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TITLE: Shards of Porcelain
AUTHOR: Kelly Keil
ARCHIVE: Anywhere, just keep my info attached.
FEEDBACK: Is cherished and answered.
SPOILERS: Takes place after Momento Mori, sometime between S4 and S5.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own them. You know who does.
SUMMARY: Broken dolls and self-delusion.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thank you to both my betas -Shahara Zade and Spica - for seeing the things I couldn't.
NOTE: This is yet another installment in the ever growing Undertow universe. Can be read on its own quite easily, however. The references to the other stories are somewhat oblique.

I go to him because...

An answer drifts up from my subconscious but I don't like it and shuffle on past.

I go to him because he's convenient. Yes, of course that's it. He lives within stumbling distance of my apartment. A very long stumble, true, but I like to wander on nights like these, nights when the air in my home is so hot and thick and oppressive that I choke on it. I stumble, walk, run through the night, and too many times I find myself in front of his door.

Yes. I go to him because it's convenient, because he's convenient. Alex Krycek, the perfect tool, the perfect toy, and always near to my hand. I'm certain he's planned it that way.

I pound on his door, not caring about the noise I am making in what could be called either very late at night or obscenely early in the morning. This is when time stops and minutes have no meaning. The seconds ticking between sunrise and sunset stretch impossibly long for me. I spend these eternities sitting and sprawling and walking and stumbling, but mostly running. Running from what I've

(sorry momma i'm sorry i'm sorry but i didn't mean to break)

done, running to him because he's so goddamned convenient, and because --

(shattered china fragments one blue eye staring in accusation small broken hand pointing right at me)

because I can.

Krycek opens his door and stands there, hateful eyes wary, shoulders hunched. I avoid looking at the scar tissue lying in purple and magenta waves along the white skin of what remains of his left arm. I did that, by association, by betrayal, by abandonment. I did it and I own it and I'm not sorry. I'm not. He deserves it all and more.

(but i am sorry i broke what i knew i shouldn't touch)

His hair sticks up in stiff clumps and there are creases lining the right side of his face. He's wearing nothing but a pair of jeans that he's forgotten to button and it's clear that I've dragged him from sleep.

That he can rest, fucking bastard that he is, and I cannot, fills me with vindictive resentment. It's not fair that he doesn't see blood trickling from Scully's nose when he closes his eyes. He doesn't see

(one blue eye, surrounded by broken shards)

her eyes, so full of pain, so full of distance.

But I am here to rectify that. I am here to see to it that if I can't sleep, neither will he. I'm here because he owes me.

"Get in here," he says. "You attract too much attention."

I hear him muttering something about me not having the sense God gave a goat as he closes the door behind me, but I let it go. He's probably right. After all, here I am, in the lair of my enemy, no gun, no weapon at all, and he could kill me at any time. I am certain he won't kill me, but maybe he should. Maybe it would be for the best. I didn't come here to kill him, but maybe I should have, maybe it would be for the best. Instead I pull my shirt, damp with sweat, over my head and throw it onto the floor.

He's so right. I don't have any sense at all. But I've come here because he owes me, and I want my payment now.

"Is there a sign on my door that says, 'Lonely Fucks R Us'?" he wonders.

"Shut up, just shut the fuck up," I say, pushing him against the wall. He's already hard, and I'm not surprised. His mouth tastes of sleep and sour beer, but it doesn't matter. I need to touch, I need to feel, I need to

(break him break him break him)

forget for just a few moments the blood on her face and the distance in her eyes.

Krycek lets out a helpless groan as I push his jeans down on his hips. He squeezes his eyes shut and his right arm is flung out against the wall, palm running along the smoothness of its surface.

"Tell me what you want," I demand, cupping his balls in one hand, cradling the back of his neck with the other.

"Fuck you, Mulder," he says, disdain hanging in the air like a sheet of ice. But he makes no move to push me away and his cock twitches with need between us.

