Welcome To The Harem
Burnt Bridges by E. Watson
Summary: Marita's memories in the ruins. Krycek/Marita, post-Requiem post-col. PG.
Title: Burnt Bridges
Author: E. Watson
Archive: Ratcave and list archives. All others please email me
Spoilers: Up to Requiem
Keywords: Krycek/Marita, Post Colonization, AU
Rating: PG Bad language, references to sex
Disclaimer: I don't own them. I tried to, but Alex keeps escaping
from my basement.
Summary: Marita's memories in the ruins. Written for The X-Files
"Endings" Lyric Wheel.
Author's Notes: Big thanks to Peach for the lyrics, Ruins, by Melissa
Etheridge, and a huge thank you to Spica for the great beta.
This is canon friendly up to Requiem, then veers off. No
supersoldiers, no parking garage, and no bullet. (The river denial is
gorgeous this time of year- I think LGM fans will like it here.)
Lyrics at the end.
She got out of the car, unsure what to do next, and unsure of what
she had just done. She had been driving for two days, but the whole
thing was still hazy in her mind. The last thing she remembered was
Cassandra Spender yelling at her to stop as she drove off with one of
the compound's vehicles full of precious supplies.
Once again she betrayed those who had taken care of her. Once again
he was in the middle of it.
She looked down the road. She could see the piles of rubble starting
in the distance. Her water was low, and the last of the fuel had run
out. She'd be able to stock up on supplies there, even find a new
vehicle and hopefully some gas.
A chill ran through her as she looked in the direction of what had
once been her home. She hadn't been back since the invasion. Nothing
would be left, of course. Everything of that life had been destroyed.
Still there she was, traveling to a man who was supposedly dead, and
if not dead, then a man who would want nothing to do with her.
There are some bridges that burn beyond recognition, beyond repair.
She had thought she'd burned that one years ago, but for a while,
once, it had looked like it might be salvaged.
She opened the door and walked in with him behind her. They had
killed Spender, and a range of emotions flowed through her. There
was satisfaction, and a vague sense of hope, but also loss. Spender
was their last connection. With that gone, there was no reason for
him to stay.
She closed the door, bracing herself for what would come next. She'd
never seen him kill before that night, but she'd seen him right after
many times. The sex was always rough after he murdered. He wouldn't
even look at her until the end. It was like she was just a vessel he
used to rid himself of whatever demons lurked with him afterwards.
She'd always take it. She even encouraged it, believing it was what
he needed, but she always felt cold after. As if he really did pass
something dark from him to her, but not that night.
Perhaps it was because it wasn't really a murder, more of a release
- a cause for celebration in their minds. They lay in bed sipping
champagne, toasting the death of the smoking son of a bitch, and
cracking tasteless jokes about shoving the old man down the stairs.
That night he was actually tender. He was gentle, touching her,
acknowledging her, giving to her, and in the morning he wasn't gone.
She woke to find him sitting on the side of the bed.
She thought she was dreaming at first, and was surprised to feel
flesh when she reached out to touch his back.
"Still figuring out what comes next?" she asked. "It's over now, you
can go wherever you want."
He shook his head. "It's not the end. It's just the beginning."
"What else is left?"
He turned to look at her. Leaning in close to her face he said,
To his credit, he gave her a choice whether to come. She hesitated
before she answered, but in the end she said yes.
She walked down the road hearing only the sound of her footsteps. She
was close enough now that she should have been able to see the
skyline easily, but nothing was there. Not a single building still
She heard a vehicle approaching. The sound startled her. You could go
days now without seeing another car on the road, and she had only
been walking for five hours. She reached down in the pocket of her
black trench coat and clutched her gun. It felt comfortable in her
hands, and she thought about how much she used to hate carrying one.
"We could get you a knife," he used to tease.
She continued walking as the car approached, a blue Camaro from the
late eighties. She backed up to the side of the road as the car
slowed down beside her.
The window rolled down and the man looked out. He was dirty and
unshaven, but most people were these days. It was the way he leered
at her that made her clutch the weapon harder.
"Well lookee here. An early Christmas present." She heard him unzip
his pants. "Tell me darling, are you gong to make this easy, or you
gonna make me work for it first by getting nasty."
She forced a smile. "I've always been partial to nasty myself."
She raised the gun as the man got out of the car and her mind went
back to Alex. He was the one who taught her to use it, and with his
actions, he showed her how to fire without mercy.
Strughold was the first victim.
