Larissa Charles strolled through the quiet woods near her cottage. She loved to take her walks this time of the day. True, British weather usually left much to be desired, but she loved the damp chill.There was something comforting about putting on her thick sweaters and braving the elements. It wasn't that bad today. The sun shone intermittently through the clouds. Just enough to take the edge off the chill.
As she strolled, she stopped now and then, taking photos with her poloroid. Later, in her cabin, she liked to pick out the best ones, taking careful note of the play of light and shade. For Larissa was an aspiring artist. Or, as she liked to say, a perspiring artist.She had talent, of that there was no doubt. A sigh escaped her lips as she thought, 'But WHEN will I get that showing?'. Sure, she could sell her work here and there. Which made this cottage a reality. But, she wanted more. Hell, she deserved it!She remembered the words of one of her favorite art teachers...
" To produce true art, you must have true passion.You must LIVE."
She was passionate, she lived. How much more must there be?She laughed out loud at that. Then stopped.She looked deep into the woods.Had that been.... she heard it again. A low moan.She tensed, thinking it might be a wounded animal. Though she loved animals, if there was a wounded one nearby, she'd opt for getting help. The sound came again. Larissa looked around. Not another living soul. After all, wasn't that why she bought this cottage? For the solitude? So that she could get away from the crowded streets of London now and then? And after having incredible luck, meeting that art lover, she'd made enough money to take a one month leave of abscence from work. The boss had NOT been happy.The noise came again. Well, she was never one to back away from a challenge, or a difficult situation. Picking up a stick, then laughing at herself, she moved forward, quietly.
The sun peered from between the clouds again. it's warmth felt soothing. Until her eyes fell on a frightful site.She gasped as she looked upon a blood soaked figure. At first she thought the poor soul to be dead. Then, with a suddeness that was unexpected from such a wounded man, he rolled onto his back. She heard the cocking of the gun before she saw it. She stood there clutching the stick, asking herself what help that would be against a gun.Her eyes went wide at the sight of him. He had dark hair, matted with dirt and blood. Yet, his eyes were soulful, laden with sadness. She noted his left arm seemed stiffer than it should, realizing then, it was artificial. When he spoke, his voice was wracked with pain, and fear.
"Whoever you are, one move, I'll shoot. I never miss." The arm holding the gun wavered slightly. He was pale, bloody, dirty, and in dire need of help. Without it, he would soon die.
Larissa dropped the stick, and spoke in a soothing voice, yet didn't move." It's ok. I won't harm you. You need help. There's a phone in my cottage. I'll call the..."
"NO! No COPS! No doctors!" He looked panicked. Alex Krycek tried to focus. He could feel himself slipping away.'It can't end like this.' He thought.' Not like this. After all I've done. Please.'.... "please" he echoed out loud.
Larissa rushed forward, more confused than scared." But you need to be in hospital. You'll die!"She knelt beside him.
He looked at her." You're British." He said puzzled." Where am I?" He was deathly pale.
"You're in a small village,Castle Coombe. It's in the Cots...." she started to touch him ,then pulled back.She knew a little first aid. But had no clue how to handle this. He cut her off.
"Nevermind. I remember now. You said you have a cottage nearby?" Larissa nodded." Take me there."
She stared at him, dumbfounded. Why was it Americans were always so daft." But... you're... hurt! You can't move! I need to GO GET help!" She tried to reason.
Krycek pointed the gun in her face." Try it. See how far you get."
Instead of fear, she felt anger rising up in her throat. 'Oh, that's it!' She thought."Now see here. I am your ONLY chance of living. Are you really that stupid as to shoot me?If so, may I remind you that , you are hurt. I am not. Now.... who's going to win this struggle?" To prove her point, her hand shot forward and disarmed him.
He started to call her a bitch, then reconsidered. Calling a woman that name ,outside of a bedroom, especially if she has a gun, is never smart. He knew better." Point taken." He mumbled. "Look, if you take me to a hospital, they'll know I'm alive. Take me to your cabin. I'll talk you through it." He pleaded with her, hoping enough of the Krycek charm was getting through.
"Talk me through what? And who wants to kill you?" She started to feel scared. Looking around, she saw no one.
"They're long gone." He coughed, his body jerking. He had to talk fast, or he'd never talk again." I'm Alex.... Krycek. CIA."
"CIA?" She repeated dumbly. " Why would the CIA be here? What were you doing to get yourself shot up?"
What was wrong with this woman?" Lady? Hello?", He pointed weakly to himself. " I'll tell you everything, my life story, later. I'm on assignment. My cover was blown. You can't take me anywhere public."
She sighed in resignation." Can you even walk?" She started to get up, tucking the gun in her pocket, hoping the bloody thing didn't go off.
"Yes, if I don't have to walk too far. Help me up." She bent down ,grabbed his left arm. He groaned loudly, for the wound was on that side." Let's try the other one.." He gasped. She moved over, and placed his right arm over her shoulders. Larissa thought she'd buckle under his weight, for though he tried to do otherwise, his full weight rested against her. He groaned with their fisrt stumbling steps, then made no further sound. She wondered what he must have been through in his life to endure such pain in silence. Suddenly, he slumped down ,near the point of passing out.Larissa fought down a wave of panic.
"No! Stay with me! If you pass out ,there's no way I can carry you! Please try. It's not much farther. You can see it from here."She pulled on him, trying to get him on his feet.
Krycek made it to his knees, and looked at her blankly, then in the direction she nodded. Through blurry, pain filled eyes, he did see the small cottage. It was close, but in his condition, seemed miles away. From somewhere deep inside, he found the strength to get up. They stumbled on, Larissa half dragging,half carrying him.She tried to ignore the stench of blood and sweat. Her stomach flopped. She fought it down, not looking at how much of his blood was now on her.
They made it to the cottage. Once inside, she guided him to her bedroom, tried to ease him onto the bed. He fell back hard, swearing loudly from the pain.She picked up his legs, swinging onto the bed. Then stood up, panting from her exertion." Please, let me call a Doctor! You need help!"
"Not an option.You'll have to do it." He looked at her. He feared she might be toying with him, pretending to be concerned. But no, had she been with the assasin team, he'd be dead.He started to speak.... she cut him off.
"Have to do what?" She looked confused.
" I don't have time to argue. So, don't object. Just do it! Do you have any medical training? And a first aid kit? Or any sharp knives?" One look at her paling face filled him with dread.
" I know a little first aid." She stumbled." Why do you need a sharp......" It dawned on her!" Oh, NO! No!... Absolutely not! I can't possibly..... You need to be in a hospital, you Muppet!"
" First off, I'm far from stupid. If I go to the hospital, I'm dead for sure. I have a better chance here.There's no one else. My life is in your hands. Help me, dammit! ", He coughed fiercely......"Please...."
She covered her face with both hands, rubbing over to her temples, a small cry/whimper escaped her lips.She looked at him. Larissa was not about to let him die. Exhaling deeply, she nodded." Oh bloody hell!"... "What do I do?" ...'And WHY am I doing it?', she thought.
Krycek relaxed. "Ok, if you have alcohol, get it. If not, grab whatever bottle of booze you have. You'll need the sharpest, thinnest knife here, and tweezers.Get an empty bowl, plenty of towels, whatever first aid supplies there are, and.... and a needle and thread." He flinched at the thought. She forced her mind over his checklist.
"Right, then. " She set about getting them. He squirmed slightly on the bed, called after her," And a candle! Matches or lighter!" She yelled back her acknowledgement. Muttering all the while how foolish this was, how did she get in this situation. Within minutes, she had everything assembled, and lit the candle." The only alcohol I have is Scotch."
"What a waste. It'll do. Now listen, do NOT let me pass out. If I do, hit me, hurt me, whatever it takes, but wake me up. Once the bullet is out, and you are.... "He shook his head in disbelief" you are sewing me up, then I can pass out.Not before."
"Why not?" She asked slowly. A sinking sensation fell over her. This was to be more than just extracting a bullet, it seemed.
He struggled to speak, " Because the bullet has done damage... that needs to be repaired. I'll tell you what to do."
The full realization hit her." I CAN'T go digging around inside you! I won't know what to look for!"
" Then I'll die. You can do it. Please...." he pleaded with her, looking helpless. For once, it was no act.
"You've done this before, I take it?" She stared at the pale,weak, figure, on her bed.
"Occupational hazard." He joked. " Time is running out." His voice was a harsh whisper.
She knelt beside him as he instructed, lit the candle, and aimed the small reading lamp on the wound. Her hands were shaking.He noticed that, muttered a small prayer.A thought occured to her."How do I numb you against the pain?"
He whimpered." You don't. Don't worry, I won't scream.... much."He tried to laugh.. it came out a grotesque mockery."Pick up the scotch, help me drink it." She did as told. Krycek took four long pulls from the bottle.He looked at her." Now, YOU take one long drink."
Wishing she could down the whole bloody bottle, she did as told. It worked. The firey trail burned her throat, and calmed her nerves... somewhat.She looked at him questioningly.
"Put a folded towel half under me, directly under the wound. Have the others ready. Now, place the tweezers in the bowl, hold the knife over that bowl, and pour the scotch over it. Let the tweezers soak.Now, listen!" She looked at him," After this is over, there'll no doubt be infection. Till I come around, change the dressing every four hours. If I burn with fever, keep me bathed down with a damp towel.Try to keep me from thrashing too much. That thread isn't very strong, I might rip the stitches." He coughed again." Pour some scotch over the open wound." He cried out as she poured.
She wondered ,yet again, why she didn't just phone for help. Wait till he passed out. He was so adamant that he'd die, however. She didn't want that.Through the blood and grime, he was a startlingly handsome man.' Oh, Larissa, really,' she chided herself."Right. What now?"
" The knife is 'sterile', don't let it touch anything but my skin.Make a small incision directly over the wound. Cut deep, it's in there pretty far." His voice conveyed his desire to be anywhere but there.'I know how you feel, mate.', she thought.
