TITLE: "Midnight Angel XII: Sanctuary" (1/1)

AUTHOR: Isahunter

RATING: PG13 (violence, language)

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

SPOILERS: Up to "One Son," S6 (specifically "Anasazi")

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: Sometimes life can make nightmares seem tame.

NOTE: This is a continuation of the "Midnight Angel" series, available at the eXpositions web site: http://www.aliens.mcmail.com/isadiadem/

For Ginny, with chocolate-covered waterfall man wishes! ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ "Fear the goat from the front, the horse from the rear, and man from all sides"

--Russian Proverb.

She hadn't taken more than a few steps before he sprung from where he stood and began the chase. She leapt over her paintings, making a mad dash towards the window and the fire escape, her scream only slightly louder than his heavy footfalls on the floor. Mere feet from the window, she was knocked off her feet and crashed heavily to the floor, her elbow smacking hard on the wood, his weight knocking the very breath from her lungs. She gasped painfully, her fingernails scratching against the wood floor, trying desperately to crawl out from under him. But he was too strong. The awful smell of him surrounded her. Rancid sweat and alcohol, wrapping around her just as tightly as his hands. And even though he didn't have an arm around her throat, she was choking just the same.

He flipped her over to face him, quickly grabbing her scratching hands and pinning them to the floor. She bucked hard against him, trying to push him off, to get free, to get enough breath to scream again, but it was no use.

"Where is he?"

His harsh voice, combined with liquor-infused breath, was like a slap in the face. Sabryn tried to scream, but the only sound to leave her mouth was a shrill gasp.

"Where is Krycek?"

Oh God. For a split-second, she forgot to fight him. He was after Alex. She narrowed her eyes, her voice coming out of her mouth in a forced whisper. "Fuck you."

She wasn't prepared for the blow that slammed into her cheek and had her seeing stars. She blinked away the pain, watching him move one hand to his belt buckle. No. Struggling hard against his grip, she tried to scream again. A bit louder this time. The sound echoed off her walls with beautiful pitch. God, he was strong. She could barely move her numbing fingers as he flipped open his belt and began working on his zipper. Her legs kicked out uselessly beneath him. And when he leaned forward to yank on the waist band of her sweats, his coat fell open and for the first time she spotted the gun in the holster at his side. Busy with her squirming body, he didn't notice the angle of his arm until it was too late.

She bit down hard into his forearm, her teeth cutting through flesh, making him loosen his grip and howl in pain. He slapped her again, hard enough to stun, but not hard enough to keep her from wrenching one hand away from his grasp. She locked her fingers around the butt of his pistol and yanked. But she wasn't fast enough. He knocked the weapon out of her hands, sending it careening across the floor and slamming to a stop against the wall. Way too far away. Out of options, she fought him the only way she could. Kicking, biting, scratching, screaming. Wriggling away from his grip as he dragged her sweat pants down her legs. Yelling, scratching at the floor in a desperate attempt to gain leverage. Kicking at him, pummeling his face as he made a grab for her and tore her satin panties. Scraping his face with her fingernails, dodging his blows as he tried to hit her again. Scrambling out from under him, crawling across the floor, only to be dragged back again. Back-handing his jaw, slamming her elbow into his neck, and struggling free once more. Heading for the bed, hurrying, whimpering, screaming for help, trying desperately to reach the only chance she had at survival.

He threw himself on top of her again, shoving down his own pants, tearing at her panties once more, slamming a fist against her head to slow her down. And even though she felt the shadowy embrace of unconsciousness beckoning, she fought it with all her might. Feeling the hot sting of his flesh against her backside, dragging their weight across the floor, reaching, stretching, feeling the smooth contours of a shoe box with her fingertips, pulling, toppling, fighting his weight, fighting his violation, welcoming the cold kiss of metal, wrapping her fingers tight around the handle. His cry of outrage when he saw the gun in her hand was like no sound she'd ever heard before. He reached for it, trying to wrench it away, to smash her fingers against the grip and get her to release it, but she wasn't about to let go. He was so strong, so damned forceful, but he underestimated her. She'd faced little green men. One human male wasn't about to stop her.

She twisted against his grip, pushing hard, gaining leverage, fighting him, crying out with the agony of her muscles, struggling to force the muzzle just a little bit closer. She flinched when her finger pressed down hard against the trigger, but nothing happened. Cursing rapidly, she somehow managed to drag her thumb out from under his palm and flick off the safety. The second time she pulled the trigger, the boom was loud enough start her ears ringing. Shoving towards him, one more time, nearly out of strength but high on determination and adrenaline, she forced the muzzle at his face and fired.

