Disclaim, disshlaim. Only Jess, Lindy, Michael, Annie, assorted medical staff, and the various pets belong to me. Yoda the Jedi Master belongs to Lucasfilms Ltd., and the rest of the cast belong to TenThirteen Productions.

 

Classification - X, R (MSR, Krycek/Other), A

 

NC17 for graphic sex.

 

Synopsis - Jess Leahs, pregnant by Krycek, is abducted.

 

Okay folks, here's the next Loup Garou story. Any and all feedback is appreciated, except flames. I crave it.

 

* * * * * * *

 

Loup Garou VI - The Loss

 

By Shael (wolfcatxf@imadethis.org)

http://www.parkers-place.net/ratlover/wolfcatxf/loupgarou

 

"We all have a natural instinct to prolificate." - D. Scully

 

"And if I'm pregnant, I can't think of anyone else I want to be the father." - J. Leahs

 

* * * * * * *

 

The last thing Assistant Director Walter S. Skinner expected to see when he opened his door in the middle of the night was a bedraggled Alex Krycek holding the leash of an equally bedraggled black wolf. "What do you want?" Skinner growled.

 

The wolf whined, leaning heavily against Krycek's legs. Krycek was breathing hard as he looked Skinner in the eye. "A place to hide and for her to heal. Nothing more. We'll be gone within twenty four hours."

 

Skinner's eyes narrowed. Aside from being in desperate need of a few meals, a long shower, and a shave and haircut, Krycek looked healthy. The wolf, on the other hand, was standing on three legs. The right hind leg was held up at an awkward position, the swollen paw barely grazing the ground. Dark brown eyes were glazed over with pain.

 

Skinner hated Krycek, but he did have a soft spot for dogs. He shoved the door open wider. "Get in here." Krycek and the wolf limped over the threshold.

 

Krycek turned to Skinner to say thanks when he suddenly found himself being shoved against the wall. Skinner grabbed him by the jacket. "Listen, boy, if this is a trick... ."

 

Skinner didn't get a chance to finish his threat. The wolf had jumped up on her good leg and was snarling in his left ear. Skinner could feel her hot breath and the weight of her paws on his back.

 

Krycek tilted his head to look past Skinner's shoulder so he could see the wolf. "Jess, stop that! Get off him!"

 

The wolf turned away and hit the ground with a thud and a slight whimper. She was still growling and bristling and glaring at Skinner.

 

Krycek turned his attention back to Skinner. "She's still keyed up. If you let go of me, it'll keep her from attacking."

 

"And what will keep you from attacking?"

 

"There's a gun in my waistband. If I wanted you dead, we wouldn't be talking now. If you let go, I'll give it to you."

 

Skinner glanced down. Just poking out above Krycek's belt was a gun's handle. Krycek could have shot him as soon as he opened the door.

 

Skinner released Krycek. True to his word, Krycek pulled out the gun and offered it to Skinner, butt first. Skinner accepted it without a word. The wolf relaxed, let out a sigh and then a yelp and a moan as the wounded paw brushed the ground.

 

Krycek knelt down beside her. "Do you have a first aid kit? Ace bandage?"

 

Skinner nodded and went upstairs to get them. He also grabbed a couple of old blankets and what was left of the pain medication from when he had been shot. He wasn't sure what effect they would have on canine physiology, but the poor animal was suffering and it might help a bit.

 

Skinner came back down the stairs to find that Krycek had hefted the wolf onto the kitchen table. He was running his hands over the injured leg. As he reached the juncture where the paw joined the leg, the wolf gave a yelp.

 

"Easy, Jess," Krycek soothed. "I know it hurts. Let me get it wrapped." He glanced at Skinner. "Hand me the Ace bandage."

 

Skinner handed him the fabric. "That looks broken. She needs a cast, not a wrap."

 

Krycek was busy wrapping the bandage around the wolf's ankle and paw, supporting it. "She heals fast. This will be enough to hold the bone in place until it's back to normal." He noticed the pain pills Skinner had set down. "Vicodin? Give her two, if you don't mind."

