Welcome To The Harem
Where Broken Angels Lie by darkstar
Summary: Which is worse - sacrifice or revenge? And in the end, do we really have a choice? Krycek/Marita, One Son, PG13.
from: darkstar (firstname.lastname@example.org)
subject: angst, marita/krycek relationship/character death
title:where broken angels lie
spoilers: patient x/one son
classification: angst/character death/post one-son
disclaimer: alas, alas these characters belong to his supreme X-ness
Chris Carter, and all those under-genuises at 1013. Keep
the laywers away, FOX! Be warned that I *have* laid
land mines and am not afraid to use them.
summary: which is worse, sacrifice or revenge, and in the end
do we really have a choice?
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where broken angels lie 1/2
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The mind is all; we kiss everything.
We say we love, it's the skin we're in.
You're a retrograde, a vacancy.
You're the one I love
You're the hate in me.
A man has no reflection at the bottom of a shot of vodka. I
like that. That I don't have to see who.....or what.....I am, all the
things I've become. I hate mirrors. Maybe because every time I
look myself in the eye, I see the ghosts of a hundred dead men
staring back. I used to know them all by name. I should. After all
I'm the reason they're ghosts. By now it's just too many to
I do know one of the names.
Alex Krycek. Shot dead by life.
So we sit here, my ghosts and I, drinking ourselves into the
netherworld awaiting us inside the dungeons of my mind. I can see
it all so clearly, through the transparent liquor and the transparent
bottom of the glass. It's like looking at the world without all the
gilded masks and silken bandanges.
I see morning. Such a soft, innocent morning, rather like a
newborn child that has been abandoned on my doorstep. A child
I have slain. Her blood coats this world I've created, until the sky
is the color of burning. A black hole sun dominates the
horizon whose invisible fingers seek to pull all into his grasp. One
by one, soul by soul, we are all slipping into the abyss.
I glance down at the vodka bottle beside me. Some of us fall
faster than others. But in the end, it doesn't matter because all
inevitably fall. Even the best of men....*especially* the best of men.
I hate waking up to this life that is not a life, merely a game to
see who can kill the most and die the slowest. Death, however,
is not a spectral figure on a white horse but a roomful of polite old
men who turn brides into widows and smile while children die.
(I've killed children.....shot them in the head like they were stray
dogs just because their parents knew too much, and believe me,
there's not enough vodka in all of Mother Russia herself to cleanse
the blood from your hands, from your eyes....)
Once upon a time I scoffed at such things as Fate and Destiny,
but now I welcome their existence. I couldn't have chosen this
life- no, this *existence*- for myself. I burn in the hellish world of
half-buried memories and familiar ghosts every time I close my eyes
only to slip into a far more barren nightmare when I open them in
the morning. To find myself alone. Always, alone, unless I paid her
by the hour or am assigned to kill her before she wakes up.
Time for another drink. Good Russian vodka is a beautiful thing.
It sears your nerves and cauterizes your soul until all you feel is
the best kind of novacaine. When I'm drunk I don't have to
remember that bright young man who signed onto the big boy's
world of faceless identities, traceless guns, and endless lies along with
all the other shining young men. One who drew certain lines in the
sand and made himself swear never to cross them. No short years
and endless days later, those lines are so far behind me that I doubt
they ever existed. Regret.....no, regret was never an option. Not
even when I had a soul. I ripped that from me so long ago, tossed it
out with the rest of the garbage commonly called human emotions.
I couldn't stand the stench of decaying ideals any longer.
Did I mention it was snowing today? Tiny white flakes that
look to me like feathers plucked from the wings of angels. I am
going to visit an angel. A fallen angel, perhaps, but not quite
the demon I am. Call me a regular card-carrying, certified child of
Lucifer himself if you will, but I never swore allegiance to his cause.
Or agreed to sacrifice for it.
Not my life. And not the life of those I love.
Love. What a concept. My lips twist in a raw and bitter smile as
I meet another swallow of liquor head on, embracing the trail of
fire it burns deep into my gut. I wouldn't know the meaning of the
word. I never even knew I was capable of it until I met....*her...
I shove the thoughts away. The white godess Love is the
tyrant that now demands the blood of angels for her wine. Or am
I getting that confused with Our Lady Hate? Ah, but wouldn't it
be easy to succumb to the temptation to get completely, utterly,
wasted. To forget there ever was a "mission" and drink until I
just don't care anymore. It's supposed to be so easy for me, the not
caring. I am ice and steel no matter what you want to do to me, but
the slightest whisper of the way she breathed my name does more
than thaw me. It burns me alive on the stake of my own memory.
And what a slow death it has turned out to be.
In fact the vodka hasn't dulled that ache yet, and I doubt it
will ever be able to relieve the searing pain over the place where they
used to spread rumors I had a heart.. Contrary to popular opinion,
it's still there. I'll admit it's not much to look at- rotted black and
mangled beyond recognition in the few places it hasn't hardened to
total stone- but it belongs to me. I can say that about so very few
things. My loyalties, if I ever owned them at all, are sold out quite
regularly to the highest bidder. My conscience went for far, far less.
When it came to my heart, things were different. I kept it frozen
solid hoping, the tiniest bit, that someday I would have good
reason to revive it. Ha. I should have known better. Now the time
has come to surgically remove that cancer, that last shred of weak
humanity within me. Other than the gun I sleep with, my heart is all
I've ever considered my own.
(Fitting irony that is is the gun I cherish and the heart I tear away.)
My gaze staggers across the table to fall on my watch. 7:35 AM.
A little early for a liquor buzz. In exactly one hour and twenty five
minutes I have a very important appointment to keep. You could
call it the only meaningful thing in my rather meaning*less* life. I have
longed for this day and dreaded it since I first opened my eyes to
see it as inevitable. Ask me where I'm going? Where else would you
find fallen angels with scarlet wings, scarlet lips, and judas kisses?