Sabryn gasped, flinching hard when the blood hit her face, slamming her eyelids closed against the sight of his head erupting like a volcano. And in the sudden awful silence that followed, she finally heard the horrible sound of her own breathing. She was whimpering, emitting cries like a tortured animal. Lying on her back next to her bed, her pants around her ankles, a dead man sprawled across her chest. A moment later, she could hear the sound of sirens in the distance. Drawing in a shuddering breath, she scrambled out from beneath him and stood up, shaking, to yank her sweats back into place. Still backing away, she hit the wall of windows and stopped, staring at the mangled body, holding the gun so tightly in her grip that she couldn't have pried it loose had she wanted to.

Her teeth rattled together, her whole body vibrating with the force of her tremors, and she glanced back at the open doorway to see Mrs. Kitts nervously peer into the room. The little old woman took one look at the man on the floor, covered her mouth, and fled. Sabryn couldn't blame her. She couldn't even close her eyes without seeing the awful image.

Finally remembering the open laptop on her bed, she slid carefully onto the mattress and began typing.

Lailah: hhhheelpp mme

Strgazr73: Sabryn, what's happening?

Lailah: i jjust shot soomeone pppllease heellp

Strgazr73: give me your address, right now.

Lailah: 22262 sspring st. aaaapt. 2a

Strgazr73: 22262 Spring St., Apt 2A?

Lailah: no....2262 sorrry

Strgazr73: That's ok, Sabryn. I'm on my way. I want you to get off this line and call 911 right now. Stay on the line with the operator until the police arrive, ok?

Strgazr73: OK?

Lailah: ok

She closed down her computer and headed for the phone. She was amazed the operator could understand her, given how shaky her voice was. And when the police finally arrived, she wanted nothing more than to sit in a dark corner and rock herself to sleep.

Caught in never-ending darkness, somewhere over the ocean, Alex turned restlessly in his tiny coach-class seat, caught in the claws of a raging nightmare. From the moment he'd sat down, many hours ago, he'd slept on undisturbed, exhausted from the trip and short period of time he'd spent in Moscow. But just like every other time he slept, the peace didn't last for long. The dreams were never the same, but always carried the same flavor, the absolute terror as someone chased him, mercilessly, until he couldn't run anymore. Until he had no choice but to feel death seize him by the throat and give him a shake. And like every time before, he awoke with a scream.

The young woman seated next to him started and gave a nervous laugh as he bolted upright in his seat. Sweaty and breathing heavily, he turned to glance at her and ran his hand through his hair.

"Bad dream?" she asked.

Nodding curtly, he stood up and pushed past her, making his way to the narrow aisle and fighting to get past the dozens of passengers between him and the bathroom. Once he reached the back of the plane, he waited impatiently for the plump man in front of him to squeeze past, and then finally locked himself into the cramped bathroom. He braced his arm against the wall, fighting nausea, not in the least interested in vomiting into the ugly blue water in the toilet.

When his breathing returned to normal and his nausea passed, he turned on the sink and splashed cold water on his face. His reflection in the mirror stared back at him, eyes laced with red, lines of exhaustion creasing his forehead, hair matted with sweat and yet sticking up haphazardly in some areas. He looked closer to fifty than thirty-five. Wiping the water droplets of his face, he dug in his pocket for the glass bottle that contained the black oil vaccine. It was heavy in his hand, like a bar of gold. And what an appropriate analogy, he thought to himself. One little bottle of this stuff could make him a very rich man. When it all came down to it, some people might sell their own souls just to get their hands on this stuff. And Sasha had thought he bought it for the girl.

He couldn't help the slight smile that grew on his face as Sabryn's laughter echoed through his mind.

No, Sasha didn't know him very well. Once a selfish bastard, always a selfish bastard. Nothing, not even a few nights of good sex was going to change that.

Sabryn leaned against her counter, the room about her a blur, wincing slightly as the medic dabbed ointment on her cheek, listening to the droning sound of the officer's questions. Everything was so damned fuzzy, so far away, that she wasn't even sure if she was answering the right questions. Had she been raped? No. Had she ever seen the man before? No. Did she know what he was after...had he meant to steal something or was he a rapist? No, no, a thousand times no. She just didn't know. Sinking down against the counter, looking past the small crowd around her, she watched as two men wearing rubber gloves zipped the man on her floor into a black bag. They'd confiscated her gun, asked to see her license, taken pictures of the scene, asked her a million things she couldn't or didn't want to understand. She held a shaky hand to her mouth, trying not to be sick, closing her eyes against the awful pounding of her head.

