Title: Say it with bullets
Fandom: X-Files
Disclaimer: All X-Files characters are copyright to their respective owners. Desdemona Leafe is mine.
Rating: unrated
Archive: Anywhere, just give credit where credit is due
Feedback: Yes, please! Send all comments to purenightshade@gmail.com
Summary: Made for the XFilesFic yahoo group’s Maximum Endearments Challenge. I put my own little twist on this theme to go with a side of Krycek that was really only displayed in two episodes. (Your challenge, guys, is to write a fic that uses as many endearments as you can in a single fic. I don't care if they're doing it cuz they are a smarmy couple in private, or they're the victims of the "Valentine witch". Whatever you can come up with...You know what I'm looking for...)

It was late, later than usual when he was called in to the Syndicate’s headquarters in New York. All he’d wanted to do after completing his latest assignment was to crawl into bed after a nice hot shower and sleep but no. As soon as he got back to the sleazy dive he called home the phone rang, calling him out again. Only long experience with the old men had kept his temper in check as he hung up the phone and headed back out to his car. It was an old beater. Not too flashy, not too ordinary and black. Nearly everything he owned was black. It suited most of his moods, his personality, and his occupation.

A killer working for a Syndicate of old men working deals with the devil to survive a hostile take over of the Earth by an alien race. Now how did I get involved with them again? It didn’t bear thinking about, really. No matter how much he did, he wasn’t able to justify the sequence of events that had lead from his first contact with old man Spender and the present day and frankly, he had better things to do.

Even late at night, the streets of New York were full of cars, so he didn’t seem to be out of place to the casual onlooker. Even with the traffic, he hade it to the headquarters in very little time. He did his best to calm down before heading upstairs to talk with the old men. His anger would only give them fuel against him.

He got to the door and walked in. The old men were sitting around the room in their comfortable chairs. Old man Spender lit a cigarette as he walked in. He took a puff and eyed the younger man carefully. “Good that you could make it on such short notice, Krycek,” he said, smiling.

Krycek knew that the smile was false, so he ignored it. “What’s this all about?”

“We have an assignment from you,” the Well Manicured Man said. “You did so wonderfully on your last one that we felt you were also suited for this particular one.”

“What’s so special about it? I kill people for a living. That’s all.”

“There is someone we need killed, but it requires a certain amount of skill and…finesse. You have the skill. Your partner has the finesse.”

“Partner? The last time I worked with a partner, the job went sour and the wrong person ended up dead.”

“Louis Cardinal was a fool,” Spender said lightly. “You aren’t. You’re still alive after that unfortunate incident with Scully’s sister.”

“Unfortunate? Is that what we’re calling it now?”

“It was unfortunate. There’s nothing we can do to change past events, so it’s best to let it go,” First Elder informed him. “Besides, this is different from that other assignment.”

“One of our…associates has been threatening to expose the project,” W.M.M continued. “We can’t allow that for obvious reasons. All of the others we’ve sent to kill him have failed. He’s barricaded himself inside the front for his operations: an exotic villa in California that mostly caters to newlywed couples, but it has been visited by other types of people as well.”

“Do I look like the type of person who would visit a place like that?”

“Not by yourself, no, but with the proper clothes and the right…accessories, you wouldn’t be given a second glance.”

“Define accessories.”

“You can come out now, Des,” Spender said, turning his head to the back of the room.

A tall, slim woman stepped out of the shadowy back corner of the room. While she remained largely in the shadows, Krycek could easily make out her deep green eyes and long, straight black hair. Like him, she was dressed from head to foot in black. Her pale face was unreadable.

“Alex Krycek, meet Desdemona Leafe, your counterpart from our Canadian brothers.”

“I didn’t know that you had people up there.”

