Alex Krycek sat in the car, bored, restless.He glanced around once again.If anyone noticed him, they paid him no mind. Slowly, he raised the tiny binoculars yet again, mumbling, " Follow Mulder, see who he meets with. We have to get that disk...... yeah, yeah. God... this guy must be the most boring man on the face of the planet.... Hello. What HAVE we here?" He kept the binoculars raised, as a woman walked up to Mulder. She hugged him affectionately."Ooooo... what would Scully say?" Joked Krycek, studying the woman. He started with her legs, then trailed up the rest of her body." Not bad, kinda short,still young enough... hmmm... this just got better."
Mulder rose from his chair at the outdoor cafe. He smiled in greeting as his companion approached, oblivious to the car down the street. Nina Kensington hugged her longtime friend." Sorry I'm late Fox. Where's Dana?" They sat down, a waiter approached.
" No problem, Nee, Scully couldn't make it.Autopsy." Mulder flashed a grin, knowing the effect that word would have. The waiter took their order, then left.
"Well, there's goes my desire for lunch. Thanks, Fox." She rested her forehead against her fingers, left hand propped up on the table, fighting the wave of nausea that swept through her. " Is it a case you're working on?"
Mulder laughed, recieving a dirty look. " You could say that. I had to get you back somehow.... For always calling me Fox." He explained at her quizzical look.
"It's how your mother introduced you, God, has it really been 5 years? Seems like I haven't known you that long. I do miss your mother." She sipped at the coffee the waiter brought.
"So do I." Mulder's smile faded.
"I'm sorry. Let's change the subject. Tell me about the case." She squeezed his hand.
"You know better than that Nina. Let's change the subject further."
"Really, Fox. You work for the FBI, not the CIA. There are times when you are so paranoid, you make Oliver Stone look normal." She shot him an irritated glance.
"He never worked with the kind of people I do.By the way, this is for you." He pulled a small, square, gift wrapped object from his inside jacket pocket.
From down the street, Krycek sat up a little straighter. The object was the right size. Could it be?If only the Consortium had given him the damn listening device. He watched, waiting.....
Nina started to unwrap it, but Mulder stopped her." Wait till you leave. You know how I am"
" Really, Fox. You go through all the trouble to buy me a birthday present, and rob yourself of the joy of watching me open it. All because you get uncomfortable with the compliments." She shook her head, fingering the gift, itching to open it.
"That's because ,I get so few." Laughed Mulder. " Put it away. I promise, you'll like it. Happy Birthday, Nina." He raised his glass, Nina quickly put the gift in her purse, raising her glass quickly.
"GOTCHA!" Krycek jerked his head back with a grin. Mulder was getting clever. Disguising the disk as a gift. Krycek wondered who the woman was? A friend? Reporter ,maybe? Nah, Mulder was too stupid to go to the press. So, who was she? And how to get the disk. He figured stealing her purse was good. But, that would tip Mulder off. An evil smile spread across Krycek's face. He had a better idea, studying the woman again. " A much better idea." He muttered, as he picked up the cellphone, pressing automatic dial.
" Yeah, it's me. Mulder just handed over the disk." A pause. "I don't know to who. But I will, real soon. The plan's changed. He handed it to some woman. And I know just how to get it." The lecherous tone in his voice made his plan clear. The voice on the phone went up, nearly shouting. Krycek cut him off." Hey! Nobody ever proved that was me! And I got the job done, didn't I? Well.... if she hadn't woke up, she'd still be breathing..... Now , look, with all the crap you people put me through, I deserve to be rewarded...... Sometimes, money isn't enough.......Hey!... Hey! Alex Krycek doesn't pay for sex! I do have my limits... ..Yeah? Well, screw you! When I find out who this broad is, I'll call ya.... maybe." He threw the phone into the passenger seat. " Jackass." He raised the binoculars again.
As their lunch arrived, Nina looked toward her purse twice. To any observer, it would look like a nervous gesture." Would you like me to tell you what it is?" Mulder asked, teasing.
"Noo... don't spoil it! As soon as I get back to the office, I'll open it. I'm assuming, it's something to sooth my stress as I work?" Nina had a wry smile.
" More to keep you awake. You need something to perk you up, dealing with all those scientists everyday. I don't envy you. Well, maybe sometimes." He smiled at her.
" Working at the observatory is FAR from boring.Those astronomers have some intriguing theories. A few, of which, you might like." Nina sipped her coffee.It always annoyed her when others thought her job was boring. Especially men. Far too often, when a man learned her profession, he never called again. It made for a lonely life at times. If I ever met a man who loves what I do, THEN, I'll marry again.
"Sorry, Nee. " Mulder sat forward, lowering his voice." Speaking of those astronomers, have you ever mentioned me, or the X Files?"He looked around discreetly.
Nina stifled a laugh, whispering," No, but if you give the secret password...."
"Funny... very funny." He continued in a low voice, shooting an irritated look at her grin." This is serious. Some friends of mine gave me a disk. It's coded. Is there anyone at the observatory you trust."
Nina took a bite of her salad, trying not to hurt his feelings.A conversation with his mom came back to her. She had explained to Nina what the X Files were about, why Mulder was paranoid.
"Now you know why they call him 'Spooky'.I love him, but sometimes......"
" Fox.... I care about you.Your a dear friend. But Sweetie, this 'aliens are invading' theory is pretty hard to swallow. I can't just go to Robert and say.... Do you really want me to jeopardize my career?" Nina looked at him,pleading.
Mulder nodded slowly." I know how it sounds. But remember, Dad died because of things like this, and Mom... I refuse to believe her death was suicide." Mulder cut her off when she tried to object." Nina, I need this disk looked at. I'm not sure what's on it. But one person is already dead because of it."
Nina's eyes widened," Is that why Dana's doing an au...."
"Yes, it is. Look, I don't want to involve you. Just give me a name, someone you trust. I'll take it from there."
From the car, Krycek watched closely. He was unable to make out their conversation, but he did pick up the word 'aliens' from the woman. That cinched it for him. Whoever she was, she knew how to decode that disk.Yet another plan formed in Krycek's mind. If he could learn the contents of that disk,maybe he break away from the Consortium. Be his own boss again. This woman was the key. She might be a little older then Krycek, but hey, it's been known to happen.And if there was one thing Krycek knew, it was how to play people.
Nina thought a moment. Then let out a sigh. With a tone that said' I know I'll regret this', "Tell you what, I do have a friend, Robert. Let me talk to him. I'll set up a meeting tonight at the observatory, IF he's willing. I'll call you later today and give you a time."
Mulder squeezed her hand,smiling."Thanks ,Nee. After that, you're out of it. And I don't want you there for the meeting." Mulder pulled out his wallet, laid money on the table, then stood up." I need to get back.I'll bring the disk with me tonight. YOU be careful." He kissed her on the cheek.
" You forgot to give me the password." She laughed at his expression." I'll be careful. Relax. I'll call you soon. Bye Fox. Give my love to Dana." She stood, hugged him, then headed for her car.
Krycek started his car, and kept an eye on he woman. After Mulder had drove out of site, he followed her, commiting her licensplate number to memory. After she parked at the observatory, he hit automatic dial again, giving the plate number to the voice at the other end. He got out of the car, and entered the building.
