TITLE: "Morning Glory XII: How Can I Not Love You?"
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: Parting is such sweet sorrow....
NOTES: Continuation of my series, "Morning Glory," which can be found
here--http://www.angelfire.com/ak3/expositions/MG.htm Also, the title for this chapter was
shamelessly stolen from the love theme on the "Anna and the King" soundtrack. Beautiful song,
makes me cry every time. Yep, I'm a big old sap.

In loving memory of another, who went away far too soon. I miss you, Bob.
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"Absence extinguishes small passions and increases great ones, as the wind blows out a candle,
and kindles a fire."
--Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

He was named for the most powerful angel in Paradise.

Michael, the archangel, God's mighty soldier. Protector of righteousness, conqueror of Lucifer in
the great War of Heaven. Defender of man. Prince of all angels, leader of the celestial armies, and
angel of the Last Judgment. Looking at the man before her, she could almost believe he was the
very same holy being incarnate. Caressed by morning sunlight, the warrior's battle scars evident
on his supine body, cloaked in the innocent nudity of Eden itself.

Still others would take one look at him and liken him to the Grim Reaper. Death in man's
clothing, donning the mourning colors with as much familiar ease as Satan's minions. A murderer,
a torturer, sinner, and wicked destroyer. Thief and villain, sooner the Prince of Darkness himself
than any divine, sacred being.

But whether he called himself Mikhail Alexei Antonov or Alex Krycek, he was just a man. A
mortal, as easily wounded and slain as any other. And there was a good possibility this mission
into the unknown, to search for a man he despised, could very well get him killed.

It was hard to understand the rivalry between Alex and Fox. They were so alike, these men who
believed they could save the world alone. They should have been on the same team from the
beginning. Maybe, together, they'd have a slight chance of returning alive. But they chose to fight
their battles in different ways, to see themselves on different sides. If Fox Mulder was truly their
savior, did that make Alex a human version of the antichrist?

She couldn't believe that for a second.

Lying across his legs, Cheeser opened one yellow eye to peer at her before stretching and curling
up to sleep. The assassin and his kitty. It was almost comical.

She knew she should be waking him up to get ready, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. He
had a long enough road ahead. A few more hours of sleep wouldn't hurt him any. Slipping out of
the bed, she headed over to the door and stepped out to get dressed. The loft was warm with the
heat rising from the dying fire, and the bed was empty since Jolie had chosen to sleep with her
parents. It was almost too quiet in the house. Pulling on a bra and a clean pair of underwear, she
tried to ignore how hard her hands were shaking. It was nearly impossible.

The tiny jewel paints of her necklace glittered in the gray light, the palette resting so comfortably
over her heart. She was almost surprised it wasn't bouncing around with each violent pound of
her heart beat.

When she'd finished dressing and made coffee in the kitchen, she tiptoed past the bedrooms and
slipped on her shoes before heading outside. She shivered slightly, wrapping her hands around the
hot mug, before sitting down on the sheltered steps and gazing out at the three inches of snow
covering the ground. It was too pretty to be the end of the world. Far too serene.

Much too beautiful to say goodbye.

Taking a sip of bitter coffee, she heard the door open and saw Cheeser come scurrying out,
running around the corner, in search of a dry bit of ground to claim as her litter box. Smiling
slightly, Sabryn glanced back to see Alex already dressed in jeans and a beige turtleneck
sweater...looking almost ready to go. She pulled in a shuddering breath, staring down at her mug.
She started slightly as he sat down behind her and put his legs on either side of hers, scooting
forward to lean his chin on her shoulder.

"You were gone when I woke up." His voice was sleep-rough, and incredibly sexy. "I reached
over and there was nothing there."

"I didn't want to wake you. You hadn't slept all night."

"I can sleep later," he said, grabbing the mug out of her hands to take a sip of his own.

"You won't have a chance to sleep later, and I'm not about to let you go when you're
exhausted."

