Welcome To The Harem

Beekeeper Series Part 1 of 3 by Nynaeve
Summary: Nynaeve's classic Marita series, the first known in-depth Marita backstory. This part includes Before The Needles, Never Long Enough and This And More.

Beekeeper Series by Nynaeve (nynaeve1723@dnafan.com)

TITLE: Before the Needles (1/1)
by Nynaeve

CATEGORY: V, post-ep
SPOILERS: One Son, tiny ones for a few others, but nothing
KEYWORDS: conspiracy
SUMMARY: Raise your hand if you like doing these. Lost memories
are uncovered. That's all I'm saying.
DISCLAIMER: Chris Carter... yadda, yadda, yadda ...
1013 ... blah, blah, blah. Bottom line: not mine.
FEEDBACK: Yup. Love it. Keep it all in little folders, specifically
marked for each story. Respond to all of it too.
DISTRIBUTION: Anywhere, anytime, just drop me a line so
I can come visit.
DEDICATION: This is weird, but to Rachel, our cat, who demanded
to be brushed late at night, preventing me from sleeping, and
allowing this story, which has been trapped deep within my brain,
to find its way out. I've been wanting to write this for months,
so thank you for the whiny little meows.

Before the Needles

I am shaking, like a leaf, I think the expression is. I?m cold.
and frightened. I?m still very frightened even though I am safe
now. No, I remind myself, I?m not safe. I?ll never be safe again.

I try to think back to the time before the needles. Then I was
important. I was necessary. I wasn?t frightened and I was warm.
I lived on an edge, a precipice of which I knew nothing. I only
saw it as it rushed away from me, as I was pulled into hell. This
is how it usually goes when I try to think of that time; I can?t.
I only recall the rushing feeling, the certain knowledge that I am
damned. I used to scream every time this vision assaulted me. Now
I only whimper and moan. And try to remember the time before the needles.

Sometimes I *can* recall pieces, like those little broken bits of stone
and glass that make up a .... mosaic. I have to search for words now.
I didn?t use to, I know that much. I always knew what to say then.
Slowly, I am rebuilding the mosaic of my life, stone by stone, jagged
sliver of glass by jagged sliver of glass. Images will hover above me
as I fall into the darkness, as its oily arms caress me, envelop me in
a never-ending, hideous embrace. I reach out to them, seeking to clutch
them to me, but they dance away from my fumbling fingers. They shy from
the glance of my memory, until they are half recalled shadows of what was.
In the time before the needles.

When he brought me here and told me I was safe, he showed me all the
things he had arranged for me. He told me how he had made certain
someone would look in on me once a day, bring me food until I could
cook my own, help me bathe and dress myself. He left me books and
magazines to read if I was bored. And television to watch. I couldn?t
explain I don?t get bored anymore. Trying to keep my heart beating,
my lungs breathing, and my mind holding on to the thin edge of sanity
occupy me quite fully. I could barely speak to him, so I nodded and
followed him around the small apartment faithfully, trying to listen to
him, but really only hearing my own screams echo in my head. He promised to
visit me when he could. I sensed something in his voice, something good,
but I didn?t know what or why. I knew I had known him in the time before
the needles, but that was all.

So far, his place in my life is not part of the pattern my memory has
filled in. The woman who comes every day to check on me talks about
how kind he is and how much he must care for me. Her words make me
uneasy, but, like so much else, I don?t know why. Sometimes I weep
when she leaves. I weep for all I have lost and, I think, for all I might
yet lose. I wonder every once in a while if he saved me because he
is kind and cares about me or if there was another reason.

I do not read the books he left or the magazines, although new ones
arrive at frequent intervals. I do look at the pictures. It is the
same with the television. I watch it sometimes, but rarely incorporate
it into my thoughts. I was watching it quite a bit for a while until
the day the woman, Mrs. Simpson, says she found me in a corner, shrieking
and sobbing, my face buried in my hands. She says I kept pointing at
the television set with one hand and wouldn?t quiet down until she
thought to turn it off. She says she?s never seen anyone react in
such a strange manner to a program about bees.

I dream at night. I know you are only supposed to dream when you are
asleep but sometimes I dream while I am awake. I exist in a state
that should be a dream, a nightmare really, but it is real. During
one of these interludes a brief statement comes to me, in a voice I
recognized but could not place. The voice is a woman?s, in a lower
register, melodic, confident, almost cold. She tells me, "You did this."
As I began my familiar descent toward the blackness, I see a flash of
the woman?s face. For the first time in a long while, I scream.
I hear again, "You did this" and recognize my own voice, know it is
my own visage that drifted above me. Myself in the time before the needles.

Before that all of the pieces I saw were of my childhood,
my adolescence, the beginning of my career. I had seen a happy
child, living a pleasing life with a pleasing family. There were
arguments; there always are. They were hurts and disappointments.
Or, I reflect bitterly, I thought there were. Now I know what those
things truly are. This flash of myself, older, set-looking, both
relieved and frightened me. I half hoped I would begin to remember
events from my adulthood, but I was also terrified of what I might

Words half remembered; it was the voice that made the impression.
"You did this." Measured tones, a cold familiarity, an abiding
sense of indifference, recrimination and accusation, as well.
What had I done? I felt haunted by my own self and by the memories
that must be locked deep within my brain. I turned those three
words over and over in my head, wondering, searching for any clues
to tell me what I had done. I struggled to recall my face as I had
said these. I realized with a jolt that I had been pretty; judging by the
magazines that arrived, maybe even beautiful to some.