“Surely you must have guessed. Why else would we have had our bee farm up in northern Alberta? She hails from there. We thought it best to recruit locals to help guard that area. Like you Des is just as good as you are with a gun and is also our current expert at covert operations. Her present appearance is one she chose for this mission. We never really know what she’ll look like from one mission to the next. The only way of telling that it’s her for sure is the tattoo on her back. I’ve never seen it myself, but I’m told it’s unique enough that you just need to see it to know for sure even without foreknowledge of what it is.”

“Come on now, Des,” F.E said gently. “Be polite. You’ll be working with Krycek on that mission we discussed earlier.”

Desdemona walked out into the light. Attempting to be friendly to this odd woman, Krycek offered her his good hand. She stared at it and then shook it tentatively without saying a word.

“You don’t say much, do you?” Krycek commented.

“Now, then, onto the details,” W.M.M said, gesturing for one of the hired help to come forward. A man in an immaculate suit came over and handed a package to both Krycek and Desdemona. “These are your passports and other pieces of identification. You are Pyotr and Kiska Ivanov, a newly wed couple from New York going to the resort in California on your honeymoon. The cash cards in those packages are attached to a bank account with a large amount of money in them. This is both an assignment and a reward for your loyal service. Whatever you don’t use on your mission is yours to keep. Provided, of course, that you complete your objective in the allotted time frame.”

“And that would be?”

“One week. In your guise as a young married couple, you should be able to ferret out our former associate and kill him without anyone being the wiser. Between the two of you, this should be a walk in the park. Information on him is included in your packages. Now, then, I suggest that you two get to know each other a little before you leave. Your plane leaves tomorrow evening at 9 pm sharp. It’s the last flight out for the day. That will get you to the resort in plenty of time. Good luck.”

“Des, go with Krycek,” Spender instructed. “The help have already sent your things down to his car. Do remember to be nice.”

Desdemona stared at the old man blankly for a moment and then left the room. Krycek followed her. “My car is this way,” he told her, walking down the stairs.

She stopped and looked at him blankly before continuing on as if he hadn’t spoken. Not one to be so easily discouraged, he walked to his car, hoping that she would follow as she’d given him no indication that she had even heard him. When he got to his car, he turned to see Desdemona looking longingly at a shiny black motorcycle. Either the bike was hers or she wanted one like it.

“You like motorcycles?” he asked.

She turned to look at him, her green eyes flat and emotionless. She gave a nod that was so minor he would have missed it if he hadn’t been watching for it. Encouraged, he tried again.

“Is that yours?” Another miniscule nod. “Will it be safe here?” A shrug this time. “We’d better be off,” he said, loading the small suitcase the hired help had brought downstairs already  into the trunk of his car. “Relax, will you? I’m not going to bite.”

“Pity,” she said before getting into the car.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” All she gave him in response was a condescending look. As he started the car, she turned to look out the passenger side window. She said nothing else as they pulled out of the building’s parking lot and onto the busy New York streets.

The old men said that we should get to know each other. She’s barely said one word to me and doesn’t seem inclined to change that at all. I guess I have to try harder.

“So, we’re pretending to be a couple with Russian names. Do you speak any Russian?”

Ochen' harasho, spasibo,” she replied, using the Russian words for ‘very well, thanks’.

“That’s something at least. I speak Russian, too. Perhaps we can use that?” He glanced at her briefly. She looked to the casual observer as if she was staring out the window, but she was really watching him via the reflection on the window. He suppressed a smile. Clever. “So what kinds of things do you like?”

She turned to look at him. “Nothing.”

“Nothing? Everyone likes at least something. Even I do. I like music, hot showers, and cookies with milk.”

“I don’t like things. Liking things means developing an attachment or dependence. I don’t depend on anything or like being attached. It impairs my effectiveness.”

“That’s the most you’ve said since I met you.”

“We met half an hour ago,” she pointed out. “Besides, I figured that if I didn’t explain, you wouldn’t shut up about it.”

That startled him. “I’m just trying to get to know you. It’s best to have at least some knowledge of the person you’re going to be working with, especially on a mission like this one where we have to work so closely together.”