His belief that he was helping mankind was unwavering right to
the end. Knowing he would get nowhere with Alex, he spoke to her,
telling her what a mistake this was. That it would lead to the
destruction of the human race. Co-operation was the only way to
With that last statement the bullet hit his brain.
She watched him pause over the body long enough to spit on it.
He turned to her. "Grab everything. Every file, every disk, we need
every last note."
With the contacts from Strughold's files, they hunted down all the
members. He hadn't understated the word vengeance. One by one he
killed them, some alone, some in groups. If they were unfortunate
enough to have the execution at home, he'd kill the spouse as well.
Never wavering, he showed no mercy. To him it was all one big job,
but he grew darker with each kill.
Things quickly went back to the way they were before. Each night when
the tasks were accomplished, he'd take her, like he usually did after
She'd lie there afterwards shivering, wishing she could go home. This
wasn't what she had wanted when she thought they'd rebuild. Each day
was filled with blood and death, and each night was dark and void of
She rolled the body to the side of the road and grabbed the keys from
the car. Looking in the trunk, she took stock of what supplies were
there and what would be needed. The man had food, water, several
containers of gas, and a bag full of cigarettes. It was a lucky find.
She'd still look for supplies, but she wouldn't have to hunt hard for
She got in the car and headed towards the crumbled city. If he was
where she was heading, he'd be pleased with the cigarettes. For
trading purposes, they were the closest thing to gold.
If he was there. She still had no idea what she was doing. Would he
even let her in the door?
Perhaps they never had a chance. Perhaps the new connection they were
trying to build already had caught one of Spender's embers before it
Either way, she now knew she was the one who threw the first match.
When the last one of Strughold's contacts was crossed off, they went
She was relieved, thinking the killing spree was finally over, but
when he stretched out on her couch he said, "Feels good to be back. I
could use a break."
"Break? What's left?" She picked up the list. "Everyone's dead,
He shook his head. "That's just one list."
Her mouth opened in shock. She shook her head. "I can't do another
list. I don't need any more vengeance Alex. This is enough. More than
"You don't understand, Marita. These people have to die-"
She cut him off. "You can't do this Alex, it's changing you. You
can't just make these decisions of who deserves to live and who
doesn't. Don't you see what that makes you?"
"You don't understand-"
"I understand enough. I understand that this type of mentality is
how Spender would think. Your becoming just like him..." She stopped,
knowing the consequences of what she had said.
"I'm nothing like him," he hissed. "I'm just fixing his mistakes. "
He opened his mouth to say more, but instead grabbed his jacket and
walked out the door.
She slowed the car down, and tried to maneuver around the wreckage.
The attacks had come so quickly that there was no time for people to
panic and attempt escape. The vehicles left on the road were from the
standard traffic of the day. Survivors had cleared out some of those
that could still run, but many were left.
They were, in a way, the last testament to the American empire. Great
buildings and monuments that held so much wealth were all gone, but
the vast amount of cars, minivans, and trucks still demonstrated how
much it once was a land of abundance.
With the population left, each survivor could take four or five
vehicles for themselves and there would still be more left to sit and
As she went deeper into the city, the wreckage grew denser as did the
cars. She stopped. Not that many scavengers had come this far in. She
might be able to salvage some fuel.
She got out, meeting the silence. It was colder now, and a wind had
come up. She told herself it was because it was evening. That there
were no ghosts.
She felt a sick sense of gratitude that whatever weapon the colonists
had used, eradicated the bodies, but she knew enough about how it
happened for her mind to place them there anyway. When she opened the
first car to search, she heard their voices.
"You did nothing, Marita. Nothing to save us."
She slammed the door shut and sat down shivering. There were no
ghosts, no noise, nothing. Just her own demons, and the ones he left
She always felt they'd be together when the end came, but she had
thought it'd be to comfort each other. Instead it destroyed whatever
was left of whatever they had.
It'd been six months since he left when he came crashing through her
"Grab everything you need, it's happening."
Her eyes grew wide, and she was unable to move.
"Now, Marita! Grab a bag! We don't have time!" He took her hand,
dragged her to the bedroom, and starting packing for her.
She still couldn't move.
"Come on Marita, or I'll fucking leave you here! You want that?"
She helped him gather a few things. Clothes, shoes, toothpaste - she
had no photos, no trinkets to cherish. She took just the necessities,
her whole life in one bag. She zipped it up, and they ran out of the
His car was waiting at the door. She stopped and looked around.
Children were playing on the sidewalk.
