Welcome To The Harem

Andante by Anne Haynes
Summary: Deslea's rec: "This One Son post-ep is a fond exploration of Jeffrey Spender's growing need for Marita Covarrubias. Gentle atmosphere and a kind treatment of two under-represented characters."

From: AHaynes33 =ahaynes33@aol.com
Date: 17 Apr 1999 03:38:34 GMT
Subject: *REPOST* - "Andante" 1/1 by Anne Haynes

DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Chris Carter,
Ten-Thirteen Productions and the Fox Network. I mean no

RATING: R for language, sexual imagery
SPOILERS: US Season Six through One Son
KEYWORDS: Spender, Marita, survival (Come on--give it a try)
SUMMARY: Just two lost souls in search of a close encounter.

by Anne Haynes


And here, at the end of the tape, I feel sun
Beating on my shoulders like a light
And warm. To trust and kiss and love you
In clasping beauty. Teach me of
Wonderful silences, far in the glowing
Of your eyes, my tears.
Let my passion kill me.

- From "Finale" by Sue Lenier


The mirror is cracked and smoky with age. Maybe its reflection
is kinder as a result. Nevertheless what I see in the flecked
silver makes my heart beat a little faster.

The whites of my eyes.

It's been a long time--more months than I can remember.

I bend closer to the mirror, peering at the reflection. The
woman in the mirror has short, unruly hair the color of flax. It
stopped falling out in clumps last month, but the damage was
already done. I ended up taking a pair of scissors and chopping
it all off. Luckily, the scrubby new growth is healthy and

I pick up the brush lying on the battered dresser and run the
stiff bristles through my hair, smoothing the little tufts. The
hair feels soft and clean beneath my fingertips, and I find
myself dropping the brush and just letting my hands move slowly,
sensuously through the new growth.

In a fit of daring, I cock my head and venture a smile. My
teeth are mostly white, the ones that remain. I lost a couple
of molars and a bicuspid, but the incisors and canines hung in
there pretty well. Alex keeps promising he's going to find a
dentist. I've given up believing him, though. I just make a
point to brush three times a day, floss well and drink lots of

And I don't smile a lot. Not that there's so much to smile
about anymore.

Behind me, a soft click tells me that Jeffrey is out of the
bathroom. I feel him closing the distance between us. His face
appears in the mirror behind me. Soft with sleep, harsh with a
couple of days' worth of beard. He blinks and yawns, his warm
brown eyes meeting mine in the mirror. He doesn't ask me
what I'm doing in his bedroom. I'm glad--I don't have an answer
that won't unmask me.

"Krycek gone again?"

I nod, holding his gaze. "He said he had a lead on an old

"Any idea who?"

"No. He's not particularly forthcoming these days."

His eyes remain locked with mine in the mirror. The flat surface
can be misleading, but I would swear he stands only inches behind
me. I feel the heat of his body warm my back.

I wonder how long we can keep up this game of chicken. Who will
break first--Jeffrey or I?

He learned early on about Alex and me. Back when he was still
practically bed-ridden from the gunshot wound inflicted by his
bastard of a father. We hadn't realized he had been testing his
land legs while we weren't looking, and he walked in on us in the
middle of the night while we were banging away on the kitchen
table like a sailor and a five-dollar whore.

Well, Alex was banging. I was letting him, though I was still
weak from the tests. He was going at me from behind--we both
wanted it that way, so he didn't have to look at what I'd become
and I didn't have to see the inevitable revulsion in the midst of
his lust.

Poor Jeffrey--so apologetic. Nearly stumbled over his wobbly
legs back-pedaling out of that kitchen. It was almost a week
before he could look me in the eye. It was almost a month
before I could return the look.

I drop my gaze first now, remembering the shame. I felt like
such a whore--which I was, of course. Had been for years. A
whore for the syndicate, a whore for Alex. I've been selling
myself, in one way or another, since I was sixteen years old and
trying to get the hell out of a trailer park in Bullsworth,

"Your hair is finally coming around, huh?" His voice is soft,
low. Just a little hoarse from the lingering effects of a bullet
wound to his lung. It was a fluky shot, really--the F.B.I. shield
in his breast pocket had deflected the bullet, sending it in a
slightly upward trajectory. Missed his heart but carved a path
across the upper lobe of his left lung--the doctor Alex found told
us it was a miracle Jeffrey lived at all. The bullet had shot up
past his right clavicle and along his neck. He still bears a
jagged white scar across the right side of his throat from the
bullet's odd path.

I lift my gaze to the mirror, looking at the pale, crooked streak
marring his throat. I want to press my lips against that scar,
run my tongue along its thickness, taste the salty evidence of
the miracle that saved my life.

Jeffrey doesn't know it, but I was going to kill myself the day he
was shot. I had already chosen the razor blade from his bathroom
cabinet. I was sitting on the edge of his tub, trying to gather up
what little nerve I had left, when the front door banged open and
Alex dragged Jeffrey into the apartment.

I don't know why Alex chose to save him instead of letting him
bleed to death in the floor of the X-Files office. Why he'd
bothered to clean up after the mess, why he'd mailed Jeffrey's
resignation letter to cover all tracks.

