TITLE: "Mikhail's Fire" (1/1)
AUTHOR: Isahunter
RATING: PG.
CATEGORY: V, WIP, Krycek/Other (No slash)
SPOILERS: Up to "One Son" S6
ARCHIVE: Yes, please
FEEDBACK: Isahunter@aol.com
DISCLAIMER: All characters from "The X-Files" are property of CC, 1013, and
FOX. "At Last" was written by Gordon and Warren--unfortunately I don't know
who owns the song. Needless to say, it's not mine. No copyright
infringement intended.
SUMMARY: The last night before the end of the world.
NOTES: Continuation of my series' "Midnight Angel" and "Morning Glory." Both are available to read
here--http://www.angelfire.com/ak3/expositions/index.html
ADDITIONAL NOTE: I should mention now that there is the very real possibility of **character deaths** ahead. And although I'd hate to lose readers, I'd rather have the squeamish bail out now, before that happens. I apologize if this upsets anyone, but, considering the circumstances, it's unavoidable. Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me thus far.

For the only one who could inspire me to write a novel I'll never receive a
cent for...the one who breathes life into the most unlikely of heroes. For
Nick.


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"Maybe this world is another planet's hell."
--Aldous Huxley

He had expected to be greeted with hostility, but the gun pointed in his face was a little much. Leaning innocently against her door frame, his hands in plain sight, he didn't really think he posed much threat. But Dana Scully was another story altogether. Her two-handed grip on the Sig was only slightly hampered by the car keys she still held. Staring at him down the barrel, she narrowed her eyes.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

"I came to help you find him."

"Bullshit."

"How do you think I know Mulder's missing?"

"For all I know, you've got him tied up somewhere."

"As much as I'd like to see Mulder bound and gagged, I'm not in the mood for kinky right now." He blinked slowly, wondering when her arms would begin to tire. "You mind putting the gun down?"

"Not a chance. How do you know about Mulder?"

"Skinner told me."

He saw the flash of confusion that made her pupils flare. "You expect me to believe that?"

"I don't care what you believe. I have business to take care of, and I'll do it with or without you."

"My ass. Turn around and face the wall."

Son of a bitch. She always had a knack for doing things by the book, so procedural he almost felt the urge to yawn. "Can we forget the cuffs this time? I don't like the way they chafe."

"Shut up."

Facing the wall, he rolled his eyes, waiting patiently while she patted him down, stifling a dirty little comment as her hands brushed his ass. When she found no weapons, she stepped to the side and he could see her perplexed stare out of the corner of his eye. Still holding the gun on him, she unlocked the apartment door with one hand before pushing him inside.

"Hold it, right there." He could hear her pick up the receiver of the nearby phone and start dialing.

"You've been looking for him, and you can't find him...can you?"

She didn't say a word, but paused between buttons.

"You need my help, Scully. I can get you beyond restricted access."

"What's in it for you?"

"Witnesses, for one thing."

"What are you talking about?"

He turned slightly, meeting her gaze over his shoulder. "I'm going to expose them."

"The Syndicate? What good will it do you now?"

"I don't mean media exposure, although that's included." Turning all the way to face her, he gave her a little grin. "I'm cutting myself a deal."

"A deal?"

"With the colonists."

"What kind of deal?"

"I can explain later. We're wasting time. The New Year starts in a matter of hours."

Almost reluctantly, she lowered the receiver onto the cradle. "You could have any witnesses you want. Why us?"

"Witnesses to the Syndicate's secret projects...the abductions, the hybrids, the vaccine, everything. I'm taking them down, Scully. Don't you want to watch that happen?"

Even more hesitantly, she finally lowered the gun. "Why did you run, if you were just going to come back?"

"I had business to take care of." He held up his hand. "And I didn't quite think my threats against Majestic would be taken seriously while handcuffed."

"You should be in jail."

"And Mulder should be in a mental institution, but we don't need to quibble about that now." He ignored her loathsome glare. "When was the last time you saw him?"

"Nearly a week ago, in Chilmark. He was trying to persuade his mother to pack up, but she refused. He and Marita were still there when I left to get my own mother on a plane. When I called an hour later, Mrs. Mulder told me he was gone."

"Where have you looked?"

She lowered her gaze. "Everywhere. I've tried calling a hundred times, but his phone is always out of range. I just tried the Gunmen, but they're gone. Mulder must have already told them to pack up and leave."

"Let's go."

"Where?"

"If he's out of range, I have an idea of where he's headed"

"Why should I listen to you?"

"You don't have a choice."

 

Standing in front of a television set in the middle of the K-Mart electronics department, Sabryn watched fireworks explode from the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The locals, in the small group around her, smiled, grateful that no signs of the foretold Y2K bug had been reported. News crews had been covering the World-Wide celebrations since they first began in Kiribati's Millennium Island. Not a single calamitous incident reported. But as she paused in her panic to buy last minute emergency supplies before heading to the silos, she couldn't help but wonder when the true 'New Year' would begin.

