TITLE: "Morning Glory X: Flirting With Danger" (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: Just who is that creepy guy on the horse, anyway?
NOTES: Continuation of my series, "Morning Glory," which can be found here--
http://www.angelfire.com/ak3/expositions/MG.htm

For Julie, the most faithful feedback writer I know. Thanks, my friend!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"It is a poor thing for anyone to fear that which is inevitable."
--Quintus Tertullian

She could only take so much staring at the Christmas tree before she started yanking the bows off
the branches and throwing them in the fire. Attacking the lights next, she tried to ignore the fact
that Alex was in the next room repacking his clothes in the suitcase she'd given him for the trip.
She certainly wouldn't need it anymore. She didn't even want to acknowledge that he might not
need it much longer himself.

She could smell soup heating on the stove as Carly busied herself in the kitchen. After several
more trips to the silos, hauling more of their belongings and the weapons they'd accumulated, a
hot meal sounded good. It was doubtful they'd get too many of those underground. They'd
purchased a small camp stove, but the propane wouldn't last forever. They'd have to conserve
and ration everything they had. Especially water. Although they'd bought every bottle they could
find, the water wouldn't last for long. Even now, they used several gallons a day, per person, just
bathing...nowhere near filling the tub.

Yanking hard on a tangled section of lights and popcorn garland, she only succeeded in toppling
the tree over and nearly smothering herself in the process.

"Damn it!" The sound of footsteps made her scramble out from under the tree, and look up at
Alex in warning. "Don't say a word."

He glanced down at the pine needles all over her shirt and raised his eyebrows. "Wouldn't dream
of it."

Holding out his right hand, he pulled her to her feet.

"Stupid ass tree."

"What put you in a bad mood all of the sudden?"

"Nothing. I just didn't want to stare at this tree anymore. Christmas is over."

"It was yesterday."

"Yeah, well, yesterday is over, right?" She rubbed her eyes, groaning. "Yesterday is gone, and
shitty old tomorrow is on its way."

"It's not here yet." A sly grin spread across his face. "Dinner won't be ready for a while, and I'm
feeling kinda grimy. Think I'll take a bath. Wanna join me and conserve some water?"

"Mmm, that sounds nice," she said, tracing her fingertip down his chest, "but it's going to have to
wait. I promised Jolie I'd go for a walk with her."

He grabbed her finger and pulled her closer, sucking the digit into his mouth until her toes curled.
Releasing the suction to trace her finger across his lower lip, he said, "Can't it wait?"

She shook her head. "Sorry. She should be back with John and Walter in just a few minutes."

Snaking his arm around her waist and dragging her against his chest, he nipped at her earlobe.
"You're a pain in the ass, girl."

"You ain't seen nothin' yet."

"That a promise?"

Digging her fingernails into his shoulders, she squirmed against his hand as he caressed her ass.
God, he was terrible. She could feel the solid bulge of his erection against her belly. He was
making it awfully hard to say no.

"Definite promise. I'll rock your world, babe." She scurried free of his embrace, hurrying towards
the door while she could still resist. "Later."

"You know, it's not very nice to tease!"

