TITLE: "Mikhail's Fire II: New Year's Day" (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. No copyright infringement intended.
SUMMARY: With a tiny spark, it begins.
NOTES: Continuation of my series "Mikhail's Fire," which can be found
here--http://www.angelfire.com/ak3/expositions/Mikhail.htm
ADDITIONAL NOTE: I should mention there is the very real possibility of **character deaths** ahead. Although I'd hate to lose readers, I'd rather have the squeamish bail out now. 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 Tara, who'd better write more of that WIP, before I'm forced to hunt her down and strangle it out of her. And you think I'm kidding.
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"To everyone is given the key to heaven; the same key opens the gates of
hell."Ý
~Ancient proverb

 

"Mulder, what the hell is going on here?"

His gaze flickered towards Scully, before continuing the angry glare in Alex's direction. "I was about to ask you the same thing."

"We were looking for you."

"We?"

Lowering his own gun to his side, Alex glanced impatiently at the clock on the wall. Ten forty-two. One hour and eighteen minutes until the new year. "Come on, Mulder. Get your head out of your ass and tell us what the hell is going on."

"What are you doing with him, Scully?"

"What are you doing here?" she asked, lowering her voice considerably. He must have took it as a warning, as his gaze drifted towards her. "I couldn't reach you for five days, Mulder."

"I didn't have time to wait for you to return."

"And you couldn't have called?"

"I lost my phone somewhere between here and El Rico. Getting your ass chased by MPs doesn't leave you a lot of time to reach out and touch someone."

Alex asked, "Where's Marita?"

"What hell are you doing here, Krycek? And why isn't he in cuffs?"

"He helped me find you, Mulder."

His skeptical laugh made Alex exhale heavily. "We're wasting time. What have you found?"

"Oh, I'm sorry I'm not on your schedule, Krycek--"

"Damn it, do you want to see your sister or not?"

The agent's gaze darkened and fell suddenly serious. "Aside from the two guards, when I came in, I haven't 'found' much of anything. I'm standing watch, while Marita looks through the files."

He nodded towards the open doorway further down the wall, light spilling into the conference room from beyond.

"Where are the guards?"

"Taking a nap behind the security desk."

"Please tell me you didn't shoot anyone," Scully muttered.

"Of course not. At least not with a pistol."

Tucking his gun into his waistband, Alex headed for the open doorway. He could hear footsteps following close behind him.

"Wait a minute. Is someone going to tell me what the hell is going on?"

"Just as soon as you tell us, Mulder," he called out, over his shoulder.

Pushing the door farther open, he saw Marita start at the sound.

Wow. If he hadn't seen her the previous week, he wouldn't have known there had been any change in her at all. Aside from the obvious weight loss. A blond wig covering her tufted hair, makeup hiding her gaunt complexion, and wearing a tailored suit, she looked exactly like the woman he knew so well. And the realization was startling. Blue eyes wide, she stared at him in confusion. Surprised by his presence. She couldn't have been nearly as surprised as he was.

Stepping into the small office, he left the door open as he passed the desk and leaned against the filing cabinet she was raiding. Various files lay in disarray on the desk top, even more piled on top of the cabinet, and not one of the papers inside was less than fifty percent blackened to hide their content.

"Find anything interesting?"

"You came back." Her voice was still scratchy with exhaustion, but she sounded more like her old self than she had previously. "Why?"

"You told me to finish it. That's what I plan on doing." He tilted his head, inspecting her weary face. "I thought you said you were too weak to continue."

"I'm not doing much," she said, softly. "Agent Mulder thought I might remember some things through hypnosis. Turns out he was correct."

He turned to see Mulder and Scully standing just outside the doorway, arguing in hushed voices. Standing toe to toe, neither backing down for a second. And he didn't even notice the impulsive brush of his fingers over the picture in his coat pocket.

"What did you remember?"

"Several vague things. The address of this office, for one. Things mentioned in my presence when they thought I was too incoherent to know what was happening." She paused for a moment, pulling out a new file and opening it. "The tests they were doing on me...trying to replicate the Russian vaccine...Alex, they never used that vaccine on me. They used the American imitations. None of them worked completely, and when I almost died, they brought me back to continue the project."