He ducked behind a small crowd as he saw her head for the elevator. Observing the surroundings, he was already forming a plan as to how they would meet. If his theory was right,he'd be inside her apartment within 48 hours,tops.
He listened as she spoke to the security guard at the reception desk.: "Hal, I'm going to have a friend stopping by tonight. I'm not sure exactly when, but it'll be after hours. His name's Mulder, Fox Mulder. Can you put him on the list please?"
The guard smiled at the name, suppressing a laugh.Parents must've hated him. But he acted professional." Yes,Ma'am, Ms.Kensington. I'll make sure my relief knows.By the way, the boss is looking for you."
"Thanks ,Hal. I'll go right up.You have a good day." She smiled, heading for the elevator. Krycek turned away as she passed him.Then walked over to the index, searching for her last name. "Nina Kensington..." He mumbled. "Nice to meet you."
"Can I help you,Sir?" The guard's voice interrupted his thoughts. Krycek turned,looking the guard over. He wouldn't be hard to take down, if it should come to that." Nope. Wrong building." Krycek smiled a deadly smile and walked out. The guard suppressed a shiver, hoping he never encountered the man again.
Nina waited in her office,having yet another cup of coffee. It had been a long day, with no sign of it ending soon. Mulder would arrive shortly. She stood up, paced the small office, rubbing the back of her neck. Some birthday.Another year older. Another year alone.She stared out the window, seeing the past. With a sad sigh, she went back to her desk, back to the only thing she had left- work.
On the street below, Alex Krycek watched, waiting. He'd gotten the information on her earlier in the day, studied it, committing most of it to memory.A momentary lapse in observation as he thought back to his brief stint in the Company. Had he not screwed up,he would be doing far more than watching for some would be defender of the public good. He deserved better. All the dreams he had once. Instead, here he was, a one armed errand boy, never able to realize his full potential. Forever indentured to that chain smoking bastard." Someday... dammit! Someday....." He became alert once more, as a car pulled up. A tall man got out, and walked toward the building." Mulder, you need to learn to lock your door." Krycek muttered in a cocky voice. After Mulder was inside, Kycek walked over to the car. He looked around, the street was deserted.He opened the door, and got in.
"Dr Robert Paulson, my friend, Special Agent Fox Mulder." Nina finished the introductions. Each man stood, sizing up the other.Paulson, too was a tall man. With blonde hair, piercing blue eyes."Nice to meet you, Agent Mulder.Nina explained what this is about. I must say, it's great science fiction. Do you really believe it?"
Mulder shook Paulson's hand, then removed the disk from his pocket." Yes, I do.I'm not sure what's on the disk, but I have an idea. I need you to tell me if I'm right. I also need to warn you against telling anyone else about this. One man is dead.Let's keep it at that." Reluctantly he handed the disk over. Then looked at Nina." This is where you leave,Nee. Time to go."
For the first time, she actually believed him. This did look serious. The past three years of lonliness,of never ending routine rushed through her mind.Just once, I want to LIVE, to experience.... something. " You might need my help. I'm STAYING." Her voice would book no arguement. Against his better judgement, Mulder nodded in agreement. They set about examing the disk.
Over two hours later, no headway had been made." Where did you get this ,again? It might help if I knew the source." Paulson's voice revealed his irritation. Mulder was silent for a beat.
"Three friends of mine gave it to me. They got it from a hacker. The guy had hacked into a computer linked to SETI.He made a copy, mailed it to them. He was found dead today."He glanced at Nina.
Nina's heart beat faster." You think someone killed him?"
Mulder tried to speak gently. He knew how queasy Nina got over these kind of discussions." I don't think, I know. He was shot through the head. Execution style. Judging from the wound, and the type of bullet used, I know who did it. An old 'friend' has returned."
"Friend? Who?" Nina felt her knees weaken at the image of the dead man. Her ability to visualize so easily made her an asset at the observatory. It also made for a sensitive stomach.
"No one you need to know about. He's an old sparring partner. I owe him, if I ever find him again." An image of his father flashed through his mind. Despite Krycek's protests, Mulder firmly believed it was Krycek who pulled the trigger.Fox William Mulder definitely owed him.You one armed son of a bitch.
Dr. Paulson cut in." I'm sorry Agent Mulder. I'm not going to have anything for you tonight. I need to keep this." Mulder started to object." I can make a copy ,Agent Mulder."
Mulder agreed." Alright, but I can't stress enough, the importance of keeping this quiet. Don't discuss this with anyone."
"I'll be as discreet as I can. But I can't promise not to discuss it. I might need help decoding it. However, I won't mention where it came from, or who gave it to me."
" I guess that'll have to do. Are you leaving now, Nina? I can walk you to your car." Mulder offered.
"That's not necessary, Fox. I'll be fine. After all no one know's your here.Right?"
Outside, Krycek waited. Despite his restless manner, he truly had the patience of a cat. He could wait forever, if need be. Hell, he'd waited this long to be free. To set Val Arntzen free. He pushed that thought from his mind with a disgusted sigh. The one mistake that would haunt him forever.He ducked lower as Mulder and the woman came out of the building.Dammit! He thought disgustedly.If he walks her to her car......Krycek thought fast, formulating another plan, just in case. He waited. They talked briefly, she hugged Mulder, then Mulder got in his car and drove away. " Show Time!" Alex Krycek checked his hair in the mirror and got out of the car. Quietly, he followed Nina into the parking lot.....
Nina approached her car, thinking over the night's events. Dr. Paulson was still upstairs working on the disk. He'd urged Nina to go home and get some sleep. In the morning, she would help him. In between her other assignments.The only thing on her mind now, was a long soak in a bubble bath. Too bad it would be alone.As she unlocked the door, it occurred to her that the car wasn't setting right.A quick glance confirmed her suspicion, the right tire was flat." Perfect end, to a perfect day." She sighed. Where the hell would she find a mechanic at this time of night. She jumped at the sound of a loud voice.Then looked around, frightened.
"Sparky!... Here boy! Come on, Sparky! This is the LAST time I let you run free!" A tall, dark haired man came into view. He was dressed in jeans, a dark blue shirt ,and a blue windbreaker.Nina saw he was holding an empty leash. She smiled in sympathy. Nina wasn't a dog lover. And this was exactly why. Dogs were too unpredictable, like men.She laughed at the connection. The man heard her, looked her way. He walked over slowly. Nina tensed. She realised she was alone.
The man spoke. " Hi, sorry if I scared you." He smiled a disarming smile." Have you seen Sparky? My dog. He's about this big, black lab." Krycek gestured, giving his best,'I'm harmless, please help me' look.
Nina looked him over . Something was different about him. Then it hit her. One arm, the left arm, didn't move much. She redirected her gaze, looking into his eyes.And felt her heart skip. God, he was handsome! Yet, there was a look there... something. Was it sadness? He looked to be in his late thirties, maybe early forties. Yet, the look in his eyes showed a weariness that normally wasn't present at that age. She found her voice. It sounded different to her ears." I'm.. uh.. I'm sorry. I haven't seen any dogs."
Alex smiled. Inside he gloated. He noted how her gaze fell on his arm. That would be useful.He gave a disheartened look. His voice sad."oh... Thanks anyway. I don't normally take his leash off. But, I've been away, on business. And my friend didn't take him out much."