She giggled softly as she pulled on her coat and shut the door behind her.

~~~~~~~~~~

The truck was just coming into sight as she stepped off the porch, into the snow. She slipped her
hands into her soft angora gloves, waiting patiently for Walter to park beside the camper. Instead
of racing out the door the minute the wheels stopped moving, Jolie took several minutes to
unhook her seat belt and slowly climb down from the cab. And when she reached where her aunt
stood, Sabryn still couldn't see a bit of emotion in her tiny face.

"Ready for our walk?"

Jolie shrugged. "Where's Chris?"

"Your mom put him down for his nap."

The girl didn't say another word. Turning her attention to Walter, Sabryn asked, "Did you get
everything settled?"

"We got most of the stuff moved. We'll have to take the rest later."

"Damned near got caught by a patrol," John added. "Luckily, Walt here has a lead foot."

She looked back at Walter and smirked. "You raced the military patrol?"

"Something like that."

He headed for the cabin, unzipping his coat along the way. Sighing, Sabryn met her brother's
gaze. "Is he OK?"

"Why wouldn't he be?"

"He--he didn't say anything about me, or Alex?"

"Nope. Not a word."

She nodded slightly. "All right. Jolie and I are going for a walk. We should be back before
dinner."

"OK."

Grabbing her niece's hand, she headed for the fields behind the house, back towards the hill
they'd once gone sledding down. The snow was starting to melt now, leaving the path bare in
spots. Still, she was glad she'd traded her canvas shoes for a pair of boots.

Glancing down at Jolie, she wondered if the girl was even aware of her presence. She seemed to
be in her own little world. If Bryn hadn't been holding her hand, she probably wouldn't have
followed. Stopping for a moment, she knelt down and zipped up her niece's coat all the way. Jolie
didn't even look at her.

"It sure is pretty out here, isn't it?"

Nothing but a blink.

"But I bet you miss your friends back home. I do, too. I wish I could call Olivia."

Still silence.

Grabbing her chin, Sabryn turned her head until she was forced to meet her gaze. "Honey, can
you hear me?"

"I miss Grammy and Grandpa." It was the softest of whispers, one she wouldn't have heard if she
weren't kneeling so close.

"I know, Sweetie. I do, too."

She felt another stab of irrational anger at her parents. The poor kid thought her entire world was
ending, and wanted nothing more than to see her family. But even that was too much to ask.

"Maybe we can go back into town sometime soon and call them."

Oddly, the suggestion seemed to spark some kind of hope in Jolie's eyes. Standing up, Sabryn
grabbed her hand again and started trudging up the hill. They walked in silence for a while, only
the sound of their breathing and the billowy clouds of exhalation to accompany them. The hill
seemed to go up forever, past hairpin curves, through naked deciduous trees, farther and farther
from the cabin. Glancing back down, she could see the smoke coming from the chimneys below.

"I didn't realize this hill was so high. We must not have gone to the top before."

Curling her fingers against Sabryn's gloves, Jolie gazed up at her. "Do you like him?"

"Who? Alex?"

Jolie nodded. "He looks mean."

She didn't know whether to smile at that or frown. "He's not mean to me. And yes, I like him
very much."

"You have sex with him, don't you?"

She'd come to expect bold questions from her niece, but even that one made her blush. "Has your
dad been talking in front of you, again?"

"No. Alex said he came here to fu--"

"OK, I get the picture," she interrupted, quickly. "Yes, I do have sex with him. But it's not as
vulgar as he makes it sound when talking to your daddy."

"What's 'vulgar'?"

"Gross."

"You like it?"

Surely her face was about to burst into flames. "Yes, I do."

"Mommies and daddies have sex."

"I know that, Jolie."

"Are you gonna have a baby?"

"No, and I think that's enough questions for today."

"How come? Daddy said it's good to be curious. Makes you smarter."

"I think you're plenty smart already, Jo."

"How old is he?"

Sabryn resumed walked, groaning mentally. "You know, I really don't know."

"He looks old. Mom said I can't have sex until I'm older."

"Well, that's good advice," she said, laughing.

"My friend Jenny told me there was a difference between sex and making love...but she didn't
know what it was."

"Jolie, do your parents know you and your friends talk about sex?"

"Yes."

She wasn't quite sure if her niece was being truthful or not. Somehow she couldn't imagine her
brother ever having the-birds-and-the-bees talk with anyone.

"Maybe you should talk to your parents about this."

Jolie stopped walking. "Okay...they don't know. Daddy turns all red when I ask him about
it...kinda like you are right now."

Gritting her teeth, Sabryn turned and kept walking. John often told her that his daughter was a lot
like she was...if that was true, then she really was a pain in the ass. "Yes, Jolie, there is a
difference between sex and making love. But if you love the person you're with, it really doesn't
matter."

"You love Alex?"

"I--" She paused, staring at the girl's big blue eyes in astonishment. Christ. The kid really was
smart. "Yeah. I do."

She sounded stunned, even to her own ears.

*I'll be damned.*

Resuming her pace, she shook her head. "How did you get to be so smart?"

"Lots and lots of questions."

Smiling, Sabryn noticed they'd reached the top of the ridge. She couldn't even see the cabin
anymore with all of the trees in-between. But looking down the other side of the hill, she gazed
down at the massive structure below her and frowned. There was quite a bit of distance between
