Title: Where Do I Go From Here?
Author: Mare (MareZX@aol.com)
Rating: R (language, sexual situations)
Summary: Musings of a one-armed man, after the events of Patient X/The Redand the Black

Notes: This is just a little post-RatB vignette, something I felt was necessaryas a sort of counterpoint to the inevitable flood of slash fic RatB is sureto inspire. We had 88 minutes worth of film to ponder in those two eps,not just those 2 seconds...

The disclaimer song & dance: Not mine. Property of Chris Carter, Ten-ThirteenProductions, etc., no copyright infringement intended.

WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?
By Mare
3/19/98 - 3/23/98


Where do I go from here?


I seem to come to crossroads in my life on a regular basis. I think thisis the fifth time I've asked myself that question in the last... oh, threeyears or so. How many crossroads is one life allowed?
This was a big one, though. This one shook everything up. Everything I workedfor, everything I thought I believed in... changed now. Now I have to trustpeople who betrayed me. And I have to ask people I betrayed to trust me.

The stakes are higher this time; a lot higher.Suddenly it's not just my own survival that matters; it's the survival ofthe whole human race. And I hold one of the keys to that. Pretty funny,isn't it? Alex Krycek, freedom fighter. Who knew?

The tale I spun for the old man was all true --maybe the first time in my life I told the unvarnished truth. Up to thatpoint, I was the only one who knew what was going on. And I think I'm stillthe only one who knows what started it. It's those black oil aliens... oiliens,I guess. They're the ones that want to take over the earth. Why Earth? Icould never figure that out. They're so much more advanced than we are...well, not physically, but in just about every other way. What the hell dothey want this puny little planet and its stupid inhabitants for anyway?I would've asked that one that inhabited me if I knew about the invasionplan back then. If I knew how to communicate with it. If I even knew I wasinhabited.

Anyway, the oiliens didn't plan this by themselves...and this I should've known. How could I not know who was helping them? Whodid my parasite take me to see? Who locked me in that missile silo? Thesmoker. The black-lunged son of a bitch, Mulder calls him. (Damn, I wishthese people had names.) I hear they all think he's dead. I know better.He's the only one who could've set this plan in motion. Why would he dothat?

Guess I have a little more insight than the oldman on this one. I know how Old Smokey feels... yeah, it was a surpriseto realize that, but it's true. When he tried to kill me that first time...hell, the second time, too... what was my first course of action? Revenge.Selling government secrets, threatening exposure, sabotaging their projects...just a little run of the mill mayhem. He does things on a grander scale.After they tried to have him killed (and I know he knew it was them; he'sfunny like that), he pushed up the date for the annihilation of the humanrace. Makes perfect sense to me.

Okay, so I didn't tell the old man the *whole*truth. I never told him my theory about Old Smokey, which, now that I thinkabout it, could probably come back to haunt me. Mental note: talk to theold man. Maybe somebody could... take care of the problem for good thistime. Hell, I'd be happy to do it.

Strange that I'd end up working with the Consortiumagain, after that last experience. Couple big differences, though. Lasttime, I was strictly a minion of the Morley Man; I had very little contactwith the syndicate at all. They only found out who I am when I took thatDAT. Funny how it's always the little things that make you important, isn'tit? A little plastic cassette... a tiny vial of orangey liquid...

No, this time is different. I think working withthe old man will be quite a change from working for the smoker. Notice Isaid *with*, not *for*. This time I have leverage. Sure, I gave him thevaccine... but is he sure I was completely straight with him? I'm sure he'snot -- he didn't get where he is without covering his ass. He must knowI'm holding something back ñ in this case, the exact ingredientsin the vaccine. They can analyze it and break it down all they want, butone ingredient won't be found in that breakdown. I get the feeling he doesknow this. But he hasn't asked me yet. I wonder if he will. I wonder...how long he expects this association to last.

So where do I go from here?

I'd like to say I can go home, but the conceptof home is just that for me - a concept. I don't have a home. Can't evenremember the last time I felt I did. Pathetic, isn't it? Still, that allowsme to go just about anywhere I want. Trouble is, anywhere doesn't feel likehome.

The one place I know I can't go is Russia. Notthat that's such a big loss, really. Russia was dear old Dad's motherland,not mine. No, I've always been 100% American... my little foray into treasonnotwithstanding (not that I see it as treason per se; those were primarilyConsortium secrets, not government secrets)... which really makes me wonderhow I managed to acquire such power over there. I was never told exactlywhat he did, but Dad must've been very high up in the Russian version ofthe Consortium for them to actively recruit a legacy like me. An Americanlegacy. They must've been desperate, too.