He looked away in disgust. He'd brought this upon her. If he hadn't been so damned determined to prove his power, to rub Majestic's nose in the fact that the Russians were winning, this never would have happened. But it had been her who stole the boy from him. He wasn't completely to blame. Still, he felt the guilt all the same.

"I'm sorry."

She looked up from the file, her penciled-in eyebrows pinching together. "I don't think I've ever heard you say those words before."

"Don't get used to it."

"She must be quite a lady."

He didn't bother to feign ignorance and ask who she was talking about. He merely ignored the comment altogether. Thinking about Sabryn was the last thing he wanted to do at the moment. Especially with little over an hour to go.

"Where have you and Mulder been in five days?"

"Where haven't we been, is a better question. Chilmark, DC, Virginia, El Rico...anywhere there might be a lead to where they're headed. We even followed one of the men out of New York, but he lost us...so we came back here."

"Why is Mulder involving you, and not Scully?"

"Mrs. Scully was supposed to persuade her to go along to stay with her brother, but that obviously didn't work." She looked him straight in the eye. "I'm already dying, Alex. Mulder didn't want to take the same risk with her."

 

They took special liberties on their last night in the cabin. With just enough gasoline left over to keep the generator running for a couple of hours, Walter rolled out the television set from the largest bedroom and hooked it up to the antenna line. It was hard to laugh at sitcoms anymore, let alone the awful Friday night line up, but the real program of interest didn't roll around until eleven o'clock. Feet propped up on the coffee table next to John's, Sabryn lay bonelessly on the couch, too tired to sleep, her head lolling against his shoulder. Jolie sat next to her, blinking lazily as she watched what had to be the eighth episode of the Sci Fi channel's Twilight Zone marathon. With Walter slouched in the chair, and Caroline curled up in a deep sleep with her son on the love seat, not a single one of them had spoken a word in hours. Despite the outward calm, there was an underlying tension that made the air seem to crackle.

They were all waiting for the ball to drop. Literally, and figuratively.

"Dad?"

Jolie's sleepy voice roused John out of his weary stupor. "What, honey?"

"If the aliens come, do I have to go back to school?"

"No, Jo," Sabryn interrupted, "you have to deal with your dad's brand of teaching, and that's even worse."

She grunted as her brother elbowed her, smiling as Jolie giggled.

"I wouldn't be a bad teacher," he said, defensively.

"Yeah, coming from the man who teaches his kids dirty words, doesn't wear a seat belt, cheats on his tax returns, and answers the door in his underwear."

Walter chuckled, using an authoritative tone to say, "I can let the other ones fly, but I may have to arrest you on that last offense, John."

"It happened once!"

The statement was so ludicrous, Jolie and Sabryn both laughed--waking Caroline out of a sound sleep.

"Is it time yet?" she asked, yawning.

Walter checked his watch and cursed under his breath, quickly flipping the channel. "We almost missed it."

"Twilight Zone-induced coma," Sabryn muttered.

The screen was suddenly filled with a sea of cheering people, their screams just shrill enough to give her the willies. The camera panned the crowd, showing smiling faces, people dancing, horns being blown, everyone in a myriad of bright colors and excitement. And as Dick Clark's voice-over started the countdown, she could feel her stomach begin to drop as well. Her fingers clenched in the pillow on her lap, knuckles turning white with the tension. The glittering ball, a mass of light and mirrors so bright it illuminated the bodies below did nothing to stir her excitement. If she squinted, it almost looked like a blazing fireball, falling from the sky, ready to blow them all to smithereens.

Jolie counted along, her soft voice tinged with the slightest tremor. And when it reached the bottom, instead of the powerful explosion Sabryn had imagined, the lights of the 2000 sign glowed with sonic proportion. And she jumped all the same. Closing her eyes against the images of celebrating faces, happy couples kissing each other with renewed passion, smiling people singing Auld Lang Syne as they were showered with snow-like confetti. Joyous human beings, who had no idea they were hours, perhaps minutes, from being eliminated.

She released the harsh bite on her lip, sitting up and pushing away from the couch.

"Bryn?"