She didn't even realize she was walking towards them until he pulled
"Just one," she whispered, and tried to pull away. "If I can just
He wouldn't look at what she was talking about. Later she thought
it was what let him sleep at night afterwards. "No time, Marita, get
in the car."
She still tried to pull away. He had to drag her to the car, kicking
and screaming. "Just one! Alex, please! I have to be able to save
She couldn't look at him after that. Even months later, whenever
their paths crossed at the rebel base, she wouldn't meet his eyes.
Every time she saw him she'd hear the screaming of all the people
who died, knowing she fled, doing nothing to save them. She blamed
him for stopping her in the first place.
He approached her only once, and she told him to leave her alone. She
said she had felt enough of his darkness, and that she was afraid if
she felt anymore she'd end up just like him.
She expected a fuck you, or something in response, but he said
nothing. There was no anger, only a quiet nod, and she had to look
away because at that moment he looked so much like the man she knew
before, and if she stared at him she knew she'd change her mind. She
heard him walk off, and he never spoke to after that.
She was still sitting against the car, trying to decide what to do
next, when the sun began to set. She only had another twelve, maybe
fourteen hour drive. It'd be enough gas. She didn't want to be here.
She wasn't sure she wanted to be there either.
Regardless of what she'd find it wouldn't be good. If he wasn't
there, then it meant he was dead. If he was there, then it meant-
She still didn't know what that would mean.
Closure? A better ending than the one they had?
Before she left, morbid curiosity got the better of her and she
climbed onto the roof of the car she was leaning on. In the distance
she saw the wreckage of a downed craft. It was sticking upright out
of a large pile of debris. Generations from now, it may serve as a
memorial of what happened here. To her it was a reminder of every
Despite the extremes that were taken, and the countless ruined lives
in the name of salvation, mankind had little control in the fate of
their planet. A battle was fought, but it was between the colonists
and the rebels, and although in the future they might be painted as
heroes to humanity, she knew it was nothing so noble. Her planet was
saved only because one species hated another enough to sacrifice
themselves, and prevent their enemy from getting what it wanted.
Hate, not compassion, was what saved man.
Many of the survivors offered to help the rebels, but most were
turned away. Some, like her, were used to do grunt work, and to keep
the compound running. Cassandra Spender was with them, but she wasn't
expected to do much. Her body was her contribution. Of them all, Alex
was the only one who went out with the them. She was never certain
what he was doing, but she believed he helped them get information.
She figured that was what they had been doing when they went on his
After the battles were over, and the rebels were preparing to leave,
he went out with two of them on one last excursion. He didn't come
Cassandra broke the news to her.
"I don't have all the details yet, but Alex is missing, they believe
Mistaking her reaction for self-concern, Cassandra added, "Don't
worry sweetie, the rebels have always kept their word. They'll keep
their end of the bargain."
The truth came crashing down on her, yet she still asked. "What
"He didn't tell you?"
She grabbed the table in front of her for balance, and shook her
"Marita, surely you know you and Alex are the only ones from the
group to survive. Not just survive, to be let in the base."
"He bargained for our safety." She paused to control the quiver she
heard in her voice, and asked, "When?"
"At the same time they took me. They were ready to kill him, but you
know Alex, he can talk his way out of anything. He told them he could
help them get all the information they needed about the group's
activities, and that he could free up their men by carrying out the
last executions himself. Once they put down their torches he gave
them his conditions." Cassandra laughed. "I think they agreed because
of his nerve alone."
She bit her lip. She knew already, but still needed to hear it. "What
were the conditions?"
"Well, that no one would try to kill him or you, immediate notice
when they found out the time of attack, and that the two of you would
be allowed in the compound afterwards."
"Just the two?"
"Yes, they've been very clear on that. This is a military base, not a
refugee camp. Only the two of you- Marita?"
She was already running to the car.
She slowed down on the dirt road, looking for the sign. She was
starting to doubt the last turn she took when she saw the gate. The
sign was still there. Lac Larient.
Dr. Gilles Larient was victim number sixteen. He was the only one
tortured before his death. She had thought it was because Alex fell
in love with his home, but now she wasn't sure. She never told him
about the man, or how he refused to call her anything but "the
specimen" during her time at Fort Marlene. If Alex had known how the
doctor treated her, he hadn't shown it. All he seemed interested in
that night was the house and land.
The doctor owned acres, surrounded by trees, and complete with a
small lake. Alex said you could probably walk around the property for
days. He wouldn't kill him until the man had given him all the
information about the place and people who knew about it.
