TITLE: "Midnight Angel" (1/1)

AUTHOR: Isahunter

RATING: PG (Language)

CATEGORY: V, WIP, Krycek/Other (No slash)

SPOILERS: Up to "One Son," S6 (Specifically "Tunguska")

TIMELINE: Set in the winter of 1999, but the events that occurred in the episode "Biogenesis" never took place.

ARCHIVE: Yes, with my name and all headers attached

FEEDBACK: Isahunter@aol.com

DISCLAIMER: As far as I'm concerned, Alex Krycek belongs to no one...but considering his creator, I guess I should give due to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen, and Fox. And I can't forget Nick Lea, for giving me someone so much fun to play with.

SUMMARY: What truly beats in the heart of Alex Krycek?

NOTE: This is different from my normal routine, in that it's *not* MSR. Sorry if that disappoints anyone. I just thought it about time I give voice to my other passion.

Special thanks to Alli, BoriJ, Ginny, & Diadem...for knowing I haven't gone insane, even when I'm not so sure myself. Now let's get down to business!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Take the hope from the heart of a man and you make him a beast of prey.

--Ouida (1838-1908)

Death left a sour taste in his mouth, a burning stench in his nostrils, and no matter how many times he washed, he still couldn't rid himself of the feel of it on his skin. He wasn't sure if it was intention or boredom that caused him to dress in black, looking every bit the reaper he likened himself to. The knuckles of his right hand were bleached white with the vicious fist his fingers had locked themselves in. A meager defense against the cold. Not even the vodka burning in his stomach could warm him.

No one bothered to question him here. No one knew his name, or even dared look him in the eye. He kept to himself, as much a loner as ever. The others didn't know just how lucky they were. He only spoke to those men he meant to destroy. The mercenary was a role he played very well.

And yet, as he stepped onto the sidewalk in the treacherously frigid night air, his attention was drawn immediately to the wisp of fragility that stood before him.

She didn't belong there. That much was obvious. The blushing luminescence of her flesh glowed virgin-white in the neon lights. Blue flashes of color danced over her dark hair, landing in a halo atop her head as she paused to adjust her sandal. She was about as natural standing in front of the tattoo parlors and seedy bars that filled his gaze as the nun that once slapped a ruler across his palm. The only difference was, the Sister had been an old woman...this was just a girl.

His first impulse was to keep walking, to disappear into the oily black shadows and never look back. His second urge was to crush her like a flower, breathing her heady scent in and savoring every nuance. In the end, he merely stared.

Dressed in a powdery-blue velvet blouse, her cut-off jeans swishing around her thighs like a lover's whisper, she glided away from him. As the broken sidewalk between them widened with each step, he fought the compulsion to follow. This wasn't his scene. True, he hadn't been with a woman in a long time, but that didn't make him desperate enough to chase some candy-scented teen-ager to her daddy's BMW. He didn't need to run his palm over the beaded chain around her ankle, nor to run his fingers through the chocolate silk of her hair. He had no intention of tasting her bubble gum flavored lips. He didn't itch for the feel of her manicured nails scratching at his back. So why the fuck was he following her?

It had been a long time since he'd noticed the subtly sway of a woman's hips. Females as a whole had never been one of his top priorities...but that was not to say that he was at all interested in men. His only concern in the male body was in knowing just where to strike to do the most damage. From the first memory he could recall, his Cold-War immigrant parents had been teaching him just what it took to survive...what it meant to sacrifice. The soft peal of a woman's laughter, in a world where the law was "betray or be betrayed," could very well be deadly.

**Cheat, steal, lie. Kill precisely and quickly. Trust no one. Finish anyone who gets in your way.**

It was a hollow way to live...but it was the only way to stay alive. Tuning out the song of the city, horns blaring, helicopters flapping by in utter darkness, he concentrated on the soft heartbeat of her shoes on the concrete. Stalking her like an unsuspecting rabbit. At times almost close enough to touch, yet sometimes lost among a crowd of carousing strangers.

The rapid tattoo of his heart was almost enough to make him pause. He was a skillful hunter and had long ago trained himself to become apathetic to the kill. This instance may have been different, but he was shocked by his own excitement. The thrill racing through his veins like mercury hit a fever pitch as she rounded the corner and he lost sight of her. Gone, in the blink of an eye. Reaching the spot where she once stood, he swiveled around, scanning the area, only to find nothing.

Disappeared.

