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Playing Pieces by Julie L. Jekel
Summary: Deslea's rec: "This oldie-but-a-goodie is in fact a series of four short stories which relate the mytharc from some surprising supporting character perspectives. I love the multi-faceted backstory and the use of metaphor in this one." Collation of four short pieces - Black Pawn, White Knight; Bishop's Lament; Renegade Knight and When Castles Fall. Each has separate notes and spoilers, but it's basically a Conspiracy POV on the mytharc through to about FTF. PG.

Playing Pieces 1/1
Julie L. Jekel

This is a series of four stories - Black Pawn, White Knight; Bishop's Lament; Renegade Knight; and When Castles Fall. Each has separate spoilers and other notes.

Old fic, new to the list. :-)

A couple of notes before I get to the story, though. My perspective on Marita has changed a bit since I wrote this, largely due to some of Deslea's awesome work. I'm no longer completely convinced she *doesn't* believe in the work, or that she has any feelings for Mulder. But this was my first attempt at a Marita fic and the series that sprang out of it is the closest thing I've ever come to writing a mythology yarn, so I hope you all enjoy it in spite of some of the content. (Oh yeah...including some pretty obvious Shipper-and- Scullyist moments. *blush* I was young and unenlightened. ;-) )



Disclaimers: Not mine. Not for profit. Not suing would be nice. Any questions?

Category: VA

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Seasons four and five, and the movie

Summary: The woman we know as Marita Covarrubias reflects on her life and the man who changed it forever.

"Black Pawn, White Knight" by Julie L. Jekel

I don't know when I started thinking of my life in terms of a chess game. Maybe it was when I played chess for the first time at the age of twelve and discovered it was the only thing I'm good at. I'm not even good at lying, no matter how often I may do it. If he weren't so naive, he would have seen through my charade long ago, but they knew when they sent me to him that he would not.

Perhaps it was when my father's best friend, my 'uncle,' ordered him murdered. That was when I realized I was born to be a pawn in this game. Conceived to it, nurtured in the darkness, never knowing the light so I could not long for it. It was a destiny I never questioned until I met the white knight. If only I had never glimpsed that spark...

The night my father gave his life for him, I was watching from a distance. Then, I didn't understand why he'd walked away from our world and died in the place of the broken spirit that fell out of that van to be cradled by a titian-haired angel. Only after watching the gradual resurrection of the white knight's faith, guided by his fiery guardian, did I understand. Only then, in the face of my uncles' frustration and desperate planning to crush him again did I comprehend whymy father chose another man's son over the daughter who betrayed him.

My meeting with him was orchestrated from that night. They knew that when they found and silenced his source, another one would rise, and that rising must be circumvented at any cost.

I knew the man they found and killed to finally put me in that place-- for years he had hidden so completely within the shadows that even the shadows could not find him because they thought him one of their own. Only an old promise drew him out, to assume his dead friend's protege. A reluctant warrior, he knew he would die for someone else's cause. I was there when he was shot down, there to read the final, desperate message written in his own blood, there to warp its meaning to serve the cause for which I had long been a living sacrifice.

I remember what went through my mind the day the knight first came to me. This man, standing before me was waiting for me to crush his hopes. He expected to hear what he had always heard--no proof. That time would come, I was told, but not yet. So I played my role and gave away one piece of our secret to gain his trust and thus protect the rest. Black pawn take white knight, check.

I never expected to see what I could have been in his eyes.

He was never my knight. His Lancelot served that flame-haired Guinevere who had saved him, and the Arthur that both feared their love would betray was their quest, their common passion for the truth. Like Elaine, I might have had the chance to guard his shield, but never his heart. I could even set myself adrift on that lonely river to Camelot, but never reach it alive.

My uncles watch me even more carefully now, since they know I have the strength to betray them for his sake. My life, which they saved, is forfeit to their whim; though I may now be immune to the conqueror we serve, I am not immortal. And so much has changed since I wrestled with that devil and survived only because the renegade, my lover whom I had also betrayed, bargained for his own life with the salvation for mine. The man who bought my life back is now dead. He died for the same betrayal as my father and my predecessor, the betrayal I will not be allowed to make again.

We almost won. I say 'we' because I am still a black pawn, if a reluctant one now. And the turnkey of our short-lived victory was a simple chess match. We almost captured the white queen, but in doing so inadvertently led the knight to his unholy Grail.