Whatever power I had there is gone now, though.The second I picked up that vaccine vial, I knew I'd never be able to goback. They won't kill me because I stole the kid and the vaccine, though;it will be because I stole what the vaccine means to them. They might havethe one that works, but the Consortium has something else they don't --money. I'm sure some sort of deal would've been struck sooner or later.That's what I really stole from them.

To be honest, I'm not quite clear anymore on justwhat it was I originally wanted from the old man and his pals. Did I reallyexpect them to buy my information and my vaccine with a full partnershipin their little group? If it had worked, I just might've been able to rulethe world. As the only one with crucial pieces of information about boththe war and the vaccine, it would've been easy... except that, the minuteI made that phone call to the old man, I knew I didn't have a prayer. Itwas a stupid plan, probably too ambitious. It did expose the real loyaltiesof the syndicate members, though, which was also crucial information. Allthings considered, though I didn't get there quite the way I thought I would,I probably ended up exactly where I'm supposed to be. On the right side,at least.

Until now, it's been really hard to tell what theright side was. Obviously the Consortium -- or at least the Morley Man --has had dealings with both the oiliens and the shapeshifters in the past.The oiliens are a confusing bunch, though. The one that inhabited me wasn'tthe same as the ones from the rock, and both were different from the oneI had the kid infected with. They're all related, though, and the vaccineapparently works against the second and third types. Trouble is, what ifit's the first type that invades?

But I digress. Where was I? Oh, yeah, the Consortiumand the aliens. Yeah, they definitely had something going with the oiliens,if they knew what the invasion date was to be and assisted in the abductions.Those chips collect an awful lot of data, stuff the oiliens need if they'reto inhabit Earth. I think the abductees with the chips were supposed tobe the first invasion targets, which must be why the rebels were torchingthem.

And the shapeshifters? They seem to be somehowunder the control of the oiliens. I mean, they're already here, colonizing,probably preparing the way for the oiliens. I know they have a deal withthe Consortium because it's their DNA that's now used in the hybrid program.They tried gene splicing with the greys' DNA -- that was Bill Mulder's project,I believe -- but that didn't work too well, and all the hybrids died. Usingthe shapeshifters worked a whole lot better. The clone project is hummingright along, I understand. What the shapeshifters got out of lending theirDNA to this program I don't understand yet, but I bet I will sooner or later.In light of their work for the oiliens, though, it seems pretty subversive,doesn't it?

Anyway, now I find myself on the side of the rebels.Strange place for me, isn't it? It's the only way to survive, though, andif there's one thing I've always been, it's a survivor. Had to be. Lookat what I was doing: infiltrating the Consortium for the Russians, infiltratingthe FBI for the Consortium... if I didn't have that survival instinct, I'd'vebeen dead a long time ago. See, changing sides is easy. It's staying alivethat's hard.

Which brings me back to my deal with the old man.I swear, I thought I was dead when I saw him standing in that doorway, pointinga gun at me. But ultimately, I think it had to happen. Marita's betrayal,much as it hurt both of us, was what banded us together... and it was onlythrough our deal that we know who's on what side. The rest of the Consortiumis apparently siding with the oiliens. It's just the old man and me on theside of the rebels.

So where do I go from here?

It was inevitable that this deal would bring meback into contact with the one person I most definitely don't want to seeagain -- Fox Mulder. I always seem to come out with the short end of thestick whenever I run across him. Every time I see him, he beats the shitout of me -- usually when I can't defend myself. If I had half a chance,all it would take is one good hit... then he'd never touch me again. ButI was never allowed that half a chance. The whole time, the Consortium peoplewere beating into my head that he's vital to the success of the projectsand not to be harmed. Okay, *how* is he vital to the projects? So vitalthat he's now being recruited to stop the invasion? What makes everybodythink he's the only one who can do it? He has no clue. He doesn't know evenhalf the stuff I know, and what he does know he doesn't even believe anymore.*He's* the key to stopping the invasion? Oh, puh-leeze.

Still, the old man told me to go to Mulder, soI went. I wouldn't have unless there was something really good in it forme. The old man made sure there was. He followed through on his end of thebargain -- he found a friendly shapeshifter and we got rid of that damnprosthetic arm. Seemed only fitting, seeing as how it's mostly Mulder'sfault my arm got hacked off in the first place. Too bad he won't allow mepayback for that. Because, y'know, payback's a bitch... and it's not likeMulder doesn't deserve it.

