Welcome To The Harem
Beekeeper Series Part 3 of 3 by Nynaeve
Summary: Nynaeve's classic Marita series, the first known in-depth Marita backstory. This part contains Those Who Help Themselves.
Beekeeper Series by Nynaeve (email@example.com)
TITLE: Those Who Help Themselves (1/2)
(R version posted separately)
SPOILERS: need to know the Marita eps and have
general conspiracy knowledge. Assume "Biogenesis"
did not happen, but "S.R. 819", "Two Fathers", and
"One Son" did.
KEYWORDS: conspiracy, colonization, secondary character
SUMMARY: series conclusion. The revelation of Marita?s
memories, motivations, and parentage.
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 J and A, as ever. A - I hope this provides
a good study break or two; you?ve been really patient.
To Yanichka, again for the Russian and the encouragement.
To everyone who said they were looking forward to this part.
Lastly, to everyone who wrote to tell me "I don?t like Marita
in the show, but I like her here. You gave her depth
and made a real character out of her." Could there be a
TIMELINE NOTE: starts after Marita?s illness - approx. mid
March, 2000 through about May 1, 2000 - set to correspond
vaguely with planned end of series.
NOTES: (with more at the end) I?ve enjoyed this a lot. I realize, in
watching "One Son" again, how much liberty I took with this story.
That?s what fan fic is about, though, isn?t it? I?ve tried to keep people
in character as much as possible. This is the end of the series and I?m
going to miss writing it. There are some twists and (I hope) surprises.
I?ll explain them at the end.... Here we go.
Those Who Help Themselves
My feet touch the ground. I breathe in, deeply. The air is
tainted with pollution, yet beneath that is the smell of dirt,
lying cold and dormant, of water moving sluggishly at gelid
temperatures. Spring is beginning to tiptoe into Indianapolis.
Most of the trees are still bare, limbs both great and small
showing starkly against the gray sky. Here and there a hardier
specimen might appear, one or two, braver than the rest or perhaps
more confused. On these few leaves have begun to appear, to come
out in a green so bright they seem to glow. In the ancient cycle,
stretching back over centuries countless, nature revives herself,
slowly at first, soon with more power, greater impetence. as urgency
demands. In my work with the Syndicate we had planned out how to
use this cycle, to subvert it, to our advantage. What I once
sought to dominate, I now stare at in wonder. I am alive. The
memories I once thought forever entombed in oily black shrouds are
resurrected whole. And on this cold day, caught between the reluctant
retreat of winter and the tentative advance of spring, my feet
touch the ground.
For the second time in three days I have left my apartment. If
Krycek knew, if he finds out, I will find myself somewhere more
isolated and likely with a baby-sitter more ruthless than the
late Mrs. Simpson. If I find myself anywhere at all, that is.
I banish those thoughts and continue walking, conscious of the
rattle of the plastic bags slung over my arm. My first venture
outside was the day before yesterday. After careful
determination, I had been satisfied that the front door of the
apartment did not have an automatic locking mechanism. I had
then spent one full day with it unlocked, waiting,
testing the security of this building against intruders.
No one attempted to enter. I had hardly even heard the other
tenants coming or going.
So, noting the apartment number, 2332, I had taken the elevator
to the lobby and from there walked, like any other person, onto
the street. After reveling in the feel of the pale sunshine and
the cold bite in the air, I had carefully taken stock of where I was.
I had begun walking south, hearing sounds of traffic more clearly
in that direction. For several blocks I stayed on Capitol Avenue,
the street which the apartment building?s entry doors faced. When
I reached Washington Street, I had observed many people walking
hurriedly along, going east and west. I had turned east, instinctively,
I suppose, doing my best to keep up with the flow of foot traffic,
unable to stop myself from gazing intermittently at the wonders of
a world from which I?d been long absent, wonders I had almost forgotten
existed, had believed the imaginary products of tests and fever.
There had been a plan that first day, but only a vague one. I needed
a phone book. I needed to find a location to which I could summon
Fox Mulder. I needed money, even if it wasn?t a lot, in case I was
forced to flee Krycek. I needed to find ways to acquire money and
I needed maps. I was also looking carefully for potential hiding places,
where I could disappear or blend in.
In an amazing turn of luck, the new phone books had been recently
published. The old ones, perhaps a year out of date, but surely
new enough to suit my needs, were still being collected for recycling
and often lay in piles at intervals on the streets. Removing from
my coat pocket and unfolding a plastic bag left from Krycek?s shopping
expedition, I had taken a phone book and placed it in the bag. I
debated taking the yellow pages as well, but decided they weren?t
necessary. I was acutely aware that I would need to conceal the
phone book?s presence in the apartment before Krycek?s return and
reasoned the less I had to find hiding places for, the better.
I had walked for a while, looking at the restaurants and shops that
lined the street. A wide variety had greeted me; everything from trendy
micro breweries to old fashioned cafes. The latest clothing stores
rested side by side with established department stores and old,
exclusive clothiers. The neighborhood had begun to deteriorate and I
had turned around. During my exploration, I had also picked up
apartment guides, free entertainment periodicals, and a bus schedule.
Anything with a map...
By the time I had returned to the apartment, I was exhausted and
ravenously hungry. I had sunk into the couch, trembling from
exertion and fear. As I had ridden up in the elevator I had been
convinced, plagued by the certain notion that Krycek would be waiting
for me, gun drawn, eyes menacing, that sardonic smirk twisting his
face. The apartment had been empty. I was alone.
That night and the following day, yesterday, I had rested and
formed more concrete plans. Using the phone book I had found,
after a lengthy search a used book shop within walking distance.
I had regretted, a bit, my decision to leave the yellow pages,
as it would have simplified my search. Mrs. Simpson had left me
quite a stock of books to read and had never thrown out any of the
magazines she had bought me. I had also, in the same manner of
combing the names of businesses, found a used clothing store, which
I felt certain would be more profitable. I would sell a few things
this time, so as not to arouse Krycek?s suspicion. Then, just before
I fled, I would sell as much as I could. I had not realized up
until that moment that I was *definitely planning on running. After
careful consideration I had decided to meet Agent Mulder somewhere
crowded, somewhere we could blend in, but somewhere he would not
have to look for me or ask after me. I needed time to write
down everything I knew, to record my memories, and to get in touch
with Mulder. I had thought and thought and calculated that by the
time I was ready, the minor league baseball season would open.
