Alex Krycek had a secretary. But then, so does everyone. What made his special was that he retained her despite a year long absence during which he was branded a traitor and his name ritualistically cursed at quarterly staff meetings. Somehow she had never been reassigned, so she kept on working in her boss's interest. Even the bad guys have bureaucracy. Even the bad guys need office space.
The woman in question wore her smart post-war Chanel knockoff dresses and bullied minor French diplomats for news of her boss's whereabouts. And since he had asked her to begin the project without telling her when to stop, she continued translating a cache of stolen files and marking the potentially exploitable secrets. Nobody told her to stop; nobody told her to do anything else. So when Krycek got himself roped back into the organization, she was there waiting for him, handing him his standard cup of black coffee with a smile and a summary of her efforts.
She still asked him to lift heavy things for her, as if she hadn't noticed the fact that having left the office with two arms, he had returned two years later with only one. He seemed grateful for her intentional ignorance, or at least he stopped leaving his candy wrappers on her desk. His pants pockets crinkled as he wandered past, and she smiled her secret smile.
Krycek used her to best opportunity, handing her unmarked disks and the occasional bloody document with the sure knowledge that she could read pencil handwriting through a red veil of lifeblood. When he disappeared, as he often did for days or even weeks at a time, she would finish up his most recent project and sit reading the cooking section in the New York Times at her desk. She knew enough now not to worry whether he would return.
Their work relationship was a miracle of allowances. A longstanding unspoken agreement kept them together: he never asked for the sexual favors he could have gotten away with demanding, and she never noticed his misuse of the subjunctive, or his passion for creative vulgarity, or his -- I am sorry to say -- his rank inability to bathe on a regular basis. On the whole, it worked out rather well for both of them; where her secretarial colleagues were picking up their bosses' dry cleaning and performing oral sex, she merely employed a deaf ear and a little potpourri.
One fine day in May Alex Krycek strode into his office, dressed in his standard head-to-toe black, after an absence of three months. He was clean and clean-shaven, though a bit thinner than the last time she had seen him. And, of course, he was cursing.
"I hate that bitch," he muttered, even before a hello. She poured him his coffee and smiled at him. He pinked a little and apologized, accepting the cup. He remonstrated: "But she is a pervert, you know."
"This would be the blonde woman with the ridiculous name?" asked the secretary, fully aware that there was only one female operative in the entire organization, now that Diana Fowley was dead.
"Yeah, her," replied Krycek, mangling his pronouns. "She comes and fetches me out of jail, and she's standing there watching me while I shower. She's creepy."
He leaned his hip up against her side table, towering over her. She swivelled in her chair and let him play the big tall man. "Oh dear," she murmured, lowering her head. "If I'd known you were incarcerated again, I would have been working towards your release."
"Oh, don't strangle yourself with your bra over it," Krycek said. He put down his coffee to raise her chin with a finger. "The Big Boss was going through a Caligula phase. I guess this means he's over it." He stretched his arm over his head, closed his eyes. "I've been in prison on four different continents now. I think that deserves some recognition."
"Yes, sir. Especially considering they had to use a closet for you when they caught you in the Antarctic facility."
At this Krycek laughed loud and long. His secretary smiled without showing her teeth.
"Yeah, well, they always call me out when they got dirty work to do." He finished his coffee and she took the mug from him.
"Will you be needing my help on this one?" she asked, marshalling her stray paperclips into order. He watched her do it, thinking.
"Naw," came Krycek's reply. "Standard space chase stuff. I swear, those pointy-headed geniuses crash into things like billiards, and then somebody's got to clean it up, every time. They don't appreciate my talents." He shifted his weight on the corner of her desk, and she turned in time to see his grin.
Never one to neglect an opportunity, she supplied, "They don't know just how bad you can be?" If he saw a come-hither in her breathy pronunciation, she allowed it.
