Best Short Story

Araxdelan:

I am honored to once again be presenting this category. When at their best, short stories are my favorite type. When properly crafted, they condense all the emotion and drama of a longer story into an easily read bit, allowing me to get my fill of M/K when Im short on time. But condensing so much into so little is no easy task, and Id like to applaud our finalists for all their success.




The nominees are:


Fires* by Broken Angel


The darkness dances in the slight hollows under your cheekbones, in the delicate beat of the pulse at your throat, and in the shadows under your eyes, etched so deeply as to resemble scars, permanently engraved into your visage by sights no man should see.

Your aristocratic mouth is twisted into a merciless smile - the ruthless amusement of a madman - but the jade glitter of your eyes is as cold and as sane as diamonds.

You are perfectly still as I approach, leaning against the wall, the pallor of your face - so white against the darkness of your soul - reminding me of some pagan deity; the type who feeds off blood and terror, lowering your mouth to the willing veins of your victims, gently releasing their empty shells into oblivion with a slow smile, stained wine-red with death.

Your eyes shine with black amusement, mocking and cruel, and the vicious twist of your mouth sends a shudder through my veins.

You move suddenly, as quickly and as silently as a panther. Your face is now mere inches from mine, and you look directly into my eyes, moving aside the night-black curtain of your lashes.

I can see the uncharted green depths of your eyes in their entirety, layer upon layer of deception and death, each more blood-stained than the last.



It Has to be You by Zoe Takashi


Mulder's weight is on my body, his hand around my throat. Suddenly, I can't breathe. I grope futilely at his arm, trying to pry his fingers away from my neck.

His voice hisses in my ear, "I saw you. I know you were there."

He has to mean the lab. How he saw me isn't important, getting his hand off my throat is.

"You're going to get killed, Krycek." His voice is suddenly calm. "Someone's going to take you out. FBI... Consortium... someone's going to do it. You take too many chances..." His words trail away and the pressure is removed from my throat.

I gasp, sucking oxygen into my burning lungs. I'm dimly aware of my T-shirt being ripped, then Mulder's hands yanking my fly open. He gives a grunt of frustration as he struggles to pull off my pants.

"I can't let that happen. You're mine, Alex." He sounds deranged but I don't resist as he pushes my legs up, dropping them on his shoulders. He's still wearing his suit and my mind absurdly zeroes in on the sensation of the soft wool rubbing against my bare skin.



Kachexia by Sin


No sane person would do the things I have done.

I don't think I realised just how out of control I was until I saw that look on Mulder's face the last time I saw him. I know I said a person can't judge their own sanity by someone else's gauge, or at least, it was something to that effect, but it wasn't Mulder who made me believe that I'd finally lost it. He only made me stop and think. Actually, it was the disbelief in his eyes that did the stopping.

I think I've always counted on Mulder's ability to outthink me or at least to be able to make those intuitive leaps of his and realise my plan after I've gone. I've seen him angrily perplexed and severely pissed off at me, but I've always been able to tell that that amazing mind of his was fitting all the pieces together in the background. What I have never seen before, until that night, was a confused disbelief that overrode the haunted shadows in his eyes. You know, maybe he needs to believe in my actions the way that I have always believed in his? It's something I should probably think about at a later date.

Anyway, I think it was that single look that hit me upside the head like a piece of 2x4 and made me realise just how erratic I'd become. It was almost as if my brain had switched off and I was running on autopilot, just along for the ride. It's not a pleasant feeling, that. Been there before, literally, and I never want to feel like that again. Recognising my own instability, I did the only thing I could do in such an instance.

I ran away.



And Then There is Silence* by Revenant


"This is just another game to you, isn't it," Krycek says, in a high, breathy voice that sounds as if he's been punched in the gut. "I'm just another head to fuck around with." He sounds angry, but when Mulder looks up he is still slumped on the bed, only a dull blush of red that has spread across those sharp Slavic cheekbones and the white knuckles of his hand show that he is experiencing any kind of strong emotion.

"Krycek, I'm sorry..." the admission is startled out of him, and he doesn't get a chance to find out what he is apologising for, as Krycek explodes into action, whirling up and off the bed to slam him against the wall, real arm locked across his throat, body pressing him implacably back into the plasterboard. His eyes blaze green fire; his white teeth gleam dully where his upper lip has drawn back in an unconscious snarl.

"No, Mulder, you're not sorry. Sorry is knowing that you've sacrificed your only chance at a career you've wanted ever since you can remember for a woman who's already dead. Sorry is having your fucking arm hacked off with a dull blade because you tried to do someone a favour and they kicked you in the teeth. *Sorry* is waking up one day with nothing in the world but your gun and your hatred and the blood on your hands and realising that *you* are the bogeyman. Sorry? You wouldn't know sorry if it bit you on the *ass* you selfish prick!" He is breathing hard, as if he's just run all the way from the Hoover building, and Mulder can feel tiny flecks of spittle on his jaw from the force of Krycek's delivery. Despite all his anger, though, the arm at Mulder's throat has remains a fetter only, not once coming close to cutting off his air. Gradually, Krycek's breathing slows, and his body relaxes a little, until he is almost leaning on Mulder. Mulder remains silent. There are no words to say - this is Krycek's revelation. Slowly, as if against his will, Krycek's head slowly dips 'till his forehead rests lightly on his own elbow, where it lies on Mulder's shoulder. "I just want..." he says softly, hopelessly, trailing off into silence.



Still Life at Gunpoint by Wildy


I can't let myself be afraid. It's rule number one.It takes precedence over anything. That's why I'm in bed with Mulder.He never lets me feel good for long.If anything let me feel good, I would break in the transition. So I'm not afraid. It's just an adrenaline rush. Terror, yes. Fear, no.

Inner voice, natter, natter. He's gonna blow my head off. Mulder is crazy. Nobody knows how crazy, but I've been finding out. Teach me to spoon with psychopaths.

Got a few issues there, Alex. Some baggage. Yeah, I've given Old Spender some blow jobs and yeah, it was mildly unpleasant. But at least I wasn't horny. I am now. I'm gonna die and it's giving me a terminal boner. Ruin my afterglow.

It was a good one, sweaty and nasty and perfectly brutal. Brutally perfect. We scream. In pain. Then I collapse under the rubble of my walls, all torn down, all blown away. Only him. Only Mulder. My bones trust him, against the rest of me they trust him and go soft. And I felt his hand sneaking under the pillow but I thought he was cradling my head.

Gunpoint. My own damn gun. And his other arm against my chest, the hug from Hades. And the hot whisper of his breath tickling my ear. Afterplay, foreplay, gunplay. We do that. But he started talking and this was something else. Like murder. In his voice.







And the winner is...

It Has to be You by Zoe Takashi