(The entertainment guide had proven its worth right there). Take me
out to the ball park, Agent Mulder. And, after all, hadn?t I read
enough times in those same helpful entertainment guides that Victory
Field was the best minor league park in America?
I had also begun writing down the things I remembered and recording
them. A recorded copy to explain the plain facts found in the notebook
and to provide a record of my existence. Two of each - two tapes and
two notebooks. One set, incomplete, to be shown to Krycek, to convince
him my memories were returning, to maintain my potential usefulness
in his eyes. The second replete with every detail I could recall, to be
handed over to Agent Mulder. I?m still playing both sides, only now it
scares the hell out of me. At least I?ve learned that much.
Here I am. On a sidewalk, breathing in the cool air. I?ve been
walking a long time, the bookstore being further than I had anticipated,
but the street numbers assure me I am going the right direction and
even getting close. There are a few other people out walking, all pass
me with faces set in stone, hurrying to an appointment, a job, or just
away from wherever they had been.
I find the bookstore at last and go in. The woman behind the counter
takes the books I offer, examines the magazines, and offers me two amounts,
one for trade and the other in cash. I smile, thank her, and accept the
cash offer. Now I have only one bag slung over my arm. It contains a
few items of clothing to be sold. The money I tuck deep down in
the front pocket of the pants I?m wearing.
I begin to walk back toward downtown, having found myself at the far
edge, if not outside it even, of the business district. My legs are
tired and I realize I?m crying. There is a bus stop a few yards ahead.
I sit down gratefully. I?m thinking of Mrs. Simpson, of all she
must have done for me, of what she was trying to do for me at the end.
I?m overwhelmed by grief and guilt and sudden uncertainty. That woman
died because of me. She died because she told me something she
shouldn?t have and Krycek heard her do it. In a larger sense she
died because I played a dangerous game of chance and lost. I?m crying,
too, because I?ve remembered everything that should help me and yet
I still have no idea why I did the things I did. I don?t know yet
why the need for power so consumed me it even ate away at common
sense and native intelligence.
Aware that I will draw unwanted attention to myself if I sit here
too long, I dry my eyes, pull a tissue from my coat pocket and blow
my nose. I start walking again. I?ve gone only a few blocks when
the cell phone, hiding deep in a coat pocket, begins to blare. I
jump and look around, desperate for a place even more deserted than
this mid-morning street. An alley opens to my left and I hasten
down it, while extracting the phone.
I flip it open, leaning against a building wall, heart racing.
Hoping for a vaguely steady voice, I answer, "Alex."
"What took you so long to answer?"
"I was ..." I hesitate for briefest moment, willing my
mind to furnish a plausible lie. "Changing clothes."
I pray he didn?t notice my hesitation.
"Why?" His voice betrays his instant suspicion.
'Damn,' I curse to myself. 'Think, think. Make it
believable.' Adrenaline is pumping through my body.
I?m shaking and sweating beneath the heavy coat. "It?s
stupid really," I start to say. "I was washing dishes
and spilled water all over myself."
He laughs, the sound traveling over who knows how many miles.
His laughter is hard, uneasy, as though wrenched from somewhere
unfamiliar, deep inside. I grow suddenly fearful again that
he toys with me, that he is standing in my inexplicably empty
apartment. He is asking me how I?m feeling.
"Fine. Better," I answer, still waiting for him to catch me,
to mock me with the truth of his location.
I can hear expectation weaving through his words, as he asks
about my memories. Convinced he is indeed playing with me,
tormenting me before closing the trap, I begin to stammer out
a response. Then I hear it. In the background, a voice, a
soothing female voice, announcing that the next stop is Foggy
Bottom. Relief, almost as debilitating in its intensity as
the fear, washes through me. He is on a Metro train in
Washington, D.C. I say something. I?ll never be certain what,
only that it is enough to satisfy his curiosity. I think
disjointedly his cell phone must be extremely powerful, working
so well from inside the D.C. metro.
"I?ll be back tomorrow night," he tells me. "Late."
"All right," I respond, wondering once more if he knows.
I feel almost as if I?m being warned. 'No,' my mind assures
me, 'You?re just being paranoid.'
He ends the call and I rest my head against the building,
as my knees sag. I feel barely kept together, as if I could
fly into a million pieces at any second. I force slow, deep
breaths into my lungs. My heart beat slows and the adrenaline
slowly begins to break down. Logic reasserts itself and I
realize my time is short. Still shaky, now wary of everyone
I pass, I resume my walk. A new sense of urgency impels me forward.
The clothes are sold and I say a silent, ironic ?thank you? to Alex
Krycek for buying such quality merchandise. It fetched a decent price.
I have one more stop and then I can return to the sanctuary of my
familiar surroundings. One more task...
Stopping to check my reflection in a mirror, I am pleased.
Since the fever, my hair has regained much of its former vitality
and texture. It is poorly cut, but I no longer appear to be an
unkempt wraith. The cold has brought color to my cheeks and
though I know it to be fear, the glitter in my eyes is almost
girlish. I don?t think I?ll arouse suspicion as anything more
than an overly concerned citizen.
After several turns and a few miscues, I find myself in front
of the building. 575 North Pennsylvania Street. Within is the
suite I need and hopefully someone who will provide me the information
I need. Thinking wistfully of the fact that a public library would have
been easier had one been close enough, I rehearse my cover story.
It?s laced with enough truth to be believable and enough prevarication
to be escapable. I *am* taking a chance. Krycek has someone in the
Bureau, I know that for certain, and if word of this gets back
to his puppet ... I suppress the shudder that wants to run through me.
I hear my father?s voice. He tells me, "He may kill you.
But if you do not do this, Marita, how many more will die?
*Help*, Mulder!" I cannot resist its command, so I step into
the building, locate the suite, and prepare to enter. The
glass door, boldly etched with 'Federal Bureau of Investigation
Indianapolis Regional Field Office' opens easily.
My story is accepted without question, though I sense some disbelief
on the part of the agent to whom I speak. It doesn?t matter, enough
of it is true to stand up to a cursory check. And the part that
elicits almost-hidden smiles and rolled eye?s will be enough to
get Mulder?s attention if this ever gets to Washington. The most
important part is that I got the information I need. I know how
to contact Mulder again.