 

Skinner shook two pills onto his palm. He placed it beside the wolf's muzzle. As he was debating how to get the medication inside the animal, a pink tongue swiped across his hand, curling around and carrying away the pills. Her tail thumped against the table top twice.

 

Krycek smiled at that. "Quit flirting, Jess." He caressed the beast's head between her ears. The wolf gave a soft moan and she pressed up against his hand. Her large brown eyes slid shut with a sigh.

 

"She'll be more comfortable on the couch," Skinner said.

 

Krycek took a hold of the wolf's flanks. Skinner took the forequarters and nodded. "One, two, three." With a grunt they lifted the one hundred fifty pound canine and moved her to the couch.

 

Krycek picked up the blanket and tossed it lightly over the form. He moved to the other end of the couch to sit down and cradle the head of the dog on his lap. He unbuckled the collar. "It's mostly for show, to avoid violating leash laws. She could snap it in a second." He laid his head back against the couch with a sigh and shut his eyes.

 

Skinner watched them for a moment. The younger man seemed exhausted, but it could have been an act. The canine was out like a light. "Now, Krycek, care to tell me why you're here?"

 

He didn't get an answer. Skinner leaned forward for a closer look. Krycek had fallen asleep. Skinner shook his head. He stood up and walked back up stairs. He came back down with a pair of standard issue handcuffs. He cuffed Krycek's wrist to the free standing floor lamp between two of the three torches, making it impossible to slide the metal ring off. Satisfied that Krycek was going nowhere for the night, he went back upstairs and to bed.

 

* * * * * * *

 

Jess woke to a throbbing in her ankle. She had Changed back to a human. She had been asleep, from the narcotic effect of the drug and unconsciously focusing her energy on healing the broken bones in her foot. Now it looked and felt no worse than a badly sprained ankle.

 

She looked up at Krycek from where her head was pillowed on his stomach. He had shifted so his legs were half under her, and his left arm was stretched up and cuffed in what had to be an extremely uncomfortable position.

 

Jess pushed up onto her knees and looked around for the one of the backpacks that Krycek had carried. There they were, dropped by the door. She got up and limped to them and got out a pair of leggings, tee shirt, and some other necessary clothing.

 

Just as she finished dressing, Jess heard Krycek muttering something. She turned to see he had broken out in a cold sweat. "No! Don't take my arm! Please leave me my arm!"

 

Jess picked up his leather jacket and limped back to him. She sat down and put her arms around him. "Alex, it's okay," she cooed. "You're with me."

 

Krycek woke with a start. He stared at her with wide frightened eyes. "I can't feel my left arm!"

 

"It's still there," Jess reassured. She ran her hands up and down it. "Skinner cuffed you to the lamp sometime in the night. Your arm fell asleep." She kissed the tender skin of his inside elbow and then his wrist. "See, feel that?"

 

Krycek sighed at the soft contact and ran his free hand up and down her back. Jess folded up the jacket and slipped it behind his head. She kissed his lips gently. She looked deeply into his eyes. "We're safe, if only for the moment."

 

Krycek sighed his relief. "How's your ankle?"

 

Jess smiled. "Sore, but manageable." He saw the worry, fear, love, and desire glowing in her dark brown eyes, a reflection of what was in his deep green ones.

 

"We almost didn't make it this time, Jess." His stroked her cheek. "I want you so badly," he whispered. "It's been too long."

 

Jess delicately nuzzled the underside of his jaw. "I want you too, but somehow I don't think that screwing on your former boss's couch while you're chained up is a good move."

 

"Then I guess a blow job is out of the question."

 

Jess laughed. "You're incorrigible." She snuggled back on top of him and pulled the blanket over them both. "Let's just get some more sleep and we'll make plans in the morning."

 

"Sounds good to me." Jess wrapped her arms around him and he cradled her head against his chest. He felt her breathing become slow and regular. He stroked her short dark hair in an absent-minded pattern. Krycek wasn't sure that this was a smart move. But Jess had been hurt in the attack and it was to far to Mulder's or Scully's. Skinner was the only one who they could trust. Now whether or not Skinner trusted them was another question entirely. And that was a question he was too tired to consider. Within minutes he was asleep also.

