Welcome To The Harem

[XFVCU 1x07] Prism by Deslea R. Judd and the XFVCU team 2/2
Summary: A killer with a penchant for games poses a challenge to the entire team - and a crisis for one of their number. Part of the XFVCU Virtual Series (http://xfvcu.deslea.com). Complete author credits: Deslea R. Judd, CindyET, Emily M., Eodrakken Quicksilver, Lara Means and Maidenjedi.

XFVCU Episode 1x07
An XFVCU Team Collaboration
Copyright 2003

DISCLAIMER: Characters not ours.
ARCHIVE: Yes, just keep our names, headers, and footers.
SPOILERS/TIMEFRAME: Set eighteen months after The Truth.
CATEGORY/KEYWORDS: Post-series, casefile, XFVCU.
SUMMARY: A killer with a penchant for games poses a
challenge to the entire team - and a crisis for one of
their number.
VIRTUAL SERIES SITE: http://xfvcu.deslea.com
AUTHOR SITES: See the notes at the end.
FEEDBACK: xfvcu@deslea.com

NOTE: This story is a collaborative effort by Deslea,
CindyET, Emily M, Eodrakken Quicksilver, Lara Means, and
Maidenjedi. The "Prism" of the title is twofold - the
different view of the perpetrator by each agent, and the
different view of the agents by the authors. Writing
credits are listed in full at the end.



Follmer glanced sidelong at Yolanda. She was sitting in
the passenger seat, looking placidly out the window.
Content to sit and be silent. Her expression was serene.

The drive down to Washington was Mulder's idea. He wanted
Yolanda off her home turf, at a maximum of inconvenience
to herself. "Let's see what she does," he'd said. But so
far Yolanda didn't seem to be biting. She hadn't commented
when he arrived at her house half an hour late, and she
hadn't complained when he bypassed I-95 for the turnpike.

"I need gas," he said, pulling into a rest stop. "Want

"Is that a trick question, Brad?" she asked with that calm
smile of hers.

"You proposed this game, not me," he said. "It's just a

The smile faltered. "Sorry," she said, glancing away.


He thought about it, frowning, while he filled up. Her
guard was up, but that was to be expected. She'd been
questioned five times in two days. That didn't necessarily
amount to a chink in the armour.

More disconcerting than that was the shift in himself. He
was conscious of growing sympathy for her, and it worried
him. He knew his own weaknesses, and like most men, he
counted beautiful young women among them. Had she tried to
use it to her advantage, he'd have shut down like a trap.

But she hadn't - that was the bizarre thing about it. She
fought against type - far from demure compliance, she was
overtly calculating. She abhorred the idea of herself as a
victim - that much was clear from her interview with
Reyes. That probably accounted for her choosing him as her
opposite number rather than Jeffrey. It was exactly that
fact that made him wonder if his sympathies were not so

He was a killer himself - a fact he had spent two years
making peace with - and he worked with at least one other
every day. Diana believed that was different, Krycek was
different, but was it really? If he could excuse himself
for his own brush with darkness, if he could excuse Krycek
for being a tool of a system that nearly destroyed him,
why not Yolanda?

But that was a progression that he wasn't willing to see
to its logical end. Because every perp had a reason. That
wasn't the same as being held accountable. It wasn't
justice. Yolanda may have been denied justice for the
violations committed upon her, but that did not absolve
her for the violations she had committed on others, any
more than it absolved him or Krycek. He and Krycek knew
that, regardless of rulings of the courts. He wasn't so
sure that was true of Yolanda.

Sighing deeply, he allowed himself one last look at her
through the back window, and then he went in to pay.


Mulder led Yolanda to a set of low bleachers overlooking F
Street's outdoor basketball court. This was a favourite
spot of his; he used to spend lunch hours here, back in
his earliest days with the Bureau. Sometimes he'd join a
game. More often than not he just watched, letting his
subconscious work out the details of a case, while the
ball bounced against the pavement, lulling him with its
comforting thunk, thunk, thunk.