That prompts me to go into the bathroom and study myself in the
mirror there. A bitter chuckle. I am not pretty now. I no longer
need Mrs. Simpson to help bathe and clothe me. Those are skills
I have relearned, although she still cooks for me because otherwise I
probably would not bother to eat. I think I intrigue her. I should.
I intrigue myself hourly. I don?t really know how long I?ve been here,
how long it?s been since he rescued me. In the time of the needles,
I lost all sense of moments occurring, passing, and preparing to
occur again. It was like existing in the middle of a river, which
runs all around you in a current, sometimes fast, sometimes slow,
but in which you are not swept. It becomes easier to ignore
the current than to long to join it.

I shake myself from my reverie and refocus my eyes on my reflection.
I recall from my self-vision a woman will well-cut, expertly styled
hair. I smirk, almost angrily, at the figure before me now. Lank,
wispy, despite good care now, it is as though my hair has
literally been turned to straw. A flash from a childhood story
comes to me. I need Rumplestiltskin to spin it into gold for me.
I think about my eyes. I could not see them clearly, but I know
they were bright and shining, possibly blue, but I really can?t say.
Now they are great pools of dark. I keep the lights low because my
eyes are sensitive. He told me that was because my pupils, which
sense and control the amount of light received by the mechanisms
of my eye, are damaged. My pupils are all I can really see. I have
to stop or I will fall off the edge again, into hell. I have remembered
another saying that I knew from the time before the needles. "The eyes
are the window to the soul." I shudder. Mine is empty.

I think of the skin on the face I saw. It was pale, creamy, looked
soft and nearly flawless. It was smooth and taut, not a wrinkle to
be seen. Now I have bags under my eyes that never dissipate no matter
how much I sleep. A network of fine lines has sprung up around
my eyes and lips. Not so fine lines are etched into my forehead and
are beginning in my cheeks. The skin around my chin sags. If I can
become totally calm the lines fade well into my skin and I find myself
almost looking at the face I saw. Almost, if you ignore the eyes.

I try my voice. I hear in my mind the echo again, "You did this."
Confident. Musical. Cold. I choke out the words. My voice is
broken, weak, harsh. And I am no closer to knowing the meaning of
those words. I beg silently to know what I did. I know I?m
being punished. Punishment I can accept, but I long to know my crime.
Despair sinks her sharp claws into me, pulls me to the floor, until
I crumble in a heap and sob. Untouched by the fluid motion of time
around me, I lay on the floor and sob until I have no tears left.
The tears leave me oddly at peace. I am given a gem this time, a
shining bit of the mosaic. I could not cry in the time of the needles.
"And you never saw a need to before," my voice whispers to me.
This time it is warmer; it has pity for me I think.

He comes to visit me the next day. I want to ask him if I was
pretty, if he had cared about that before, but I don?t. I am
afraid he will tell me I was. I think it mattered to me that I
was admired. I wonder briefly if he loved me or if I loved him.
I have a sensation that we didn?t, not really. The magazines have
advertisements and in some of them you can tell the couple is 'in love'.
I doubt that if I asked any such pictures of us would exist. The
woman whose face I saw was not that of a woman who even worried about
those things.

He eats dinner with me. Food he brought to me. He expresses
concern that I still don?t cook for myself. I shrug, in reply.
Food doesn?t really interest me. I eat to ease his concerns over
me; to make Mrs. Simpson fuss less. Tonight he is happy about
something. Something he has been planning, been trying to make
come about, is succeeding. He has brought wine and candles.
He makes a toast before we drink the wine. He grins and says
only, "To technology." I am startled to find myself admiring
his smile. We would have made a stunning pair, I muse. I think
it might be the first 'normal' thought I?ve had since he saved me.
I hold onto it, tightly, not wanting it to slip from me. I look at
him across the candlelight; my attention is diverted by the thin
wisps of smoke rising from the new wicks. I have seen him like
this before, across a haze of smoke. Only it wasn?t candles.

I take a sip of wine, savoring its taste on my tongue and in my mouth.
I swallow it, relishing the slight burning feeling it makes within me.
This moment is normal, human. I am grateful. I start to tell him so,
to thank him. I stop, the words formed on my lips, but utterly muted.

I see him, the first time I ever saw him. Through a haze of smoke.
He is moving with grace and confidence. He is almost arrogant.
It is cold out and we are both dressed against the weather.
We are not friends; we were never friends; I suddenly doubt we will
ever be friends. We were vying against each other for control,
allies only when it seemed mutually beneficial. The darkness begins
to suck at me, to draw me down into its embrace. I have never fought
it before, but I fight it now. This is too important to let go. I
swallow more wine and the black recedes. I store that piece of
information away for later reference. We are in Russia; he is
speaking Russian. We are in a field; it is filled with burned out
cars. In the cars are bodies; hundreds, I think, of charred remains.
We both want to know why, but not so we can help anyone else. We want
the information to further our own agendas. Another sip of wine sends
the black away again, after it tried to creep up on me from the side.

"Oh..." I gasp.

He looks at me. There is concern in his face.

"I..." I begin to say.

"What do you remember?" he asks gently. I remember gentle is
not a word I would have ever used for Alex Krycek.

"You...Me...Russia." I stop. I know my eyes have gone wide.
More than remembering about Alex Krycek, I am remembering about
myself as well. I had assumed *they* had taken my soul when
they had taken me, done those things to me; now I find out I had
given my soul away long before. There is more. There will always
be more. "The boy."