Ultimately, we failed because the board on which we all play is no longer as simple as these patterned squares. The black kings that my uncles and I sold our souls to serve may now know that we held back one precious instinct: survival. If we can win their trust again, then Faustus may yet live and escape damnation for a little while. Or if the white knight and his queen can rally their army of angels, they may save us all.

Soon, I go forth again to betray him. My soul, burned too black for faith, nevertheless prays that I will fail.



Disclaimers: Anyone who doesn't know that I don't own these characters needs psychiatric help. :-) Anyone who thinks I'm making money off them needs to be committed. ;-)

Category: VA

Rating: PG

Keywords: DeepThroatAngst, companion to "Black Pawn, White Knight"

Spoilers: "The Erlenmeyer Flask" and a little bit about fourth and fifth season.

Summary: On the last day of his life, the man we know as Deep Throat regrets a chance not taken.

"Bishop's Lament" by Julie L. Jekel

I wonder if she knows I'm watching. I doubt it somehow; it's been so long since I really looked at the woman she's grown up to be that I'm sometimes surprised I recognize her anymore. She's felt that absence too, I know. If she didn't, she wouldn't have started to drift away from me in the rare moments when I did try to reach her. She's not even mine anymore; she's theirs. Like I was. Like I still am when the fear of what they'll do to me outstrips the whispers of conscience that I haven't been able to silence in years. She's theirs, heart and soul and life.

How did it happen? How the hell did I let them get my daughter?

She should have been safe. She should have been a chess prodigy. She should have been a naive college student, just beginning to get a taste of the real world, not a premature lurker on the edge of a reality most people will never see. With me so often gone, emotionally if not physically, this should never have been able to touch her. That was my justification, at least. That way I didn't have to admit that by distancing myself, I was letting them raise my daughter.

I should have followed Bill Mulder's lead, and tried to get out long before now, when she was still young enough to escape. But I was afraid, afraid of losing her like Bill lost his Samantha. Especially since I didn't have another one to take comfort in, to train as a warrior in the battle already lost by our generation.

So I stole his son instead, and lost my little girl in trying to hold onto her.

I wouldn't do this for her. My own daughter, and I wouldn't risk my life for her as I will do tonight for another man's son. If she knew what I'd done, she would know that. She'd know, and yet she wouldn't hate me for it. She'd forgive me without even realizing why. Just like her mother did so many times.

I wish she could meet him, my hot-headed pupil. Maybe if she saw the fire in those eyes she'd understand why I chose him to fight for the justice I never had the courage to seek myself. They were both born to the same heritage, but his father did not abandon him to it. Through loss, through anger, through abuse but not neglect he drove him away from it. He will be scarred forever by that childhood, but at least he will shun the fold because of it.

I want her to meet him. I want him to save her from the world I deserted her to, from the 'uncles' who only love her potential, the way her beautiful face will open doors from them. Those blue eyes, so like her mother's. Only her mother's eyes were so warm, liquid and pure like the glittering waters of Hanauma Bay. My little girl has never known anything to melt the ice in that stare. I want him to see her and sweep her into his misguided vengeance, because anything would be better than this.

For my daughter's sake, I could almost deny him the comfort of his loyal skeptic, his disbelieving savior, so that he would go to her instead. Almost.

This is all I have to show for my life, a daughter who doesn't know me, and a protege who doesn't even know my name. And a twisted humor of fate forcing me to choose between the two, but leaving me no choice. For how can I choose that which is no longer mine?



Disclaimers: See "Black Pawn, White Knight" and "Bishop's Lament"

Category: VAR

Rating: PG

Spoilers: "Patient X"/"The Red and the Black," "The End," and the Movie

Keywords: Krycek/Marita, companion to "Black Pawn, White Knight" and "Bishop's Lament"

Summary: Alex Krycek struggles to reconcile an old antagonism with a new need for alliance.

"Renegade Knight" by Julie L. Jekel

In a slightly different world, we could have been brothers, united behind a common cause. In a world where my parents never died, leaving me to the mercy of the shadows, or in a world where his sister was never lost, that loss tearing him forever out of the fabric of our secret war, we could have stood together. Whether we fought for darkness or light wouldn't have mattered.

She called him her white knight once. At the time, I tried to dismiss it as a joke, especially when she teasingly dubbed me her black knight a moment after. I've learned since that it is less a joke than a dream. She dreams of the world he offers, a world of naivete in the midst of world-weary wisdom, where no man has to question the morality of *every* choice he makes. Sometimes at night, I've heard her whisper his name in the midst of those dreams and fought not to cry.

