TITLE: "Midnight Angel XI: Storm Warning" (1/1)

AUTHOR: Isahunter

RATING: PG

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

SPOILERS: Up to "One Son," S6

TIMELINE: Set in the winter of '99, but in this story the events of the episode "Biogenesis" never occurred.

ARCHIVE: Yes, with my name and all headers attached

FEEDBACK: Isahunter@aol.com

DISCLAIMER: Although the other characters are of my own creation, all characters from "The X-Files" belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen, Fox. No infringement intended.

SUMMARY: You don't always have to wait for danger to come calling. NOTE: This is a continuation of the "Midnight Angel" series, available at the eXpositions web site: http://www.aliens.mcmail.com/isadiadem/

For my own brother and sister, with love. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ "There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm."

--Willa Cather.

She was grateful John and Caroline had found a baby-sitter. Their kids certainly didn't need to witness this spectacle.

Early Friday morning, they'd driven north to Pennsylvania. Two hours stuck in a car, trying to provide answers to the rapid-fire questions leaving her sister-in-law's mouth. True, Carly had been a lot stronger than Johnny anticipated, taking the story of the earth's invasion in stride...much as she once had when told of Sabryn's abduction. Being the careful planner that she was, she made a list of all the supplies Sabryn thought they might need. Still, it was obvious the woman was petrified.

A short while later, however, standing in her mother's kitchen, the childish side of Sabryn found it very hard to sympathize. Bernadette Pruitt doted over her petite daughter-in-law, showing her the sweater she'd knitted for the baby, barely giving her own daughter a second glance. In the other room, Johnny and their father were arguing...no doubt over the "ridiculous" story Steven had just heard about the end of the world. Sabryn braced her hands on the counter behind her, wanting nothing more than to disappear. In a lot of ways, she already had.

"What the hell is this bullshit?"

She flinched as her father strode through the door, looking haggard but no less intimidating than he always had. His hair had gone sterling and there were deep lines around his eyes, but it didn't change his handsome face. His hands were callused, perpetually dirty no matter how many times he washed, and she loved him desperately. Even if he didn't deserve it.

He stopped before her, scowling, glancing back and Johnny and Carly before continuing. "You started this, didn't you? What the hell kind of story did you come up with this time?"

"Dad--"

"Shut up, John. Let your sister answer."

Sabryn held his gaze, not daring to back down. "It's not a story. And whether you believe it or not, it is going to happen."

"What is?" her mother asked, with a trace of irritation. "An invasion of earth by aliens. On New Year's day." Bernadette laughed, placing her hand on Carly's shoulder. Sabryn's sister-in-law met her gaze and swallowed heavily.

"I don't give a damn whether you believe me or not--"

"Watch your mouth, young lady."

"I just wanted to give you fair warning. I thought you deserved that much."

Her mother laughed again, and her father shot her a dark look. "Cool it, Bennie." Turning back to Sabryn, he wiped his hand over his bristly jaw.

"Suppose you tell us just where you came up with this little theory?"

"A friend told me."

"A friend. I just don't know what the hell to believe from you anymore."

"Do you think I'd tell you a lie about this just to get you riled? To play mind games?"

"You've lied before, Mandy."

"My name is Sabryn."

Johnny stepped away from his wife's side. "What could she possibly have had to lie about, Dad? She was a little girl."

"She was a little girl, out late at night, who knew she'd get her butt beat if she didn't tell us where the hell she'd been."

Sabryn shook her head. "I did tell you...and it didn't save me any trouble, did it?"

"You told us an outrageous story. What the hell did you expect?" She was so tired of arguing about this. For eighteen long years she'd tried to get them to see the truth, but they refused to have any part of it. That wasn't about to change now.

"Coming here was pointless. I haven't been welcome in this house since I was seven."

"That's not true," Bernadette said, "we just didn't want to hear your stories."

"Well, you know what, Ma? I don't want to hear anything from you. One of these days you're going to wish you'd listened to me. And it'll be too damned late."

She pushed past Johnny and her father, heading outside and slamming the screen door behind her.

Nearly an hour later, her brother found her on the hill overlooking the little stream that ran through the property. Sitting on her coat in the wet grass, petting the muzzle of her favorite palomino quarter horse, she stared off into the distance. Searching the sky that had once swallowed her whole.

"This is the last place I would have expected to find you," Johnny said, patting Whisky's neck.

"Are we ready to leave?"

"Not just yet. Caroline's trying to talk some sense into Mom and Dad."

"They always did like her better."

"That's not true, and you know it."

"Do I, John? Dad treats the horses better than he treats me." He glanced back to where the dapple gray gelding was grazing, and shook his head. "It only seems that way because the horses can't talk back." When she didn't comment, he continued. "If I remember right, Dad bought Whisky for your sixteenth birthday. And he bought Moonshine so he could go riding with you. But you never wanted to go. You turned him away just as much as he did you."

"No, I didn't. Would you really want to go riding with someone who only wanted to talk about the one thing you were afraid of? The thing he called you a liar for?"