She barely glanced in John's direction. "I'm going to bed. I need some sleep."

"You're not going to stay up for midnight?"

"I've already seen it. I don't think it gets better than that."

She edged past Walter, his concerned gaze catching her eye. She tried to smile as she passed, but wasn't successful. Climbing the ladder, she stepped into the loft and headed towards the far back to strip out of her clothes. She heard Caroline say good night, but couldn't find the breath to respond. Exhausted, mind spinning a mile a minute with horrific thoughts, the only thing she could manage was to pull on her nightgown. And when she lay down on the bed, pulling the covers over her, she buried her face in her lover's pillow and breathed in deeply.

*Happy New Year, Alex.*

 

The street below was brightly lit, packed with people, even blocks away from the Times Square celebration. Standing alone in the quiet conference room, on the top floor, Alex could still hear the sounds of shouting and canons firing confetti onto the crowd. He leaned his forehead against the cold window pane, closing his eyes briefly against the sight before him. And just for a second or two, he was no longer in New York--he lay in a darkened room, on a messy bed, in the arms of a soft and gently smiling woman. Her eyes searching his face, before flickering closed at the touch of his lips. He could almost feel her sweet mouth against his.

*S novym godom, Sabryn.*

He'd made the stupid mistake of promising he would come back to her. There was no telling if he'd actually be able to keep the oath. Just as there was no guarantee the promise he'd made to Marita nearly an hour ago, to find some way to save her from her cancer. Although neither of them thought she'd hold him to his word, or that a cure was even possible, the moment still hung in the air like a black cloud. Maybe because the idea was so absurd--Alex Krycek, messenger of death, vowing to save a life.

His breath clouding against the window, he rubbed the back of his neck in effort to ease overly tense muscles. Over an hour after entering Majestic's offices, they still hadn't gotten anywhere. After dragging the guards, one by one, into the nearby copy room and breaking the key off in the lock, he'd come back to find Scully sitting on the floor with files all around her. Marita still stood by the file cabinet, emptying every drawer with methodical efficiency. And Mulder, not bothering to hide his suspicious glare, shadowed Alex's every move. Even now, as he stood motionless looking out at the city, he could see the agent's reflection from across the room.

Glancing over his shoulder, he muttered, "Would it make you feel better to strip search me, Mulder?"

"As a matter of fact, it would."

"I bet." He turned leaning back against the window ledge. "What the hell did you leave her behind for?"

"I already explained that to her, and it's none of your damned business."

"You treat her like shit, Mulder."

"Go to hell."

"Kurite moju trubku."

"Alex."

Marita didn't even have to yell to make him feel chastised. Her icy blue eyes cut across the space between them like laser beams. Standing in the doorway, holding a piece of paper, her gaze skipped between the two of them with the effect of an irate school marm.

"If you two are almost finished insulting each other, I think I may have found something."

Scully appeared in the doorway behind her, slipping her jacket back on, looking ready to roll.

"What is it?"

Marita handed Mulder the piece of paper, pointing out something on the page. "See, there, where the ink doesn't quite cover the bottom of the letters?"

"Yeah..."

"I remembered something when I saw this. A long time ago, before Fort Marlene, I arrived early for a meeting. The door was partially opened and the discussion was hushed, but they were talking about--"

As she spoke the rest of the sentence, Mulder read off the page, saying the rest of the words with her.

"Mount Deception."

"That's not too far from here," Alex said, walking towards where they stood.

Scully shook her head. "About a three hour drive, tonight."

"Then let's go," Mulder said.

"Hold on a minute." Alex stood his ground. "First you better figure whose side you think I'm on. If you're gonna walk in there thinking I'm the enemy, I'd rather do this alone."

"Fat chance."

"I'm serious, Mulder. You're useful to me, yes...but if you hesitate, you'll end up getting us both killed."

All three of them stared at him in silence. Disbelief. Especially Marita, the one who knew his selfish motives better than the others. But things had changed, and it was about time they realized that.

Exhaling heavily, he added, "Skinner sent me here to find you. Do you really think he'd do that if he thought it was a bad idea?"

Holding his gaze, the tension in his body gradually dissipating, Mulder shook his head slightly. "You drive, Krycek. I'll take shot gun."

