TITLE: Bound
AUTHOR: winter baby
FANDOM: The X-Files RATING: PG-13
CHARACTERS: Krycek/Marita
SPOILERS: Patient X, Terma, One Son
SUMMARY: She never expected it to be different this time.

WEBSITE: http://www.livejournal.com/users/winter_baby
FEEDBACK: winter_baby@popullus.net
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Kim for her beta reading and the title. Chapter titles are Farscape episodes.





+  Bound  +

[ prologue: self-inflicted wounds ]

"You'll let go, won't you?" she whispers quietly, almost desperately into his ear. He doesn't answer, but instead holds her hand even tighter. This time it's a command. "Let go."

Krycek releases his grip, and she flexes her numb fingers. He steps away from her and almost backs into the wall behind him. Marita drops onto the bed, onto the grimy motel sheets and itchy blankets.

"What are you going to do now?" she asks, and Krycek turns away from her. Marita lets him brood. He seems to be so good at it.

"I'll do what I do best," he answers. Marita looks up at him, at the way he leans against the wall so casually, as if it's any other night.

"And what's that?" She knows the answer even before she asked the question.

"I'll disappear." His voice is flat, and the indifference in his posture seems to ebb away as he grows more uncomfortable under her stare.

Marita nods, not the least bit surprised by that answer. She has heard it before, has said it before. It isn't at all unexpected.

He's leaving her again. How many times has it been already? She lost count after the first few desertions, and they slowly lost their meaning. So he's leaving. So what? It never mattered before and she's sure it won't matter later.

He'll walk out the door without even looking back at her. And then one day, when she has forgotten all about him or thought for sure that he's dead, he will show up again and turn her life upside-down.

She knows this because she has done the same to him. It's some kind of vicious cycle of betrayals and desertions, each leaving the other for survival or revenge or both. Marita can't even remember how it all started.

She's lying now, even to herself. Of course she remembers. She was the first to leave. His only mistake then was trusting her. Maybe even loving her. And now? Well now, he's missing an arm and most of his dignity. He's made a lot of other mistakes after her.

She stares at Krycek now and wonders what it would be like to love him. Dangerous, Marita thinks, but then everything about him is dangerous. But she knows that she can't afford to fall in love with Krycek. Her one weapon against him is that she can walk away without even thinking it about it twice.

They're alike that way.

She thinks it would be nice to be in love. It's something she should experience at least once in her life.

Marita doesn't allow herself to think about that, about where that love could have led her. That's something she can't have anymore. Maybe at one point in her past when she was still ignorant of what was really going on, she could have had a normal life. But wishing for that now doesn't change anything. There are much larger matters than her selfish desires. In her world, there's only room for survival.

"Do you need to pack?" she asks Krycek, only because she doesn't know what else to say. He shakes his head.

"I carry what I need." His answer is simple, and her gaze slips to the gun on the dresser. It's in reach of his right hand, his only hand. Marita would have to be careful.

Sometimes Krycek gets a little trigger-happy with that gun, a loss of control not common in him but it isn't unheard of. It scares her, the way he can look at her with a murderous purpose in his eyes, but she prides herself in not showing that fear.

Fear is a weakness; she learned that the hard way. It's actually a perfectly safe flaw in itself, but revealing it is what could get her killed. It works to her advantage that hiding her feelings comes so naturally to her.

But to read them in another person? It took years of sex and betrayals and everything in between to learn how Krycek's mind works. She has some sense of what he's thinking, some idea of what he's planning to do next, and in a way some control.

If she wants, she can easily convince Krycek to stay with her, delicately promising him power and sex. It's just a question of offering which one first. She knows his weaknesses because she knows the weaknesses of men. And before anything else, Alex Krycek is a man.

But she doesn't. She offers him nothing, and there's no reason for Krycek to stay here. She wants him to leave. She wants to be alone in this rundown motel room, watching local cable and forgetting he ever existed.