He is nodding at me. He still looks concerned. Their secrets,
what they wanted from me when I worked for them and what they
did to me when it pleased them, are locked within me. Krycek
wants those secrets. He will use them as ruthlessly as I would
have once, in the time before the needles. Horror fills me as
I have glimpsed a fraction of my self and as I know this is the
source of his concern. Another children?s story leaps to my mind.
I am his goose with the golden eggs. He will protect me, comfort
me, see to my every need until he has what he wants from me.
I wonder stupidly why I keep remembering fairy tales at these moments.

"Anything else?" he asks, voice still gentle, still concerned.
I no longer trust his voice. I hope he will trust mine though.

I shake my head, trying to look miserable. It?s easy; I am
miserable, although the reason for it is different that what he
assumes. "It comes like that, bits and pieces at a time."

He nods again. "Do you remember *anything* else?
From before Russia? or after?"

I shake my head again. Darkness. Deep, terrible, freezing darkness, and heat.
Scalding, horrific, penetrating heat. >

"I?m sorry, " he says. I don?t know exactly for what he?s
sorry. Sorry that I remember no more? Sorry that they did
this to me and that he?s the one that handed me over to them?
Sorry that he used me in the past and is planning on using me
as much as he can in the future?

This time I nod and let tears fall from my eyes. I am crying
for the child I remember, for the teenager full of dreams, and
for the young woman so sure of herself, so confident. I
am crying because I allowed myself to be tricked, to be used,
and because I paid a price no one should have to pay for those
mistakes. I am crying because I have learned in one sharp moment
and the thousands of smooth, drawn-out ones that followed it, that
I can trust no one, maybe not even myself.

End, "Before The Needles".
Continued in "Never Long Enough"

TITLE: Never Long Enough (1/1)
by Nynaeve

CATEGORY: V, post-ep
SPOILERS: One Son, Patient X, The Red and the Black; pretty much any
ep with Marita.
KEYWORDS: conspiracy
SUMMARY: Marita recovers more of her past.
DISCLAIMER: Chris Carter... yadda, yadda, yadda ...
1013 ... blah, blah, blah. Bottom line: not mine.
FEEDBACK: Yup. Love it. Keep it all in little folders, specifically
marked for each story. Respond to all of it too.
DISTRIBUTION: Anywhere, anytime, just drop me a line so
I can come visit.
NOTES: You are going to need to read "Before the Needles" to
make much sense of this one.
DEDICATION: To all the usual suspects for all the usual reasons.
Jenn, you are a terrific friend. Your glowing enthusiasm for my
work keeps me writing. My husband who betas all of this willingly.
Alyssa, you?re responsible for this obsession; it was minor until
you clued me in last year about F/X and reruns; to those of you I
correspond with and beta for, your words inspire me. And for
everyone who wrote feedback and told me to pitch this tent and
keep going...here we go.

Never Long Enough

Let me tell you what I remember. My name is Marita Covarrubias.
A long time ago I was a Special Representative to the Secretary
General of the United Nations. A long time ago this was a cover
for my real work. A long time ago I first saw Alex Krycek through a
haze of smoke rising from incinerated cars in a Russian field.
We met over the bodies of dead peasants. We fought for control
of the situation, each hoping to advance the hidden agendas which
guided our respective lives. A long time ago I underestimated both the
single-mindedness of Alex Krycek and the ruthlessness of the men for
whom I worked. That was all a long time ago ... though it will never
be long enough for me. I underestimated Alex Krycek once and don?t ever
plan to do that again. Tonight he brought me dinner, pleased with himself
and the progress of certain plans he?d made. I watched him through the
candles he had lit and saw fragments of my past cohese around me. It was
Alex who refused to help me when I was in *their* possession, and Alex
rescued me from them as they finished with me. He may not have known what
they would do to me; I don?t know. I know only I owe him the life I have
now. I fully intend to repay him for that, as soon as I am able.

Alex wants to know what I remember. I can see that in his eyes, in the
set of his mouth. I can hear it in the practiced nonchalance of his voice.
I remember just enough about him to know his prime motivation is not a regard
for me. He believes if I can recover my memories, he can use me (again) to
further his own plans. But right now all I truly remember of Alex Krycek is
watching him through a haze of smoke. And with the boy...I remember the boy.

Almost since he brought me here, saved me, I suppose I have to say, I have
recalled the boy. I didn?t know until tonight who he was. I thought he was
a demon, conjured up from the depths of my hell-twisted brain. His face,
deformed, defiled, mocked my needle induced amnesia, terrified my haunted,
craven soul. I thought ( hoped) he was a figment of my delusions. I tell
Krycek only that I recall the boy himself. I claim to remember nothing else.
I hope I am still the consummate liar I was, a long time ago.

Alex soon sees that I am growing weary. I am exhausted really. Never, in
the time I?ve been here, have I remembered so much in one day, in only a few
hours. Never have my memories caused such deep pain, glaring confusion, and
searing bitterness. I yearn to be alone, to try to organize this information
I?ve encountered. I will not try to make sense of it, for I doubt anyone can
really do that at all. I need him to leave. I sense that, in the darkness
of my mind, I may stumble unexpectedly upon more, much more, about Alex
Krycek. I want to be alone when I fall into that particular circle of hell.

He leaves, slowly, waiting I see, watching me closely. He makes an inane,
pointless remark about the dishes we have dirtied, telling me to leave them
for Mrs. Simpson, adding I look too tired to clean them. He tells me I am
looking better in general and assures me I can trust him with my returning
memories. I smile weakly, muttering about how they come to me sporadically
and often I have no idea what they signify. We stand at the doorway and for
the very first time, I wonder where I am.