I run both my hands lightly along his upper thighs. "Tell me."

"Don't do this." It is such a tired sound, and I almost want to relent, but there is a debt between us that he can never repay, no matter how tired he is.

I kneel in front of him and he starts to crack, fissures opening up to let his need show through. "Mulder," he sighs. "Why does it always have to be so fucking complicated?"

My breath falls on the skin of his stomach and his cock jerks sharply. "Fine," he says. "Fine. You win. You always fucking win. Do it."

No. I haven't won yet. I haven't won anything. You may not have an arm, but she's dying, can't you see that? She's dying and I can't do anything about it but break you, over and over, because I have to break something.

(i'm so sorry that i broke her so sorry)

"Do what?" I ask. I touch my tongue to the skin of his thigh and he twitches.

"Suck me, blow me, go down on me, give me wild fucking head -- what the hell do you want me to say?" His hand is now curled into a fist of frustration.

He knows damn well what I want. I sit back on my haunches then start to rise, preparing to walk away and knowing that he won't let me.

"Please," he says, his voice flat and angry, and below that, desperate. "Please, Mulder, suck my cock. Suck me till I come. You win. You fucking win."

Each time I hope to fill the emptiness inside me with his defeat and it never comes close. Nevertheless I try to break him time and time again, will continue to break him until the hole inside me is healed or until there's nothing left of him to break. I have to. I have to because

(i'm so clumsy so sorry didn't mean to)

it's either that or go mad.

I place my hands on his hips and run them along the smooth skin for a few seconds before taking him into my mouth. His held breath goes out in a rush and he starts to whimper very softly, "Why, why, why?" and, "How can it feel so good?" His fist pounds out a muted rhythm on the wall behind him. His despair and pleasure are palpable.

Oh, Alex, I think, as a wave of almost sadness washes over me. Part of me wishes that I wasn't compelled to hurt him again and again. Part of me, the part that makes my erection throb, makes me revel in the taste and feel of him, hates the ritual that we go through on nights like this, when the air is thick enough to choke you. It doesn't matter. I didn't come here to feel good.

A voice inside me whispers, whom are you hurting? He wants it, you want it. You're lying to yourself, making justifications for --

No. I cut the thought off abruptly. I came here for punishment. Punishment for me, punishment for him. It amounts to the same thing. It is penance for the sadness in her eyes, the blood on her face.

(punishment for the shattered china on the floor)

Liar. You came here because you want to fuck him. Her eyes -- the doll's eye -- are just an excuse.

No. Yes. Maybe. Krycek is right. Why does it always have to be so fucking complicated?

I surrender to the inevitable, to what I wanted when I came here in the first place, and fuck him. Then I let him fuck me. Pain mingles with pleasure and that is right. That is how it should be. But as the night flows by, millennium-length hours speeding up and finally passing in what seems like the space between heartbeats, the need for pain, both inflicted and received, recedes. Our lips smooth over bruised skin, our teeth no longer bite. Fists fall into caressing fingers. We melt like plastic soldiers left on hot summer asphalt, bodies joining and becoming one in our mutual need for this -- bright, burning pleasure and cool, flowing release.

'You win,' Krycek had said as I took him in my mouth; 'you win,' he had whispered to me as I came inside him. Maybe I have and maybe I haven't. I lie next to him on the floor, his head on my chest and his hand stroking my thigh, the caress slow and somehow sad. There are cracks running through him

(i'm sorry so sorry)

and he is broken, yes, but not destroyed, not conquered, not a miserable wreck sniveling at my feet, begging for mercy.

(lying shattered on the floor)

A voice inside me wonders, is that what you really want, is it really?

Yes. No. Maybe. And on the heels of that I think there is nowhere else I'd rather be than here, with his head using my body for a pillow.

Have I won or have I lost?

"Why does it always have to be so fucked up?" Krycek asks, but I don't think he expects an answer. "Is it me, or have you always been this way?"

