attention.
"Stop it! Quit fighting."
Krycek was getting exasperated as well as aroused. Didn't she notice the gun in his hand? Didn't she have any fear at all? Not that he would use it on her. She was an important part of the equation. Nothing could happen to her.
Speaking of the equation, what exactly did he think he was doing anyway? He wasn't supposed to escape. He'd gone to a lot of trouble to set up this whole deal just so he could be in the right place at the right time and now he was trying to escape. Brilliant.
Scully went still, but more because she dreaded feeling that flash of fire go through her again than because of his angry orders. She stared at him silently, her lips compressed to a thin line.
"That's better." Maybe they were finally getting somewhere. His voice went soft with menace. "Now unlock these cuffs."
Scully only looked stubborn and didn't move.
Krycek growled softly then leaned forward till his mouth was right over her ear. Warm breath made her shiver. "Don't make me find the key myself, Dana," he whispered roughly. "You won't like it." He stroked his thigh against her suggestively. She shivered hard as fire licked through her again. Lucky for her, he attributed her reaction to disgust, but she knew he wouldn't be fooled for long. Especially if he kept touching her.
"Alright!" she gave in. Anything to get him away from her. "Put me down."
Krycek smiled triumphantly and began to lower her back to the ground, his thigh stroking against her again with the move. Unfortunately for Scully, she shivered and arched involuntarily as he moved against her. He stopped abruptly. Krycek stared at her with the intensity of a predator that's just caught sight of his first meal of the day. That shiver hadn't been disgust. The half moan that she'd caught in her throat and strangled hadn't been fear, either. It had been desire. Scully was aroused.
As he realized that, the burning awareness he'd been trying to ignore broke free. He suddenly didn't want to let her go. At the same time, his brain started clicking over and a vague plan formed. It all hinged on whether or not Scully would shoot him when she got her gun back. But he was almost to the point where it didn't matter. It would almost be worth it to touch her. As long as she didn't shoot him in an important part of his anatomy.
When Scully realized he had stopped lowering her away from him, she opened her eyes, not even sure when she closed them. She found him staring at her fiercely but this time there was blatant awareness in his gaze. He watched her closely as he let his knee teasingly hitch against her again. She caught her breath and felt heat steal over her face. Heat made up of humiliation and anger but there was also desire and it was killing her. To feel desire for a murderous criminal like Krycek was killing her.
"Put me down," she ordered breathlessly.
Krycek stared at her with calculation. He rubbed his thigh against her slowly. She swallowed and her legs involuntarily tightened around his thigh.
"Are you sure that's what you want, Dana?" Krycek whispered. It was a dark whisper, a tempting whisper. A whisper that invited her to forget herself, her duty and just close her eyes and feel. But she couldn't allow that. She had to think of her sister, Melissa, the woman he helped murder. Unfortunately, Melissa was always the first to say, 'if it feels good, go with it.' Which wasn't helping her fight back her response to him.
She looked at him with grim resolve.
"Put me down," she repeated firmly.
"Alright," he agreed silkily. "I'll put you down." But he didn't move and she stared at him, waiting. "In a minute," he added. "I'll put you down in a minute."
Watching her closely, he slowly approached her lips with his. He saw the uncertainty in her eyes then he was kissing her softly. She didn't move. She was frozen, uncertain how to handle this. It didn't help that his soft touch was igniting fires all over her and his thigh had gently begun to stroke against her in a slow rhythm.
His lips pressed over hers, gently teasing. The fist gripping her clothes loosened and then released completely, smoothing her clothes down over her stomach. His right hand gripped the gun only loosely and was forced to follow the movement of the left because of the cuffs.
Krycek wanted the cuffs gone so he could really touch her but was dimly aware that it would be harder for Scully to overpower him if he was uncuffed. He contented himself with stroking his hand over her stomach and then up to brush against the underside of her breasts, her clothes also a frustrating hindrance.
His lips gently tried to coax hers to open to him and while she wasn't responding, she did grip his arms tightly and arch into his stroking touch.
He moved from her lips to lay light kisses across her cheek and then over her jaw and down her throat. He nipped lightly and felt a shudder go through her stiff body.
Krycek could sense her stiff resistance to his touch. She didn't want this. She didn't want him. But her body was slowly betraying her and he took what she didn't want to give like the unexpected gift it was.
His lips trailed back up her throat, over the firm line of her chin and up to her lips. This time there was no coaxing, he demanded entrance and with a soft whimper, more felt than heard, she gave in.
He eagerly plundered her mouth and after one stunned moment, she began to fight against his invasion. Her tongue dueled with his and when she couldn't prevail, she tried to bite him. Her fiery response was only heating his blood even more. When she began to squirm to try wriggle free of his hold, he shifted his grip on the gun until his hand was only wrapped around the outside of the frame and pressed the gun flat against her ribs to help hold her still.