With a deep breath, she pressed the knife into his flesh. Guessing that the faster , the better, she sliced hard and deep. Try as he might, Krycek screamed through clenched teeth,squirming.She stopped. " I CAN'T. Oh, this gross. I'm going to chuck. Or worse, top you!"
Krycek looked at her confused."Kill you , you daft yank!" She yelled.
"Oh... better you than the hit team.DO IT!" He ordered." Don't worry," He looked at his left arm." I've been through worse, honey." It worked, at being called honey, she cut again. He coughed, partly to keep from screaming, admiring her courage. " We could use you in the field', he thought."Ok, that should be deep enough. Get the tweezers. Push them in with one hand. And.... and pull open the inscision with the other." Was he crying? God, how he wanted this over. 'I'll live through this you cancerous bastard!' he vowed this would be it. The next time they met, Val or no Val, he'd kill him.Everything began to fade, the pain was receding......
A loud slap filled the air.Larissa had to admit, she enjoyed doing that. Payback for what he was putting her through."WAKE UP! Help me!"she breathed a sigh of relief as he came to." What do I do now?"
He whimpered again." Dig, till you hit something. Most likely, it'll be the bullet.Once you find it, pull it out.Then examine it. Make sure it's intact. There can't be any fragments left in me."He stared at the ceiling, constantly telling himself to stay awake.
After painful digging and pulling, and gagging, she grabbed hold of something.The blood wasn't flowing as much now, making it easier to see. That scared her." I've got something! I think...." she pulled out a gray cylinder looking object" Yes! It is!" She held it up."
Krycek looked in her direction. Sweat stinging his eyes. "Is it intact?" He couldn't see very well.
"Looks like it. I don't see any dents , yes, it's intact. Now what?" She did as he instructed. Forcing her mind to focus on his voice, trying not to think upon how her fingers were stitching up wounds inside human flesh.Her stomach flopped." Not now, Larissa! Concentrate!', she kept reminding herself.She rested back on her heels. Twice more, she'd had to strike him. Each time harder, to wake him up.
He was barely able to speak. the pain, and blood loss taking their toll. She leaned close to hear him." All you have to do now, is close the wound. Make the stitches close.Less blood loss that way. Use the candle to cauterize the wound.When changing the dressing check for foul smell....pour any alcohol you have over the wound each time.If you smell rot... burn it......try... try to get any liquids you can down me....." his voice trailed away. she did as told, fighting back the nausea.
At last she was finished."I'm done....What was your name again?" Silence. Larissa looked at him ,alarmed.Was he breathing? She felt for a pulse, like she'd seen in the movies. It was there, but very weak.She drew a deep shaky breath. Her eyes fell on the scotch.She picked it up, and drank a good portion of it.Thankful that she had another bottle. And that was only due to Maggie stopping by yesterday.
"You never know when you might need it, love."
" No kidding." She said aloud.To keep herself busy, Larissa set about cleaning everything up. She wanted to get rid of that smell. Once she was clean and changed, she approached the prone figure." God, but your tall." She debated over whether to strip him and clean his clothes. On the one hand, he might get angry at waking up naked, but surely, if she left him like that, it would only lead to infection." Bugger! You stink. Like it or not, here we go." She stripped him as gently as she could. Trying not to look at his full length as she did so. ' Kind of hard not to,' she thought.After the clothes were in the wash, she wondered what to do about the artificial arm.It was filthy with blood, and dirt. Sighing, she removed it, and gasped. Judging from the look of the stump,it had been hacked off. She placed a hand to her mouth in horror. Larissa looked at his face, then his arm. She shook her head. Surely , she was wrong. Nobody could be THAT cruel.... could they? Her fingers reached out to the stump, but didn't touch it. Instead, she caressed his face gently.Sympathy, compassion flooding through her. Larissa bent down, brushing her lips against his cheek." I'll try to keep you safe." She whispered.She took the arm into the small bathroom, and cleaned it well.
She walked back to the bed,carrying a basin of hot water. She sat beside him, picked up the wash towel, and soap. Carefully, she bathed him as best she could. There were scars over various parts of him. From the look of it, he'd been shot or stabbed on more than one occasion.Her mind fluttered over some of the spy novels she'd read in her young life.' And here I thought they were only fiction. Silly me.' Larissa finished her task."God, but I'm knackered." Checking her watch, she saw it was time to change the dressing for the first time.She sniffed at the wound.The smell of soap wafted upwards, but nothing more.She poured the scotch over the wound. He never moved.Her hand caressed his forehead." Oh, no!" He was burning hot!She gestured with her hands helplessly, then looking to the ceiling.She fought down the rising panic. Fetching the basin again, and a wash towel, she bathed him down.What was it they said on the those medical dramas? ' If they survive the next twenty four hours, they'll live.'.... " You'd better live, mate." Her voice was threatening.
She woke to the sound of a voice. Larissa sat up with a start! The voice was agitated, angry.She looked around. It was coming from him. He was delirious, it seemed. She sat up in the chair, felt his forehead. The fever was worse. She bathed him down yet again, not recognizing the language. Then it hit her. He was speaking in russian! ' Guess the CIA has to know many languages,' she thought.She couldn't make out anything he said.But he became more angry, and frightened.Then suddenly, he was crying out in english." NO! Not my arm! God, NO! Stop! You're killing me! STOP!"
Larissa wiped at her tears.He twisted, and thrashed. What had he told her? Keep him from moving.... she sat forward, stroking his cheek speaking softly." Shhh.... Shhhhh... it's over... it's over. You're dreaming. It's alright......"
He opened his eyes suddenly. She jumped. He looked at her, but the cloudy haze told her, he was still delirious. His next words confirmed it." Val....Val..... they... they let you go? You're free?" his hand reached out weakly, she took it, speaking softly, telling him to rest." Val.... forgive me. I didn't know. He tricked me. Lied... to me.I tried to free you... so ...many... times" His voice faded. The thrashing stopped as he passed out.
This went on all through the night. the fever refused to break. She managed to get water down him a few times, tried to get him to swallow Motrin... but the Motrin wouldn't go down.So, she stuck to the water. He always refused soup, kept swearing , in his delirium that it was poison.Once he'd knocked the bowl from her hand.She tried to be patient. Whatever he'd done in life, he seemed to be reliving some of it. If that were true, he'd had a terrible life, and vivid imagination. He mumbled about aliens, the end of the world. Granted, she had an interest in the paranormal, but aliens? She hoped he was imagining things... if not, the world she loved was in danger of becoming extinct.And whoever Mulder was... she hoped Mulder was a woman. Some of the things he mumbled about that person were highly erotic, there was apparently a strong attraction there.But certainly no love lost.
The rising of the sun brought little change.His clothes were clean, as clean as they could be. He didn't seem as hot, but was still feverish. His wound didn't bleed now, and there was no foul smell. Whoever he was, he had a strong will to live.He still thrashed somewhat.And mumbled of revenge, expressed regret for past sins. Of which there seemed to be quite a few! He'd led a fasinating life.And Val.... if she understood the mumbling, Val was the deepest regret of all. It seemed to be the key to all his wrongs.Larissa changed the dressing once again.She was coming to the conclusion that he was not CIA.He seemed to be something far more deadly.She picked up the gun, and placed across the room. She hadn't a clue how to use one, knew there was a safety, but damned if she knew where.She did know, however, that she did NOT want him to have access to it.Larissa hoped he would not remember his rantings. Instinct told she might not live long, if he did.She checked his fever, caressed his face. It pleased her little to admit she was becoming very attracted to this man. And hated to acknowledge it was partly due to that dangerous side of his.With a wry smile, she did admit that she hoped he'd become her lover before he disappeared from her life.A passionate encounter with a man like this rarely occurred. She did not want to miss it, consequences be damned! She sat in the chair, curled under the quilt, and dreamed restlessly of passion , and those haunted green eyes.
Krycek woke with a start.Disoriented,he looked about the room, noting the flowery femine colors.'Where the hell am I?' He tried to move, only to be met with a searing pain on his left side.He lay back,stifling a moan.'Now I remember.' It flooded back to him, the firy British dame with the blonde hair and compassion for others that overran her fear.He half smiled at the memory, then whimpered at the thought of all that had happened.He rubbed his eyes, wondering why his left arm didn't respond.Then saw it wasn't there.Damn! He hated being without it, felt vulnerable.Looking about the room, he saw it on a small table opposite from the bed. He was too weak, he'd never make it there.A small tingle of fear filled him as he saw his gun laying next to it.'Ok, she's far from stupid.Damn!', He thought.Then his eyes fell on her.And his heart thumped! Slumped like that, she resembled Val.For a moment, he thought.....' Don't go there,Alex. They've still got her.... locked away... catalogued, like all the others.' He whimpered slightly. Forcing the thought from his mind, he focused on the woman before him. Closer examination showed she bore little resemblence to his treasured Val.
This woman seemed tall, blond hair, the cut looked somewhat like Scully,'Poor woman' he thought.Hard to tell under the quilt, but she looked slim.The old desire in him stirred.It had been several months after all. A sad smile crossed his face as he thought of Nina, wondering how she was.When he got stateside again, he made a mental note to check that she was ok, although she'd never know he did.
Krycek's gaze fell on his clothes.He stared at them dumbly, realizing finally that he was naked.He cocked his head, looking the blonde.' Did you have fun?' He wondered. Wouldn't be the first time he'd been victimized while helpless. If she had, at least this time it had been a woman, and only one person. He shrugged off the memory of that horrifying moment in the gulag.No.. she wasn't like that, his instincts told that hadn't happened. He was deathly thirsty, and needed a toilet, badly.Might as well get the intros over with.He called out to her, his mouth dry, voice weak,scratchy...
"Hey! Hey you!" He waited, she stirred slightly. He suddenly felt sorry for her. She looked exausted.He must have worn her out.'And not in a fun way,' he thought slyly.He called out again.
Through Larissa's sleepy haze, she heard his voice again.She groaned.' Bugger! He's delirious again.' She stirred slowly, wondering what wild rants of conspiracy and death she'd hear now.She sat straight , pushed the quilt off, and stretched, catlike ,graceful.Krycek gave a leer, enjoying the show, hoping he'd get his strength back soon.She slid closer to the edge of the chair, ready to caress his face( it seemed to always calm him) and murmur that he was safe.