Marita stands up slowly and she can feel Alex's eyes on her body. He wants the sex and the power, but he can't bring himself to ask for it. Too much pride would be compromised in that action. It has to be her offering and it has to be him accepting.

She kisses him gently on the cheek, carefully running her hand down his prosthetic arm and surprisingly Krycek lets her. Usually he's so sensitive about his missing limb. Something has changed in him. Maybe he's growing tired of the games they play.

She feels that way.

"Goodbye, Alex. I hope you find a better life out there," she whispers these empty sentiments into his cheek, letting her lips brush his skin as she speaks. She doesn't mean a word of it, only because he can never find a better life. They don't exist anymore.

Krycek knows this too.

"Games, Marita. This life is nothing but a game."

His words are disgustingly truthful. She finds that she's frozen in that position, her lips on his cheek and her hand still on his missing arm. She is unable to break away, taking the warmth of his body and not letting go. He gently pushes her, his hand at her waist. She does not object or even look at him, but instead lets him move her as if she is nothing but a doll.

Krycek grabs the gun off the dresser, tucking it into the back of his jeans as he walks out the door. He disappears down the hallway and his footsteps follow him until they are gone too.

She sinks down onto the bed, staring at the empty spot where he stood.

"Let go," she whispers to herself.




[ chapter one: the way we weren't ]

The first time she had kissed Alex Krycek, it had been unexpected. She never realized that he had been staring at her while she spoke in front of the Elders. During those meetings, she was cold and official, a Syndicate double agent reporting her findings on the UN offices. But it had been raining that night, and he slipped into her apartment while she slept. She had let him kiss her and touch her, without ever knowing his name.

The second time, it had been much more deliberate. Marita led him into an empty boardroom and she knew his name. The kiss had gone beyond physical attraction. It was their sign of alliance, that they were working together now and occasionally some sex would be thrown in. It had become the strangest yet most balanced mixing of personal and professional relationship she ever had. Sometimes she wished she could go back to that time, when it was almost simple and they had no other loyalties but to each other.

They had wanted to rule the world then. In retrospect, maybe that was a bit ambitious, but she had seriously thought it could work. Later, she realized betraying Alex would be so much easier. She left him while he slept, the only time his face ever looked innocent.

That was probably when it all went wrong. She had taken that precarious balance and tipped it, spilling everything onto the ground like so much blood. Alex hated her after that; he never fully trusted her again. She didn't blame him.

What had driven her to steal the boy? Why had she left Alex and all their glorious plans behind? She truly had no idea. It was so tempting, watching Alex sleeping like that and then looking at the boy who was the key to all the power they had ever denied her. Maybe she was selfish.

Or maybe she was a realist.

She had known from the beginning that her relationship with Alex was a dangerous one. If she had stayed, he would have killed her, one way or another. It just would have been a question of when and over what.

The boy had been insurance. The boy had been her way out of subservient spying. She was sick of being pulled back and forth between the UN and the Syndicate. She wanted to stand by herself, with no allegiances either way, and maybe Alex was something else that would have taken all that away from her.

In any case, it was done. The boy was dead and she was back on the team, even after all the horrible things they had done to her at Fort Marlene. Alex, on other hand, had never given his loyalty so easily. He had his own agenda, and she had to admit she would love to be apart of that again.

Maybe that was why she butted into that stupid meeting.

The news that Krycek was in the building always traveled fast, only because everyone had to be on guard. She made her way quickly down the corridors, listening carefully for his voice. If she could talk to him, figure out why he was back, maybe she could deceive her way into his plan.

But before she could find him, she heard the shot. It was loud and clear in the air, like it was meant to mark his presence. She ran down the hallway, stopping short in front of a boardroom door, the same one she had kissed in him years ago.

Marita pushed the door open with such caution, afraid that the next bullet would find its way into her chest. But she safely made it into the room and walked over to Krycek.