"Maybe he was trying to understand, Bryn?"

"'Could have fooled me."

Johnny crouched down next to her, pushing a stray hair away from her face...giving her no choice but to look at him. "You can't expect them to change when you aren't any less hostile yourself."

"I don't expect anything from them. I just wanted to tell them what I know. And now that I have, I'm ready to go."

He was silent for a moment, watching the stream carry away dead leaves. "Why did you come down here? You haven't been back here for longer than I can remember. This stream used to scare you to death. You refused to learn to swim just because you hated the water."

She couldn't answer him, because she wasn't so sure herself. She hated this field. Hated the property. As soon as Johnny had gotten a place of his own all those years ago, she'd begged him to take her with him. She wanted to get away from this town, away from her parents, away from this stream. But she couldn't escape the nightmares.

"I don't know. Maybe I just wanted to see it one more time. Prove I survived."

"Prove it wasn't a dream?"

"That too." She met his gaze. "Why wouldn't they believe their own daughter, Johnny?"

"They're scared. Admitting you told the truth means they have to admit to a bunch of things they never believed in. Hell, I'm not even sure they believe in God." He put his hand over hers. "They're just a bunch of stubborn old fools. They'll come around. Give 'em time."

She had to laugh, but it didn't last long. "We don't have time. The clock is ticking."

"I know. And if they're too stupid to realize that, then we'll go without them."

She stood up, shaking the water droplets from her coat, giving Whisky one last scratch on the forehead. "I sometimes wonder how things would have been different if I'd never told Mom and Daddy about that night. If I hadn't said a word to any of them."

"I'm sure things would have been a lot different." She wrinkled her nose. "I might be married to Paul Van Horn right now." Taking Johnny's arm as they walked back to the house, Sabryn stood up on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek. "Nope, I wouldn't change a thing."

Blowing hot air into his cupped hands, Alex huddled deeper into his coat and watched the horizon. Sunset bathed the snowy hills in shades of pink and orange. From where he stood, just outside the gates of the general's property, he could see the helicopter landing a short distance from the house. Churning up powdery snow and loose debris, creating a small whirlwind of Sasha Minskya's hair as she stepped out of the aircraft. She glanced back at the house, holding her fur-embellished hat to her head, before hurrying down the hill towards the fences. The snow nearly covered her knee-high boots, landing in huge lumpy flakes on her red hair. As she reached the fence, opposite from where he stood, she handed over a small pouch and began to walk away.

"Hold on!" Alex shouted, inspecting the pouch's contents. "I got what you wanted," she said, her accent having returned. "Now let me go."

"What will you do?"

"I'll pray my husband did not notice my absence this morning, that's what I'll do."

"No, I don't mean now. What will you do when they come?" She paused, and turned to look back at him. "What do you care?"

"Screw Ivan. Get the hell out of here and save your own ass." Stepping back to where he stood, she grabbed hold of the bars of the heavy iron fencing. "You know just as well as I do that Ivan is my only ticket to freedom. If I run, I'm as good as dead...but if I stay with him, I am almost guaranteed safety from the colonists."

"He'll betray you."

"He loves me."

"I know his type. He would kill you just to save himself. Get out of here while you still have time."

In the distance, the sound of engines starting made Sasha shudder. She glanced back at the house and Alex looked over her shoulder. Two men, riding black snow mobiles left the building at high speed, heading straight for the main gates.

"He's here. He knows I've been gone." She stared up at him with wide eyes, her hands tightening on the bars. "You have to get out of here."

"Squeeze through the bars, come with me. Get the hell away from him." She reached through the fence, grabbed the back of his neck and pulled him closer for one last kiss. Pushing the pouch he held even tighter into his hands, she said, "Go save her, Alexei. Don't waste your time with me."

Before he could reach for her, she ran back up the hill, towards the speeding snow mobiles, and he barely heard the sound of gun shots over the loud engines. He flinched, watching as she shot one of the drivers, sending him careening down the hill. But as Alex ran back to the car that was waiting for him, the second blast of gun fire was one he didn't witness. He only had a brief glimpse of Sasha's body lying on the ground as his driver sped them away.

Cursing silently to himself, he tucked the pouch she'd given him into his pocket. A small vial of the serum was wrapped securely inside. Enough for maybe four people. If he could get it to them safely. The general's men were sure to be on his ass now. It was only a matter of time.

His return flight to the States was still hours away. After sitting in a darkened corner of the airport restaurant for endless minutes, drinking cup after cup of bitter black coffee, he stepped into the men's room and headed for an empty urinal. Just as he was about to unzip his pants, he heard the door open. He looked up. Too many times of being caught off-guard had taught him a lesson. The grizzled old man walking in the room gave him a nod and went to the sinks to wash his hands. Slightly more at ease, Alex went about his business, barely paying attention to the man behind him.

A few minutes later, he zipped up and headed to the sink himself. He didn't notice until then the pink water disappearing down the drain.

He looked over at the man, saw the blood on his hands, and immediately reached for his gun...only to remember too late that it wasn't there.

