Welcome To The Harem
Chasing Safety by Eisoj
Summary: Deslea's rec: "This is weird, but very, very cool. A high-angst post-Existence piece, this story is done with an interesting non-linear Marita perspective. It's a story that leaves us to draw our own conclusions about what really happened - something I find both frustrating and intriguing. Lovely poetry and some really brave storytelling." Season 8, Krycek/Marita, Marita POV.
Chasing Safety 1/1
Spoilers: Season 8
Disclaimer: No one belongs to me. See Chris Carter and 1013.
Summary: After you've gone . . .
She lets herself in with her key, stands silent and still inside the doorway, turning the cold metal over and over in her hands until it warms to her touch, sharp edges pressing white lines into her skin. The apartment is deserted, just like she knew it would be; knew with all her logic that he wouldn't be waiting for her here with his sly smile and reassuring touch. The dimmest rays of sunlight shimmer through the blinds, closed against the day as well as the night. She makes no move to open them, or to find the light switch she knows is just behind her, by the door, above his umbrella stand.
Drops her keys on the table, sheds her jacket and drapes it over a chair. Her heels make no sounds here on the carpet, soft and inviting. She'd take off her shoes, but, she reminds herself mentally, you never know when you have to run again.
She doesn't really know why she's here. Fuck closure, there's no such thing, she thinks.
Maybe she's trying to say goodbye to somebody she never knew.
Maybe she's pretending a reality that never existed.
Maybe she's lost her mind, coming here. God knows who's keeping an eye on the place; employers, enemies . . .
A risk she's willing to take.
Fool, she thinks.
She can't bring herself to leave.
A year later:
This is where it starts:
A woman walking down the empty, poorly lit hallway. She takes measured, unhurried strides towards her goal, a calm pace not matched by her rapidly increasing heartbeat.
She thinks, they don't know who I am. They might believe.
Then again, they probably won't. No one has believed her in a long time.
She wears a visitor's pass. If she encounters anyone, it's easy enough to lie. "I wandered off the tour." Smile, and maybe the guard will take her for a dumb blonde and let her go on her merry way.
It's worked before.
She has not seen anyone down here today. But she may still have to lie. She hopes not. The truth is very important now.
They are arguing inside the office. A case that remains open, unsolved, much to the obvious frustration of the male agent. The other agent, a woman, points out that a good percentage of the cases simply cannot be solved by conventional means. He laughs, a mirthless, incredulous laugh, and tells her that she's the only one in the whole damn J. Edgar Hoover building who can solve cases with mental telepathy, remember?
They both stop talking and look at her when she walks in.
"Can we help you?" the woman asks, wary curiosity in her voice.
They have never met her before. But she knows them both.
"Actually, I'm here to help you," she says.
This is Nebraska:
So much corn, she thinks. Her mind flashes to two white domes rising out of the green, and she almost wants to push the man driving out of the way, slam her foot down on the gas so they can get out of this godforsaken state filled with transgenic corn- -
"Where are we going?" It's the man riding in the backseat, uncomfortable in jeans and a t-shirt and rubbing his chin, where the beard used to be.
"I don't know."
"I'd like to know," the man driving says, turning his blue-eyed, steely gaze on her.
God, she thinks, although she stopped believing in one a long time ago. So much corn.
This is where the pieces begin to fit:
She looks around. Nine of them. Ten, if she counts the infant wailing in his mother's arms.
Ten, if she counts herself.
It would have been eleven, if . . . No. She forces herself to put the past away from her. They never would have allowed him to be the eleventh. And maybe it's better this way. She hates herself for thinking of him like this, but they're all looking at her expectantly. Suspiciously. Anxiously.
"We must leave tonight," she begins. Her meetings with each of them earlier in the day explained nothing. She didn't feel like explaining everything four or five times, it's easy to rationalize. So she begins here.
She strips. Stares at herself, pale in the harsh light of a single bulb, dark alien eyes in a reflection she can no longer identify as her own.
The water is cold at first, cold with a week or a month's disuse. It almost shocks her awake and out of her self-imposed nightmare-almost, but not quite. She opens her eyes under the shower's spray, wiping water from her face. Who knows what cameras are trained on her now? she thinks.
Strands of his dark hair cling to the wall of the shower, spiders desperately hanging on, trying not to be swept away. She touches one filament, slides it from the wall into her palm.
All she has left of him.
She closes her fingers around the hair, then opens her hand and lets the water rinse it away.
This is where we left off:
She leaves them in the basement, where they're making some of the arrangements. There is another person she has to visit here.
The elevator is empty. She thinks for a moment, then removes her visitor's pass. She can easily pass for one of them without it. And there's only one other person in the building who'd know her for herself.
"He's very busy right now," his assistant tells her. "You can't- you can't go in there-"
She doesn't give a damn what his assistant thinks she can or can not do. She walks into his office.
He's on the phone, but hangs up just as soon as she sets foot inside. "What are you doing here?" He starts to rise.
