TITLE: "Morning Glory VIII: Sacrifices" (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" belong to CC, 1013, and FOX.
SUMMARY: How do you choose between right and wrong, when you don't know which is
which?
NOTES: Continuation of my series, "Morning Glory," which can be found
here--http://www.angelfire.com/ak3/expositions/MG.htm

For Ursula, whose recipe for Krycek's Kisses makes my mouth water nearly as much as the real
thing!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The morning pouring everywhere, its golden glory on the air.
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The touch of something cold, dribbling over her chest, woke her out of a sound sleep. She opened
her eyes with a start, looking up at Alex as he leaned over her. It was past sunrise and pale light
flooded the room, casting his skin in shades of muted bronze...causing the delicate strand dangling
from his fingers to shine in glittering array.

"Merry Christmas. A little late."

His voice was husky with the lingering remains of sleep and she couldn't help but stare at the
softness of his expression for a moment, before glancing down at the pendant lying on her chest.

"Oh, my God." She sat up abruptly, grasping the charm, nearly knocking her forehead into his.
Hanging from a thin chain, the palette-shaped silver pendant was studded with seven
'paints'--diamond, ruby, yellow topaz, emerald, sapphire, amethyst, and onyx. The palette itself was
barely more than an inch wide, but it was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. "Alex, where did
you get this?"

"I bought it. In Chicago. I had it in my coat last night."

"It's so pretty, but...I can't accept this."

"Yes, you can. It's yours."

"It's too expensive."

"I'm not exactly saving for my retirement, Sabryn. Put it on."

She opened her mouth to protest, but his expression silenced her. Grasping the ends of the
necklace, she fastened it in place. It came to rest just above her cleavage.

"It's perfect. Thank you."

Leaning forward, she placed her hand on his cheek and gave him a lingering kiss...one that quickly
turned more passionate than she'd expected. As he was about to push her back on to the pillows,
she could hear the sound of footsteps outside the door. Breaking away from his lips, she met his
gaze with wide eyes. They were both silent as the front door to the cabin opened and closed.
Quickly gathering her night shirt off the floor, she yanked it over her head and thrust her arms
through the sleeves.

"Where are you going?"

"If Johnny finds me in here, I'll never hear the end of it."

"You're going to have to deal with him sooner or later."

"And I'd rather it was later." Standing up, she pulled the shirt down all the way and shivered
without the blankets to keep her warm. "Where is the cat?"

"I put her out before I woke you up. She was scratching at the door."

Shit. She could just imagine Johnny walking out the front door, and seeing not only a strange cat
but also another car. She had to get out of here before he came back.

"I'm going to get dressed."

"Sabryn--"

She didn't stop to answer him before she hurried out the door and closed it behind her, scurrying
across the living room to the ladder as fast as she could. Reaching for the first rung, she heard the
front door open behind her and froze.

"Good morning," she heard Walter say. "Looks like we have a visitor."

She winced before turning around to see him carrying the cat. The animal took one look at her
before jumping out of Walter's arms and racing across the floor to where she stood. She swallowed
heavily, bending down to pick up the cat, meeting his gaze.

"She acts like she knows you. Have you seen her before?"

Sabryn nodded. "Last night."

"You should have brought her inside. It's freezing out there."

"Walter, I should explain--"

Before she could finish her sentence, Jolie's sleep-tousled head appeared over the edge of the loft
floor. "A kitty! Can I pet her?"

Climbing a few rungs of the ladder, Sabryn passed the cat up to her niece. Behind her, she could
hear a door opening and turned to see Caroline and Chris come out of the bedroom. Already
dressed, they gave her the urge to tug her night shirt down over her bare legs.

"Good morning," Caroline said, looking at her strangely.

"'Morning."

"Did anyone start breakfast?"

"That's where I was headed," Walter answered.

"Where's John?" Sabryn asked.

"He got up early to--"

John walked in the front door, interrupting his wife's sentence. "Whose car is that, out there?"

"It's mine."

