Welcome To The Harem
Acaulescent by Miss Elise
Summary: Marita goes home after the experiments. Spoilers to One Son, PG13, Krycek/Marita.
Rating: PG-13 (sexual memories)
Spoilers: One Son, Two Fathers
Summary: Marita goes "home" after the experiments.
Disclaimer: They aren't mine, this story is.
Archive: Nowhere without my permission, thanks.
Note: This is a companion piece to "Maybe Marigolds,"
but that story doesn't have to be read to understand
this one. They both stand on their own.
Marita Covarrubias returned to Russia that winter, coming
home to rain instead of snow. She had dreamed of snow, of
the frozen lake, but came instead to puddles and mud. She
didn't want to come back to rain, because she had left in
rain. This was too much like last time, too much like the
time with him.
She closed the door behind her and stood there, not
certain she should go any farther. The furniture was
draped with sheets, indistinct shapes, a great herd of
animals caught in headlights. She reached out and
pulled the cloth away from a lamp, dust spiraling free
at her touch, a hundred moths fleeing.
The trembling began in her chin, but she knew it was
not from coming tears; thanks to the treatments, the
endless injections and tests, her body was weak in
many ways. It trembled when she did not want it to,
stumbled, creaked, and often times, refused any motion
at all. Her body no longer felt like her own.
Rolling the sheet into a ball, she walked deeper into
the room, leaving her bag beside the door in case she
changed her mind. She was capable of doing that now;
no one could tell her where to go, or what to do. She
looked down at her watch; measuring time this way was
a new concept. She was used to blurred hours filled
with pain, filled with waiting for the next sound of
anxious footsteps coming toward her; a dozen faces
looking down at her, gloved fingers opening her eyes,
her mouth, poking and prodding; she did not know how
long it had been since she had felt the touch of
another ungloved hand.
Now, she pressed her own hand against her cheek,
surprised by the warmth in her fingers. Four lines
of heat, seeming to burn into her cool cheek. She
smiled, knowing it was silly to be pleased by such
a simple thing.
In the kitchen, she set the sheet on the counter,
taking the tea kettle down from the cupboard above
the stove. She filled it with water and placed it
on a burner, turning it to high. As the water warmed,
she withdrew a mug and brought tea out of the pantry.
Mrs. Milka kept the cabin when none of the Covarrubiases
were in residence, which was most of the time; Marita
could not remember if she was the only one. She supposed
it was a minor miracle that she had remembered this place
at all, that the black oil hadn't taken it from her. Her
memory was misty in places, hazy like low-lying clouds;
sometimes, it seemed as though she had always been kept in
sterile white rooms, hooked up to machines, home to oil,
then serum, oil then serum.
Still waiting for the water to boil, Marita went into the
living room, removing the sheets, erasing the image of
the herd. The furniture was as she remembered, old and
dark, comforting. She ran her hand over the crushed
velvet that covered the wing chair, but her smile was
*His body under hers here, his hands--ungloved, oh
ungloved--on her thighs, guiding her body against his.*
Marita withdrew her hand, turning from the chair. She
balled the sheets up, placing them at the foot of the
stairs. She looked up the flight, knowing more memories
lingered upstairs. Up each cedar step, there would
be another memory. Three days, but a hundred memories,
The tea kettle whistled. Marita took the diversion,
filling her mug to the brim, pushing the teabag down
with her spoon. She let it steep, removing the sheets
that draped the table in the kitchen. From the window
there, she could see the lakeshore, the rocky coast she
had once walked with his hand in hers. Marita smiled,
determined to enjoy the memory.
Once upstairs, her determination left her. She stood
at the foot of the bed, tea in hand, wondering if she
left the sheets over the bed, would they keep the
memories blanketed? She shook her head, memories bleeding
through the white sheet, making her eyes burn. The
shaking started soon after and she had to turn, placing
her mug aside before she dropped it.
