Welcome To The Harem

The Lightning Room by Winter Baby
Summary: Sometimes the cruellest betrayals are the ones you never see coming. Krycek/Marita, PG13.

Title: The Lightning Room
Author: Winter Baby [ winter_baby@mad.scientist.com ]
Rating: PG-13
Category: SRA
Archive: Anywhere, but e-mail me.
Spoilers: none
Keywords: MS UST
Summary: Sometimes, the cruelest betrayals are the ones you
never see coming.

Feedback: Send anything to winter_baby@mad.scientist.com
Website: www.geocities.com/winter_baby84
Disclaimer: The characters and post-its are not mine, although I
do like to write on them. The characters, I mean, not
the post-its. ;)

Author's note: A more human Scully. After all, we can't all be
Timeline: Anytime before "Requiem".

+ The Lightning Room +

You hear a loud crash from behind the counter and Krycek quickly
turns around out of reflex. It's only a clumsy busboy that's
dropped his tray of dirty dishes.

What's in Moscow? you manage to choke out when he turns back to
your conversation. Krycek hands you a cup of coffee with his one
hand. You forgot this place was a self-serve diner and should
have offered to get the coffee yourself but Krycek was already up
and getting things with amazing deftness for a one-armed man.

You stare at him across the table, at his dark intensity, which
in ways reminds you of Mulder's but there is no innocence in
Krycek. He lost his long ago, during a time you'd rather not know

What's in Moscow? you repeat. Krycek answers finally.

Safety, he replies, putting down his paper cup of coffee.

I'm supposed to be safe around you? you retort. And then he
stares at you with his dark intensity, bores in to you with his
silent gaze, and you know that he means what he says.

Fine, we go to Moscow. And then? you ask as you stir your coffee
with a spoon, watching the milk and sugar swirl in the black

We live there, Scully. Hide out. It's not safe anywhere else.

For three weeks now you've been receiving cryptic messages from
Krycek about the alien invasion. He painted a picture of mass
destruction piece by piece through phone calls and encoded e-
mails, but also promised survival if you'd just come with him.
You didn't believe him at first, but what have you and Mulder
been working towards for the past few years? Rat or not, Krycek
was on the inside and he's the only one left alive who has any
answers at all. So you agreed to meet him, only once. But then
once became twice and now you're planning to run away with him.
You never thought that you would be capable of abandoning Mulder.
You thought that you would die for him, die for his quest, or at
least die with him. But maybe you're not as noble as you'd like
to think you are. Maybe you don't want to die.

Krycek takes a sip of his coffee, grimaces, and gets up to throw
the whole cup out.

Why Moscow? you ask when he sits back down, and maybe this time
you'll get a straight answer.

Cold temperature prohibits their gestation, keeps them dormant.
They hate the cold and that's the coldest place I can think of to
live, he answers simply. You stare at his one hand and wish that
Mulder were here.

You're afraid to ask but you know you have to.

What about Mulder? you say quietly.

Krycek's voice is low. Do you want to live, Scully?

You nod.

Then you'll leave Mulder behind and never look back. Wherever he
goes, they'll follow him because of who - what - he is. The
safest place to be is wherever Mulder's not.

He watches your silence, the tears that are beginning to come
forth and he moves his hand towards yours. He suddenly changes
his mind and draws it back without ever touching you.

I guess, he says quietly, when it comes down to it, we're all

No, you say as you shake your head. Not cowards, Krycek.
Survivalists. Without life, does love even matter?

He gives you no answer and sharply looks away, avoiding your
question. You wonder who he's thinking about. A sigh escapes your
lips, knowing that this conversation is leading nowhere.

When do we leave? you ask, breaking away from the subject, and he
turns back to you.

Tomorrow night. I'll pick you up.

He gets up to leave, dropping a few dollar bills on the table,
but you grab his prosthetic arm before realizing what you've
done. He stares down at your hand on his missing limb and then
smiles a little. You just wanted to stop him from leaving.

Why me, Krycek? you finally say to him. You've wanted to ask him
this question since the first time he sought you out, but you
were too afraid of the answer.

You remind me of a girl I used to know, he replies quietly. You
suspect he's talking about Marita, and you wonder how you could
possibly remind him of that cold blond bitch. But then you think
that you might not be blond, but you're still cold and maybe a
little bit of a bitch. You let go of his arm almost reluctantly
and he walks out of the diner, into the black night.