Today I'm going to Hell.
The demon overlords who run it don't exactly call it that, of
course. The walls aren't made of black gothic iron but of the most
unimaginative kind of plain metal and plaster. It smells of antiseptic
and chemicals rather than sulfure and smoke. The screaming of the
condemned is muffled by drug-induced hazes of contentment
until they don't even realize that they are being dissected body and
soul to feed the lust of their masters. All they live for is another
shot of synthetic A-ok. I travel frequently through those vortexs of
despair but today I'm not going on any kind of "company
business". Let's call it personal affairs instead of out and out
rebellion. *That* seems to get my superiors into a fluster until they
renew that pesky death warrant hanging over my head like Satan's
(The one they brandish to remind me of the consequences should
I even dream of betraying them again. They think it can make me
fear them. Idiots. As if they have ever seen anything even resembling
fear in my eyes. Because if I wanted to, I could crush any of them
as easily as I destroy their hapless victims. So who truly fears who....
the caged animal or the men who lock him up?)
Fear is an old friend of mine. I see it surface in a large percentage
of the people I deal with, watch it flicker in their eyes like icy fire
when I pass. I can even smell it on their breath like soured liquor
when I talk to them. Fear. Just one of many side effects that come
alone with my hard-won position as unchalleged deadliest of all the
silent deadly men. The ones who harvest souls without mercy and
without fail. We are the teeth of the withered old men who try in
vain to hide their bloody hands inside their perfectly tailored
Armani suits. Even they pretend otherwise, each of those little tin
gods knows that to be true deep within the chasm left by their souls.
That fear has a use- as does everything I associate myself with. It
inspires almost everyone under my (growing) command to take
*any* order from me without *any* questions. Almost. The doctors
and scientists are a stubborn and uncooperative bunch. They like
to skulk behind the shields of their research, flaunting their
invincibility since they are the ones to actually carry out the work,
as they put it. To a great extent they are right. A pity, because
theyre the only type of scum I loathe half as much as the whited
sepluchres I report to once a month. And they tend to get fussy
when you disturb one of their patients.
(As if they ever care about their toys past what they can take
from them and how quickly they can read the lab results on it.
All they live for the the ravaging of spirits in the blessed name of
Science. Then when it's all over, they don't even take the time to
name the dead when they bury them. If....they even bother....)
I finger the grip on my gun. It is quite a beautiful weapon, sleek
and black and best of all completely untraceable. The clip is fully
loaded with only the finest hollow point bullets, designed to explode
within the targe, ensuring the kill. Messy, yes. But effective too, and
today no one's going for neat and clean.
If any of them know what is healthy for the "work" they won't
attempt to stop me. Not today. Although I must say I hope they
will try. It's been far too long since I've killed one of their perverse
breed, and at the time it held none of the.....personal satisfaction.....
the death of these particular monster would bring. I won't say I
hate them. Out loud I won't say it, because hate is pretty high on the
list of forbidden emotions. It distracts from the almighty Mission.
Unless of course, it is the reason for the mission. Like today.
And the fires of Hades herself could not burn hotter in my chest.
Because I know, for the first time, exactly what they did to her.
I had to steal the reports that told me in cold, detached words how
they've been torturing the only human being I've ever entertained
the thought of loving.
They started with the vaccination experiments, trying to cure
the black oil within her not for her benefit but for their glory. To
that end, they wracked her body with a host of specially designed
drugs with side effects that rivaled the disease itself. They even
found a cure, but oh they were just getting started. Next they cut
out pieces of her brain -while she was wide awake to scream for
relief she never got- to make sure she never spread their secrets again.
That last, final step in the process was to ship her off to a
harvesting facility to remove every last bit of her blood's DNA
coding- which now contains the blueprints for future vaccination
research. She's there now, as they kill her little by little, drop by
But they didn't want me to know about it. That kind of reading
might not inspire me to new heights of loyalty. Especially when I
look beyond the words to figure out what they use her for between
the experiments. The end result, you can be assured, is *not* that I
end up too terribly thrilled to go out and smile while I kill for them.
(The killing isn't so bad by the pay is lousy and there's the
constant risk of getting cancer via second hand smoke from my
It does, however, have a sole redeeming quality that dissuades me
from seeking a more lucrative position elsewhere, as I once did. In
a word? P-o-w-e-r. The best kind. I am guaranteed a winning stake
in a bleak but inevitable future, whether the Syndicate itself wins or
loses. And, as the plan goes, that power will let me find my harlot
angel in one of Their most jealously guarded laboratories- one that
I'm not even supposed to know exists- even without proper
clearance. Once they figure out that I don't have it, of course, they
But not, I swear on everything I was, before I fulfill my mission.
One of my own choosing, not handed to me in a manilla folder
with writing the color of dried blood. You see, they stole from me
one last thing I called mine once. Hope. Hope in the form of a
woman who stumbled fatally trying to walk in my footsteps.
She. Was. Mine.
Not *theirs*. Not even *ours*. She belonged solely to me as
much as my dreams were wrapped in her. Dreams of breaking
our collective chain and disappearing forever. Only me and her and
no one or nothing else. I watched, helpless, as those hopes died
violently when they forced her to betray me, betray....us.....
Which is why, in one hour and fifteen minutes, I am going to
set her free.
Not out of pity. Not out of love. I can't give her those things,
though I remember a time when I thought I could. Even now,
when I lie in the dark alone with days gone by, I still wish I believed
that. But I don't. And when I go to her today it will not be noble
and it will not be beautiful. This is nothing but revenge against
the men who did this to me.
Pure, simply, revenge.
If only it were that easy. If only I remembered
nothing but her betrayal and the loss and pain that felt like my soul
was being cut out all over again. It's not that I've forgotten those
things, only that with them come the memories of other moments
neither harsh nor ugly, floating like lost specks of light in
a sea of darkness. Moments like the first time I saw her. As if I
could ever forget....