Today a group of teenagers was playing three-on-three, and
a lanky kid on the Skins' team was dominating the game,
hogging the ball, roughhousing. Curses came from the
Shirts when he ploughed past them to slam-dunk the ball.

Mulder motioned Yolanda to sit, then settled on the bench
beside her.

"You don't dress like the other agents," she said,
referring to his jeans and sneakers.

"I'm lobbying for Casual Wednesdays."

"Today is Tuesday."

"Well, you know what they say about the early bird."

He withdrew a bag of sunflower seeds from his coat pocket
and offered them to her.

"No thank you." She waved him off. Her gaze wandered to
the opposite end of the bleachers where a young couple was
locked in an embrace, tongues embedded deeply into each
other's mouths.

Across the court, an elderly man leaned against the chain
link fence and tossed French fries to pigeons. One of the
birds was missing a foot. Despite its deformity, it
hobbled after the food with as much determination as the
lanky ballplayer, who was once again skirting past the
Shirts to sink a shot. It occurred to Mulder that if
Yolanda were to lose a limb, she could grow it back, more
easily than Leonard Betts could regenerate a head. It also
occurred to him that she could snap his neck with one
hand, if she were so inclined.

He glanced at her hands, which she held loosely in her
lap. She had smooth, flawless skin. Long, delicately
tapered fingers. No polish.

"Basketball is a great game...maybe the best game." He
slipped a seed between his teeth and savoured its salty
taste. "The perfect combination of physical skill,
teamwork and fast action. You ever play?"

"Yes, but I didn't particularly enjoy it."

"No? What games do you enjoy?" He bit down on the seed,
crunching it loudly. "Besides mind games."

"You think I'm playing mind games?"

"I'm the sixth agent to question you - at your request.
Yes, I think you're playing mind games."

"You're wrong, Agent Mulder. I'm offering the FBI a chance
to earn my confession. It's not my fault you're all too
inept to ascertain my motives."

"Maybe your motive is simply to stop."

"Stop what?"


She dismissed him with a frown.

"Come on, Yolanda. The truth is you wanted to get caught,"
he said softly, masking his impatience. "You knew the FBI
would make a connection between Gawler and Wormus. You
counted on it." No doubt she expected to walk away from
her crime, too, like Shannon McMahon. The Hybrid
Protection Bill would help her.

On the court, tempers began to flare as the score neared
21. The young lovers seemed oblivious to the players'
name-calling; the woman giggled when her boyfriend grabbed
her breast and squeezed.

"Do you have a wife, Agent Mulder?" Yolanda asked, though
she could hardly have been ignorant of Scully and William.
Her gaze was fixed on the couple. "Children? A happy home
to go to at the end of the day?"

He had no intention of telling this self-proclaimed killer
anything about his family. "Aren't we here to discuss

She continued to watch the lovers. The young man hauled
the woman into his lap without breaking their kiss. "When
I was little, I imagined I'd grow up to have a family...a
doting husband, two or three cute kids, a dog that would
fetch the paper. I suppose it's what every girl thinks she
wants at one time or another."

"You're a long way from a split level and a white picket

"True," she said without apparent rancour. "But sometimes
I wonder..."

"Wonder what?"

She shook her head. "Immortality can be lonely, did you
know that?"

"Murdering people tends to shrink your social circle."

"I didn't choose to be what I am."

"But you're okay with using it to your advantage."

"You know nothing about me."

"Isn't that why we're here?" He spit an empty hull onto
the pavement and immediately replaced it with another
seed. Across the court, the footless pigeon lunged for a
fry, only to be chased off by the other birds.

She seemed not to notice the pigeons or the ballgame. Her
focus remained on the lovers. "During the War, my squad
was hit by friendly fire. A depleted uranium shell pierced
our Bradley and detonated." She spoke without emotion. "We
should have died."

"What happened?"

"We were torn up, badly burned. My arms were black, the
flesh cooked, the fabric of my uniform was fused to my
skin." Her tongue swept across her lower lip. "Rescue
arrived; the medics looked horrified. When they tried to
pull me from the wreckage, the skin came off my hands like
a pair of gloves."