“Do you get to know your gun before you go kill someone?”

“Of course not. It’s an inanimate object. It has no thoughts, not feelings, no personality.”

“I am the same as that gun. My purpose is to kill. I don’t care who I’m sent after. I have no opinion on the matter at all. This is simply one more target. This cover story is simply a means by which I achieve my goal. When the mission starts, I will act the part I’ve been instructed to play. When the objective is reached, I will return to being myself until the next time I’m given an assignment. That is my life. Simple.”

“How can you live like that?”

“How can I not?” she countered. “Killing is all I’m good at. I feel no remorse, no guilt, not even pleasure or satisfaction at having done it. People call me cold, cruel, and uncaring. Partially, this is true, but I don’t feel anything at all. This is all I’ve ever known. I’ve been this way my entire life. Why? I don’t know. I don’t really care. Knowledge may be power, but knowing too much is also dangerous.” She turned to look back out the window. “I ask that you don’t inquire into this anymore.”

Krycek was stunned speechless by what she’d told him. She truly is a cold blooded killer, the perfect assassin. Uncaring, unfeeling, with an appearance that, according to the old men, is always changing save for a tattoo on her back. How do you work with someone like her?

His expression must have given her a hint as to his internal thoughts because she snorted in amusement. “Relax, Krycek. I won’t turn on you. You’re required for this mission. I have no reason to kill you now or after we complete our objective. While I don’t care who I kill, I don’t just kill anyone. Only under orders.”

“That’s something of a relief,” he admitted. “We’re here,” he told her, pulling into the parking lot of his apartment.

“This is where you live?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“Huh. It looks like my home up in Canada. Your emotions and such aside, perhaps we are very similar people.”

“That would certainly make things easier. Here. I’ll carry your suitcase up for you.”

“You don’t need to do that.”

“I’m getting into my role as a newlywed man,” he told her casually. “It certainly won’t do for my young wife to be doing something so menial as carry a suitcase.”

Desdemona shook her head. “I meant that it has a handle. You can drag it up. That’s much easier than carrying it.”

Feeling more than a little foolish, he found the handle and dragged it up the short flight of stairs to his apartment. It wasn’t heavy by any means, which was odd. He’d figured that it would be heavier with her being a woman and all. Women tended to need al sorts of things when they traveled: a wide range of clothes, many pairs of shoes, make up, blow drier, hand bags, and all those other feminine things that made a woman’s suitcase feel like one was dragging a car around.

“What do you have in this thing?” he asked, unlocking his door and stepping inside. He stood the suitcase up in the main entryway and went inside. Desdemona took her shoes off before going in. Krycek gave her an odd look.

“I’m Canadian, remember? We always take our shows off before going inside our homes. It’s a thing. Like saying ‘eh?’ all the time. That suitcase just has some clothes in it. Just the basic necessities.”

“You are aware that we have to play the part of a well-to-do couple?”

“I’m familiar with the mission profile, Krycek. My reasoning is this: I don’t know you and until today, I didn’t know where, exactly, we were going. I thought it best to pack a few things that I knew I would need and wait until I knew who I was working with and where I was going before getting more things. This way it would suit the climate and my partner. Understand?”

“You’re quite clever. I take it that this means a shopping trip before we leave?” He steeled himself for the reply.

“Just a short trip to one store. It will give us a chance to work on our cover stories and accustom ourselves to our new names. I hate shopping, but it’s one of those unfortunate parts of life that you can’t really do without if you have any plans of survival. Even thieves have to plan what they’re going to steal. In a way, that’s a form of shopping.”

“You have a funny way of looking at things, Desdemona.”

“You used my full name,” she observed, sitting down beside him on the single, well-used couch. “People usually call me Des.”

“I noticed. That’s what the old men called you. Why?”

“Desdemona means ‘of evil’ and variations thereof, depending on what source you’re looking at. The fact that I have an evil name makes them uncomfortable for some reason.”

