|Primary Characters:||Krycek, Melissa|
|Warning:||strong language, violence, adult themes|
|Description:||Krycek finds someone on his doorstep. Someone who needs his help to survive. But it turns out Krycek needs this person too, in another way.|
“—-Midnight Lady I call your name, I know you can ease my pain—– Midnight Lady I can fly, in your arms I get high—–“
What was that? Krycek turned off the radio and moved silently to the door. He strained his ears to catch the slight noise he had thought he had detected just now. Since his abduction and – all that, he took the paranoia and watchfulness to an even higher level. In his experience you lived longer that way, at least a man in his profession.
And there it was again. Someone was rustling about outside. No pro would make that mistake. So who could it be? He decided to take a quick look through the peephole, though doing so could be risky. If someone had rigged up some kind of weapon – He couldn’t see anything. After a few seconds he made up his mind to open the door and take a look.
His breath caught in his throat, when he caught sight of the figure lying on his doorstep. It couldn’t be – but that hair reminded him a lot of – Whoever it was, her immobility filled him with misgivings. And there it was. A large bloodstain on her right arm. She was hurt. He had to get her inside.
Krycek paused, frowning. His fear of physical proximity couldn’t be allowed to stand in the way of her safety. Without any more hesitation, he bent over, lifted her off the floor and carried her inside, only taking time to hook his foot around the door to slam it shut behind them. It was just as well she was feather light. With only one arm, anything else would have been beyond his capabilites.
He set her down on his bed and began a closer examination of his uninvited guest. Yes, there was no doubt about it. It was her. Melissa Scully. The last time he’d seen her was more than a year earlier, before she and Jeffrey Spender managed to beat the odds and escape one of his former employers’ holding facilities.
Despite recent events, Krycek felt his heart take a leap in his chest. She had never looked at him with affection in her eyes, but he couldn’t help feeling this attraction towards her. It might not make a difference anymore, considering the trauma he had recently suffered, but it pleased him that someone could still make him feel this way.
He had to undress her, check on the wound. It had bled profusely, which wasn’t a good sign. Krycek disgustedly watched his hands shaking, as he pulled the soaked t-shirt off Melissa. Get a grip, Alexei. This isn’t the first time you’ve undressed a woman.
She was wearing a bra, but that too was soaked with blood on one side. He decided to leave it on. It didn’t make any difference. The full extent of the wound was now visible. He was surprised it had bled that much, considering the fact that the bullet must only have grazed her shoulder.
Krycek was no doctor, but he had extensive experience when it came to bullet wounds, received and inflicted. As far as he could tell, the muscle tissue wasn’t damaged and the bone couldn’t have been affected either. The blood was drying, so he came to the conclusion that some time had passed since Melissa had been hit.
Again, he hesitated before pressing his hand to her forehead. A slight fever. That in itself might not mean anything was seriously wrong. He remembered succumbing to the same condition whenever he had been shot or stabbed.
But he couldn’t stay here. If someone had known his location, this place wasn’t safe anymore. Not for him, and not for Melissa. He suspected Spender had dropped her off outside his door. Why? Was it a trap? At this point, he didn’t care. There was no way he would leave Melissa like this. She would have to come with him, whatever the risks.
He was startled out of his reflections by a sudden sound from his visitor. Melissa was moving around on the bed, moaning softly, but she didn’t open her eyes. She had to be in some pain, but right now he had no way of dealing with that. He knew it was no use going to Dana and Mulder for help. After all they’d done for him, there was no way he could place their lives at risk for his sake. He was on his own in this, as in everything else.
Covering Melissa with a blanket, Krycek left her for the time being. He would have to pack some things. It was highly unlikely that he’d ever see this place again. There were no regrets. He had lived in the apartment for about three months. As long as he ever stayed in one place. Maybe it was time to move on anyway.
Half an hour later, he carried Melissa out to the car. He wasn’t worried that any of his neighbors might find that odd. In this neighborhood no one would even look twice at something like that. Melissa might be dead, for all the people in this building cared. He returned with the last of his stuff, after locking the door and leaving the key with the janitor.
The man didn’t look up when he heard the clink of the keyring. He was too busy watching Jeopardy. Krycek didn’t think anyone would be able to tell any pursuers where he had gone. Not that he intended to let himself be traced. There was some advantage to having his experience.
After several detours to throw off any pursuit, Krycek finally arrived at his destination in the early hours of the morning. This was his most secret hiding place, a cabin in the woods. He had had to stop three times on the way to give Melissa a drink, and to press a wet cloth to her forehead to cool her off. Through all that, she hadn’t given any signs of being aware of his presence.
Finally, when he placed her on the bed, she appeared to have fallen into a deeper sleep. He wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or not. Soon he would have to try and give her something to eat, but right now he felt it was more important to clean up the wound. If infection set in, he didn’t know what to do.
Calling Dana would be no use. He might not have put a tap on their phone this time, but someone surely had, and the last thing he needed was to have someone put a trace on his call, and find him out here. That wouldn’t help Melissa at all.
When he pressed the cloth drenched in disinfectant against the wound, Melissa thrashed about on the bed, but still didn’t become lucid enough to make eye contact. Once he was satisfied the wound was clean, Krycek bandaged it up.
When he first came to Afghanistan, he had worked as a medic, among other things. He made sure it wasn’t too tight or too loose. The bleeding had almost stopped and that at least was good. As long as there was no infection.
He was able to give her a few more sips of orange juice before she fell back on the bed in a dead stupor. Her pulse was good, so he assumed she was now sleeping more or less normally. That should give him time to go shopping. There was some dry produce out here, but he would need fresh fruit and vegetables. Melissa was a vegetarian, he seemed to recall from her days in captivity. Fine. No meat. Food wasn’t Krycek’s poison anyway.
Another thing she would need was clothing. But Krycek wasn’t exactly sure about what kind of garments she would want, and besides it might look a little strange for a man to come into a store, asking for women’s clothing. He didn’t care what people thought about him, but that sort of thing might make them remember his face and his plan was to remain inconspicuous. Melissa would have to make do with his stuff. T-shirts and jeans and track suits.
When he got back, he dumped the purchases in the kitchen and looked in on Melissa. Her face looked somehow less flushed and feverish and as if she could feel his gaze travelling over her skin, her eyelids fluttered and opened. Krycek felt himself blushing like the teenager he’d never really been.
“Alex. I guess I owe you an apology for showing up like this on your doorstep.”
“What? Oh, that’s ok. You’re always welcome in my home, as I think you remember I told you last year.”
“In your home and your bed?”
Again his face heated up and for a second, he began to question who he really was. Was this really Alex Krycek, the assassin, the spy, the traitor, the – or was he a kid falling in love for the first time? He could tell Melissa wasn’t making fun of him though. So he forced himself to reply in an even tone, as if he hadn’t felt any of this emotional turmoil inside.