I live in a spacious, well decorated, nicely furnished one bedroom apartment.
It is located in a high rise building. I know this because when I look out
the windows, the street is a long way beneath me. I am relatively certain
the lower levels contain businesses of numerous types. I can see other high
rise buildings, some close, some further from me, fading into the distance
on hazy days. Mrs. Simpson will sometimes talk about the traffic, the violent
crime rate, or the breezes coming from the river. Until now it has not seemed
to matter where I am, but I realize I am going to have to determine this fact.

I am silent, looking at him, but seeing past him. The same image, Krycek
wreathed in smoke, striding across that field, fixes itself in my gaze.
A sudden emotion stabs at me; I long to turn back time, to be in that field
again, to tell him it can all be different. I want him to know what hell
my life will become if we continue on the course we charted that day.
Unhappily I know it may make no difference to him, but I want it to.
I want to believe he is just the way I saw him that day, before I forgot
anything about him.

He raises his hand and tilts my chin until I am looking up at him. I
feel tears brimming in my eyes and fight to control them. I must not cry.
I must force my memories to strengthen me, not further debilitate me. I
must belay all the suspicions he will soon harbor about me. I bite the
inside of my cheek until the pain pushes the tears away from my eyes.
I let out a soft breath.

"Marita," he says softly, in the voice he should have used long ago, when
whatever words he might say could have still meant something. "It will be
all right. You will remember ... things."

I can only nod. Terror grips me. My teeth press harder against the
sensitive flesh of my mouth. Pain is the only way I can control my
feelings right now. His hesitation reminds me how carefully I must
conceal from him the things he wants to know. If I don?t, he will
finish with me and the best part of that will be its quickness.
Krycek took me from Fort Marlene not to end my suffering, but to
prolong it just long enough to make it useful to him. When it suits
him, he will put a bullet in my brain.

"Sweetheart, I?ll take care of you," he promises. I grimace mentally,
knowing the double edged meaning of his words, knowing, too , he has
never called me ?sweetheart? and meant it.

"Thank you," I manage to choke out.

He releases my chin and slides his arm around my waist, pulling me
gently to him. Shock washes over me, along with suspicion. He has
never done anything like this before. He has never tried to woo me.
If I was not curious about some of those memories I may encounter, I
am now. I sense they will not have this soft, tender quality.

Alex?s lips close on mine gently, almost reverently. Despite myself,
despite what lurks in darkened corners of my memory, I respond to him.
He holds me to him more firmly, his fingers splayed against my side,
kneading the almost-ticklish flesh ever so softly. I allow myself to
sink into him, relishing the feel of his body against mine. He kisses
me until we both need air. He rests his head against my hair, breathing
heavily into my ear. His hand falls from its place at my side. He lifts
it to caress my hair.

He whispers, "I?d kill them for what they?ve done to you, if they
weren?t already dead."

He is lying, but I cannot let him see that I know his deception.
I sigh heavily, miserably. Yes, in the strange world we?ve made,
Alex Krycek is trying to woo me. He has his reasons. I decide I
am going to play his game as long as I need to, or as long as I can.

I raise myself slightly, so I can lean up and kiss him. It is a cooler
kiss, but one with, I hope, the promise of warmer moments ahead. Let him
think he can woo the new Marita, that wounded, shadowy wretch he saved.
All the while the old Marita will be rebuilding herself, finding a way to
free herself from his lovely prison.. "Good night," I say softly.
"Thank you for dinner."

He smiles and leaves.

Leaving the detritus of our evening together where it is, I walk into
the bathroom. I stare at myself. I smile. I manage to inject warmth,
humor, and gaiety into the action. It never touches my eyes. Two of a
kind, Krycek and I. His smile never touched his eyes either.
But I have a weapon he doesn?t know I have: I remember not to trust him

Truly exhausted I move silently into my bedroom. I dress for bed and
slip between the cool, cottony sheets. I do something I have never
done before. I try to summon the memories. Though there is much I
have wanted to know, I have never sought to do this. Tonight I look
for the precipice; tonight I long to leap, to fall into the embrace of
my own hell. Tonight I begin the process not only of remembering, but
of reconstructing.

My name is Marita Covarrubias. A long time ago, I was a Special
Representative to the Secretary General of the United Nations. A
long time ago that was a cover for my real work. A long time ago
I met Alex Krycek. I underestimated both him and the men for whom
I worked. All of that is, indeed, a long time in my past. I have
begun to know the facts of my life; now I want to discover the motives.
I want to know why ... and I want to know where I should go from here.
I do not know how much time I have to do this, but I fear it will never
be long enough.


I begin the walk I hope will bring memories to me. I dance along the
sheer edge of amnesia, willing myself to fall over the precipice. I
seek the hell reserved especially for me, willing myself to chance
encounters with the demons of my past. I will not cry out. I will
not fight the freefall. I will force myself to drift slowly through
the atmosphere of my subconscious, gathering images, sounds, all the
elements of memory. Tonight I welcome the inevitable pain, the ache
for things lost burns brightly in me. My toe slips. I pivot
slowly, then fling myself into nothingness.

I cringe and moan weakly as memory begins to assail me. I want to cry
out to the little girl I see, riding on her father?s shoulders. I want
to warn her. I wish I could console the adolescent weeping in the aftermath
of first heartbreak. If only she knew how much worse things will be.
I watch the college student, peer over her shoulder at the scientific
text she is scanning, prepping diligently for an important exam. "Fail it,"
I whisper in her ear, knowing she will not hear me. I see myself, fate set
in stone long before I could have known what it would mean.

