TITLE: "Midnight Angel XIII: No One Else On Earth" (1/1)

AUTHOR: Isahunter

RATING: R (adult content)

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: How strong is strong enough?

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

For Marina, Queen of Denial. Danke!

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"The greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender."

--William Booth.

She stared at him, the expression on her face somewhere between shock and indifference, only blinking when her brother seized him by the collar and began to drag him back outside.

"Johnny, it's ok."

Her voice sounded cold, lifeless, nearly as much as the hollow depths of her gaze. The gash on her face added the only bit of color to her sallow skin. Bruises dotted her arms, ringed her wrists, and the only thing he could think about was killing the bastard that did this to her. But when he saw the dark stain on the floor next to where she was standing, something told him he was too late.

"John, let him go."

Alex glared at her brother over his shoulder, and the taller man grudgingly released him. "I don't think you need any visitors at this hour, Bryn."

"I don't think I need you making that or any decision for me." The irrational impulse to smile made Alex clear his throat. Unwilling to give up so easily, her brother leaned against the wall and waited. In no hurry to leave.

Sabryn picked up another of her shirts and began folding. "Don't you have some boxes you could be loading, John?"

Grumbling under his breath, he picked up another stack of cardboard boxes and headed for the door. "I'll be just downstairs. Yell if you need me."

Alex watched him depart out of the corner of his eye. "He doesn't like me very much."

"What are you doing back here?"

"I told you I'd come back."

"I never really believed you."

"No one ever does." He stepped around the paintings, walking over to where she stood. As he reached up to touch her face, she flinched and backed away. "What happened to you?"

"Why don't you read the police report? It's all there." Jesus. "What happened, Sabryn?"

"A man came here looking for you."

The dead weight that settled over him was like green storm clouds rolling in. Ominous and sickening, full of dread. He didn't even recognize his own voice. "What did he do to you?"

She swallowed heavily, laying the shirt in the suitcase with the others. "I took care of myself. You don't need to worry about it."

He caught her chin, forcing her to meet his gaze. "What did he do to you?"

"Nothing."

But her eyes told a different story. Her gaze was just as scared and wounded as the rest of her was bruised. She couldn't meet his stare, trembled beneath his touch. His eyes swept down the length of her body, taking in the wrinkled sweats, the sagging waist band, the barely noticeable edge of her torn panties, and something savage broke loose in his chest. He dragged her closer, despite her pushing hands, and dragged one side of her pants down her hip. He stared, horrified at the jagged tear in her satin underwear, and then looked up at her face. Her eyes were closed, her hands still pushing against his chest, and he had to swallow heavily as he carefully pulled her pants back into place.

His voice was little more than a growl. "Did he hurt you?" She shook her head.

"Look at me."

When she finally opened her eyes, instead of seeing tears, he was surprised to be met with unmistakable anger. "No, he didn't hurt me. He tried, and I blew his fucking head off. Satisfied?"

Stunned, he didn't make a move when she pushed away from him and turned back to her clothes once more. Christ. He didn't remember ever being speechless before in his life. For several long minutes, he just stared at her.

"I really don't need your help, so you can go now."

"What, uh--where are you going?"

"To my brother's house."

"The hell you are."

She paused in mid-motion. "What?"

"You're coming with me."

Turning around, she pinned him with a lethal glare. "You almost got me killed, and I'm going to die in a few weeks anyway...or so you've said. I think I'll take my chances with my brother."

"Your brother may have brute force, but he doesn't know what the hell he's doing."

"My brother taught me how to shoot. I think we'll be just fine."

"He doesn't know who he's up against. I don't trust him."

"Oh yeah? Well I don't trust you as far as I can shoot you."

He stepped forward, menacingly, giving her no choice but to back up, pinning her legs between him and the bed. "I'm not giving you a choice, Sabryn. Pack your things. You're coming home with me."

By the time she finally locked up her apartment and followed him down the stairs, Sabryn hadn't stopped glaring at him once. Although she didn't throw a childish tantrum, her opinion was made clear all the same. Carrying her heavy suitcase, Alex had to stop in his tracks as her brother appeared at the bottom of the stairs.

"What's going on?"

"She's coming with me."

"Over my dead body."

"That can be arranged."

"Stop!" They both turned and looked at her. Running a shaky hand through her hair, she glanced at her brother. "Johnny, he's right. That man didn't just pick me at random. He came after me for a reason, and I have no idea if he was the only one. What if someone else comes looking for me while I'm staying with you, Carly, and the kids? I don't want to put you in danger like that. And Alex can protect me."

"What the fuck are you talking about?"

"I'm the one who got her into this mess. I should be the one to end it, don't you think?" Alex asked.

"You son of a bitch. I oughta be the one to end you."