He looked at her with no guilt whatsoever, not even with that dead body bleeding all over his boots.




[ chapter two: with friends like these ]

He found that killing somebody was just like riding a bike. It was something he couldn't forget how to do.

It was simple, really. Aim the gun at the right part of the body and the rest was just logic. If done correctly, the end product was a corpse.

Krycek really didn't know why he had shot the man. The old bastard had just been calmly explaining the terms of his reinstatement. But Krycek couldn't resist the temptation to pull out his gun and threaten him.

And then one thing led to another...

It was all like a really bad soap opera.

"You fool," Marita hissed. "What have you done?"

He hadn't even heard her come in until she was standing right next to him.

Krycek just shrugged as an answer. Usually everything he did was so completely planned traps set up, escape routes laid out in detail. But this had been totally unexpected, even to himself. He didn't know what to say.

"Why?" she asked. Marita couldn't stop staring at the dead body, the cigarette in its hand still burning and curling out smoke.

Maybe Krycek had done it so he wouldn't become what she had become, a slave to gray-haired mercenaries disguised in expensive suits. She once had the courage to betray them, and then in turn they had betrayed her. In Krycek's opinion, they had inhumanely tortured her and maybe that was when she had lost all her strength. He stared at her, the woman he had once loved, but that had been years ago. Now Marita was nothing but an empty shell, her eyes dull and vacant. Fort Marlene had taken its toll on her and he had left her there.

He remembered that she had also stabbed him in the back, something that would never be repeated or forgotten or forgiven. Maybe he should just shoot her now, tie up all his loose ends and exact his revenge in one swift movement.

But her voice interrupted his thoughts.

"Come on, Alex. We've got to get out of here," she grabbed his hand, her fingers wrapping around the gun too. He snatched it back and she just stared at him.

"Why are you doing this?" he asked, suspicion and doubt overpowering his fear of capture.

"They're going to hear about this, Alex. When they do, you're as good as dead." She sounded sincere, as if she really wanted to help him but that was the way Marita worked. She would lull him into trusting her again and then he would find himself missing both his arms. Probably more.

She grabbed the sleeve of his leather jacket. "I know you don't trust me, but right now I'm your only hope of escaping here without getting shot."

"What if you're the one doing the shooting?"

The irony of the situation did not escape her, and she smiled a little, sarcasm painting her lips.

"You're the one with gun," she answered. He almost smiled back.

They ran down the halls together, fleeing unseen assassins.




[ chapter three: thanks for sharing ]

When Alex remembered the Russia of his childhood, he remembered the snow. He thought of Moscow in the wintertime, when everything was white and still.

His return to his homeland had not been in the snow as he had imagined it, but in the rain. He had ended up crawling through mud as a prisoner to a foolish man. Tunguska was not his Russia; it was not his home. It was built to trap him.

He had lost a part of himself to that trap. Searing red-hot knife and men in the dark woods. The memory of it was all too real. He would never be whole again.

In some ways his missing arm had made him stronger, forced him to depend only on himself. It was ironic the way that had turned out.

But no matter how things had ended up, he still wished Tunguska had been a bad dream. Sometimes he would wake up in the middle of the night, screaming from the pain in his arm and then sighing in relief when he realized that it was just a nightmare. But it wasn't a nightmare. It had been real, and he was just reliving the moment over and over again in his sleep.

Alex was a man who did not cry, but he wasn't whole anymore and sometimes that was just too much to bear.

Marita was the only one who understood that, who knew what it felt like to lose a part of oneself. They had taken his arm in Tunguska and they had taken her strength at Fort Marlene. His was a physical absence; hers was an emotional one. He wondered which was worse.

He shifted in his seat, the belt increasingly annoying as he tried to buckle it across his prosthetic arm. Marita was dangerously weaving her car in and out of New York City traffic. The night sky was empty, and only the brightest stars could be seen past the city lights.