Anyway, there I was in Mulder's apartment... finallygetting the drop on him for a change. Man, it felt so good to push him aroundfor a change, to see the fear in his eyes as he looked down the barrel ofmy gun for once. (Okay, it was his gun, but it was in my hand.) Despitethe wisecracks, he really thought I was going to kill him, and it would'vebeen so easy, too... except that the old man wouldn't let me.

Why he even sent me, I don't quite get. I was supposedto make Mulder trust me. Yeah, trust. Me. He wouldn't even believe me thesedays if I tell him the sky's blue. The old man would've been better offgoing there himself; Mulder was more likely to trust him. But he sent meinstead. If nothing else, this would be one hell of a test of my powersof persuasion.

So I said my piece. I could see that it wasn'tthe words he didn't believe, it was me. He didn't think I'd help him, didn'tthink we were really on the same side. If it was anybody else on the planetsaying those words to him, he'd probably believe, but not me. So I had tomake him believe me somehow. Words wouldn't do it; action was needed.

It was right about that time, while deciding whatto do, that I realized that the old man and I probably did need Mulder.If nothing else, he'd do any legwork that needed doing. After all, he doeshave more freedom of movement than either one of us. And all we have todo is point him in the direction of "the truth," wind him up,and watch him go. Makes our work a whole lot easier. Besides, this is awar for the survival of the human race. We'll take any help we can get,even if it is Spooky Mulder.

It didn't take long to realize that I couldn'tdo much to make him trust me short of shooting myself in the head with thegun I held, which I was most definitely not going to do. But... I couldgive it back; show of sincerity and friendship, that sort of thing. Andif I did, how to keep him from using it to shoot me in the back on my wayout the door? Shock him into paralysis, of course.
So I kissed him.

See, sometimes messing with people's minds is somuch more satisfying than punching their lights out, and this was one ofthose cases. Paralysis was certainly the correct word -- the look he gaveme when I stood up was absolutely priceless. You'd think I'd turned hiswhole world inside-out or something. Guess he's not familiar with the standardRussian greeting/luck/farewell kiss custom. (Okay, that custom involvesboth cheeks, but I wasn't about to push my luck with him.) Add to that thedeer-in-the-headlights look he got when I pointed the gun at his head...and I had more than enough time to drop the gun in his lap, wish him luckand call him friend in Russian, and get the hell out of there.

It occurred to me later that when I called himfriend, I meant it. That realization was a surprise, too. I mean, beforehe started using me as his private punching bag, I really had nothing personalagainst him. I think maybe I even felt a little guilty there for a secondabout all that stuff in the past. Yeah, I know. Guilt? Me? Another surprise.But a useful one, I think. It may have helped get across the idea that Iwas sincere, that he and I are indeed on the same side. Not that that giveshim license to beat me up every time he sees me, though. He can't forgetwhat he thinks I did to him, but I can't forget what he's done to me either.So which one of us breaks down and apologizes first? Friend or not, won'tbe me.

Anyway, what I did apparently worked. We know hewent to the base and attempted a rescue. He doesn't remember what happened,but we think he was successful. We hope so.
Thinking back on it now, that look on Mulder's face after I stood up makesme wonder about our past encounters. I always thought he beat the shit outof me all the time because of what he thought I did. Or because he lookedat me and thought "there but for the grace of God go I." MaybeI was wrong. I've heard it said that aggression sometimes masks... Oh, waita minute. Is that possible? Nah, couldn't be. No way. Not possible. Or...is it? Is it...? Oh, man, if it is true... then I chose my gesture almosttoo well. A mindfuck of the highest order... and I didn't even know I wasperforming it...

If nothing else, this little nugget... if true,and that's a huge if... will make future encounters with the FBI's MostUnwanted very, very intriguing. Never let it be said that Alex Krycek everpassed up the opportunity for a world-class headfuck.

So where do I go from here?

"Alex?"

The sleepy voice, and the feel of fingernails gentlyscraping down my new arm, interrupt my reverie. Her voice. I turn over andsee her, awake now, staring at me with those big blue eyes of hers.

People who know her outside call Marita cold, wooden.Not here, she's not. Not in my bed. This woman can do the most incrediblethings... Even now, after what she did, it all comes back. Looking at her,I feel hurt and anger... but I also feel desire like I've rarely felt before.Which, before the old man stepped in, may have been the only thing thatsaved her life once we connected after her recovery.