I return to the apartment, burning with plans and secrets. I
take a shower, needing to wash away the fear left from Krycek?s call.
I eat a quiet lunch, marveling at how quickly everything was accomplished.
I think back to those moments, mere seconds really, with Krycek.
Time had lengthened, drawn out, held me as hostage to the fear and
paranoia that encircles my life these days. I am left now, thankfully,
with only the elation of success. I have money, a small amount, to be
used as needed. I have a good knowledge of downtown should my escape be
hasty and require hiding. I have a plan where to meet Mulder. All that
remains is to finish compiling for him all I know.
In one notebook I make vague notes, references really more than
anything else. This I will leave out for Krycek to see. In the
other book I write down names, dates, methods. I *have* remembered *
everything* from my days with the Syndicate and now I share it
Fox Mulder will come out on the right side of things, I am convinced.
He has a strength of will none of his opponents possesses. He has a
vision that is both crucial and selfless, while others strive only
to serve themselves, to avert their own demise. Mulder also has at
his side a partner, a woman my father claimed would become not only
his Achilles heal, but also his shield, as magical as that borne by
Perseus when he slew the Gorgon Medusa. My father believed in Mulder.
I don?t know how I know that, but it is the truth. Now, I
must believe in him for my own salvation and restoration.
To paper I commit all of the facts. I give him not only the names,
which I caution may well be no more than aliases, but the plans.
I tell him of the hybridization experiments, of plans for infecting
the general population with the alien virus. I outline the procedures
that will guide this and the cross-pollination of the transgenic crops.
I explain what the Syndicate had done in terms of resistance and
servitude. I detail what they believed, at the time of my infection,
to be the nature of the Black Oil. I include the bits and pieces I
grasped from the tests they ran on me about its true nature and the
constitution of the antidote, weak as it was. I state that they
discovered they had been lied to, that the true nature of the Black
Oil is beyond anyone?s worst nightmares. I give him everything I
know. It may not be everything there is, but it might be enough to
start. To tape I commit this and everything else.
It takes time and I?m not done, even now as evening falls. Sighing,
I shove the annoyance down deep inside and prepare for Krycek?s
arrival. Not knowing when to expect him demands caution. The
notebook containing infinite details is carefully concealed, as is
the tape with my history, ancient and recent. The dummied version,
the ones with my vague ramblings and pseudo memories I leave lying
around for Krycek?s inspection.
Time passes, night arrives, then deepens. I stand at the door to
the balcony and watch a few stars glitter above. I stay inside
however. Feeling not in the least sleepy, I take a shower,
thinking to induce tiredness. I dry my hair, making almost gleeful
use of the hair dryer I discovered a few days ago.
Clad in robe and slippers I pad back to my bedroom. I remove the
pillows and coverlet, placing them in a neat pile on the floor,
underneath the window. It?s dim, lit only by a wintry moon,
but my eyes have become like a cat?s serving me well even in a deep
A hand catches me from behind. I stiffen instinctively until
I realize it?s Krycek. He whispers my name. My body, acting
of its own will, relaxes into his. I may not trust this man.
I may fear him. I may resent his control over me, but my physical
being revels in his presence. Our spirits, conniving, ruthless,
malicious even at times, are certainly kindred, but it is our
bodies that call out to each other, that haunt one another.
He lifts my hair from my neck. I can feel it slide through his
fingers. His lips come to rest at the nape of my neck, sending
heat through me. He kisses my ear, whispers my name, as
his arm encircles my waist and holds me firmly against him.
"You?re beautiful," he tells me, lust filling his voice.
I should be laughing at this seduction of his. He hates me,
I know this, but still he is willing to do what he must to get
the answers I have. I can only sigh, remembering the time in
New York, anticipating its repetition. I reach an arm behind me,
run a finger over the stubble on his chin. With an impatient sigh
he grabs my hand, holds it tightly. I bring my other hand around
and, quick as a cat, he has both my wrists locked firmly in his grip.
His lips descend on my collarbone.
The world whirls away without warning. I?m aware of a small,
terrified sound in the pitch blackness. I shiver in the cold
and struggle against that which holds me fast. I realize the
small, terrified sound is my own whimpering. For long moments
I?m certain I?ve gone insane. All of it - the needles, the
fever, Krycek?s manipulations, visions of my dead parents -
all of it has at last collapsed the thin walls of sanity in
my mind. I marvel a bit that *this* is nothing like I expected
Hell would be.
A moment of clarity beckons and my father?s vision-words,
'You don?t remember?' rattle through my mind. And I know
this isn?t real. This is a memory, the last memory, the one
that is the touchstone of who I am, the key to my motivations
and actions. I?m screaming, "No, no, no ...," one syllable
repeated endlessly. Tears course down my face and Alex is
holding me, stroking me, maneuvering me carefully to the bed.
"Oh ... my ... God," I stutter at last, between great sobs
and gulps of air. "Oh my God."
"Marita?" his voice is soft. I want to believe its tones.
I long to trust him, to wrap myself in the softness of his
voice and the strength of his eyes. Realizing, I may well go truly
insane if I don?t talk about this and that there is no one else
*to* tell, I begin.
"I was sixteen, " I tell him, staring at my feet which dangle
from the edge of the bed. His arm is around me and my head is
on his shoulder. "We had moved. Again. The teasing had started.
Again. I always go teased because my mother was Russian and
because we, my parents and I, kept to ourselves." My voice sounds
young and childish to my ears.
"I had learned how to deal with it, to accept it. I was always
able to make a few friends. Anyway, it never seemed to matter
deep down. I had my mother and my father and they loved me ..."
I start crying again. Krycek leaves, returning quickly with a
box of tissues. I have laid down, am curled in on myself.
He lays next to me, stroking my hair, murmuring, placing soft
kisses on my face.
"Still, there were things I missed. I?d never had a best friend
all of my own. I was always sort of the third person in the group.
And I?d never had a boyfriend." I smile a bit. "Not that my father
would have let me, but I?d never even had a boy interested in me. We
moved too much. I was too shy. I was too different. It was so easy ..."