The sensation of weightlessness buoys me uncomfortably. I search for
something solid to cling to. I hope for a memory that does not leave
me aching and bitter, questioning its meaning. Involuntarily a small
scream slips from my mouth as memory tears into me. I am no longer
simply a witness to my past, but an unwilling participant. I am staring
at lights. They should be bright, should glare down at me, but they do
not. I see it all through a veil of black, a sheen of viscous oil. I
whine piteously, beg and plead with the men I can sense around me.
Words, the last I will be conscious of thinking for some time,
race through my mind. "Not the Black Oil. Not that... Oh God, help
me. It hurrrrtssss...." I try to scream but cannot. Through my veins
and arteries, under my skin in the complex roadmap of life, this alien
substance travels, invades, decimates. I am exploding with heat,
imploding with ice. Frigid lava slides sluggishly through my body as
the alien entity takes control.

I am breathing in heavy, ragged gasps, sucking air into my lungs as
quickly as I can, feeling sweat slick my body. My hair is damp against
the pillow. My cheeks are streaked with tears. My hands flutter to my
face, birds newly released from a lengthy captivity. Fingers trace the
salty liquid?s path. My tongue darts out and I taste it, savoring its
bitterness, its humanity. Memory recedes and I am again in my reality,
my present. I am shaking violently, uncontrollably.

I sit up, shivering even though the ambient temperature is carefully
regulated and always perfectly comfortable. I slide my legs over the
edge of the mattress and rise. I lift my robe from the foot of the
bed and wrap it around myself. I pad softly to the kitchen, moving
with silent, catlike precision. I am alone. I know this, but still
I am as quiet as I can be, jumping at the shadows that surround me.
I wait for the demons to lurch from their concealment and grab me,
ready to pull me back to their dark abode. Tears are falling freely
now from my eyes. Her voice, my voice, whispers deep inside me, a
warning bell. "More. So much more to come..."

In the kitchen I snap on the light. I scan the counters with a near
frenzy, desperation laying her shaky foundations in my soul. My
attempts to reconstruct my past with Alex Krycek failed dismally.
Now I need to banish the visions that still stutter step on the
fringes of my mind. I find the wine bottle, still about half full,
and pour a glass. Taking a gulp of the wine, I lean against the counter.
As it did during dinner with Alex, the wine pushes away the boundaries
of hell. I sigh, relief flooding me. In one more draught I drain the
glass. The fire in the alcohol burns away the last vestiges of my terror.
I have recovered another piece of the lost mosaic of my life, one with which
I must live now. One which foreshadows more of its same kind awaiting me.

I refill my glass and wander to the couch in the great room. I nestle down
into the cushions, pulling my robe more tightly about me. I take a small
sip of the wine. *They* experimented on me. That thought crystallizes
suddenly in my mind. I knew that before tonight, but I had only vague
conceptions of exactly what that meant.

I continue to sip the wine, staring at nothingness, glad for once for
the holes in my memory. I sigh heavily and lean my head against the
back of the couch. My eyes begin to trace the plaster whorls of the
ceiling. My mind drifts in lazy circles, contemplating the magic of
plaster and paint. Another sigh leaks out of me; I feel myself deflating,
a balloon deprived of the potent helium of terror. I bring my legs up
and shift so that I am lying on my side. I turn my head to gaze at the
blank television screen. I haven?t watched it really since that day
I saw the bees. Yet another mystery from my past. "Why?" I whisper
brokenly, tears still welling in my voice.

Unexpectedly I hear the voice again, the one I know was mine. "We have
them on their knees, Alex." The voice is husky, urgent, triumphant.
His eyes are on me, hot, glowing. I feel the cold metal of a wall
against my back, as Krycek pins me with his weight. We are on a ship,
in its hold. The air is dank and fetid, close and stale. Close by is
the boy, handcuffed so he cannot escape Krycek. The boys eyes and mouth
have been stitched shut. I turn away from him.

Alex is taller than I am and I have to gaze up at him to meet his eyes.
Lust flashes out at me, reaches for me, pulls me into its heated embrace.
Krycek?s lips meet mine in a flurry of motion. His hands are in my hair,
holding my head still, as his mouth moves against mine. His tongue
insistently parts my lips and invades my mouth. I respond completely to
him. Together we are unstoppable.

I?m not a woman accustomed to bedding down with a man in a filthy,
wretched ship?s hold. My standards, in location if not in partners,
is always much higher. I break away from him long enough to suggest
we go elsewhere. He agrees readily, taking my hand and pulling me with him.

We find ourselves together in a hotel room, upscale, discreet. His touch
is electrifying against my skin as he undresses me. He gives no explanation
for his missing arm; nor do I ask, already knowing the story from my superiors.
I luxuriate in the feel of his hand against me, urgent, demanding. I have
taken other men to bed, many before Krycek. I am an expert in feigning
passion and its responses. It is an art form I have developed. With
Krycek I do not have to mimic want and desire. I delight in the knowledge
that for the first time I find myself with a man who can satisfy the
cravings of both my body and my ambition.