I've never quite been able to figure out just whatkind of relationship we have. Is it just business? Something more than that?It kind of has to be, or I probably wouldn't feel that desire even afterwhat she did to me. So is it just sex? Could be. Damn good sex, but maybejust sex. I do know it's not love. I'm not capable of that. Used to be,a long, long time ago, but... well, that's another story. Things happen,time passes, and now I'm... like this. Looking out for number one and makingconnections of convenience. Yeah, that's a good way to put it. Marita'sa liaison of convenience. One I always thought I'd have a hard time walkingaway from, though... until now.

Sometimes I wonder why she took the chance andcame back to my humble accommodations with me. Didn't she think I mighthave something to say about that little stunt she pulled? Unless... couldit be that I affect her the same way she affects me? Useful thought, iftrue. Has to be true... why else would she come with me? It wasn't likeshe was going to apologize or anything. And she didn't... well, not in words,anyway. She couldn't, really. I think her mouth was full at the time.
I wonder why the old man was so desperate to save her. She screwed him overtoo, maybe worse than she screwed me over. Unless... she was screwing himtoo... nah, there's some other reason. Maybe they're related somehow. GuessI'll never know if that's true. I doubt either of them would tell me. Butif they are related... he has to know that she's been helping Mulder allalong. Maybe... she does because he wants her to? Nah. He wouldn't havebeen so mad about the kid if he knew. So why does he want her alive?

He won't let me kill her. He knows I want to...or did, back on the ship. But I'm not sure I want to anymore. Funny howmind-blowing sex can change your mind about things like that. Still, she'sgotta know that she did a bad thing and won't be allowed to get away withit. The old man never said anything about not teaching her a lesson...

"Alex," she repeats softly. "Whatare you thinking about?"

Does she really want to know? "Everything,"I tell her. "Nothing."

Her arms slither around my neck. "Let's thinkabout this instead," she says, then pulls me down and kisses me.

There's nothing I'd like better than to indulge,but there's a plan to be formulated here. I have to reassert control. Ipull away from her and my eye falls on the handcuffs on the bedside table.An idea presents itself. Hey, she has that kinky side. It's not like wehaven't played with handcuffs before...

I snatch up the cuffs, lock one around her leftwrist, and thread the chain through the slats in the headboard before sheeven realizes I'm doing it. (Here's where that new arm really comes in handy- mental note to thank the old man again for that.) A touch of fear comesinto her eyes now as I secure her other wrist. "What are you doing?"

"You don't like this? You never said you didn't,"I remind her, kissing down her body. All I get in reply are... sounds. Happysounds. Oh, yeah, she wants me. Maybe I can give her more than the one thingto think about...

She always used to tell me I had a unique talentfor oral sex. Don't know if that was just an ego stroke or what, but I takecare to make full use of that talent now. It doesn't go unappreciated either.She always makes this little sound right before she comes if it's goingto be really good for her. I love that sound... and I hear it more thanonce before I stop.

My lesson can't be taught without the full treatment,so that's what I give her. Make no mistake; it isn't exactly torture forme either. I think I want it as much as she does. Still, how often do youget to indulge your desires and make a point at the same time?

I leave her trembling, panting, utterly spent.She rests with her eyes closed, so at first she doesn't see me get myselfback under control and start to get dressed. I'm almost ready to go by thetime her breathing softens and she opens her eyes again. She watches meand calls my name softly.
I ignore her. Even after the sex, I find it surprisingly easy. What doesthat say about me?

"Alex," she says again. "Take thesecuffs off. I need to touch you..."

I sit down on the bed and stroke her hair. "No,you need to think. You have a lot to think about, don't you?"

Real fear creeps into those big blue eyes now.I think she's realizing what I mean to do.

"Yeah, you need to think," I continue."You need to think about what you did. You did a bad thing, Marita.Did you really think you'd get away with it? Guess you'll have think aboutthat again, won't you? Think about what you did. Think about who you hurt.Think about the consequences."

I see panic in her eyes now as I rise from thebed. "Think about your deception, Marita. And while you're at it, thinkabout how you'll never see me again. Never have sex quite like that again.And think about it and decide whether it's lucky for you or not that theold man won't let me kill you."
I pick up my bag and drop the key to the handcuffs in my jacket pocket asshe whimpers piteously. "You should have loads of time to think here.I hope you make good use of it. Do svedanya, lover." And with that,I'm out the door.

Where do I go from here?

-Fin-