“I’m afraid it’s the only one there is. I’ve never had any guests out here.”
“Out here? So I guess we’re not in Kansas anymore?”
“Not quite. Can I ask you how you found me? I’m not exactly in the phone book, not under any name. The last time I heard from you, you and Jeffrey Spender were inseparable.”
“I remember. Jeffrey dropped me off at your place. We ran into some trouble. Your employers nearly caught up with us this time.”
“Former employers. And how did he know how to find me?”
“I’m not sure. He didn’t tell me everything. Did I place you in danger by coming there?”
“No. At least no one’s going to find us there, so no harm done. Don’t worry about me. Anything else?”
Melissa glanced down at her shoulder then back at Krycek.
“Long story. I’ll tell you all about it. You wouldn’t happen to have something to eat? I’m starving.”
“Great. I won’t be a second.”
“Wait. I don’t eat -“
“Meat? Check. I remembered. I got some stuff from the health food shelves.”
Krycek hurriedly made a few sandwiches and poured some soda into two glasses. When he got back into the bedroom, Melissa was trying to get out of bed. He put down the tray and rushed to her side.
“Hey. You’re not well enough to take a walk on your own. What’s wrong? Can I get you anything?”
“You can help me into the bathroom.”
This time it was her turn to blush. Krycek could tell that she wouldn’t accept his help in there, but he put his good arm around her good shoulder and supported her all the way into the bathroom.
He lowered her onto the toilet seat, but he could tell from the color of her face that she was no longer embarrassed as much as close to passing out. Even such a small exertion had drained her.
This was a tricky situation. She might be close to losing consciousness, but when she began to recover she would remember the embarrassment. On the other hand, apparently she really needed to go.
Krycek felt quite awkward too. Besides, if he was going to pull down her panties, he would need to let go of her with his good arm.
“Melissa, I’m going to let go now. Try not to fall off. If you can manage from here on, tell me now. Or I’ll have to help you.”
She lost all the poise so reminiscent of her sister and looked just like a little kid.
“You’ll have to help me.”
“Ok. I won’t look, I swear.”
Suddenly she was laughing weakly.
“I’ve lost gallons of blood and I’m worried about what you might see. It’s hardly something you haven’t seen before, am I right?”
“Who, me? There. Will you be ok? Or do you want me to stay in here? I’ll turn my back, look.”
“Stay. Falling off this thing won’t help at all.”
After she was done, he helped her over to the wash basin, and watched her wash her hands. She had lost weight since the last time.
“What? I know I look a mess, but you don’t need to stare like that.”
“You don’t look a mess. It’s just that – you must have been living rough. Not getting enough food.”
“It isn’t all that easy to get vegetarian food on the road. Besides, look who’s talking. You’ve lost about a dozen pounds since we last met, and that scar on your cheekbone is new, if I’m not mistaken.”
So like Melissa, and her sister, to turn the tables on him. He should have known better than to leave himself open like that.
“Occupational hazard. How about those sandwiches now? Evidently we could both use some nutrition.”
While Krycek was clearing away the dishes, Melissa stretched out on the bed. She had thought she was hungry, but her appetite soon vaned and her face took on a strained look that told Krycek she needed sleep a bit more than food right now. Still, he remained standing in the doorway wondering if she wanted some company and if he might ask her that.
“Thanks, Alex. I guess we need to talk.”
“Ok. I must admit I’m curious about this unexpected visit. In the past I wasn’t exactly your favorite person.”
“I’m sorry to impose, but I didn’t -“
“You’re not imposing. I told you you were welcome any time, and I meant it. So -?”
“Jeffrey and I had our ups and down. He was obsessed with his father, about getting revenge for what he did to him. Actually, the scary thing is, I think he’s planning to take the old man’s place.”
“I guess he’s a chip off the old block. So it’s over between you?”
He couldn’t believe he’d had the nerve to ask her that.
Melissa seemed to know exactly what he was thinking and again he was treated to that warm smile which made him feel as if everything was right in the world. Almost as if that smile was meant for him, though in a way it had to be.
“No, it isn’t over. For it to be over it would have had to begin at some point. Alex, there never was anything between me and Jeffrey. I just thought you were coming on too strong.”
Krycek lowered his gaze to the floor. He knew he did. It was part of his defenses. If he hit on anyone in sight, they might actually like him and never see through the mask to the hurt child inside. He should have known Melissa wouldn’t be impressed.
“Don’t be. I like you. Why did you think I asked Jeffrey to take me to you?”
“Because you don’t want to put your family at risk?”
“That too. But I do have a friend or two I could have turned to. It was you I wanted to see again. I think we have some unfinished business you and I.”
“Really? Like what?”
“Later, Alex. I’m tired. Why don’t you tell me about yourself instead? What have you been up to since we last met?”
Nothing he wanted Melissa to know. Restlessly, he got up and made for the door.
“Look, I’m tired too. We can talk later.”
“Wait. This is your only bed?”
“Yes. Never needed more than one in the past.”
“So where are you going to sleep?”
“I’ll be ok. You need your rest. I’ll look in on you from time to time. If you need anything just call.”
“Hold on a second. Haven’t you had any sleep at all?”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“Come here. The bed’s big enough. If you sleep here, you’re closer in case I need your help again.”
Was she making fun of him? She had to know that in the past this had been his fondest dream. Sleeping next to Melissa Scully. Well, not exactly sleeping, but anyway. And now, it was the furthest thing from his mind. She was too weak, and he was – Pathetic. Useless. Damaged.
“No way. Go to sleep now. I’ll get you some fresh clothes for later.”
“Alex? Am I missing something? Last time we met, you could hardly wait to get into bed with me.”
“You’ve lost a lot of blood, you’re running a fever. What kind of pervert do you think I am?”
“This isn’t about sex, and you know it. What’s wrong, Alex?”
Now he was on thin ice again. It wouldn’t do to let her sense his pain and unease. He forced his voice to sound even and unperturbed.
“I’m sorry. I overreacted. If you really want me nearby, of course I’ll sleep here.”
He had to keep himself tightly under control. Melissa didn’t feel like a threat, but being this close to another human being, at least one that was conscious, was a strain. She probably noticed, but to his relief she didn’t comment. Within moments she was asleep.
It took Krycek a while longer to doze off, but eventually he did. Sleep brought him no comfort. The dream left him more tired than before and he woke up with a start. Melissa was facing him, studying him closely, concern written all over her face.
This was all wrong. She hadn’t come here to take care of him, it was the other way around. Krycek forced himself to snap out of it.
“Sorry, did I wake you?”
“No. I was awake. Bad dream?”
“I don’t remember. What time is it? Can I get you anything?”
“Sure. Aren’t you hungry yourself? Or did that veggie stuff gross you out?”