"John, stop." Sabryn pushed past, handing her keys to her brother. "I'm going. Will you please make sure Maxine gets these so that Robert can pick up the paintings? And tell her I'll be back soon to get the money."

Her brother nodded, never breaking his malevolent stare in Alex's direction.

"I'll call you later today and let you know what's going on. Ok?" He didn't answer.

"John?"

"All right." He looked down at her and sighed heavily. "Call by three. If I don't hear from you by then I'm calling the cavalry."

A slight smile crossed her face, but vanished just as quickly. Squeezing his hand, she gave him a kiss on the cheek and started to walk away. Alex meant to follow, but it wasn't that easy with her brother's fist clenched in his coat.

"I'm watching you."

When he didn't say a word, Johnny let him go and stiffly walked to his car. Leaving Alex to do the same. He had to shake his head. The last time a girl's brother had threatened him like that, he'd been fourteen and stupid.

Caught with hand down her pants under the school bleachers. He'd gotten the shit kicked out of him the minute the bell rang. If Johnny only knew what Alex had once done to his little sister, he might have just met the same fate.

Unlocking the truck, he set her suitcase in the back and watched her for a moment as she climbed in the passenger's seat. She was limping a bit, but she didn't complain for a second. He was beginning to wonder when that fragile mask of bravado she'd put on was going to crack.

Sabryn stared out the window, her eyelids heavy, her eyes feeling gritty and dry. Every muscle in her body was sore. The scenery passed by them in a blur as he drove out of the city, into the outskirts of town...the suburbs. It wasn't until she saw the tiny tricycle in someone's driveway that she really realized just where they were. In a residential area. Where families lived. Children went to school. People attended church on Sundays and kissed their loved ones when they came home from work. Where a spy lived? He had to be kidding.

Dogs trotted down the sidewalk, illuminated by the street lights. Pretty little houses sat quietly, darkened until dawn, waiting for five o'clock to roll around to start the day. And Alex Krycek pulled into the driveway of a lovely white house, complete with flower baskets, parking just in front of the tiny garage in the back. She looked around at the well-kept yard before meeting his gaze with suspicion.

"You live here? With your mother?"

"No, she's my land lady. I'm renting the apartment in the basement."

"Basement. Ah. I see."

He shot her cold look before opening his door and getting out. She followed as he grabbed her suitcase and walked through the little picket fence. Somehow, the whole scene was amusing to her. A leather-clad spy in dark glasses and boots, making his way across the flower-strewn path. He looked more likely to rob the place than take up residence. As they walked around to the other side of the house, she could see the concrete steps, lit by a bare light bulb, leading down to shadowy doorway. Somehow, this was more appropriate. When he'd unlocked the door and flipped on the light switch inside, he stepped back to let her pass.

She wasn't sure what she'd expected, but it wasn't this. Maybe a mattress on the floor and a couple of rats running around. Certainly not a well furnished, normal-looking apartment. She turned to look at him, her surprise no doubt written all over her face.

"Go ahead and go in. Nothing bites, I swear." Shaking her head, she stepped through the doorway. If she'd had her eyes closed the entire time, her only indication that this was a basement would be in the tiny windows at the top of the walls. The floor was carpeted, the walls were nicely painted, and the room smelled like cedar. She breathed in deeply, catching a whiff of musky male flesh, only to find him standing right next to her. She couldn't help the slight blush that tinted her cheeks.

"Well?"

"I should have known you'd have a black leather couch."

"It's a pain in the ass to keep the damned cat from scratching it."

"You have a cat?"

"No, she belongs to my landlady...but the damned thing likes me for some reason. Won't leave me alone."

Sabryn smirked. "Must be a female thing." The look he gave her was too intense, and she had to turn away. Yet the moment her eyes landed on the huge, flannel-covered bed on the opposite wall, she wished she hadn't. The comforter on top looked as plush as a cloud, and just as inviting.

Come to think of it, the whole place looked inviting, and too damned clean. "Do you really live here?"

"Sometimes. I'm not here very often. It's more of a place to crash than anything."

"Oh." She looked down at her baggy sweats, grimacing at the coffee stain on the front. "Do you mind if I take a shower?"

"No. It's right in there," he said, nodding with his head to the door at the other end of the room.

Grabbing her suitcase from his hand, she hurried away, all too eager to get away from that stare of his. Shutting herself in the tiny bathroom, cursing the lack of a lock, she set her suitcase on the counter and breathed a sigh of relief. His bathroom was entirely ordinary, despite the funky leopard print shower curtain. She rolled her eyes at herself in the mirror. Stripping out of her clothes, she flung them onto the floor and was about to reach for the shower curtain when she caught site of her own reflection.