Alex stared at her, at how much more alive she seemed now that they were on the run. Marita lived for this, he realized. The thrill and the chase that was what brought her strength back to her. Maybe that was why she was helping him. She wanted to be alive again, to be strong again, like she had once been.

He decided then that his physical absence was much worse than her emotional one. All she had to do was run away and her strength would return to her. But he could never regain what he had lost. A part of him was still in Tunguska, and there was no going back to that.

Still staring at her profile, Alex gave up on his seat belt and let it go. He watched as she tucked a strand of blond hair behind her right ear then pulled at her lobe. He wondered why she did that. It was a strange habit to have, and he couldn't remember a time when she didn't do it.

He had once asked her about it, after the first time they had spent the night together. He rested on his stomach, staring at her smiling face when she tugged at her earlobe. She had laughed at his question and shrugged.

"I don't know. I never really noticed," she replied and Krycek couldn't help but kiss her again.

And then the question was forgotten, as if it had never been posed or answered.

He couldn't ask her about that now. They had been different people back then and asking personal questions like that had been fine. But they were no longer sleeping together and talking about each other's little quirks would just blur the lines of their working relationship.

Assuming that this was a working relationship.

Somehow he doubted that Marita would want to run away with him again, and somehow he doubted that he would offer anyway.

She coughed, bringing him back to their reality. They had driven out of New York City an eternity ago, it seemed. Now they were racing down a deserted highway, checking for someplace to stop.

He spotted a motel on his side of the highway, and Marita nodded when he pointed it out to her. She slowed the car and eased it into the parking lot. It was empty, and Alex guessed so was the motel; there was nobody around for miles.

That was a small comfort.

They checked in as a married couple, using one of Alex's fake names. The desk clerk didn't even look up from his magazine as he gave them their key.

Her hand was warm in his, a smooth piece of reality to hold onto as he led her through the empty night.




[ epilogue: die me, dichotomy ]

She should let herself be forgotten. She should just fade away, so slowly that nobody would notice until she's gone altogether. She should slip into the darkness and find another life, one that isn't filled with treachery and conspiracies and apocalypses.

But disappearing isn't going to make those things go away. Marita knows that they'll follow her wherever she goes, that they'll follow Alex too. The only difference is that he's good at carrying those things around with him, like they're nothing but spare change in his pockets. She, on the other hand, carries them like they're a world upon her back.

She sinks down onto the bed, staring at the empty spot where he stood.

"Let go," she whispers to herself, as if somehow that will command all those secrets and lies to slip off her back like so much water. That those two words will make her light again. That she'll be innocent again.

But they're just words.

He wanted her to stop at the motel so he could dump her off, travel his way alone. A long time ago, she would have been angry and offended. But she feels so tired now and what difference does it make? He is gone, and Marita knows that soon she will be too. She will return to the UN and the Syndicate, even with that dead body bleeding in the boardroom.

She will tell more lies, say that Alex took her hostage; they won't fully believe her but they have no proof. They will be forced to leave her alone.

Alone.

She doesn't know if she despises that word or cherishes it. It is a lonely state of being but a safe one.

Alex is gone; he can't kill her. She is far away from the Syndicate; they can't kill her. The only one that can touch her now is herself and she doesn't have the strength for that.

Lonely but safe. She wonders if it's worth it.

Of course it's worth it, she tells herself. In her world, there's only room for survival. She needs to live, to see this godforsaken life through till the end because it's nothing but a game.

She rests on the dingy bed, sighing her sighs. Alex has gone his separate way, and she will also. They divided from this motel room, abandoning each other in their own ways. Soon she will have to get up and leave, but for now this bed is as good as any other.

He will return to her; she is certain about that. He'll come back to screw up her life again and she'll love him for it. But that's a long time from now, and she refuses to wait for him.

When he comes, he'll come.

For now, she'll slowly let go of her memories of him, one by one, until nothing remains but herself.

It has been so long since she could look herself in the mirror and not see his reflection.


[ end ]





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