“No. It was fine. I guess I am a little hungry. And I’ll get you those clothes later. I couldn’t – uh – buy you anything new. No – uh – underwear and so on.”
Again that smile. The nightmare faded away. As long as he avoided thinking about the past or the future, he was doing ok.
“I think I’ll manage anyway. There’s always this.”
She indicated her bra and panties. It dawned on Krycek that he should have offered her a t-shirt a long time ago. He hadn’t been thinking straight. And again that telltale flush crept across his face.
“Sorry. I should have remembered.”
He got out of bed and rummaged through a few drawers, coming up with a t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants.
“Will these do?”
“They’ll do fine. And I can always wash these. Later, when I can stand up without falling down.”
“I’d do it for you, but I’m guessing you’d prefer to do it yourself.”
“You’re guessing right. How about that food?”
“Right. I’m on it.”
They settled into a sort of routine. Melissa slept most of the day, but whenever she was awake, they were together. Sometimes they were able to talk quite comfortably. At other times, Krycek felt they were both negotiating a mine field.
Among other things, he suspected that she was dying to ask about her sister and mother, but was afraid to hear the answer. On the other hand, he knew that she was aware of him keeping something from her. Melissa had to be curious about the reason for his silence, but she never pried.
As he got to know her better the image of her sister began to fade in his mind. After all, Dana and Fox belonged together. He had no place in their lives. He was beginning to think that his obsession with them had sprung from the emptiness inside him.
At one time, he had believed he wanted Fox. Now he realized that for a time what he had really wanted was to be Fox. Then after he learned the truth about the “happy” family life of the Mulders, he had found that that wasn’t what he wanted either. Even later, he had been infatuated with Dana, but that too, might be considered a sort of misplaced envy. Her childhood really had been perfect, at least it seemed that way to Krycek.
Now, after such a short time, the only person he could think about was Melissa. Ironically, now that he had her in his house, in his bed, he was further than ever from her embrace.
He still couldn’t bear to be touched. Once or twice that had landed him in some pretty precarious situations.
One morning, he had woken up to feel Melissa’s arms around him. She must have moved over to his half of the bed during the night. In his fantasies this was as close to heaven as he ever got these days, but the reality of it made him tense up violently and push her away.
He had tried to cover his embarrassment and confusion by vaguely referring to a nightmare, but he could tell that Melissa wasn’t taken in. Even when he tried to convey some of his memories from Afghanistan, she still didn’t seem convinced. And she was right. Though those memories still haunted him at times, it was incidents far closer, geographically and chronologically, that really bothered him.
In the end he couldn’t take it anymore. The void separating his thoughts and the reality was emotionally draining. On the one hand, he wanted to hold Melissa in his arms and never let her go. What he was capable of, however, was forcing himself to change the bandage on her wound, feed her, bring clean clothes, take away the used ones and wash them, period.
At times, he felt that they were growing closer, emotionally. That was when they were discussing topics not related to the ones they were constantly trying to avoid. Melissa’s quick mind filled Krycek with admiration. She was no scientist like her sister, but her creatitivity and sensitivity were impressive.
All that did nothing to change his growing discomfort concerning their physical proximity. There was no other solution but to move out of the bed they had been sharing for close to a week, while Melissa’s wound healed and her fever went down.
“Melissa, I’ve been thinking. You’re doing ok now, so I’ll just sleep on the couch from now on. It won’t make much difference. If you need me, all you have to do is call. I’ll be right with you.”
“Alright. If that’s the way you want it. Though don’t you think it might be better if you just told me what’s bothering you? I know something’s changed. Not that I was entirely taken in by your macho act in the past. No one is that overeager, once he’s out of his teens. So what’s wrong, Alex?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Right. Of course you don’t. Your brain seems to have suffered as well, since the last time we met.”
Her probing was wearing on his already ragged nerves and he almost snapped at her. The words came out far more testily than he wanted to. She was right. Something was wrong, and if she could help him, he would be eternally grateful. Not that he thought anyone would be able to. And even if she could, he didn’t want her to know.
He was so tired of the comments, the looks, the expectations. Sure he was a pro, but he had spent the last 15 years trying to reinvent himself. Being a spy, a traitor, an assassin might not be the most endearing of professions, but they sure beat his original occupation hands down. Unfortunately, he had been signed on for the entire package. Looks, skills and all. Why else would they pay for his extensive plastic surgery? He had believed the loss of his arm would reduce his attraction. Apparently that wasn’t quite the case.
“What do you want from me? If you’re not happy with the care I’m providing, I can drive you anywhere you like.”
“What do I want from you? Isn’t it the other way around? Or maybe I should say what is it you need from me?”
“I don’t know -“
“Right, you don’t know what I’m talking about. Ok, Alex, suit yourself. If you enjoy the nightmares, who am I to stand in your way?”
“Who says I’m having nightmares?”
“You are. I happen to move across your invisible demarcation line once, and you act like I’m trying to murder you. So you tell me you were having a dream about Afghanistan. That wasn’t the truth, was it? It was me. I’m what was bothering you.”
“You seem to have it all figured out. Ok. What’s my problem? This should be interesting.”
“Are you sure you want to hear it?
No. He wasn’t at all sure. When he had produced that defiant statement it had all been a defense, not a seriously meant suggestion. And he was pretty sure Melissa knew that. She was calling his bluff.
“Melissa, I – You’re right. There is something wrong, but it’s nothing to do with you. It’s me.”
“Ok. Don’t tell me you’re gay, and you’re afraid that’s going to ruin your tough guy act.”
“Don’t say that.”
“What? About you being gay?”
“No. The tough guy part. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to act in my own home. Not in front of you.”
“I’m sorry, Alex. Of course you don’t. I want you to be yourself. And that includes telling me about anything you feel comfortable discussing. Well, I guess you’re not ready to talk. Alright, I won’t push. I’m not going anywhere. It’s not as if I have anywhere in particular to go.”
“If you want to talk, I’ll try. I’m just not sure I can tell you what you want to know.”
“Because you’re the last person I want to know about my – problems.”
She didn’t pretend not to understand what he was referring to. Why he didn’t want her to know. The smile embraced him and made him relax slightly. Melissa wouldn’t hurt him. Ever.
“Alex. There’s nothing you can tell me that will change the way I feel about you. Not unless you tell me you’ve killed my entire family for some reason.”
“No. I haven’t killed your family. They’re all fine, as far as I know. Dana too.”
At least the mention of her family had side-tracked her for the time being. He could see how concerned she was about them, and how badly she had wanted to ask, but not quite dared to hear the reply.
“You’ve seen them?”
“About three months ago. They took me in for a while, when I was in bad shape. I owe them my life.”
“Dana and Mulder.”