Any thought of his plan was gone from his head, blown away on a gust of heat. With only the thought that he wanted her to hold still and deciding they needed to be horizontal, he pulled his leg from between hers and set her back on her feet. Still kissing her passionately, he gripped her clothes again and tugged down, intent on pulling her to the ground, the gun forgotten.
When he pulled away from her, Scully abruptly came back to her senses. He was still kissing her and that in itself was trying to overwhelm her, but she became aware of the hard wall at her back and the soft dirt under her feet. But more importantly, she was aware of the flat of her gun digging into her ribs. Her brain started to work. She stopped fighting and relaxed into his kiss.
At her sudden response, Krycek stopped trying to tug her to the ground and lost himself in the exquisite feel of her mouth moving willingly against his.
She relaxed her tight grip on his arms and let her hands trail down his arms while at the same time she slid one leg around the outside of his in a slow caress that managed to hook her foot behind his. His grip on her relaxed until he was only lightly touching her.
Scully went from relaxed acceptance to frenzied action in an instant. She snatched the gun from his loose hold then shoved against his chest with both hands while her foot hooked his ankle.
He staggered back and the cuffs snapped but didn't give as he tried to throw his arms out to catch himself. In spite of the cuffs, he was teetering on the brink of regaining his balance when she shoved him hard again. He made a wild grab for her but missed as she jerked back out of reach and over he went.
He landed on his butt then slammed over onto his back. His back absorbed most of the impact but he knocked his head against the sidewalk as he went down. As he lay staring up at the night sky he thought he saw a few more stars than usual up there.
He stayed sprawled out, panting and blinking up at the stars. The abrupt transition from abandoned passion to lying sprawled on the cold, hard ground stunned him more than the blow to the head. He felt like he'd been hit in the face with a bucket of icy water.
Scully glared down at him with the gun held steady, but her quick breathing betrayed the cool, calm manner she was trying to project. She took some deep breaths and tried to settle down. It wasn't working, though. She was aroused, mad at herself for her reaction to him, mad at Mulder for once again throwing her in the middle of a mess and just walking away and generally just plain mad at the world. But more than all that she was furious at Krycek. She glared at him and gave serious consideration to squeezing the trigger.
That's how Mulder found them. Scully rumpled and glaring at a decidedly worse-for-wear Krycek who lay on the ground, panting for breath and looking pitiful.
Very few times had Mulder seen homicide glaring out of Scully's eyes, but he saw it now.
"Scully?" he called quietly.
Scully ignored his arrival and continued to glare at Krycek.
Mulder hesitantly moved forward. "Scully?"
Up until then she was still considering shooting him. She could claim self-defense. Mulder would back her up. She'd covered for him enough times, she thought with a snort. He damn well better.
But when Mulder moved closer and called her name in that uncertain voice, she realized she couldn't do it.
Damn it. She couldn't shoot him with Mulder standing there staring at her.
She lowered her gun and let out an irritated breath. Damn him. He couldn't stay lost for one more minute?
Mulder stared from Scully to Krycek and back to Scully again. Even in the dimness he could see how rumpled and flustered she appeared.
"What happened, Scully?"
"Nothing," she said shortly, still eyeing Krycek balefully. Her gun was aimed at the ground now but she didn't holster it.
"But, Scully," Mulder protested. "What...?"
Scully stooped and grabbed the bag containing the worthless lump of black rock then circled around Krycek where he still lay on his back on the ground.
"We need to get this analyzed," Scully said abruptly. She didn't meet Mulder's eyes; her gaze lodged somewhere around his chin. "I'll take a cab and drop this by the lab. You take Krycek to jail. I'll see you in the morning."
Before Mulder even finished his murmured agreement, she was stalking away without even a backward glance.
Mulder stared after her, stunned by her behavior, then swung his suspicious gaze around to stare at Krycek.
Krycek still lay on his back, striving to look helpless and not as supremely self-satisfied as he felt. He knew he could count on Scully. What a woman.
"What happened, Krycek?" Mulder growled.
"Nothing," Krycek answered innocently.
Mulder started forward and only then caught sight of the torn up flowerbed. He jerked Krycek to his feet.
"What happened?" Mulder was getting louder.
"You'll have to ask Scully."
Mulder only growled at that, certain that something had happened but suddenly just as certain that neither of them was ever going to tell him what that was.
Mulder grabbed up Krycek's fallen sweater then shoved him in the general direction of the car.
"Let's go," Mulder growled.
Wisely, Krycek didn't say anything. But he did let a small secret smile steal over his face, carefully hidden from Mulder.
He'd been right. Krycek grinned wider. It *had* been worth it.
And he didn't even get shot.