"You mean you're actually letting me go?" he teased.

"It's not like I have a choice." She swallowed heavily, fighting the urge to lean back against his
warm body. "Why are you doing this, Alex?"

"I already told you--"

"I know what you told me. Now I'd like to hear the truth."

He exhaled, his breath warming her ear. "There are things that need to be resolved. People that
need to be punished for their betrayal."

She turned slightly, meeting his gaze over her shoulder. "You mean killed."

"Not everything is that simple. As much as I'd like to blow some of them away, I'd much rather
see them suffer for what they've brought upon us."

"But if they're making a vaccine...aren't they trying to save us?"

"They never meant for anyone but themselves to be saved. They cut a deal because they were
too afraid to fight back. So while they survive colonization, and act as the aliens' ambassadors,
the rest of humanity is supposed to pay for their cowardice. I'm not going to stand by and watch
that happen."

"What are you planning to do?" When he didn't answer, she turned even farther on the step to
face him. "Alex?"

"I don't think you want to know."

She blinked rapidly, feeling sick to her stomach. "You aren't coming back, are you?"

"I told you I would--"

"Yes, and you lied to me...for the first, and the last time."

Lowering his gaze, his dark lashes hiding his eyes, he said, "I don't know what's going to
happen, Sabryn. But I'm going to fight my ass off to come back to you. You can believe that
much."

Setting down her mug, she stood and stepped down the stairs. Walking across icy snow in a thin
pair of canvas shoes. Wearing nothing more than jeans and a light cotton blouse. She didn't give
a shit about the cold. She would have been freezing even surrounded by a blazing fire. No
particular destination in mind, she kept walking. Fighting boiling emotions, nausea, and most of
all, the pathetic urge to beg him to stay.

She could hear footsteps behind her and turned, putting her hand up to halt his approach. "Leave
me alone."

"Where are you going?"

"I'm just walking."

"It's fucking cold out here. It's gotta be about twenty degrees."

"I'm fine."

"I don't think you are."

She stopped her backwards progression, laughing bitterly. "Who are you to tell me that, huh?
You think you know me better than I do?" She licked her dry lips. "Well, fuck you, Alex, because
I'm perfectly fine. I can take care of myself."

"So I've noticed."

"I've been doing this a hell of a lot longer than you could imagine. I don't need you, damn it."

"No, you don't."

"I wished for so many years for a man to come into my life, someone to love who would love me
in return...but I get it and it's gone in the blink of an eye. I was better off alone. No one to bother
with but myself. No one telling me what was right and wrong."

"If you want to believe that--"

"I do. I do believe that." She clenched her fists, wanting to sock him in the face. "I don't need
you. I don't want you. And I don't give a damn about what you do, or if you ever come back. So
have a nice life."

He stepped closer, despite her outstretched hand, grabbing hold of her before she could back up.
"I love you, too."

"Don't--"

He ran his fingers through her hair, pulling her closer as he kissed the edge of her mouth. Her lips
quivered at the touch, her whole body shuddering, aching, torn between pushing him away and
desperately pulling him closer.

"I'm sorry, Sabryn."

"I don't want you--" She choked on her next breath, hiccuping painfully. "I don't want you to
go."

"I know."

Resting his forehead against hers, he stroked his thumb over her lips. Back and forth, over every
edge and crevice, as if memorizing by touch. She had to close her eyes against the stinging tears
welling there. Leaning into the hand he held against her jaw, wrapping her fingers in his sweater
and holding on tight.

"You've got your family here. That's all you need."

She sniffled. "Don't tell me that."

"You'll make it through this. Just remember what I told you about the aliens. Keep a loaded gun
nearby, and don't go anywhere alone. Get to the silos as soon as you can and stay there until you
absolutely have to come out--"

"Screw making it through that...how am I supposed to make it through you leaving?"

He smiled slightly. "You can take care of yourself, remember?"

"I'm full of crap."

"Bullshit. You have never needed me, Sabryn. And you never will."