“Oh. I see. They’ve finally dared to get past their fear of commitment. That’s great. I know mom will be pleased. I’m so happy for them. I only wish -“
Yes, he knew what she wished. And for a desperate moment, he wished it too, until he remembered that their only chance was remaining out of sight. He had told Dana her sister was still alive, but he had never really figured out whether she believed him or not. And there was no chance the two sisters could ever meet again. Not as long as Dana and Mulder continued their crusade against the conspirators.
But now it was only a matter of time before Melissa asked him why he had been in bad shape and in what way. Part of him had always known it would get to this, and he hadn’t known if he would be able to tell her. He didn’t think he could.
Not in all this time, since the first time it happened, had he been able to say out loud: I was raped. Or even think those same words. It had been possible to approach that topic indirectly, and by replying to other people’s questions. Like Skinner’s or Dana’s. But never to say it himself.
And Skinner’s name brought back other memories of him. Things he didn’t want Melissa to know. It was useless denying his past, but he couldn’t bear to have Melissa’s mind filled with images of him and Skinner together. If she got the impression he was gay –
“I guess it’s the being in bad shape that’s got you so tense?”
“Yes. Not that it’s anything new. I told you about Afghanistan -“
“I know you did, and I’m sure it was bad enough, but things happened before that and after too, am I right?”
It was amazing. She and her sister knew everything, without having access to the network of information Krycek had been able to tap into until that time four months ago when his luck had run out and his employers had caught up with him.
“You have to know that I’m not asking out of curiosity. I think you’ll feel better if you’re able to tell someone about it.”
“I have told someone about it. Most of it.”
“Right again. I don’t know how you do it.”
“She does it too, right? I guess it runs in the family. You should have met mom. She could always see right through us all.”
“I haven’t met your mother, but I know a lot about her. You’re very lucky to have grown up with such a woman.”
“You don’t have to tell me. Well?”
“It obviously didn’t help.”
“Telling Dana about it.”
“You don’t understand. Dana and Fox belong to each other. Besides, they already knew some of it.”
“And somehow it’s different with me? You’re wrong. No matter what feelings you have for me, I can help.”
“Maybe you can. But that’s not what I want.”
“You think I wouldn’t want you if I knew? What is it you have done?”
“I haven’t done anything. I mean, not the way you mean.”
“Ok. Then you don’t have a problem.”
“That’s what you think. No problem except for a minor, unimportant little thing called pride.
“You still don’t understand me. Do you think I care about you because you’re one of the best looking men I’ve ever met?”
“No. Yes. You really care about me?”
“Alex. You may be clever when it comes to your work, but when it comes to emotions, you’re just like any other man. Blind. Stupid.”
Strangely enough her opinion of him warmed him. He was like any other man. At least she thought so. People had called him many things over the years, but stupid and blind weren’t among them.
“Ok. Maybe you can open my eyes and my mind a little.”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to do. I asked Jeffrey to drop me off at your place because I hoped you would be able to help me, but more than that because I hoped to be able to do something for you. When we met last year, you were so full of being this totally gorgeous guy who could have anyone he set his eyes on. Stop me if I’m wrong.”
Krycek grinned sheepishly. No, she wasn’t wrong. Much as he hated his face when it attracted perverts to him, he had loved it, when it drew women to him. Not paying customers, ordinary women.
“But I could tell that there was so much more under the surface. So much pain, but also a capacity for love, even if it was stunted by the traumas of the past. I was hoping I could set that inner man free. Ok. Maybe I’ve got my moments of pride too. Megalomania even. But just like your specialties are spying, assassination and sex, I have a knack for affection, love, healing even.”
“I know. Dana’s like the moon. Brilliant. But you’re the sun where a man can warm himself.”
“See. I already liberated the poet inside you.”
“Oh, that. All Russians have that knack. Especially when we’ve had too much vodka.”
“But you haven’t had any vodka today, right?”
“No. Maybe I’m drunk on you, Melissa.”
“And I’m helping you to a healthier lifestyle. Less unwanted side effects when you get high on Melissa. But don’t change the subject. I won’t let you off the hook that easily.”
“No. I didn’t think you would. What is it you want to know? I’ll try. But some things I’ve never been able to put into words. Not for anyone.”
“I want to know everything. From the start. You know my life’s story, at least the parts you can get from reading up on the Scully file. Now it’s your turn.”
Krycek took a moment to think over his options. He had been able to tell Skinner about his childhood, even though that information had been revealed by accident. Why shouldn’t he be able to tell Melissa? This was about his childhood, not these more recent events.
At first he stumbled over the words, but after a while it got easier. In a way it felt like he was talking about another person, this little boy Alexei who lived a long time ago in a foreign land. And she had been right. Talking about it made it easier to live with the memories.
When he had reached the point where he had entered the US, he paused to consider. His work from then on wasn’t what Melissa needed to know. In fact, that knowledge might put her at risk.
She nodded thoughtfully. It seemed his account went into some file inside her mind, and judging by the look on her face, it all made perfect sense to her. For some reason this made him feel better about himself. The past was a part of what made him the man he was today.
And if Melissa could take all that in, and still see him the same way, apparently she was right about the therapeutic value of confession. Had she learned that in catechism? But he was too exhausted by the effort of remembering to dwell on such questions.
“I’m glad you’re here now.”
“Otherwise I’d never have met you.”
“I never thought about it that way. And I’ve always appreciated this country too. In every way.”
“That too. And the freedom and the women.”
Melissa laughed. He loved that laugh. It was low and warm. Feeling it wash over him cleansed him of some of the pain. In a way he felt as if he had exorcised the ghosts of Jelena and little Alexei. That little boy had died at the hands of those men, but Alex had been born out of that pain. In him both Jelena and Alexei lived on. It was a comforting thought despite everything.
“Thank you, Melissa. You were right. I am feeling better now.”
“That’s good. Good enough to move on?”
Krycek looked away. That was a good question. If he wanted to heal all the pain, he knew he had only just begun the treatment. But sometimes the cure was simply too painful. More painful than continuing to suffer. Old pain became familiar. This would be a little like breaking up an old fracture that had healed wrong.
That had happened to Krycek in Afghanistan. A broken clavicle set insufficiently by an ignorant medic had had to be broken again to ensure the use of that arm. Ironically, that arm was now gone, so the pain had been for nothing. Would it be like that again?
And he still couldn’t find the words to explain about Skinner. But suddenly he wanted to cut out all the old scar tissue. Melissa was like the doctor who had made his arm well again. Krycek himself was the ignorant medic who had made do with what he had, to be able to go on. Not well, but still go on.
“You know about my arm?”
“Your arm? Yes, it was amputated, wasn’t it? And now you’re wearing this prosthetic one instead?”
“Yes. But do you know how it happened?”
“Not exactly. You never elaborated.”