I only know that Alex had taken one look at my naked, shaking body
perched on the edge of Jeffrey's tub, at the razor blade pinched
between my fingers, and told me that I'd have to kill myself
later---he needed my help with Jeffrey.

They saved me. Both of them. Alex with his pragmatism and
Jeffrey with his need.

I paid Alex back with the only thing he ever really needed from
me. He took it on the kitchen table fast and hard, and he was
smart enough to realize my debt was paid when it was over.

I paid back Jeffrey by nursing him back to health. And he's
good-hearted enough to believe he's the one who owes the debt.

I move away from his sleepy warmth, crossing to the bed. The
sheets are rumpled from where he so recently slept. I can still
smell him in them as I bend to make up the bed.

"I can do that," he says, noticing my efforts in the mirror.

I shake my head. "I've got it." I'm almost finished anyway.
Tucking in the last corner, I glance over my shoulder. He's
holding the brush, contemplating the short blond hairs caught
in the bristles. His fingertip moves over the flaxen strands.
"I'm sorry--I should have asked before I used your brush."

He smiles and shrugs. "Mi brusho es tu brusho."

I smile at the stupid joke. He does, too; I see his lips curve
in the mirror. I think maybe we'd have smiled at anything.
These days, any chance to smile demands the taking.

I watch the ripple of muscles in his back as he lifts the brush
to his unruly hair and starts stroking it into submission. He
lost a lot of weight when we first got up here to the cabin; I
didn't really think he was going to recover, but Alex and I
pulled him through somehow. He's still a little on the weak side
but getting stronger every day.

Like me.

"What are you in the mood for this morning?" The words escape
my throat in a tone far more sultry than I intended.

Or so I tell myself.

He turns around and leans against the dresser, his dark gaze
shimmering with amusement. I can see him contemplating

"For breakfast," I add softly, and he claps his hand against his
chest, feigning a mortal blow.

God, I could jump his bones right this moment. Strip those black
sweats down his legs, wrap my lips around him and give him an orgasm
he'd never forget. And it just might be the first time in my life
that I ever gave a man head just because I wanted to. Not as a thank
you. Not as a down payment for favors yet to come. Just pure,
unadulterated lust.

And maybe, just maybe, some unadulterated affection as well.

The thought is more tempting than I want to admit. I bet he'd be
good. He's still innocent enough to care about giving pleasure as
well as taking it. I bet he'd like it hot and hard, but with a
tenderness I learned long ago not to expect from a man.

I've thought about testing the theory more than once over the past
month. He's getting stronger by the day, and last week I had the
pleasure of witnessing a magnificent morning hard-on. I didn't let
him see I noticed, of course. Nothing more humiliating than putting
your dignity at the mercy of a stranger.

I know that well.

"What are my breakfast choices?" he asks.

"We have cornflakes and...oh, cornflakes." I cross the room,
passing him on the way to the door. It takes all my willpower not
to detour into his arms.

Not that he helps me much by dogging my footsteps out of the
room. I can feel his heat on my back as he tags along down the
narrow hallway to the kitchen.

It's funny--months have passed since that night with Alex in the
kitchen, but today of all days, I feel a fiery blush run over my
entire body at the sight of the battered rectangular oak table.
I falter to a stop, and Jeffrey can't slow his pace. He slams
into my back and we both pitch forward.

I grab at the door jamb, keeping us from falling. But nothing
can keep me from feeling Jeffrey's erection pressing hard and hot
against my ass.

He draws away from me quickly, but he can't seem to stop one
little thrust of forward momentum. His rigid arousal slides
deeper into the cleft of my ass for a brief, golden moment.

I am wet in a heartbeat.

"Sorry," he mutters.

I step out of his way, letting him move past me into the kitchen.
He goes to the table and plants his hands, bending forward in an
attempt to get his body back under control.

Bad move. It takes him about five seconds to realize he's
standing right where Alex had stood that night, his erection
pointing jauntily in the same general direction. He backs away
from the table and utters a low curse, making a beeline for the
back door.

I pour a couple of bowls of cornflakes because, well, I don't
really know what else to do. He's going to have to come back
inside eventually, probably with his hard-on alleviated by a
little surreptitious handiwork, and he's going to need


But he's back before I even get the milk out of the refrigerator.
Hard-on still intact--and even more impressive. He moves past
me, heading back toward the bedrooms, but then he stops and looks
at me, his dark eyes smouldering. He's close enough that I can
feel the heat radiating from his taut body.

"When Krycek gets back, I'm going to ask him to buy a new

I stare at him, not sure what that means.

He stares back, as if uncertain what he means himself.

I lick my lips and swallow hard. "It was only once."

"This time, you mean."

I nod. "We were lovers...before. It ended badly."

"Screwed each other over?"

I nod again.

"Did you know my father?"

"Yes." I look away.

"You worked with him."

"Something like that."

He begins to pace in a semi-circle, his steps just a little
ungainly, as if he's not quite regained his equilibrium after
weeks of confinement. When he stops, he's standing close,
his body thrumming with tension. I swear I can sense a low
level hum emanating from him, like a bass note, deep and

An answering note sounds in my nervous system, vibrating
through me.