Together we sizzle. There is no tenderness between us. Tenderness is a
thing as foreign to each of our souls as Swahili would be on our tongues.
We solidify a union in these moments of passionate love making; we promise
alliance. Yet neither of us is deceived; both of us know we will break
every bond we forge in the instant it becomes beneficial to do so. Hot,
sweat slicked bodies use one another to slake desires. Souls never meet;
hearts are held firmly in place. We exchange everything and nothing.
Sated, fulfilled, and complacent, Alex Krycek lies next to me, staring at
the ceiling of this sumptuous hotel room. Neither of us invade the silence
that has filled the air between us. I slide from the bed, toward the
refrigerator, where I find two bottles of mineral water. My body blocking
his view of my actions, I fill two glasses with the water. The label
promises that the water is one hundred percent pure. Mine remains so; to
Krycek?s I add a powerful sedative, a quantity of which I keep in my handbag,
an item I had conveniently tossed on this counter when we came in. That its
contents had spilled across the faux marble was neither accidental nor
distressing. I smile, as I turn back toward him.

He reaches for the glass I hand him. We remain silent, each sipping one of
France?s finest bottled beverages. I finish my water and turn on my side.
Supporting myself on my left arm, I gaze at Krycek. I cross my right ankle
over my left which cants my body toward him slightly. With my right hand I
begin to mark short, unnecessary lines on the sheet. I watch him gage my
impatience and begin toying with me.

He runs a finger along the rim of the glass. I see him cast a sidelong
glance my way. I sigh and bite my lip lightly. I watch as he empties the
glass of its contents. Our fingers brush lightly as I reach to take it from
him. The shiver that slips through my body is genuine, as I anticipate not
a second encounter, but Krycek?s imminent lapse into unconscious.

His hand snakes out, pulling my head to his. His fingers lace themselves
into my hair and he winds his legs around mine as I slide next to him. Even
as I feel the heat in him begin to rise, his responses slow, his eyes drop
involuntarily. In short moments, Krycek is asleep. A sleep guaranteed to
last long enough.

I disentangle myself from him, smiling the whole while. I dress quickly.
Before letting myself out of the room, I glance back at Alex Krycek. I
think of what I said to him, "We have them on their knees, Alex." Yes,
but there really isn?t room for a 'we' in this game.

I return to the ship. What has been Krycek?s trump card is soon to be in
my possession. I can use Dmitri to demonstrate my loyalty to my superiors
at the Syndicate. After I safely sequester him with a man I can trust,
a man who seeks one such as Dmitri though he may not yet know it. With
all sides, I intend to barter for my own security.

I bundle Dmitri into my car and drive away from the city. From a roadside
phone booth, I phone Fox Mulder. He agrees to meet me. I turn toward the
car and the screams rip from my throat...

I scream and struggle to fight off ... nothing. My eyes open. They focus,
slowly. My breathing begins to slow and my heart rate gradually drops to a
more sedate pace. I am still on the couch, lying on the carpet is my glass
of wine, spilled, staining the rug.

A long time ago, I met Alex Krycek in a Russian field replete with the smoking
hulks of Russian cars, their occupants blackened and all but unrecognizable as
even human. We fought for control of the situation, each of us serving personal
agendas. A long time ago, I thought that victory was mine. A long time ago,
I was grevously mistaken.

I have paid for that mistake; I began paying for it in a phone booth on a
deserted highway. I continued paying for it in *their* tender care. And
even in my new life, Alex Krycek will make me pay for that mistake if I am
impetuous at all. So, I will tread the steps in front of
me with care, trusting no one, least of all myself.

As I pad softly back to my bed, beaten, exhausted, unnerved by all I have
learned, I hear her voice again, "Mulder..." she whispers. "Mulder can
help you."

END, "Never Long Enough"
continued in "This And More"

TITLE: This And More (1/1)
by Nynaeve

SPOILERS: pretty much need to know the show
KEYWORDS: conspiracy, colonization, secondary character
SUMMARY: Marita uncovers a few more of those pesky
DISCLAIMER: Chris Carter... yadda, yadda, yadda ...
1013 ... blah, blah, blah. Bottom line: not mine.
FEEDBACK: Yup. Love it. Keep it all in little folders, specifically
marked for each story. Respond to all of it too.
DISTRIBUTION: Anywhere, anytime, just drop me a line so
I can come visit.
DEDICATION: To those of you who kept "needling" me to get on
with it.

This And More

I dreamt last night. I have not had an actual dream since ...
I can?t remember. In my dream, there was a little girl, playing
with her father. The girl was a towhead, long hair held back in
two plaits. The man was tall; his voice was gruff, but loving
toward the child. They were both smiling and laughing. She squealed
with delight as her father romped with her - tickling her, giving her
'pony' rides on his back, spinning her around like the blades
of a helicopter. She called out again and again, "Daddy! More, Daddy!"
Her father called her 'His Merry.' I woke, smiling wistfully.

My head ached after my experiences of the night before. I shuddered
a bit. I had not learned that much about myself, and perhaps even
less that was useful to me just now, but I had learned enough.

I followed my daily routine automatically. A shower, long and cleansing,
the water as hot as my skin could tolerate. Soap and steam and time
cleansed my pores, water massaged my scalp and skin. I toweled my hair
until it was nearly dry, enjoying the feel of the cloth and the small
ruffling sound made as I wrung water from my hair. I grimaced as I glanced
at my hair, lank, strawlike, apparently irreversibly damaged by their
experiments. Looking in the mirror, I stuck my tongue out at my reflection.
It was such a childish thing to do, recalling the girl in my dreams, that
I giggled a bit.

Before dressing I took stock of my clothing. Alex had provided nicely
for me. I recognized the good cut and workmanship of the clothing that
hung in the closet and lay neatly folded in drawers. Everything was
serviceable; nothing glamorous. I blushed a bit to think he had chosen
the soft lingerie that filled a whole drawer. Perhaps Mrs. Simpson
was responsible.

