Title: The Gravity of Stars
Archive: Keep my info attached and you can have it.
Feedback: Is very welcome, to email@example.com
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and Fox. No copyright infringement intended.
Keywords: V, A, Krycek/Kim Cook
Spoilers: Sleepless/Duane Barry/Ascencion
Summary: Reality catches up with hubris. Humility ensues.
Acknowledgments: Warm thanks to Bardsmaid and KristenK2 for thorough and inspiring beta.
Notes: For the record, this is not the same Kim/Krycek as in "Devil at the Crossroads".
THE GRAVITY OF STARS
That night he stands before her door drunk and swaying, leaning his head against the doorframe while his flat hand pounds on the door. Too wasted to think of the doorbell. Too wasted maybe to even find the doorbell. It is five minutes past midnight, and according to the Smoker's orders he should already have been out of town, on a flight to another coast. He felt the ground burning and flickering under his feet as he staggered here.
That night she opens her door to him in a silver-gray silk dressing-gown, just as far as the security chain will go - but when she sees his face, she releases the chain and lets him inside. Into her world of safety and light and order, into her normal life to wreak his havoc and confusion.
"Agent Krycek." Her voice is alarmed and bewildered. But her touch is sure and strong. She steers him toward a big easy chair. She is a most capable woman. Skinner's a lucky man. Alex wonders briefly if he's in love with her too.
He falls down in the chair in an inelegant sprawl, then looks up to face her, feeling stupid and sluggish. Too much to drink. Too goddamned much, but how else was he supposed to forget about a man pushed to his death from a cable car, and Mulder screaming his heart out in a wind-blasted field, and Dana Scully naked and violated on a surgical table in Fort Marlene? How else was he supposed to forget the Smoker's taunting words?
'You have no rights, only orders to be carried out.' He sees how it is now; he sees how it will be and how it always was and how unbelievably stupid and egomaniacal he has been.
He stays there, transfixed and caught in her presence, like a comet drawn and warmed by the powerful gravity of a sun, and he has a moment of dread, of a terrible, drunken clarity of insight. He's been so proud of his ambitious progress in the sky, has been so proud of how brightly he was burning. Now, with a shudder of premonition, he remembers all too well that comets are just celestial vagabonds, borrowing the sun's glory for a few months at the closeness of perihelion, then for years cooling to nothing more than dark lumps of dust and ice as they approach the far cold exile of their orbit's outer perimeter. Migrant fireflies, dirty snowballs, harbingers of disaster.
"Is it because of Agent Scully?" asks Kim softly. And he knows for certain then, even drunk as he is, that she wouldn't ask that unless she had a good idea of the reason behind his messy state. Yes, she reads reports, she puts through phone calls, she arranges meetings and writes the minutes, of course she knows that they are beginning to suspect him now of not being the innocent rookie agent he's let on to be. Not that this will be news to her. She knew before any of them. Somehow she knew.
He marvels that even so, she had the trust to open the door for him and let him in.
He doesn't know whether the Smoker intended him to see Scully tonight, out at the Consortium facilities. Probably did, the bastard. So cold and pale, drugged out of her mind, unseeing and unmoving and whimpering in pain. She looked like the living dead, like some horror flick version of Snow White in a glass coffin. Just the thought makes him want to throw up.
Instead he looks up at Kim, who leans over him and anchors him with her gray star eyes. He has obsessed about her for eight days. Tried his best to keep from hurting her for all those days. This night, he fears, his efforts will be put to shame at last. He's the magician's foolish apprentice, who never knew how to control the dangerous spells. The evil is out of control now and it will poison everything he touches.
But how can he not touch her with her leaning over him like that, and knowing it's his last chance to do so before everything goes to hell? Tomorrow, as per the Magician's orders, Agent Krycek will have vanished into thin air, and already formed suspicions will be confirmed; conclusions will be drawn. This night he slips from daylight into the shadowlands. This witching hour is his last hour posing as a decent man, the last hour sweet Kimberly Cook may want him to touch her.
So he touches her. The collar of her pajama top tapers down in a V, and that bared expanse of skin just begs for the feel of his fingers. He places his fingerpads just below her throat, very gently, his index finger nesting lightly in the little hollow at the base of her collarbone. God, how hot she is. He looks at that spot, then lowers his gaze and sees the shadows between full, pale breasts at the bottom of the V. He looks up again and her eyes are unfocused, falling half-shut. He arches his neck back, leans up two inches and kisses her. He rises unsteadily to his feet, puts his arms around her and kisses her some more. She feels uncertain in his arms, a small noise rising from her throat as he starts untying the knot of her dressing-gown.