Suddenly, his large right hand snakes out and grabs the
back of my neck.

I gasp.

The other arm ropes around my back and pulls me hard against
his chest. I resist on instinct, even though the last thing
I want is to escape his arms. But his erection throbs against
my pelvis, and in seconds, my thighs melt until he fits
perfectly within my softness. I am boneless in his grasp.

He lowers his head and I close my eyes, lifting my face in
anticipation. His breath burns my lips but he moves no closer.
After a moment, I open my eyes and look up at him, unable
to focus on anything but the lips hovering so close to my own.
I want those lips. On my mouth, over my breasts, at my core.

"What is Krycek to you?" he growls.

My words are nothing but breath. "A mistake."

"He wants to rule the world."

I can't help but laugh.

"Isn't that what you want, too?"

My laughter fades. He knows more than I thought. Or maybe he's
just a very fast learner. I slide my hands underneath his t-shirt.
His ribs are still too prominent, but a layer of muscle has begun
to blur the ridges. I stroke the contours and smile a bit at
his little hiss of reaction. "Once, I wanted that."

"And now?"

"It's enough to be alive." I flick my tongue across his chin.
He trembles in my arms. "You make me feel alive."

His fingers tangle in my hair, pulling my head back. Time
stretches. Expands. Unravels. My breath freezes in my chest,
burning there like ice.

Then he kisses me. Hard and hungry. His tongue dips into my
mouth, curling over mine. Dances and darts, stabs and strokes.
I clutch him to me, parting my thighs to fit myself more
perfectly against him. His hips thrust hard against mine,
sending shivers up and down my legs.

When he lets me go, it's so unexpected I nearly fall.

I stare at him, off balance. "What's wrong?"

He makes a soft, huffing sound, and for a moment, I'm
terrified that he's going to laugh at me.

"The world hasn't ended yet," he says softly.

I don't know what that means, but I don't think it's good.

He touches my hand, curls his fingers over mine. "I think we
both need time."

Time for what?

There is no time.

"There's time," he disagrees, reading the thoughts behind my
puzzled eyes. "We have to believe that, don't you see?"

I don't. But I want to.

He strokes my cheek, his fingers so gentle they seem to float
across my skin. Hot tears burn my eyes, but they feel good.
There was a time when I thought I would never cry again.

He drops his hand and moves away from me, toward the sink.
He runs the water, lets the cold stream pour over his hands
and wrists. He lifts a palmful of icy water and splashes it on
the back of his neck, where his skin is a deep crimson
beneath the dark curls that haven't seen a pair of scissors in
a few months.

After a moment, he turns around to look at me again. He's
back under control. I'm envious.

The table seems to have lost its earlier power over him; he
doesn't flinch as he crosses, pulls out one of the chairs
and sits. He reaches behind him to pick up the area map
lying on the butcher block against the wall. He gestures
with his head--come over here. I comply, bending to look
down at the map of Western New York. We are here, I
think, looking at a thin strip of green south of Rochester.

Jeffrey looks up at me, his dark eyes narrowed. "I think we
need to consider going back to D.C."

I shake my head quickly. "To what?"

"Krycek is looking for the well-spring."

I look away from him. "The fetus."

Jeffrey nods. "I think we should make plans. For when he
finds it."

I notice he says when, not if. His relationship with Alex
may not be as complex as mine, but he knows that our
one-armed comrade won't stop until he gets what he wants.
With a soft sigh, I push away my previous distractions and
concentrate on what he's saying. "I don't think we're ready
to go back to D.C. yet. But we do need to figure out what
we're going to do from here. Figure out who we can trust."

His expression grows harder for a moment. "And who we

"Agents Mulder and Scully will help us."

He looks at me, giving a slow nod. "Eventually. But not
yet. They have their own jobs to do. We'll get in touch
with them in due time." He runs his fingers absently over
the red hatchwork of highways and interstates criss-crossing
the map. "There have to be others like us."

There is no one else like us, I think. But I'm not sure
Jeffrey's ready to understand that yet.

His hand slides across the map and finds mine where it lays
on the table. His fingers close over my knuckles, squeezing.
"There's one good thing that's come out of this," he says

I hold my breath, wondering if he'll say something romantic.
Something sweet and tender. Something I don't know if I'm
ready to accept yet. I turn my head and look at him, at the
earnest, boyish face now hardened by weeks of pain and a
lifetime of betrayal.

His eyes are solid, like chips of dark quartz. Hard and yet
somehow transparent, as if they hold the secrets of his soul
just beneath the surface.

As I meet his intense, determined gaze, I realize something
for the first time. Jeffrey doesn't need Alex or me anymore.
He's a survivor, and he could walk away today and be just

Yet he stays here, his gaze locked with mine, his steely
determination wrapping around me like a fortress. He could
let me go---but he won't.

When he finally speaks, his voice is so low, I have to bend
closer to hear him. "We both have a second chance."

Of all the things he could have said, that's the one thing I
didn't expect.

And the one thing I needed to hear.

= end =

Anne Haynes

My XF Fanfic is stored at http://members.aol.com/ahaynes33/index.htm