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26 September 2012 @ 06:19 pm
Last archival fic for the day, I think.  
Title: Truce
Chapter: 1/1
Author: inlaterdays
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Mulder/Krycek
Words: ~1570
Genre: Holiday Vignette
Disclaimer: Characters aren't mine.
Summary/Author’s Note: Set during a lull in the fighting during the Invasion War. Standalone. Why I thought invasion-era M/K fluff would be a good idea I have no clue. Originally written for the Nick Lea Holiday Zine 2008.


Mulder wrapped the thermalskin blanket more closely around himself and tried without much success to warm his hands over the RadiantGlow block. When the lock was popped, the thing was supposed to give you the illumination and heat of a campfire without the giveaway thermal signature, but of course it didn't. It sat there being a non-campfirey, slightly glowing, vaguely warm cube of plastic, no matter how hard you willed it otherwise. You couldn't cook over the damned thing, either.

The aliens had taken out most major power grids and fuel supply lines immediately upon their arrival. As a result, the War of 2012 was being waged with a combination of bleeding-edge technology and astonishingly primitive conditions, at least on the part of the Resistance.

The end of the world as we know it sucks, Mulder thought dolefully, and trying to cozy up to a piece of plastic is downright stupid.

He was on a reconnaissance mission, separated from Skinner, Scully, and the rest of his unit, holed up in an old storage shed on the outskirts of what had once been Reno. The evening was cold, bleak, and lonely, an almost perfect match for Mulder's mood.

Well, maybe not that lonely. He sensed rather than heard movement outside; was immediately and soundlessly beside the door, weapon drawn.

"Put the gun down, Mulder," said the voice from outside.

Mulder heaved an inward sigh of relief, despite himself. At least this was better than aliens.

Maybe.

"Krycek."

"Can I come in, or you gonna shoot me?"

"I don't have a spare bullet," Mulder said dryly, retaking his seat on a packing crate.

"Nice to see you too, Miss Congeniality."

Mulder snorted, but reholstered his gun as Krycek entered. "Close the damn door. Have a seat."

"You're not gonna go after me?" Suspicion in his guest's voice.

Mulder shrugged. "I need to conserve my energy." In truth, he was glad of the company. Any company.

Krycek dragged a wooden box over next to Mulder's (though at a conservative distance), his face eerily beautiful in the pale blue light from the cube. "These things suck," he remarked cheerfully. He held his hands over it anyway – everyone did, it was a reflex – flexing the fingers of the left one with special relish. After all these years, he still marveled at his regenerated arm – and at his being alive and whole. Alien technology was a wonderful thing when it wasn't working against you.

"What d'you want?" Mulder asked, trying to sound cross.

"I'm on your side, you know that -"

"So you say."

Krycek sighed. "Can you drop the attitude for five minutes?"

"Whatever." Mulder subsided, moodily, and after a moment or two of being regarded with suspicion, kicked the other man's crate.

"What?" Now Krycek was cross.

"Quit staring at me like you think I'm going to jump you. I told you, I'm not. Why are you here?"

"Orders for you." Krycek pulled a sealed microthin envelope from the depths of his parka. It had one of those fancy seals which could only be opened by the thumbprint of the sender or the recipient; it looked authentic.

"So you're an errand boy now? Again?"

This time Krycek kicked Mulder's crate. "Quit trying to wind me up. I asked to be the one to bring it, dumbass."

"Why?"

"I'm asking myself that, this very moment."

"I'm waiting."

The other man shrugged, seeming embarrassed. "It's been awhile. I wanted to see how you were."

"Bullshit."

Krycek stared at him for a long moment, then sighed and got up. "Right then. I've come what I came to do. Merry Christmas to you too, Scrooge."

Mulder blinked. "What?"

Krycek was surprised. "You haven't been keeping track of the date? Sloppy."

"Yeah, well, I don't exactly have a wall to hang a calendar on."

"Your watch has the date on it."

Mulder put his head in his hands. It's not like holidays mattered any more. Still. Still.

Krycek watched him for a minute, then muttered something.

"What was that?" Mulder looked up.

"I said," Krycek said, still indistinctly, "I. Brought. Eggnog." There was a pause. Krycek looked at his boots.

"The hell you say," Mulder said.

Krycek held up two self-heating foil packets, pulled from a pocket. "Just add water."