Wearing jeans and a green blouse, I went out to the kitchen, getting
myself my usual juice and cereal. I ate without thinking, tasted nothing.
In my head, I was listing what I needed to do, thinking about how I could
accomplish these tiny goals of mine. Rinsing out the bowl and glass and
placing them in the dishwasher, I smiled again. Baby steps these might
be, but steps they were, nonetheless. Power and control had once been
the guiding lights of my life. I was determined they would be again
and this time I would come out on the right side.

Power and control ...

I stepped out onto the balcony. I hastily retreated inside, snatching
up a pair of sunglasses from the top of the little-used television.
Even the overcast sunlight was too bright for my damaged eyes. I returned
to the balcony. A breeze from the river was blowing in gently. I leaned
against the railing and gazed down. My head swum a bit as my eyes adjusted
to the distance that yawned below me. The river. I had heard Mrs.
Simpson call it that, but I did not know which river. My first priority
must be learning where I was, determining where I would need to go when
the time came.

Krycek had been careful; the buildings around me carried no markings
that could give me clues to my whereabouts. The television that I
rarely watched was provided by a satellite feed, so I had access to
no local news. I had no phone books; no daily papers were delivered
to me. I doubted Mrs. Simpson would tell me and I certainly could
not ask Krycek without awakening his suspicion of me. Such suspicion
may be dormant, but I knew it lingered there, beneath the surface.
If it didn?t, he would have told me long ago everything there was to tell.

I remembered that magazines come with subscription labels which give
the address. I had paid little attention to the magazines Mrs. Simpson
brought, not reading them, only gazing at the pictures in them sometimes.
I realized now they might have an entirely different purpose. I went
inside and picked up a magazine from the magazine rack next to the
couch. I scanned it for a label. Nothing. I turned it over. Dammit.
Krycek must have Mrs. Simpson go out and buy the stupid things.

Something, there had to be something. I knew a systematic search had
to reveal something. A copy of the lease for the apartment perhaps.
A tenants guide that might at least give me an idea of the location.
A flyer stuck under the door and discarded hastily, but not too carefully,
by Mrs. Simpson, once upon a time. I was thorough, but cautious. I was
certain if Mrs. Simpson suspected I?d been ransacking my own apartment,
Krycek would show up again a lot sooner than normal. My efforts turned
up nothing of any use, except the knowledge that Mrs. Simpson was worth
every penny she was paid. The apartment was spotless. Nothing was out
of place. Not one single thing.

Disappointed by my fruitless search, I sank to the couch, gazing dismally
at the wine stain on the rug. Nearly used to the voice that assailed me,
I jumped at the sound in my head. "A little club soda, dear, and even
wine will come right out." It was not her voice, the voice I once had,
before the needles. It was a new voice. The distinct possibility that I
was slowly going mad occurred to me. Then I realized I knew the voice.
It was my mother?s.

As an automaton, I went into the kitchen and found a bottle of club soda
and a rag. I never drank the stuff, so I could only assume my baby-sitter
read the same household hint column my mother always had. Rubbing at the
stain I began to wonder. I could remember my childhood, large parts of it,
anyway, although adolescence was still a void into which I would no doubt
stumble sometime soon. I recalled college with good clarity and the nature,
if not the specifics, of my work for the Syndicate was coming back to me.
Why hadn?t my parents, the father who swung me around and called me 'his
Merry', the mother full of advice about carpet stains and club soda, w
hy hadn?t they looked for me?

I stared at the diminishing stain. It was never going to quite go away,
but the club soda had done well. It was not very noticeable. Still
staring, I spoke aloud, "My mother is dead. She died in a car accident
just before I left for college." I inhaled sharply, then exhaled with
a slight whimper. "She had been driving on the freeway when she apparently
suffered a heart attack. Her car slammed into a concrete underpass at
about sixty miles per hour. The doctors were never certain if the heart
attack killed her or the crash. She had been forty-six. We buried her,
my father and I, on a sunny August day, three weeks before I left for
my first semester at college.

"We had been the only mourners. Mom and Dad had never had a lot of
friends. Mom always told me that Dad?s line of work was not conducive
to long term friendships. After she died, Dad?s face seemed to set,
as though in cement. He became dour and gruff. I knew he still loved
me, but he rarely showed me any affection after that. Never once,
in the years that followed, did he call me 'his Merry' again. When
I went to college he pushed me to major in biochemistry. He told me
it was an up and coming field and I could really make a mark."

I finished my rambling monologue, hardly realizing at first that I
had spoken aloud. It was even longer before I realized something
else. I had remembered something, simply remembered it. No dizzying
falls into the lowest circle of hell, no stumbling around in the
dark, searching for things for which I had no words. This was not
a visual memory. It was just a memory. I sighed deeply, feeling
an exhilaration at this knowledge. A few tears made their way down
my face and I wiped them away with the back of my hand. For
all my memories of her, I barely knew the woman whose death I had
just recalled.

The Syndicate?s experiments had taken my memories and even if I
recalled every detail of my previous life, it would never be the
same. It was like watching a movie or television program. Flat,
unreal. I found that as much as I may have wanted to, I no longer knew
how to mourn, though I am certain I mourned her at the time.

I left the question of my father for later. I had remembered so
much in the last few days. It was taking its toll on me. I wondered
idly, as I replaced the club soda, why everything started coming back
in the last few days. True, I had been remembering bits and pieces
for a while now, but in the last few days it was as thought the flood
gates had been opened. Not having an answer to that perplexing question,
I considered the other query it raised. How long had I been here,
wherever here was?