Marita grabbed the sheet and yanked it off, the fading
quilt now facing her. It had been leaf green at one time;
now, it looked like it had been attacked with an eraser,
colour drawn straight out of the threads. This bed, so
small for two bodies, yet for those three nights, it had
suited. They had slept as one, pressed close together,
sharing things they had never thought they would, whispering
stories no one else knew.
Had it been truth on his part? Now, she wondered. Had he
lied to her in the half-light, his lips imparting falsehoods
as easily as they had given pleasure? He was a cruel man;
he had been used by everyone he had encountered. Even her,
now. Perhaps they had been lies. It would not surprise
her. She had lied to him; about love, about her needs.
She had lied when she said she would never come back here.
She could hear the rain on the roof now, pattering. The
windows were flecked with drops; she turned on the bedside
lamp and each raindrop held a sliver of the colour, half
gray, half gold.
Beside the bed, she saw the book. She picked it up, the
red cover faded. Was everything in this room fading, she
wondered. Would everything melt away if she did not come
back? The worn ribbon marked a page too familiar, a page
that was not yellowed, though likely should have been.
Hadn't it been a lifetime ago that he had opened this and
The field was clouded with a lilac heart
Through the wood rolled the darkness of cathedrals
What in the world remained for them to kiss?
It was all theirs, like soft wax in their fingers.
This is the dream --
"A dream," she whispered, sinking into the chair beside
the window. It was a small room, crammed with enough
furniture to make it a challenge; it was a cozy room,
here under this eave as the rain came down outside, washing
away a hundred trespasses.
She skipped ahead, to the end, where the words and the rhythm
recalled his fingers stroking her arm through the thinness
of the sheet; where the words rolled like the apples he'd
brought that day, polished by his shirt, one slice of brief
It seemed that ancient joys were flying over,
sunset dreams once more embraced the wood.
But happy people do not watch the clocks;
it seems they only lie in pairs and sleep.
"It seems," she said, closing the book. "But it is not."
Her voice broke on the last word, not for tears, but for
lack of using it for so many months--years? Language
was a foreign thing now; she gripped the book and opened
it randomly, reading. The words sank in, comforting,
familiar. She smiled. Spirit. Flow'r. Red lips. Wild
hyacinth. Many in the aftertimes.
He had lied and she had lied, but both had been honest in
one thing. The need to have another beside. Around and
behind. Against and together. The need to have someone
else in dark and light both. If only for three days, then,
and one night stolen along the way, on a boat that rocked
as their bodies did.
Marita drew the blanket over herself and kicked off her
shoes, leaning into the chair's softness. He had not
liked this place; had said it was too clean and too
orderly. He had disrupted it with his hands, with his
mouth, with his body against hers. She saw that disorder
everywhere now and loved it as she has loved it then.
Later, she would go to the lake and walk on the rocks,
remembering what it was to have full command of her body,
going where she wanted and when. Later yet, she would
shed her clothes and swim in the cold water, letting it
cleanse her and free her from everything that had tainted
her before. She had not survived that to break now. There
was some greater need for her in the world, even if she
didn't understand it.
Perhaps they would come for her and take her away again;
yet perhaps they were all dead, a smudge in her past,
something to move beyond. They had abandoned her. Spender
had gotten her out and what of him after? It was better
she did not know, he said. Better that they parted and
found their own ways.
And what of Alex? What shadowy alley was his home this
night? What body would lay at his feet, waiting to be
wrapped and dumped like a rejected Christmas gift? What
woman shared his bed; would she even know his name as
she arched up into him, melding flesh with flesh?
On the dresser, her tea cooled. In the chair, she
opened the book and read, willing the words to help
her into the future, whatever future would come.
Perhaps one day, she would no longer await his knock
at her door.
Author's Notes: The Boris Pasternak poem "In the Wood" is
quoted without permission. The title, "Acaulescent" means
"stemless, or apparently so." Feedback is devoured at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading and thank you
la for the beta.