Mulder's throat tightened as he tried to imagine what it
must have been like. "But...but you healed."

She held out her hands and studied them for a moment.
"This isn't me," she said at last, giving Mulder his

Becoming a supersoldier had severed Yolanda Wainwright's
connection to her past. It forced her to abandon any hope
of a normal life. In essence, it killed her.

She suddenly laughed, surprising him. "On the upside, I'll
always be beautiful."

"But never human."

Her smile quickly faded. "You want to know why I killed

"I already know."

Her eyes widened and he thought he saw relief in them.

"Then tell me."

"Killing is an intimate act. You use it to bond with
humans, to experience the mortality that was taken from

For her, being a participant in another person's death was
like mating, he guessed. She killed because the act
provided an emotional union, impossible for her to achieve
in any other way. As insane as it sounded, killing made
her feel alive, human, normal...as close to her original
self as she could get.

The basketball bounced out of play and she caught it.
Standing, she lobbed it at the hoop forty feet away. It
passed through the net without touching the rim. The
teenagers gaped. The lanky kid hooted with appreciation,
which caused the lovers to break their kiss and the
pigeons to scatter...all except the deformed bird. It
grabbed a fry and gobbled it down.

"Interesting theory, Agent Mulder," Yolanda said.

"Interesting enough to earn a signed confession?"

"Interesting enough to make me think you may not be as
inept as your colleagues."


Fell's Point. An historic neighbourhood, spared from
destruction by fire and by progress. This little section
of Baltimore's Inner Harbour had weight, significance. A
Place in Human History.

But that wasn't why Scully chose it for her meeting with
Yolanda Wainwright.

She stopped as she neared the waterfront and took a deep
breath, relishing the clean, salty sea air. She missed
this. It reminded her of her childhood. Of Ahab.

She wondered what her father would've thought of all this.
Above all else, William Scully believed in order, rules.
Today's world would sadden him, she thought. The lack of
order, of things a person could count on. She'd taken Them
at their word that the supersoldiers' abilities had been
reversed. Everyone had. But they'd been lied to.

No, a person couldn't count on much these days.

Scully spotted the dark-haired woman walking along the
Waterfront Promenade. She was reading the names carved
into the bricks, seemingly fascinated. Scully approached

"Yolanda Wainwright?"

The woman looked up at her and smiled. "And you're Agent

"Are you psychic as well as a supersoldier?"

Yolanda shrugged. "You're the last one." She turned her
attention back to the bricks. "There are names on almost
all of these bricks. Why?"

"They donated money to complete construction of the
Promenade. Carving their names into the bricks was a way
to honour them."

Yolanda smiled, a bit wistful. "That's nice." Then she
focused completely on Scully. "I would've thought Agent
Mulder would tell you everything you'd want to know. So
why are you here?"

"Mulder had his questions. I have mine."

"You're interested in the science of it all," Yolanda
said, nodding. "How I came to be. What it's like, being a
supersoldier." She began to walk along the Promenade, and
Scully followed. "You don't know Shannon all that well so
you can't ask her, and your other encounters with our kind
have been...violent. So you thought you'd use our
interview to fill in the gaps in your knowledge."

"That's part of it," Scully agreed reluctantly.

"Well, I hate to disappoint you, Agent Scully, but I
really don't know much about how I was changed. I don't
remember much of that time." Yolanda seemed to retreat
inside herself momentarily - but it was only momentary.
"As for what it's like...the physical power is
intoxicating. You get accustomed to using it, to being
stronger than everyone else."

"That's why it was so hard for you. Pretending to be
normal." Scully saw the younger woman falter, and pressed
on. "Repressing that need, that desire to be stronger,
it's why you had to kill, isn't it?"

Yolanda stopped and turned to her, smiling again. "Are you
trying to discern motive, Agent Scully? You're too late,
Agent Mulder already did that."

"Not at all. I'm just trying to figure out how far from
human you really are."

