Welcome To The Harem

The Orbus by Philiater
Summary: Jeffrey/Marita vignette, One Son post-ep.

Title: The Orbus
Author: Philiater
Keywords: Jeffrey Spender, Marita. Vignette
Timeline: Season 5. Slight alteration to the ending of One
Rating: R for adult themes and situations
Disclaimer: Not mine, never were. They belong to CC
and 1013.
Beta thanks to Keleka

orbus: Latin: deprived of children or parents, orphan /
deprived, destitute.


He watched her sleep with bitter resignation. She'd
promised to lead him to his mother, but collapsed before
telling him anything of value. He glanced at the red
digital numbers on his bedside clock. Time was slipping
away and so were his chances of finding his mother.

When he'd stumbled onto this stranger in the Purity lab,
she'd looked like the living dead. Her eyes were clouded
over by something dark and evil. He'd recoiled when she
moved, thinking one of the corpses had come to life. He
hadn't been far from wrong.

She'd said she knew where they'd taken his mother and
that she could lead him there. He'd tried hard to believe
her; to believe the stories she spun about herself and
those she knew inside the syndicate.

Marita, she said. Her name was Marita

Krycek found them together as they were trying to leave.
He simply scoffed and moved on when he asked the one-
armed bastard for help. Marita seemed to deflate
completely when that happened. He took his trench coat
off and wrapped it around her thin, cold body. With some
finagling, he finally slipped past the guards keeping

Somehow he managed to load her semi-conscious body
into his car and disappear. He planned on dropping her at
home and confronting his father later.

Suddenly she sat straight up and screamed for him to stop
the car. He pulled over just in time to see her open the
door and vomit. Except that she didn't vomit so much as

When he got out and went around to see if he could help,
he was met with a horrifying sight. Marita had disgorged
a large amount of black slimy substance that smelled like
crude oil onto the graveled shoulder. He recoiled in
disgust and watched the oil snake down to a ditch and
into a storm sewer.

To his amazement, when she looked up, her eyes were
now clear and her skin had lost that awful bluish tinge.
She looked almost normal. Almost.

Without warning, she pitched forward and would have
fallen flat on her face if he hadn't caught her. He loaded
her back into the car and continued home.

He managed to rouse her enough to get her inside and
upstairs. He took his coat and the terrible hospital gown
off her and threw them both away. They carried the
stench of disease, death, and had an oily residue that
seemed to cling to everything tenaciously. He had to
double bag them so he wouldn't gag.

He dressed her in his old sweat pants and t-shirt before
putting her to bed. She looked younger now, and almost
vulnerable. 'Vulnerable' was a not a word he thought
would normally be associated with this woman, given her

She slept like the dead for hours while he contemplated
what to do with her. If he took her to a hospital, she was
sure to 'disappear.' He wanted her present and alive to tell
her story about the syndicate and his father.

His father.

The man who'd stepped forward in a darkened garage and
proclaimed that title was anything but fatherly. That man
had made shady deals and prodded him from the murky
depths of this so-called syndicate.

He was always being tested and had always come up
short. Now he longed to see his father fail.

Marita finally woke and stumbled into the living room.
She blinked several times as if unable to comprehend
where it was that she'd woken up.

"Are you hungry?" he asked her while she oriented


He made her clear broth and plain, toasted bread. She ate
gingerly and constantly looked over her surroundings, as
if men in black suits would jump out of the closets to get

When she was done, he cleared the dishes. She remained
seated with her head bowed.


"What do you want from me?"


"Sex? Is that what you want?"

"NO," he exclaimed and backed away from her. What
kind of life had she been living to expect him to want

"Then what do you want?" her voice was cold and flat to
his ears.

"I want you to live."

"Live?" She turned in her chair and gave him a
bewildered look.

"Yes. I don't want anything else except for you to live and
tell what you know about the syndicate."

"I won't live that long."

"Yes you will," he said with grim determination.

He walked into the living room and grabbed his suit
jacket and keys.

"Where are you going?"

