Simple Things by Rhi
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Author's Notes:
Disclaimer: They're not mine, either of them. And I didn't expect this. 1013 owns one, Rysher: Panzer/Davis owns the other, and it's got to be an AU. Although he insists he just 'got better.'
Rated: PG-13, out of deference for FitzCairn's ego rather than for content.





It's an odd thing, Krycek finds, this 'peace.' It's... quiet. Maddeningly so, some days. And he never knew that sleep could drag him down like this. He's known sleep that dropped him in a straight shot down a bottomless well to hit the water, finally, with the jarring crack of an alarm or wake-up call or a scratching of lock-picks at the door. This floats down over him like a comforter shaken out over a too-tired houseguest (if he ever had house-guests) and lies there, warm and heavy and reassuring with its weight.

He needed it, he supposes. How else explain the two months of sleeping twelve, and fourteen, and sometimes sixteen hours at a stretch? Weeks on end of staying awake only enough to walk out for food, whether from a restaurant or grocery, and then to look at the news or access the internet through a succession of relays out of habit more than current concern. Weeks where waking time was spent reading novels of manners or character, never fantasy with its quests and heroes and never science fiction with its aliens. Horror... well, horror novels simply don't frighten him. He's lived with worse. Why read about it?

And playing computer games. Using a computer for fun is... startlingly pleasant, with an illicit tinge of time wasting that only adds to the enjoyment. Military campaigns that don't involve real people seems too strange; the game that allowed him to hire ninja to assassinate enemy generals was a little too close to home. But the city building games have been fun, and the Sims (where he can watch 'normal' lives) makes him laugh almost hysterically at times.

Sooner or later, he knows, he'll have to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. At some point, even sleep, and books, and music, and computer games will pall. Right now, though, it's too much effort.

Besides. He never thought he'd make it this far, anyway. Why tempt fate?

~*~*~*~*~*~


"I say. Can you spare time for a game of darts? These blighters don't seem to have much sense of leisure." The curly-haired blond man added in a quieter voice, "Or humor, for that matter. Can't see why not. It's not raining, they have beer money, what more did they want?"

Krycek paused, then, his attention caught by the unflagging cheer of the man's voice and the oddly comforting scent of his pipe. Smells had been tugging at him lately; too often they'd been warning indicators for him, but lately they just... were. Pleasant, unpleasant, soothing, stimulating, but not something that made his adrenaline course or his blood pool still in his veins.

"Didn't mean any offense," the blond added when he saw the leather glove on Alex's hand. "Hugh FitzCairn. Fitz to all my friends."

Why not? Krycek thought, amused suddenly. "Krycek. Alex Krycek. And that's not my throwing arm, so... why not?"

"Good. You pay for the game, I'll buy the round."

It shouldn't have been that simple, but it was. That was a novelty, too. Krycek barely remembered how to do 'simple.' Spending time with Fitz was easy, however. Drinking and playing darts, congratulations on decent throws (no matter whose) and commiseration on lousy ones (the same).... When they got hungry, they strolled down the sidewalk to find what Fitz insisted was some of the best stew in town. If he was wrong, Krycek decided, it wasn't by much. Not only was the food inexpensive, but the scenery was worth watching. Fitz quite cheerfully admired anything good-looking that went by, primarily female but perfectly willing to point out the men as well.

So Krycek sat at the café table, and drank coffee, and enjoyed the secondhand smoke from the pipe rather than light up a cigarette, and listened to Fitz talk. He couldn't remember the last time he'd smiled so much, even if Fitz seemed to have made it a personal goal to get him to laugh instead.

"So?" Fitz finally asked, sprawling back in his chair. "What in hell do you do for fun, laddy buck, because you certainly don't seem to get out much. That smile is so new it ought to still have creases from the store box."

That, finally, got a husky chuckle and Krycek said simply, "This is the first time in years I've had fun. I finally... retired a couple months ago."

Fitz frowned, a completely unreasonable expression on that mobile face. "Years? Good God, what were you thinking?"

Krycek shrugged. "I was a little busy staying alive."

"Well, of course," and Fitz shrugged, as if that were normal. "But you've got to have fun as you go or what's the damn point, Alex?"

Krycek raised an eyebrow. "Does that work for you?"

Fitz shrugged. "All my life. Be bloody boring otherwise, you know. Me, I chase women, and find good places to eat, or good wine and ale -- damn near impossible to find metheglyn lately, more's the pity.... Simple things, lad. Always start with the simple things. Then you'll know what to fall back on. Wine, women, song, friends. Good places to start."

Krycek studied him, wondering what it had been in the tones of Fitz's voice that made him think the man both know what he was talking about... and wasn't saying a few things. "How long have you been having fun, Fitz?"

The blond studied him, and chuckled. "Oh, a decade or eighty. Don't worry about that."

"Eight hundred." Krycek smiled suddenly. "What the hell. All right, old man, what do you think we should do?"

"I think we should take a walk, smile at the ladies, and see what happens."

"Eight hundred and that's the best you can do?" Krycek thought of all the relationships sacrificed to the demands of time, the constraints of war, and asked, "And when they turn you down? Or you just don't have time?"

"Oh, time." Fitz shrugged, and then chuckled. "Alex, lad, even I haven't got time for the pain. You smile, and you tease, and you make them laugh, and yourself. Did no one tell you?"

Krycek considered that. Simple. Too simple. And yet... simple had worked all night. Maybe it could work a while yet. Reading, and sleeping, and listening to music were simple. So was good food and, at least in this case, good company.

It might be worth trying anyway.

"So?" Alex said, pushing his last name aside for a while, and all the memories that were associated with its sounds. "Where do we start?"

Fitz grinned. "I thought we already did."


~~~finis~~~

Written for the X-Files 'Glad' lyric wheel. Lyrics provided were

Haven't Got Time For The Pain
(Carly Simon/Jacob Brackman)

All those crazy nights when I cried myself to sleep
Now melodrama never makes me weep anymore

'Cause I haven't got time for the pain
I haven't got room for the pain
I haven't the need for the pain
Not since I've known you

You showed me how, how to leave myself behind
How to turn down the noise in my mind

Now I haven't got time for the pain
I haven't got room for the pain
I haven't the need for the pain
Not since I've known you

Suffering was the only thing that made me feel I was alive
Thought that's just how much it cost to survive in this world
'Til you showed me how, how to fill my heart with love
How to open up and drink in all that white love
Pouring down from the heaven

I haven't got time for the pain - *
I haven't got room for the pain
I haven't the need for the pain
Not since I've known you