And yet, not quite. The smell of her still lingered in the air, soft and sweet like wildflowers in spring. With just a hint of spice that made his eyes close in sheer surrender. For just a moment, he wasn't a killer anymore. He wasn't a cold-blooded murderer with only destruction and perseverance on his mind. He was just a man, overcome with the latent lust and hunger for a beautiful woman.

Never once, not even in his lowest hour, had he ever been a rapist. The idea of forcing an innocent woman left him with only cold distaste. And he had no desire to overpower this delicate creature...but he did want her. With an intensity that left him trembling.

Yet he wasn't prepared for the instant when he opened his eyes to find himself staring down the barrel of a gun.

Standing on the lower steps of a staircase, hidden in the shadows of the corner building, she held the pistol with two hands. Her grip wavered slightly as she met his gaze with wide blue eyes, her nostrils flaring with the effort to keep her flustered nerves under control.

"You mind telling me who the hell you are and why you're following me?" A moment passed in silence and he felt a slow smile spreading across his face. "Last I heard, this was a public sidewalk."

Her finger twitched slightly on the trigger, but he didn't flinch. He had to fight the urge to check his watch out of boredom.

"Public sidewalk, my ass. That doesn't give you the right to follow me home."

He glanced up at the door frame above her. Apartment 2A. His gaze drifted over the flaked paint, chipped bricks and graffiti-laden concrete, the sagging and well-worn wooden steps she stood on. And suddenly his earlier image of the spoiled little rich girl went up in flames.

"Look, I made a mistake. Do you think you could flick the safety back on that thing before you accidentally blow my head off?"

"I don't think so. Who are you?"

He backed up a step, raising his hands slightly to show her he meant no harm. The very thought was so ridiculous he almost laughed. "It doesn't matter. I'm sorry I bothered you."

"Stop right there." Her aim became more determined...centering right on his groin. He froze. "I've seen you before. Who are you?"

Fuck. He should have walked away when he'd had the chance. "Alex." She blinked slowly, licked her lips, and hesitantly lowered the gun. Still, she didn't flip on the safety. "I'm sorry. I'm not usually this paranoid. I just moved here and the idea of being raped doesn't really appeal to me, you know?"

Somehow he managed a slight smirk. "You're right to be suspicious. For all you know, I could be a serial killer."

Her eyes crinkled, a dimple curving her cheek. "What a way to go." Heat spread through his torso, lighting blazing flames along the way, burning a fire storm to his suddenly too-tight jeans. He'd spent most of his life attracted to violence. Although his intelligence had always been impressive, it was his seemingly effortless skill at marksmanship that had gotten him noticed at Quantico. It was no mistake, however. With former KGB agents as parents, and the knowledge that the world was most certainly coming to an end, he'd learned how to fight before he learned to talk. Resistance was in his blood. So why did he find himself so enticed by this stainless angel?

"I didn't mean to be so rude." She rubbed her arm briskly. "It's cold out here. Do you have a place to stay for the night?"

"Why, are you inviting me in?"

"No...I was going to refer you to the 6th Street Shelter. I volunteer there sometimes. They're good people."

"I have a place."

"Oh." She stared at him for a minute, her eyes sweeping over him in a strangely daring caress. She opened her mouth as if to say something, only to close it again. And then she finally got the nerve. "Well the least I can do is offer you a cup of coffee, after pulling a gun on you."

"You don't remain suspicious very long."

"Well, you look harmless enough, Alex...besides, I still have the gun, and my walls are very thin. Mrs. Kitts could have the cops here in seconds, should I scream."

Trusting. Naive and trusting. He hadn't encountered the combination in quite some time...but given where he usually spent his time, that wasn't surprising. A man with no loyalties had no place asking for trust. Just the same, he had no trust for anyone else. What was it that Rudyard Kipling had once said? "The female of the species is more deadly than the male." And it made sense. The most wicked of thorns were often carried by the prettiest flowers.

He had no proof of her innocence. Nothing more than some gut feeling. And yet he followed her up those dark stairs. She wisely kept the gun close to her side, out of his reach, ready to use should she sense any danger. Funny. She obviously wouldn't know danger if it stung her on the ass.

And what an interesting ass it was. He was hypnotized by the rhythmic sway. Had to fight the urge to mold his palm to the curve. Once she reached the top of the stairs, she glanced at him out of the corner of her eye as she used her free hand to unlock the door. Flipping a switch near the door, she illuminated the penthouse loft to a soft pinkish glow. Stepping aside, she motioned for him to go ahead.