I?m sobbing again as fresh waves of memory swamp me. Alex kisses
my forehead as I turn to him, he gathers me to him, tenderly.
Only later will I be amazed at this show of affection. "I had
forgotten," I wail. "How is that possible?"
"Marita, you?d forgotten so much. This ..."
"No! I?d forgotten that I forgot. I ...,"
I search for the word. "I repressed this."
"What happened?" he asks, voice smooth as silk.
Damn it, I don?t want to trust him.
Everyone I ever trusted betrayed me, used me.
'Only because you used and betrayed them first,' my father?s voice
"Marita?" My name is a question on his lips. Never since my
mother died has my name been anything other than a question on
anyone?s lips. My doing, the fault of this lies within me and I
finally know why. Consciously, I take the key to myself, the Rosetta
Stone of my actions, and hand it to Alex, fearful how he will use it,
yet unable to do anything else. My life is telescoped into this moment,
this desperation to trust the man who holds my fate in his hands.
I sigh. "We were living in Western Maryland. It was a small town.
I had made a few friends by October, two girls. They were giggly,
high spirited, normal teenage girls. On a long weekend one of them
was having a sleepover; her parents were going to visit her brother
at college and told her she could have a few friends over to keep her
company. My father objected, but Mama called Claire?s parents,
verified all the information, and managed to persuade my father.
She told him it would be good for me. I had never even
gone to a sleepover."
My voice has taken on the tone of someone in a trance. I am calm,
as though what I remember is a terrible thing that happened to
"The Thursday before a boy, a very cute, popular boy asked me out.
I was stunned and unbelievably happy. Knowing it was pointless,
but wanting to savor the feeling as long as possible, I asked
if I could give him my answer after Eighth Period. I knew what
my father?s answer would be. Not even my mother would be able
to prevail upon him. At lunch I moaned and complained to my
friends. As much as I wanted to join them, I also wanted to
go on an actual date. They laughed and told me to tell him yes,
that they would cover for me. It was, deep down, what I?d been
hoping they?d say. At the end of the day, I was able to accept
his invitation and asked him to pick me up at Claire?s."
"And?" Alex asks.
"And he did. he told me we were going to a party some of the
kids were having at an abandoned farm house, away from the
watchful eyes of parents. I was too naive, too
stupid, too sheltered to suspect a thing."
I raise my eyes, meet Alex?s. They flash with anger. I know
that as determined as Alex Krycek is, he would never do what
he thinks was done to me. He would view that sort of man with
contempt. He asks hesitantly, unable to even complete his thought
aloud. "Did he ... ?"
"Rape me" My gaze is level. "No. I think that would have been
better. It would have happened and would have been over."
I watch Alex swallow.
"He said we must be the first ones there. Inside the place was
dark, deserted, cold. I wanted to go back to his car to get
my coat. I started to even, when he grabbed me, pulled me to
him. I wasn?t afraid. In my mind it was like all those God-awful
romantic teen movies. It took me more than a few moments to
realize he had pinned my wrists behind me. I became aware of two
figures, coming out of the shadows. Friends of his ..."
I close my eyes, explicit images float before me. The feel of
rope or twine looped around my wrists. The tight pressure of
cotton forced between resisting lips and past biting teeth.
The sensation of hot breath on my neck, rustling over my ears
and past my hair. I can suddenly smell the dank scent of mildew
as it creeps out from the walls, mingles with the stench of
rotting floorboards. Around me is only the depth of a darkness
shunned by civilization, absent of streetlights. Silence predominates.
I keep these images to myself, telling Alex, "They kept me there
for three days. My parents thinking I was at Claire?s and Claire
thinking I?d gone home, after all. My mother refused to let my father
call Claire?s, either, wanting to let me have a normal teenage weekend,
she told him. *I* had never known such terror was possible. I had
never been treated with such cruelty. I thought I would die there,
alone, miserable, and terrified. Before that, I had trusted people.
Even though I?d been teased and taunted, my mother had made the world
a safe place, had taught me that deep down people were good to one
another. Watching her and my father, I could believe it. I stopped
believing it in those three days and I stopped living it afterwards.
"They kept me bound and gagged, locked in the house?s root cellar.
They laughed and mocked my muffled cried for help and my ineffectual
pleas to them. They hated me for no reason other than I was an
outsider. They taunted me with the fact of my mother?s Russian
blood. To me that was a jibe that had long since lost any power
over me. Raised during the Cold War, I knew quite well how many
people felt about Russians at the time. I no longer cared. It
was what they said about my father, that he was a spy, that he
conspired against the government, that shook me. They even claimed
he had killed people, often innocent people. Even as his daughter,
I didn?t know what my father did. His work was very secretive and
I began to see how covert he was about it. It didn?t matter if it
was the truth, what they said, all that mattered was I was an outsider
because of him. If I had been someone else?s daughter ... If my
parents had led a normal life ... I never would have been there.
"I know it doesn?t sound horrible. I know people have been through
far worse and not become what I became. I know that."
Alex is looking at me. A look crosses his face. An ache, deep within,
unquenchable, a loss unmeasurable, rises to his eyes. I wonder what
it could be. I know only that he too knows the wound of living in
what might have been. I wonder what he would be if not for whatever
shadow eclipses his soul. It passes and one of his many masks falls
back into place. I sigh. I had thought, had hoped, in that brief
instant that might reach into those arctic places within each other,
might heal old wounds. We won?t. We can?t. We?ve
each been who we *are* for too long to ever be who we might have been.
"They never... ?" His voice trails off.
"They touched me, yes." I shudder at the memories of their
fingers and hands. Smart enough not to leave marks on me,
smart enough, or scared enough, not to inflict upon me
physical harm that would compound their crime, their touches
had been outwardly gentle, yet resonated with menace, with contempt,
with loathing. "They called me names, told me what they planned on
doing with me. I don?t think they would have. I think it was enough
to see how their words terrified me. They taught me cruelty in those
three days, taught me how to inflict the maximum amount of torment
with the minimum of fuss. They set the book in front of me and I
learned the lesson. I would keep learning it, working even harder
at it after my mother?s death, until I was an artist at it, until
I could give the lesson myself with my eyes closed and my heart
dead. For a long time I didn?t know I was even doing it, didn?t
see the inherent cruelty in my actions, and then when I finally
did see what I was becoming, I didn?t care. By then I knew that
kindness gets you nowhere and I made damn certain I was never
going to be in anyone else?s control again." I stop, a short
bitter laugh escapes me. "Isn?t that ironic? I thought I was
in control, Alex, but never was, not once. It was all an illusion."