But she lets him, even helps him slide the gown off, and whispers his name as he starts unbuttoning her silk pajama top, whispers 'Alex' with a funny little catch to her breath, and he goes a little bit insane. Before he knows it, he has maneuvered her up against the wall. Wants her so bad, wants to forget, wants it all to disappear in the trembling lights and shadows of pleasure, and his hand dips into her pants, probes between her thighs, pushes aside her panties and caresses her soft heat. She moans against his shoulder and her body strains and shivers against his.
"Please," he breathes, "please, Kim, can I, I need to, please..."
A word he isn't used to saying, and it falls awkward and callow from his lips, but she stares at him, her eyes huge gray orbs. And then she whispers, "Yes," and she reaches down to push down her pajama bottoms and panties and toe them off.
She's still wearing the half-undone pajama top as her shaking thighs part hesitantly under his hand, but his other hand is already unbuttoning his fly and freeing his erection, then fumbling through the clumsy haste of finding his wallet, pulling out a condom. She helps him put it on; her shy touch feels like embers and feathers. And he knows it's too fast and he knows he should prepare her but there's no time, there's only heat and urge and need and pain and he moves in blindly, crashes in on her like the tide, their cries mingling and both of them trembling like crazy. He drops his forehead against her shoulder and tears are stinging his tightly shut eyelids because now he's fucking her dry up against a wall, this woman he's longed to make slow unforgettable love to, and it will be just another dream he managed to fuck up, one more thing that should have been good but never will be now, ever.
He can't bear to look at her, can't bear to speak to her, elicit a response and hear whatever blame or disappointment may be carried in her voice, so he does the only thing he can, and the only thing his body will allow him to do - works towards his finish, slides back and rocks in, trying so very hard to be gentle, taken over by need and yet despairing every second that he's hurting her.
"Wait." An urgent whisper against his cheek, and then the soft press of her lips into his neck. "Give me a little time. Just a moment, Alex."
Somehow, the fragile tenderness of that voice penetrates the crazed chaos in his mind the way something louder and more impatient could never have done. A little time. A moment. He can manage that, he thinks. If it can make it all right, if it can make it at least a little better.
He waits, and feels her shift against him, feels her raise her leg to slide around his hip. He realizes that this may be better for both of them, and he moves his hands down to cup her ass, lift her and press her against the wall again, better aligned with him like this. She wraps both legs around his waist, and her cheek rests against his own. She takes a ferocious shivering breath. There are tears on her face. Or they may be his own, who can tell?
She isn't dry, he realizes. She isn't overflowing either, but there's enough wetness that his rough entry can't have hurt her, or so he hopes. And God, he wants to make it up to her now, and he finally thinks he can do it when she leans her head back and takes his face between both her hands and murmurs, "I'm okay now, Alex-" - her eyes languid and darkening every second with desire, her cheeks flushed, her mouth open and warm. He loves her at that moment, loves her for handing him the chance to bestow pleasure and joy, to give something other than death and pain and destruction.
She leans forward slightly, and they're so close already that now she can just flick her tongue out and lick over his lips, maybe the softest way anyone ever touched him. Like the immaterial dewy wing of a moth, like the glide of a single raindrop. He opens his mouth in a shuddering gasp, realizing only then how tightly it had been clenched shut... and she moves in delicately, a tip-toeing kiss stirring him and waking him up from nightmare. She is so gentle, so gentle. Kim is holding his head gently and gently teaching him how to kiss again, and he closes his eyes and accepts the lesson like a sad child, knowing he is completely undeserving and because of that all the more grateful. Slowly she coaxes him into it. Slowly he starts to believe that there may still be a reality besides shame.
Finally managing to speak, his voice is slurred, with a wistful hardness he can't keep out. "God, Kim, I wanna stay inside you forever."
His hopeless longing seems to get to her. There's a hitch in her breath--soft concern, and then he feels two fingertips stroke gently over his lips. "Ssh, baby..."
"Kim," he murmurs again. "I didn't...I didn't mean to...I never meant for it to be like this." Not talking about the sex now; about anything but that. His closed eyes turn in on self-recrimination, on dark swirling guilt and despair. In eight days, he has killed three people, and thinking back to Fort Marlene, he fears that the fourth death won't be long in coming.
Way to really fuck up a perfectly nice shitty life.
She takes his face between both hands then, and pulls it close to hers. He is hidden inside her to the hilt, and he stills there, trembling with tension and grief and pent-up emotion. And hazily he recognizes that his grief isn't primarily for the people whose deaths he has caused, and will cause; it is as much for himself, for everything that has gone bitterly wrong and everything that never ever was right in his life. His pain is selfish and devastating as a child's.
"I know," she whispers. "I know you meant everything to be different." She kisses his wet eyelids tenderly, then trails her lips down to his again, breathing understanding into his mouth as if giving him the kiss of life. Her voice is husky. "Don't think about it. Not now. You don't have to, promise. Gonna be so good to you, baby. So good."