"I hope you don't mind the mess. I don't have many visitors." His gaze swept around the room. The bare wood floor was barely visible under the yards of paint-spattered drop cloths. Canvases of different shapes and sizes leaned against the walls, and more still were mounted on various easels around the room. Each in a different state of completion. Some covered with bright splashes of oil paint, others in acrylic, and still others with only pencil drawings in place. But they were all disturbing. When he would have expected this woman's soul to be composed of flowers and poetry, instead he was greeted with harsh lines and blurred shapes.

She met his stare, her cheeks flushed. "They aren't finished. I can't seem to get them right. But this is the stuff that's selling at the galleries. They can't keep them in stock....well, except mine. Mine they can't get rid of."

He stepped closer to one of the canvases, running his fingers over the dried paint.

"You're not much of a talker, are you?" she asked. His touch skimmed over the scrawled red paint that made up her signature. Sabryn Jaegar. He almost didn't notice when she stepped away from him to the minuscule counter space that made up her kitchen.

"Do you like your coffee black?"

"Do you have tea?"

He could feel Sabryn's eyes on him, but didn't look up. "Uh...sure."

The rest of her high-ceiling apartment consisted of a tiny bathroom area, kept separate by a wall of glass bricks, and corner that served as her bedroom. The weathered iron frame of her bed was barely recognizable under the mound of twisted blankets and sheets. Having not slept a normal night in years, he recognized the signs of nightmares immediately.

Large windows lined two walls of the loft, allowing him to see the busy street below. There were no pictures sitting on her few pieces of furniture, no signs of a live-in lover or even the occasional boyfriend. The huge place was as empty and cavernous as an airplane hangar.

"You live here alone?"

She froze in the process of putting a mug in the microwave. It took her a moment to decide just how to answer him. In the end, he knew, she decided on the truth. "Yes. I'm not a city girl." She turned a bit, to face him. "I grew up on a farm, but I'm not exactly a country bumpkin either. I guess I don't really belong anywhere."

He couldn't picture her on a farm. Of course, he doubted anyone could say the same of him either, even though he'd been born in rural Colorado.

Still, there was a good reason he didn't resemble a farm boy...instead of raising pigs or sheep, his father had been raising a son that one day might have to fight his own future. A boy fluent in Russian, and possessing basic knowledge of several other languages, rather than knowing how to drive a tractor or milk a cow. A boy who knew how to find the information his father sought by any means necessary. A favorite of his teachers, a straight A student, a driven athlete. A man who'd graduated with honors, and went on to get a double major in college, entering the FBI Academy at Quantico to become a Special Agent. It was only a means to an end. Just as his father before him, Alex Krycek was first and foremost a spy.

Some would call him a traitor. But those bastards didn't know what they were up against. In this world, there was no one country or government that he resisted. They were all the same corrupt, lying, back-stabbing syndicate.

Treason was the game they started.

"Are you from around here, Alex?"

"No," he said, his voice barely audible even to his own ears. "I'm not from anywhere."

"That's an odd thing to say. But don't worry, I understand. I don't really talk about myself all that much either...except, around you. I guess you just do that to me."

He could think of a lot of things he'd like to do to her, but making her talk wasn't real high on that list.

"I'm sorry I don't have anywhere for you to sit." She headed towards the bed, trying in vain to smooth down the rumpled covers. After a moment, she just tossed them to the floor. "I guess this will have to do."

He nodded at the gun she'd tucked into her waist band. "That's a dangerous place to keep that thing. At least for me, anyway."

"Hmm? Oh..." She blushed a bit. "I'm sorry, I just--I'm being stupid. My brother gave this to me when I moved into the city. I'm not really all that comfortable with it, but--"

"But you're even less comfortable with me." "No. That's the problem. I am comfortable with you, but sometimes I guess I'm too trusting and I really shouldn't be. Isn't that dumb?"

"Not at all. You should be cautious. This world is all going to hell, anyway."

"You sound like my brother." Considering him carefully, she finally set the pistol down on her night stand...potentially making a fatal mistake. She was lucky he didn't favor killing women.

She headed back to the kitchen and he settled himself onto her bed. The squeak of the springs made him wince.

"I'm not even sure why I invited you up here," she mused. "I don't do this sort of thing every day, you know."

"You invited me because you're lonely."

She laughed, but the smile didn't stay on her face for long. "Why would you think that?"