The smile left Yolanda's face as quickly as it had

"What was done to you," Scully continued, "was insidious.
What was done to *all* of us was monstrous. But none of us
had to lose our humanity in the process." Yolanda's eyes
narrowed, and Scully knew she was treading on dangerous
ground. "You've said that you admire Shannon McMahon. In a
way, so do I. Without her, we wouldn't have been able to
stop Them. And even though she's a supersoldier, even
though she may be, technically, no longer human...she's
certainly not *in*human."

With that, Scully turned and walked away. She could feel
her heart pounding harder with each step, knowing how
vulnerable she was with her back to the supersoldier.
After a few steps, she stopped at the sound of Yolanda's

"I could kill you in two seconds. You know that."

"Exactly my point."

Scully walked on, without a look back.


"It's all about sex."

Follmer blinked. "I beg your pardon?"

Mulder stretched out at Doggett's desk - his old desk.
"She was seventeen when she was changed. She was a
conscientious girl, probably a virgin. Killing was the
first intimacy she knew. And now it's all mixed up

He closed his eyes. "Jesus." He sighed. "So what, she
kills instead of mating?"

Mulder shrugged. "She probably does both. But I think for
her the real bonding is in the kill. I doubt she's let
anyone she cared for stay alive long enough to find out
that there was another way."

"Giving them the thing she wants most," he murmured. He
couldn't quite keep the pity from his voice.

Scully shifted her weight, crossing her arms. "You're not
seriously feeling sorry for this woman. Plenty of our
soldiers went through exactly the same thing, and they
aren't running around killing people."

"Of course I'm not," he said. The assurance sounded hollow
to his own ears.

"Good," Scully said. "Save your pity for those of us who
didn't use what they did as an excuse to sell our souls."

He tried to see it her way. He even agreed with her
intellectually. But Mulder's roughly-written transcripts
were spread out on his desk before him, and he tried to
imagine it - tried to imagine this monstrous girl watching
her comrades dying around her, spared the indignity and
the horror she had become. Imagined her longing to die and
longing to love and not being able to do either.

He felt sick.

"I'm sorry, I have to go," he said abruptly, picking up
his briefcase, and he got to his feet and left them.


He knew she was there even before he let himself into his

He had never been a believer in the paranormal, and
despite his assignment to XFVCU, to a large extent he
still was not. But he knew perpetrators. He knew what it
was to hunt them and be hunted by them. He knew the dance,
the dark intimacy of the chase. It was a different kind of
paranormal - not the spooky shit he dealt with now, but a
heightened instinct, a heightened sense of connection. It
was primal. It was thirst and lust and fear and want and

He didn't really know why he'd never let himself settle
into this place. Now, locking the door behind him, he was
glad he hadn't. Somewhere within himself, he knew what was
to come, and it was right in a way he couldn't quite grasp
that it should happen in just another room, a waystation
to be abandoned when it was done.

"You needed an adversary," he said, not even bothering to
turn on the light.

She was sitting on his dining table, cross-legged like a
child. Hair falling around her shoulders. Eyes gleaming in
the dark.

"You needed to make someone understand," he said, putting
down his bag and his coat on the table beside her. "Not an
advocate or a counsellor or a mentor or a friend. Someone
who could judge you or hate you or turn on you. You wanted
someone like that to understand it. Because then maybe you
could understand it yourself."

She looked up at him. Eyes even brighter. "Yes," she

"You want it to stop," he said, holding her gaze with his
own. He couldn't look away. "But you don't know any other
way. You're outside, and you don't know...you don't know
how to get back in."

Her lips trembled. "Yes."

They stood there, gazes locked on each other in the dark.

She reached for him. Touched her fingers to the pulse
point in his throat. "Do you know what it's like for me to
feel your blood like this, Brad? To know that it's
precious, and that it carries something unique and finite
that will never exist again once it dies? Do you know -"
her breath hitched a little "- do you know what I would
give to be precious like that?"

He wanted to say she *was* precious, it didn't have to be
that way, but it wouldn't come. He groped for the right
things to feel and say and all he could touch was her own
loneliness and helplessness and loss. So far in her head
it was like being inside her.

"No. I don't know," he whispered finally.

She tightened her hold on his neck.