" I'm so sorry." Nina relaxed. He seemed harmless enough. And so adorable with that look.She smiled." Why don't I help you look for him?"
Krycek brightened." Would you? I know it's late, I'd really appreciate it.... Hey! Did you know you have a flat? I tell you what, help me look for Sparky, and I'll change your tire.Fair trade?" He extended his good hand." I'm Alex... Alex Krendall."
Nina smiled, and shivered slightly as his hand wrapped around hers. There was something intriuging about this man." Sounds good to me. But will you be able to change that tire alone?"
" Well, it only takes one person to change a tire." He gave her an innocent look.Then waited.
"True. But it does take two hands. Uh.. I mean.. I'm sorry." She sputtered at the hurt look on his face.
Krycek mentally patted himself on the back.Oh, this is TOO easy! He continued to look hurt." It does work somewhat." He raised his left arm,the fingers moved slightly. Then he tested the waters, dropping his voice low, seductive." You'd be surprised at what I can do."
Nina tried to cover the effects of his voice. A very erotic image flashed through her mind. Try as she might, Nina couldn't suppress the small shiver.She couldn't think of anything to say.
Alex moved a step closer, his voice still low." You ok? Would you like my jacket?" Without waiting for a response, he removed it, and placed it around her shoulders.His arms brushing hers in a seemingly innocent gesture. Alex smiled his best seductive smile, voice still low." Better?"
Nina struggled hard to rein in her emotions, which were running wild. She drew a deep ragged breath.Her voice was husky. " Much... thank you..." Her mind went blank.
Alex smiled. He moved closer, in for the kill. He bent his head down as if to kiss her. His lips barely an inch from hers.Then he pulled back, abruptly.Always leave them wanting more, Alex, baby. " Well, then. Let's look for Sparky, shall we?" He held out his hand, deliberately making it the left one.
Nina tried to smooth out her confused thoughts.He's younger than you stupid.,She thought, Get a grip.You're in an empty parking lot with a stranger.Use your head! She cleared her throat. "Wh... What was his name again?"
"Sparky." Alex smiled, purposely letting his cockiness show.
"Aren't you a little old to have a dog named 'Sparky'? She took his hand, surprised at the strength in the false appendage.
" It was a gift. From my last living relative." A lie ,of course. There was no dog. But an image of Val Arntzen flashed through his mind.His hand tightened as his concentration slipped slightly. Her painful moan brought him back. He relaxed the grip a little. Then covered. " Sorry about that.Sometimes, I don't know my own strength." They set about looking for the nonexistent Sparky. Alex was surprised at himself for the momentary lapse. That wasn't like him. He made a mental note to take some time off after this assignment. Whether "They" liked it or not.
Naturally, the search for the dog was in vain. He looked dejected. Nina apologized. He set about changing her tire. Nina was surprised at the deftness with which he worked. In the back of her mind, a warning bell chimed. She silenced it. Telling herself that Mulder's paranoia was rubbing off on her. After all, the poor man had only one good arm. Still, there was something about the catlike grace he moved with. It reminded her of Mulder, in a way. She watched him closely. They talked about her job, why she was here so late. She never mentioned Mulder. But Krycek noticed how she stumbled slightly over her excuse. He was adept at reading people, and she was a lousy liar. He also picked up on her rising suspicions. If he was going to allay them, it had better be soon. As he was tightening the last nut, he deliberately dropped the crow bar, emitting a fake moan, swearing slightly.
Nina bent down, concerned." Alex? What's wrong?"She reached for the crowbar.
"I've taxed this arm too much. It's hard to grip anything now." He panted, rubbing his left shoulder... waiting.
Nina felt guilty for doubting him. The poor man was just trying to help."Show me what to do. Perhaps I can finish it."
Krycek showed her how to tighten the last nut and replace the hubcap. As they placed the stuff in the trunk, he stood close, his voice low." Well, that's done. I know it's late, but... would you join me for a drink?"
Nina's mind screamed,Yes!,but she somehow found the will to say," No. It's late ,Alex. And I have to be at work quite early tomorrow morning." She waited, hoping.
There it was! Briefly in the eyes. The eager look Alex could produce in any woman. He smiled." If you won't have a drink with me, then join me for breakfast? I have to be up early too." She started to protest." You can't work on an empty stomach,Nina. It's not good for you." He smiled at her hopefully, looking adorable, and harmless.
Nina reminded herself of her age, his age.Screwit." When and where should we meet?"
"There's a little place down the street. Barney's. I try to eat there when I'm in town."
A surprised look crossed her face." That's my favorite restaurant!"
"Is it?" He asked, looking innocent, remembering her file." Let's say, 7:30? Is that ok?"
"It's perfect.Well, this has been an interesting birthday." Nina laughed.
About damn time,lady! He thought. Alex had been waiting long for her to mention that. " Is today your birthday? I wish I had known!" He raised her hand, brushing his lips tenderly against the back of it, twice,then looking deep into her eyes." Happy birthday." He uttered something in russian. At her pleased, yet puzzled,look he translated."My beautiful companion." He slowly released her hand. Good grief, the woman looked as if she might faint. Too easy.
Nina breathed deeply."Thank you, Alex. Although, it's after midnight. So, it isn't my birthday now." She knew she was rambling, she tried to focus on something, anything coherent." You speak .. russian?"Good one ,Nee!, she inwardly groaned.
"Yes, I do. My mother was native to Moscow. She taught me. it comes in handy in my line of work." He smiled.
Something about that made Nina a little nervous. She dismissed it." Well, I really need to go." She fumbled with the keys, trying to remove them from the trunk. Alex guided her hand away, and pulled the keys free, handing them to her. He leaned in, almost brushing her lips with his. A thrill raced through him that did indeed surprise Alex. This woman was having an affect he hadn't planned on.Get a grip Arntzen! He pulled back slowly, his voice seductive." Sweet dreams, Nina." He said goodbye in russian. Then turned, and walked away. Nina got in her car, her heart beating wildly. She'd need a sleeping pill, if she wanted any sleep tonight. 7:30 would not get here fast enough otherwise. She shuddered, drew a calming breath, and headed for home.
After she awoke, from a sleep wrought with vivid, erotic dreams, it took Nina much longer than usual to dress. She'd always had great fashion sense. And normally, it didn't take long to decide on the day's outfit.She was a stunning woman, by most standards. And never failed to turn men's heads. But, today, she felt as if nothing fit right. She looked at her watch with a whimper. If she didn't make a choice, NOW, she'd be late. And ,THAT, she didn't want. One last look in the mirror,then she forced herself out the door.
Krycek looked at his watch.Women! He thought with disgust.He knew why she was late. it was the same with every woman he ever made a move on. Except for one... one that he may never see again.Pain washed over him.If only he could go back, rethink that offer. But, there was no going back. Sometimes, it seemed as if there was no going forward ,either. A soft, feminine voice startled him. For the first time in a long time,Alex jumped.
Nina stepped back, her heart racing. The look he flashed her as she whispered hello sent an icy chill down her spine.She'd seen that look once on Mulder, the day he told her his belief that his mother was murdered.A tiny voice in Nina's head screamed for her to run.She hesitated, confused.