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised when she tried to betray me to him.

I'm no black knight. Once, when I believed in the cause, I was. I toyed and played with lives, dangled them like catnip-mice before the undomesticated jaws of hell. In those days, she and I were partners in crime, equals in darkness. We found in each other the same wicked thrill to which our lives had addicted us. Her father disapproved, but her father was soon revealed a traitor so we allowed ourselves no remorse for his sorrow. Then, I was truly her black knight, even though we both were pawns, and she was my black queen.

Is it any wonder I could not let her die, or be enslaved to the monster that still haunts my memory and forever redefined my sacred cause?

Fox Mulder hates me because I helped to steal his white queen, because I killed his father, and stood by while his partner's sister died.

I hate him because everyone and everything I've ever loved was lost to me because of him. My parents died because of the prickings of his father's conscience. The man who once took their place later rejected me because I could not be his champion, as Mulder could, and hated my love for his daughter. My life's only constant--my masters--tried to murder me to keep something I possessed from reaching his hands again. The woman I love has given him her heart because he represents the daylight she has only glimpsed from a distance. Even my own body has not resisted his poison, my own arm sacrificed to escaping his hatred of me. And the only man who ever offered me hope of defeating the terror I realize more fully each day has died for him, just like so many others.

But, damn him, he is the only one left who will fight.

I am caught between sunrise and shadow, a renegade knight neither white nor black but errant in quest for my own survival. I am in desperate need of my bitterest enemy to save the one thing he hasn't already stolen from me.

In another world we could have been brothers. In this one, we must be against both our wills, if we want to live.



Disclaimer: I don't own any of these guys. But hey, Chris, if you ever decide you want to get rid of them...

Category: VA

Rating: PG

Archive: Ephemeral, Gossamer, Spookys and "The Beehive" okay--anyone else please ask me first.

Spoilers: Seasons 3, 4 & 5

Keywords: X-Angst, fourth in the series I have dubbed "Playing Pieces"--companion to"Black Pawn, White Knight," "Bishop's Lament," and "Renegade Knight"

Summary: X reflects on the choices he made and the choices made for him when he realizes he is going to die.

"When Castles Fall" by Julie L. Jekel

I still remember the moment I first saw him. He was naked except for a wedding band, bathed in the spray of a chemical we'd meant to test on an unsuspecting Baltimore population--a plan foiled by three bumbling clowns and a woman who should never have been allowed to be part of our grand scheme. At that moment, I felt nothing for him but scorn and contempt.

Three years later, I discovered that same man had become apprenticed to a dear friend of mine, a man who was once among the most ruthless of all of us, but who--like Bill Mulder--had the misfortune of retaining his conscience. A conscience which became his downfall and is soon to become my own.

At this moment, I don't know whether to damn him or thank him for it.

I was comfortable in the shadows. I was needed. I was strong. I was a fortress against the weak-willed truth-tellers who did not have the nerve to fight with more than words. And I was secure in my strength.

I saw her watching me today, his daughter. That young, blonde drone who embodies within her every irony of my friend's life. She was the child for whose sake he deserted the fold, but that same child is the willing sheep of the shepherds whose company he scorned. I saw her watching me, and in her gaze I saw the measure of life left to me.

When only a girl, she taught us about the game we played even as we taught her, with her gift and love for chess. Each of us she assigned a piece, and I was the castle. One of the strongest pieces on the board, more powerful even than the bishop she dubbed her father, if only by a little.

It is ironic that another name for my part is the rook, the trickster bird that Native Americans believed was responsible for carrying the souls of the departed into the afterlife. I have been an angel of death in life, but who will bear my soul away tonight, and where will he carry it to?

When a castle falls, in life or in chess, it gives the opponent a foothold hard to shake. And I, I fell to a promise. I fell for a friendship, for her father's conscience. Checkmated by the white knight in a corner where my own bishop trapped me.

Now only hours remain before that same bishop's pawn will take my place, as punishment for my misplaced loyalty to her father.

A part of me still resents the fall, hates the way my strength was turned to weakness as I too became reluctantly engulfed in the Quixotic quest of my dead friend's protege.

And yet the part of me that kept returning to his side even in the midst of my anger has no regrets. Perhaps, instead of strength, for once it is the weakness in which I should take pride. For in that weakness, I have accomplished something--perhaps the only thing in my life--that is noble. I suppose I may have retained a bit of my own conscience as well.

Only two things can bring down a fortress--time or conquest. I have had enough of both.

Today the last stone will fall.


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