/The thick smoke smothering the back room of some swanky
nightclub in Rome that was beginning to annoy me. I wanted to
get the mission on and get it done with. They said I needed a
partner for that one. I said give me a gun and three hours and I'd
show them how much I need help. But rank was pulled so there
I sat, trying not to cough by moistening my throat with a vodka
tonic. The nightclub itself was a front for their operations
in that part of Italy- as fancy as anything the Godfather ever
visited. In America, the Syndicate might perfer some semblance
of tact, but let me remind you that the Mafia was born in Italy and
old traditions die hard.
I looked up from a last minute inspection of my weapon to
hear the sound of footsteps at the door. The earth froze. She
walked with a unconscious slowness, like she was some kind of
goddess deigning to grace us with her presence for a few moments.
Her dress was black satin and clung to her body like it was painted
I'm supposed to be a professional so I won't admit to staring.
The American agent with her said her name was Marita and she
would be working with me that night. Our task was simple. One
of our agents planned on defecting along with everything he knew
about our operations. She was the prettily wrapped bait, and I
was the unpleasant surprise waiting for him after he took it. It
was no easy assignment. He would be paranoid to the extreme,
aside from being trained to watch for traps like the one we were
laying for him, and wouldn't even think twice about shooting her if
he caught on. To top it all off, she was a rookie.
On our way out of the door, one of the Italian agents
remarked that it was a good thing she was new, since it'd be a pity
to waste someone with more experience. I smiled. And told him if
he considered life so cheap then maybe he wouldn't mind giving up
his. He shut up. Quickly. I still don't know why I defended her like
that. It wasn't in my nature, to say the least. Maybe it was the look
I had seen on her face. Scared.....vulnerable.....even innocent in the
tiniest way. I had never seen that look on an operative before. I
have never seen it again.
Once we got to the destination- another nightclub across town
where intel had pinpointed the Target. At least there I had an
excuse for never taking my eyes off her. I was to keep surveillance
until she made the catch, so to speak. There was no small amount
of doubt among us that she could actually do it, and as I sat at the
bar watching her approach his table, I shared in those doubts.
She looked too soft, too fragile for this kind of work.
Then it happened. She didn't change.....she *transformed*. The
shy angel vanished and something entirely posessed her from the
very core of her being. Before I could finish one drink, she had him
on the dance floor and willing to do anything she so much as hinted
at. Believe me, she did more than play her part. She f-l-o-w-e-d
around him like liquid energy, one second demure and the next
seductive. The silver light from the mirrorball slid over her skin
to melt into her dress and her hair. For a few moments I was
actually jealous of a man I knew was being led to his death. I
remember wondering if it might not be worth it for just one dance
But soon enough the music stopped and her adoring worshipper
followed her into an alley behind the club where I shot him
between the eyes. I don't know if it was inexperience or if she
didn't have enough time to move, but somehow she stood too
close. Blood sprayed from his body to splatter hers. At first I
thought she was going to throw up or burst into tears. Again, I was
surprised when she did neither. She merely wiped the gore away
from her eyes, congratulated me on the accuracy of my shot, and
asked me where we were going to dispose of the body.
That was when I, quite literally, *fell* into love with her because
to this day I believe she pushed me. With nothing more than her
The vision fades and reality slams into me like a huge steel
fist to the gut. Why is the vodka suddenly gone? A surge of anger
rides my veins like chained lightning and I hurl the empty bottle
across the room to shatter against the wall into a million glittering
shards. I hear the crash of breaking glass like it was the screaming of
her soul as they raped it and suddenly I am seeing our future in the
fragments littering the floor. Broken pieces of humanity left in
so many pieces it is impossible to ever be what we once were.
Never.....Such a long, lonely time.
I whisper a curse and pick up my gun, sliding it into my holster
before putting on my overcoat. Duty calls, beckoning me in her
irresistible voice and I am powerless to refuse.
But it is still revenge. Never love. Never mercy.
Yeah, sure, I believe that.
* * *
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six.....
What comes next? I forget. At least the mystery gives me
something to think about that doesn't fit into the category of
rational thought. Not that anything does, not anymore.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five.....
They took logic away from me the same time they took
everything else. Time doesn't exist around my world. It stagnates,
freezes, and binds me in still motion along with it. It stopped the
first time I felt a needle sink into my bare flesh and it has never
One. Two. Three. Four....
Light the sky on fire, consume the moon, devour space and all
that would remain is white. Ugly, corrupted, hateful white. I despise
the color. Brides wear it because they say it's pure but I'm bathed in
it daily because I'm not. No, my shade of white is harsh and cruel.
White lights blind me while they torture me each day with a new
kind of needle, a fresh drug, a different test. White walls laugh at
me when I cry or scream. White....like numb.....which I only wish
I could be.
One. Two. Three....
My eyes rest in quiet contemplation of the heavy leather straps
binding my bird-like wrists to a bed. They got me a brand new
pair, thicker since I chewed through the last after an especially
painful experiment. They beat me too. Beat me and....other things....
then doped me up on heroine until I didn't care but at least I
showed them. Proved I could still do the unexpected. You always
do that. The things they'd never dream you would do.....
HE taught me that, the man I never loved but dream of with
every waking moment. I would say every *day* but there are no days
here. Or nights. Only an eternal web of *white* that holds me
fast while the spiders feed off my blood ever so slowly until one
day I will finally be all dried up and die. Oh but I want to die. Rest
in peace so they say, and more than anything I want one breath of
My name is Marita...and....and I don't know what comes next.....
the numbers are gone, vanished back into the shadows of my
diseased mind. But I know my name. I know I had a past. I
Even if I cannot find it.
The demons inside my mind spin drunken cartwheels over
each other as I push against the iron gates locking coherent
memories away from me. We have lots of demons here, all kinds
really, but they masquerade as humans in white labcoats or scrubs.