No. I don't want to talk about me. Besides, I should leave. The sky is turning from black to dark blue, but I have no real desire to push Krycek's head aside. Maybe I'm just too tired. "What about you? Were you always bad?" I ask him.

I can feel him smile. "I was born bad. Isn't that what you always say? Evil to the core, with no hope of redemption? Or do you want to know about my mother, and how many times I was spanked as a kid? You'd get off on kinky shit like that, wouldn't you?" His voice is light and cheerful, and I realize that he's mocking me, his lips a hard grin against my skin, his hand still tracing that sad slow pattern on my thigh.

Despite the mockery, he is too perceptive in his way, only it's my mother I'm thinking of, and myself as a child.

(staring the eye is staring at me i'm so sorry just stop looking at me like that)

"Were you bad, Mulder?" I can hear him leer. "Were you a very bad boy?"

"Sometimes," I say, my voice sounding hollow in my ears.

He looks up into my eyes and I know I've revealed too much. "Really?" He seems...curious. Interested. Like he might give a shit about me. It throws me off guard.

Without even meaning to, I start spilling part of my past into the darkened room. I think of it as a venting of pressure. The memory has been haunting me all day, the blue of that china eye the same as her eyes -- just as cold, just as devoid of emotion except that mute accusation.

(you broke me you broke me you broke me)

"I broke a doll once," I say, and it sounds ridiculous, so I add, "It belonged to my mother." The words don't convey the terror I felt at seeing first the heavy body slip from its shelf, my sticky fingers smearing the porcelain cheek as it drifted past, the fall, almost in slow motion, and the crash. I'd wanted to die, and had ended up vomiting on the floor. Another mess to have to hide.

Krycek says nothing, just continues to look at me, his chin a painful weight on my ribs.

"My mother told me and Sam not to touch it more times than I could count. It was old, and French, I think, and once been her grandmother's."

"What did you want with an old doll?" he asks me. "Or did you break it because your mother told you to stay the hell away from it?"

"Something like that," I mutter. "Sam had always wanted to play with the thing, and I was mad at my mother for something I've since forgotten, so when I saw that stupid doll, I thought that Sam finally getting her way would be just what my mother deserved."

"So what happened?"

"It fell when I touched it. It was on this high shelf and I'd gotten a footstool to stand on to reach it. I was clumsy. Sam took off running after it broke, leaving me to try and glue the pieces back together. I wasn't very successful. My mom caught me with all the pieces of that doll around me and glue everywhere."

Krycek lets out a snort of laughter. And yes, it is funny. I can see that, through all the shades of fear that still color the memory in sickly sepia tones.

"I remember there was a piece that had one blue eye still imbedded in it. I had nightmares about that eye staring at me for months."

"Mulder, why are you telling me this?"

"Because..." Why am I telling him this? Because I saw that eye tonight when I tried to sleep, I saw it after the blood started to trickle down Scully's face. She hid the blood with a tissue, but we both knew it was still there. Because that eye and her eyes were the same, both telling me that I had broken them, it was my fault, that I was to blame. "I don't know," I finish lamely. "I suppose because you're convenient."

He lifts his head from my chest and turns away. "I'm convenient. That's one way to put it. Is that why you came here? Because I'm convenient?"

He is hurt, I realize with amazement. Hurt by me, hurt by my simple statement far more than he has been by anything I've tried to do to him previously this night. I find that I'm ashamed of myself. But this is why I came here, to hurt him, so why --

Liar liar liar liar. You came here because you needed comfort. You came here because you knew he'd let you in, let you do what you wanted to do, what you needed to do. You came here because it's her eyes that are full of distance, full of accusation. You came here because he's the one you want to be with.

I close my eyes against the weight of that knowledge. It presses me down, chokes me like the oppressive humid summer air outside. Oh God, oh God, oh God. I want to say something, anything, but I can't.

Krycek gets up and starts picking my clothing off of the floor, ending with my shirt, which I dropped near his front door. He comes back and throws it all onto my body. "Go home, Mulder," he says. "It's nearly dawn."