Sabryn's gaze flew to Alex, standing in the open bedroom door. He'd dressed himself, and was
now standing there with his coat in his hand. John and Walter stared at him, seemingly stunned.
She was suddenly reminded of a stand off from the Old West. And before she could say a word,
Johnny lunged at him.

She jumped off the ladder, shouting her brother's name as Walter tried to hold him back. John
looked ready to strangle Alex, had him gripped hard by his shirt and pinned to the wall. Strangely,
Alex didn't move.

"John, let him go."

"What the fuck are you doing here, Krycek?"

"Fucking your sister."

Sabryn gasped as her brother's fist slammed into Alex's face. His whole head whipped to the side
with the impact. Before he could do further damage, Walter grabbed John and restrained him.
"That's enough!"

She could hear Caroline herding her son back into the bedroom and shutting the door behind him.
Glancing back, she could see Jolie staring down at them in stunned silence.

"You've got one hell of a lot of nerve coming here," John said, through gritted teeth.

"I brought you here, John."

"My ass! We could have gone anywhere."

"But you came here, with the vaccine I gave you."

"Am I supposed to be grateful for that, Asshole? It's your fucking fault we're in this mess!"

"Would you rather die?"

"Rather than have you touch my sister? Hell, yes."

Sabryn squeezed her eyes shut, whispering, "Johnny, stop it."

"You're a fucking murderer, Krycek! A lying, unscrupulous bastard."

"Johnny, stop it."

"You ought to have your ass fried in the electric chair so you can't lay your filthy hands on anyone
again."

"Johnny, I said stop it!" They stared at her, as her shout echoed in the open room. "Your children
can hear you. And, so help me God, if you say another word I'll strangle you myself."

Her brother narrowed his eyes. "You've gone insane, haven't you? You listened to one too many of
his lies and now you're willing to believe anything you hear." He shook his head as she stepped
closer, glaring up at him. "Jesus, Bryn, is he really that good in bed?"

She'd never wanted to hit him more in her life, but the knowledge that Jolie was watching stopped
her. Lowering her voice, she said, "Yes, John, he is."

John stared down at her in disgust, and Walter's expression made her look away in shame. She
suddenly felt like a traitor. Johnny had done nothing but protect her since she was seven years old.
She should have felt a certain amount of loyalty because of that. But she'd sided with the enemy
instead.

*What if I'm wrong about Alex...*

She pushed the thought away, focusing on her sister-in-law's gaze. "He's saving our lives. I think
that deserves some credit."

"You don't need to defend me, Sabryn," Alex said, behind her. "If he wants to punish me, let him at
me. Maybe he'll feel better after beating someone to a bloody pulp. I know I always do."

"You son-of-a-bitch."

Sabryn turned around and glared at Alex. "You're not helping matters."

"It doesn't matter what you say to him. He's always going to believe the same thing about me. He
doesn't want to see me any differently."

"And why should he, Krycek?" Walter asked. "Everything he's said about you is true. You're
wanted on Federal charges...and that's only counting the stuff we can prove."

"I honestly don't see what difference that makes now," Caroline said. "There are only five days
left...do you really think they can prosecute him in that amount of time? And even if they did,
what's saying his sentence wouldn't be even more effectively carried out by the alien colonists? Is it
enough to kill him, or do you want his death brutal, too?"

"Mommy?"

Caroline flinched, looking back at her daughter. The little girl sat there holding the cat on her
shoulder, her face buried against its orange fur, her eyes wide with fear.

"Mommy, what's happening in five days?"

Sabryn swallowed heavily, staring at her brother. "You have to tell the kids."

His body no longer rigid in the grip of rage, Johnny shrugged off Walter's grip and glared at Alex as
he passed him. Grabbing Carly's hand, he walked over to the ladder and reached for his daughter.
Jolie slid down into his arms, and Sabryn watched them silently as they disappeared into the
bedroom. She could feel tears gathering in her eyes. Those poor kids...their daddy had once told
them there was no such thing as monsters. Now he had to tell them it was all a lie.