"Not bad at all." His scratchy voice replied, revealing his lusty approval.she jumped! Her eyes went wide."You're awake?"
"Ohhh yeah...." He adopted his usual cocky attitude, his protection against people, the world." And wishing I felt better than I do." He made a point of looking her over, then felt guilty.But better to keep her at arms length.
Her face colored.A sensual heat spread through her at that gaze, and before she realized it, she'd given a look back as good as she'd gotten, speaking without thinking," So do I, love."
Krycek stared. This couldn't be! For once, he had NOT offended. It threw him off balance." Uh... " He struggled for a response, it didn't help that she giggled, realizing why he stumbled. She looked at him with a bemused grin.His mind focused on the first thing that popped into it, he tried to adopt an air if indifference." Can I have my arm back... AND my gun?"
Larissa laughed, then cleared her throat. She'd rattled him enough... for now." Maybe, on the arm. Bloody hell NO on the gun."
"Look, I'm never without either of them. In my line of work, being unarmed is tantamount to being dead." He squeezed his eyes shut at the unintentional pun." I mean...."
Larissa stood up, checked his forehead, they both looked startled at the tingle each felt." I know what you meant, love.I'm not taking any chances with you.As weak as you are, you might accidently fire it, or go into another fevered spell and shot me."
He looked up at her. She had a point there. And he didn't like it." All the same. I need them. NOW."
Larissa raised an eyebrow. Her tone icy." Now see here.I do not respond well to being given orders.Don't do it again."
"Now who's giving orders.Look, I'm not going to harm you.Give them to me... please." It wasn't anywhere near a request. This was a man accustomed to giving orders, never asking, only telling.
'Pompous twit.' She thought." how can I be sure of that?You said you're CIA, and obviously you're a dangerous man. How do I know I can trust you?"
"Well, I'll explain it like this.....Do I still need you?" He asked matter of factly.
She looked puzzled by his question." No. The worst seems to be over.On your own, it would take a longer time to heal, but you seem tough enough to do it."
"Next question.... Are you still alive?" He looked at her, waiting, a cocky smile on his lips.
'Such sexy lips, too,' She thought. Then shook her head ever so slightly." Yes..." She muttered, agitated.
He raised his good hand for emphasish. " There's your answer."
"Cocky bastard, aren't you?" She countered.
Krycek flashed a leering grin," Define cocky?"He laughed as she turned a deep crimson. He'd definitely won that round.
"Sorry, could you repeat that?" He jested in a mock british accent. She'd made what he was sure was a nasty comment about not having much to define, but it had been muttered.He wasn't sure. She shot him a "go to hell" look, for a reply." Look, honey, I could use some help. I'm very thirsty, and I desperately need to take a pi... uhhh use the toilet." Why did he stumble? He never thought twice about vular language in front of women.
Larissa wondered at that... he wasn't the type to worry about offending, indeed, he kept trying to offend her.She decided to try and keep her irritation from showing, just out of sheer spite." My name isn't honey." She smiled sweetly." It's Larissa ...LarissaCharles.And you are?"
He was growing tired of this. His agitation showed." About to wet the bed. Which hasn't happened since I was in diapers. A little help here?"
"Hmmm fresh out of nappy's I'm afraid.You need to learn some manners. Say please." She stood, hands on hips, grinning.
'Bitch,' He thought, but again knew better than to say it." You have got to be kidding. This is no time for a stand off. Help me." He raised an eyebrow, when she didn't move. 'Oh, baby, when I get you in the sack, you'll pay for this," He thought.Krycek sighed," Please?"
"Ohhhh jolly good! Did that hurt?"She moved to help him up, laughing.
Krycek groaned loudly as he stood up, pale, vulnerable,naked. He tried to take a few steps on his own, shrugging off her grip.And nearly fell.Larissa was beside him in an instand, holding him up. She felt soft, warm.He leaned on her,drinking in that warmth, inhaling her scent. His mind flashed back to another time, so long ago now. He didn't like the effect she was having on him. He had lived with hatred, anger, revenge for so many years. Always trying to kill that side of him that cared. Trying to kill the side that yearned for love, understanding. He did not want it now, refused to admit he needed it, in any form. He stood straight, his voice devoid of feeling." I don't need your help. I can make it." He shuffled his feet, barely walking, sweating from the effort.
Larissa tuned into that determination.She understood he wanted to be his own man. And knew suddenly just how to reach him." Right then. Go ahead." He turned slightly, puzzled at the tone of her voice.She pressed on, heart beating rapidly, despite her forced calm." You don't need me, that's true. However, if you persist in doing it all on your own, it will take twice as long to heal.And, in that time frame, whoever shot will be out there. What if they go in search of your body?To confirm you are truly dead?They won't find one.Therefore, what will happen next? How will you defend yourself?" She stood, hands on hips, waiting.
This time he did say it.Spat it out at her with such cold hatred." Bitch."He didn't move.
" So I've been told before." She hid her grin, knowing she had gotten through to him." Well?" She motioned toward the bathroom.
Damn her! She was right. Worse, she knew she'd won.He sighed in defeat.Yet determined to keep his guard up.In a mock accent he hoped would annoy,"Help me to the 'loo' , limey."
She turned, and walked back to the chair by the bed, smiling broadly." I think not. Not till you learn how to talk to a woman. You can pee on the floor for all I care." She sat down, and stared again with the same leer they'd exchanged earlier.
Krycek cursed himself silently. She was his saviour, he owed her his life.And she surely knew that if the hit squad did indeed come back, and find him here..... yet, she had not called the police, had, in fact, stayed by him, losing precious sleep, to keep him alive.He hated himself." I'm sorry.In my line of work, manners get you killed.Please help me?"
She walked slowly over to him,looked deep into his haunted eyes."Rule number one, NEVER call me a limey. Rule number two,I'll let you know when it's ok to call me a bitch.Until, don't do it again, love." She placed his right arm around her shoulder, and they continued on.She let go of him as they got to the bathroom door. Such a short distance, yet Krycek was in pain, feeling like he couldn't bare another step.He looked at her confused.
" I'm taken away enough of your 'modesty' don't you think? It's a small room. You can manage on your own.While you do what you need to do, I'll change the sheets. Call when you are ready. Oh, there is a spare toothbrush, feel free to use my razor. If your up to it." He nodded and moved inside, closing the door.
She set about changing the bloodied sheets, spraying the bed down, finally, the last of that smell was gone. Larissa hoped she'd never smell it again. Little did she know, she was hoping in vain.
He came out of the bathroom, barely standing, but he had indeed cleaned up. She turned toward him, and felt her breath catch in her throat.Dirtied and bloodied, he had been handsome. Now, shaven, and clean, he was striking.She warned herself silently, not to let her attraction grow. This was a man who lived life on the edge, never knowing when each moment would be his last.The reminder did little to discourage her.
Krycek picked up on her feelings, for damn him, he felt them too.Many people, too many people feared him, thought him only a murderer. If she did fear him, it didn't show. And the trust she was giving so freely made him long to hold her.This was the kind of woman who could live with what he was, and love him inspite of it.'No,Alex! No! You will not do that. Not to this one!'He struggled for something cocky to say.Words failed him. He looked as if he would cry.'What is WRONG with me!?'
Silently, she approached him, looking into his eyes, she stroked his face gently, a smile graced her lips.Her voice was gentle."It's ok, love. Everything will be ok." She planted a small kiss on his lips.Alex's arm wrapped around her, holding her to him. For so long, he had been hunted. For too long alone.Living in fear, living with hate, living with anger.Hot, silent tears streamed down his face.Crying? He, of all people,was crying? He hadn't done that since.....He found his voice." Don't Larissa. Don't care for me.I'll only hurt you, use you.... don't .... I'm not worth the risk." He brushed a stray hair from her face.
" I disagree." She whispered, then smiled, deliberately spoiling the mood. The moment was too much for him.Again, she saved him." Right ,then. Let's get you back to bed, before you fall down." They slowly ,painfully, made it to the bed.Krycek sat down, suppressing the groan this time." Thank you... for everything."
"You're welcome...?" She looked at him, he didn't respond.She laughed, doing her best Tarzan impersonation," Me Larissa... You...."
He laughed, then moaned loudly holding his side." Oh! God ! Don't make me laugh."... He drew a calming breath." Krycek, Alex Krycek.He caught her confused look. The lighthearted mood gone.The cold professional in place again."What?"
She fought back the shiver. He had told her that name when they met. But during his fevered rantings, he'd muttered another different name, especially during what sounded like a marriage ceremony.She struggled to hide it.His reaction proved, he should NOT know he had ranted." Nothing.. it's just..." Her mind raced furiously," A CIA agent with a russian name?" She waited, praying, thankful the gun was not in his reach.
"Oh... long story. My father..... 'defected' before I was born.Russian by heritage, American by birth." His voice was so bitter as he spoke of his father.He wouldn't meet her gaze, uncharacteristic for him.
Larissa filed it away. There were issues with 'Daddy' it seemed." I see. Makes sense now." She hadn't realized she spoke out loud.She walked to the table holding his false arm.
"What makes sense?" His voice was sharp, she jumped, cursing herself silently,'You Muppet! Keep it up, and you'll get yourself killed!' She turned, again praying." Your name ,love.It makes sense now.Would you like your arm back?" She hoped that would distract him. How was she staying so calm?
Any further questions were forgotten with the hope of having his arm back."Yes... 'please'.." He emphasized the word, smiling weakly.
" Jolly good one, that! You're learning." She smiled as she approached." I had a bugger of a time getting it off you. I'm not sure how to ... attach it."
" It's easy. I'll talk you through it.Don't worry. You can't hurt me." He explained what to do, as she slipped it on,tightening the straps. He moved it slowly. That side of his body radiated searing pain. But the arm worked, of course."Thank you." His voice was husky from effort.