White again.....did you know it was also the color of angels? Irony
lives though the earth may perish. I used to dream of angels but
then sleeping with devils and their spawn is no way to earn your
wings. All I ever wanted to do was survive. They promised me that
if I was a good little girl and did everything they told me to, they
wouldn't hurt me.
That was nothing more than a bitter lie from the start, even
before they sent me to rot in this end of ends. They hurt my soul
when they forced me to tell lies and kill simply because my body
could get me places even they couldn't gain access to. But they
didn't stop there. They hurt me in other ways too, after the
missions were over and I only wanted to go home and forget.....
only forget....but that was never what happened. Instead I had to
smile a smile that tasted like arsenic on my lips while the
Smoking Man- my direct superior- and others of his kind took
"full advantage" of my "abilities." It never mattered what I really
wanted. They had the power, and if the only thing I had to win
some of it for myself with *was* myself, the smiles had to keep on
coming no matter how much I wanted to scream.
I did scream, though, if only into the recesses of my mind
while I died ever so quietly inside.
So when I was introduced to a dark haired man with darker
energy and a slight Russian flavor to his voice by the name of
Alex Krycek, I connected him with the rest and feared him as such.
I didn't need to be afraid, not of him. Strange because everyone else
seemed to be, even the Smoking Man, just a little. He had such a
wild unpredictability about him, one that gave credence to the
whispers that he was one of the very few men living who had
double crossed the Syndicate and remained a "man living".
I can only remember pieces of my so-called past, but the more
they strip my mind, the more the memories of our first mission
together remain sure. We worked surprisingly well together. I wore
a tight black dress while I seduced some unknowing operative into
the alley, and he wore black gloves when he shot the man in the
head. We dumped the body in a river and went to a safe house
to await our debrief instructions. I expected him to make the same
demands of me everyone else did. He didn't. Instead we sat and I
got my first taste of vodka while we.....talked.....
"Who gave you those bruises?"
His voice was quiet, oddy thoughtful, as his fingertips brushed
my arm just above my elbow. I stiffened at his touch, pulling away
and staring down into half-full glass.
"The ones on your left arm. The makeup did a good job of
hiding them, but it's wearing off and I want to know who put them there."
Why he asked, I didn't know. I didn't care. Everything that was common
sense screamed for me not to tell him the truth, because I always lied to
Them when I could. I broke one of my only rules when I said
"He smokes cigarettes and controls my life." The freak had
stood by smiling while his goons had "taught me my place" after
some sort of infraction, real or imagined I could never tell. He
never did like to get his hands dirty. Krycek listened calmly, the
muscles in his jaw twitching slightly, until I was finished. Then he
picked up my glass, draining it in one gulp (a feat which amazed me
because I thought the stuff was fire in liquid form) and didn't speak
until he'd put it down again.
"You shouldn't let him do that. Or anyone else. You deserve
better.....why do you let him?"
Let him. Now that made me mad. I shouted right in his face
that how could he understand because they didn't do that kind of
thing to him, and the choice wasn't mine to make anyway. He stared
me right back with eyes that must have been born in the heart of a
supernova and asked me in that same calm voice if I wanted to
learn how to make my own choices. How to control the men who
I made my first choice.
I said yes.
That was an eternal three years ago. When we both were foolish
enough to believe we had a chance at life, at freedom, at each
other. At first it was so beautiful, so much like heaven to share my
heavy fate with another. We did all we could to keep it a secret
from our controllers, meeting only when we went on assignment
together, which was more frequent than not. As I said, we worked
well. It wasn't all hot and heavy passion, though. Sometimes we
did nothing more than talk over a bottle of vodka, like we did that
(I found out how he lost his arm but he never told me in words
how he lost his soul. I only know that he believed he found part of
it somewhere inside me. Where, I'll never know.)
Other nights we did nothing but sit and feel what it was like
to be near one another. Of all those crystal moments, the most
treasured were right we parted ways for who knew how long.
When we each silently wondered if this was the last time we'd
see each other...feel....each other. We always chose to believe that
we *would* meet again, that the inevitable would be stayed by
the power of our need alone. The same words were exchanged
("Are you going to forget me," I'd ask, "When they try and
erase me from your mind are you going to forget?"
"I love you." he would reply. "I don't know how to forget it.")
At times he sounded more regretful that he could not than that
he was leaving. But we never said goodbye. Goodbye meant we
would never meet again. That it was over.
In time our secret got out, but we tried to ignore it. I
never mentioned to him the cost of our relationship. Never
told him what they did to me during the weeks or months when
he was gone and I had to return from missions alone to something
neither human nor gentle. But that secret was discovered as well,
one rainy night in September when we were in debrief after a
The Smoking Man decided I should stay long enough for a
more *personal* report. Alex was in the next room......he heard my
scream. Two heartbeats later he was coming through the door,
pulling the monster away from me and proceeding to beat the fear
of God into him. I think he would have killed him, if those
security men hadn't closed in.
Oh God, it was awful. The Smoking Man made me watch it
too. Alex was one of their best fighters. He took two of them
down- one of those two permanently- before they beat him to
the ground. And hit him. Again. Again. Again. I can still hear the
sickening dull thud of boots against fleesh. The Smoking Man
laid his hands on my shoulders and asked me how long I was going
to let that go on before I cooperated.
No, there was not a choice that time. I bowed my head and
followed him out of the room like any obedient slave, trying to
ignore the crushed look in Alex's eyes. I knew he had put himself
on the line for me. I also knew he didn't do that for anyone.
And in the moment our eyes tangled, I realized for the first
time that we could never be what we were meant to. Not in the life
Memory lane is a barren wasteland for me. I have no idea
why he's been on my mind more today than any other. Why
the memories fade in and out with relative ease. I did have a dream
last night, an actual dream instead of the nightmares filling my
brain when the lights go out. I dreamed that freedom would come
to me today, and that he would be the one to bring it.