 

* * * * * * *

 

The next morning, the first thing Skinner did after getting dressed was to go downstairs and check on his 'guests.' He came around the corner of the stairwell with gun drawn. Krycek may have been chained up, but that big black wolf wasn't. But as he looked around his living room, all he saw was Krycek, still cuffed to the lamp, and his lover, Jessica Leahs, curled on top of him, both of them still fast asleep. There was no sign of the canine.

 

It was obvious that Jess had been up and around during the night. The gun (<stupid of me to leave it down here,> Skinner chided himself) had been unloaded, bullets placed at one end of the counter, far from the weapon. Krycek's leather jacket had been folded up and was cushioning his head.

 

Skinner took a step forward, causing the floorboards to creak softly. Jess jumped up in a movement reminiscent of a dog that has been startled awake. She blinked confusedly for a moment. "Sorry about last night...," she muttered.

 

Skinner lowered the gun. "Where's the wolf?"

 

Jess gave him a wry grin. "So much for 'suspending your disbelief'." She stood up and stretched.

 

Skinner noticed she was putting almost half of her weight on her right leg, but the ankle was swollen, much like the dog's had been. "What happened?"

 

"We were on our way to see Mulder when we attacked. Some punk was going to throttle Alex. I jumped him, and we fell. Somehow I landed with him on top of me and my right leg under us and my ankle couldn't support the weight."

 

"And why were you going to see Agent Mulder?"

 

Jess looked at Skinner. He got the distinct feeling that she was sizing him up. "Just checking in," she replied cautiously. She ran her fingers through her hair, trying to tame the snags knotting it. "Listen, I'm sorry that we disturbed you and your wife... ."

 

"No need. Ever since becoming Fox Mulder's superior, I've become used to late night intrusions." He took a breath and continued. "And Sharon and I are divorced."

 

"Oh," Jess swallowed. "I'm sorry. I thought... ."

 

"No need to apologize. When you and I first met, Sharon and I were trying to reconcile. It didn't work out."

 

"I see." Jess stood there for a moment, uncertain of what to say or do. "Would it be too much to ask for you to uncuff Alex? I know that you don't trust him, but he won't do anything."

 

Skinner looked at her gruffly. "I'm expected in the office and for appearance's sake, I'm going in. You can stay for another day or so." He walked to the door and opened it. "The keys to the cuffs are upstairs on the chest of drawers," was the last thing he said as he left.

 

* * * * * * *

 

"They got away." The young man in the suit was disheveled. His face was scratched and bruised.

 

Cancerman's face was unreadable. "Explain."

 

"We almost had him when she showed up. She killed two of us before we knew she was there. I barely got away."

 

"But they are unharmed?"

 

"I think I broke her leg, but it didn't slow her down. She fought like a demon." There was a sound of undisguised awe in his voice over his opponents skills.

 

Cancerman lit a Morley. "Did she hurt you?" The question was asked with a studied indifference that belied his concern.

 

The underling undid his collar just enough to show several small, freshly formed scabs. "The scratches and bruises are from fighting him. She bit me, because I was holding her hands down, I guess. Didn't do anything more than break the skin. Nothing too serious."

 

The Smoking Man took a drag off the cigarette. "And their present location?"

 

"Uncertain. First contact was made in Crystal City, Virginia. From their movements, I would surmise they were heading towards Washington D.C."

 

Cancerman decided to terminate the debriefing. He had all the information he needed. "I have your written report on the incident. We'll consider this matter closed for the moment. Dismissed."

 

The underling nodded his head and left. Cancerman turned to the body guard who had been listening just out of sight in the other room. He had to be cautious about the ones chosen to undergo and maintain the Change. "Make sure that he does not survive until the next full moon. And be certain to use the silver bullets."

 

* * * * * * *

 

Jess stood under the shower head. <God, how long has it been since I've had a shower?> She shut her eyes and concentrated on the feeling of the water sluicing over her body.