"You're welcome, mate.You need to lie down now. Too much excertion, Alex. Time to rest. Are you hungry? I have some soup. I think that's all you can handle, yet." She helped him lay down. Caressing his face once again.
"My mom used to do that, whenever I was sick.... A lifetime ago." He swallowed hard." I'd like some soup." Then laughed.
"What's so funny?"She smiled down at him, sitting beside him, her hand gentlely stroking his face.
Krycek spoke before he thought. " Mulder... once Mulder and I were in this gulag... the so called 'soup'.... he stopped abruptly....pushed her hand away.
She changed the subject,quickly, standing , ready to go fetch the soup.She unknowingly picked the wrong subject." Tell me about your mother. Hard to fancy a man like you having a mum." She smiled.
Anger flashed in Krycek's eyes. Followed by a storm of emotions, none of them good."Why? we all have one!My mother is none of your damn business!"
"She nodded once, stiffly."Right, I'll get the soup then." As she opened the can, her hands shook. Was it fear? Yes, and no.He had been through so much.Larissa vowed, that for however long he was here, she'd do her best to love some of the pain away.She returned shortly with a tray.Neither made any mention of the incident.She smiled as she set the bedtray down, placing a napkin over his chest.
"You're going to feed me?" He asked amused.
" I doubt you can hold the spoon straight. Wouldn't you rather eat it, then wear it?"She smiled, moving the spoon to his lips, waiting.
A wry smile crossed his lips,without answering, he opened his mouth. He sighed. " That's good."
"Can't take the credit. Doesn't take much skill to open a tin.But, it'll fix you up." She fed him another spoonful.
"Do you cook?" She nodded." Can't wait to find out how well." He smiled.
"Well, I've never had any complaints.Do you cook?"
Krycek laughed slightly, his arms bracing his side." Oh, sure. Campbells, Stouffers...Hormel...rats....."
"You ARE kidding about the rats?" She looked at him.
He slowly shook his head." I was trapped in a silo once. It was either rat tar tar... or starve."
She turned green. " Well ,then.I'll never french kiss you, I'm afraid." She laughed.
He reached out, gently grabbing her wrist, holding it with a firm grip, despite his condition. His voice, seductive," Wanna bet?" He moved toward the spoon, taking it into his mouth with an erotic movement.Then sat back, releasing her, smiling an evil smile.
Her heart beat madly, her face flushed. Ohhhh damn him! He had caught her off guard! The spoon dropped into the bowl with a clank, a small portion of the soup spilling out.
"Now who's making the mess?" His voice held that same seductive note. His smile still evil.
She bowed her head slightly, struggling to regain her composure.She picked up the spoon and ladled more soup toward his mouth, silently.
"That's round two." He gloated. She dropped the hot soup onto his chest."Owwww!... Hey!"
"Round one!" She replied.
"I'm still ahead." He was enjoying this, his voice still low.
'Right then, you asked for it!', She leaned forward, her voice silky with sensual longing, "Not for long." She brushed her soft lips gently across his. Then lowered her head, to where the soup had spilled. She had purposly missed the napkin. He tongue snaked out, lapping up the soup with seductive abandon. He moaned, squirmed. She flicked her tongue over the smooth skin of his chest, leaving a trail of fire behind it. She straightened, smiled, her voice soft," Let's hope you get better very soon." She sat up again, uttering a gloating laugh of her own.
Krycek shifted painfully under the sheet, hoping she couldn't see his arousal.One look in her eyes told him she could. With a grin, reminescient of the cat who ate the canary, she fed him another spoonful.'I'll get you ,' He thought.
She finished feeding him, dabbed at his mouth , and shot him a glare when he told her she missed a spot, refusuing to rise to the bait.She picked up the tray, and returned, with a glass of juice." Here, you need all the vitamin C you can get." She sat in the chair.
He emptied the glass quickly.And set it down, using his right hand. He moved easily, no awkwardness."Yes?" He noted her questioning look.
Hoping he wouldn't snap at her, she decided to ask." How did it happen?"
He started to tell her rudely to mind her own business. But found he wanted to talk about it... for the first time.He left out specifics. Touching only lightly on a test.
She listen calmly, the compassion showing in her face. A tear rolled down her face.That moved him.He choked up, trying not to shed any of his own. She reached out, and held his hand, his left one. He smiled sadly." So... so they weren't trying to be cruel, then"
He shook his head." No, they honestly thought they were helping me.Funny thing is... they were right. Just wish there'd been another way." He covered her hand with his." I've never told anyone about it. Except for the...."Boss"... " He said Boss with such contempt.
"Trouble at work?" She tried to joke.
" He's an evil bastard. Robbed me of all that I held dear... my ideals... my values... my....I'mtired.. I need to sleep." She helped him ease down into the bed.
" True. I need to fix my own dinner. I won't be far. If you need me, just shout."
And shout he did. Two hours later. She heard him shout,"VAL!" Then silence.She rushed into the room, only to see him propped up on his right arm. She couldn't see his face from that angle, but from the movement of his left arm, it was obvious he was wiping away tears.She steeled herself. No matter how angry he got, she would not let up, till he told her who Val was.
" I want to know who she is. You need to talk about it." She sat on the bed. Painfully, he rolled over onto his back.The look in his eyes tore at her very soul.Her voice was barely a whisper." Dear God! What has been done to you?What have you been through?" She reached out her hand to his face.
Alex couldn't take it. The dreams of Val had not haunted him in a long time.This woman was bringing to life a side of Alex that he wanted left for dead.Given enough time, Larissa could bring back so much of what he once was.He longed for that.But he feared what might happen to her.Fighting his need to tell all, he reached out and grabbed her wrist, in a cruel manner. Deliberately trying to hurt her, trying to drive her away. His voice was cold, hard."You will never ask about her again. Who I am, what I've done is none of your concern. Do you understand?"
Larissa pried at his grip.Despite his weakened condition, his grip seared, felt as if he were crushing her wrist. She fought back the tears, knowing that tears would never work on Alex Krycek.She forced a calm she didn't feel into her voice."I understand that all you've been through is weighing hard upon you, love.And if you don't let the pain out, it will one day destroy you. I will ask, and keep asking, till you tell me."He wouldn't let go, even tightened his grip. Anger welled up within her." Enjoying it,Alex?Go ahead, break it. I'll still be here.You are only trying to push me away. Here's news for you, mate.I may be scared, but I'm NOT backing down.If you're waiting for me to beg, you've a long wait then. You're not the first man to hurt me."Without meaning to, she reached him.
Alex looked at her, mortified. The thought that someone had once harmed her, made him want to hold her. He released his grip. Her wrist dropped, she wasn't expecting that. Larissa rubbed her wrist painfully.He watched her, angry with himself.He cursed out loud in russian, too preoccupied to notice it didn't startle her, as it did most people."I'm sor....I'm...." He exhaled... an apology seemed lame.
She looked at him, defiant," Yeah, that's what HE used to say." She gloated at seeing him flinch."I mean it. I want to know."
A thought occurred to him." Have I called Val's name out before?" He studied her closely.
Larissa was expecting that. This time she was ready."Once."
"I see. What else have I said?" His eyes never left her face.He tensed, praying she gave the right answer.
Larissa decided a half truth was better than a lie. But could she fool someone who was a professional at lies? She prayed the answer was yes, her life truly depended on it." I have no idea. I don't speak russian."
He watched her.Then relaxed."Glad to hear it.I'm not talking of her." He looked away.
"The bloody hell you're not!"She stared, the pain in her wrist subsided.
"What do you want? You want to know what it's like? Living each minute of every day looking over your shoulder? Never trusting anyone? You want me to confess my sins? Tell of the kills I've made? The people I've screwed over, the lives I've ruined? Is that what you want?" He yelled at her, releasing all the anger and pain, taking it out on her. Too angry to realize,he was crying.
"It's a start." She touched his cheek, wiped at a tear.Her face full of tenderness." you might hurt me with you words, but I'll survive.And you will start to heal, " she touched his chest, over his heart," in here."
He glared at her, a pleading look, that begged her not to do this.She only stroked his face. The tears fell...." Val... Arntzen was... is.... my wife , and the first person I truly betrayed." He leaned forward. She cradled his head, as he cried, ... cried himself back to sleep.She sat in the chair, as she covered his still naked body. She fell asleep too, with her head laying near his left hand.
Alex woke from a fitful sleep.His hand brushed against something.He looked down at Larissa's sleeping form.If he'd had the strength, Krycek would have left right then and there.But, he was far too weak.And a large part of him wanted to stay. He stared at the ceiling, thinking. Considering the nature of his wounds, factoring in his physical condition prior to that, he figured a good month before he was back to normal. He decided to spend it with her. He needed that. But he was determined that he'd keep a certain distance between them.Oh, for certain they would become lovers.He smiled thinking of all that he would show her.But, on an emotional level, he would only let her in so far. But, dammit! He'd lived without love, for so long, he'd almost convinced himself it didn't really exist. That it was just some damn fool notion that helped poets and singers grow rich.He turned his head, studying her. No... it was real, but it was not meant for Alexander Krycek.He knew she wouldn't give up about Val. And he owed it to Val, to tell someone her story, in case he never succeeded, never freed her.His left hand carfully stroked her hair.
Larissa woke slowly, enjoying the gentle caress, then sat up, realizing he was awake. She smiled at him, recieving one in return."Why don't I check that dressing?" She stirred. "Are you hungry?"
"Yes. Anymore of that soup?" He winced slightly as she pulled back the bandage.
"Sorry. Well, it looks just fine. After I change the dressing, I'll get the soup. If I'm out, I think I can scrounge up a rat or two."
He laughed, and moaned as the pain hit him." I'll pass on the rat.Ohhh... God that hurts."
"In more ways than one I'm sure." He looked puzzled."Your laughter," She explained," Something tells me, this is the most you've laughed in years.It's good medicine you know. I read that somewhere."
"Not in my line of work." This time he didn't flinch when she poured the scotch on his wound.He was getting a little of his strength back.You never told me what you do."
"We're even then.Neither have you." She began taping the new dressing.
"Yes I did. CIA."