In the same instance, the old man reached inside his coat and pulled out a silenced, customized Glock. Aimed at Alex's throat. He froze, not daring to move, looking into those steady black eyes. The eyes of a professional, long in the business, probably retired before he went to work for Ivan Minsky. For a moment, neither of them made a sound. The rush of running water and the people walking by outside was the only break in the silence. When the man finally spoke, his raspy voice made his Russian words almost indistinguishable.

"Give me what you've stolen."

Alex didn't waste time lying. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the pouch. Careful to keep his movements non-threatening.

Once the pouch was in his hand, the old man gestured with the gun. "Turn around and face the wall."

"Don't want to look me in the eye when you kill me?" Despite his arrogant comment, Alex did as he was told. "Just make sure you hit something vital."

"Do not worry, Comrade. I don't plan to leave you living."

"Just one more thing..."

"What?"

Alex reached into his pocket and pulled out the syringe, carefully popping off the needle cover before he held it up in the air. "I forgot to give you this."

His gun to Alex's back, the old man reached for the needle. Just as he did, Alex reached out with his leg, hooking his foot around the back of the man's knee, pulling forward, sending him falling back to the ground. The gun shot missed him by a fraction of an inch. Ducking, he rolled out of the way, using his only weapon, stabbing the man right in the crotch with the exposed needle. The old man howled in pain, grabbing at the syringe, his shout sending an alarm to the men waiting outside.

Fuck! Just as they rushed through the doors, Alex punched the old man hard and wrenched his gun out of his hand. Two shots took down the first man, sprawling him hard on the floor. The second man took one look at the gun aimed at him and ran. The door swung shut just as he rounded the corner.

Letting out a heavy breath, Alex stood up and checked the man on the ground. He was definitely dead. The old man however was still moaning in pain, holding his bloody crotch, having thrown the needle to the floor. Standing over him, Alex grabbed his pouch and put it back in his pocket. Looking the old man in the eye, he pressed the gun hard against his forehead.

"This is for Sasha."

The man's body jerked as he pulled the trigger, and then he went still. Once more, the only sound in the room was that of the running water. Using his shirt to wipe his prints from the gun, Alex stepped over to the sink and finally washed his hands. Minutes later, he left the men's room, looking to find a quiet place to wait for his flight. He didn't hear a murmur about the mess in the rest room until he was already boarding the plane.

Sabryn sat down on her bed, absently rubbing the back of her neck, wishing the day were over...and then silently chastising herself for the very thought. As much as she was glad she was home again, away from her parents' accusing glares, there was so little time left that she had to make an effort to savor every moment. But there was still so much to do. Even though her parents stubbornly refused to believe any part of her story, there were other people she had to tell...others that might actually believe her, and take action to save their own skin.

Her lap top sat open before her, the cursor blinking impatiently, as she debated whether or not to tell Agent Mulder about the impending invasion. He was a Federal agent...surely that meant he would be required to tell others of the news. And Alex had warned her that could cause total chaos. But maybe it didn't have to be that way. Agent Mulder--Fox--was a friend. She had to tell him something, or she'd never forgive herself. Biting her lip, Sabryn leaned forward and began typing.

Lailah: I need to see you.

Strgazr73: did you remember something?

Lailah: Yes, but that's not everything. It's very important.

Strgazr73: ok. is tomorrow soon enough?

Lailah: I guess so. But...I need to ask you a question.

Strgazr73: shoot.

Lailah: You're a psychologist right? So if I tell you something confidential, you can't tell anyone else without my permission?

Strgazr73: that's how it works. unless, of course, you've figured out who'll win the next world series. i can't guarantee i'll be able to keep that one to myself.

Lailah: Sorry to disappoint you.

Strgazr73: well, it was worth a shot. so where did you want to meet tomorrow? same place, same time?

Lailah: Actually, I was thinking you could meet me at my apartment.

Strgazr73: feeling adventurous, i see. all right. give me the address.

Lailah: Oh, can you hold on a minute? I think someone is at the door.

Strgazr73: sure thing.

Sabryn slipped off the bed and straightened her baggy sweats. It was just her luck that someone would show up when she had a freshly scrubbed face, wild hair, and was wearing the ugliest outfit she owned. Praying fervently that it wasn't Alex, she stepped around the paintings on the floor.

And then she breathed a sigh of relief. It was probably Robert. Maxine had said she would send him out to pick up the paintings. Opening the door, she tried to put on her best smile.

Yet she'd never seen the man standing in her hallway before in her life. Her gaze took in everything at once, from the wild eyes to the leather-gloved hands. The way he stared far too openly at her, and the paintings lying behind her. The smell of alcohol on his skin, and sweat, and smoke. The slight smirk that curled his lips. And before she could even get the words "can I help you" out of her mouth, an even stronger voice screamed at her from inside her head.

*Run!*

She didn't waste a second.

END.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Box of chocolates--$18; A dozen red roses--$25; Massage--$40; Designer perfume--$50; Feedback--Priceless! Isahunter@aol.com eXpositions: http://www.aliens.mcmail.com/isadiadem/