“I was on a mission. Back home. Well, Tunguska, actually. Mulder was with me. They used us as guinea pigs. When we managed to escape, some local people helped us. Not that we stuck together. Their simple remedy for our conditions was amputation. Mulder was able to talk his way out of it. Not me. They weren’t impressed with another Russian. That made me feel unfairly treated. I became obsessed with revenge. Mulder was still perfect. I was – crippled. So when I got back to the US I began to stalk them. That’s what I got paid to do anyway, so at first no one noticed my change of heart.”
“I see. That’s only natural.”
He stared at her in astonishment. Shock he had expected. Disapproval. Even disgust. But not this. And she seemed to read his reaction.
“Of course it was. They mutilated you and let him go unscathed.”
“Except I deserved it. I betrayed Mulder, hoping it would get me out of there. I panicked. Ever since I first began working with him I’d felt a sort of hate-love for him. He was everything I ever wanted to be, at least I thought so. Later I found that his past wasn’t quite as perfect, but you can’t work with Mulder for long without falling under his spell. I even began to care about him. To begin with even more than I cared about Dana. And I betrayed him.”
“I see. You were saying -?”
“Soon I forgot about revenge. All I wanted was for them to acknowledge me. I was ready to betray my employers for a sign of affection from them. They have that effect on you.”
“You don’t have to tell me about my sister. And I’ve met Fox too. Of course you cared about them. They’re quite endearing.”
“My employers eventually learned about my change of allegiance. I was a fool. In the past I’d even terminated operatives who like me, had turned. They caught me and I was taken away for questioning.”
“Questioning or torture?”
“I think you can guess the answer to that one.”
“That new scar?”
“That and a dozen others. They didn’t get much out of me. After all, I hadn’t sold them out. Just stopped being loyal to them. Giving Dana and Mulder that information wouldn’t have helped them. It would have placed their lives in even more danger. Finally they took me to another place where they would have killed me. I’m still not sure what happened. Something went wrong and I was left behind, still alive.”
“What do you mean? Mulder took me away and Dana performed surgery on my hip. Without their help I might have become a real freak show. One arm, one leg.”
“That was a very abbreviated version of what happened to you.”
“I’d been tortured before so -“
“Yes. You were tortured. I got that. What else?”
“What makes you think that wasn’t all?”
“Like you said, you’d been tortured before. Last year when we met, you weren’t this wary of being touched. Something new must have happened.”
“This is more recent. Besides, it’s different now. To begin with you were just a hot babe I was attracted to. Now you’re so much more.”
“Thanks for the compliment. But that flattery isn’t fooling me.”
“No flattery. I was telling the truth.”
“Ok. I appreciate it. As you know it’s very mutual. But that’s not the whole truth. Is it, Alex? If you can’t tell me, I’ll have to fill in the blanks myself.”
It was eerie. She hadn’t been there, but she seemed to know everything anyway. For a second, Krycek felt a shiver go down his spine. What if this wasn’t Melissa after all, but one of those clones? No. He knew this was the real Melissa. He’d seen her blood and it was as red as his own.
“Go ahead. Tell me what happened to me.”
“Alright. They didn’t just torture you. Judging by your reaction I’d say it was something sexual. Alex, did they rape you?”
She could read the answer in his eyes and nodded pensively.
“I see. That wasn’t so tough, was it?”
“I guess not. There were five of them. At least I think so. You have to understand this wasn’t the first time, but each time it happens it takes longer to bounce back. Besides, I never really get over it, I just use my professional skills. Being here with you is different. I would like to – So many things, but with you I couldn’t just go to work.”
“No. Of course not. But it wouldn’t have to be like that.”
“Maybe not. Not later. Right now, though, it was all I could do, tending to your wound, feed you and wash your clothes. Sleeping next to you was agony. And yet it wasn’t. It made me feel safe. Ironic, isn’t it? You came to me for protection and you’re making me feel safe.”
“I don’t think that’s ironic at all. There are all kinds of safety. But you still haven’t told me everything.”
Unbelievable. This woman lying in his bed was uncanny. Was there anything she didn’t see? But he was just about out of confidences. When it came to Skinner, he knew he couldn’t explain. Or was he wrong about that too?
Dana had known about it in Vegas, and that hadn’t stopped her. Granted, they had both been a little drunk, but not drunk enough to lose all caution. If she had been bothered by the relationship, she would have declined his proposition. And he knew she had enjoyed it every bit as much as he had.
Melissa might see it the same way. Besides, right now there was no question of having sex. Everytime he felt her touch he was overwhelmed by conflicting emotions. Panic, terror, pain, excitement, desire, love.
“What I’ve told you until now has been about what’s happened to me. Not about what I’ve done. Mistakes I’ve made. This was one of them, maybe the worst.”
“It’s ok to make mistakes. You’re not a god, even if you look like one.”
“Don’t make fun of me. This face – it isn’t me. Not the real me – Alexei. It was created by plastic surgery. All artifical.”
“No. When I said you look like a god I didn’t just mean your face or even your body. What about your eyes, those are you, aren’t they?”
“I suppose so.”
“And through those eyes I see you. Alexei, Alex, whatever you want to call yourself. A name is just a label. Behind all that is the soul.”
Despite himself, he had to laugh at that. It wasn’t a happy sound.
“A soul? You think I have one?”
“I know you do. Now, what kind of mistake did you make?”
“Ok. You’re not going to rest until you know it all, are you?”
“I think you know me well enough by now to know that I won’t.”
“You win. Alright. I’ve been with hundreds, maybe thousands of people. Mostly men. Until I came to the US. After that I became a bit obsessive about sleeping with women.”
“That’s understandable. You had a bit of catching up to do.”
“Exactly. But those women didn’t care about me, any more than those men had. They didn’t hurt me like the men, but after a while I noticed I was missing something.”
“If there is such a thing. I would have settled for far less. Someone who said my name, someone who knew me as a person, not as this guy with the hot body and the extensive skills.”
“That’s just sex. Have you never made love, Alex?”
For a second she thought he wasn’t going to reply. When he did, his words were barely more than a whisper.
“It was Dana, wasn’t it?”
This time he was dumbstruck. No one knew about that. Just he and Dana. But now her sister was sitting here, telling him about what they had done in Vegas. Not that she knew it was in Vegas. At least he didn’t think so. But she could read all this in his eyes.
“Don’t worry about it. I’m not jealous. I’m happy for you. Was this the only time in your life you made love?”
“Yes. One other person made love to me, but I wasn’t able to accept that part of it. To me it was just sex. Anyway, Dana isn’t for me. She and Fox belong together.”
“Yes. They do. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. I’m happy to share this memory with her, but I’m not trying to get her away from Fox. I care too much about him. And I know I couldn’t even if I tried. She loves him too much. That love wasn’t really for me. It was just a borrowed moment.”