them and the expansive plain below, but the light glinting off the metal roofs gave her no
doubt...she was looking down on the missile silos where they'd stowed their gear.

"That's really weird. I didn't know that was so close." Trying to spot the road from where they
stood, she squinted. "We must have to drive all the way around the ridge."

"I'm hungry."

"We'll head back in a minute," she said, absently. Thinking out loud, she added, "You know, it
might be easier to walk this way to the silos instead of driving and taking the chance of getting
caught on the road."

Jolie looked on, in boredom. "That's a long walk."

"Yeah, but it--"

She cut off in mid-sentence, startled by a loud snapping sound in the woods nearby. Grabbing
Jolie and pulling her closer, she wondered a bit too late if there were mountain lions in this area.
Slowly lowering herself to the ground, she felt around for a stick or a rock to use as a weapon.
She suddenly felt stupid for not having brought a gun.

"Wh--"

"Shhh!" Seizing a nearby stick, she stood up to see movement in the trees. Her heart felt like it
was beating a mile a minute. She briefly thought of sending Jolie running back down the trail, but
that would only make her a target. Wild cats could climb trees, so that wasn't an option. If she
could just get Jolie to run through the woods behind her, placing herself between her niece and
the predator, there might be a chance.... "Jo, get behind me."

The little girl complied, burying her face against the back of Sabryn's coat. As she was about to
tell her to run, more movement across from them made her gasp.

"I didn't mean to startle you."

The masculine voice made her start all the more. Unfamiliar and unexpected, it gave her the chills.
And when she saw the branches brush aside as the man rode his horse into the clearing, she
could barely even breathe. It was him. The same man she'd seen watching her twice before. If
not for the horse, which could run her down in seconds, she would have grabbed Jolie's hand and
sprinted. Instead, she could only stand rooted to the ground, clutching her stick before her like a
bowie knife.

He smiled slightly, his freckled cheeks crinkling. "I'm not going to attack. You don't have to beat
me."

"Who are you?"

"The name's Erik Larsen. And you are?"

"Why have you been watching me?"

He had the grace to blush slightly. "I'm sorry, I really didn't mean to scare you. I should have told
you why when I first saw you, but I didn't want you to think it was some cheap line. I'm not
coming on to you. You just remind me a lot of my late wife. The resemblance is eerie."

Jolie peeked her head around, forgetting to be afraid. She stared at the man with open interest.

"Well, you did scare me, Mr. Larsen. I'm not accustomed to people watching me like sniper
surveillance."

"I assure you it's nothing so sinister. And if I were a sniper, you wouldn't have seen me at all."

Sabryn didn't let go of the stick as Jolie stepped up beside her and took her hand. "I would have
appreciated an explanation."

"I know. I realize it was cowardly of me, but I didn't want to make a fool out of myself. You see,
my wife--Ingrid--had a lot of sisters. Some in Ohio, Florida, New York...all over the place. I don't
suppose you've ever heard of the Hedstroms? No, probably not. Anyway, I just thought, since
you look so much like her, you might be related. I never got to know any of her family. They
disowned her when we married, and she died in a car accident before we ever had the chance to
make amends."

"No, I don't know your wife's family, I'm sorry."

By the tone of her voice, she knew Caroline would have said she was rude. And judging by
Jolie's expression, she thought the same thing. But there was just something about Erik Larsen
that wasn't right.

"Yah, that's what I thought," he said, his voice showing the only bit of regional accent she'd
heard since he started talking. "Still, I had to ask, you know? Where're you two staying, over at
the old cabin? I have a place right down here, on the other side. That's why you saw me so close
to the silos. I check that place out every once in a while, make sure there aren't a bunch of kids
over there vandalizing."

"That's very nice of you. I'm sure the government appreciates it. We aren't in the area for long.
In fact, we should be heading back right now."

"I didn't catch your names."

"That's because I didn't give them. I'm sorry, Mr. Larsen, but I don't feel comfortable giving my
name to strangers."

A little voice in her head spoke up, pointing out Alex Krycek, but she stifled the reminder. All
right, so she didn't feel comfortable giving her name to just any stranger.

He looked slightly disappointed, but recovered quickly. "Oh, well, that's OK. I understand. It's
only natural after I was practically stalking you. You don't have to like me. I was just trying to be
friendly."

His attempt to make her feel guilty almost worked, but she didn't give in. Silently thanking Oprah
for quality television, she said, "That's very considerate of you, but we really must be going."

Steering Jolie back towards the path, she started walking quickly--never relinquishing her stick.

"Can I give you two a ride? Old Tess here doesn't mind an extra rider or two, and I'm sure the
youngster would like her."

Jolie's eyes lit up as she looked back at the man. She loved horses. "Can we, Bryn?"

"Shhh!" Turning back one last time, she said, "I don't mean to be rude, but we'll be fine on our
own. You can just go on home now, and we'll do the same."

The smile disappearing from his face, he nodded. "All right, now. I can take a hint. Good night,
Miss Bryn."