"This is it, Marita," he said as he placed a bullet in the back of
the man's head. "This is where I'm coming when it's over."
It was over now. If he wasn't dead then he'd be here.
She now knew what she was going to say, an idea at least. The actual
words were still missing.
The gate was unlocked. A good sign, since they had locked it when
She drove up the road. It was several miles until she reached the
house. Smoke was coming out of the chimney. She took a deep breath.
In all likelihood he didn't want to see her. She'd already hurt him
enough, she should just leave him in peace, but she had to see him.
As she was getting out of the car he came out, weapon in hand.
She felt relief, followed by fear when he didn't immediately drop
He stood there, glaring at her. She saw his hand tighten around the
gun, then relax.
He sighed. "Come inside, Marita. You look like shit."
She cleaned herself up and found him waiting for her at the same
table they had tied Gilles up in front of. A glass of wine was
waiting for her.
"Wine?" she asked, surprised.
"No one looted the place. All Gilles' stuff was still here. Although
wish I'd remembered to clear out his fridge when we were here last."
She laughed but choked it back as it turned into a sob.
Silence filled the room, and she knew he was waiting for her to say
"Why are you here, Marita?"
She ran her finger along the edge of her glass.
"I thought I came here to ask you why you didn't tell me about the
deal you made."
"But it isn't?"
She shook her head, still staring at her glass. "I did a lot of
thinking on the way up and I realized I have no right to ask you
She looked up at him to see his reaction. He showed none.
"Plus," she continued, "it doesn't matter why. What was done was
done. It's foolish of me to think just because it was for my sake, it
makes it better or more justifiable."
"You came all the way up here just to call me a killer?"
"No. That's not what I'm saying. I did a lot of thinking, but I still
haven't got the words right." She paused, choosing her next words
carefully. "It doesn't matter what the reasons were, I shouldn't have
judged you that way, and I'm sorry I didn't have more faith in you."
He leaned back, and studied her. She wanted him to say something.
It's okay, was the ideal statement, but she'd accept, get the fuck
"Did you get any sleep on the way?"
"I think I slept two days ago."
He got up. "Come, you need some rest."
She followed him to a room, and lay down on the bed. She didn't know
if it was the wine, or the verbal acknowledgment that she'd had so
little sleep, but she felt exhausted.
He sat at the end of the bed.
"You know every day since the attack, I've wondered if we couldn't
have saved those kids."
She propped her head up on her hand.
"I didn't think you saw them."
"I didn't want to. I thought if we took one, we'd have to take all
of them, and then how would we be able to stop there? I couldn't do
just one, Marita, so I chose to do none. I don't know if I'll ever be
at peace with that decision."
"You did what you felt you had to do at the time. That's enough."
"Is it enough for you?"
"It's starting to be."
He looked at her. "You really must've done a lot of thinking."
"Well, I couldn't find anything good on the radio."
He smiled and got up.
"What happens now?"
"Now, you get some sleep."
"No, with us, what happens now? It's okay if you want me to leave. I
know there are some bridges that burn beyond repair."
He laughed. "Marita, you and I have never burned any of our bridges.
We blew them up. Besides, all that's part of a life and world that's
"You didn't answer my question."
"We have time now, Marita, let that answer your question. Now get
sleep. If you decide to stay, you'll need your energy. There's a lot
of work around this place I could use your help with."
To his credit he gave her a choice, and this time she didn't hesitate
Feedback and criticism is always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruins by Melissa Etheridge
Don't try to call
There are some bridges that burn
Beyond recognition beyond repair
Don't say you've changed
There are some forces that turn
Beyond recollection beyond my stare
When I feel the cold in the dark
I know you're there
Long ago I was a woman in pain
A woman in need I ran to you
Long ago I did not understand
You were making me bleed I ran to you
When I feel the cold in the dark
I know what you do
I will crawl through my past
Over stones blood and glass
In the ruins
Reaching under the fence
As I try to make sense
In the ruins
I know your heart has held its own fear
It's perfectly clear
What they did to you
In my heart it's the screaming I hear
I won't let them come near
Since my love knew you
When I feel the cold in the dark
I remember you
Night after night
I am carving it out
I will carry it down to the waterside
Night after night
I am hearing the sound
Of wings that come beating
I will not hide
When I feel the cold in the dark
I will know why
But if I am to heal
I must first learn to feel
In the ruins
I will crawl