“I’m glad you see it that way. It would be terrible to live with such a longing and not be able to ever realize it.”
“Don’t worry about that. I’m over Dana. Someone else means far more to me now. You.”
“I love you too, Alex. Now tell me what you were trying to say before. About that mistake you made.”
“I met someone who loved me. Someone who fell for me, not just physically, but in every way.”
“But that was good, wasn’t it?”
“Not if I couldn’t return those feelings. And I couldn’t. But at first I was too filled up with the novelty of being with someone who actually cared. Someone who didn’t want to cause me pain.”
“I understand. Still, it must have felt good. Go on.”
“Alright. But this is what I didn’t want to tell you. I didn’t want you to get the wrong idea about me.”
“Oh, please, Alex. Don’t sell me so short. Aren’t you underestimating me now?”
“Perhaps I am. Alright. The person who was in love with me, the person I allowed to make love to me, was Walter Skinner. Dana’s and Mulder’s boss.”
“I know who he is. You could have done far worse. Is that all? Ok. Then you’re off the hook. I was getting really exhausted sitting here drawing every word out of you. There. Doesn’t it feel much better now?”
“That depends on what you think.”
“About me and Walter.”
“You already told me you love me and that you didn’t love this person. What else is there to consider? Mind you, I wouldn’t have held it against you if you had loved him for a while. You loved Dana and Fox before me. So why not Walter?”
“I did love him. Just not the way he wanted me to. He was the first person who could give me this. Affection. Pleasure, not pain. I hate myself for hurting him the way I did. He was so kind and understanding. He would have waited forever, if I’d only given him some hope, after what happened. But I had to tell him it was over for good. Hold on, how did you know about what I felt for Fox?”
“Oh, please. I told you not to sell me short. Would it surprise you to learn that he has that effect on everyone? Walter felt that way about him, but I guess you know that. I did at first.”
“I never said I was perfect. But like you, I saw that he belongs to Dana and I got over it. In fact, I think mom was a bit partial too, but maybe I’m wrong about that. She might just have been feeling maternal towards him. Everyone falls in love with Fox. Well. This was exhausting. I think I should sleep now. Do you know what I’d love?”
“For you to sleep right here next to me. I promise I won’t rush you.”
“It’s not your fault. I just want so much and I can’t do any of it.”
“Can’t you just lie down next to me and fall asleep?”
“Maybe. I’ll try. I’m sorry to have kept you awake for so long.”
“I’m the one who twisted your arm. Blame me for that, not yourself. Come on, let’s try. I like knowing you’re nearby.”
“Ok. Tomorrow I’m going to have to go into town and do some more shopping. If you need anything, I’ll try to get it for you.”
Now that Melissa was feeling better, Alex decided to go to the nearest city instead of the town where he normally did his shopping.
He suppressed the embarrassment of buying women’s underwear and got Melissa a few sets of basic stuff. For a second his eyes lingered over the sexier lingerie, but forced himself to forget those. Why get something for her that he would hardly be able to enjoy anyway? Besides, he suspected she would be offended by such a gesture.
The girl behind the counter giggled elatedly at the image of a good looking young man purchasing women’s underwear. He froze her to the floor with the Krycek look and disillusioned her all at once.
“Those are for my girlfriend. She’s back home with the flu so she couldn’t come in herself.”
“Oh. I guess that explains the different cup sizes. That will be 95,50. Have a nice day, sir.”
After he’d finished with the shopping, he called his answering service to check if there were any messages. There was only one. After listening to it a second time, Krycek had a bad feeling. What could Spender want with him now? And how had he even gotten hold of that number?
The alarm system went off inside his mind. He looked around, with an uneasy feeling of being watched. But no one appeared to be looking in his direction. Spender must be counting on his interest and be expecting him to show up at the rendez-vous.
The trouble was, if he did, he wouldn’t make it back to Melissa that night. And he had no way of getting in touch with her. Cell phones were too insecure and Krycek had never had a phone line installed in the cabin. It made sense. After all, who would he want to get in touch with? But that was before Melissa.
If he tried to make it back to her and then to the rendez-vous, not only would he most likely miss the deadline, and what was worse, Melissa might insist on coming along. He couldn’t watch her while he was watching his own back. In the past he had never worked with anyone he cared about.
It was intolerable to imagine her at risk because of him. He had to choose. Either he’d go and meet Spender and find out what information he had, or he could forget about the whole thing and return safely to Melissa and continue working on his fear of intimacy.
But he had to know. Spender’s information might be vital for him, Melissa, Dana, Mulder and Skinner too. Apart from who loved who, they all shared this bond. Melissa would worry, but she would be ok. At least he hoped so. On both counts. If she worried, she cared. He would explain everything to her when he returned.
If he returned. What if he didn’t? Spender’s message might be a trap. Who knew where that man’s loyalties lay? And if Krycek died, what would happen to Melissa? She would have to walk to the road, and then? Go hitch-hiking? Could he do that to her? That would mean putting her at risk again.
On the other hand, this information could be really important. He had to go. Melissa was a sensible woman, not a child. Should anything happen to him, she’d be able to get by. After all, she’d been on the road for over a year. And he would take all precautions he knew. The car had a hidden compartment, where he kept weapons and ammo.
Spender wouldn’t be able to catch him by surprise. Especially if Krycek turned the table on him. Spender was an amateur, even if he was Old Spender’s son. Feds were innocents when it came to real life. Spender’s training wouldn’t help him against a man like Krycek.
Krycek left the car at the airport. He counted on being back late the next night. The meeting with Spender was to take place in the early hours of the morning. Fortunately, Krycek arrived almost two hours before the rendez-vous. He took stock of the location. It was well chosen. Spender must have thought he’d have all the odds on his side. He didn’t know who he was dealing with.
Krycek silently paced out the area. He got to know every aspect of every angle of the building. It was an abandoned sports arena. Next door was a likewise abandoned restaurant. When Spender arrived, about 20 minutes early, Krycek was ready for him. The sucker obviously thought 20 minutes was enough of an edge against Alex Krycek.
Jeffrey Spender stuck his head out through the door opening onto the main arena. When no one appeared to be moving about, he relaxed. That was when he felt the hard object pressing into his lower back.
“Not a word, junior. Quickly. Did you come alone?”
“Of course I did. I hope you did too.”
Krycek took a few moments to analyse the statement. Spender’s tone led him to believe he might be telling the truth.
“Ok. We’re getting out of here.”
“What? This is the place we agreed on -“
“You agreed. Not me. If this info is so important, isn’t it worth a little flexibility?”
“I don’t like your attitude. I’m offering you some information that should be of a great deal of interest to you, and you pull a gun on me.”
“If you do your part, I won’t use the gun. Let’s go, Jeffrey. If you want to talk, we’ll talk where I say.”