" And I'm Margaret Thatcher.Quid Pro Quo, dear Alex. If that is indeed your name..." She finished the job and stood, waiting.
"It's as close as you'll ever get.Look, Larissa, knowing what I really do could get you killed. There is enough blood on my hands.I do not want yours."
" I'm not a plonker. Just having you HERE can get me killed.So what bloody difference does it make, if I know what you do?"She folded her arms across her chest waiting.
He hated how she could do that! Always be right."Point taken"He sighed," Ok... it's your funeral.I work for myself.... but there are times when,against my will, and better judgement, I work for an organization, the Consortium.I'll give you no more details."
"A regular James Bond.So, you never worked for the CIA?"She put the tape on the table.
" Actually, I did.Briefly.Then I was approached by Him. He told me"things" about... about my father.In the course of one hour, I discovered that my whole life had been a lie.Everything was gone.With what he'd told me, there was no way to stay in the Agency.So, he offered me..... he offered me a chance to right all that my "father" had put wrong." His voice was bitter, angry.
"What did your father do?" Her tone was gentle as she sat, leery of disrupting the moment. One wrong word or question would shut Alex up, make him crawl back inside himself. Her instincts told her, he'd never come out again, if that happened.
Alex looked at her, smirked, shaking his head." Dad told me he and mom came here to escape persecution from Russia. They defected. My whole life, as I growing up, Dad embraced the "American Ideal". Man! I got so sick of hearing it.Over and over,America was right, Russia was wrong... the whole spiel.Yeah, they taught me the language, explained about my heritage. But, he worked with the CIA, telling all he knew about the KGB. Dad was an agent, till he felt he couldn't do those things anymore. He went to America, and told them all he knew.Kept pushing me to excel.. be the best at everything, fight the Commies, etc...It was his idea that I join the CIA. I wanted the FBI.As usual, I did what Dad wanted.Good ol Alex, doing everything he's told, following orders. If I ever come out ahead, ever get what I want, I'll be the one who gives the orders."
"What do you want?" She asked, fearing his answer.
"To rule the world.To be fully in control. I live by my rules these days, most days. I want to live by them all the time.To be no one's errand boy EVER again!" His voice sent chills down her spine. Perhaps he couldn't be saved. Maybe it was too late.
" But that makes you no better then..."them"...." He glared at her. She changed the subject, slightly."What were you told about Daddy?"
A mask came down over Alex's face, but not before she saw the raw hurt, and anger there.So... that was where it all started." Dear old "Dad" was a traitor. He'd never left the KGB. He was working both sides, switching now and then, playing one against the other. All that crap about "freedom" and he was the worst of the bunch!"
"Who told you this?" She had a funny look on her face.
"A man, his name's not important. He became my Mentor, my father, I believed in him, trusted him. He took me under his wing, cared about me, my feelings, or so I once thought.Said I was like the son he could never be with.Showed me that my father was a liar.Hadproof... at least.. to a young kid of 25, it looked like proof. Convinced me that his "Agency" was set up to truly fight the enemy.I hated my father. Felt so betrayed. I left home, joined the Consortium. The biggest mistake of my life." He stared at the sheet, seeing his past. Would she ask? If she did, should he tell her?
"Alex.... what happened to... you father?" Her heart beat madly. Dreading what she'd hear. But if she shrank from it, from him... all would be lost. Whatever she heard, she could not afford to judge him.He needed someone to listen, to understand.
Krycek looked up, eyes so full of pain, his voice barely a whisper. He had never told anyone...." I killed him. It was an order, to prove my loyalty."
She forced her voice to be steady." Was he... was he really...."
"A traitor? I don't know anymore. I don't know anything, anymore."He dropped his head, but no tears came.Only pain.
She reached for his hand, he pulled it back before she touched him." And your.... mom?"
"She was never meant to know." He looked up at the ceiling. Why... Why was he doing this. It was over, long ago. Why bring it back now?" She found out. Disowned me.Called me a killer.The pain was too much for her.She had a heart attack... died. Another death on my hands.Don't bother..." He interupted as she tried to speak," The fault WAS mine. As surely as if I'd pulled a trigger.So, there I was, no family, doing what I thought was right.My "Mentor" became my family, taught me things I'd never knew,... things I wish now that I didn't know.He got me into the FBI... onto a case....but, I betrayed him. So, he betrayed me."She waited silently. this was no time to push.
Alex looked at her." The Consortium didn't care if us lackeys had our "fun" as long as we never fell in love. Val was a fellow "lackey". I had just been assigned to this weird case at the FBI. Weird guy, name's Mulder." She bent her head nonchalantly, surprised that Mulder was male. Alex didn't seem to notice, kept talking,"Val and I were careful, or so we thought.We loved each other, decided to marry. I used my mother's maiden name.I thought I was so smart. What an idiot! I had so much to learn. And I have certainly learned.We got away with it, for awhile. Then "He" found out.The way he tricked me...." His voice trailed off.
"What did he do?" She sat forward.
"There's a war raging out there.With only one rule, resist, or serve.If we fail, the world we know will cease to exist. I don't want that.And God knows, I've tried, in my own way, to expose them.There is a virus... and at that time, no viable vaccine. The only way to find one was to run tests. Well... Val was "exposed" to this virus.So I was told. She knew of the tests. But would have preferred to die, rather than go through them.I couldn't let her die.I couldn't lose her. So... I helped them... helped them take her." He looked up." She's up there, somewhere.Catalogued, like some damn lab rat! I found out, to my horror and shame, that they had deliberately infected her. They hold her now, experiment on her... all for the common good, and to control me. As long as they have her, I'll never be free.I want him dead, but not till I find her."
Larissa felt the fear well up inside her. He left out much. But those spaces were filled by his fevered rantings. And she wondered if this was a war humans could win.And found herself wishing she could fight in that war.But how?
He looked at her, unaware of her thoughts." He's responsible for this." He pointed at his side." I was sent to retrieve a disk, that will be a breakthrough for the vaccine. I had hoped to use it to free Val.But the Bastard found me, tracked me down. The hit squad took it.I'm at the point now, where I just want him dead. Val or no Val."
Her voice was dry," Forgive me, but.... after all she's been through.... maybe's she'd be better off de...." She couldn't say it.
His voice was calm," I've thought of that.If I kill him, they WILL kill her.Once I've healed, perhaps I should end this.That may be the only way to set her free."
Larissa reached for his hand again.This time, he let her hold it.There would be no more talking about his past now. He'd said far more than he should. She heated more soup and the conversation turned to her."Quid Pro Quo, remember?" He gave her a teasing smile.
"My story is nowhere near as exciting as yours, I'm afraid." She brought the spoon to his lips.From his smile, it was obvious that he was enjoying being fed,now.
"Still, I'd like to hear it.What do you do?"He continued to eat the soup. His color returning slowly.
"I'm an artist. Yes, it's true." She replied at his 'oh really' look." But it doesn't pay the bills very often. It did recently net me enough money to purchase this cottage.And allow a leave of absence from work, for a month.As for work, I'm in advertising."
He laughed slightly." From what I've heard, that's nearly as dangerous as my proffession.The only difference being, you people use paintbrushes instead of guns and knives."
She made a threatening motion with the spoon as if to spill it on him again.His reflexes were rapidly improving. His right hand shot up and caught her wrist. He swallowed the soup, licked the spoon in a sensual way, and released her wrist.He smiled at the slight shiver she gave."Any relatives?"
She drew a shaky breath." I'll say one thing, mate.You do wonders for my circulation.As for relatives, a few here and there.I'm pretty much on my own.She continued to feed him.
"Just wait till I heal." He gave her a seductive grin." What about the bonehead?" He pointed to her wrist when she looked confused." The bastard that hurt you?"
"Oh.. Him... long story." She grew silent, feeding him, not wanting to dig up the past.
"Hippocrite." He replied.Then in a mock accent that he hoped would get through the wall she had suddenly erected." But you have to tell me. You can't keep it bottled up inside yo...Hey.... Hey... I didn't mean ..." His voice went back to normal, for she was now crying, the soup forgotten. He swore loudly, continuously in russian.She flinched at his angry voice.And a flashback of everytime he'd yelled at her came to him. He had always been too wrapped up in his pain to notice, but his flawless memory had recorded it--- everytime he'd yelled, she had tensed, like a wounded animal, ready to flee for safety. He swore again, reached out for her hand." I... Larissa... I wouldn't hurt yo....."
She cut him off, standing swiftly,jerking her hand away, the fear and pain so clear in her voice, indeed her entire body." You wouldn't? Well, isn't that news? I've been in fear nearly every bloody moment you've been here! You've threatened me enough ,haven't you?!Pointed that DAMN gun in my face! Yelled, and swore... and.... and....Damn you! " She faultered, fighting the tears, turning away from him, trying so hard not to cry.
Alex Krycek sat, stunned.He now realized just what she was living with by trying to help him.Realized the fear, the painful memories she was feeling.He wasn't the only one here with a painful past.She needed someone to understand, just as much as he did.Fighting the pain, he got out of bed. Earlier, he had put on his underwear, thankful now that he had.Slowly, he stood behind her.And showing more tenderness than he had in years, tried to right the wrongs he had inflicted on her." I've been a bastard.And you don't deserve that. But I cannot allow you to be emotionally close to me.That would be the cruellest treatment of all.I am sorry for all I've done to you." His voice was soft, he turned her toward him, and through sobs she told her story.Had the bastard still lived, Krycek would have hunted him down and killed him, painfully.She helped him back into bed, dried her eyes, sitting once again.
"Your soup's cold.I'll heat it up."She started to stand.
"No. Stay. I've had enough of that for now." He looked at her.Tried to smile, and failed.
Composed again, she did smile." Don't feel sorry for me Alex Krycek. I'm a survivor.Kind of like you.I take a licking and keep on ticking." She laughed. He was amazed, she actually laughed.
Before he knew what he was doing, he spoke out loud. Not knowing at the time, that he would one day dearly regret his words." Man! You'd be great in the field, in the fight. We need so many people like you." He went pale with horror at his words. " Forget that!No.. NO.." He lifted a finger, his voice steely, allowing her no chance to respond when she tried to ask if he meant it." Drop it ,Larissa. DO not EVER think again on what I just said."