Crap! Krycek noted her expression, and thought fast.Kicking himself for that serious lapse. Had she been the enemy, he'd be a deadman right now.In some ways, he did view her as an enemy.He stood with that catlike grace, adopting his best rueful look." Nina! I'm so very sorry. It's been a rough morning. And the day hasn't really started yet." He took her hand, kissed it softly, speaking in russian.
Nina's instincts told her to leave. Her heart told her to stay. As with most women, she listened to the wrong one.She recognized " my beautiful companion", and smiled, her face flushed."It's ok, Alex. I shouldn't have sneaked up on you that way."
You're damn right, you shouldn't., Alex thought. He made a mental note to repay her for that.He smiled gently, indicating her chair opposite from him.They were seated, and exchanged small talk as they ordered. She asked about Sparky. Alex flashed a cheerful grin." Would you believe he was waiting for me at the front door, when I got home?"
"No! Really? After all that, he was at home.I'm so relieved." She smiled, and touched his good hand.
Alex covered it with his left, smiling. "So am I.Sparky means a great deal to me."
Nina smiled, relaxing. A man that loved animals so couldn't be all bad.He certainly had a lot of charm. A silence fell between them. Alex waited, then began to caress her hand gently.Mindful of the amount of pressure he applied. After a beat, she pulled her hand away. He let her do so, dropping his voice to that seductive tone. "You look beautiful this morning. Red is definitely your color. You know... I couldn't stop thinking of you last night, or this morning. You've made quite an impression on me,Nina." He spoke in russian again.
Nina's heart beat so loud in her chest, she thought he must surely hear it.Why did he affect her like this? She wasn't THAT lonely, was she? Nina knew the answer was no. It wasn't just loneliness that was making her react this way. It was as if.... as if he knew what she was thinking, needing. It unnerved her nearly as much as it thrilled her.When she spoke, her voice had a sensual tone that she hadn't used in too long."I was thinking about you as well.You certainly have a way about you, Alex. What did you just say?" My Heavens! I'm flirting! With a younger man, at that!
Alex leaned towards her, fighting the tingle he felt as her sultry voice carressed his name.Ohhh yesss, this was one assignment he would totally enjoy. Again, and again., his mind raced over erotic, kinky images of what he would soon do to her.His voice was sensual,soft." I'm not going to tell you, unless... you have dinner with me, tonight."
Nina could smell his aftershave, mixed with his musky, natural scent. She wanted him... now.But this was going far too fast. She breathed deep.Careful,Nee."Al... Alex, we just met. I don't even know you..... I...."
He laughed, a charming, endearing laugh.And with that, he knew he had her." My name's Alex Krendall, my mother was russian, my dad was chech.. I'm 40, but look a lot younger. I have my own business.I'm a consultant. it pays well, I travel alot.I'm divorced, no kids, one dog..." She laughed, trying to stop him. He went on playfully, actually enjoying this."My favorite color is blue, favorite drink is scotch. I love lasgna, steak, potatoes... ummm. let's see.... Ah, yes! And I think you are one of the most attractive, sensual creatures I've ever met." This last said in that low voice, looking deep into her eyes. He touched her hand again. "What more would you like to know?"
Nina's lighthearted laughter faded as he finished, her breath caught in her throat. She felt she was playing with fire.And suddenly felt it didn't matter if she got burned."Do you know how old I am?" Her voice matched his.
"I don't care. It's been a long time since I felt like this. And you know the saying..... with age, comes experience." He lifted her hand ,turned it over and kissed her palm tenderly.One look at her eyes told him. He'd be in the apartment tonight.A momentary sadness swept through him. After he had the disk, it would be time to go.He'd never see her again...well... if he could slide it past the Consortium, maybe he would see her again.He smiled, lowering her hand.
Nina didn't see the waitress arrive. Alex brought her attention to the food. It spared her from having to reply. She knew, if he asked her later, she'd let him stay the night. Briefly, she wondered just how many women had succumbed to this man. Would she regret being yet another? At the moment, she didn't care.What is the matter with me? This isn't like me at all. Maybe that was why she wanted this.
They began to eat in a comfortable silence. Alex knew just when to push, when to ease off. He prided himself on his timing.His talents were definitely being wasted by the Consortium. If he could unlock that disk, perhaps that could change. Even though she had not yet agreed to dinner, Alex knew she would. He was deciding on the right restaurant, when that song started.Oh not that one! He deliberately had not listened to it for a long time. It caught him off guard.
Nina looked at Alex, at the sadness that clouded his eyes, and her heart went out to him. She started to speak, then stopped. Something about that look. She listened to the song, getting an image of joy, then terrible loss.
So close your eyes.you can close your eyes, it's all right. I don't know no love songs And I can't sing the blues anymore........ It won't be long before another day. We're gonna have a good time. And no one's gonna take that time away.......
Alex felt her looking at him. And felt guilt, shame, that he would now use that memory ,of all memories, to help the Consortium.No! Not the Consortium. ME! To help me.... us! Someday.......
He kept his voice low, let the tears he felt be heard.Forgive me,Val....."Go ahead, ask."
"You looked so sad. Who was she?"Nina touched his hand.
He shook his head. It was rare that Krycek ever felt dirty. He felt it now.But, the game must be played. And Alex Krycek always played to win." I'd rather not say. It was someone dear to me. That was, " our song'. But, that someone is now lost to me. Forever, it seems." He dropped his gaze. A tear slid down his cheek. Even he didn't know if it was part of the game, or a real emotion.
Nina struggled for the right thing to say. She squeezed his hand, silent. Then made a decision." Alex, about dinner. Would my apartment do? I'm an excellent cook."
Inwardly, he gloated. It was worth it. He raised his head, smiled." I'll bring the wine."
After breakfast, Alex walked her to her car. He bent his head as if to kiss her. Once again, he pulled back at the last moment, inwardly smiling at her slight moan of disappointment.He took her hand, kissed her palm, and bid her goodbye in russian once more.He got in his car. This needed to be cemented, fast. She was no fool. Given enough time to think or worse, talk to Mulder, she'd figure it all out. He drove to the House, as he called it. Mansion was closer, ornate, opulent. Krycek hated the place, for many reasons.The butler showed him. He wasted no time.
"I need two hundred dollars, for expenses. Now." He stood, alert, ready for anything. Once before, in this monster's presence, he'd let his guard down. Krycek never made the same mistake twice.
Smoke curled into the air." And a good day to you ,Alex. I'm well, thank you, as well as I can be. Why do you need the money? We do have to keep track."
Alex grew impatient." I need it to seal the relationship with Kensington. A dozen long stem red roses should do it."
" Yes, that should. So, things are going that well, are they? You always did have a talent for that. I'm sure you can manage , without the roses , however. Request denied." He enjoyed doing that. As much as he wanted the disk, he wanted Krycek to fail. If it were up to him, Alex Krycek would never draw another breath. Maybe, someday, it would be. He drew on his cigarette, exhaling slowly.
Alex took a step forward, controlling the urge to wipe that smug look off his face." You owe me. Do you want that damn disk, or don't you? The longer it takes, the less likely you'll actually get it."
He snuffed out the cigarette butt.Then looked up at the face of his enemy." What makes you think I owe you?"