“Alright. Suit yourself.”
Something about Spender’s tone made Krycek think the renegade fed was trying to suppress a laugh. What was so amusing? Krycek suspected a trap, but he decided to get on with his plan. He had allowed for all kinds of contingencies and whatever Spender had in mind, Krycek felt he could deal with it.
“Fine. Shall we sit down?”
Spender indicated a few abandoned chairs over in a corner.
“You sit down. I’m fine where I am. Go on.”
When Spender reached into his pocket, Krycek pressed the gun into his neck right below the ear.
“I’m not armed. You wanted this information.”
“Ok. Whatever it is, get it out, slowly. I want to see what you’re doing every step of the way.”
“Look. It’s just an envelope. There are papers inside, containing some of this information. I’ll put it down on the table, ok?”
“Ok. Now talk. The clock is ticking. I’ve got a plane to catch.”
“Of course you do. Melissa’s waiting for you. Did you get any?”
The piece of slime. Krycek again pressed the gun into Spender’s neck.
“Wouldn’t you like to know? Get on with it. If that’s all you got, I might as well take that envelope and get out of here.”
“Alright. Put that thing away. It’s making me nervous.”
“And that’s a bad thing because -?”
“Give it a rest now, Alex, or I’ll change my mind about this.”
“Start talking now, junior, or I’m walking.”
“When you’ve heard what I have to tell you, I think you’ll find that it’s been worth the trip.”
“I might. If you get on with it.”
“I’ve come to tell you a little about history.”
“I didn’t know you were into that kind of thing.”
“Your family history, to be precise. I found some of my father’s papers and there it was. Your birth certificate and your mother’s. They’re in that envelope.”
“I admire your imagination. Who would have thought? You don’t exactly look all that creative.”
“Do you want to know this or not?”
“Did you know that you’re half American? Or something like that? At least your mother was.”
“Jelena. At least that’s the name she used. Her real name was Helena Porter.”
“Porter? Doesn’t sound very Russian to me.”
“Pay attention. I said she was half American. Her father, Henry Porter, was a traitor to his country. He became a communist in the early 1930’s and he defected to the Soviet Union. There he met Valentina Peshkova and they had a daughter, Helena, or Jelena as she liked to call herself. Henry died soon after providing his new masters with the information they had wanted from him. Makes sense, don’t you agree? No need to keep him on after that. Valentina and Jelena would have been expendable too, if it hadn’t been for the fact that a certain KGB leader had found the young woman attractive. Actually, as soon as Jelena was a little older he found her irresistible as well.”
“You’re making this up.”
“See for yourself. Valentina took to drinking, and by the time Jelena was 15 she was an orphan. The KGB guy kept her on after her mother’s death. That was in the early 60’s. She started doing drugs and a few years later she killed her benefactor and ran away. The KGB found her and – shall we say – punished her. From then on she worked for them.
Young, good looking women with a drug habit were useful to them, as long as she kept that habit under control. So she would sleep with the men she was sent to entertain, someone recorded the event, and the person in question would be susceptible to KGB pressure. That was your mother. This should interest you even more. I know who your father was.”
“I don’t think Jelena knew that herself, so how can you pretend to know?”
“Because for a while she was required to serve only one man. An American who was cooperating with the Soviet authorities on a very notable matter. The alien conspiracy. You know all about that, don’t you, Alexei?”
“I don’t believe a word you say.”
“But you want to hear the rest, don’t you? You’ve already met your father.”
“Oh, really? And who is he? Santa Claus? Ronald McDonald?”
“That cynicism is very sexy. But you know better than that.”
“Well? Surprise me. Oh, by the way, I’m sorry I can’t return the compliment. I don’t see how anyone could find you sexy, except maybe your dad.”
Spender didn’t like that, Krycek could tell. So that struck a nerve. His looks or the fact that Krycek knew about his father’s homosexuality? Either way it was satisfying to strike back. All this about his mother was unpleasantly close to the mark. All of it could be true, but was it?
“Look who’s talking. If you and your father had had time to bond, who knows what might have happened? He was always partial to a good looking young boy, as you well know. I’m talking about William Mulder Sr, as you might already have guessed.”
“Mulder Sr is my father? Couldn’t you have come up with something a bit more credible? Why would he have been interested in Jelena? She was a woman, remember.”
“So was his wife. And he was still able to father two children on her. Who knows? It gets cold and lonely in the USSR, as you no doubt remember. The KGB must have neglected to provide him with a young man, so I guess Jelena had to do. A woman is equipped a lot like a man in some places, as you know.”
Blind rage seized Krycek. This creep had no right to say these things about Jelena. No doubt Jelena would have had to put up with a number of unpleasant things, but he didn’t want to hear them listed openly.
He grabbed Spender’s right arm and twisted it backwards, upwards. A whimper of pain told him his move had had its effect. And Spender was such a wimp a one-armed man could do this to him with no fear of retaliation. But despite the pain, Spender went on. He must know that his words were causing just as much pain in Krycek.
“Well, is that all you can do? You just find out that you and Fox are brothers, and you have nothing to say?”
“Rather him than you.”
“Oh, I see. You find him attractive. You’re right. He is. Maybe I should continue the family tradition? After all, my father fucked his father for years, and I think I could get into that. Tell me, Alex, what’s it like – being fucked by another man? You’ve been doing it so much, you have to like it a lot.”
“Impressive little show, junior. Except I happen to know that you’re really in love with Dana.”
That shut him up for a while. He hadn’t expected that. Krycek just hoped that there was no way he could ever get near Dana and Mulder. If any of this was true, he and Fox shared a bond that might explain the impression Mulder had made on him. Brothers. That was an attractive thought, but Krycek knew better than to give in to wishful thinking.
“Are you done now, junior? Because I have to get back to Melissa. Who’s waiting for you?”
“I’m glad you asked. It’s an old friend of yours. And when I fail to call her at the time we agreed on, she’ll come looking for us. You might want to make yourself scarce by then. Marita is working with me now, so I don’t think you can expect any sympathy from her.”
“Marita? Marita Covarrubias?”
“The same. Yes, I’m done. Unless you want to teach me about gay sex? We might have time for a quickie.”
“I’ll teach you an old trick I learned in Afghanistan.”
And before Jeffrey had time to say another word, Krycek knocked him out. The former FBI agent didn’t make a sound, just folded up and hit the floor. After making sure Spender was still breathing, Krycek crept out of the building. He didn’t forget to pocket the envelope. Whatever information it contained, he would go over it later. Now he needed to get back to Melissa. Either Jeffrey had lied about Marita’s proximity, or else she wasn’t quite as good at tracking her new partner as Spender had hoped.