Fisting her hands even tighter in the knit fabric, she said, "Why are you doing this, now?" Adding
a little shake to emphasize each word. "Why is it so important to punish these men? Why can't
you just let them go?"

"They need to pay."

"No, there's more than that. I can feel it."

"Mulder and I have a common enemy, a man who has to be stopped."

"Why now? Why not before?"

"I could have killed him a million times, but waiting for the invasion had its rewards. Mulder's
sister, for one."

"Why do you suddenly give a damn about Mulder or his sister?"

"Believe it or not, despite certain orders, I've been trying to help him all along."

She couldn't help the skeptical look she gave him.

"OK, so I like fucking with his head...but if I really hated the guy, he would have been dead a
long time ago. He's useful to me. And I'm useful to him."

"What about the woman, Marita? Walter told me she betrayed you. Why would you want to help
her?"

She could feel him tense up, as he lifted his head and stared into the distance. "It's a long story.
She also helped me escape from Mulder this time. I used her, and she used me. Why she saved
me this time, I don't know."

"You 'used' each other?"

"I slept with her for information. I didn't realize until too late that she'd done the very same
thing."

"How romantic."

"It was a job."

"Sort of like your mother's?" She regretted the words the minute they escaped.

His eyes narrowed as he stared at her. "I guess you could call it that."

"Did you care for her?"

"No."

"Were there ever any 'jobs' you did care for?"

"No."

She didn't know whether to be happy about that, or to feel sorry for the women he'd left behind.
The former won easily. "I hope there aren't any further assignments in your future."

"There won't be." He didn't have to clarify his answer. And the sudden shudder rippling down
her spine had nothing to do with the temperature. "Let's go inside."

Nodding, she took hold of his hand and followed him back to the cabin.

"Will I sound petty if I admit I'm jealous she gets to spend New Year's Eve with you?"