“I like anything that makes those old men squirm. Besides,” he said with a smile. “I think it’s kind of pretty.”

Desdemona blinked at him with a blank face. “So, this mission. A Russian couple from New York. Is it really wise to speak any Russian at all?”

She’s avoiding my compliment on her name. Odd. “I think we should. We’re clearly Russian, so why not play the part. I’m fully fluent, but we don’t need to always speak it.”

“Good. I’m a little rusty, but I’ll pick it up again quickly.”

“It would also be a good way to prevent certain things from being overheard. Not a lot of people speak fluent Russian. We can use it for planning our moves regarding our target if we’re in danger of being overheard.”

Desdemona nodded thoughtfully. “I’m sure we can disguise it by pretending that we’re really saying something else.”

“Like whispering sweet nothings to each other,” he suggested, leaning to whisper that in her ear.

Milaya moya Pyotr,” she whispered back suggestively.

“Kiska, dorogaya moya,” he whispered back, nibbling the side of her neck, causing her to giggle.

“I’m sorry. Your facial hair is tickling my neck.”

“I’ll be sure to be clean shaven during our mission then. I can’t have you breaking out into giggles every time we’re pretending to get snuggly. It might break our cover.”

“As a note, I prefer the look of clean shaven men to scruffy ones.”

“A ha! So you do like something.”

“I didn’t say like, I said prefer. There’s a distinct difference. I prefer the look of a clean shaven man, but I don’t dislike ones with facial hair. Understand?”

Krycek sighed. “I’m going to have a hot shower and head to bed. We should at least start getting used to sleeping in the same bed.”

“Agreed,” she said nodding. “Shower. I’ll get my pajamas on and climb into bed.”

“I thought all newly married couples slept naked on their honeymoons. Easier access that way.”

“I hadn’t thought of that part of this mission. The naked part, yes, but…intercourse?”

“Is that going to be a problem for you?”

“No, it’s just…it’s…it’s just been a while.”

“I’m glad to hear that you’re not a virgin.”

“And you?”

He smiled wearily. “Not since high school.”

“Well, at least you know what you’re doing in that regard, even though we’ll both have to pretend otherwise just in case anyone is watching us.”

Krycek caught Desdemona up in his arms and planted a sweet kiss on her lips. “Dorogaya Kiska, let’s give those filthy peepers a good show.”

Taking his cue, she rubbed her thigh against his suggestively. “Ya vsyo sdelayu kak nado,” she purred into his head before pealing away to rummage through her suitcase. “You may want to get that shower. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.”

Krycek sighed, doing his best to ignore the stirrings deep inside him. He stripped and got into the shower.  A shower. That will calm me down. A nice, long shower to help me forget that this porcelain doll of a woman is sleeping in my bed tonight and for the next week with that long hair and those eyes…Damn it! ‘I’ll do everything perfectly’ she said. I don’t know how I’m supposed to stay focused on our mission if she acts her part out perfectly. Grated, she claims to be emotionless and uncaring, so perhaps she’ll be able to keep her focus. It dawned on him. That’s why she was chosen to work with me. Her personality makes her perfect. She can act her part perfectly and keep both of us in focus.

He got out and dried himself off. He hung the towel back up and walked into his bedroom. She’s going to see my naked a lot this week, so she may as well get used to it. He grabbed a pair of shorts out of his dresser and turned to look at the bed, nearly dropping the shorts. She appeared to be sound asleep already. With her long black hair fanned out around her, she looked even more like an immaculate porcelain doll. He put his shorts on and pulled back the covers. All she had on was a black tank top and a matching pair on panties. What was it that my mom always used to tell me? A girl who wears black underwear desperately wants to have sex one day? Something to that effect. She’s already said that she has before. I shouldn’t read too much into this.

Desdemona woke briefly as he climbed into bed, but fell asleep quickly again. “Dobroy nochi. Good night, Desdemona.”