Night had fallen when Krycek got back to the cabin. He parked some distance off, and walked the rest of the way. The purchases from the day before would have to wait. He needed to make sure Melissa was safe, and once he had, he simply wanted to look at her.
She met him at the door, showing signs of all the concern he might have wished for.
“Alex, where the hell have you been? I thought something had happened to you.”
“Were you worried about me?”
“What do you think?”
“I’m sorry. Spender had left a message for me with my service, saying he had information for me. I had to leave right away to get there in time. If I’d had a way of sending a message to you I would have, but I just couldn’t.”
“Ok. What kind of information? It seems there was a lot he didn’t tell me.”
“You could say that. He gave me this. I haven’t had time to take a look at it yet. But what he told me was completely unbelievable. I still haven’t had time to digest it all.”
“What kind of information was it?”
“About me and my family.”
“What about it?”
“Let me just look at the papers first. Maybe they’ll tell me more.”
He ripped open the envelope and pulled out the contents. The documents looked official enough. Krycek recognized the type. Melissa was staring at them across his shoulder, but he didn’t think she could read Russian. If this Helena Porter really was his mother, then Spender’s wild story might be correct.
He turned the paper over and his heart almost stopped. There was a photo attached. The girl looking back at him was much younger than he remembered Jelena, but it was unmistakably her. Unless Spender Sr had managed to bribe Soviet officials or had access to extremely expert forgers, this very much looked like the real thing. The other piece of paper was a birth certificate of a little boy named Alexei. And sure enough, there was a photo attached to that one too.
“Is that you?”
“Yes, I can see the resemblance. Around the eyes, the chin, the cheekbones. It’s you alright. You know what, you were a very pretty little boy. Serious, but pretty.”
“I know. It would have been better if I hadn’t been. I can’t believe this. He was telling the truth. And that means the rest of it could be true as well. About William Mulder being my father.”
“Mulder Sr – your father? Jeffrey said that? How is that possible?”
“I don’t know. It doesn’t say anything about any father here.”
“What does it say?”
“Father unknown. That’s not surprising. The Soviet authorities would hardly name an American citizen as the father of a Russian child. Wouldn’t look good.”
“I see. Do you believe that he is? You seem to take after your mother more than whoever is your father.”
“I know. But that happens, right? Fox is more like his mother too.”
“Hm. Well, you both have that quality that makes women fall for you, but I guess that doesn’t prove anything either way.”
“I don’t know what to think. Spender told me one more thing. He’s working with Marita Covarrubias.”
“Oh. That explains that, I guess.”
“One day he disappeared and was gone until really late. When he got back he said he’d made some progress. He wouldn’t tell me about what. But he looked awfully pleased with himself. So he’s working with her. What’s her position in all this?”
“She’s connected to the people I worked for. Somehow. I’m not sure. She’s not exactly one of them, but who she’s really working for I’ve never known.”
“And now she and Jeffrey are working together. I suppose we’ll have to consider them potential enemies.”
“It certainly wouldn’t do to trust them, I agree. What could he want? He said he’d gained access to his father’s papers, so you could well be right about his wanting to take the old man’s place.”
“You think you know someone. You live side by side with him for years, and then he turns right around and becomes a stranger. It’s depressing.”
“Yes. Trusting is very new to me, but I understand how that might feel.”
“Alex, how do you feel about all this?”
“I don’t know. I guess I haven’t taken it all in yet. Another thing I’ve been wondering about is why Spender would tell me all this. What does he stand to gain?”
“He never said anything to me, but I got the feeling he didn’t like you very much. I mean, you were working for the people holding us prisoner, but unlike me he didn’t seem to be able to see through that. Also, I think he really dislikes Fox.”
“Melissa, I don’t want alarm you, but I know Spender is infatuated with Dana.”
“Yes, I did pick up something like that. He was always hitting on me too, but I pretended not to notice. To begin with he was a good friend, but as time went by, I know we just continued travelling together because we didn’t have anyone else. I think he’s jealous of you and Fox. The way you look – both of you – and Fox’s family. He told me how his father had left him and his mother and how he felt his father was responsible for what happened to his mother.”
“So you think it was just out of spite?”
“It could be. Or he might want us to contact Dana and Fox, for some reason. We can’t do that, but since loyalty seems to be an unknown quality to him, he might think we will anyway.”
“Melissa, I know how badly you want to see your family, but we just can’t risk it.”
“I’d do anything to see Dana and mom again, but I’d never do anything to place them at risk. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be ok. Besides, I have you now.”
Krycek stared at Melissa in disbelief. No one had ever said anything quite like that to him before. Somehow that made him feel a whole lot better. Whatever the dangers in their lives, they had each other. Something of what he was feeling must have been visible in his eyes, because she reached for him and pulled him into her arms. He tensed up, but only for a second. It felt so good to hold her. Exactly as he had imagined it.
“Whatever Jeffrey’s up to, we’ll face it together. You’re not alone anymore, Alex.”
“Stop that, will you. You’re making me cry.”
“So? You think crying is such a bad idea? When was the last time you cried?”
“For any other reason than physical pain? I don’t know. When Jelena didn’t come home that night.”
“When you were nine years old? Don’t you think it’s about time? You’re long overdue.”
“If you put it like that. But I’m ok now. I bought you some things yesterday. They’re in the car. I’ll go get them tomorrow. Will you be ok tonight?”
“Of course. We still have a little food left. You must be hungry. When was the last time you ate?”
“Some time yesterday.”
“Come on. I’ll fix you something this time. I’m feeling much better.”
“I’d appreciate that.”
They went into the kitchen and Melissa fixed him some stir fried stuff that was delicious. Krycek didn’t think he’d ever had anything that good. But then it could be the company rather than the food. Even so, he was far too tired to linger in the kitchen.
After seeing him yawn for the fifth time, Melissa sternly told him to go to bed. Without hesitation, he obeyed. It felt good to have someone who cared about things like that.
In the bedroom he heard the radio playing softly in the background. Melissa held out her hand to turn it off.
“No. Leave it on. I like it.”
“Ok. I like it too. Go on, get under the covers. I’ll be right with you.”
She wasn’t gone more than two or three minutes, but it felt like an eternity. Krycek wasn’t quite ready to lie too close to her, but he wanted to be able to see her. To know she was alright.
Melissa crawled under the covers, and turned her back to him. He knew she did this to avoid spooking him, and he marveled at her ability to read him. But this time she must have missed out on his emotional development. Right now, he felt he needed to see her face before falling asleep.
“Could you turn around?”
“Oh, ok. Better?”
“Much. I love to see your face.”
“Likewise. Sleep well, Alex. No dreaming tonight, ok?”
“I’ll try not to. Good night, Melissa.”
“Oh, I love that song.”
“Mm. Me too.”
“I want to know what love is, I want you to show me. I want to feel what love is, I know you can show me.”