She nodded. They fell into an awkward silence.Broken by small talk here and there. Alex knew she needed time alone, but she wouldn't leave him. It wasn't entirely a lie when he spoke." I'm "knackered", honey. Mind if I call it a night? The past few years, sleep has been something of a luxury that I could rarely afford. Here, I can actually enjoy it."
She smiled,standing."Of course. I have some things I'd like to do, anyway." She leaned over him as he lay down."Sweet dreams, love." Her breath was soft against his lips. His good hand caressed her back as their lips met, in a slow passionate kiss.
The days passed in an easy flow. He grew stronger, and soon was able to make it to the bathroom with little trouble. They talked of many things, his dreams, hers. But no more mention of the Consortium was made.Larissa didn't push it. He was now at the stage where, if he needed to talk, he did. With each new day, her love for him grew.But did he love her? She wasn't sure. Wasn't even sure if a man like him could love.He started to have nightmares.She had slept on the sofa. But when he threatened to drag her off it the next time she did, Larissa agreed to sleep in her own bed, next to him. And silently cursed him each night. Being that close to him, feeling his heat, hearing his breathing, was deepening her desire for him. And one night, curled against him, she realized he was affected the same way by her. Sadly, each knew he was nowhere near strong enough for that. So the tension grew, the passion sizzled and they each vowed to themselves that when he was well, neither would get much sleep.
Everytime he had the nightmares, she'd hold him, talking in a soothing voice, sometimes rocking him, till he fell back asleep. Krycek knew he shouldn't allow that. He needed to keep his edge.But he needed to get away from all that he'd done as well. He began to see things differently, began to feel things differently.And wondered if he should try to get out... out of the work he was in. If he didn't, a bullet would one day find him. He had the means, and the money to disappear.He never said a word to her, but spent more and more time thinking about it, about asking her to join him. He was actually starting to believe it could work. But Alex forgot one important thing, in his world, dreams of a better life were never meant to come true.
Larissa returned to painting and drawing. She went into a neighboring village and bought him some new clothes. He was proud of her when she explained," I figured that I should go into another village to buy them. That way, if anyone was lurking about, they wouldn't think it strange that a woman with no boyfriend was buying clothes in your size.That's why I took so long. NOT because I'm a woman, and love to shop." She responded to his teasing of her.
"Very good. I AM impressed!"He smiled as he buttoned the shirt."How do I look?" He stood before her, in white chinos and a blue denium shirt, hands held out at his sides.
"Ooooo..." Was all she could say.Her heart pounded in her chest.She looked him up and down, more than once.
"I assume that means you're pleased?" He colored slightly under her scrutiny.Damn her! The effect she was having on him was amazing.When the time came to walk away from her, he would not be the same man who had lay on her bed, dying. If... he walked away.
"Very pleased. You're a regular Jack The Lad.Never mind." She said at his confused look.She was surprised at how well he managed with the artificial limb.
He held out his hand,"Come here." His voice was soft.She moved into his arms, he wrapped them around her as their lips touched. The fire flaring to life. They both shivered as the kiss deepened into one of intense need.He pulled back slightly to speak, her hands, entwined in his hair, pushed his lips back against her's. She kissed him hungrily. He moaned, crushing her lips with his mouth, she realized then, that he liked being aggressive, rough. And felt an intense thrill at the knowledge that sex with this man was going to be far from gentle. He'd be rough, even kinky. And she yearned for it, her body pushed against his, begging, pleading.But they both knew, he wasn't strong enough. With a groan of frustration, Alex pushed her away, not gently, swearing in russian.
"I second those words. " She laughed."Bugger...Ok..... Since it's time for us to cool down, do you want to get some air?"
"I think we'd better. What's the weather like? Nevermind, I'm in England. it's damp and probably raining." He teased.They headed for the door.
"The sun DOES occaisonally shine here you know.And today, it happens to be shining." She playfully slapped his arm.
"Well, that'll be the only time this year." He laughed then gave a mock yelp, pretending to be wounded.They walked outside.
"Right,then. Keep it up. I'll get you." She smiled.
He lifted his head up, eyes closed, feeling the sun on his face." I had forgotten how good this feels. You've had such an effect on me ,Larissa.For too many years, I've lived in darkness.Yet, I wish you hadn't done this to me.Now, I just don't know, if I can ever go back."
She hugged him gently, mindful of the wound.They walked slowly in silence, no one else about.They strolled, looking at the lush green hills, the bright sun, reveling in the cool clean air.Castle Coombe was a beautiful place. He wished he never had to leave.He looked at the luxuriant countryside. The trees, the gentle sound of the sheep in the distance. He liked the absence of modern technology here. Far as the eye could see, there were no arials, no satellite dishes.It was so far removed from his world of conspiracy and death, lies and betrayal.Could he really be happy here? Could he, Alex Krycek truly start over?
Slowly, she had changed his diet from soup, to bread, to eggs. He was healing rapidly.That night, she made dinner, feeling he was ready for a regular diet again. He walked slowly into the dining area, as she set the table.She smiled, seeing that the gun, which he had insisted on wearing during their walk, was absent.
She lit the candles."All set. Well?"
He smiled," Looks and smells wonderful." Dragging out 'wonderful' in that smoky voice of his.He held out her chair. She tried, but couldn't stifle a laugh as she sat down."And what is so funny?" He sat opposite her.
"Not bad for a bloke who called me a bitch and a limey just two short weeks ago. You've become positively civilised."She tried to stop laughing. And marveled that two weeks ago, he'd have gotten angry at that. But since that day she'd cried, he hadn't expressed anger toward her again.
"Thank you for reminding me." He laughed. "How the hell did you endure me?"
" You were pretty tough to take. But since your life was in my hands... well....." She winked at him.
'Bitch' He thought, then coughed into his hand, hoping the thought wasn't evident on his face. All he did was smile.
She held out her hand." Your plate ,Love."He handed it over as she served up dinner.Alex looked down at his plate, and raised an eyebrow, looking about the table."Problem?" She queried.
He looked up."There's no meat."
"I'm a vegetarian." She stated.Larissa had put off telling him, knowing a man like him would never understand. His reply proved her right.
"Oh, God. One of those people." He muttered.
"Hmmm still have a ways to go in the ol manners department, eh ,love." She gave a forced smile.
"Look sist....uhhh, Larissa.With all the crap I have to do in the field, brussel sprouts just don't cut it." He gave her a challenging look. She rose to it.
" Right then, kill little animals who've never done a bloody thing to you... but then, you're used to that, aren't you?"She glared.
He raised his hand ,finger pointed,. started to reply, then stopped.There was a pause." Riss, let's don't fight, ok?It smells great. We disagree, let's leave it at that."
"Oooo... You ARE learning!"She smiled,letting him off the hook." Bugger, and here I was, ready for a fight."They picked up their forks.
He poked at it, like it might attack him."What is it?"
"Well, "IT" isn't an alien life form. It won't grab at you." She noted how he poked at it.
Giving her a sheepish look, he tasted it, eyes widening."This is good!" He said around the bite in his mouth.
"Don't talk with your mouth full.You aren't with the other assasins eating for the first time in three days." Suddenly, they both laughed at the somewhat mockery of a normal couple talking over the day's events.She went with the joke, hoping it didn't bring on a mood swing from him." So, how was your day ,Dear?Top anyone?"
He laughed, nearly choking, sipped his wine and went along with it." Tried to, missed though. Boy was the Boss pissed. Nearly had my head for that one. Made up for it though.I tortured a traitor.That always makes him happy."They laughed till they cried.An easy, comforting silence fell between them, till he spoke, and he didn't understand why.For it would spoil the mood."Actually, I'm glad your a vegetarian.For however long you live here, stay that way."He looked into her eyes, thinking how beautiful she was in the candle light.
Something about his tone of voice worried her."Why?"
"The vaccine I mentioned? Experiments are being conducted to try and administer it to the populace, without them knowing the danger.. of the virus, or the cure."He knew there was no changing the subject now.
"How.... are they administering it,Alex?" Her voice was low, scared. A feeling of dread came over her.
"They tried... issuing it through the food supply. I had nothing to do with the decision.In case of side effects, they picked a country other than America, to experiment on."He looked dead at her.
She didn't understand, then it came to her." Oh, God ,NO! The.... the...mad cow dis..."
He nodded, cutting her off."Like I said, 'side effects'.They've stopped, but it's too little, too late."
She dropped her fork,feeling sick." How could they... do such a thing? Playing with our lives that way!"
"They had the best of intentions, Riss. Something has to be done. People have to be vaccinated, before it's too late."He touched her hand, wondering if she'd jerk it away.She didn't.
"Why not just tell us?... Nevermind. I think I understand.Will.... does the vaccine work?" She looked so frightened.
He cursed himself. " We think so.God knows enough people have died in the effort to perfect it.But, as we've seen, it won't work on anything NOT human."The implication was frightening.
The mood of the evening broken, they talked briefly of the war, and what might be to come. She wasn't sure if she really believed it.But he certainly did. It scared her. Made her fell helpless, frustrated. She hated that. And wished there was something she could do, to help in the fight. But she knew better than to ask. He would never go for it.Larissa was astonished at her attitude. Her view on life was changing. She was finding a courage within her that she had never been aware of. He was changing her, and her instincts told her, he would NOT be happy with that change.Larissa was seeing her life differently, understanding now, what her art teacher had really meant.And knew that this man was the key to that understanding.She loved him for it.And cursed him. For once he was gone, her life would be altered forever.
The days passed, and the sexual tension continued to build. There were only a matter of days left before she had to return to work.Neither had spoke of what would happen then. Larissa could sense the war raging within him. She knew he was thinking of trying to walk away from his life, aliens be damned, and live a different life, for however long he could. And she knew without a doubt, she wanted to be with him. She loved him, period.Right or wrong, she loved him. Deep in her heart, Larissa felt that if they could stay together,he'd never go back to that old life.She wanted ,badly, to push that point, but was unsure of how to go about it. One wrong move on her part and he'd run. If that happened, the Alex Krycek she knew would once again cease to exist, this time forever.
