Thanks to Nancy Floyd-Finch, who calls me Miss Thing, and who knows the difference between 'rack' and 'wrack.' You rock.
Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Luke 10:35-36 (King James)
He lay on the floor, clutching his slick side with a slick hand. Wondering if it was worthwhile to get up. Or worthwhile to die, lying sprawled on the floor of what had never been his office. He could die -- it wouldn't be difficult. He knew he could just exhale and give it up. He could expire. Let his father win again. But. . . .
The floor hurt. He supposed he was lying on something sharp, like a pencil or a paperclip. Funny how a paperclip could take precedence over a wound that was probably bleeding him dry right now. If he tried to move, it would hurt even more. It would probably tear his soul from his body just to try. Just to wiggle a finger would drive him mad.
The door had closed just seconds before with a hollow boom as he fell in taffy-slow motion towards the floor and the sharp thing. The gun had hit the floor at the same time, clattering onto the ground, playing staccato to the door's bass drum. He had stared into the mouth of that gun just moments ago, and it had soul-kissed him. Somewhere on his left side, which was now a searing apocalypse, a bullet had gone into him. He didn't dare try to find out where. Black lines floated across his vision but he couldn't close his eyes. A litany pounded into his brain: Get the gun. Get the gun. Get the gun. Demon choirboys sang it into his ear, a rush of burning sound. *Get the gun.*
He knew that if he could touch that gun, he'd survive.
It would still be warm from his father's hand. He'd risk tearing his soul apart to feel the last traces of his father's body heat leave the handgrip of that gun.
His arm flailed once, twice. Blood washed arterial smiles across the basement floor. Silver twined with black, and red bloomed up behind that. He began to roll over, and screamed with the pain of doing it. Yet somewhere in the pain, he found a resolve that he'd only known once before. Just ten minutes ago, just an eternity ago, he'd taken matters into his own hands. Hands that now shook like snowflakes in a March wind, white and just as fragile. Just as easily blown into trampled oblivion. The March wind screamed through his brain, bearing with it the scent of ashes.
I am responsible for their deaths. I certainly didn't prevent them. What has my father done to me? What have I done to myself?
I am the worst fool that God ever made.
He completed his rollover and now he lay on his stomach, chin on the floor, gun at eye-level. The sharp thing now dug into his sternum. He extended his arms to crawl, then screamed again. Time abruptly slowed even more, creaking out like a rusty water-wheel. He crawled. The gun drew infinitesimally nearer, its grip pushing out toward him, barrel extended off to the right. It seemed to penetrate infinity. He began to try and reach for it. And the door boomed back open.
Jeffrey Spender, lying supine, could only see the black combat boots that presented themselves in front of his nose. Could not move as black-gloved hands picked up the gun he'd spent his life trying to get to. Could just lay his cheek on the cold floor as he tried to see who'd come to finish the job. Could only mouth the word "How?" as Alex Krycek's cold green eyes swam into view.
Alex's mouth twisted wryly. "What do you mean, how? I'm a rat, remember? We chew our way in and out of everything." He grimaced. "In bad shape, aren't you?"
Silence. Jeffrey could not find it in him to speak, even though Krycek obviously wanted an answer. Why did he want an answer? This theory was borne out when a boot-toe nudged his side. He tried not scream then, but couldn't help it -- his mouth seemed to open of its own accord. He could see Krycek grinning through the new red flowers that bloomed in front of his eyes. That must have been what Krycek had wanted.
Now that the gun was gone, Jeffrey didn't think there was much chance of his staying around for Act 2 of this drama. The gun had been his life, and now that it was gone . . . he felt the coolness of the floor get cooler and time began to speed up again, shifting into fast-forward silently and efficiently. He closed his eyes.
He could hear Alex speaking, as if they were on opposite sides of a hole in the wall. "No you don't, you bastard. I came here to get you and I'm keeping you." Then something rough and warm grabbed him under one arm and he felt himself being lifted. He tried not to scream for the last time and failed, then he seemed to be flying and falling at the same time, falling into wrack and ruin, a black pawn whose time had come to be swallowed up by the edge of the chess-board.
He sat across the desk from AD Kersh. He stared at his hands.
"I ask, sir, that you do everything you can to get them back on the X-Files."
He looked up. AD Kersh had turned into his father. His father's head was wreathed in smoke. His father's eyes were black stones. His father's mouth spoke to him.
"I hoped that my son might honor me!"
Jeffrey blasted out of sleep on the tail-end of his father's howl. He lay on a bed in an apartment, a dirty dark apartment. His wound was bound up in clean linen. Alex Krycek sat across from him, holding the gun that had lain so close, back there in the office. His eyes were shadowed. But he wore the same grin that he'd had when he'd kicked Jeffrey in the side.
"Welcome back to the living," he smiled. He added something in Russian, and Jeffrey didn't ask him to translate.
"You might say I own you now, Jeffrey. Now that those," and he used another Russian word, twisting his pretty mouth around it, "from the Syndicate are deceased, someone has to take the place of power. Since your father's still alive, more's the pity, I'll need another bargaining chip and you're it. In the new regime, I won't be relegated to chauffeur or given the slide-show projects to take to Kinko's. You're going to tell me every damn thing you know about the Syndicate and their contacts. You're gonna help me or I'll make you wish you'd died back there. Oh, and you can try appealing to my sense of pity, but fortunately, I don't have one. I'm such a heartless bastard." He stood and loomed over Jeffrey, bending over till his face filled Jeffrey's vision from end to end.
"You're mine now, Jeffrey. I've taken you from your father's grasp, and I've freed you from him. I have showed you mercy. Take it."
It was a chance, twisted as that might sound. Jeffrey Spender turned clear eyes to Krycek's maniacal brown ones. A chance to help take over the world, his way.
"Of course," he whispered raggedly. "As long as you let me use that gun."
Alex smiled again. "Comrade." He extended the gun, grinning his maniac's grin, and Spender's hand closed on the cold barrel. His father's warmth had long ago fled.
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