She draws back her hand and slaps him, hard. Her hand leaves a red mark that will fade with time, much like her anger has.
It bothers her that the anger has faded.
She doesn't like the loneliness left in its place.
"You killed him," she says, her voice perfectly calm. It's only her eyes that give away anything of emotion.
His voice is, if anything, even calmer than hers. "Yes. I did."
This is the night again:
She misses him abruptly, inexplicably. It's lonely without him by her side, spinning the lies- -no.
Not this time. Tonight all she spins is the truth. The web of truth already flung out to catch them all, unless she can convince them that its sticky strands are falling around them while they sit here, complacent in their happy little lives-!
No time for anger or frustration.
"We will split up." She's got it all worked out in her head. Didn't say a word to anybody about this plan, but then, she hasn't answered to anyone in over a year now.
Don't think about him, she hisses at herself silently. Stop thinking about him.
It doesn't work. She sees his face in front of her, sees his lips move, shaping the words she has to speak. His eyes hold a well-known, mocking smile.
Would he do what she's doing? She doubts it, then hesitates. Did she ever know him at all?
"We?" the one who killed him asks, his eyes narrowing behind silvery glasses as he looks at her.
She's including herself in this gamble for all their lives. "Yes."
He never would've done it this way. Get in, get out, *don't* get involved.
She won't think of him anymore, she vows.
This is the road:
"No." The word is silent even as it escapes her lips, even as she's hurrying, frantic, scrambling- -
Safe, with the baby in her arms, staring coldly down at him.
"I failed him." The blue eyes fill with anger and grief. "Failed him. Failed them."
"Walk if we have to."
"Steal if we have to," offers the other man. "I can hot-wire anything."
This is still the night:
It's hard to convince them that the only way any of them will survive is to go, now.
The parents, especially.
She knew they would not take this well. She knows this because she's seen them apart, knows that it's not a good thing for either party involved, or anyone who stands in the way of their reunion.
They're sitting at opposite sides of the room, but it's just the same as if they were entwined in each other's arms. The force of them is almost enough to make her revise the plan, change it so they can be together. Almost enough.
We were never together, she wants to scream. She feels the jealousy catch in her throat, die unvoiced on her tongue. Only for a few days at a time before something else came up, something infecting him, infecting me-
She has to hide the tremor that goes through her body then, holds herself calm, composed.
She's gotten good at hiding.
He gave her lots of practice.
An unreal shadow slips in, just at the edge of her peripheral vision. He is all leather and feline grace, darkness in fluid motion. His stare.
She ignores him.
I can hide from you, too, she thinks.
This is where we left off:
She parks a few blocks away from her destination, gets out and walks. She thinks about the men she's on her way to see, wonders if they remember her at all.
Part of her hopes they will.
It's ironic, she thinks, that those who seek to change the world, those who will one day end up in the history books, they are the ones who most often do their work in the shadows, without names. At least in this day and age.
She wants to leave a mark. A visible one, not just a blackened patch of smoke-stain that can be rubbed off in seconds. She works in shadows, but holds on to her name.
A formidable steel door with an even more formidable array of locks stands between her and the men she needs to speak with. She rings the doorbell and waits.
"What are *you* doing here?" the short man who answers the door hisses at her.
She's beginning to get sick of that question.
She dresses in his bedroom, forcing herself not to shiver as she buttons up her blouse, pulls pantyhose up her newly shaven legs. The apartment will have to be sold, she thinks. They'll need the money, and it's certainly not like she's ever planning to return here. Not with him gone.
She is surprised to find his computer hasn't been wiped. It flashes words, numbers, chemical compounds at her; stuff she didn't even know he knew. Lists of names and ten-digit-phone numbers, encryption keys for them buried within codes she doesn't have time to decipher. A couple seconds with a screwdriver and the hard drive's resting in her hands.
"Tell me what you knew," she whispers. "I need to live."
This is the night, for the last time:
She waits, silent and alone, by the door. Her arms are crossed like she's trying to ward off invisible spirits.
She does see one, but he's only with her in her dreams. And he is here with her tonight, waiting in her head. Knowing green eyes, that terrible smile.
The final, agonizing arrangements are being made. She can only wait patiently for them to say their last words to each other.
The redhead looks around her apartment, slowly, like the memory of it can be memorized perfectly that way.
She looks with her, seeing a life carefully crafted out of nothing, about to disappear into the abyss again. She is sorry, but not that sorry. She's never known this at all.
He raises his head to laugh at her.
This is the road:
"NO!" She screams it this time, watches in horror as blood pours from the blue-eyed man's mouth and he crumples to the ground, beside the other.
She's gasping, choking on sudden sobs. "No, no, not like this, please," she cries. "This wasn't the way it was supposed to end . . ."
He reaches out and takes the baby from her limp arms. He touches her blond hair and passes a hand over her fading eyes.
"Do svidanja, Marita. You never had a chance," he says.