He is stroking my hair again.
Softly, he whispers, "I?ll be right back." He rises and leaves.
I hear him opening cupboards in the kitchen, hear the freezer open
and wonder what he is getting. He returns with a bottle of vodka
and glasses. He must have come back shortly after I had gotten into
the shower and been waiting for me the whole time. "We were going
to celebrate," he tells me. "Drink it."
The alcohol stings, burns its way past the tears. I sigh again.
He takes the glass from me and sets it on the night table. Laying
on his back he pulls me to him. "How did you get involved with
the Syndicate?" he asks.
I smile, my head on his shoulder, the lengths of our bodies touching
comfortably. In my life before there had been many men, but only
Krycek had ever been able to satisfy my body and spirit. If only
on that horribly stupid day, two years ago and more, if only I?d let
him in then. I keep wishing my life back, searching for the points
I could have altered its course, but deep down I know this was always
my destiny, immutable, cold, lonely. "By being born," I answer him
at last. He looks at me. I nod. "I didn?t know it until much
later, of course, but they were what I was born to."
"After I was found, my father having grown alarmed when I didn?t return,
as promised, by noon Monday, my life changed. Though the boys had not
truly harmed my body, they had touched my soul. The dirt, the sweat
of the ordeal washed off, soothed away by a mother?s loving hands.
The hunger, the thirst were satisfied by my mother?s gentle
ministrations. Bruises and rope burns faded. It was the trust
they broke that I could never fix. I saw my parents with new eyes,
held them accountable for my ordeal. My father refused to bring charges
against the boys for the crimes they did commit. I was furious
with him, yet nothing I said or did, no matter how I cried and raged,
he would not give in. Where I had been powerless in the hands of
strangers, I was again powerless in the hands of loved ones. My life
seemed not my own.. My whole life since that moment has
become an exercise in powerlessness. I chased the mirage of control
and paid a price beyond grief, beyond pain, and after a while,
"Men think rape is the worst thing that can happen to a woman.
I don?t know. Maybe it is. All I know is I would have gladly
given them my body and kept my peace of mind. Women are essentially
powerless unless we *take* control. I wanted to do that, to make
them pay for what they?d done, but my father kept refusing, not
wanting to draw attention to us. Afraid, I realized years later,
of what they might say about him. I remained powerless.
"We moved three months later. My entire relationship with my
parents had changed. I grew to question them, not just their
authority as any teenager might do, but who they themselves were.
I began to look back and wonder about our lives. I felt trapped in
a nightmare canvas of lies and half truths, bound by a family history
composed largely of smoke and mirrors. And I had nightmares for over
a year. I was hospitalized several times for nervous exhaustion, for
pneumonia, for other things. My mother even kept me out of school,
teaching me herself.
"The nightmares had begun to fade when I ran across a news report of
a similar incident in Oregon. A girl, lured to a deserted cabin and
held prisoner ... The progress I?d made shattered. I was again
hospitalized, on the verge of collapse. There was some doubt that
I would come out of the fugue state I was in. I didn?t know this
until later, but during that time my father was given orders ..."
I stop. Alex arches an eyebrow at me.
"Orders he never followed."
"It would have meant leaving me and he chose not to, not even
for a few days. As far as I know it was their only order he ever
out and out disobeyed."
"Out and out?" he questions.
I nod at him. "Later," I promise him. I look down,
twiddle my fingers against his shirt. Tears well up. "Four
months after I was released, my mother died."
"Of a heart attack," Alex says, "you told me that."
I shake my head. "I also told you it was a lie."
"But you didn?t know why you said that," he counters.
"I know now. I eventually figured it out. They killed her.
To warn my father never to disobey them again. In our whole
lives, my father put his family first once. They punished
him by taking her away. It took me a while, but I put that
together in college."
"You can?t know that," he tells me.
"But I do know it. The last time I saw my father, he told me.
He knew they were going to kill him, just not how or when. He
wanted me to know, so I would see the Syndicate for who they were.
I think he hoped I would turn against them, help ..." I stop.
"Help stop them," I finish.
"But you wouldn?t, didn?t turn?"
I stare bleakly at his shirt and shake my head.
"Not until it was too late."
He gives me a quizzical look. I wonder - do I lay my cards
on the table? Do I commit myself to trusting Alex Krycek as
I?ve never trusted anyone since those days that tore my
family apart? I whisper, "I would not have given them Dmitri."
He pulls away slightly. I cannot read his expression. He is
utterly silent and the hand that had been tangling and untangling
itself in my hair is still. "Marita," he hisses at last.
"I wouldn?t have," I repeat. "There was no power in that.
They would have taken him from you anyway. All the years I?d
been searching, trying to regain control, trying never to be
helpless again. I thought I was in control before they took
my mother away. The nightmares had gone again. I was even
going to college. When I realized they had murdered my mother
and my father could have done nothing to have stopped them, I felt
it all over again. By then it was different. My father had
become a stranger and my mother was gone. I simply stopped
caring about anyone but myself. It was easier that way. All
I could see was control, power. I didn?t see, didn?t want to see,
anyone I used along the way. I did what it took to get what I wanted.
I didn?t always like myself for it, but after a while that didn?t
really matter either."
I sigh and sit up. I reach for the vodka and glasses. I motion
toward him, cocking my head as way of asking. He nods. I pour
two glasses. I wonder what he wanted to celebrate. It must have
been huge; the vodka is excellent.
"What were we celebrating?" I ask distantly.
"Hmm?" the thoughtful look is back. He is far away from me,
somewhere happier, or so I hope it is. "Oh. I ... uh ... I
found someone I?ve been looking for."
"C?mere," he commands gently. I lean into him again. He rests
his glass in his hand, flung out on the pillow next to him. I
lay on my side and keep my glass on his chest. I think this must
be what it?s like to be in love, to have a lover. I try to make
this enough, to make this feeling last. "So?" he asks.
"So," I say. "I followed my father?s wishes. I went to work for
the brokers of our destruction, thinking there was power in that.