*These poor people. They have no idea.*

Pushing the cart past them, she hurried back to the sundries, meeting Caroline as she grasped a large package of bathroom tissues.

"Carly, we aren't even going to have toilets."

Her sister-in-law blanched. "Where are we supposed to go?"

Sabryn shrugged. "We'll figure something out. Which reminds me..." She reached across the aisle, picking out a large box of tampons. "I'm going to run out sooner or later."

"You finally started?"

"Yeah. I think it was stress." She'd been late for a few days, and overwhelmed with fear about bringing a new life into this nightmare. And yet when she'd gone to Caroline for support, she'd forgotten the woman was facing the very same fear herself. Foot firmly planted in her mouth, she apologized profusely. Luckily, her sister-in-law had understood. "I know this is going to sound stupid but, for a few minutes this morning, I was almost disappointed."

Caroline glanced down at her own swollen stomach. "I can easily understand that. I'm scared to death, but I wouldn't give this baby up for anything."

Sabryn gave her a shaky smile. "We should get going. John and Walter are going to wonder what's taking so long."

When they'd made their purchases and headed for the Buick, snow was lightly falling...the sky camouflaged with a layer of thick gray clouds. There could have been alien ships hovering overhead that very second and they never would have seen them. Shivering, Sabryn scooted behind the wheel and turned the key.

Nothing but an ominous clicking sound came from the engine. She tried again, with the same results.

"God, not now..."

She turned the key again, and nothing.

"Are we out of gas?" Caroline asked.

"No, it says we have half a tank."

"Well, I hope you know something about cars, because I sure don't."

Blowing hot air on her hands, Sabryn gave her a hopeless glance. She tried the key again, pressing down on the gas pedal. It didn't help. It was too damned cold for the old car. Hell, it was too damned cold for human beings.

"Should we call the guys?"

"What for? They don't have a car."

"Well, maybe a tow truck?"

They were running out of time. No one knew when the invasion would begin. And still, it was the only option. Nodding, Sabryn started to reach for the door handle, only to start and let out a shriek as someone knocked on the window. Heart pounding, she rolled down the icy window and tried not to look like a deer caught in headlights as she stared up at Erik Larsen.

"Sounds like you ladies are having some trouble."

Shit. Shit, shit, shit. "We're fine, Mr. Larsen. Thank you."

She was about to roll up the window when he spoke again. "I hope you don't think I was following you again, Ms. Bryn. I just can't resist a blue light special."

"Do you know this gentleman?" Caroline prompted, her voice light with amusement.

He crouched down slightly, peering past her to her sister-in-law. "We met a few days ago. I'm Erik Larsen."

"Caroline Warner-Pruitt. Nice to meet you."

"Likewise, Ma'am." Glancing back at Sabryn momentarily, he smiled. "I have a house on the other side of the ridge from where you're staying. Can I offer you a ride?"

"That would--"

"No, thank you."

"Sabryn!" Caroline elbowed her. "We need to get home."

"I can't just leave you out here," Larsen urged. "What kind of a man would I be?"

She could think of a few suggestions. Glaring back at Caroline, she said, "We'll be fine."

Reaching for the door handle, her sister-in-law gave her an admonishing look. "You can wait for a tow truck if you'd like, but I want to get back to my kids. It's getting late."

Her last words were heavy with veiled symbolism. Reaching for the bag in the back-seat, Caroline climbed out of the car. Narrowing her eyes, Sabryn stared back at Larsen's grin.

"Will you be staying then, Ms. Bryn?"

"We'll be right there."

She waited for him to walk away, keeping her eye on him in the rear view mirror as she opened the glove compartment. Pulling out the loaded pistol hidden inside, she tucked it into her purse. Caroline gasped.

"Sabryn...this man is being a gentleman by offering us a ride. How can you be so rude?"

"Trust me, I have a bad feeling about him."

"Would you rather sit here with your bad feeling, or get home before midnight?"

She cringed, Alex's warnings about Larsen echoing in her head as she got out of the car. Heading for his truck, she couldn't help but wonder which was worse--Erik Larsen, or the aliens.

The drive to New York City, with Scully in the passenger's seat, was about as awkward as a blind date. Exiting the Lincoln Tunnel, he concentrated on the road...trying not to notice her continual stare in his direction. She watched him like she expected him to rip off a mask and reveal the true evil underneath.

"Just how are you planning to get us in?"

"My security code." He gave her a sly smile. "Damned near as good as Diplomatic Immunity."

"That may work for you, but what about me?"

"You worry too much."

"Stop fucking around, Krycek--"

"We're both going to walk right in the front door. How the hell do you think Mulder planned on getting in?"

