Ratings: Slash, m/m. Mulder/Krycek.
Summary: Songfic!
Disclaimer: They ain't mine, though I'm not sure CC and 1013 would recognize them as theirs, either. Title belongs to R.E.M.

My Thin Skin
by Sitnah

Alex woke up to knocking at the door of the room, a strident voice. "Seņor?"

He dragged himself up, remembering mechanically which way to set the bolts to open this door. "Come in. I'll be out of your way in a moment. I was just going out."

The cleaner's eyes rested on him critically. He let his gaze drop, glancing quickly at her hands on the way down. They were empty. He flashed her a conciliating smile and went out into the hall.

There was no one visible to the right, nor to the left. Alex turned left. The windowless hallway was cooler than the room had been. He used his good hand to resettle his gun against the small of his back and tug his sweater and jacket down over it.

He went down in the service elevator and slipped out through the kitchens. A delivery truck was parked behind the neighboring hotel, the driver standing on one foot at the rear gate with a carton balanced on his raised knee.

"Need some help?" Alex called.

The man jerked his head to one side. "Thanks, pal," he said, as Alex came up and steadied the box for him.

"No problem," Alex said. "Got any more for this place?"

"Yeah, actually -- there's one more big one. D'ye think maybe you could --"

"Sure. Why don't you take this one in and then we'll get the other one together?"

While he was waiting, Alex got up onto the tailgate and heaved himself into the back of the truck. When the driver came back, Alex knocked him on the head with his heavy arm. The man let out a grunt as he went down. His pockets held a wallet but no keys -- they must still be in the ignition. Alex rolled the body to one side, pinning it between some of the boxes. Then he got out, closed the back of the truck, and got in the front. There was a bag of doughnuts on the floor. He touched a few grains of the powdered sugar carefully to his tongue and then took a hearty bite before pulling away.

He drove slowly but steadily, hitting all the green lights. First he went past Dujmovic's warehouse, but there was nothing moving behind its windows. Next he checked the docks. The tanker at number 19 should have left early this morning, but it was still there. A Russian ship: the faded lettering along the side read AHHA. Waiting for delayed cargo? Something worth the extra harbor fees, if so.

Alex drove back into town and parked the truck in an alley. He put on his baseball cap, locked the doors, and walked up the street to the library, dropping the keys in the second trash can he passed because the first was overflowing already.

The library was unusually full for a weekday. He signed up for a computer and went to the periodicals section to read the newspapers while he waited. When his turn came, he checked a few email accounts, glanced over the shipping logs, and then logged off. He had planned to spend more time online, but with so many people waiting, asking for a second session would make him conspicuous.

He went down to the basement and spent the afternoon at a microfiche reader instead. The tanker had first carried oil but had been converted for industrial by-products in the early nineties. Her hold had been specially reinforced for toxic wastes.

For a while he searched the indexes for local factories, but he set that aside when he found an article with a photograph of a factory owner shaking hands with the then senator. He spent a long time studying the indistinct faces of the men in the background, described in the caption as the senator's aides.

When he came back upstairs, it was already nearly dark. He left the library and walked for several blocks. As he turned past a fenced-in schoolyard, he slowed his steps to let the teenager waiting behind the gate jump out and block his path.

"Gimme your money!"

"Okay, man, take it easy." Alex let his voice rise into a tense register. "I'm just gonna take it out of my pocket." He gave the kid the truck driver's wallet.

"Now get on the ground! And stay there till you've counted to five hundred -- no funny business, I'm gonna be watching you!"

"Okay, man," Alex whined. He waited a moment for the footsteps to recede and then got up and went on.

He stopped to get a hamburger for dinner. It was late by then and the restaurant was relatively empty, so he got his food to go and ate as he walked. When he finished he wiped the grease off his gloves with a paper napkin and dropped the bag into a dumpster.

By this time he was near the downtown hotels again. He pulled off his cap and stepped into the shadow beside a pillar to wait for a likely opportunity.

"Excuse me, sir?"


"Can you tell me which way to --"

Then came the slight gasp, and the bubble of blood, and Alex didn't bother finishing the sentence. He wiped the knife on the side of the man's shirt, being careful not to get any stains on the coat, which he pulled off as he let the body slip to the ground. There -- cardkey in the right pocket. And a cell phone weighing down the left side -- he'd have to dump it later, along with the wallet he took from the pants pocket. That could wait, however.

He pulled the coat around his shoulders and went into the hotel. The night receptionist lifted his head as Alex went by but did not say anything to him. Alex took the stairs up to the fifth floor and, after listening a moment outside the door, used the cardkey to enter the room.

A suitcase lay open on the luggage rack. Alex went through it efficiently, selecting fresh underwear and socks before rifling briefly through the papers. Nothing worth keeping there, except perhaps the passport. He went into the bathroom, emerging showered, shaved, and changed. Not a bad fit, really. He checked the door and the window once more before throwing himself down on the bed.

I haven't thought about Mulder all day, he thought, and then turned his face sharply into the pillow.

I'm Not Over You

I feel great. I lied to save your feelings. truth convened, my
head smashed through the ceiling. I lost an arm, no one harmed,
you diplomatically alarmed. I sulked away to lick my thin skin.
I'm not over you. I'm not over you. I'm not over you.

-- R.E.M.