 

After uncuffing Krycek, she had headed back upstairs to the bathroom. He hadn't woken up when she released him, so Jess had left him where he was, wanting to clean up. She was hungry and in pain, but all she wanted was to get the dried sweat and dirt off of her skin.

 

Living on the run was a lot tougher than she had thought it would be. Krycek had taught her how to survive, just as she had taught him how to live. They wandered seemingly at random, nosing here and there for bits of data Mulder might find useful - here a UFO sighting, there a crop circle. But mostly they tried to lose the tails placed upon them by Cancerman and the Consortium.

 

She heard the sound of a familiar tread coming up the stairs and into the bathroom. "Walter, what are you doing here? I thought this morning was enough for you."

 

"Very funny, Jess," Krycek snorted. "Don't hog the hot water." He joined her in the shower. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her.

 

Jess toyed with the few strands of hair on his chest. "I thought you got in here to clean up."

 

"Can I help it if I'm easily distracted?" Krycek trailed his fingers up and down her spine. "Where is Skinner, by the way?"

 

"He went to work and told me that we could stay for a day or so." She stepped out of the direct spray and pushed him into it. She massaged his back, easing the muscles that had cramped from sleeping in such an awkward position.

 

"So we have time to plan our next move." Krycek lathered and rinsed himself.

 

"Uh huh." Jess was shampooing her hair. "I figure that we also have enough time to... ."

 

"Well, I already know what *my* next move is." He wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her back into the stream of water. With his stomach pressed against her back, his hands stroked upwards over her body to massage her scalp, rinsing the foam away.

 

Jess trembled and sighed. She could feel his hot erection pressing into her back. She leaned her head back and turned slightly to whisper in his ear. "And what might that be?" Her tongue flicked out to caress his lobe, toying with the gold loop earring.

 

"I think you know." His hands slid back down to cup her breasts. "But last night, I thought you said screwing here would be a bad idea."

 

"I said screwing on your former boss's couch last night would be a bad idea. I didn't say anything about this morning in the shower."

 

Krycek laughed for the first time in days. Their lives had been so danger filled, so treacherous, and so paranoid lately that they had rarely made love to each other. One would always be on guard while the other rested. "You little minx! If I had known that, I would have dragged that damned lamp up here."

 

"And shocked the hell out of the both of us," Jess giggled. "Talk about an electrifying orgasm." She turned in his arms and kissed his lower lip, sucking greedily. Her arms locked around his neck.

 

Krycek returned the kiss with an enthusiasm that almost frightened Jess. "Do you know how hard it's been not to reach over and molest you while you slept?" His fingers trailed down her spine to squeeze her buttocks.

 

Jess smiled. "Believe me, I *know*! And I wished you had." She rubbed her body hard against his. "Alex," she whispered breathily, "I don't care that we don't have any protection. Three weeks without sex is three too long. All I want to do is make love to you."

 

Krycek turned and shut off the water. He shoved Jess gently back against the tile wall. Starting at her lips, he slowly kissed his way down to her nipples. She was trembling partially from the cold of the evaporating water and partially from pure arousal. Her mouth had dropped open and she made little whimpering noises with each breath.

 

He reluctantly left her breasts and dropped to his knees to continue his explorations lower. His tongue swirled around and in and out of her navel, a hint of what was to come. And he did want her to come. His nose traced a line downwards until it was tickled by her curly hair. He nuzzled her, inhaling her unique scent.

 

When he felt her hands lightly resting on his head, Krycek stole a look up at his lover. Her head was tilted back, her breath was coming harder and faster. She was almost ready.

 

Krycek's tongue gently slipped into the dampness that had very little to do with the shower she had just taken. Jess squealed. He found the erect nub and lapped at it. Her hips began thrusting frantically. He continued to tongue her gently, toying with her. He felt her tremble violently and then sag against the wall, her breathing slowly calming, but still quite heavily.

 

Krycek stood back up and pressed against her. He kissed her, letting her taste herself on his tongue. Jess held him tighter, spreading her legs. Her moan of pleasure turned into a gasp of pain as her injured ankle wobbled.