"Planned? I thought you said he'd be here?"

"No, I said I thought I knew where he was headed."

She gave him a lethal glare. "Pull the truck over."

"We're almost there."

He groaned at the sudden congestion on the street. New York on New Year's Eve was a nightmare. The closer they got to Times Square, the slower they moved. Turning the wheel suddenly, he raced past a couple of pedestrians to cut off a slow moving taxi. The honking behind him increased twofold.

"I don't give a damn. Pull over."

"Look, you're going to have to trust me." He pointed to the building across the intersection, just past the 42nd Street sign. "That's it right there. Now would you like to go in, or are you backing out after coming all this way?"

He stopped at the red light, turning to look at her. Her fingers tightened around the door handle. Swearing under her breath, she sat back and crossed her arms. "The light's green."

Pushing down on the gas, he drove through the intersection and past the Gentleman's Club. Turning right into the next alleyway, he slowed down. Wide enough for only one car, the space was dank and deserted but surprisingly clean. Wouldn't want to get mud or garbage stuck to the tires of rich old cars, or to the feet of even richer old men. About halfway down the alley, a wide opening in the side of the building led to a ramp. He turned the wheel, driving down into the parking garage, making a U-turn just before the end of the lane, not even bothering with a parking space. Shutting down the engine, he gestured with his head towards the metal elevator doors on the right.

"All the way to the top."

"How am I supposed to know this isn't a trap?"

"I could have just as easily hidden in your apartment and knocked you over the head as you walked in the door, if I really wanted you so badly."

"And what about them? They could be waiting for us to walk right into their hands."

He crouched down again, pointing out two security cameras in the corners ahead of them. "Those are just the ones they want you to see. They know we're here, Scully. My guess is, the only reason they haven't shown their faces by now is because they aren't here themselves."

"Then why are we going in?"

"To find out where the safe base is. El Rico is out of the question. So is Fort Marlene and Skyland Mountain. They need a new place to hide, somewhere the rebels won't find them."

"And you think that's what Mulder was after?"

"What do you think?"

"I don't think he would have left me behind, if that was the case."

Alex shrugged. "How many times has Mulder left you behind, before?"

She glared at him, groping for the door handle, before getting out and slamming the door behind her. Storming over to the elevator, she pushed the button.

He had to admit it was a low blow. He even felt a slight twinge of shame as he retrieved his gun from the center console, stepped down from the truck and shut the door behind him. But he hadn't said anything that wasn't true.

Hitting the button to set the alarm, he called out, "You need a pass card."

She turned around. "What?"

He pulled out his wallet, holding up a little card with a magnetic strip on the back. "You need one of these for the elevator."

"If that's true, how would Mulder get in?"

"He probably used Marita's." Swiping his card through the slot, he stood back and watched the doors open. She gave him another dubious glance before stepping into the carriage and turning around to face him. "He might not have been here at all. For all I know, he could have used mental telepathy to find the base. But chances are he'll show up there sooner or later."

"You better hope you're right, Krycek."

Stepping inside and pushing the button to the top floor, he smirked. "Is that a threat?"

"It's a promise."

She was silent on the ride up, watching the numbers above the door increase with each floor. Leaning against the wall, he studied her face. Not even bothering to hide his gaze. She looked older than he remembered. No doubt she felt older, too. After all the crap she endured for the X-Files, she was probably about ready for retirement. The rings under her eyes were darker than usual, a testimony to too many sleepless nights. Months ago, he would have dismissed the sign as stress over her job or the situation. Now, however, he recognized her anxiety for what it truly was. She was in love with the bastard. And Mulder was too damned dumb to see it.

*I don't think he would have left me behind.*

Her words echoed in his head, along with an irrational anger at the other man. What kind of a jackass would do that to a woman? He realized, too late, that he could have asked the very same thing about himself.

"He's trying to keep you out of danger, Scully."

She turned her head towards him just as the bell signaled their arrival at the top floor. She stared at him for a moment, before walking through the opening doors.

"I don't need saving."

He followed her down the hall, towards the walnut double doors. "All I'm saying is--"

"Krycek, just get the information so we can go."

Her harsh tone suggested she was at her limit. Nodding silently, he reached under his coat for the gun. Turning the door knob with his prosthesis, he pushed it open with his foot. He expected the usual "door man" to stop him in his tracks, before recognizing him and allowing him to proceed. But the guard was suspiciously absent. Stepping through the doorway, he gestured for Scully to follow. Yet as she stepped through the door, it slammed behind them. Alex spun around, staring down the barrel of his gun...and straight up the barrel of another. He narrowed his eyes, before his lips curved into a smirk.

Scully gasped. "Mulder."

 

"At last...my love has come along. My lonely days are over, and life is like a song."