Dreams are but demented children of an idle brain.
Krycek may have been "Alex" to me once, but we are dead to
each other. As dead as I am. As dead as he is. He had his chance
to rescue me, when all he had to do was look the other way and
I could be free, but he left. Left me standing alone in hell. I hate
him for that.
I say that with conviction, maybe to convince myself that
there is really no chance left for us. It is easy to hope. And I am
afraid of that, afraid to fall when those hopes are betrayed yet
again. Perhaps in a way he did give me freedom today. Freedom in
the memories that usually run from me.
The only kind, I fear, I will ever know.
The time to think has been stolen from me. The door is opening
and the monsters are back and it's going to hurt again. I press
my body against the scraggly pillow behind me, despite the way
it stinks of disinfectants and try not to start crying as my
muscles tense along my back. Despite my best efforts, I flinch
away as the door swings fully open and the unmistakable sound of
combat boots on tile announces my visitor's presence. My eyes
are squeezed tightly shut as I wait in chaotic darkness for rough
voices and rougher hands to drag me back into another penance
session. Back to Purgatory to suffer for the crimes I have done.
For the momentary silence to be shattered by screams I honestly
don't know how to hold inside.
(I never did like pain.....that's why I surrendered my life to
them in the first place......I can't stand......and here I am drowning
Nothing is happening. It takes a frozen heartbeat for me
to figure out that my guest is alone and unmoving. A scientst? I
shudder. Not that.....again.....please. Whoever it is, he's staring
at me. It is a he, I'm certain. I can feel it in his eyes even though I
can't see them, feel my skin start to burn under an intensity so
much like.....No. It's not. It can't be. He never came for me though
I used to believe and pray that he would.
But who else stared at me like he did, as if I were the ocean and
he was begging permission to drown in me?
Even if someone could capture his stare, they could never
mimic the paradox of rough softness in the way he says my
name. Not Marita or Miss Covarrubias. Just Rita.....
My eyes fly open to see my judas lover standing at the
foot of my bed, perfectly unmarred and unemotional. I
have hated him so many times in the past months. I hate him and I
hate him, but nevertheless he takes my breath away. I am forced to
remind my heart that beating is not an option as my cracked lips
open in a dry whisper of his name.
So at last he's come. I thought I dreamed of this, but now
I look into his eyes to see things which I have never named.
Almost pity, not quite mercy, a tinge of bitter hate, all
wrapped in the dead emeralds that are his eyes.
Something that turns me cold.
CONTINUED IN PART 2
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where broken angels lie 2/2
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I know I'm just imagining that actual shock bled though my
voice. I am Alex Krycek. Nothing shocks me. Ha, take that all you
ghosts of dead emotions. There are so many ghosts around here,
a host of things thought long buried in the shadowlands of the
past. One of them is lying in the bed, staring at me with every
expression possible. I can feel the others around me, fluttering
inside my chest and pressing against my sould like bat-winged
creatures of the night. Until now I had half-hoped she would have
been dead and things would be simple again. But here she is.
Against all odds. Alive.
"I wouldn't quite say that." Her voice, that beautiful voice she
used to wrap around her target like arsenic tainted lace, is
destroyed. Made raw, splintered, like she's been screaming a lot.
(Now why does that make you hate? Make you want to kill
the men who did that to her? She made her choices just like you
did. It's her fault she wasn't tough enough.)
I know that. I knew that from day one. But I pushed her
anyway. As much as I wanted to protect her, to love her, I
wanted to create her in my own image more. To make her into
someone strong enough to do more than survive- to win. It was
so easy to stitch together the pieces of her ripped and bleeding
soul. But I never.....never.....meant to hurt her. It was to heal her
and heal myself in the process.
(Then she fell apart at the seams and now she's here and I'm
here and we're bleeding inside. Yet again.)
Ever since I passed her and that weasel Spender in the hallway,
her image has haunted me through dark nights and darker days.
She was so....gaunt. Haggard. Trembling and pale like Death's
favorite child. Nothing like the seductive woman made of angel's
blood and dying stars that I used to dream about. Make no
mistake....I wanted her to suffer as I had suffered, wanted it so
very very badly until I saw it. Then I nearly parted ways with my
lunch for only the second time in my life. Maybe part of the
reason I came back today was to try and prove that I hadn't
really seen her in that hallway, but instead nothing more than a
spectral nightmare that faded when stared full in the face.
I"m staring. As hard as I can. She's not vanishing. In fact
she's returning my gaze maximum force and I can only taken
so much of those bloodshot eyes. (Eyes that used to be blue but
now are burned to clear). My feelings are beginning to stir again,
whispering and hissing in my ears and around the corners of my
brain. I strike at them madly, wondering who let them out of
I think I know. I think she's looking at me right now.
(So at last we know the truth. Why you never came back,
and hated her, and cursed her name as a traitor. Because she could
make you feel. Forced your to be human when you preferred to
leave that skeleton buried. It was ok when everything was good,
but when the trouble started to hit, humanity hurt. So you
butchered it for the second time. You said it was the final time.
You're here now because you've fooled yourself into thinking
you're prepared. That you can face her again. Well gues what,
Alex ol' boy.
You were wrong.)
"Why are you here?" she finally breaks the silence, not aware
that it was seconds away from breaking me. "Did you come to
pay your *respects*? If you have, then know you're far from
the first." Her lips curl in a bitter sneer, but her eyes betray her.
They are pleading with me to say that I am not here for that. As
that. I was never able to teach her how to totally hide her feelings
from her eyes.
Who, Rita? Who was the first, or the second? Did any of
them ever see you as anything but a pretty face? I want to ask the
questions, but all I reply is a simple "No."