 

Krycek nuzzled her neck and lifted her right leg over his hip, supporting her weight. "Jess," he whispered in her ear. He was poised to enter her, but not yet at the point of no return. He would be the moment his cock brushed her dampness. "If you've changed your mind, if it's too painful standing, I can stop. We could... ."

 

"Alex," she breathed, nipping at his neck, "make love to me."

 

He leaned forward, allowing his cock to slowly sink into her. Krycek moaned and brushed his lips against the hollow of her throat. Making love to her was an incredible experience. Sometimes he just watched her sleep, wondering how someone so wonderful as his lover could stay with someone as screwed up as himself, could forgive him, let alone love him. And he felt that if he could give her pleasure, despite all the shit she had been through, that it was a way to at least start to atone for what he had done.

 

Jess shivered when he had sunk in to the root. She buried her head against his shoulder. "Oh God, Alex, you feel so good." It was a source of constant amazement that this man could bring out these intense feelings within her, let alone return them. Almost every time she caught sight of her scars, she wondered why someone as handsome as her lover, who could have anyone he wanted, would choose to stay and make love to her.

 

Krycek slowly began rocking his hips, moving in and out of Jess, holding her bottom firmly. His motions were slow, almost lazy. <This could be the last time we make love,> he thought, like he did almost every time. <I want it to last for both of us.> His mouth blindly sought hers, sucking and licking.

 

His lips parted before her tongue. She thrust with it in time to the thrusts of his cock. It was an old game they played, both penetrator and penetrated, both giving and receiving pleasure. Krycek moaned and pressed tighter against her body. His movements became faster and more urgent. His hands gripped and released her cheeks quickly and gently.

 

Jess was gasping harder. Krycek broke the kiss to look at her as she came. Her thighs gripped him tighter. Her nails bit into his flesh with an intense pain that was really an intense pleasure. Krycek moaned as he felt her contractions gripping him. Jess had lifted her head from his shoulder and had tilted it back against the slick tile. Then Krycek came, stifling his scream of ecstasy against the tender spot where Jess's shoulder ended and her neck began.

 

They held each other tight as their breathing slowly returned to normal. Jess lowered her head and nuzzled his cheek. Her lips brushed his soft skin.

 

Krycek and Jess softly kissed each other's lips repeatedly. As if it were a prearranged signal, he backed away from her, easing her right leg back to the ground. He held her tightly, kissing her forehead.

 

Jess nuzzled his neck, almost purring her contentment. "I've really missed that," she whispered.

 

"So did I." Krycek got out of the shower and offered her his hand. "Now why don't we dry off and go see what Skinner keeps in his refrigerator."

 

Jess took his hand and stepped out of the shower, still favoring her right leg slightly. Krycek wrapped a fluffy towel around her, wiping off the remaining moisture. He then started to dry himself. "Go get that foot in the air. I'll take care of everything else."

 

* * * * * * *

 

Skinner sat at his desk, trying to make sense of the latest report from Mulder and Scully. It was a combination of cattle mutilations, unexplained lights, and strange circular markings left in fields. Mulder claimed it was UFO's. Scully argued for teenage pranksters and predator attacks.

 

He looked up as the door opened. He felt a shiver of unease when he realized who he had to deal with, although he never allowed it to reach the surface.

 

"Mr. Skinner," Cancerman began affably. "I understand your having a problem with rats and stray dogs."

 

"Actually I'm not. The strays tend to keep the rats in line."

 

"However, rats do carry rabies." With a casual disregard for the 'no smoking' sign, he lit up a cigarette. "Even the sweetest tempered dog will turn vicious when bitten by an rabid rat."

 

Skinner's nose wrinkled, but he said nothing about the smoke. "I'll just have to make sure that I get my new pets vaccinated."

 

"Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of calling animal control."

 

"I'll keep that suggestion in mind."

 

Cancerman nodded. "Just so that we understand each other." He turned and left Skinner's office.