Krycek gave a look of cold, murderous hatred.His voice was just as cold." Val Arntzen"
He paused, in the middle of lighting another cigarette.Not meeting Krycek's steely gaze." You'll get it before you leave. Plus a bonus. Get an expensive bottle of wine. Might as well enjoy yourself,Alex."
And one day, you'll get yours.You cancer eaten son of a bitch!, Alex thought. Without a word he turned away, heading for the door. It took all his will power to keep from trembling with the rage that welled up within him.After tonight, perhaps things would change.
Nina leaned over Robert Paulson's desk. It seemed hopeless. Try as they might, they could not crack the code. There were few clues as to what this disk contained. She stood up, sighing, and rubbed her eyes."I just don't know, Rob.maybe it's a hoax."
"Why would someone kill over a hoax?" He stretched in the chair, tired, frustrated." We might be sitting on the most important find in astronomy. And we have no idea what it is!"
"Perhaps the person who killed, doesn't know it's a hoax?" She offered.
"OK. Then why go to the trouble to create such a tough code? And how did they do it? This is like nothing I've ever seen. There's no match whatsoever in our computer banks. No. This is real.I'm beginning to think Mulder is right.... I'm beginning to think, no one on this planet created it."
"Oh, Robert! Not you, too? That's crazy. I'm sorry, but I can't believe that an alien race did this. There's got to be another explanation" Nina shook her head.
" Nina, WHY do you find it so hard to beli...." He was cut off by a knock on the door. He clicked off the screen quickly." What is it!?" He barked.
His secretary peered in cautiously. Years of working with Paulson had taught her to be leery." I'm sorry Dr. Paulson. But there's a delivery, for you Dr.Kensington."
Nina looked from one to the other, shocked. She hadn't ordered anything. "Me? Are you sure?"
A deliveryman entered, carrying a large, elegantly displayed vase of long stem red roses. Nina couldn't remember when she'd seen roses such a deep ruby red. She couldn't remember when she'd been given roses, period.She muttered her thanks, tipped the man, and looked for a card.
Paulson whistled." Is there anything you'd like to tell us ,Nee? Seeing anyone?" His secretary smiled.
"Well, .. I ... did meet someone... recently." She read the card:
She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that's best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes
Underneath the poem:
I finally understand what Byron meant.I'll be at your place around 7.
She stared at the card, reading it over and over. Her heart beat madly, her breath shallow. She forced herself to breath. Fought to regain her senses. Yet again, she read the card, studying every word, commiting it, and the handwriting to memory, smiling broadly, her face flushed. " It's from a friend." She smiled, not meeting their gaze.
"Some friend." Muttered the secretary.She lightly touched the expensive flowers.
" When a man gives a gift like that, he wants more than just friendship." Paulson observed.
"I certainly hope so." Nina smiled, shocking them into silence.Her laugh, the only sound heard.
Later, Nina paced, her voice agitated, the phone pressed to her ear." I AM sorry, Fox! But I just can't work with you and Robert on that disk tonight. I'm leaving in ten minutes." There was a pause." Because I have a date. A date!" she repeated."You know. You go out with a member of the opposite sex, who is more than just a friend, or at least wants to be. I realize this pales in comparison to tracking down aliens, but you should try it sometimes."
Mulder stifled a laugh. If she only knew!" I'm glad you have a date ,Nee. I really am. But... couldn't you postpone...." She cut him off quick.
"No. I can't, and I won't.Goodnight, Fox. And good luck. I'll resume my examination of the disk tomorrow." She replaced the cordless phone in it's charger, placed Alex's note in her purse, and left, early. Alex's ramble floated through her mind,I love lasgna, steak, potatoes...... She stopped at the market, getting everything she needed for a romantic italian dinner.
Krycek stood outside her door, holding a very expensive bottle of wine, indeed.He smiled an evil, leering grin. Tonight would be one for the books.He shifted gears smoothly as he rang the doorbell , an innocent smile on his face.And for once, he was the one speechless.
Nina stood in the doorway, a red silk dress hugged her frame. Her long hair fell gracefully about her shoulders. Her legs shapely in the silk stockings. Krycek wondered briefly if they stopped at the thigh. He stared at the high heels, then let his gaze travel slowly back up to her red, moist lips.He tried to speak,and failed.
Nina gave a silky, seductive laugh. " I'm glad you approve. You did say I look good in red."She moved aside, to let him in.
Krycek recovered, walked in , the scent of her perfume alone was enough to arouse him.He found his voice. It wasn't deliberate that the tone was sensual, this time." No, Nina, you look seductively smashing in red." He leaned in close, his lips grazing her cheek. Then forced himself to pull back. He wanted her to the point of nearly begging him to kiss her. Alex handed her the bottle.
Nina closed the door, and stared at the wine. He was playing havoc with her senses. The vintage finally dawned on her."Alex! Oh, my....." She looked up, into beautiful hazel eyes. Oh, how the sight of him took her breath away.
"Does that mean you're pleased? It's from my private stock. Wine collecting is a hobby of mine." He looked around, wondering where the disk was.
She entered the small kitchen area, her back to him."Very pleased. What an interesting hobby." She uncorked the wine, allowing it to breath." Dinner is nearly ready. Why don't you pick some music for us."
Krycek scanned over the CD's. She had great taste, but his toughts were on only one disk.Where would she hide it? "Everyone needs a hobby." He replied absently." Any requests?" His eyes fell on a disk, his heart beating faster. He recognized Mulder's handwriting.Not bad, Mulder. Disguising it as a regular CD. He was impressed. Nina came up behind him. This time, he knew she was there.
"Ummm, not that one, Alex." She took Mulder's CD and set it down.
Alex fought the urge to beam with success.He kept his voice level." Why not?"
" A friend made this for me. It's a bit too... energetic for an evening like this.Try this one." She handed him a Frank Sinatra CD.
Krycek smiled softly," Ol Blue Eyes works for me." The smile dropped suddenly as she went back to the kitchen.With a swiftness borne of intense practice, he slipped the CD from it's case, and pocketed it in a protective sleeve within his inside jacket pocket. He released a sigh. Now he could enjoy the rest of the evening. he considered it a reward, for a job well done.
Dinner was a success. He had to admit, she was a hell of a cook.After they cleared the dishes away, he played another Sinatra CD, poured Nina another glass of wine, and stood close to her, his eyes showing the desire he felt.He took a sip from her glass, then holding it to her lips, whispered," Drink." Nina sipped lightly, feeling lightheaded, but not from the wine, alone.
Alex set the glass down." Dance with me." He took her into his arms, feeling the heat of her body, the softness. He moaned , soft and low.Nina slid her arms around his neck, in her heels she was nearly his height. She leaned closer. This time, with their bodies swaying to the haunting sounds of Sinatra's silky voice, Alex bent his head to hers. His lips brushed lightly over her warm ,moist lips, his tongue slid forward, outlining her lips, he pressed gently. She parted her lips to let him in. Alex pulled her to him hard, pressing his body tightly against her. She moaned. He pressed harder, deepening the kiss, his tongue expertly searching the moist heat of her sweet mouth, his own need rising within him.It was hard to say who issued the low, lustful moan, but they both responded to it.
