Welcome To The Harem

Vaccine by Pollyanna
Summary: Marita wants something from Alex. R.

Disclaimer: The characters and situations of the television program
"The X Files" are the creations and property of Chris Carter, Fox
Broadcasting, and Ten-Thirteen Productions, and have been used without
permission. No copyright infringement is intended.

Title: Vaccine

Author: Pollyanna

Email: pollyanna@tifling.demon.co.uk

Category: VA

Rating: R for language and some coital situations

Spoilers: Patient X

Summary: Marita wants something from Alex

Notes: This was written for the 13th Lyric Wheel - the Wheel of
Fortune. (http:/www.tifling.demon.co.uk/wheel/wheel.htm) For my lyrics
Frankie sent me "Lucky One" by Alison Krauss which was lucky for me
since Alison Krauss is a particular favourite of mine!


The mattress smelled of sweat, and oil, and other substances she
decided not to put too much effort into identifying. Alex had pulled
her into one of the deserted crew berths and thrown two mattresses
from the bunks onto the floor making a temporary bed for them. She was
grateful she hadn't ended up on her back on the bare steel. Alex had
not been in a patient mood. They had not bothered with stripping,
although her panties must be lying around somewhere, and she was glad
of the clothing as the sweat cooled and the cold of the metal ship
seeped into her. She snagged a blanket from one of the piles of
bedding lying discarded beside the bunks, and tugged it over them.

The rigid shape of his left arm dug into her side as she leant over
him to get the blanket, and when she was lying down again she traced
the length of it through the material, her fingers stopping when they
finally felt the warmth of flesh. He always wore the prosthetic when
they were together, and she wondered if it was lack of trust, or shame
that kept the scars hidden. She didn't raise her eyes although she
knew he was looking at her, and at last he broke the silence, his
voice low and husky but not with passion.

"You don't want to see it, it's a fucking ugly mess."

Shame, then, or at least, all he was allowing her to see. She paused,
considering her reply. Compassion equalled vulnerability and was too
easily seen as pity, which would put him on the defensive when she
wanted him relaxed, off guard.

"Well, you were always complaining about being too pretty." She looked
up and met his eyes for a moment before he threw back his head in a
bark of laughter.

"And you were always a cold bitch, Marita," he said, with something
that might almost have been fondness in his voice.

She allowed the edge of her mouth to lift in a small smile. "I like to
live up, or perhaps that should be down, to expectations." She sighed
dramatically. "You've disappointed me though, Alex. You were the lucky
one, so I was told. That's why I decided an alliance was a good idea,
I thought it might rub off on me."

His reply was coldly amused. "I never realised you were so
superstitious, Marita. If I'd have known, I'd have saved one of my
fingers for you. You could have hung it from your keyring like a
rabbit's foot."

She wasn't able to stop the wince of discomfort, even as she knew the
sign of weakness lost her a point in the endless game they played.

He shrugged as best he could while lying on his back, and continued,
"Anyway, in a certain light, if you squint, it was lucky." She looked
at him in disbelief. "They could have killed me as I slept. A knife in
the ribs would have been a hell of a lot easier than the woodland
pruning act."

"Why didn't they?" she asked in honest curiosity.

He smirked. "I'm just such a lovable guy. They thought they'd do me a
favour instead. God save us from our fucking friends. Give me an
honest enemy any day."

"Is that why Mulder is still alive?"

He didn't reply immediately, studying her face to try and read the
reason for her question. It was probably difficult for him since she
hardly knew herself why she had asked. Perhaps it had been because
Mulder was in her thoughts, the lynchpin upon which her plans revolved.

He continued as if there had been no pause, but his words were
measured out carefully. "Honest? Mulder? The man looking for the
truth, who wouldn't recognise the truth if it came up behind him and
bit him on the ass?" There was anger leaking into his words, but a
suspicion of regret as well, which she stored away to analyse later.
"Mulder is a tool. Everyone uses him. You switch him on, push all the
right buttons, then stay out of his path so you don't get flattened.
Mulder is reliable. Sometimes you rely on him to be a complete
crackpot, and sometimes you need him to be the genius who can make
connections no one else can see."

She wondered if Alex had ever met X. He had said almost the very same
thing to her before his death. She remembered the flash of wry humour
- so unlike the grim man's usual manner - with which he had ended his
description, and she repeated his words now, "Unfortunately, most of
the time it's difficult to tell the difference."

The chuckle with which he greeted her comment was one of unalloyed
enjoyment, and they shared a rare moment of complicit resignation
about the raw materials they had to work with. It was only a few
seconds before Alex switched back to their usual dance of confrontation.

"And you, Marita, are you friend or enemy?"

She sucked in her breath in apparent shock, as she considered how best
to phrase her reply. It wasn't a question that expected a truthful
answer, but she could still give him something that he could trust.

"We don't know how to be friends, Alex. It's a skill we laid aside
when we entered this fight, but we do have many enemies in common."

"Ah, and the enemy of my enemy ..."

She interrupted, "... is always working for their defeat. That is what
binds us, Alex. We may have other plans, other ambitions, other
desires." She cupped his face with her hand in a pretence of
tenderness, that came too easily because in another universe it could
have been true. "But that is all we can rely on, that we both want to
be free."

He turned his head into her hand, softly kissing her thumb where it
brushed across his lips. She froze, disconcerted, trying to remember a
time where he had ever touched her with such simple gentleness. Why
was he doing it? Why now? Did he suspect something? His next words
calmed her suspicions, even as they contradicted his actions by their
very bluntness.

"And that is all you can ever hope for from me. Whatever feelings I
might have, I'll turn on you the moment you stop being useful, but
I'll still be fighting for the same thing we both want." His mouth
moved in a smile beneath her hand. "We'll just have to agree to have a
difference of opinions when that time comes."

She fell back as he sat up halfway and leant over her. His living hand
slipped into her blouse and under her loosened bra, circling her
breast and smoothing across her nipple. She relaxed under the hypnotic
movement, and a thread of heat pulled tight inside her as his hand
moved across her chest. Balanced awkwardly on the prosthetic he bent
down until his lips just hovered over hers, and she pushed herself up
until their mouths were joined.

This time it was slow. The edge of hunger had been taken from his
passion, and they both wanted it to last, not because of what they
felt, but because of what they could pretend. For this brief instant
they existed in a moment outside of time, a world where reality had
faded away, and they never wanted to leave. She came first and took
care not to turn her face away. When he came his eyes stayed open,
fixed on hers as if they were the anchor point of his existence.

They nestled together in the warmth of the aftermath, and she could
feel him dropping away from her into sleep. He must have been
exhausted with guarding the boy on the voyage over. She had been
relying on that, but now she found herself reluctant to leave. Her
left arm was near her ear and she could hear her wristwatch ticking
away the minutes. Another second, and another, and just one more. No.
She slipped out from under the blanket and looked around until she
found her underwear, picking it up and stuffing it in a pocket.

"Where's a bathroom? I need to get cleaned up."

"The head is on the right by the stairs." His voice was quiet and
slurred by tiredness.

"I'll be back in a moment."


She looked back as she closed the door behind her. His eyes were shut
and his breaths were deepening. He looked vulnerable, a little boy
asleep, and she had to fight back a wave of guilt. But he'd survive,
he always did, and perhaps this time he'd passed on the knack to her.


Cheers Pollyanna

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will
annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."