He waited. Unable to bring himself to stop her. Held fast
in a grip of fascinated dread. He could feel the instincts
rise up in her. Warring for precedence. The craving for
blood. For understanding. To be *inside*. A host of things
coursed through him, hunger and pity and sadness all mixed
together, and he didn't know whether they came from her or
from him. He waited for her to slash his throat. She
leaned in and kissed him instead.

He parted his lips for her before duty or common sense
could stop him. Part of his mind clamoured for him to
stop, but it was muted and remote. She was much softer and
nearer and beautiful and broken and he wanted to - meld -

"This doesn't change anything," he whispered against her,
and it didn't, but god help him, he wanted her.

"No," she agreed.

"I'm still going to-"

"I wouldn't expect anything else."

His hand found her neck, the ridges that marked her as
inhuman, and he faltered.

She watched him. Waiting. Eyes grave.

He cradled her there, and he kissed her, and then he had


She was gone when he woke.

The sun was high in the sky. His body ached. He shielded
his eyes against the light and looked at his alarm clock
on the bedside table.

There was a sheaf of papers at his side.


"I got it."

Follmer's voice echoed down the hall, into the office
ahead of him. Jeffrey turned as his partner rounded the
corner, a sheaf of papers held high in his hand.

"The confession," he said, in response to the quizzical
looks of Doggett and Krycek. They exchanged looks in a
rare moment of accord.

Follmer's grimly satisfied expression faltered. "What?"

Jeffrey looked at Diana. She was up the far end, near the
basin, making coffee in that godawful smiling alien mug.
She was watching him. She could see the expectation in her
face, and he didn't want it. He didn't want to handle it,
he didn't want to explain it, he didn't want to help him
through it. It wasn't his fucking problem.

Krycek moved. Just a fraction, towards Diana. Reyes was
moving, too - leaning towards Doggett a little more.
Unconsciously gravitating towards their partners in
preparation for the coming storm.

That's what it's all about, he thought. He still didn't
want it, but it was part of the job.


"We can't use it, Brad," he said at last. "We can't charge

Follmer stared at him as though he'd lost his mind. "What
are you talking about?" he demanded. "It's - it's
perfectly legal - it's-"

"It's not the legality of the confession," Krycek said.
"It's the logistics. Don't you get it yet? It's the big
secret - the glue that's holding everything together right

Follmer looked like a kid who'd just found out he was the
butt of all the other kids' jokes. "What secret? I don't

"We can't hold her," Jeffrey said. "We have no way of
restraining these people. The only thing we have keeping
them in check right now is that they're as scared and
confused as we are."

Reyes was watching Follmer. "That's not going to keep for

Diana shook her head. "No, it won't. But they can't know
yet. We're unprepared." She turned to Follmer. "Imagine
what would happen, Brad. Imagine if she killed her way
out, or broke through the walls. It would be plastered all
over the news. And then we'd have anarchy."

Jeffrey nodded. "And the ones that didn't revolt on their
own would be driven to it by the persecution of the people
around them. This is a bomb waiting to go off, Brad, don't
you see that?"

Follmer's face was growing increasingly red. Suffused with
anger. He burst out, "I swear to Christ, you people have
been selling out for too long. The whole lot of you.
You're saying we should just let her walk when we have
enough to get her? Are you insane?"

Krycek's jaw was hard. Diana saw it too - she moved to his
side and took his arm. He shook it off. "It's not selling
out, *Brad*," he sneered, "it's the battle you lose to win
the war. How fucking dare you question how we did our jobs
when you got to watch it from the safety of the

Reyes stepped forward, placing herself between the men.
"Look, that's not the issue. The issue is this case. And
Brad, in ordinary circumstances I'd agree with you, but
what are we supposed to do with her? What is the point of
testing it when we know we're going to lose?"

Follmer let out a sound of disgust. "I can't believe you,
of all people, would say that to me, Monica. How is the
law ever going to come to terms with punishing these
people if we don't charge them?"