"Baby, you're the only one I'll be kissing that night. No matter where I am."

~~~~~~~~~~

Sabryn waited in the downstairs bedroom, stripping the sheets from the bed to replace them with
new ones, while the rest of her family said their awkward goodbyes to Alex. Other than the
predictable 'good luck' and 'take care,' she couldn't possibly fathom what they'd have to say to
him. Yet, as she stood there, glancing every so often at the open doorway, she noticed her brother
take him aside and speak to him privately. The tone hushed and confidential, the expression on
Alex's face was neither angry or amused...but oddly serious. After a moment, he nodded, and
John stepped away.

Frowning slightly, she picked up the pillow next to her and was about to strip off the case when
she caught a hint of his scent on the fabric. She brought it up to her nose, breathing in deeply,
hugging the pillow tight to her chest. So maybe this one didn't need to be washed just yet.
Maybe she'd even put it on her own bed.

Tossing it on top of the pile on the floor, she could hear the sound of Walter's voice but couldn't
make out what he was saying. Judging by the authority of his tone, he was no doubt demanding
Alex find Fox and Agent Scully. She couldn't imagine him having much more to say than that.

Sitting on the bare mattress, she took a deep breath as Alex appeared in the doorway. "It's about
time I head out."

She nodded, reaching for the headboard where his coat was draped over the post. The coarse
wool felt good in her hands, brought back too many memories. Just as she stood up, Cheeser
hopped onto the bed and meowed...waiting for Alex to pet her.

Standing close enough to touch, he stared down at Sabryn as he patted the cat on the back.
"You're going to have to take care of her for me."

She nodded. "She'll miss you terribly, you know."

"I know. I'll miss her too."

"I wasn't talking about the damned cat."

"Neither was I."

Her arms shook as she held up his coat, slipping it first over his prosthesis, and then up his other
arm. Lifting the heavy jacket onto his shoulders and smoothing it into place. He turned around to
look at her, his expression unreadable, before taking her hand and walking outside. Her family
and Walter waited respectfully inside, each giving her a sympathetic look as they stepped out the
door.

Following him outside, she had the strongest urge to hop in the truck and run away with him.
Wouldn't Johnny have a fit about that, she thought to herself.

Halfway down the stairs, he leaned against the railing and turned to her. "Your niece is an
interesting kid."

"Jolie? Why do you say that?"

"While everyone else was saying a begrudging goodbye, she tugged me down to her level and
whispered in my ear that, for my information, she didn't really think I was a motherfucker."

She laughed so suddenly she nearly snorted again, her face turning bright red with deja vu. She
covered her mouth, giggling at the amusement on his face.

After a deep breath, she said, "I don't believe her. She never fails to make me blush."

He touched her burning cheek, his fingers cold against her skin. "Good for her. Red looks good
on you."

Blinking slowly, she felt the humor slide away like melted snow. Crossing her arms over her
chest, she glanced over at the truck, its engine idling, and said, "Drive carefully. No sense in going
if you're just going to get in an accident on the way."

"Yes, Ma'am." He gave her a mock salute, earning a tiny smirk. "You take care of yourself. I'm
planning on wearing you out when I come back."

*If you come back.*

Her chin wobbling, she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around his neck. Closing her eyes
tight, and breathing him in. Placing a frantic kiss to his neck, his chin, his cheek, and finally his
mouth. A desperate, needy kiss. Every ounce of passion she possessed. Drowning herself in his
embrace, standing up on tiptoe to seal their mouths even tighter. Her hands on either side of his
head, fingers threading through his hair, palms covering his cold ears. Trying to ignore the
shaking of her limbs. With a soft suction sound, he released her lower lip and stepped back, down
the stairs, still clutching her left hand.

"Be safe, baby. I love you."

She gasped suddenly, letting go of his grip. "Wait, don't go yet."

Darting back into the cabin, past the concerned expressions of her family, she rushed over to the
ladder and hurriedly climbed to the top.

"Bryn, slow down before you fall on your head!"

Stumbling over her own foot, she caught her balance and raced around the bed, dropping to her
knees to dig around under the bed frame. Throwing clothes and shoes out of the way, nearly
knocking over a lamp in the process.

"Damn it," she muttered, barely noticing the pain of a fingernail torn loose in the process.

"Sabryn, what are you looking for?" Caroline called out.

"Sweetheart, you're gonna hyperventilate..."

She didn't bother to answer. Reaching back, her fingers skimmed over glossy paper and she
clamped down hard on the object. Pulling it out from under the bed, she hurried back to the
ladder and started climbing down. Losing her footing somewhere around the third rung and only
managing to stay upright as her brother caught her in mid air. She didn't stick around to thank
him. Running back to the door, she flung it open and hurried down the stairs, sprinting across the
snow, in time to meet Alex as he opened the door to the truck.

Out of breath and shaking like she'd run a marathon, she handed him the picture. He looked at
the likenesses of her as a child and her father, and frowned.

"I can't take this."

"Please, I want you to have it."

"Sabryn--"

"Don't forget me, OK?"

"Not in a million years."

She threw her arms around his neck one last time. "I love you, Mikhail Alexei. For the rest of my
life. I'm yours, always yours."

Squeezing her tight, he buried his face against her neck. Undeniably shaking. Pulling back for one
last, soft, lingering kiss. Sweeter than all the rest, and oddly more intimate by far.

And when he stepped away, he climbed into the truck and didn't look back. Shifting into reverse
and turning the wheel. Backing up, before driving right out of her life. She stood there until the
tail lights disappeared, clutching her necklace in her fist, fighting childish tears.

A losing battle.

END OF SERIES.
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Yep, it's gettin' to be that time again--when I switch gears, and titles, to get ready for a whole
new section of the story. Now you're probably wondering if this thing is ever going to end! Yeah,
well, it will. Eventually. For now, keep your eye out for part three of my series, which I've
entitled, "Mikhail's Fire." Thanks so much for your continued support. S novym godom!