The power of presiding over the annihilation of billions of people.
Somehow," I say ruefully, "it seems a bit hollow now."
He chuckles at me, actually chuckles.
"My father eventually chose another path. I don?t think I
understood his choice until now. I only thought him foolish.
I was convinced it was a side effect, long delayed, of my
"What did he do?"
"He saw it was a losing game, the whole thing. The alliance,
his place within it, his entire life had been devoted to a charade.
So he wrenched the power away from the mighty and started giving it
to someone he believed in. They didn?t really notice at first and
when they started to notice they weren?t alarmed. What can one man
do? It was only when they stopped to take stock of the man my father
had chosen that they grew scared. So my father had to die.
"It had been carefully concealed from all but those in the highest
echelons of power my connection to him. I doubt there is more than
one person still alive who knows my connection. I didn?t even attend
his funeral. I didn?t really want to. I was angry. He had taken my
life from me, I thought, had made it so I had to fight for every ounce
of control I had. Then I thought he?d thrown that all away ... for
nothing." I fall silent.
"And now what do you think?" Alex asks me.
"Now I understand. My father saw the greater power was in aiding
one man?s quest for the truth that we so assiduously concealed.
I?m not angry with him any longer. I wish I could have been there,
but I have to comfort myself with two facts."
"They are ..." he leads.
"My father died for a man who is a better human being than I ever
could be ... And he died in the arms of a woman who will never
compromise the ideals for which my father died."
Krycek sits up. He drains the vodka from his glass. I sip mine,
looking levelly at him. he shakes his head, disbelieving.
"No," he says.
Continued in PART 2 (further down this page).
NOTES: The line "my time is come round at last" is slightly paraphrased
from Yeats. He is one of my favorite poets and "The Second Coming" is,
in my opinion, one of his best. It was also, by the way, quoted by
Skinner in "S.R. 819".
The book obliquely referred to is an indeterminate volume of the Brother
Cafael Series, a set of Mideval mysteries by late British author Ellis
Peters. They are wonderfully written and thoroughly enjoyable.
Thanks again to Yanichka who has taken time out of a very busy life to
send me Russian phrases so I can incorporate them accurately into
my story. You're an absolute darling.
Those Who Help Themselves (2/2)
all other info in PART 1
Those Who Help Themselves
"Yes," I assure him.
"Your father was ..."
"The contact Fox Mulder called ?Deep Throat?."
He only stares at me. After a very long time he takes the glass,
half empty now, of vodka from my hand. He places it back on the night
table next to his. His eyes never leave my face. I see myself in him.
We are both exhausted by the struggle of remaining aloof. We both long
to trust, to form some human connection that was severed long before we
knew its value. We are wary of each other, but it seems, willing to try.
I lean into him. Our lips meet. I taste the faint, acrid remains of
alcohol on his lips. The kiss is frenzied, furious, passionately hot.
It is, in its own way, tentative as well.
He pulls me down beneath him, kisses my face, my neck, my shoulder as
he tugs open the robe I still wear. His touch, cool and gentle,
against the already hot flesh of my sides, tickles and delights.
Somewhat out of breath, I giggle at the sensation, smile, and close
my eyes. The giggles subside to a sigh, which ends abruptly with
the feeling of his lips brushing the curve of my breast. I inhale
sharply and feel him smile against me.
Before I had always used sex as a weapon, foreplay the means to an end.
I?d mimicked all the responses of passion, yet until Alex Krycek, that
first time and now, I?d never meant any of it. I had never felt a touch
like his, never burned under the soft caresses of a lover?s lips. Never
had all thought been driven from my mind. Not once, not even before with
him, had I been filled, consumed by the desire that now radiated from me.
The memories of the tests, the bitterness, the confusion, even my fear,
slip from me as his fingers glide along my body. Deep within my mind
I feel the spring of control uncoil and I surrender myself to powerlessness.
With neither method, nor great precision, my shaking fingers begin to
unbutton his shirt ...
When it is over we lie wrapped in the blankets, his arm around my
shoulders, his fingers twined in my hair. I lie with my head on
his chest, one arm curled against his shoulder, the other flung
across him. He is whispering to me in Russian, "Dorogaia."
It hits me - all I sacrificed in my life to no avail. How easy it
was to give up the things I?d never had, to think I didn?t need them
when all along they were what I most needed. I accept the flicker of
happiness that lights my world at this moment. I know it will soon be
extinguished. This cannot last. This is not who we are, Alex and I.
But for now, it is who we are pretending to be. I nestle more closely
into him and sleep, deeply and without dreaming.
I awaken, sleep receding as slowly as the tide. Drowsy senses
proclaim confusion in muzzy clamors. My mind whirls around in
lazy circles, coming at last to rest on the fact that Krycek?s
mouth is on my own, his tongue whispering along my lips and his
hand covers my breast, massaging it, teasing the nipple gently,
sending signals throughout my body. My eyes open as I smile
into his kiss. He pulls back and grins at me.
"You?re damn hard to wake up," he tells me.
I give a small giggle and pull him to me. As I kiss him I
whisper into his mouth, "Maybe. But I?m awake now."
He makes love to me forever, it seems. [At turns gentle and
teasing or forceful and insistent. He begs me, pleads with me,
tells me to come, and I do, eyes wide, hands clutching him to
me, voice giving sound to his name. I meet his gaze and find
he is smiling triumphantly at me. I can?t even begin to care
right now. Before I can react, can use my own long-unused skills
to please him, he is moving again, touching me in ways that sink
me beneath the flood of another orgasm. I am helpless against him.
I don?t mind it at all.]
We showered, which was an interesting event. I don?t really
think I got all the shampoo out of my hair. Now we share a quiet
breakfast. Alex had gone downstairs, gone out, and
gotten a paper, before waking me. I notice it is 'U.S.A. Today?.
Generic. I take this to mean he still believes I?m in the dark
as to my own whereabouts.