She closed her eyes and sucked in a shuddering breath, as she heard Alex say, "You haven't given
them the vaccine yet?"

Walter's voice was rougher than she was used to. He was back to being the professional, and all
traces of kindness--or any emotion, for that matter--were gone. "No. We were waiting until the kids
knew the truth, after Christmas."

"We thought they should at least have a normal holiday," she added. "Since it's their last."

"You don't know that for sure. Where's the vial?"

"In the truck." Walter disappeared out the door before anyone else could say a word.

Meeting Alex's gaze, Sabryn touched her fingertips to her necklace. He started to reach for her
when she turned and headed for the ladder.

"I'm going to get dressed."

~~~~~~~~~~

She moved to the far back of the loft, pulling on her worn jeans with shaking hands. She couldn't
shake the look on her brother's face, so hurt and disbelieving, when she'd stepped in front of Alex,
clearly choosing his side. She felt sick to her stomach. Johnny had beaten up his best friend for her,
had lost his chance at a scholarship and a better life...and she'd just snubbed him for a man she
knew was a trained killer. She didn't even have an excuse, really. He was her friend, and he'd never
hurt her. But that didn't mean he was a good person. It gave her no reason to trust him with her
family and friends. And it certainly was no guarantee that she'd made the right choice.

Buttoning up her jeans, she readjusted her bra and glanced down at the necklace he'd given her. It
looked awfully expensive. As shameful as it made her feel, she couldn't help but wonder if he was
buying her loyalty. Pulling on a soft chenille sweater, she pushed the thought aside. He was nothing
like her father, and he never would be.

Slipping on a pair of canvas shoes, she climbed down the ladder to see Alex sitting on the couch,
staring at the cold fireplace. He didn't even glance at her when he said, "Someone needs to rebuild
the fire."

She sat down next to him, placing her hand on his thigh. "You're right."

He did look at her then, for a moment.

"I'm sorry about my brother. He had no right to talk to you that way."

"Afraid I'm going to want revenge and kill him?"

"No."

"He meant what he said. I have to admire his honesty. It's a trait I'm sadly lacking."

"You haven't lied to me."

"Sin of omission. Same thing."

"What else haven't you told me?"

He smirked slightly. "I could fill a book."

Lifting her hand from his thigh, she crossed her arms. "So tell me something now."

"My name isn't Alex Krycek."

"I figured as much." She was silent for a moment. "What is it?"

"Mikhail Alexei Antonov. Krycek was my mother's--Eva's--last name."

"Mikhail?"

"That was on my birth certificate, anyway. At home, they called me Michael. Sounded more
American."

"Why did you choose Alex?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "I liked it better."

The front door opened, and Walter came back in carrying a small black pouch. The vaccine. He
unzipped the bag as he closed the door, pulling out a vial and still-wrapped syringe. Just as he was
walking over to where they sat, the other bedroom door opened and John walked out carrying his
daughter, Caroline following closely behind holding Chris's hand. Sabryn's heart broke at the sound
of Jolie's few remaining sobs. She wasn't even sure she wanted to know what her parents had told
her. True to his five-year-old self, Chris didn't look the slightest bit bothered. No doubt, he didn't
understand at all.

John sat down in the chair next to the couch, Jolie straddling his lap, rubbing his daughter's back in
an effort to calm her down. Looking exhausted, Carly sat down next to Sabryn and Chris stood by
her knee, staring at Alex silently. Clearly uncomfortable under the scrutiny, Alex looked away.

"Who goes first?" Walter asked, unwrapping the syringe. "I assume it isn't going to matter at this
stage if we share a needle."

"The kids go first," Carly said, adamantly.

He nodded. "Do you want to do it, or should I?"

"Have you given shots before?"

"It's been over twenty years, but I think I can remember."

"All right."

"I'll go see if we have some alcohol."

Walter walked out of the room. He hadn't looked at Sabryn even once. She had a terrible feeling