Her fingers toyed with his dark, silky hair. Alex shivered with pleasure, whisper his consent against her mouth.His hands slid down her back, dragging the zipper with them. He slid the dress off her shoulders. It feel to the floor with a sensual flutter. He stood looking down at her, drinking the sight of her. The gaze made her blood run hot in her veins.His eyes traveled the length of her body. His stare leaving a burning trail just as his hands had done.He looked deep into her eyes. Should he try? After all, if he was to really enjoy this.... but would it scare her? He doubted it.He stood closer, his voice barely above a whisper." Do you trust me, Nina?"
Her reply was more of a moan then a word."Yesss..." With that, Alex removed the red tie from around his neck, and placed it around hers. " Follow me." He led her to the bedroom that way. Once there, he guided her to the bed, gently pushed her down, then hovered over her, whispering how beautiful she was, how she aroused him, how she would not be sorry. He kissed her deeply, once, twice, with each kiss, he lowered himself against her, only to raise back up. Nina was going wild. Each time she could feel his need, the searing hardness through his trousers.She arched up, he moaned his mock objections. Kissed her once more, deeply, passionately. He sensed she was ready. With a seductive grace, he slid the tie from around her neck, before she knew what was happening, he had bound her hands above her with the tie. She started to object. He slid his hand over her mouth with a gentle caress, lowering himself against her, his voice a silky touch," Shhh....trust me. You'll like it. I won't harm you... just relax... just feel.... just enjoy......" His hands played over her body, Nina's passion grew. Her fear forgotten as he swept her away on a rising wave of intense passion. Her body quivered, he laughed, low and silky. As his touch traveled the length of her body repeatedly, she twisted beneath him, her body begging for more. He denied her, only to then grant her requests. Touching where she begged to be touched. She tugged at the silken tie, it excited her. Alex laughed again, a cruelty in his voice now, cruelty coated in sultry , seductive need. A need that rivaled her own. His carresses became slightly rougher. Her need rose, her fire burned. Soon both were naked, panting, their passion, their hunger now beyond all ability to speak. He stared deep into her eyes, no longer disguising the cruelty , for as he planned, it excited her beyond words to now see that side of him. Her body could take no more teasing. He knew he couldn't either. Yet, he held back, till she begged him to take her. And so he did, hard, rough. They cried out their release together.
The alarm blared. Nina groaned, reaching blindly to shut it off.She stretched, smiling as the nights wildly erotic events flooded her mind. She thought over the things they'd done. Things she'd never done before, or even imagined she'd do. A mixture of a sigh and a moan escaped her lips. She realized the bed was empty just as Alex sat beside her.He was already dressed.He leaned over her, kissed her deeply."Goodmorning." His voice was low.
"You're leaving." It was a statement, her voice flat.
He smiled. " I have a VERY important meeting this morning. Being late is NOT an option." Something flashed in his eyes. It sent the warning bells off again. And again, she ignored them.Alex spoke again, he was a bundle of restless energy." Dinner tonight. Barney's?" She nodded." Great! I'll be here at 6:30. Sharp. Be ready. We are going to celebrate!" He drew out celebrate as he spoke. A huge grin on his face. Something about it bothered her.
"Celebrate what, Alex?"She sat up.
"Freedom, my darling Nina! FREEDOM!" He stood up. For a moment ,she thought he might dance around the room, such was his enthusiasum." Tonight, we'll pull out all the stops! Champagne, cavier! Anything you want! I mean it!" He pointed at her, walked over, kissed her again." But now, I have got to GO! 6:30. Sharp. I like punctuality. Bye!" With that, the whirlwind that was Alex was gone.
She sat there, dazed, confused.He never gave her the chance to ask," Freedom from what?" Nina shook her head. She was missing something. And it disturbed her greatly.As she thought back over various parts of their conversations, something seemed off. A growing suspicion nagged at her. She thought about mentioning him to Fox, maybe he could have Alex checked out. As she showered and dressed for work, she changed her mind. How would she explain losing her head over a younger man? And so rapidly. As she headed for work, she felt that perhaps dinner tonight was a bad idea.
Alex pulled up in front of a two story house.He was grinning from ear to ear. He'd meant what he said to Nina. Tonight, they'd celebrate freedom. After all, thanks to her, he would at long last have an upper hand with the Consortium. He was in a position to break free. Be his own man again. And maybe, get Val back.Or at least give Val back her life. Even if that life was without Alex, for how could Val ever forgive Alex for what he'd done? He pushed that from his mind, as he got out of the car, looking around carefully. He had to admit, Nina had got to him. He liked her, more than he'd liked any woman in far too long. It wouldn't... couldn't last for long, but for however long it did, he'd see to it she was happy. The coast was clear. He entered the house.
"Here it is. Nothing fancy. Just tell me what it is." Alex handed the disk to the well paid hacker.He hated paying the geek out of his own pocket, but loyalty wasn't cheap.
The young man, in his early twenties, took the disk and examined it." Music to STIR the Savage Breast. Cute." He placed it in the CD-Rom drive.
"Spare me. I know what the title says. Just tell ME." Alex's voice betrayed his anxiety. He stood over the hacker, waiting.
The hacker thought,briefly, of hitting Arntzen up for money. Then reconsidered. The memory of the gun that had once been used to emphasize the danger of crossing Arntzen flashed through his mind. He closed the CD-Rom drawer." OK, here we go.
Both men jumped as the strings of a raucous guitar filled the air. Alex stared in disbelief." What did you do!" He yelled.
The hacker lowered the volume."Nothing! I haven't touched a thing!" He stared at the screen. The Mediaplayer came on. Not what he expected to see.He began to sweat.
Alex stared at the screen." What the fuck is that?" He pointed." THAT should not be there!" Alex was livid. He grabbed the hacker by the collar with his left hand, not caring if there was too much pressure.He pulled out his gun, cocked it,pointing at the hacker's face." So help me, if you are screwing with me...." Murder shone hot in his eyes.
The hacker held up his hands, terrified." I swear, I don't know what's going on! You saw me! That's the disk you gave me, man! Th... that's .. that's what's on it!"
Alex 's gaze traveled from the hacker, to the screen. " It's the wrong disk." His voice was small, defeated.He released the hacker. Then yelled," It's the wrong disk! That bitch!" He turned away from the screen, then back again. Had she known? Was she on to him? He knew she was smart. Has she told Mulder? Alex turned an angry gaze on the hacker, who just sat there, vowing, silently, that if he made it out of this alive, he'd find a new line of work. Alex aimed the gun at his head.The hack closed his eyes, his breathing shallow, fast."One word... one WORD to anyone about this, it'll be your last." Without waiting for a response, Alex was gone.
The hacker slumped forward, started to ask him about the disk, and thought better of it. He jumped up, grabbed a suitcase. He'd always wanted to go to the Bahamas, now seemed a damn good time to go.
Krycek deftly picked the lock on Nina's apartment, slipping inside unnoticed. After he'd calmed down, Alex realised, she didn't suspect him, yet. If she had talked to Mulder, Alex wouldn't be breathing right now. Therefore, he searched the apartment carefully, taking care that nothing looked disturbed.He didn't want his cover blown. He had all day. She'd be home early, to get ready for dinner. But not that early. And the Consortium wasn't expecting his call yet. He had time. Krycek searched slowly, methodically.