* * *

You know this road like it's an instinct, something innate. You
could close your eyes and still your hands would steer you in the
right direction - towards him. As if there was ever any doubt of
where you were headed.

You open his apartment door slowly and quietly, afraid that he'll
wake up even though you know that Mulder sleeps like the dead.
He's lying on the couch, on his side because he fell asleep
watching TV. It's still on, flickering blue light throughout the
room, and shadows dance off his face like lightning. You sit on
the floor next to the couch, your face close to his. His
breathing is deep, and you can't help but touch him.

Without thinking, your hand is running through his soft hair,
across his closed eyes. You gently trace the contours of his
cheeks until finally your fingers rest on his lips. If you could
just kiss those lips, but that would be asking too much of him.
You're not sure if you could steal a kiss from the man you are
about to betray. Tears fall freely, hot against your cheek,
stinging and real.

And then your tears fade away from reality, along with his
apartment and everything else tying you to this world, until all
that's left, all you are certain of is this moment.

He is yours, young and beautiful, forever.

* * *

You wait patiently and silently as you listen to the monotone
voice of the announcer. Your flight to Moscow has been delayed an
hour due to the storm and the lightning that cracks the night
sky. You sit in your cold plastic chair, your back becoming stiff
and sore. Outside, the rain falls to a steady rhythm, and you
watch the lights of the runway blur through the gate window.

You left him a note. You hate yourself for that, for not being
able to tell him to his face, but you've never had any courage
when it came to your feelings about Mulder.

He will find the note on his desk, a small piece of post-it paper
you scribbled on. It will have a few brief sentences saying that
you're gone but with no real explanation as to why.

Mulder, it will say. I'm sorry, but I have to leave. Don't try to
find me. I'm safe and that's all you need to know.

It's signed Scully.

It is cold and harsh and blunt, but if you had spent any more
time on the note, you would have broken down crying and wouldn't
have been able to leave at all. The plan, you whispered to
yourself as you signed your name, stick to the plan.

Mulder's overcoat will drip rain onto the office floor, and he'll
stare at the note in disbelief. He won't believe it. He won't. So
he'll run up to the lab and get the people there to check out the
handwriting. They'll examine it and study it even at this hour of
the night because Mulder's so frantic and they feel for him.

They'll sigh as they back away from their magnifying equipment
and turn to him, holding the note carefully in one hand and in
the other a comparison from months ago when you signed for a
shipment of post-its. Nobody will dare comment on the irony.

It's hers, they'll say. She wrote it. I'm sorry, Agent Mulder.

They will have no idea what it's about, but from his pain they
feel it appropriate to apologize for something that is beyond
their control. They'll hand the note back to him and he'll storm
out of their office, leaving a trail of rain behind him. He'll
race down the hallway, hissing Bitch under his breath as he
crumples the note and throws in into the nearest garbage can.
People in the hallway will move out of the way because they will
see the anger in his eyes, red with fury and hurt. Bitch, he
can't stop saying and you're almost glad you're not there to see

He'll do something crazy, you know for certain, because when
Mulder is angry he is not very rational. He'll break into your
apartment because your landlord changed the locks now that you've
moved away. Mulder will see the empty rooms, furniture gathered
in stacks for the Salvation Army to come and pick up. He will see
that all your clothes are gone, see that the pictures of your
family and friends are missing from their cheap frames. Bitch, he
will say once again, this time louder. The windowpanes will shake
and almost shatter as he slams the front door.

The whole hour you've been sitting in the plastic chair, playing
these scenes over and over again in your mind like a movie. The
voice of the announcer comes from no real direction again, and
she tells you that you're flight is here.

Krycek offers you his good hand and helps you up from the chair.
He grabs your small carry-on bag, and you follow him through the

You let Krycek have the window seat because you know he won't
talk if he's distracted. You haven't even taken off yet and
already he's looking out at the luggage carts on the runway. You
want his silence, because when Krycek talks he scares you. From
his mouth escapes truths you never asked for. If you had known
then what you know now, you would have quit the X-Files years

But regrets are pointless because now the truth is no longer a
mystery thanks to Krycek, and you're both running from it
together. Somehow, you had never imagined that you would be
fleeing with this man. It had always been Mulder in your mind,
when you allowed yourself to think about the time after. But this
is survival and you have to admit that Alex Krycek is better

After all, it was him who had sought you out and maybe that makes
it less of a betrayal.

* * *

The snow flutters and drifts past your window. Your house is warm
and soft, protecting you from the cold outside. The maid comes
in, smiles at you, her American employer.