"You live alone, in an apartment where you don't have many visitors. You're away from your family. You spend your nights working with strangers just for a bit of companionship. There are no signs of a boyfriend. No birthday cards or trinkets that might be gifts from friends--"

"What are you, a detective?" She crossed her arms. "And anyway, just because you're alone, that doesn't make you lonely."

"No--"

"Are *you* lonely, Alex?"

He stared at her, unblinking. "No, Sabryn, I'm not." She narrowed her eyes a moment, before turning and removing the mug of steaming water from the microwave. He watched her work, with an economy of movement and a delicate touch that made her the artist she was. Setting a plastic bear-shaped honey bottle on the night stand, she handed him his tea.

"Never would have pegged you for a tea man. Then again, that sounds a bit like an oxymoron."

He couldn't resist taking a look at her grin, over the rim of the mug. As she settled herself down on the footstool opposite him, he had to wonder what the hell he was doing here. He knew what he really wanted from her, but he was a fool to think he was ever going to get it.

"Just what do you do for a living, Alex?"

"What would you say if I told you I'm a spy?"

"I'd say someone's been watching too many Schwarzenegger movies." She tilted her head to the side. "But that doesn't mean you don't have the right look. That whole 'Man in Black' persona really works for you."

Christ. He actually laughed. He hadn't heard the sound in so long, it was almost rusty.

"So, Mr. Spy...just who are you spying on? If you're after Clinton's secrets, I'm afraid they're already out there."

He had to clear his throat. "No, that man is just a figure head...no pun intended."

The soft giggle that escaped her plush, glossy lips made the room feel about twenty degrees hotter. The dark ache centering in his groin grew that much more painful. She didn't tear away her silver-laced gaze when he looked at her, didn't cower in fear in his presence. But she didn't know who she was truly dealing with. If presented with his true face, she'd have no problem clarifying the blurred shapes in her perplexing abstract paintings. The startling images of malevolence and catastrophe, so foreign to her that she couldn't even contemplate their likeness on canvas, would be as clear as glass.

"Believe me, you don't want to know the things I know. Not in a million years."

"You're certainly full of mystery, I'll give you that." "Everyone has their secrets."

"What about family? Is that too personal a question?" "What do you want to know?"

"Is there a Mrs. Spy?"

"No."

"Oh, that's right. Spies don't fall in love. I bet you just skip around from one woman to the next, like James Bond, never settling down, never daring to get attached."

"Pussy Galore?" he asked, wryly.

The girl actually snorted, nearly choking on her own sip of tea. "Something like that."

"Yeah, something like that."

"Still, it's hard to believe a man doesn't get lonely living that kind of existence. No one to come home to at night. No one to trust. No one to love."

He swallowed the rest of his tea in one gulp, heedless of the scalding he gave his throat. Standing abruptly, he handed her his mug. "I should go."

"Did I--um, yeah. It's getting late."

"Th-Thank you for the tea."

Sabryn set down both the mugs she was holding and held out her hand. "It was nice to have met you, Alex."

He didn't give a damn about shaking her hand. Touching innocence wasn't enough. He wanted to consume her, possess her, be overwhelmed by her. Hold her, rock her, fuck her...destroy her. That's what it all came down to, wasn't it? The moment he let himself have her, he'd ruin her. He couldn't let that happen. And still....

And still, he wanted her.

Brushing aside her outstretched hand, he grabbed the back of her neck and pulled her closer. Barely noticing the hands she shoved against his chest to stop the assault. Ignoring the look of shock and alarm in her pretty blue-gray eyes. Pressing his mouth to hers with a gentleness he didn't know he was capable of.

When she quit fighting him, he knew he was screwed. Her mouth softened below him, opening slightly, reciprocating the kiss. And he had to stop before it was too late.

He walked away from her, leaving her to breathlessly stumble without his support. He could feel her staring after him, but he didn't bother to look back. As he reached the door, he paused and flipped the button on the knob so the door would lock behind him.

"You should really be more careful," he said, his head turned to the side. "The only men that aren't dead in this world are deadly."

He didn't wait around for her response. He stepped out the door and down the stairs with bitter determination. Not looking back once. Wiping the image of her face from his mind. He stepped back into a world where he was on his own. Where he used people for his own selfish motives and didn't give a damn who he stepped on along the way.

Didn't she get it? He wasn't lonely.

No one else mattered.

END.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Feedback appreciated!! Isahunter@aol.com eXpositions: http://www.aliens.mcmail.com/isadiadem/