"What's it to you, Follmer?" Doggett wondered. "This can't
be the first killer you've had to let go." Reyes shot him
a look of warning, and Jeffrey wondered what that was
about, but his ponderings were cut short by Follmer's

"This is different. It's different because it's
institutional. I've lost perps, and I've made mistakes,
but I've never said as an agent of the FBI that it's okay
to let a killer walk when we've got enough to convict. And
I never will."

"No one's saying it's okay," Jeffrey said. "We're just
saying we have no choice."

"We do have a fucking choice! We can charge them and let
them be judged. We can try to find solutions. Our job here
is supposed to be to handle the fallout, but I seem to be
the only one here who's willing to do any handling. The
rest of you have already given up!"

Doggett's face was hard with anger. "That's easy for you
to say, Follmer, you haven't had one of these things try
to tear your body apart with its bare hands. You haven't
seen a pile of blood and metal in a bucket get up and
start walking. You're so far out of your depth you don't
even know it. You have no idea what you're dealing with

Follmer turned to Jeffrey. "What about you, Jeffrey? Are
you just going to sit there? Are you going to prove every
shitty thing the New York Times said about you last year
by letting this happen?"

Jeffrey felt his hands tighten into fists and his face
grow red, but he didn't answer. Diana did, going to
Follmer, touching his arm. "Brad, that isn't fair. It's
not that simple-"

"No, save it. Just take your diplomacy and your tact and
your reasonable voice and save it. Not everything can be
solved that way, Diana." He pulled away. "I'm charging
her. And none of you can stop me." He stormed out,
slamming the door behind him in a perfect fever of fury.

They all stood there, staring at each other for a moment,
but then Krycek moved. It was a fast movement,
uncontrolled. Expression dark. He picked up the phone.

"What are you doing?" Diana said.

"I'm stopping him."

Diana went to him, speaking in Arabic. Arguing with him,
Jeffrey thought. She didn't want the others to see her
questioning his judgement.

Her effort at presenting a united front was wasted. He all
but roared at her, "It can't be allowed!" He pulled away
from her, saying into the phone, "Marita Krycek. It's

Diana drew away, sighing. Krycek could be heard, talking
in Russian in a low voice behind her. Jeffrey rose and
went to her.

"That wasn't called for," he said, frowning at Krycek
across the room.

Diana dismissed this. "It wasn't personal. Don't worry
about it. I'm not."

"But still, he shouldn't have-" and then he broke off,
understanding his mistake when the animation left her
face. Diana's partnership with Krycek was sacrosanct.
They'd been friends before he even met her.

"You worry about your partner, Jeffrey," she said coldly.
"Let me worry about mine."


Yolanda was sitting on her porch when he got there. She
looked like she was waiting for a bus.

Unbelievably, she was smiling.

"I wondered when you'd get here," she said, getting to her
feet. "Thought maybe you'd had second thoughts."

"I told you it didn't change anything."

"And you didn't disappoint." She came down the steps. "You
solved the case, Agent Follmer. Congratulations." She
moved past him, towards the passenger side of the car.

He grabbed her arm. "Was it worth it?" he rasped, pulling
her close, searching her eyes with his own.

They stood there. Gazes fixed. Caught in a single breath,
a single heartbeat.

Her face grew tender. She was suddenly, unexpectedly

"Yes," she said. "Yes, it was."

His mouth tasted bitter. His satisfaction was muted by
other things - softer, sadder things. He knew what needed
to be done, and he would do it, but how he wished-

"I'm glad," he said at last.

She pulled her arm away. Stepped back. Separating herself
from him. That smile rose up once more.

"Then let's go."


"Surely it's against Bureau policy for you to arrest a
suspect on your own," Yolanda said, stretching out in the
seat beside him. "Especially one of us."

Follmer shrugged. "There's so much about this case that's
out of order - what's one thing more?"

"You're not afraid of me, then? Because I could end it for
you, Brad, so easily. Just...put my hand on your
thigh...push down on the accelerator...Shannon did that to
someone once, Brad, did Doggett tell you that?"

"It must be nice to have someone to look up to," he
quipped. His mouth was dry.