 

Skinner sat there for a few moments. He was debating about letting Mulder and Scully know about the fact that Jess and Krycek were around. He decided against it, based simply on the fact that it was probably the exact move that the Smoking Man wanted him to make. He would wait until tonight, when he could talk to Jess and Krycek face to face and find out what they *really* wanted.

 

* * * * * * *

 

Later that afternoon, Jess and Krycek were packing up, preparing to leave. They wanted to be gone before Skinner arrived home as to avoid any further complications. The faster they disappeared again, the safer it would be for both themselves and their reluctant allies in the FBI.

 

After their shower, they had eaten a little and slept a lot more. Jess's ankle had finished healing and was back to normal. Krycek had written one note to Mulder and Scully and one to Skinner, explaining the attack on them last night. Jess had also written a letter to Michael, Annie, and Lindy, and also a short note to Skinner asking him to see that the letter to her family was delivered.

 

"That's it," Jess said as she zipped up her backpack. "Are we going to take the gun?"

 

"Shouldn't," Krycek said. He hefted his pack onto his back. "We don't know who it's registered to, if it's registered at all. A weapon would be nice, but I don't want anything that could be used to track us."

 

Jess walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. "Do you think we'll ever not be running for our lives?"

 

"I wish I could say yes, Jess." Krycek turned and leaned his forehead to hers. "This has been hard on you, hasn't it?"

 

Jess just looked at the floor and nodded.

 

Krycek nuzzled her hair. "I'm going to make it up to you someday. I promise." He sighed. "But for now, we'd better go."

 

Jess nodded. Krycek put a hand under her chin, lifting it to look into her eyes. "I love you," he mouthed and kissed her.

 

"I love you too." Jess kissed the pulse point behind his jaw. "So let's get moving."

 

Krycek walked to the door as Jess picked up her backpack. He opened the door to see Skinner standing there, keys in hand. "Going somewhere?"

 

Jess looked Skinner in the eye. "Alex said that we'd be gone in twenty four hours. We intend to keep that schedule."

 

"And I said you could stay for a day or two."

 

Krycek shook his head. "We don't want to cause you anymore trouble than we already have. It'll be best if we disappear again."

 

Skinner pushed his way past Krycek into the apartment, pulling the door shut. "I wouldn't try disappearing right now. I had a visitor at my office this afternoon. The Smoking Man knows you're holed up here."

 

Something in Jess wilted. She hung her head and dropped onto the couch. "God! I thought we might've lost him for a while."

 

Krycek put an arm around her comfortingly. "We lost him before. We can do it again." But it was plain that he was as scared and tired as Jess was.

 

A knock on the door startled all three. Skinner peered through the spy hole and opened the door to a somewhat sheepish Mulder and Scully. "Sorry to disturb you, sir," Mulder began apologetically, "but by any chance is... ."

 

"Alex! Jess!" cried a child's voice. A nine year old blond girl darted past Skinner to run straight for Jess and Krycek, both of whom looked stunned.

 

Jess wrapped the little girl in her arms and lifted her onto her lap. Krycek looked at Mulder. "How did you know...?"

 

Mulder shook his head. "She was on my doorstep when I got home. All that she would say was that you were here."

 

"Lindy," Jess asked gently, "how did you know we were here and why did you come?"

 

Lindy looked Jess in the eye. "I just knew that you were hurt," she said calmly, as if that explained how a nine year old could cross a continent to find two people in hiding without an adult's help.

 

A resigned look crossed Jess's face. "We're talking about this later, kiddo." She glanced up to see everyone's questioning looks. "Don't ask me how she does it. She just does it."

 

Krycek looked at Lindy. "Do Michael and Annie know you are here?"

 

Lindy looked down and shook her head. Jess frowned and looked at Skinner. "Would you mind horribly if I used your phone to make a collect call?"

 

* * * * * * *

 

Skinner watched Jess from the stairwell. She was calling her brother to let him know about Lindy. Jess was pacing as she talked, using the cordless. Actually, she was pacing as well as she could with a nine year old clinging to her leg. "Michael, it's me. Lindy's... no she's here with me... . I don't *know* how she... we'll work that out. Can't talk much longer... love you too, big bro. Bye."