She doesn't speak, her gaze falling from me to the bed like it is
far too weak to remain aloft. It is then I notice the brutal straps
pinning her to the bed like a butterfly to a vivsection table. Heavy,
leather straps that are bruising her paper flesh. I tell myself I'm
glad. I don't believe it.
Because it's a lie. Not the first I've spun for myself over the
years, but one of the more current. I can still remember when I
(A ship, a rotting, disgusting ship. The perfect hideaway for our
little Dimitri, our key to freedom. No matter how powerful they
tried to be, the men of the Syndicate felt the threat of the
faceless aliens. So they needed me once again, even though at the
time I wasn't in their service.)
Rita showed up. I knew they would send her, because she was
the best they had and as much as we acted like we hated each
other, eyes and ears were everywhere. It was almost ironic, that
she was now being sent against me in the same type of mission
that brought us together.
"You think you can pull this off, don't you?"
I kissed her like I had been wanting to kiss her for a long time.
"They give me what I want...." I reply. "I'm going to rule the
world." King and queen, and no one or nothing could ever take
her from my side again.....ever hurt her again. We'd have everything
we could ask for.
"We've got them on their knees, Alex. Let's get out of this
I didn't want to think about consequences right then. So we
left, went to some hotel that I barely remember now. Because
when I got back to my refuge, an impeccably groomed English
man was waiting for me, and my pawn, my salvation was gone.
Instinct screamed through the shock that SHE had dared to
I believed those instincts. They had plenty of time to convince
me during the seemingly endless days I was locked down there like
some kind of animal without food or water, and only the
Englishman's not so tender mercies to keep me alive. I hated her
then. With a passion. I defiled her memory with every blasphemy
I knew in English *and* Russian.
But when the man asked me over and over where *we* had
hidden the boy, I knew she hadn't come to me as some assignment.
She was playing the game I had taught her, trying to work both
sides and come out on top. I knew then she was going to Mulder,
that she was trying in her own way to get freedom. I knew and
I didn't care. I was starving and thirsty and it was so much easier
to be angry with her.
That's why I never looked for her when I heard she'd
disappeared. I knew I could find her, but I didn't want to. Love
had proved a fatal weakness within me that They were now able
to exploit, so it had to be rooted out. They told me she was dead
and I let myself believe in what I knew to be a lie.
Then the nightmares came.
When I helped them take Scully from Mulder a long five years
ago, I saw the pain and hollow despair in his eyes and I laughed.
Until the evil jester of Fate twisted me into the same dark place,
a prison where I would wake up in the middle of the night stifling
screams and sweating because I *saw* things- unspeakable things-
that they did to her. I felt her screams inside me, heard her call out
my name. But I couldn't stop them. Not even in the dreams when
I had two good arms.
Only now it's worse.
Now I look at her, and I'm not so sure they were dreams.
* * *
"So are you planning on telling me to what I owe the honor
of this visit?"
I prefer the silence but one of us has to speak sometime and
I'd rather it be me. Why? Well I don't have reasons for anything I
do so how would I know? All I can say for certain is that talking
keeps my mind off how much I really missed that self-serving
little fiend. And ok, I'll admit I'm more than a little curious. He
completely ignored me the last time he saw me.....and then it
would have been so easy for him to help me. So what is he
doing here, now, when I know he doesn't have access? Why the
risk? He has to want *something*. But I don't have anything to
give. No power. No juicy tidbit of information. No silky beauty.
(Except for one thing. That small dream deep inside me where I
close my eyes and wake up anywhere but here. He can't know
about that. Nobody does.)
I remember he always used to tell me he knew me better than
I knew myself. Usually when he was trying to reassure me that
we'dget away with something that nine times out of didn't we
didn't. He tried to teach me how to maneuver around the
punishments like he did, but I ended up learning better how to
stand still and take a beating.
"Is it that much of a surprise that I would want to see you?"
The muscles in my back stiffen again as I glare at him. "Yes,
actually, considering you wanted nothing to do with me the one
time you actually could have helped me.... for once." I notice his
jaw tighten and plunge ahead, pleased to know I'm getting
somewhere. "But that wouldn't have worked, now would it?
You wouldn't have gotten anything from the deal. Just me."
And he used to think I couldn't play parts. Outside I'm all steel
and poison, but inside I'm crying blood and wondering
*why* I wasn't enough.
"I couldn't." He's so calm, so assured. I find myself wanting to
smile instead of snarl. He hasn't changed a bit. But then he has.
There's something.....melancholy.....inside him today as if he is.....
Not my Alex. No way.
He continues to speak. "There were complications then. And I
had my own reasons."
"Didn't you always?
That draws him closer, pulling him in until he's standing at
the foot of the bed. I watch him fight to contain the emotion
rippling just under the taut mask of of stoicism. He does a better
job of hiding them from me than he used to. Someone's been
practicing. "Before you fling your daggers, remember that *you*
were the one to betray *me*. Not vice versa. If you had waited,
everything would have worked out."
"How many times did you tell me that? Reassured me that
you'd fix everything. If I listened to you, you'd set me free- wasn't
that the deal?" So he wants daggers. I can do that. He hasn't seen a
sliver of the fury churning at a slow boil deep inside me all these
months to know that the one person who ever cared about me
had deserted me. That fury is awakened now, exploding from
me with the mad abandon of a supernova and he can kill me if
he wants when it's all over. The truth is no longer my cross to
bear. Let him hang on it. See if he likes the way it feels.
He almost speaks but I don't let him. I'm not finished. "You
had more than your chance, Alex. And all you gave me was one
continual string of 'tomorrows' and 'yesterdays' every time
you left me alone. I tried to keep the faith.....believe me that I did....
but somewhere along the way their bruises and their pain
overshadowed your empty promises. I never *let* you go." I
pause, letting my eyes press into him before I went on. "They
had to beat you out of me."
