Welcome To The Harem

Love, Power, Freedom by Vanzetti
Summary: XF/24 crossover. One question matters, but what is the correct answer? Set post-The Truth, between S1 and S2 of 24.

The problem with setting aside the morning to do your taxes is that
(if you're me) chasing plot bunnies is far more appealing. This is
for the Guilty Pleasures challenge, because that's what crossovers
are for me. Except for the guilt, anyway.

Have mercy--in accordance with the challenge rules, this has not
been examined by a beta reader.


Title: Love, Power Freedom
Author: Vanzetti (vanzetti@populli.net)
Archive: Yes, with headers intact
Category: XF/24 snippet (Marita Covarrubias, Nina Myers)
Disclaimer: The X-Files universe is the property of Chris Carter, 10-
13 Productions and Fox Television; 24 is the property of 20th
Century Fox as well. I use these characters and situations without
permission and for no money.
Rating: PG
Summary: One question matters, but what is the correct answer? Set
post-The Truth, between S1 and S2 of 24.

The blonde had eyes like ice, not a hair out of place, and as for
her dress, Nina would have bet her last cigarette that she'd bought
it in France: it was just the right kind of dowdy. It didn't matter
what she was claiming to be. Nina knew what she was.

Her guards walked her in and sat her down. Cool eyes flicked over
her and the blonde said, "Take those cuffs off." One of the men
started to protest, but at the lift of an eyebrow he bowed his head
and obeyed. Nina placed her hands flat on the table and smiled.
She had always approved of power.

"Miss Myers," the woman began. "I'm here from the State
Department. We have a few questions we believe you can help us

"You should already know that I'm refusing to answer any questions."

"It would be in your interest to answer mine," the woman said.

Nina simply looked at her. There was no hint of fear on the other
woman's face, no emotion of any kind. The silence stretched out
between them across the table until the other woman smiled and
opened the folder in front of her.

At least the questions were different: nothing about any plan to
subvert the U.S. government, which after all the woman no doubt knew
more than enough about. This time it was one after another about
Russian involvement in Serbia; each time Nina repeated the same
words, "I cannot answer that."

The only evidence of irritation came at the very end. The woman
snapped the folder shuit and commented, "It's a shame that you
insist on not cooperating."

"Why should I?" Nina asked. "You won't release me." She wondered
if the other woman knew about the basement rooms she'd been taken to
more than once. She hadn't answered the questions there, either.

"As you say," the other woman said and stood. She paused in the
doorway and asked in Russian, "Did you love any of them?"

It was, Nina suspected, the only question that mattered, the reason
for the whole interview. She considered her response
carefully. "Why?" she asked in the same language.

"If I am to arrange your release, I need to know the answer."

Nina nodded. It was a question of her reliability. "No."

She was surprised to see pity in the other woman's eyes. "Very
well," she said in English. "If you change your mind about
answering my questions, you may have the prison administrator
contact me: Marita Covarrubias." Then she was gone, leaving only
the scent of her perfume drifting in the air.

Back in her cell, Nina stared up at the security camera. After all
this time, hiding her thoughts came naturally, even her dreams were
censored. The grant of a name, among all her anonymous
interrogators: surely that was the sign she had passed the test.
She had told herself again and again that hope was an illusion, that
the promises and threats she was exposed to were of no account. The
cool words echoed through her mind: "Did you love any of them?" Yes
or no, truth or lie: she'd had a fifty percent chance of getting it
right, better odds than she'd had in years. She allowed herself a
small smile. Love. Who cared about love, when freedom and power
were on the table?


Please send feedback to vanzetti@populli.net