~~~~~~~~~~

Packing up everything he needed in the car, Alex slammed the trunk closed and turned around to
nearly run into Sabryn's brother. Staring down at him, John barely bothered to glare. He didn't
really need to anymore. He'd made his feelings very clear.

"Leaving?"

"Tomorrow," Alex said, taking a step to the side. He was about to walk around him when John
held his hand out and stopped him. "You came all the way back here just to leave her again.
What kind of an asshole are you?"

"I don't have time for this shit--"

"You'll make time, damn it." He'd barely even raised his voice. The man must have been a
psychological nightmare on the football field. "This is my baby sister we're talking about, and I'm
not about to let you fuck with her head."

"Do you really think I want to hurt her? Christ, you overgrown oaf. I love her. And maybe if you
stopped treating her like a baby, you would have noticed that by now."

John looked taken aback. Apparently he really was dense when it came to his sister.

"What the hell am I supposed to do if you die? She's going to be devastated."

"I don't know who appointed you her guardian, John, but she can take care of herself. And yeah,
there's a very good chance that I might not come back, but I'm going to do everything I can to
prevent that. For her sake and mine."

She's been abandoned by everyone, Krycek. I'm the only one who's never let her down."

"Until now." Alex shook his head. "You're gonna push her away if you keep fighting me. And
guess who she's gonna run to."

"But you won't be here."

"Maybe not physically, but she'll be mine all the same. I don't want her to have to choose sides.
You took care of her as a little girl, and she needs you. Don't make her give that up for me. At
least not until I'll be around to enjoy it."

Seemingly in spite of himself, John actually smiled. "I still don't like you. Nor do I trust you. But
you won't be my problem for much longer, will you?"

Alex nodded. It was as close to a truce that he could ever hope for.

"She deserves better."

"I know. So I'll just have to become the type of man she deserves."

Searching his gaze, all malice gone from his own expression, John acquiesced. "You do that."

Before he could reply, Alex looked up to see Sabryn and Jolie come racing around the corner,
hand in hand, breathless, giggling.

"What have you been doing?" John asked.

Bending over to catch her breath, Sabryn winked at Jolie. "Running from bad guys."

"What?" Alex asked.

"We saw...that guy. The one from the silos. He was up on the hill."

"Bryn thinks he's evil!" Jolie said, giggling.

John looked delighted to see a smile back on his daughter's face. "And that's funny?"

"We pretended like he was chasing us and ran all the way down the hill."

Sucking in a deep breath, Sabryn stood up and held her side. "Adrenaline. Does wonders for the
giggle factor."

"Uh-huh," John said, shaking his head. "Well, dinner's ready. We should go eat."

"We'll be inside in a minute," Alex said, his gaze never leaving Sabryn's face.

John took his daughter inside, leaving them alone.

"What were you talking about, when we interrupted you?" she asked. "He wasn't menacing you
again, was he?"

He shook his head, grabbing the waist band of her jeans to tug her closer. After a lingering kiss,
he glanced back at the trail. "You saw that guy again?"

"Yeah. And he's just as creepy in person."

He frowned. "I don't want you going up there without your brother, Skinner, or a gun, from now
on."

"I wasn't planning on it."

"What did he say to you?"

"Some lame story about me looking like his dead wife."

"She must be pretty well preserved if she looks this good."

Smirking, she pinched his side. "You're just a barrel of laughs."

Nipping at her lower lip, he grinned. "What else did he say?"

"That he owned property by the silos--"

"Told you so."

"Yeah, yeah. He still creeps me out. He just kept staring at me. And he wouldn't stop until he
learned my name."

"You told him?"

"No, Jolie spilled the beans. She wanted to ride his horse."

Scowling, he steered her towards the door. "I think you should stay away from that guy. He
sounds like a kook."

"Yes, sir." She gave him a mock salute.

"Hey! Be nice, and later I'll let you ride my horse."

END.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Four chapters in four days--Yay me!! Wanna salute me? Write me at Isahunter@aol.com