She was getting dressed one morning. Alex stood there, watching her, she was unaware he stood in the doorway.He watched as she pulled the pink tshirt over her tall slender frame. Studying every curve. Desire stirred within him.His side still hurt, but nothing like it once did. And a good part of his strength had returned. Enough for what was on his mind. A burning need flowed through him,with an almost angry look, he walked toward her. He... they, would wait no longer.
Larissa turned around, and bumped into him. She gasped." Bugger! You scared me..." Her voice trailed off, as she looked into his eyes. He made no attempt to hide his emotions. The need was evident, in his face. Raw, brutal, lustful. It frightened her somewhat. Suddenly, she wasn't sure if sex with him WAS a good idea. How much would he hurt her?He backed her into the wall. She stuttered. He pressed her against the wall, the heat from her body intoxicating. He backed off slightly, not wanting to frighten her."Al... Alex... you need more time....weshouldn't..."She started to slide sideways.
He placed his left hand against the wall, blocking her, an evil seductive smile on his lips, voice low, yet thick with emotion." You can't run forever. And so little time is left before I go." His words caressed her, just as expertly as his hands had done.
She glanced at the left hand, studying it, heart pounding, voice thick with desire," Your pretty agile with that thing."She started to tremble.
"You have no idea." With that, he crushed her into the wall.The hard surface hurt slightly, and heaven help her, she loved it, whimpering against his invading mouth for more.An evil laugh came from his throat, as he kissed her roughly, his good hand traveled up to her hair, twisting within it. He backed off just enough to release her from the wall, then pulled down on her hair, jerking her head back, exposing her neck.His lips fell upon it,his teeth grazing the soft flesh, biting, lightly, drawing the flesh into his mouth as his tongue repeatedly licked the fold trapped between his teeth.She squirmed with desire, moaning, pressing against him, her body crying for more.
Alex tried to rein in his need , not wanting to harm her, it wasn't easy. He had been denied her alluring body for too long.His mouth traveled along her neck hotly, biting, kissing, licking the sensual flesh, his breath hot against her neck.Larissa's senses reeled. She felt dizzy. No man had ever affected her like this. She wanted more, and wanted to run, all at once.She ran her fingers through his hair, then from deep inside, her instincts told her what he'd like. She pulled at his hair, he lifter his head, eyes dark green with hunger.Her mouth dropped to the open neck of his shirt. With a strength that surprised them both, she ripped at it, popping off half the button, her mouth pressed against his smooth chest, tongue searching exploring.Alex moaned his approval deeply. It urged her on. His shirt fell to the floor.
He stopped her, bent her head upwards roughly,and his mouth crushed her's in a brutal kiss. She matched the intensity. They both groaned, the passion out of control, there was no turning back. Her fear fell away with the last of her clothes.He led her to the bed and pushed her onto it harshly.Her eyes flashed with lust, with need.She reached up to him as he lowered his body to her.He grabbed her hands, pinning them against the bed ,over her head. There was no semblance of gentleness now. His desire was raging , the animal lust too intense. He teased her, sensually tortured her, expertly, as his left hand held hers firmly in place. She twisted beneath him, he laughed cruelly, his mouth exploring her lips, probing her warm moist mouth roughly, then traveling lower, over her neck, lower, ever lower......Half weeping, half moaning she pleaded for more.He raised himself upto her, looking into her eyes.
The intense feelings that swept through her at that look were beyond words.She reveled in it, wanted to drown in it. No man had ever looked at her with such raw, searing lust.Somehow, she found her voice," Alex... don't stop... please...." Her body trembled, she urged him on,squirming, beneath him.Every nerve alive with desire and longing.
"Beg, Larissa... beg..." His voice was deep, low, sensually caressing her like fine velvet.She stared back ,confused.He went on ,in that same voice," That first day awake, when you pushed the manners on me, I vowed that once I had you like this, you'd pay for it. Well, pay up... beg...."
A searing heat consumed her. She begged, pleaded, the way he wanted her too.And suddenly, fiercely, he complied, letting go of her pinned hands, freed, she matched his fevered intense lovemaking, just as roughly. It entered his fevered brain that no woman , even Val, had ever been able to match his fierce passion, until now. Larissa gave back as good as he gave, he craved more, even begged for more.Their mutual sounds of release echoed off the walls of the tiny bedroom.
It went on that way, the rest of that day spent in each others arms, each taking, giving, alternating between rough and tender.Until, late in the day, spent and satisfied, they lay entwined, panting, deliriously happy.They slept briefly.Alex was the first to awaken. He lay there, studying her face.And made his decision. He did not want to live without her. This damn fight was no longer his. He formed a plan. If memory served, there was a small restaurant in the village. He would take her there, and ask her to come away with him.He nudged her gently, joy filling his soul, for the first time in years, perhaps ever. She made him believe anything was possible. He laughed. Wouldn't this shock the living daylights out of Mulder?
She stirred. And stretched slowly, contentedly." What's so funny?" She raised up, kissed him.
"Just thinking about an old... acquaintance. And what he'd say to this." Alex caressed her cheek, gently.
"Hmmm what would he say?" She stroked his chest playfully.
"Warn you to run." He laughed. "I have an idea. Let's go out.To dinner. Isn't there a little place in town?" He smiled at her, his heart pounding, actually nervous about what he would ask.
She raised up on one elbow, alarmed."yes.. the White Hart. But, Alex, love, do you think that's wise? You said you can't go anywhere public."
He stroked her cheek, smiling."It's been nearly a month. With no trace of me, the hit team would've pulled out by now.It's safe. Come on... let's go out." He sat up, only slightly stiff. His side not hurting much despite their fierce lovemaking.
A feeling of dread filled her.But she ignored it. "Best shower and dress then." She stood." I... I guess you'll be leaving soon?I have to return to work in a few days. I'm assuming, you'll pick that time to disappear?" She tried to keep her voice even.
He nearly asked her then and there. But he wanted to do this right." We'll talk about it at the restaurant.Let's shower."
Later, after a long and indulgent shower together, they stepped out into the chilly night air.The short drive into Castle Coombe was filled with laughter.Alex was so happy, he could scarcely breathe.They walked into the restaurant, arm in arm. Yet another, of Alex Krycek's biggest mistakes.
A man at the bar watched them. He studied them closely. Had Krycek been himself, the old self, he'd have spotted the surveillance. As it was, the man went unnoticed.They ate their dinner, laughing and joyous. The man almost felt sorry for them.But he had his orders.
"Oh, God, Alex! Yes! Yes!" She cried, as he asked her to go away with him. "I love you!"
"You need to really think this through,Larissa. I can hide. But someday, they might find us. We'll have to move every couple of years. You have to break all ties with any friends or family, NEVER seeing them OR contacting them again.And... hear me well, IF they ever find me, you could die.I'm serious.Can you, ARE you, sure you want to live that way?" He held her hands in his , scared of the answer, hopeful.
"Alex Krycek, I've lived with danger and fear this entire month. Yes, I can live with it.I want you. And you NEED me. Without me in your life, we both know what will happen.I'm positive." She smiled at him.
"We leave in the morning. You'll have to travel light. When we settle, you can buy more art supplies. We have to leave without a word to anyone.Nogoodbyes." He looked at her.
She felt sad at that. There were people she wanted to see one last time. But he knew best. If she was going to trust him, she had to trust him fully. They left happily. Never seeing the man trailing behind them. In the parking lot, Alex kissed her, deeply.The man hid in the shadows.He followed, with his car lights off, as they made their way back to her cottage for the last time.He parked a good distance away, watching, waiting till the lights went off. Then he picked up the cell phone, and dialed, his binoculars never leaving his face, eyes trained on the house."It's me." He replied into the phone." You were right. Krycek's alive. Some British dame's been taking care of him. I spotted them in a restaurant.I think, he's planning to leave tomorrow, with her from the looks of it. They've gone to bed.What do you want me to do?" There was a long pause."Ok.. I'll wait for the team.Just as long as they get here by morning."He settled in,it would be a long night. Come morning, he'd be back in the states.
The alarm blared. Making them jump.They dressed happily, excited by the journey ahead, a journey that would be far different from what either expected."Come on ,Riss!" Alex called. "We need to go, NOW!" He was in the living room. He checked his gun, reminding himself to get more ammo. And to teach Larissa how to use one.He glanced out the window at the rising sun, smiling. Then the smile fell away. He looked again. In the distance! Movement! He rushed to the other window.It was the same. He cursed in russian, ran to the bedroom, grabbing Larissa. She jumped.He placed a finger to his lips.
"Wh... what is it?" She whispered.The look in his eyes scared her. The old Alex was there.
"Death, if you don't do EXACTLY as I say." He whispered." A hit team is outside. We're surrounded. Do only what I tell you. Do NOT argue or question. Follow my orders, we'll survive.Understand?"
She nodded."But... how.. did they find us?" She forced herself to remain calm. He needed her to be strong. If she could not follow his instructions now, she'd never be able to handle this kind of future with him.
"I'll explain, later.After I ... after it's over." He cocked the gun, his face devoid of emotion.
"Alex, do whatever you have to do, to keep us alive. It will not change my love for you."She looked into his eyes.
"That's good to know. None of them can live.Can you shoot a gun? Have you ever used one?" He looked her over, studying her strengths and weaknesses.She shook her head no.He swore, in english. "Ok, listen to me.You will have to shoot, have to kill.No way around it.I'll get you one from the first man I kill. Aim for the head, only the head. Since you don't know how to shoot, aiming anywhere else will sign your death warrant.Can you do it?It's us or them."
She took a deep breath, forcing down her fear. "When you put it like that , yes. I won't let you down."