The damnable part of it was, he *was* afraid of her. He
wasn't before, at her house, but now, things were as they
had been. This was survival, and he understood that he was
fair game. He found himself glancing around the deserted
road. Looking for signs of life. When had suburbia in the
daytime gotten this quiet? Why the fuck hadn't he sent a
squad car for her?

But he knew why. He couldn't bring himself to send some
clueless rent-a-cop to do the job, knowing what might
befall him. Couldn't bring himself to dismiss her into the
system like that, either. And he sensed that if she would
let anyone bring her in, it would be him. The love they'd
made in the dark made no difference in the light of day,
but the respect she'd accorded him for meeting her
challenge remained.

Yolanda was smiling. "I like you, Brad."

"I like you too," he said, quite truthfully, staring
straight ahead at the road. Determined not to look at her
hand, to see if she planned to follow through on her
threat. He couldn't resist a look at her face, though.
"But I'm still gonna take you in."

Her smile didn't falter. She was beautiful, sitting there,
and it was easy to forget that she was a killer, born and
bred. Easy to remember the softness and the brightness and
forget the ridges on the back of her neck. In another
life, he thought, it could have been love.

"I know you will," she said, voice warm with approval.
"That was why I chose you, you know. I knew-" and then she
broke off, looking at the road ahead with a gasp.

"What is it?" he said, peering. There was a black speck -
no, a black car, turning the corner at the end of her
street. "What is it?"

"No," she whispered, grabbing his arm. "No."

"Yolanda!" he yelled, trying to get his arm away from her.
They swerved wildly over the road. He hit the brakes,
pulling up with a screech on the wrong side of the road,
one wheel on the pavement, inches from the world's ugliest
mailbox. "What the fuck are you doing?"

If he'd expected anything, it wasn't this. It wasn't fear.

"You sold me out!" she railed. "How could you? How *could*

"I didn't - what are you talk-" and that was when he heard
the gravelly sound of cars pulling up in front of them.
Car doors opening. He looked up, and he saw them, black
fleet sedans. CIA plate prefixes.

"Step out of the car, Agent Follmer," a clipped British
voice said from beside his window. He turned away from
Yolanda and looked. An old man stood there. Refined.
Austere. Manicured.

He looked around the car, assessing the situation. Six
agents. All packing heat. A man watering his garden up the
street looked at the scene unfolding before him, and
calmly put down his hose and walked indoors. Suburban
myopia, doesn't it just fucking fill your heart with
national pride.

Yolanda was deadly white.

Follmer let out a sound of defeat, and he did as he was

He was grabbed and pushed to the car while they pulled
Yolanda out the other side. She was shivering. All fight
gone. She looked agonisingly at him, her expression a

"What the hell is going on? Who are you?" Follmer
demanded, looking over his shoulder at the Englishman. He
was looking down at a hand-held computer, tracing lines
with a stylus.

Yolanda screamed, and he looked back at her. She slumped
in the other agents' grasp. That scream made the hairs on
the back of his neck stand up and his stomach twist and
lurch. He watched her, helpless, fighting down the urge to
try to pull away and go to her. The urge to protect.

"Just an international observer," the man said, and he
looked over his shoulder again. "There are means of
control, Agent Follmer. Just not ones we can justify to
the legislature right now. You would do well to remember

"She's an American citizen!" he cried in outrage. "She's a
fucking soldier! You can't do this to our soldiers!"

Amusement crept into the man's face, creasing the lines
around his eyes with warmth. "Krycek said you had spirit."
Before he had a chance to absorb the implications of this,
he went on, "Not every soldier is on our side any more,
Agent Follmer. Some of them are enemies from within. And
some-" he cast a glance at Yolanda "- are just caught in
the middle. A bit like you." He nodded to his agents, and
they dragged the prone woman to the closest sedan. "Good
day, Agent Follmer."

They left him there, and he watched them go, and then he
slumped down against his car with his head in his hands,
and he wept.


"You sold me out."

Follmer's voice was not so much angry or reproachful as
deadly, deadly tired. It told Jeffrey all he needed to
know, even before he turned around.

Krycek sighed, turning in his chair to face him as well.
Follmer was standing there in the doorway, the lines of
his face drawn and haggard, jacket held haphazardly over
his shoulder.