This arrangement continues for nearly three weeks. Spring arrives
in full force. From the balcony I watch trees burst into leaf,
appearing almost consumed in motionless, green flames. The people
below me have put away their heavy winter coats, though it rains
most mornings, so they carry umbrellas and rain coats are seen on
Alex comes and goes, never for more than a day or two is he gone,
nor does he stay much longer. My plans come to a standstill. With
his movements so unpredictable I don?t dare leave the apartment or
try to contact Mulder. I use the time to review and polish my
notes, to add to the set for Krycek. I update the history of my
life. If I don?t survive I want someone to know. It?s the only
power I have now, the same power my father saw and grabbed in the
last year of his life - the power of the truth. As much as I *am*
anxious to complete my plans, to put this into the hands of Fox Mulder,
I enjoy the days when Alex is with me. Sometimes we talk of
inconsequential matters, childhood stories that reveal nothing,
could be that of any child. In them, is little hint of how our lives
would progress, who we would become.
We share meals. He usually goes and gets dinner, often from a
restaurant he calls ?The Russia House?. The tastes and smells
bring my mother back to me and I find myself at last
able to mourn her. In the aromas that fill the kitchen and
drift through the hall, I see the many different houses she
made into homes throughout my childhood. In the textures and
tastes of familiar foods, I relive joyful dinners with my father
at home and quiet dinners with just my mother. I cry for the
woman I watched lovingly prepare meal after meal for a
husband never fully hers and a daughter who, despite a
mother?s tender care, always had more room in her heart for the
father. Tears trickle down my face as I think how she
taught me the traditions of her homeland - its tongue and
its cuisine. Nothing I?ve done with my life would have
fulfilled her dreams for me, except maybe this last thing.
Sometimes we simply sit and are silent, lost in our own thoughts.
Many of mine begin with, 'If only ...' and end in ' ... might have
been.' Some nights we sit on the balcony, sipping vodka. I stare
at the stars and the child in me wonders if there isn?t a universe,
parallel to our own where I live a normal life, with a normal family.
I hope there is ... and I hope she?s happy.
And we make love. Like bunnies, would be the expression, I believe.
Neither of us can leave the other alone for long. Sometimes he
hides in the shadows of the hall and ambushes me after a shower,
pulling me back to bed with him. Other times I?ll come to
him as he reads the paper and take it away from him. Often,
he wakes me in the middle of the night, lips trailing across
my skin, fingers caressing me. I realize in that other reality I
could love Alex Krycek with my whole heart.
He returned earlier tonight with a bottle of the finest vodka
and dinner in hand. We were celebrating the achievement of his
plans. We ate and drank. He told me he was going to have to be
gone again, probably about two weeks, but he had made arrangements
to have groceries delivered to me. Elation and triumph shone from
his face. My mind raced ahead, planning my hoped-for rendezvous
with Fox Mulder.
After dinner he pulled me close and kissed me. He was aggressive,
insistent, almost rough. It had the vital, dangerous thrill of that
first moment on the ship. He backed me against a wall, pinned me
with his body while he stripped my clothes from me, before
impatiently removing his own. I looked at him. "Here?"
"Right here," he grunted. "Right now."
Afterwards we staggered to bed. I lay my head on his chest and
listened to him breathe. Silence reigned for a long while.
"What are you thinking about?" he asks at last.
I look at him. I?ve fallen in love, at least a bit, with the one
man who will never love me because I betrayed him. I wonder if my
heart is in my eyes. I wonder if he cares. "I was thinking about
the last time you wanted to celebrate. You had found someone."
He grins. "Yes, and now I?ve put her somewhere very safe. Soon,
I?ll use that fact to my advantage."
"Who is it?" I ask, casually I hope.
He regards me closely, suspicion plain on his face. I drop my eyes,
try to indicate I don?t really care if he answers. I?m only making
conversation. "Samantha Mulder," he says.
I stare at him, but make no comment. I can risk no more questions
without rekindling his suspicious nature. As much as I?d like to
know where he has her and how he plans to make use of her, I remain
silent. I suspect his FBI mole will pass on information to Agent
Mulder. Information that carefully conceals a trap. I hope Agent
Scully?s cooler, skeptical head will prevail.
He tips my chin up, regards me more closely still, and kisses me.
His lips are warm and yielding against mine. His fingers are
caressing my shoulder, sending spikes of heat through me. His
tongue runs along my lips, tickling. The small giggle that escapes
me turns into a soft moan as his fingers slide along my side and
across my abdomen. 'Like bunnies,' I think to myself. 'like
deceitful, ambitious, cold-hearted bunnies.' Then I?m not thinking
anything at all.
I watch him sleep and feel the pulse of his heartbeat beneath my hand.
The words pound rhythmically through my head, words I haven?t spoken
in years. I clench my jaw to imprison them within me. 'Liubliu tebya,
moi milaya.' I feel sleep begin to steal over me and I feel the words
creep to my lips, past the previously watchful guard of my tongue.
They lay there, mute, still, denied. I love you, my darling.
He wakes me in the morning. The weak light falling through the
window tells me it?s early. His hair is wet, his face clean shaven,
and his skin still damp from his shower. "I have to leave," he
tells me, "in about an hour."
I reach for him, determined to make the most of this hour.
We are ardent, fiery, thrilling. My lips are powerless to do so,
so it is my body with which I wish him goodbye, knowing
this will never happen again.
I slip on my robe and walk to the front door with him.
He runs his hand over my cheek and his fingers glide through
my hair. "Dasvidanya, dorogaia."
I smile at him and kiss him, feeling his hand still soft
against my cheek. "Milaya Alexei," I tell him.
"I?ll call and check on you," he tells me. To any passer-by
in the hallway it would sound like a husband or lover leaving
on a business trip. I nod, reading the meaning in his
words. My body he can want, its reactions he can trust.
My heart and mind are an entirely different matter.
I pass the day finishing my plans. In the afternoon I dare a
trip out. I sell the clothes I?m not going to need. I plan on
taking only a minimum with me. I use some of the money to buy a
medium sized duffel bag. I walk to Victory Field and buy two tickets
for the game day after next, leaving one at the will-call desk for
Agent Mulder. My last stop is the post office.
I am probably the only person who doesn?t mind the crowds.
I am less likely to be remembered this way. Into an envelope
I place the notebook and tape for Mulder. I address it. I explain
to the clerk I simply need to know how much the postage will be, that
I will mail this in a few days. She weighs it for me, accepts the
money I hand her, and marks the postage on the envelope. She looks
at me sharply. I feel a familiar expression settle onto my face.