"I have to go back to the office and settle some matters."

Suddenly she was beside him, clutching his arm and
pulling him back from the door.

"You can't go there. They'll kill you."

"No they won't. I'm too public of a person to just
disappear. Besides, my father wouldn't let them kill me."


He opened the door and closed it on her protests.


Of course he was dead wrong. His father was in the office
when he got there. Once again he was berated for his
failings, but this time his father took it one step further.
To his everlasting surprise, his father shot him point
blank in the chest. He hadn't even bothered to put out his
cigarette to do it.

He waited to die on the floor, bleeding onto the cold
concrete and struggling to breathe.

Then he felt a cool hand on his forehead. Marita's angelic
face loomed over his.

"I'm taking you out of here."

"Why are you doing this?" he whispered between cracked

"Because I owe you."

The next few days were filled with nightmarish images.
He was shuttled by her and various men from one place
to the next. Anonymous hands probed and prodded his
inert body. He felt a sharp pain in his hand and then a
cool sensation as something circulated through his body.
When he opened his eyes, he could see that an IV had
been put in him.

He woke anther time to hear an argument going on near

"...needs a chest tube and that requires hospitalization."

"Well, put one in and this will be his hospital."

"You don't understand. If the vacuum breaks, he'll die."

"Yes, but he'll die without it, won't he?"

He drifted off again leaving the voices to argue alone.
After that he only woke again when a burning sharp pain
exploded on the side of his chest. He tried to talk, to
protest, but only managed a strangled whisper.

Then, he felt sweet relief as air rushed into his collapsed
lung and blew it open. He took large, ragged gulps of air
and felt for the first time that he didn't need to struggle
for every breath.

As he relaxed, a cool cloth bathed his face. Looking up,
he saw Marita again. She appeared even more angelic
than he remembered, without a trace of the sickly
creature he'd seen inside Purity Control. Her blond hair
was long and hung softly around her shoulders. A healthy
glow permeated her skin and eyes.

"Marita-" he whispered.

"Rest. Save your breath."

"So beautiful-"

"That's the pain medicine talking. Rest, Jeff." Her face
descended and gentle lips grazed his forehead. She got
off the bed he lay on and closed the door behind her.

She called him Jeff, his sluggish mind told him. His angel
had kissed him and called him Jeff.


He managed to stay awake for longer periods of time
after that. The first time he was strong enough to sit up,
he found himself tethered by a tube sticking out of his
chest. Looking around the bedroom, he saw logged walls
and an evergreen forest outside the window. They were a
long way from his apartment and Purity Control.

He got out of bed and all the way to the bathroom before
Marita came after him.

"What are you doing out of bed?"

"Going to the bathroom."

"You're not strong enough for that."

"I'm strong enough," he said with as much vigor as he
could muster. She let him go in alone, but stood just
outside the door. He used the facilities and managed to
take a bird bath of sorts at the sink.

He surveyed the damage done to his chest in the mirror
with a critical eye. Just below his collar bone was a small,
blackened hole where the bullet had entered. When he
turned around, there didn't appear to be an exit wound.
The bullet was still inside him somewhere.

The chest tube was attached to a box-like contraption
with water-filled chambers. When he coughed, air
bubbled in one of the chambers. He didn't know if that
was good or bad.

A knock on the door interrupted his examination.

"Are you all right in there?"


The next day a doctor came and removed the chest tube,
proclaiming his lung healed. His soul, on the other hand,
was another matter. He'd been betrayed in the worst way
possible by a man he should never have trusted.

He was still weak, but grew a little stronger everyday,
hatred keeping him going when he wanted to give up. He
walked outside for short periods of time under Marita's
watchful eye. Softened muscles became hard, wobbly
legs stood straighter. If his physical condition continued
to improve, he would leave here soon.

When he did leave, he'd have only one regret: Marita. She
was steadfast in her ministrations, never letting him out
of her sight for long, or letting him get overworked
during exercise. Her cool hands dressed his healing
wounds with gentle care. He caught himself staring into
the blue of her eyes several times, feeling lost in their
calm depths. In spite of himself, he thought he might be
falling in love with her.