Clean now? she says, the only words she knows in English. You nod
and she leaves your bedroom to dust the hallways.

You look out the window, past the snowflakes and the dying
sunlight, down onto the Moscow streets. People walk by, some with
purpose and some without aim, even in this snow because Russia
knows no cold. The people here are born with winter in their

You are tired again; you get tired easily now that you are older
and the cold here doesn't help. You've lived in Moscow for ten
years and still you can't get used to the weather.

Krycek comes down the hall. You hear his heavy footsteps and then
listen to the shuffling of feet as the maid moves out of his way.
She's afraid of him; everyone is. He enters your room and sits
down next to you on the bed.

It's almost finished with, Scully. The rebels are winning, it
seems, and I think there's little left to worry about. He smiles
at you, hoping that you'd find some comfort in the good news.
He's saved the world, secretly giving humankind a second chance
and you couldn't care less. Your life ended the day you left,
when you ran away and now he tells you that you could have stayed
without being in any real danger. A life wasted. A love wasted.
But you can't bring yourself to care anymore.

I'm going back to the States next week, to tie up some loose ends
but it's most likely my last trip. Do you want to come with me?
he asks carefully, knowing what the answer will be but he tries
anyway. Ten years is a long time to live with a person, and over
those years he's almost become your friend.

Almost. You can't forget that he's the one who brought you here.

You turn away without answering and he hesitates before leaving,
knowing what you would have said anyway. You'll never go back,
that much is a certainty. It's been so long that Mulder's either
forgotten about you or his hate for you has grown even more

You tried, a few years ago, to contact him. You called him and
Krycek told him over the speakerphone that he had a message from
Dana Scully.

Tell that bitch I have nothing to say to her.

His voice was cold, filling the room through the speaker, and you
broke down crying on the living room floor, with the maid
watching from the kitchen doorway. Krycek tried to comfort you by
saying that he'll come around, call him again some other time.
But Mulder hates you, and there's too little left of your heart
to risk hearing that hatred in his voice again.

You'll stay in Russia, where it's safe and you never have to see
him again. If you can't even talk to him on the phone, how would
you ever be able to face him? You put an ocean distance between
yourself and him, to make sure that you won't go running back to
him because the hurt of his rejection will be even more painful
than this longing ache you have for his touch. And you thought
that wasn't possible.

You lie on your bed and listen through the walls as Krycek begins
his packing, moving about his room and opening drawers. You close
your eyes, drowning out the noises, and think back to a time when
Mulder held you close and whispered lovely things into your ear.

I love you. I forgive you, he says in your dreams because you
need him to.

But in your memories, he says different things, like Are you all
right, Scully? and Stay here. Stupid things. FBI partner things.
But sometimes your dreams bleed into your memories and he says I
love you while on a stakeout or while buying you coffee. So what?
So what if that didn't really happen but you've convinced
yourself that it did anyway? Memories change. You think back and
sometimes colors are different and shapes are wrong and events
happen out of order but you're not aware of it so what does it
even matter? It doesn't. It never did.

You'll cling to your memories of him for a while longer, until
sleep comes.

* * *

The house is empty and you're alone. The maid comes once a week
but she barely even looks at you anymore because money is hard to
come by and you can't pay her as much as you used to. And she
used to be so polite.

Russia is in depression, another one, and everyone is suffering.
You can only afford a maid because Krycek left you some money in
his will.

The night he died, you cried a little. Krycek had been good to
you over these years, understood your pain and it hurt to let go
of the only other person you ever talked to.

But what probably hurt the most was that you cried more for
Krycek on the night of his death than you did for Mulder when you
found out, a few years ago, that he had died.

Maybe it was because the aged Mulder who died back in the United
States was not the Mulder in your memories.

The young Mulder who you remember vividly in your mind will
always be with you, telling you stupid jokes and looking at you
with those sideways glances.

The one you fell in love with. The one who would never leave you.

* * *

You're old now. You would be a grandmother if you had any
children. You stare at your wrinkled skin and your white thinning
hair and you cry because you can't remember his face.

Your memories of him are as dim as a low burning candle, yellow
with age and overuse. Each detail has faded away until all that's
left of him are his features: his eyes, nose, mouth.

You have lost the feel of his skin, the curve of his cheek, the
softness of his lips; only to have them replaced by the knowledge
that those memories were once there. You used to know every line
of his face by heart, could recall them like they were your own
name, but the years are long and cruel, and you can't help but

[ end ]