I know it is bland, unreadable. For a moment, I am once again in a
building in New York, delivering a report to a covert group of
arrogant collaborators. An inward smile remind me most of them
are dead and here I am.
I return as the shadows lengthen and the air begins to take on a
chill. I eat listlessly and sleep poorly. I question myself
relentlessly. My father?s voice, insistent, certain, reassures
me Mulder is the one to help, not Krycek.
In the morning I turn on the cell phone. When Krycek sees the
bill he?ll know who I?ve called. By then, it won?t matter. I
make the call. Luck is with me and Mulder is in his
office. I am transferred.
"Fox Mulder," he answers.
"Agent Mulder," my voice is husky to my own ears, and sharp.
"This is Marita Covarrubias. Is this a secure line?" Deja vu
washed over me. It?s been two years since I last asked him that.
I think how that phone call did not turn out to my advantage.
"Marita?" He is incredulous. I can envision him sitting up
suddenly. "Yes, the line is secure."
"I don?t have much time, Agent Mulder. I need to meet with you.
I have information you must know."
"Marita, I ...," he hesitates.
"Agent Mulder, the things I know, the information I have is
critical to your quest."
"All right," he concedes.
"Come to Indianapolis, Indiana. Tomorrow. Meet me at
Victory Field at 2:00 p.m. There is a ticket for you at
the will-call desk."
"Marita ...," he starts again.
"Please, be there. All of our lives depend on it, Agent Mulder."
"Can you tell me ...?"
"I can?t talk anymore. This is dangerous enough for me as
it is. For you too. There?s a mole in the FBI. Just be there.
Victory Field. Indianapolis. 2:00 p.m. tomorrow."
"Fine," he agrees.
I end the call. I add all of this to my notes. It will lend
credence should he doubt. I add in the cover letter I?ve written.
I will go out and mail my notes shortly....
THREE DAYS LATER
Silence filled the tiny basement office for the first
time in hours. Mulder got out of his chair, stretching.
He retrieved Scully?s coffee cup and his own and refilled
them with coffee that was fresh about four hours ago.
Starbucks would not approve, he noted mentally. In his
ears he could still hear the tones of the voice on the tape:
soft, cowed, forlorn. He remembered, almost in spite of
himself, the way she used to sound, how she once appeared.
Once the Syndicate?s leading herald of misinformation, she had become
their favored guinea pig.
Scully looked up at him as he handed her the mug of still
reasonably hot coffee. She murmured a polite thank you.
Her face displayed a curious mix of deep concern and
loathing. "How did you get this?" she asked.
Mulder sunk back into his chair and pushed a manila envelope
across the desk to Scully. "It was delivered Saturday morning.
I came by here on my way to the airport. Read through all of
this on the flight to Indianapolis. Listened to the tape yesterday."
Scully looked at the return address. "When she didn?t show did
you check out this address?"
He nodded. "Gone. No trace of her. I talked to a few of the
neighbors. They remembered her as very quiet. None of them
could say when she left."
"Or was taken away?" Scully asked softly.
Mulder nodded again, ponderously this time. She could see
the guilt in him, as he thought he should have just known somehow
that Marita Covarrubias needed his help. His hands were clasped,
the index fingers extended, meeting at their tips, to form a sharp
peak. Mulder was staring at them. "Dammit, Scully. She gave us
"I know." Scully looked down at the notes she?d made while
listening to the tape. "Names, locations, planned dates."
Silently, her mind added the fact that Alex Krycek
had, or claimed to have Samantha Mulder in his grasp.
"Even what the bastards did to her while they had her."
It was Scully?s turn to nod slowly. "With this ..."
"With this," he interrupted her, "we stand a chance.
We?re no longer flying blind, groping in the dark for
some vague hints or clues. For once we don?t have to guess
what it is we?re looking at. We know." He stopped, staring
morosely again. "And I know my sister is alive."
Scully nodded. "Mulder?" She was trying to catch his eye,
to comfort him with her glance. "She may have just decided
it was getting too hot where she was."
He shook his head. "I don?t think so." He met Scully?s
gaze, saw her intention, gave her the barest of smiles.
"Look in the envelope."
Scully pulled out a note. She read it slowly, then laid
it over the tape player.
It read: "Mr. Mulder, It is my intention to tell you the
story contained on this tape myself. However, I realize I
may not get that opportunity. The tape contains answers to
many of your questions. Please listen to it carefully. The
notebook contains notes of everything I did, all that was
planned, when I worked for the Syndicate. use it to your
advantage, Agent Mulder.
You may wonder why you should trust me when I have done nothing
to earn such trust. I can only say this: listen to the tape.
Once, very long ago it seems, I tried to hedge my bets, to play
all sides against one another. I paid for that folly, a price
heavier than I ever imagined possible. There is only one side,
Mr. Mulder. Yours and Agent Scully?s. If I failed to arrive
for our planned meeting, if you are reading this note without
having seen me , if you have in your hands this tape, then my
intentions have been thwarted. I can only hope, however, that
I have not entirely failed....
AUTHOR?S NOTES: lots and lots of notes! and in no particular order:
Yanichka, really thank you so much for all the Russian help.
'Parzhoulsta' - a lot.
Places - are as accurate as I could be while keeping things
Plotlines - before you mail me to ask what i was thinking! -
the whole 'taped confession' idea came from an off-hand
remark made by one of my best friends and I really liked it.
Yes, I doubt some of those things would actually be on the tape,
but this is fiction, OK? There is something to be said
for being a teacher - you have the summers off. This enables
you to watch A&E non-stop, if you want. If you do this,
you can watch old "Murder, She Wrote" re-runs daily. And
*if* you do that, eventually you?ll come across with the
episode that guest starred Jerry Hardin and Laurie Holden.
I kid you not. He played her father ... I won?t say anymore
so as not to ruin the mystery for anyone, but the whole
'he is her father' idea got stuck in my head. J and A assured
me I wasn?t venturing too far into the whole daytime drama thing,
so that?s how that idea came about.
Characters - ok, I realize pillow-talk between Marita
and Krycek may be farfetched. Deal with it.
freely acknowledging *none* of these characters are real,
we fan fic writers tend to treat them that way. Well, real people
have all sorts of sides to them we don?t often see. I've tried
to find sides of Krycek and Marita we haven't seen.