He shakes his head in disbelief. "Kim," he whispers, and then repeats her name, hissing, as her hands move down and clasp around his ass and push at him to make him start thrusting again.
He starts moving, and she is ready for him this time, and yes, it's good, it's so much better like this. He sees her raising heavy eyelids and looking down to the shadowed place where they are joined, revealed in glimpses by the slow, sensuous undulations of his hips. A small moan escapes her at the sight, and then she looks back up at him and sees that he is watching too, and she smiles a beautiful smile that he can hardly believe.
"Kracivaya Alyosha." She calls him beautiful, in a language he only knows from studies where harder, more practical words form the syllabus. American-Russian roots, then? So many of her mysteries he doesn't yet know. He looks at her in wonder, but she only closes her eyes again to focus on the build-up of pleasure within, her smile fading with concentration, and the thought slips away.
Her low moans against his neck. Her fingernails digging into his shoulders. His desire for her a searing, tightening heat in his balls, his cock, his spine. His fingertips on her breasts, on her clit, making her breath go sobbing and crazy. His toes curling, his calves tensing. God, so good, so good. Her face glows with heat and she starts panting fast and shallow, and then after a little while she tenses and goes rigid, a small astonished sound escaping her, as if she'd never expected it to be quite this good, quite this easy.
She throws back her head and opens her eyes as she climaxes, greedy muscles drawing tight around him and holding, again and again, her breath exploding hotly against his face while she gasps out her pleasure. Her gaze is the best gift anyone ever gave him. She is quiet, barely moaning, but there in her eyes are spinning galaxies and black star matter and wild unfocused joy, all for him.
He babbles into her red-gold hair, "Yeah Kim, yeah, sweetheart, like that, you're so beautiful like that-" while he fights to hold still until she sags spent and quivering against him. He presses slack, open lips to her hot temple, tasting salty sweat, and then he gathers himself for the home stretch, pulls back and slams into her like there's no tomorrow, just this and this and this and...
"God oh fucking Christ oh Kim oh fuck-"
Crying out her perfect name between blasphemy and obscenities, he lets it all go - not the neat, focused release he usually experiences but a devastating, messy monster of a climax.
And finds himself slumped over her an indefinable time later, kneeling against the wall cradling her lax, warm body in his lap, his softening cock cooling against her bare thigh and his pulse still not returned to normal. Her mouth is moving against his neck and he thinks she just said something. He thinks she said something so right and honest and brave that he should reciprocate.
But he doesn't, because unlike her he's neither right nor honest nor brave, and more to the point, he's beginning to learn the bitter costs paid by the recipients of empty promises. He won't exact that cost from her.
But he musters the decency, the courage at least, to pull back enough to look into her eyes when he speaks.
"Kim, Kim..." His voice, traitor to his resolve, leaks love, but there's enough warning in his eyes that she must know nothing good is coming.
He whispers, "There's no way I can stay, sweetheart." And it's not quite true; the truth is he won't stay--doesn't want, yet, to stay; the truth is her gift has re-energized him, has pulled him up from the pit of despair enough that he wants to clutch and hang on to his ambitions as far as he can. The orbit of a comet is long and eccentric. There is a good time yet before the light will have burnt out.
Her lovely eyes are distant and lonely as galaxies, and he realizes that she knew this much all along. He stands up with her gently, watches her wrap herself in the dressing-gown again while he puts his own clothes in order. In his mind he's already on his way to the airport, speeding towards the coming night and the next months and new, unavoidable sins in his desperate clawing for control, a vagabond light having passed the glorious apex of its orbit, hurtling towards black aphelion.
As she lets him out of her apartment, she tugs on his hand to make him stay a second after their last long kiss, and he stands sobering and looks at her. She is straight-backed and very grave. She tenses, draws breath, seems to struggle for words - as though she's considering a leap of faith, taking an uncertain chance on him. He waits, puzzled, and raises his free hand to her cheek, memorizes its rounded softness slowly with the back of his fingers.
At his touch, her face flushes into fierce warmth. She turns her cheek to brush his fingers with her lips, then meets his gaze with new determination. And this time, when she whispers in Russian, there's no way this could be mistaken as half-remembered sweet talk from a grandparent.
"The men you work for, they're not the only ones. If you ever need to get away from them, Alyosha - I can help you. I will."
In a flash - premonition, vision? - he imagines her turning teasingly toward him on a summer night long yet to come; on a foreign street, onion domes and canals and a myriad bridges around her, different constellations barely visible in the skies of the white night above.
"Kim?" he asks abruptly, voicing doubt.
She smiles as the door closes behind him, a serious smile, and shakes her head.
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