Nina found it hard to concentrate on anything. Thoughts of Alex, their wild night of passion, and that nagging feeling warred within her. Nina's powers of observation were analizing every detail she could recall about Alex. And the details didn't come together like they should. If he ate at Barney's so often, why had she never seen him? The restaurant was a good size, but not so big that she'd have never noticed him. And a man as sexy as that rarely went unnoticed, if ever. She walked into her office, looking at the flowers. She recalled the note, word for word.Was he just a man who liked older women? Or... was he something more?She thought of the grace with which he moved, the way he carried himself. Always glancing around, taking notice of every detail in his field of vision.And there was that disturbing moment at their breakfast date. She was so focused on that when Mulder walked in. He hugged her and she jumped, emitting a sharp gasp.
Mulder backed up, his hands displayed in a calming way." Easy... easy... I'm sorry Nee. I didn't mean to scare you." He looked worried, then saw the flowers. "Wow!"
Nina drew a calming breath." Dammitt, Fox! Don't do that!" Her eyes followed his."They're from a friend."
"A friend?" He looked at her in disbelief."Right... the date from last night, I take it? So, tell me, young lady, what are his intentions?" Mulder teased.
"I'm not sure.... Forget it. His name's Alex." She offered, as she read his expression." And that's all you need to know. I guess you're here to discuss that disk?" He nodded, still staring at the roses." You came over for nothing, Fox. We just can't get anywhere with it." She smiled an apology.
Mulder looked disappointed. "Nothing? I hoped you'd have something by now."
"I've... we've worked on it all morning. However, Robert has a friend coming today from Oxford. He feels this man might be able to help. Don't worry, he hasn't said where the disk came from. Robert is a man of his word."
Mulder tried to smile. " You never told me, how do you like your birthday present?" He grinned.
Nina shot him a look of mock irritation."It's a little loud, Fox. Too loud for the office. I have it at home." She laughed.
"It's suppose to be loud.That was the idea." He asked her to lunch. They went out the door laughing about the reactions she'd gotten when she played it at the office for the first and last time.
The day passed with agonizing slowness. Finally, it was time to go home and get ready for her date with Alex. Although, she yearned to be in his arms again, she was giving serious thought to canceling the date. She thought of calling him with the lie of working late. Then it hit her.She didn't know where he lived, or even his phone number.She had absolutely no way to contact him. Yet, he knew her adress, work, home phone. She made up her mind to cancel the date.When he arrived, she'd say she didn't feel well.Then pride be damned, she'd call Fox.Nina turned the key, went in the apartment, closed and locked the door. She decided to call Fox first, before Alex arrived. She turned around, to find Alex standing in front of her. She dropped her purse, momentarily frightened." Alex! Jeezz, you scared me to death! Say... wait... how did you get in?" She looked into his eyes, and her blood ran cold.
Alex Krycek had not wanted it to come to this, but he had no choice. He looked at her with the cold hard look reserved soley for work. His sultry voice, when he spoke was devoid of any warmth or compassion."Where's the disk,Nina?"
Nina was frightened and confused."Disk? Alex, I don't under...."
He cut her off, repeating the question, his voice raised ever so slightly.She shook her head confused, and started to back up. His reflexes kicked in. In a flash his left hand was entwined in her hair, pulling hard, forcing Nina to her knees. His other hand deftly produced the gun. He pointed it at her face. it crossed his mind that they were in a mockery of one of several positions from last night.Only this time, neither was happy.He cocked the gun. She stared in fear, and he knew she had no notion of guns. For he had the safety on."I won't ask again, Nina. I want the disk Mulder gave you."
Nina was terrified beyond words. What had she gotten herself into. This man was going to kill her.How... HOW had she been so wrong about him. She tried to break free. He pulled harder. She cried out, staring at the gun, then his face.Yet, in his eyes, briefly was something... then it was gone. At the mention of Mulder's name, a slow, hot realization crept over her, as something Fox said filtered through her fear....
"He was shot through the head. Execution style. Judging from the wound and the type of bullet used, I know who did it. An old 'friend' has returned."
Her voice was a whisper." Dear God... you used me."
"It's a user friendly world, Nina. Get over it. I'mwaiting." His cold voice was like ice water. It helped her focus.
"It's not here." He tightened his grip on her hair briefly, then loosened it slightly." Fox has it!" She cried out in pain, and fear.
"Fox? I like that... Fox... didn't think he let anyone call him that. That's good. Obviously, he cares.Lucky for you. Well, Nina, you my dear are going to help me get that disk.But not here. There's only one way out. Question is, how do I get you out of here, without attracting the wrong kind of attention. And I know you'll try." He thought for a moment. He raised the gun." I'm really sorry, Nina."
One look in his eyes told her he wasn't lying, he didn't want to do it.So, he does care, was her last thought as she felt the pain from the butt of the gun striking her temple.
She woke up ,feeling a stinging sensation in her temple. The smell of antiseptic hung about her. She raised her head with a start, looking around. She was tied to a chair, a gag in her mouth. She seemed to be in a warehouse.Krycek was kneeling beside her, tending the wound he had caused. In his eyes was the warmth she was used to. He spoke softly." Easy... easy. It's ok.It'll be sore, but no harm done. I'm professional.It had to be done ,Nina. I carried you out, saying you'd fallen, hit your head. Nothing like the sight of a bleeding, unconscious woman to convince people."
Nina glared at him.He went on." Look, either I get that disk, or become a corpse.And I've gone through too much for that. I did what I had to do.I'msorry." He applied the small bandage as he spoke. Nina cursed herself that her body responded to the gentle touch of his fingers.He noticed it too, and gently caressed her face. She hated that it relaxed her slightly. He bowed his head, then raised it slowly, forcing the hardness back into his eyes. He had a job to do.Alex stood up, grabbed the gun.
"I need you to help me make a phone call. So, I'm removing the gag. There's only one rule. And it's an easy one to remember. You scream, you die.Do you understand me?" He spoke with deliberate slowness, nodding his head slowly. Nina nodded with him." Good. Do you believe I will shoot you?" She nodded." Good girl. Do as I say, and you'll live through this." He removed the gag.
"Fuck you, you rat bastard." Nina hissed.
He laughed, admiring her courage. " Sweetheart, I would LOVE to try and recapture last night's intense passion. But we haven't got time.I need that disk, and the clock is ticking." He picked up the cell phone, smiling at her pluck. If only things were different.He dialed the number from memory." Hello, Fox! How are you?" His voice cocky. "Ooooo such language, do you really kiss Scully with that mouth? Keep that up and I'll start to think you don't like me." There was a pause. Despite herself, Nina almost smiled." Well, you know ,'Foxy' I do believe that's anatomically impossible, but hey! I'm willing to try anything once!" Another pause."Listen, I'd just love to stand here and discuss your twisted notions regarding foreplay, but I have someone here who is just... DYING to talk to you." He put the phone to Nina's ear," You're on." He told her.
Nina's voice was shaky," Fox... Fox I'm sorry... I'm so sorry." She heard Mulder shout her name as Krycek pulled the phone away. " Now, I shouldn't need to explain. But, you can be so THICK sometimes. So listen closely.Bring the disk, the correct disk here to me. 2210 Riverside. It's a warehouse. Come alone. Scully's a better shot than you are. You have ten minutes." He hung up, and looked at Nina.