And when Agent Mulder walked into the room like a breath a fresh air, followed closely by a pretty red-head, she almost broke down in sobs. Managing to hold on to her sanity, just for a moment longer, she scrambled to her feet and grabbed hold of his sleeve like a life line. The woman, she assumed was his partner, Agent Scully, showed her badge to the questioning officer and began talking to him. Barely aware of his words, Sabryn allowed Fox to pull her into an awkward embrace, her body stiff in his arms.

"Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," she said, her voice barely audible. He shifted, most likely looking back at the body bag they were hauling away. "Did you know him?"

"No. He just came in and attacked me."

He was silent for a moment, rubbing her back, trying to coax some warmth into her body. She couldn't stop shaking.

"Have you given them a statement?"

God, she wasn't sure. Her mind was like a giant ball of cobwebs. It was amazing she could understand what he was saying. "I don't think so."

He turned slightly, pulling away from her. "Sabryn, this is my partner, Dana Scully. Is it ok if she takes a look at you? She's a doctor."

Swallowing heavily, Sabryn met the woman's warm blue eyes and nodded. Agent Scully took her carefully by the arm and led her a short distance away.

Away from the bed, towards the door, where she wouldn't be as bothered by the sight of them loading the body. And as she absently watched Fox talking to the detectives, his partner began examining the bruises on her body.

"I'm sorry to have to meet you like this, Sabryn." She nodded slightly, wincing as Agent Scully held up a small pen light to look in her eyes.

"You don't seem to have a concussion. That's good." She smiled, putting Sabryn at ease. She could easily tell why Fox was so fascinated by her. She was very gentle and soft-spoken, her movements precise and unalarming. "I know you already said no to the officer, but I need to ask you again. Were you in any way sexually assaulted?"

"No. He tried...but I--I shot him first." Agent Scully nodded. "All right." Glancing down at the floor beside her, she noticed the paintings that everyone had been side-stepping with little thought. "Did you paint these?"

"Yes."

"They're very good."

Sabryn had the brief impression that there was something the agent wasn't telling her. But like so many other thoughts, it drifted away as quickly as it had come. "Can....can I call my brother?"

The other woman nodded. "You might want to tell him to meet you at the police station. I'm sure you'll need to answer more questions and give a statement."

Sabryn nodded, heading to the phone on shaky legs, barely noticing the bee line Agent Scully made straight for her partner. Dialing with trembling fingers, she waited impatiently for her brother to pick up the other end of the line. When he did, she almost sagged to the floor in relief.

"Johnny, I need you."

What seemed like hours later, Sabryn finished giving her statement and answering questions, only to sink onto a waiting bench outside what she assumed was an interrogation room. It all felt so fucking mechanical. Like someone else was using her brain. Her voice came out of her mouth, so monotoned, so quiet, and she didn't feel much of anything. But as she sat there staring at the wall, the image of that bloodied and massacred head flashed across her mind for the millionth time, and she ran to the ladies' room across the hall. Barely into the awaiting stall, she retched painfully and clung pathetically to the porcelain rim of the toilet.

She'd just killed a man.

In her own home. Her sanctuary.

One slight flick of a trigger, and she'd splattered his brains all over the floor.

Her stomach clenched one last time, even though there was nothing in there to get rid of. She sank back to the floor, her head against the wall of the stall, trying so hard to stop the spinning of the room around her. Breathing heavily, a foul taste in her mouth, she reached over and had to use all of her remaining strength to flush the toilet. Her cheeks blazed even redder as she heard the rest room door open. She could see a pair of dark heels crossing the floor, and a moment later Agent Scully pushed open the door of her stall.

"Are you all right?"

She nodded slightly, and with the agent's help, pushed herself to her feet. Staggering to the sink to rinse out her mouth and wash away the awful taste. If only she could wash away the memory so easily.

God. She looked in the mirror and blinked twice. She didn't even recognize herself. Her skin was pale white, ashen, her eyes vacant and dead.

Turning her gaze slightly, she caught Agent Scully looking at her.

"How do you do this?"

"Excuse me?"

"You've killed people before, haven't you? How do you handle it?"

The agent looked away, a slight smile curving her lips. "A sense of humor and a lot of hours spent in confession."

Somehow, Sabryn managed to crack a smile. "But the first time--"

"The first time was a lot like this, I imagine. The only difference is, I had the knowledge that what I was doing was for my job and my country. I can't say I understand how you feel right now, because I don't."