I looked at the clock and realized Mrs. Simpson would be here soon.
She usually checked on me around lunch, bringing me a sandwich or soup,
or groceries so I could fix my own food. She would leave a meal I could
heat up for dinner. Yesterday she had surprised me, arriving only with
a sandwich and explaining 'that nice Mr. Blackley' would be bringing
me dinner. She had thought that since it was to be a special night, I might
want to ?fix my face? a bit. She had brought me make up. I suspected Krycek
had asked her to get me some, as it was all new, and matched my skin tones
quite well. She had offered to help, but I had declined. Putting on
makeup must be - what?s the expression - like riding a bike for women;
we never forget.

The makeup. It had not been store brands, nor any of the kind they
advertised on television. It all came in little pink capped bottles,
pink tubes, flat pink compacts. An utterly nonsensical picture of a
perfectly made up woman driving a pink cadillac flared up before me.
I whispered the words, "Mary Kay."

I was in the bathroom almost instantly it seemed. The compact was
lying on the counter. I turned it over. A name, the name of the
independent consultant. And a phone number, with an area code.
And yes, blessedly, an address. "I?ll have you on *your* knees yet,
Alex..." I muttered. Jeanne Rosenthal lived at 2116 Riverview Glen,
Indianapolis, Indiana.

He?d buried me in the Midwest. I was about as far out of the action
as could be. This might as well have been China for all the good it
would do me. I had no contacts here, knew very little of the local
area, and getting back to DC or New York was going to be difficult,
if not damn near impossible.

Her voice spoke inside my head again, "Fox Mulder can help you."

"Lovely," I replied to no one except the woman I used to be, "Would
you care to tell me who Fox Mulder is? A phone number would be helpful.
I?d settle for an address."

She was silent. I was going to have to figure that one out on my own
apparently or wait until that particular memory chose to come roaring
back into my life and hope it left me clinging to what was left of my

I knew where I was, in general. It was time to determine how long I
might have been here. Time lost any semblance of meaning when I was
being experimented on. At first a small, desperate part of my brain
tried valiantly to keep track of the days. Though controlled by the
alien oil, there were things of which I was dimly aware. I could feel
my heart beat, pumping the oxygen carrying blood my body needed to sustain
itself. I could feel the intubation tube and vaguely knew it was
forcing me to breathe, a habit at that point I would have gladly
given up. I could see, but it was like wearing nearly opaque, dark
glasses made of oil. I could hear, which was probably the most terrifying
fact of all. To hear people, doctors, scientists, observers, discuss your
condition coolly and dispassionately, to understand you are nothing more
to them than a convenient lab rat, is a feeling beyond words.

I had no way of knowing how long they experimented on me. I recalled the
first test with their vaccine, stolen from Krycek. As bad as the pain had
been when the alien entity invaded my body, the battle that was waged in my
blood stream upon receiving the antidote was worse. I became aware of every
vein and artery as the oil was driven through my body, consumed it seemed by
the vaccine. The vaccine was weak though and unable to work swiftly. It
burned pathways through my circulatory system in the manner of a slow,
controlled forest burn. I could have sworn the insides of my body were as
charred and smoking as those cars I had seen in Russia. Yet I had lived.

Unfortunately, I had lived. Once they knew they had a vaccine, they knew
how weak it was. Once they knew how weak it was, they knew they needed to
make it stronger. With me as a test subject, their scientists could try as
many different formulas as they could devise. It was, I think, a bit like
being in Hell?s version of Baskin Robbins. My father had suggested I could
make my mark in biochemistry. I don?t think that was exactly how he
pictured it.

I knew that locked in my brain, were the memories of exactly what they
had done and why. The human brain, I remembered this from a college
course, is the most powerful computer ever built. It remembers everything
that is ever input into it. It is only our inability to access all that
information that holds us back. Or keeps us sane. Somewhere in my brain
then, was the knowledge of what had been done, formulas had been recited,
procedures explained, of that I was sure. This was what Krycek was banking
on, too, waiting for me to remember it all.

This ... and more. In my previous position with the Syndicate, under
the cover of my U.N. job, I was one of the people still alive who knew ...
what, exactly? What do I know? The bees. There?s a reason the bees
frightened me. I must know about the bees.

I sigh. The memories will come. Memories I want and ones I don?t.
They will assail me as I sleep. In the day, they will tear me from
the comfortable moorings of daylight and toss me into the eerily lit
panorama of my own personal hell. They are the only chance I have to
escape, to change what my life was. They are the reason I am alive, here,
protected by Alex Krycek. And they are the reason he will kill me once
I have served my purpose.

I sit on the couch and turn on the television. I find the weather station.
It has a convenient feature, I realized about ten minutes ago. Its content
is always time and date stamped. My mouth falls open as I read the stamp
on the screen. "Oh my God..." I whisper harshly. I begin to shake my head,
disbelieving. It is simply not possible I want to tell myself. They stole
so much time from me. There is so little time left, time to do what I must.
The date is set ... How can they ever be ready? "They who?" I hear her ask
coyly. My brain responds, "Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, Special Agents with
the FBI, investigating X Files, and trying to fathom this unfathomable
conspiracy" "The date is set..." runs through my mind idiotically over
and over. I have to warn them. I have to remember so I can tell them
what I know. "This is not possible," I murmur.

February 3, 2000. I?ve lost nearly two years... God help us all.

END, "This And More"
continued in "Fever Pitch"