His voice cuts the air, the edge on his metallic words dull but
glowing hot, not so different from the knife that he said took his
arm. I wonder if he notices. "But you betrayed me anyway. Just
like I was one of your victims. Like I was....*nobody. Did they
ask you to kill me too? To put a bullet in my brain?" His control
is slipping, just enough to let the acid seep through. "Were you
supposed to do it before or after you kissed me and whispered
how much you loved me?"
He has a point and it hurts to think that he would believe I
only used him for my amusement, that I would ever seduce him
for seduction's sake like I did all the men we killed.... "I accepted
the orders to kill you." I admit. "But I never intended to obey."
"It doesn't matter." The mask is firmly back in place almost
before I could notice it was gone. We are both performing in
rare form today. I hate that. I want a magic word to turn
everything back to yesterday. For him to look at me in the way
he used to when he thought I was asleep or merely not paying
attention. If he would just do that, all this horror would fade
away, purgatory slain by heaven's brilliance. There is no heaven
for us, no ever after or sweet paradise. If we ever found Eden
in one another, our sins have exiled us and destroyed all roads
leading back. There is precious little left of what we thought
we'd always be. The thoughts ebb away the hate inside me, and
when I speak I find my voice to be slow, deliberate rather
than widly accusing.
"They already knew." His good fist clenches then releases
suddenly. He didn't know that. I feel my throat constrict as the
crystal needles of tears prick at the back of my eyes. "Right after
you left to get Dimtri, they came. Yes, I gave them the details......
after they broke three of my ribs, dislocated my shoulder and
bruised my jaw. There was a choice. Either I got to you, or they
would. I'm not as stupid as you think. If they had sent anyone
else, do you think you'd be standing here? I couldn't take another
one your grand schemes. Another failure. I couldn't stand to
think of what they'd do to me.
So I was going to take the boy, steal back my life, and leave
you to play James Bond's evil twin. I was so sure you'd forget
about me within a week....." The adrenaline was gone and I fall
back against the pillows, exhausted. The tears being to smudge
my vision and thicken my voice as I continue.
"No one was supposed to get hurt.....*this*.....was never
supposed to happen."
My eyes at last betray me and the tears escape to spill in tiny
rivers of silent pain down the diseased landscape of my face. I
can't look at him anymore. It hurts, far too much to bear. The
heavy veils of my eyelids descend to hide me from his cold
condemnation. The darkness behind them is moist and thick
but unable to mask the sadness that impregnates the very air we
breathe. Head bowed, I await the axe of his final judgment to fall
(Why can't he just get it over with? Why does he drag it out?)
(Has the man not even one shred of mercy within him now
that I am so obviously, pitifully broken? Haven't I paid double
for my sins?)
The heavy weight of a body sitting down on the bed close- so
close- beside me startles me. The implications stop my heart. I
know he did not just....
And now he's touching my face, the curve of his thumb
gliding against my cheekbone to brush away my tears. His fingers
are so uncertain, hovering around my skin like he is afraid I'll
shatter under his touch. It is strange, that touch, and it paralyzes
me. I am deathly afraid to open my eyes.
(What if this is only a dream.....and I'm about to wake up.....
what if he's only toying with me to punish me fruther....)
I've forgotten how to breath. Or move. As it is, I have to
remind my heart that beating is necessary for life. I search for
spite in his tone when she speaks, but his voice mirrors his touch
as he pulls my chin toward him. "Rita. Look at me."
I shake my head and try to stop my hands from trembling. I
can't. I can't. It will destroy me. Destroy me. But again his voice
travels through the darkness around me, calling my name like he
used to in the old times. "Look...at me."
My eyes creep open, giving my soul time to brace for an
onslaught of harsh words and bitter hate. Where is it, where is the
contempt? Not in his eyes..... There is only that regret, that sad
pity I do not understand. His face is inches from mine and every
word he speaks cuts me flesh to bone.
"I'm sorry they hurt you."
That.....I was not prepared for. Dumb shock strikes me mute
as he continues.
"I'm sorry I couldn't save you from this. From the men who
did those things you never told me about. From myself." His
hands again skim the surface of my face, following the lines of
my forehead to capture the latest tear from my eyelashes. "But
more than anything else I'm sorry that it has to end this way."
The same hand that caressed me reaches into his coat and
withdraws something shiny and black and metal. I'd know his
gun anywhere. He used to sleep with it under his pillow......
I still can't breathe but this time it's only because I know why
he's come. I 'm going to die.
* * *
She shrinks away from me as far as the straps will allow,
cold horror awash in her face and eyes. I feel a sickening revulsion
in my gut as I bring the gun out into the light. It was supposed to
be so easy. Walk in and relieve both our pain in one gunshot. But
now, the feel of her skin eating away at my fingers like acid, the
fear in her eyes burning like something far worse, I.....can't..... I
can shoot children and husbands and mothers but I can't pull the
trigger on a woman who betrayed me once, and who now is
everything but dead.
But the mission must be fulfilled. Just not this way. There can
be only one ending to this.
"No....no...." I reach out for her face, aching to feel her skin
under mine, but she flinches away. "This is yours."
Her eyes widen then cloud with confusion, and her voice is
"For you." I lay the gun beside her on the bed and undo the
straps on her wrists, more than glad to see the hateful things
off. She stares at me, traces of fear still crackling in the corners
of her eyes like static electricity. I wish she wouldn't make me tell
her what's happening, that she would figure it out all on her own.
"I'm offering you a choice. *The* choice." I eject the clip and
remove every bullet save one. One silver finger of Death, deadly
to the extreme. When I jam it back into the gun, realization is
dawning on her face like a rising sun. "You said I never gave you
anything. Well now I'm giving you one chance- just one- for
revenge or for freedom. Shoot me if you will. Free yourself if
Silence is not golden, it is velvet. I can tell that as her fingers
slowly trace the edge of the gun, almost like she is caressing it,
and I feel the kind of quiet that chokes off thoughts and smothers
words before they can be spoken. When I looked in the mirror
this morning, I was still a young man, but now I feel old. So old.