 

She woke up choking on her own scream, shortly after midnight. The room below was dark, everyone else having retired to their beds for one last night of comfort. What little sleep they were able to claim came only at the mercy of exhaustion.

The nightmares were getting worse. There was no telling what awful images would come into her head when she crawled into bed. Monsters and demons; hideous little beings with almond eyes and beastly claws; women and children screaming in terror while the men tried to act brave to hide their fear; human beings ripped in half as the spawn of hell tore its way to freedom; little babies spitting up black blood and screeching in agony. The nausea was enough to make her stumble out of bed and scurry down the ladder towards the bathroom.

The food she'd managed to choke down at dinner time was completely wasted. Rinsing out her mouth and swishing around some mouth wash, she spit into the sink and leaned weakly against the counter. She couldn't catch her breath, hot tears gathered in her eyes, and her stomach was still painfully clenched. Yet somehow she managed to walk out into the living room and sit down on the couch next to the purring cat.

The room was cast in gray scale, a charcoal drawing of shadows, silent and eerie as still life. But it wasn't long before she realized the silence was undernoted by a soft, distant rumble. Frowning, she glanced at the door. She didn't really want to know what was out there. She suddenly felt like one of those horror movie bimbos who walked right towards the hidden killer while the audience screamed not to go in there. Still, the compulsion to step forward was almost magnetic.

Stepping only close enough to pull aside a curtain and peer out the window, she kept herself hidden as she stared out at the early morning sky. Other than the hint of cobalt in the far distance, the sky was still midnight blue...stars glittering overhead and shimmering, in the form of frosty snow, on the ground below. She couldn't see anything that would be making that noise. That worried her even more.

It was too quiet.

It couldn't be far past midnight. She should have heard the sound of fireworks, and celebrations all around them. The only explosions she heard were too far away to even be seen. What had happened to Mr. Larsen's party?

Cheeser scratched at the door next to her, meowing to be let out. Shivering with indecision, Sabryn let the curtain fall back into place. Just a few steps out the door couldn't hurt. Certainly not far enough away that she couldn't sprint back to the cabin if anything should happen. Slipping on her shoes by the door, she grabbed John's heavy winter coat and draped it over her shoulders. Wearing only her night shirt, her legs bare, she wouldn't be able to stay outside for long anyway.

Unlocking the door, she eased it open, jumping slightly at the creak the hinges emitted, shuddering at the sudden cold. The rumble was louder outside, continuous, like engines of eighteen wheelers. And yet as she stepped off the porch, she knew she wasn't hearing a group of semis.

She looked up again, over the house, over the ridge, at every piece of canvas the night sky offered, and there wasn't a thing unusual about it. The same bright half moon lit the sky. Nothing out of place. Nothing new. Not a single invading space ship in sight. Maybe Alex had been wrong.

Waiting patiently for the cat to finish its business, she picked it up and huddled it against her chest. She tucked the coat tighter around them, daring to walk out a bit further. Down the drive way, towards the corner, with Cheeser rubbing against her all the while. Keeping the cabin in plain sight, her body poised to run. Her gaze darted around nervously, ready for an attack from any direction. She wondered if she was worrying for nothing. The rumble grew louder the closer she got to the corner. The cat tensed in her arms, growling at the sound. Sabryn could hear the crunching of tires on gravel. It wouldn't be that unusual to hear someone driving on the road...if it weren't for the fact that it sounded just like a convoy.

No sooner had the thought popped in her head than she reached the corner and saw trucks moving down the road beyond. One vehicle after another, some camouflaged, some black. Some moving faster, others moving as slow as a tank.

Most likely because it was a tank, she realized.

Shaking from head to toe, she buried her face against the cat's fur and whispered a repeated refrain under her breath. "Oh no...oh no...oh no...oh no..."

Alex hadn't been wrong at all. With the help of the military, FEMA was taking control. It was undoubtedly only a matter of hours before they'd start to round up the American citizens like cattle.

New Year's Day was finally at hand.

END.
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My voodoo dolls love people who send feedback...I won't mention what
they think of the ones who don't. :) Isahunter@aol.com