No. He's right. Put on your clothes, go home, shower until you no longer smell him on your skin.


I start to get dressed. Krycek watches me, but when I look up to meet his eyes, he looks away.

I know the answer now. I am here because here is where I wanted to be. It is as simple and awful as that. I've come to him -- stumbling, walking, wandering, running -- because I want him.

"Were you punished," Krycek asks, still not looking at me, "for breaking that goddamned doll?"

Right. The doll. We're back to that and maybe this is a good thing. "I was grounded. My punishment was to baby-sit Sam for a month. I wasn't allowed to play baseball. Our team went to state that year, but I couldn't go with them."

"Poor little Fox," says Krycek. "My heart bleeds."

I wonder, for perhaps the first time, what his childhood was like. Was young Alex in Little League, in Boy Scouts? I have an absurd vision of him winning merit badges for target shooting and knot tying. And then I see an abusive set of parents and him willing to do anything to escape them. I have no idea which version, if either, is the true one, and one day maybe I'll ask him, but today is not that day. I think we've reached our quota for disturbing childhood revelations already, thank you all the same.

"Is that it? Is confession time over?" At my silence, Krycek continues, "Good. Then get the fuck out of my home."

I find to my surprise that no, my confession isn't over. And maybe I don't want to leave just yet. I open my mouth and more of the memory pours out. "Mom never knew I broke that doll because of Sam. I took all of the punishment myself, but Sam didn't get away scot-free. That whole month I got her back in dozens of shitty, little ways."

"Let me guess," says Krycek. "Because she owed you," and I find myself both grateful and uncomfortable because he understands it all, or at least enough.

"Yes," I say. "Because she owed me." I let the statement hang in the air between us for a few moments then start to walk toward the door.

"Scully's not a doll," Krycek says to my back. "You think about things too much."

I turn around. "She's dying," I say, and this is the first time I've admitted it out loud.

Krycek sighs. "I know."

"Yeah. I guess you would." The hate flows back through me, smothering the small flame of some other emotion -- a dangerous feeling that I'm better off without. I have to go. If I stay here any longer, I may just kill him.

Or you might just throw yourself into his embrace and have a good cry, whispers a voice at the back of my mind, and wouldn't that be embarrassing?

I really need to leave.

I'm touching the door handle when I hear him say, "She's not Humpty Dumpty, either."

That throws me and I turn around to face him despite my better judgment. "Huh?"

"'All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again,'" Krycek recites in a singsong voice. "There is glue, Mulder. You'll find it when the time is right. She's too important to die. Don't forget that." He looks sad, regretful.

"I don't understand..."

"Just take it on faith, Mulder. You believe in so much bullshit, why can't you believe in me?"

Answers spring fully-grown into my head. Because you're a liar. Because you're a murderer. Because I can't trust you because if I start to trust you then I might just love you. My mind skitters away from that revelation.

It is easier to think of them as dolls -- one with an arm broken off in jagged points nearly at the shoulder, the other with cracks running through its porcelain face, a trickle of ruby red paint falling from one fragile nostril. My damaged dolls, which I should not touch.

I stand below them, trying to decide which one to pull down towards me. It will shatter, it will break, but it will be mine. Mine. The thought makes my heart beat painfully in my chest.

Krycek's right. I do think too much. I turn the handle on the door and open it. He is there beside me before I even notice him starting to move. He grabs my head with his hand and pulls me toward him. "Stop complicating things," he says, and kisses me.

I go to him because...

I go to him because I love him. I go to him because I can't help it. I go to him because I cannot stop.

Better he should kill me. Better I should kill him.

(broken shards of porcelain but mine all mine)

"Go home, Mulder," he says, and pushes me out the door.

What if I'm already there? I think, but my mouth says nothing and Krycek shuts the door. I walk outside into the bright sunrise, blinking.

Home, I think, and stumble back to my apartment.


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