She had bruises everywhere. Marred imperfections on her skin, like fingerprints every place that man had touched her. Her hair was wild and tangled, and she was horrified to see a tiny speckles of blood in the once shiny tresses. Her vision going hazy, she opened the cabinet above the sink and began searching frantically through his belongings. When she found the tiny pair of gold scissors, she seized them and quickly turned back to the mirror. Snipping several inches off of her hair. Cutting out the tangles, getting rid of the blood. Barely aware of the small mass of hair gathering in the sink. Leaving little more than a haphazard mess of curls reaching just below her ears. She ran her hand through the shortened mass, her lower lip shaking, unable to meet her own gaze. When she finally noticed the clutter in the sink, she gathered up the shorn strands and threw them in the garbage.

Pushing aside the shower curtain, she turned on the water, adjusted the temperature slightly, and stepped beneath the stinging spray. Grabbing the bar of soap, she lathered up the loofah lying on his window sill and began scrubbing. Washing away the man's touch, his scent on her skin, his memory. She didn't even stop when her skin was red and tender.

The water had been running for more than twenty minutes when Alex finally turned off the TV and leaned forward, the leather couch creaking below him. He didn't hear a sound other than the steady spray, but he couldn't fight the compulsion to step forward. As he stood outside the door, he still didn't hear a sound, and the silence worried him. Inching the door open, he stepped inside and pulled back the shower curtain a bit, only to see her scrubbing furiously at her already red skin.

"It isn't going to come off, you know."

She started, spinning to face him and nearly losing her footing in the slippery bath tub. "I told you I'm fine. I certainly don't need you to baby-sit me."

He watched her for a minute, holding her glare, before he started unbuttoning his shirt. She swallowed heavily, backing up a step, dropping the loofah to the floor of the tub.

"I don't need any help showering either." He didn't say a word, merely stripped his shirt from his shoulders and shrugged it to the floor. She glanced at the annoying harness that held his prosthetic arm into place, obviously curious, before looking away once more.

"Did you hear me? I don't need help. I'm fine."

"You look fine." He smirked. "Damned fine." She sucked in a sharp breath as he began unbuttoning his jeans. He'd already kicked off his boots outside, and his jeans dropped around his ankles with little more than a push. Kicking them aside, he got rid of his socks and underwear as well. And when he paused, his right hand on the catch to release the harness, she wasn't exactly looking at his eyes. And much to his dismay, she looked slightly petrified. Not by the fact that he was about to remove the prosthetic arm. It was the fact that he was naked, aroused, and she was more scared than she was willing to admit.

The false arm dropped to the floor on top of his clothes, but she paid little attention to the ugly white scars just below his shoulder. She didn't grimace in distaste or back away. She gave them little more than a glance. But as he stepped into the shower, she was shaking visibly. The water was still warm, and probably would be for quite a while. She wasn't chilled. And even though she might not have been scared of him in particular, she was frightened.

He looked down at her red, tortured skin and frowned. "What have you been doing to yourself?"

She looked away, blinking rapidly. "I can still smell him."

"You said he didn't hurt you. Did you lie to me?"

"No."

"He didn't rape you?"

She shook her head, closing her eyes. He touched her cheek, just below the angry gash, and her eyelashes fluttered. He lowered his voice. "I would have killed him if you hadn't."

She didn't say a word, but merely tilted her head back as his thumb traced a water droplet down the length of her neck. She was blocking most of the spray of the water, but he could feel the heat rolling off of her in waves, so close, so moist and steamy against his skin. Her nipples brushed against him as she breathed, making him even harder than he already was. He lightly brushed over a bruise on her shoulder, let his lips whisk away the water on her skin.

"Your hair looks shorter."

Her fingers curled around his shoulders, fingernails digging into his flesh as he lowered himself, moving from bruise to bruise, lightly bathing each wound with the subtle brush of his lips and tongue.

Seizing her hips, he gently bit at the hollow of her stomach, just above those dark curls, feeling the shudder that passed through her. And as he ran his hand up the inside of her thigh, pressing his fingers against the melting heat of her, she sobbed.

But it wasn't ecstasy he was hearing. He looked up at her face, saw it crumple before his eyes like cracking glass. She covered her face with her hands, doubling over, releasing a injured cry made his stomach clench. Alex stood up, dragging her closer, holding her tight against his chest, feeling her arms wrap around his neck and hold tight. She shook in his arms with a violence that rocked him on his feet. Convulsively weeping. Draining tears from the very depths of her body, her wrenching cries echoing off the walls.

And as he pressed his cheek against her wet hair and closed his eyes, the words left his mouth in a hoarse whisper.

"I'm never going to let anyone hurt you again."

END.

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eXpositions: http://www.aliens.mcmail.com/isadiadem/