Mulder stared for few seconds longer, until his brain morphed What the fuck? into What the hell. He picked up the nearly-full plastic water distiller at his side; sloshed it. "Can do."

A short time later, the two men were once again seated side by side on packing crates, this time wearing identical looks of disgust, staring down into vaguely-warm foil packets that held a vile-looking pale yellow liquid with undissolved bits of powder floating in it.

"This," said Mulder, "is revolting."

"Completely," Krycek agreed.

"Whoever invented this crap should be shot."

"Then drawn and quartered."

"And the pieces stomped on."

"It must be part of an alien plot to undermine morale. There can be no other explanation."

"Who else could be so diabolical?"

"How fortunate for us that I am in possession of the antidote." Krycek reached again into the inner recesses of his jacket, this time removing a palm-sized silver flask.

"You've been holding out on me!"

"We could add it to the eggnog..."

"The hell with the eggnog." Mulder tossed his packet into a corner of the shed, where it made an unappetizing splash. "Let's have some real holiday spirits. Bring on the good stuff."

Krycek, with the hint of a grin, unscrewed the cap.

The whiskey was a success.

The Christmas carols were less so. These had been Mulder's idea, after they'd polished off a good portion of the contents of the flask. Mulder was singing the Batman lyrics to "Jingle Bells;" Krycek was yowling something in Russian that sounded very much like it was off-color.

"Hey," Mulder objected. "'S'not a Christmas carol."

"It's festive," Krycek insisted. "A song of my people."

Mulder snorted. "I bet you were born in New Jersey, homeboy."

"Was not!" A colorful string of Slavic epithets followed this assertion to emphasize the point.

"Krycek," Mulder said, "Shut up. This is a solemn occasion."

"You're drunk!"

"So are you."

"Getting drunk is a tradition of my people."

"Oh my God, when you're drunk you turn into Chekov from Star Trek."

"Do not!"

"Do too. Everything in the universe was inwented by a little old lady from Moscow, am I right?"

Krycek, furious, took a swing at him...and fell off his orange crate.

Mulder howled with laughter until a hand reached up from the floor and pulled him down too.

"You fight dirty," Mulder said.

"Always have," Krycek said, proudly. "That's how you win."

"Ha. Ha, I say. Gimme another drink."

"Come an' get it for yourself, you and your 'ha's."

It took longer than it should have for Mulder to maneuver his body the few inches to Krycek's; he cussed under his breath, and it was Krycek's turn to laugh. He began the lengthy process of digging in the depths of Krycek's voluminous parka ("How many pockets you got in this thing?") until his hand closed, victorious, around the flask. "Ha again!"

"Congrashulations." Krycek said, scooting to a sitting position. They faced each other for a second, not speaking (Mulder was hoping the cap wouldn't be too difficult to unscrew; Krycek's thoughts were unfathomable), when Krycek leaned over and kissed Mulder on the cheek.

"The hell..." Mulder frowned.

"A tradition of your people," Krycek explained. "Misheltoe."

"What mistletoe?"

"Got some in my pocket."

"I just bet you do."

Krycek lifted an eyebrow, daring Mulder to make something of it. Instead, Mulder took another swig from the flask (having successfully negotiated the intricate job of cap-unscrewing), his eyes never leaving his companion's.

"So about that kisshing thing you do..." Mulder began, and hiccuped.

"What about it?"

"I think...I think I'm going to have a nap before I tell you what I think." Blearily, Mulder handed the flask back across and curled up on the floor. Within seconds he was snoring softly.

Krycek snorted in disbelief as he pocketed the flask once more. Whether he felt anything akin to disappointment was something only he could have said. With unsteady movements, he reached over Mulder's unconscious form and pulled the thermalskin across him; then, with the help of the crate and the wall, regained his feet and carefully made for the door.

He took one last look at the man sleeping in the fading artificial light of the cube, then quietly shut the door behind him, the cold air clearing his head a little.

That had probably been dumb. He'd been offered a lot of money to reveal Mulder's location, but he'd known in advance that the information he'd give would be false. For once, he'd told Mulder the absolute truth: he'd offered to deliver the orders solely because he'd wanted to. Checking up on the man was a compulsion; protecting him was his biggest weakness.

Tomorrow, war business would resume, but for now, the stars shone, the night was quiet, and peace reigned.

And Krycek had miles to go before he slept. Yet somehow, it had been worth it.

"Merry Christmas, Mulder," he whispered, before turning to go on his way.
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