"Why are you doing this?" he asked one night as she
changed his bandage.

She wouldn't meet his eyes, but continued to clean and
dress his side. He was sitting on the bed, naked from the
waist up.

"I told you, I owe you."

"I think you've more than paid any debt owed to me."

"You don't understand. You didn't just save my life, you
saved me from a perpetual living death. They--they did
terrible experiments on my body and were planning on
doing more. They deliberately infected me with the black
oil. I'd kill myself before I had to go back there."

He reached out and stilled her busy hands. Forcing her
into a sitting position next to him, he put a hand under her
chin and compelled her to look up.

"You don't ever have to go back there," he said with a
vehemence born of the blazing anger inside him. "I'd kill
anyone who tried to make you go back."

He watched as her face scrunched up into a mask of
sorrow. Tears threatened to spill over as the impact of
what he'd said hit her.

He automatically tried to comfort her by touching her
face. She leaned into the hand and closed her eyes. After
they'd sat there for a few minutes she turned her face and
gently kissed his palm.

The feel of her lips sent shockwaves throughout his entire
body and quickened his breathing. As he watched, she
moved his hand from her face to her flannel covered

Suddenly he was up and off the bed feeling like his hand
had been burned. He turned and leaned heavily on the
tiny bedroom dresser trying to gain control of himself.

"What's wrong?" Her voiced sounded small and

"I don't want--I don't want your pity."

He heard her rise from the bed and stand close behind
him; could feel the heat from her body radiate out to his
and smell her subtle perfume.

"Is that what you think this is? Pity?"

He closed his eyes tight. "Isn't it?"


He finally turned around to face her. She was looking at
him not with sympathy, but with a gentleness he'd rarely
known in his life. She touched his face again and it was
his undoing.

He leaned forward and kissed her hungrily rapidly
becoming lost in her. She reciprocated, touching with
sweet caresses and murmuring nonsense in his ear. He
felt the jagged pain in his heart leak out with her touch.

She was so different from Diana, whose love making was
like an assault. Hot, hard and fast was more Diana's style
and he'd put up with it to please his father. He also used it
to get some stress relief and felt nothing at all for
Mulder's former paramour. They hadn't been in love. Far
from it. They hadn't even been in lust, really.

He thought Diana did it to supplant her feelings for
Mulder. She wanted Mulder very badly, but a certain red-
headed partner kept creeping into the mix. Diana would
turn positively green and go ballistic after nearly every
run-in with the tiny dynamo.

He'd smirked at her once and accused her point blank of
jealously. She'd answered him with a slap so hard his
mouth bled. Then she'd come over and licked the blood
off. Just like a vampire he'd thought.

No, Marita certainly was *not* Diana.

He stroked the softness of her hair and her even softer
skin. Her blue eyes grew dark.

"No," she whispered, "not pity. Not out of pity at all."

He took her to bed and spent himself on her soft body.
All the anger, pain and betrayal he'd felt seemed to pour
out of him. She absorbed it all without complaint, giving
him nothing but warmth and kindness in return. As he
pounded into her, he could feel all the awful things that
had happened to him melt away.

Afterward he held her tightly against him, not wanting
her leave. Not wanting her to ever disappear from him.

The next morning she watched him dress in silence.

"You're leaving."


"You can't kill him. Others have tried and failed."

"*I* haven't tried."

She nodded and looked away from him. He wanted to go
over and comfort her, to tell her he'd be back and they'd
make love for days on end. But he knew it would be a lie
and that she'd see through it. Marita was many things, but
certainly not delusional when it came to men's promises.

He left her there in bed knowing that's how he'd always
remember her: soft, beautiful, his guardian angel.

As he drove away from the cabin, he knew that time was
still slipping away from him.


I blame this one on Anne Haynes. I'd just read Andante
and wanted to make Jeffrey Spender just as sympathetic.
Did I succeed?