"Good. We need to get out of here. Follow me.Just in case... " He looked at her," I love you,Larissa." He kissed her,then took her hand.They made their way out of the cottage.She stayed behind him, against the wall, waiting. They heard footsteps. Larissa's heart beat madly. She struggled to stay focused. From this moment on, her life would never be the same.Alex flattened his back against the wall, she did the same.He had taken a knife from the kitchen, and held it now, in his left hand.She didn't need to ask what it was for.He shoved the gun into his waistband. The man rounded the corner slowly.
Alex reacted with lightening precision. He reached out with his good hand, placing it over the guys's mouth. Before the man could respond, he was dead.Alex wiped the bloody knife on the man's shirt, and shoved into his waistband. He drew his gun, and unarmed the dead assassin.He turned to Larissa, showed her silently where the safety was, made sure it was off. Showed her how to cock it, the turned it over, handing it to her butt first.She fought down the nausea, not looking at the body. Focused on his silent instruction, and nodded. The gun felt strange in her hand.Krycek guided her around to the otherside of the cottage.He pressed her against the wall, whispering oh so softly into her ear.
"You stay right here. No matter what you hear, what you see, keep your back against that wall. Check constantly left to right.If you see anyone other than me, aim for the head only, and shoot to kill.Do not hesitate. If you do, you will die.Understand?" He stared at her. Pleased to see she was nowhere near to breaking down.
She nodded. Tightened her grip on the gun. He smiled a cold deadly smile, and left. What was happening to her? This situation terrified her, yet.... yet... she understood now, the thrill he got from this.And that worried her. The rush, the adrenaline, it was addictive.She heard a shot, jumped. Worried that it was Alex.Then forced herself to relax. The memory of that kill moments ago reassured her. He could take care of himself. She stayed focused, prayed, and looked about as he had instructed.More shots. Some one yelled, not Alex.Then she heard him yell. Something about " the old bastard must be slipping." She wondered who.There were more shouts, and more gunfire. She was dying to look.Then, off in ther distance, she saw Alex, close to the entrance to the drive.He saw her but didn't acknowledge her. Larissa understood that meant there were more.But how many? She cursed herself for not counting shots. Alex had told her during their talks that hit teams usually consisted of groups of six. Meaning there had to be two or maybe three left? She didn't know. Something caught her eye. She watched. Dear God! There was a man, stalking Alex. He didn't see him! Alex had his attention focused on something or someone else.He had no idea of the man coming up behind him. He'd be within firing range any minute. She started to shout, then stopped. If she yelled, they could both die.What to do? She was frantic.Then his words came to her....' You will have to shoot, have to kill.... can you do it?.... It's us or them.'......She took aim, for the head, forcing herself to be calm, arms extended, she slowly squeezed the trigger.
The man went down, dead. Alex whirled. He searched terrified at what that shot meant, saw her standing, looking sick. She looked at him, horrified, screamed his name. He dropped to the ground ,rolled and shot, in the direction she'd stared. Larissa ducked down,waiting.
The man went down with one shot. Alex lay there waiting, looking about.He had binoculars. Larissa guessed he'd gotten them off one of the team. All was silence, for what seemed an enternity.Slowly Alex scanned the area. Nothing moved.He got to his feet. And cautiously made his way to Larissa.She was staring at the body when he arrived.One look at her , and he knew... knew that for people like him, dreams never came true.Not the good ones anyway.He knelt down, touched her cheek.She stared up at him, numb.
"I know what you're feeling. I've been there. The only comfort I can give you is this... it had to be done.Us or them. You had no choice." He kissed her softly.She was trembling.
Larissa found her voice. It was shaky." How do you do it? How do you live with it?"She searched his face.
He was wrong. Alex Krycek was not meant to lead even a semi normal life. He would never place her in this danger again.He forced the tears from his voice.Forced the old coldness into it." It's gets easier, with every kill. Every time you do it, you feel it less. Until one day, you do it, and feel nothing."
She stared at him."Do you feel nothing ,Alex? When you kill, do you feel nothin?."
He dropped his gaze.Refusing to answer.'No more.' ,he thought.It had to stop. He could not allow her to affect him this way anymore.He stood up, pulling her with him."Plans have changed. It's over ,Larissa. I'm leaving without you. I will not pull you into this....."
She cut him off." NO! Alex, NO! I love you... need you, you love me. No, Alex! I don't care, it doesn't matter. Oh, God! Please, don't do this.We can get away. I see the risks. I don't care. I'll do anything, whatever it takes..."
He shoved the gun in his waistband, grabbed her roughly, shook her hard. " Stop it! Listen to me! Listen! You could've died! I WILL NOT take a chance on that again! It's over! If we stayed together and I lost you this way... No, Larissa. I can't..." He pulled her to him, holding her, crushing her to him. They both cried.She begged him to listen. He refused. They argued. But his mind was made up. "Listen to me dammit! I'm leaving. You call the police. Tell them I showed up here.Forced you to hide me. Then they showed up. Got it? Do it that way, and... and HE will never have anyone harm you.It would look too suspicious if he did.Stick to the story. I FORCED you to hide me!"
She was crying, shaking her head," The police won't believe that, not after last night."
"Yes they will. When you give a description, change it enough that I'm not recognizable. I doubt they'll ask. If they do, I arrived AFTER your date. You can do it, Riss. If you can do that," He pointed at the body in the distance," You can do this.You are an incredible woman, Larissa Charles. I believe in you as much as I love you."
"Alex, please. Without me, you'll die inside. Please, we need each other.Don't go without me."She touched his face, wiped at his tears.
"I'm not meant to be alive inside.People like me are needed... needed for the dirty work that keeps people like you safe. I see that now. This is my life. And I must live it alone.Try... TRY to understand."
She did. And she knew life would be empty without him.She said as much, holding him close. Knowing that nothing would change his mind now. Fear gripped her. Her dear Alex would be all alone." The police won't believe I was your hostage. There isn't a mark on me."
Alex crushed her sweet body to his in a searing , passionate kiss. A kiss that would have to last a lifetime.He pulled away, a look of intense sadness and pain in his face. He did not ask forgiveness. He wanted her to hate him now. But inwardly, he cried that her last memory of him would be what he was about to do." There is no mark... yet. But there will be." Before she could understand, he raised his right arm, balled his hand into a fist, and punched her.She went down, unconscious. He cried, as he checked her.Making sure she wasn't seriously hurt. He stroked her face, touched the already swelling eye.He bit back the tears, making certain she was the only one alive. Then walked away.
One month later, Larissa Charles walked up the driveway to her flat in London. Her eye was nearly healed. The swelling long gone. She had sold her cottage. Too many memories of Alex Krycek were there. As she had feared, life was empty now. She worked, rarely painted, after painting a portrait of Alex from a drawing she'd done as he slept. He always refused to let her paint him. She smiled sadly. He loved her art. And would be disappointed that she rarely painted now. But when he left, he left with that passionate side of her.Nothing mattered anymore. She knew he wouldn't want her to feel that way.Indeed, he had tried to turn her against him. But she was no fool.Larissa knew just why he had hit her. And he was right.It convinced the police.But, not her. She turned the key and unlocked her flat, slipping inside. Nights were the worst. Memories of their one passionate night tortured her. Larissa wondered, yet again, when the pain would end.She stopped, worried, smelling smoke.She saw someone standing next to Alex's portrait.Fear filled her. She was unarmed. The man stepped forward, speaking in a soothing voice, cigarette smoke curling around him.
"Don't be afraid. I'm a friend. Of his." He nodded toward the portrait."Alex and I go back a long way."
"Who are you? What do you want? I haven't heard from him." She was on her guard.She glanced around.
"And you never will. Unless you let me help. Don't worry. We're alone.I'm not here to harm you."He puffed on his cigarette.
"What do you want, then?Prove that you know Alex."She didn't move.
"Alex was married once. Her name was Val."He stood, waiting.Seeing that wasn't enough, he told of Alex killing his father." I hated that Alex had to do that. Even tried to help him free Val. In exchange for never mentioning my name of course."
She thought it over. He seemed believable."What do you want?" She was still leery. Yet, Alex said no one knew of Val, except the.... Consortium. Her eyes widened.
"Ah... So he did speak of us.I'm here to help you.I have an offer. I know, as you do, that Alex never forced you to do anything. One of that team was shot, with another member's gun. If my guess is right,you were a good shot. Stayed calm under pressure. We need people like you." He puffed again." Here's my offer.Join us, let us train you. And I guarantee, you WILL be reunited with Alex one day, when the time is right.Alex Krycek needs you. We both know that."
She was silent. "And if I refuse?"Her heart was beating hard in her chest.
He shrugged." Then I leave, you go back to your meaningless exsistence. We've been watching you. Your life has no meaning now. You don't even paint.If that's the life you want... so be it."
"You leave? Just like that? You're not going to top me?" She was actually considering the offer.
"Just like that. I won't harm you." He lied, feeling the gun inside his jacket holster." However,you must understand, this IS a one time offer.Once your decision is made, there is no turning back, regardless of your answer."
"IF I say yes, what will I have to do?"He seemed sincere. And if he was indeed a friend of Alex's, she could trust him.
"Exactly what you did that day.I know what you might be thinking. We didn't send that team. I'd never hurt Alex, never let him be hurt.Join us, and you will travel, and play an important role, in the protection of this planet."He stood, waiting.
So, he cared.She stood thinking, weighing the offer. Alex needed her. She needed him. This man could bring them together. To be sure, Alex would be furious at her for joining. But... if she was in 'the game' as Alex called it... they'd be on equal ground. And hadn't she wished she could help in the war?But could she kill? Snippets of their talks flitted through her mind....
' It's gets easier, with every kill. Every time you do it, you feel it less. Until one day, you do it, and feel nothing.' 'Do you feel nothing ,Alex? When you kill, do you feel nothing?' 'Come away with me ,Larissa.Without you, I'm dead inside.I love you, I need you.My saviour.'
Was it too late for him? He had never answered her.No, it wasn't too late. There was still time.She looked at the man before her."I have your word? Alex and I WILL be together... someday?"
"Yes, when the time is right. As I said, I guarantee it." The man waited, knowing when not to push.
Larissa Charles stepped forward and sealed her fate, beginning her dance with the Devil. "When do we leave?"