"I didn't sell you out, Brad," he said. His voice was
surprisingly gentle. "I sold her out. And you didn't give
me a lot of choice."

"Did you know they had weapons?"

Krycek shook his head. "Not for certain. There have been
rumours. Experimental weapons, implants, nanotechnology -
it's hard to know what's real and what isn't. The way
things are right now - a case like this could get some of
this shit pushed through as law." He went on, "For what
it's worth, I agree with you about finding solutions. But
not like that. Not an official seal on violating the
people they already violated."

Follmer slumped on the visitor lounge. "Do you know what
they'll do to her?"

"No. I just told Marita to make some calls and find a way
to stop it. I doubt she knows either. She'd have put the
word out and let it spread. She's very resourceful," he
added with a trace of pride.

Follmer made a sound that might have been agreement, or
amusement, or disgust. Or maybe all three.

"You okay?" Jeffrey said, moving closer in his chair.

"I'll live," Follmer said. Then, abruptly, "Jesus Christ."

"It gets better," Krycek said. Short. Brusque, even. As
though this was the very last thing he wanted to be
discussing. Diana came over and laid an approving hand on
his shoulder as she passed them, slipping unobtrusively
into her chair. Apparently all was forgiven there.

"I don't want it to get better," Follmer spat. "I don't
want to get used to this shit and take it in my stride. I
don't want to be like-"

"Like us?" Krycek queried. There was no rancour in his

Follmer looked away.

Diana broke the moment. "Alex, can you come with me up to
Records?" she said softly. "We need to check some things.
For the Hollister case."

Krycek's eyelids flickered. "Sure."

Jeffrey watched them go. Diana shot him a supportive smile
as she left.

A note of weary amusement crept into Follmer's voice.
"Diana's rattled. She's usually more subtle than that."

"They had a fight after you left. I've never seen them
fight before."

"Damn, and I missed it."

They sat there a moment, looking at each other in silence.

"I'm sorry about Yolanda," Jeffrey said. "I know
she...mattered. Somehow."

Follmer looked away. Clearly struggling for composure.

"That was impressive today," he said. He got up and went
to the kitchenette. Looked down at the bench, clinking
cups industriously. Not looking at him.

"What, going off half-cocked and getting myself accosted
by men in black?"

"You stood up to us. Practically the whole team. And for
something like that. What you said about institutional
apathy - I didn't think you cared about stuff like that."
He looked over his shoulder at him, still sitting there on
the couch. "I didn't think you had the balls."

Follmer snorted laughter through his nose. "Well, it
remains to be seen whether I have any left after today."
He managed a weak smile. "But thanks."

Jeffrey mumbled, an awkward sound of acknowledgment, and
they got back to work.


Author's Notes: The concept for this story was that each
author would build towards the conclusion by writing the
interviews Yolanda requested for their specific agents,
working more or less blind. They knew where their own
characters were coming from, and they knew why Yolanda did
what she did, but with one exception, neither they nor I
knew what would happen when their agents and Yolanda got
together. So it was an experiment of sorts because these
scenes determined how the case was resolved. (They might
theoretically have changed the ending, as well, though
ultimately that was not the case). It was a risk, but it
worked out so well. It was a great project to work on, and
I'm so honoured to have collaborated with these fabulous
writers. Though their individual inputs in word count were
small, they determined the path of the whole
investigation, and that was a huge challenge for me, to
take what they came up with and run with it. Without
exception, they did a fabulous job. -- Deslea

Feedback for this story can be sent to xfvcu@deslea.com -
it will be forwarded to all the writers. You might also
like to join in the post-episode discussion here:

The writing credits are as follows:

CindyET: Scene 16 (Mulder)

Emily M: Scene 13 (Doggett)

Eodrakken Quicksilver: Scenes 9, 14 (Krycek, Reyes)

Lara Means: Scene 17 (Scully)

Maidenjedi: Scene 10 (Fowley)

Deslea R. Judd: Scenes 1-8, 11-12, 15, 18-24, final edit