she'd hurt him badly. It was the last thing she'd ever want to do to a friend. She hoped he'd give
her a chance to explain...that is, if she could figure out how.

"I don't like shots," Jolie said, her voice muffled against her daddy's neck.

"It's OK, sweetie. It'll only hurt a little bit."

Still staring at Alex, Chris pulled himself into Sabryn's lap and wrapped his arms around her neck.
"I gonna see ET."

Alex met her gaze, as if wondering what to say.

"No, Christopher, he can't come this time. Maybe...maybe next time."

Walter walked back into the room, carrying a bottle of rubbing alcohol and some tissues. Sitting on
the coffee table across from Sabryn, he spoke softly to Chris while he swabbed his left arm with
alcohol. The little boy stared at him with wide blue eyes, looking at the syringe with trepidation as
Walter flipped the cap off and stuck the needle into the vial. Alex told him how much to use, and he
flicked any bubbles out before squeezing a small amount out of the tip. Covering her nephew's
eyes, Sabryn winced as Walter poked the needle into his arm and Christopher yelped in shock.
Injecting all of the fluid, Walter swabbed the area again as he pulled the needle out.

"There, that wasn't so bad, was it?"

Chris didn't say a word, but Jolie looked on with interest. It was her turn next, and she barely even
flinched when she got her shot. Her dad tousled her hair and grinned.

"Who's next?"

"Caroline."

Her sister-in-law looked away from the needle, probably out of queasiness. When she was done,
Walter filled the syringe again and frowned at the bottle.

"There's only enough for two more shots."

Sabryn glanced at Alex. "That's all I could get," he said.

"What do we do now?"

She'd be damned if she let her protector go without the vaccine. "Give the next one to John."

"Sabryn--"

"Do it!"

Before he could protest, Walter poked the needle into his arm. John looked at her with joyless eyes,
before meeting his wife's gaze. His expression softened immediately.

Turning around, Walter said, "Your turn."

"No. The rest is yours."

"The hell it is!" Alex stood up. "I didn't risk my ass to bring that bottle back here for Skinner."

"Alex, you promised him. You owe him that much, after what you did."

"I don't give a damn what I owe him. The shot is yours."

"He's right, Sabryn," Walter said. "I'm not taking it."

"You have to. You're an Assistant Director of the FBI. I'm a nobody."

"Don't give me that shit. Push your sleeve out of the way."

"No. I can take care of myself. You said we're safe here, and we have a lot of guns..."

"Sabryn, let him give you the shot!" John ordered.

She couldn't let them do this. She'd already disappointed Walter miserably...she wasn't going to
take his life as well. This was his chance, and he was far more needed in the future than a starving
artist. Standing up, she pushed past Carly and tried to fight her way past John. His daughter slid off his lap as he stood up and grabbed her arms.

"John, stop it. It isn't my shot."

As hard as she tried to fight him, to get past him, he held on tight. He fought off her grappling
hands, gripping her wrists tight to restrain her. Alex was behind her like a shot, traitorously holding
her still while Walter pushed up her sleeve.

"No, please don't do this. Walter, take the shot. I don't--I don't mean anything to the future. You
do. Please!"

He jabbed the needle into her flesh, all but ignoring her pleading voice. She gasped painfully,
fighting stinging tears as she stared into his eyes. As far as she could see, she'd just killed him. And there was nothing she could do about it.

"I'm so sorry," she whispered, as twin tears raced down her face.

Pulling the needle away, he replaced the cap and wiped away one of her tears with his thumb.

"I don't want to hear you say you're less important than I am, ever again."

She sagged against her brother's tight grip, and he released her, letting her weight settle against the
hold of Alex's arm. She felt like she was going to throw up.

"Caroline's right," Walter said, looking at Alex. "If we're going to survive this thing, there's no
sense in fighting each other. And if you've got a plan, Krycek...I'm all ears."

END.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Feedback--like Disneyland with a sexy rat instead of a big-eared mouse. Isahunter@aol.com