(But they don't care how young we are.....how innocent....she...
.was....they use and they use until all we can do to save the ones
we love is hand them the means to end their suffering.)
It isn't murder, no matter who dies here today. It's only
murder if you're alive. I never was. She used to be, but sitting
face to face with her, I know the woman I loved is dead. It's my
responsibilty to set her body free.
It feels like violent hate and hurts like violent love.
For timeless seconds her fingers dance around the gun until
they close around the handle. The spider veins just under her
transparent skin stand out in garish shades of blue and purple and
red as she pulls it up. Toward me. It takes all of her strength just
to hold it level with my head as her eyes meet mine in a very
quiet, solemn way.
I meet hers in much of the same.
"I don't want to kill you." she says, and the gun drops into
her lap. Her words hang in the air like abandoned children. "I
might have once. But now....no."
I claim survival as my god, but part of me wishes she would.
That I would be the lucky one, the one spared by being destroyed.
She knows what I am giving her. Not death so much as an ending of
life. The terrible, slow sickness of life that will kill her in a far more
horrifying way if I do not intervene.
And why not take her with me? Defy the odds and spite in
the face of Fate while I carry her out of the compound not caring
what they'll do to me. Because I can't. It's something Mulder
would do for his Scully. He wouldn't care if she had cut his heart
out and danced on it, or that she might just die if she didn't get
the limited medical care that accompanies the tests. He'd just carry
her away. And he'd succeed.
I am not Mulder. I used to envy him his role as the shining
hero. I even went so far as to want to be that kind of white
knight, even if the armor was black. But not for the world and
surely not for some pathetic Truth. For just one woman. Then
again, she is no Scully. And I am no one's hero.
Deep inside I know that even if I was, even if I did take her
with me, she'd die. Her health is shattered. They'd catch us before
we crossed the state line. Me, they'd shoot on sight. They wouldn't
be so kind to her. She would be dragged back here, to continue living
death. This is the only escape I can offer her. The only way I can
fulfill the promises I made to set her free. I never dreamed I'd
have to kill her to do it. Or watch her kill herself.
(Can you watch....that.....)
"Alex?" It is her voice that reaffirms that no, I could not
watch. She won't look at me, staring straight at her index finger as
it traces figure eights on the sheets around the gun. "Was there
ever a time when you said you loved me.....and meant it......?"
Her words sink deep into my mind like flower petals made
of molten steel. I can hear in my mind what I want to say to her.
(That there was never a time I did not mean it....even when I
hated you....especially then .because I wanted you even more......
which is why it burned every time I woke up beside another
woman who was not you.....)
But that is not what I tell her.
Her face softened for the merest heartbeat with something
out of place in this inhuman room. When I see the color of her
eyes, I don't have to hear what she's going to say. I already know.
But it doesn't mean I want to acknowledge that. "I've made my
choice." she says, once again caressing the gun.
"And.....I think it's time for you to leave."
There is no reply I can make other than to rise in silence to
my feet, my hand covering hers just long enough to feed one last
time my addiction to her skin. One step to the door.....two
steps.....three steps....I pause. Something feels incomplete.
I turn and walk back to the bed and pull her face toward
me, brushing a feather light kiss on her forehead, just underneath
her hairline. Her eyes close, and I touch my lips to her eyelids
ever so softly, remembering when she used to taste wine made
from forbidden fruits, heady and seductive.
It is not enough. It will never be. But I walk away nonetheless.
And I don't look back.
* * *
Cold, unfathomable silence.
He's gone. He's not coming back. I know that.
Why is the room quiet now with such a unearthly silence
unlike any I have ever head? Why is it so empty? There is no
trace that he was ever here, save the gun in my hand and the
ghosts of his kisses on my face. On my eyes, like a blessing or
was it a eulogy?
There have been few choices in my life. He has been a part of
all of them. And now, the final decision lies before me, mine and
mine alone to end. The instrument is in my hand. All that remains
is my actions to fulfill the ritual. Freedom is a mere three inches
of hot lead away from my grasp.
He's gone. And he told me goodbye. We never said goodbye.
It sounded so much like forever.....but that's what this is. There
will be no more secret meetings and stolen kisses and whispered
dreams. No more pain and despair and aching of love lost.
(Lost but not totally forgotten.)
My fingers slide over every line of the weapon, every angle.
Such cruelty. Such beauty. With the slowness of death's carriage,
I remove the safety. The click is as loud in my ears as the gunshot
itself. It makes me jump. My hands are firm, however, as I guide
my savior to rest against my forehead like a corruption of his
kiss. Then again, maybe this is always what his kisses were.
And suddenly the white is fading, that hideous white which as
tortured me so long. The pain is fading. I am so very....very.....tired.....
My eyes fall shut like the curtain closing on the final act of a play.
But I don't see the dark. I don't see the demons that have eaten
my mind until it is all but destroyed. I don't have to look at the
body they succeeded in demolishing.
I am sitting in a dark room in Rome, wearing a black dress
and drinking vodka with a stranger. He's asking me.....
(Do you want to have a choice.....haveachoicehaveachoice.....)
"Yes." I whisper.
And I decide.
* * *
(Was there ever a time?)
Her voice posseses my mind, growing louder and louder until
it ricochets off every corner of my brain, a crescendo of
whispsers hurtling toward my senses with the hissing fury of a
Then I hear the gunshot.
Then I hear silence.
T.S. Eliot was wrong. The world ends with a bang, not with a
whimper, and no one but me has noticed. Nothing tangible
has changed. The mission is over. Done. Was it sacrifice or was it
revenge? The two are hopelessly entwined, twin serpents sharing
one head and two glistening fangs. But even if I did know the
truth, whenever I see her face I'll say "I love you" forever.
Even if I know very pit of my being that it is the only true
reason she had to die.
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