Mulder slammed down the phone, raced out the door. Moments later, Scully came in with dinner. Take out ,again. "Ok, Mulder. You owe me 7.50.She looked around at the empty office, sighing. " I hate it when he does that." She plopped his dinner on his desk, sat down at hers, and started eating. What else could she do, except pray he was ok.
Krycek holstered the gun."It'll be over soon." One way or the other,he thought sadly.
"Alex, please... don't hurt him." Nina pleaded.She suddenly believed that Alex would not harm her.
"That's up to Mulder, Nina." He kneeled down, again.Why am I about to say this?,he wondered." Nina, I never wanted to hurt you. Yes, I used you.But we both enjoyed last night. There was a connection there. Every compliment I gave you was true.Never doubt that. I do not want to kill you. But if I'm forced to choose.....I had hoped to see you again... and again." He stood up, turned away.
"Who was she?" Nina waited. Alex looked back, confused.
"Breakfast. That song?" She looked at him. When he didn't answer,"You owe me an explanation."
"I don't owe you a damn thing." He sighed. " Her name was Val.I made a deal, a stupid deal.And I may never see her again"His tone conveyed that he'd say no more.
"I forgive you." Was all she said. He turned away, silent.He didn't want her to see the effect it had on him. A motion sensor went off. Alex silenced it, pulling out his gun, aiming at her head.She started to repeat her plea about Mulder."I'll try." He whispered.They both looked toward the sound of the approaching footsteps. Alex stood beside her.
Mulder walked in slowly, his eyes glared in hatred when he saw Krycek standing beside Nina, gun pointed at her head."Let her go."
Krycek shook his head."Uh uh. No way, man.One false move, I'll shoot her. And you know I mean it.With two fingers remove your gun and kick it over here to me.NOW."Nina wanted to tell Fox he wouldn't shoot. But there was always a chance that he might.
Mulder reluctantly did as told.Krycek nodded."Now the other one." He motioned toward Mulder's ankle.Damn! He remembered. Mulder removed it, kicked it over.
"Good. Nice to see you've learned to listen.Now, remove the disk.Hold it up, with two fingers. If you drop it, she dies."He held the gun steady.
"You're getting redundant, Krycek. Can't come up with anything original? Guess you need that cigarette smoking bastard to talk for you.....I'll find you." Mulder removed the disk, holding it up. He wondered if Krycek had learned of the copy.
"Now who sounds redundant?Place it gently on the floor, slide it over." Krycek waited.
Mulder shook his head. " I'm not stupid."
"That's debatable." Krycek countered." Don't mess with me, man. Do it."
Mulder stood still." Release Nina first."
Krycek laughed." On second thought, the debate's over. Just what do you take me for? Give me the disk.Then, I'll let her go."
"Right. like you let my father go? You'll shoot her.Like you did my father."
Nina stared at Krycek. Surely not! She looked at Mulder.
"Look I don't have time for this crap." He pressed the gun against her head." I didn't kill your father. But I WILL kill her."
Mulder put the disk down, slid it across the floor.
Krycek bent don carefully, and picked it up. At last! He looked at Mulder."Is there a copy?"
Mulder and Nina answered at the same time.Mulder's response was negative."No."... "Yes."... "NINA!" Mulder shouted.
Krycek looked at her." There's a copy? NOW you tell me there's a copy?!"
Nina stared at Kyrcek." Well, you never gave me the chance! You never asked. You conked me on the head before I could tell you!"
Mulder stared in confusion." Uh, Nee? What the hell's going on?"
"SHUTUP!" They both answered." Where is it,Nina?" Kyrcek asked calmly.
"Don't tell him!" Mulder shouted.He stepped forward."He'd sell out his own mother,if it'd save his lying ass!"
Krycek turned toward him, the gun aimed back and forth between her and Mulder. Mulder stopped, waiting. Krycek looked at Nina, yet kept an eye on Mulder."Where, Nina?" He had visibly flinched at Mulder's words.
Nina looked from one to the other. She didn't know what to do. She knew she didn't want a collegue to die." If I tell you, Alex, promise, you won't hurt who has it. We NEVER learned anything from it. The code is too hard to crack."
"No it's not. If you have the key." Krycek responded. They both stared at him.Nina understood his excitement from that morning.He smiled at her." I won't hurt him. I just want the copy."
"Don't believe him, Nina! He's lying! DON'T do it!" Mulder yelled.
"Fox, no more. No more death, no more threats. It has to end." She looked at Krycek, whispering, Mulder couldn't hear," This will free her?" "Maybe." Krycek mouthed, silently." My collegue, Dr. Robert Paulson has it."
Mulder swore violently. He had been so close... so DAMNED close.
Krycek smiled at Nina." You're a hell of a woman.Never forget that." He looked at Mulder. "Time for me to go. One last thing.Give me your cell phone. Do NOT argue. Slide it over." When Mulder had done as told, Krycek aimed his gun at it, and fired.The cell disolved into fragments. Krycek leaned over, and kissed Nina deeply, quickly."I'm sorry. I'm really sorry." He whispered. The he stood straight, took careful aim at Nina, and fired.
Mulder screamed running forward. Krycek ran as if the Devil himself was at his heels.
Three days later, Nina sat on the edge of the hospital bed, buttoning her blouse. The wound was healing. Her shoulder was stiff, but better.She slipped into her shoes as Mulder and Scully walked in.
Mulder smiled, picking up her bag. " Ready?"
She nodded." Yes. Fox, I'm sorry. I....."
Fox hugged her gently." It's ok, Nina. If I'd told you about Krycek, this wouldn't have happened. At least you're ok."
"And amazingly, Dr.Paulson's ok." Scully replied.
"Despite what you both think, Alex wouldn't have killed him, or me..."
Scully cut her off," Nee, he did try to kill you!"
Nina shook her head."Dana, he shot me in the shoulder.On purpose."
Scully objected." Nina, Krycek's a killer. He only cares for one person, himself. That's all that matters to him. He hit you in the shoulder because he was scared, in a hurry to get away. Had he taken better aim, you would be dead."
Nina stood up. She knew better. But let it go. Whatever the full history was between them and Krycek, it prevented them from seeing the other sides to his personality.They saw her to her apartment, stayed briefly to make sure all was well.Then left.Nina walked into the kitchen to prepare some coffee, when there was a knock at the door. Her heart pounding hopefully, she rushed to it. As she opened the door, her eyes fell on a small basket on the floor. A big red bow was tied to it's handle elaborately. In the basket was a black lab puppy.She uttered a small laugh, as tears welled in her eyes.She removed the note from the bow. And recognized the handwriting.
Now, you'll never be alone again.
P.S. His name is Sparky
She let the tears flow. Yet, joy filled her being. She picked up the basket, smiling at the tiny treasure. He whimpered."Hello, Sparky.Welcome to your new home." The door closed behind her as she went inside.
Alex Krycek Arntzen stepped from the shadows, and stared at her door.I will never let them harm you.Alex Krycek never makes the same mistake twice.,hethought.With a sad smile, he turned and walked away. Humming the one song he thought he'd never want to hum again.