Squished against the passenger's side door, Sabryn cringed as Mr. Larsen softly sang along with the radio. Her fingers clutched her purse at her side, ready for the slightest indication that he was driving them anywhere but back to the cabin. She was almost certain he could hear her heart beat, pounding violently in her chest. She wanted to grab Carly's arm, bail out of the truck, and run the rest of the way home. But they wouldn't even make it a mile before they froze solid.

"Do you know this song, Ms. Caroline?"

Carly sounded like a flirty teenager. Her voice tended to raise an octave whenever she was nervous. "I believe I've heard it before."

"This used to be one of my wife's favorites."

"Used to be?"

"She passed away, Ma'am."

"Oh, I'm so sorry." She held her hand to her chest and shook her head in sympathy, giving Sabryn the urge to gag.

"I was telling Ms. Bryn the other day how much she looks like my late wife." He flipped down the sun visor in the front of them, revealing a picture clipped to the back side. "That's her right there."

Caroline leaned closer, peering at the picture, before turning back to look at Sabryn with wide eyes. "That's plain creepy."

Curious in spite of herself, Sabryn looked closer at the picture. Sitting on the grass, her legs folded beneath her, the young woman stared at the camera with large blue-gray eyes. Her hair curled around her face, falling in glossy waves over her shoulders to rest just above her waist. Surrounded by dense patches of clover, her mouth was curved in a Mona Lisa smile as fat bumble bees darted around her. She was serene, delicate, with short fingers as annoyingly stubby as Sabryn's own. Her hair was tinted bronze, from the sun, and her skin was a bit darker...but if she hadn't known otherwise, Sabryn would have sworn she was staring at a picture of her younger self.

She glanced back at Mr. Larsen. "You weren't kidding."

"It's uncanny, isn't it?"

She wasn't sure the nose was quite right, and it had been quite a while since she remembered being that skinny, but the similarities were so startling that she pushed the visor up to keep from staring.

"Where was she from?"

"Ingrid? She was born in Grand Forks."

"North Dakota?"

"Yes, Ma'am."

"They say everyone has a twin somewhere," Caroline said, "but I didn't think it was that literal."

"Now you know why I was so curious. Ingrid once told me her sisters look a lot like her, as well."

"Maybe you're related, Sabryn...a cousin, maybe?"

"I don't know." Her voice was a near-whisper as she stared out the window, lost in thought. She'd never considered herself psychic, but she could usually trust her gut instinct...so why was she suddenly wondering if Mr. Larsen's harmless interest in her was completely genuine? "I do have cousins I've never met. It's a possibility."

She was grateful when Caroline steered the conversation towards Mr. Larsen's plans for the New Year. By the time they rounded the last corner and the cabin came into view, she couldn't wait to get out of the car. Genuine interest or not, his gaze lingered far too long for Sabryn's taste.

She opened the door as the truck pulled to a stop, watching John open the front door and head down the steps to meet them.

"What's going on? We were about to start walking to town in search of you."

"The car broke down."

"Mr. Larsen was kind enough to offer us a ride," Caroline added.

Walking around to the driver's side of the truck, John shook the man's hand. "That was very thoughtful of you. These two mean the world to us."

"It was my pleasure." Larsen bent slightly, meeting Sabryn's gaze as she was shutting the door. "You never did tell me what you were doing for the New Year. Any plans?"

"We'll be staying in. Just a night for the family."

"All right, then. You're welcome to head on over to the house if you wanted to see some fireworks later."

"We'll keep that in mind. Thank you for the ride."

He nodded as she shut the door, waiting as they headed for the house. She didn't bother to look back, but hurried inside and away from his gaze. It was almost a palpable thing, and as she sat down on the couch she shuddered. She let out a sound of disgust, making Walter look up from the coals he was stirring.

"Something bothering you?"

"Not anymore, thank God."

Standing up, he headed over to the chair next to her and sat down. "I figure we should leave at dawn tomorrow, unless something comes up earlier. Are you going to be ready for this?"

She sucked in a deep breath. "As ready as I'll ever be."

"Your brother and I talked to the kids while you were gone. I think Chris finally understands, but he's so quiet we can't really be sure. Jolie said she'd help look out for him."

"They're good kids. I think they'll be OK, for the most part."

"How have you been doing, Sabryn? In the last four days, the only time I've seen you slow down was when you went to bed at night."

"Keeping busy leaves me little time to think."

Leaning forward, he rested his forearms on his thighs and laced his fingers together. "I realize that," he said, as John and Carly walked in the door. "I'm just worried that you're bottling all these things in. Whether you think about it or not, it's still going to happen."

"I know that, Walter." She stood up and headed for the ladder, ready to pack up her few remaining belongings in preparation for the morning. "But the world as I knew it ended a long time ago." END. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ My computer is dying...send sympathy notes or feedback to Isahunter@aol.com