"It must be nice having someone there to rely on. Agent Mulder, I mean." "Yes, Mulder does make it easier...most of the time. Then there are other times when I'm tempted to shoot him instead. I've only had to give in to the temptation once."

"You shot him?"

"Yes. He was about to kill a suspect, and I couldn't let him do that

without knowing the truth behind the incident." Agent Scully tilted her head to the side, smoothly steering the subject back to the original topic. "Surely you have someone to rely on. Your brother?

Or...the man in your painting, perhaps?"

Sabryn almost laughed. "I can rely on my brother, yes. As for the other...it's a gamble."

"Is he a lover?"

Clearing her throat, Sabryn stepped across the room and grabbed a towel from the dispenser. "He's a friend."

"A very good friend."

"Yes." Crossing her arms, she tried to change the subject. Surely this woman was just being curious and friendly, trying to take her mind off of what had happened. But her questions were making Sabryn uneasy. "Maybe we should go outside. See if my brother is here?"

Agent Scully nodded.

Stepping out into the hallway, Sabryn saw her brother in a hushed conversation with Fox. The look on his face was more than just one of concern. She could also see anger, suspicion, and something else she couldn't put a name to. Calling out his name, her voice shaky and raspy, she was relieved when he turned to face her and a stunning smile crossed his face. Without one word to Agent Mulder, he crossed the space between them, his eyes watery, and pulled her hard into his embrace. Nearly crushing her with the effort to hold her to his chest. And the tremors running through his body were almost enough to make her cry.

"God, sweetheart, I was so fucking scared..." She wrapped her arms around him, holding on tight, more for his sake than her own. She hadn't seen him look so worried since that night when she was seven.

"I'm ok, Johnny. I'm ok."

It was almost four in the morning by the time they returned to her apartment. Some sort of crime scene clean up crew had obviously just finished their work, by the strong chemical scent in the air. But despite all of their scrubbing they still hadn't been able to get rid of the dark stain marring her wood floor. She swallowed heavily, staring around her apartment, seeing it with new eyes. Nothing was familiar anymore. It was tarnished, ruined. And she wanted nothing more than to pack up her belongings and go.

Over the past few days, she'd started boxing up essential items, getting ready for the move north. She had intended to save her clothing for last. Funny how now that she wasn't supposed to leave the area, it was the one thing she couldn't wait to do.

Being quiet and leaving her a bit of privacy, Johnny started taking her boxes down to the car and said their good-byes to the agents. Fox and Agent Scully had stayed by her side the entire night. She was grateful for that much. Their steady presence was possibly the only thing to keep her sane. As she pulled her suitcase out from beneath the bed, careful to avoid the stain on the other side of the bed, her movements were once more automatic. Mechanically efficient. Folding clothes and jamming them into place without much thinking. In a hurry to get to her brother's home and embrace her niece and nephew. To get the hell away from here and never look back.

But as her gaze skipped over the paintings on the floor, she knew there was one last stop she'd have to make. In all of the chaos, she'd never even noticed if Robert had stopped by to pick up the paintings. If she wanted to sell them, she was just going to have to drop them off herself.

Against all better judgment, instead of going straight home, Alex found himself pulling his truck to a stop just down the street from Sabryn's apartment. He argued with himself for a moment about whether or not to go in, but he'd gotten this far. What was the harm in going a bit farther? Stepping onto the street, he closed the door behind him and set the alarm.

Yet he'd only taken a few steps before he noticed the police tape that had once barred her door. Before he saw her brother's somber face as he carried boxes from her apartment and stored them in his car. Before Alex's own heartbeat tripled to a furious rate in his chest. He picked up his footsteps, heading straight for the stair well, only to be stopped in his tracks by the tall blond man. Johnny stared at him, something dangerous flickering in his gaze, his hand shoved hard against Alex's chest.

"Where the hell do you think you're going?" "What happened?"

"It's none of your fucking business. Get the hell out of here before I call the cops."

Alex pushed past him, heading for the stairs once more, only to be shoved hard against the wall. Pinned by a man who had the body of a linebacker, he stared up at the open doorway.

"Is she all right?"

"I said, get out of here!"

"I don't give a damn what you said. Get the fuck out of my way." He wasn't as big as her brother, but he was faster. Slipping under his arm, Alex raced up the stairs, Johnny hot on his heels, cursing like hell. And when he stepped through the doorway and met her startled gaze, he didn't give a damn that he was about to be pummeled unmercifully.

She was alive.

END.

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