Krycek acknowledged her repartee with a dirty grin and a waggling finger. "You've never seen the depths of my depravity." Privately she wondered if she had, knowing that he enjoyed the Korean cabbage dish Shchii whenever he could get it. But Krycek went on: "When we're finally rid of the Big Boss I'll be depending on you to lie, cheat and steal our way into the corner office."
A pause. She blinked. "He's dying, you know."
His smile didn't fade even a little bit. "I saw."
With that permission, Krycek's secretary leaned forward, hunching her shoulders. The shoulder pads of her dress rose up behind her like folded maroon wings. "One dismal failure might be enough to incapacitate him for the last time."
"You think?" asked Krycek, staring at her heart-shaped face. She wore a very dark red lipstick that made her skin look unnaturally white. "Maybe this damn space chase can turn out to be something after all."
She leaned back, smiling as one might at an especially ardent first-grader. Krycek pointed his eager chin at her for a moment, then dropped his head. "But Itchy and Scratchy are out there, at the crash site. They'll fuck it all up." He watched his secretary stand and put something away. She stood near his shoulder, pursing her lips, looking down at him.
"Oh, come now," she demurred. "They could be useful."
"What, them?" He gave an incredulous laugh and fell into her chair. "Bleating each other's names in the dark like a pair of drunken yodelers?"
She leaned her hip against the desk, crossing her arms. "So many people, with so different motives, converging on one place at the same time -- where is the crash site?"
"Oregon. A little bedroom community called Bellefleur. All artists and inner children, that kind of town."
Her indrawn breath was audible. "Not the same --"
"Yeah." He smiled his devastating smile at her. She didn't smile back. "The abnormal brain activity capital of the world. Even odds the missing deputy from the scene of the crash was tainted."
"Oh, Mister Krycek," breathed his secretary. "How fortuitous." Her eyes shimmered promise.
"You're having an evil thought," he admonished, turning her chair this way and that.
She lowered her chin, demure. "Will the two of them be in Bellefleur long?"
Krycek scratched, ruminating, and answered, "Miss Pervert said they were having budget problems. They may head home early. You think I should keep them there?"
Fleet fingers swooped to the locked file cabinet, rolled its secret contents forth. "There is that administrator." Her laquered nails tapped down a row of names, each name a sprightly yellow file folder. "Didn't you suborn him to have direct access to the X-Files chain of command?"
Krycek made a gargling noise one could generously regard as disgust. "They took the control device away from me last year." He spun her swivel chair away, but his secretary's words drew him back around.
"He doesn't know that, does he?" Krycek's grin stretched from ear to ear, and she blushed at his approval. She let her fingers dance at the edge of her desk, fluttering in front of him.
"Mulder had that unfortunate episode last fall." She pouted her sympathy for the erstwhile mental patient, blinking her long black lashes at her boss. "I do believe it changed his brain chemistry."
Krycek narrowed his eyes at her. "...Like those other people in Bellefleur."
"Yes. Those people who have since disappeared."
"So I should..." He reclined in her chair, finding a fulcrum for balance. Her red dress stirred not one whit as she stood over him. One could hardly tell she breathed when she said:
"Eventually, that ship will have repaired itself, and it will take up its cargo and go home. Unless you find it."
Krycek made another of his gargling noises. "I can't afford to get caught doing anything -- he'll kill me this time, even from his damn wheelchair."
She leaned forward, a vermillion billow over Krycek's inclined face. "You can get caught. Not doing anything."
"You mean I should -- " The hamster ran on its wheel, the cogs began to turn, and at last comprehension entered Krycek's features. "You're a genius," he exclaimed, chuckling.
"Yes," she replied, showing her straight white teeth. "I am."
Krycek leapt up to punch the air, grinning like the madman he is. His secretary helped him pack the essential gear he would need on his trip to Bellefleur.
"If I see the opportunity," he told her, as they leaned over his briefcase, "I'll take it. Dying isn't dead yet."
"If you do take it," she said with eyes lowered modestly, "make sure dead is dead." He gave her an 'of-course' grin as he snapped the briefcase shut.
She stood in the doorway as he strode off down the hall, waving bye-bye to his black silhouette.