 

She sat down on the couch with a sigh, forcing Lindy to let go. "We gotta talk about your unnatural attachment to my leg sometime." She looked down and ruffled the child's hair. "I missed you, sweetheart."

 

"I missed you too, Jess." Lindy sat down practically in her lap. She looked at Jess's belly hard, then smiled and patted it. "Are you and Alex gonna come back with me?"

 

Jess sighed. "I don't know, Lindy. I've missed you a lot, but I don't want to put you in danger." Her head tilted to one side. "It was a stupid move for you to run off like that to find us. I thought you were smarter than that."

 

Skinner's attention shifted when he heard the sound of steps at the top of the stairs. Krycek walked past him without saying a word. He went straight to Jess. "Scully wants to check you over, Jess."

 

"Okay. You and I aren't done talking," she said, pointing at Lindy. She got up and walked up the stairs. "Sorry for the trouble," she muttered as she passed Skinner.

 

Skinner watched Krycek and Lindy. The young girl looked extremely comfortable and relaxed sitting next to him. In fact, she was filling Krycek in on the doings of a 'Boomer' and 'Chloe.' He had seen what was turned up about the child's abuse and was surprised at how trusting the girl was with Krycek.

 

He looked to his side when Mulder came up to him. "I'm surprised that Jess trusts that rat bastard with her kid."

 

Mulder shook his head. "Krycek may be a lot of things, but he's not a child molester. Jess knows it." He smiled grimly. "Besides, if Krycek betrayed her in any way, she'd send us his testicles in a zip lock baggie."

 

"Still, if I were her...," Skinner rumbled.

 

"I'm no happier about it than you sir," Mulder said. "But Jess won't let him pull any crap. The moment she's suspicious of him, she'll turn to me."

 

"Is that why you've tolerated this situation so long?" Skinner asked. "So when he does betray her, you're there to take him down?"

 

"No sir," Mulder replied. "I wont be taking him down. I'll be there just to clean up the mess and collect what's left when Jess is finished."

 

* * * * * * *

 

Krycek, Jess, and Lindy were all now in the motel room that Mulder and Scully had sprung for. Lindy was exhausted, emotionally and physically from her travel, so they were forced to rest longer. Even Jess was impressed. She had crossed the country, running day and night as a wolf, in just over a week.

 

Krycek was amazed at such devotion. While he worked for Cancerman, ideas such as loyalty only got lip service. In reality it was a dog eat dog world. As he lay next to Jess on one of the double beds, he kept turning over one idea in his mind. It didn't feel right to send her away. Maybe it was time to stop running. "Jess, we can't send Lindy back," he whispered.

 

She lifted her head from the pillow. "Alex, you didn't just say what I think you just said," she whispered back.

 

"Listen, I know it sounds stupid," he sighed. "But she'd actually be safer with us than with Annie and Michael. We *know* the danger we're facing. They don't."

 

Jess sighed and leaned her head deeper into the pillows. "That does make sense, Alex, but she's been through so much in her short life. And a life on the run isn't what I'd've chosen for her."

 

Krycek took Jess's hands in his own. "It's not the kind of life I'd've chosen for you."

 

"Alex, that's different," she protested.

 

"No it's not. If I could manage it somehow, we would be living together as an old married couple, with Lindy, Boomer, Chloe, with the one point five statistical biological kids we would have in our five bedroom house."

 

"And we'd be bored out of our skulls," Jess quipped.

 

"Jess, that's not the point. We would *all* be together, not separate. You're a werewolf. She's a werewolf. And wolves are social animals. It's not fair for the two of you to be apart. And I know you've been missing her more than you like to show."

 

Jess sighed. She did miss her little girl deeply but thought she had hidden the pain well. "Is it that obvious?"

 

"Yes." He reached over and stroked her hair gently. "When we showed up for Christmas, you two were inseparable. Lindy wouldn't let you out of her sight for five seconds. I'm surprised she hasn't tried to track us down before now. And I remember being a werewolf. It was lonely, mostly because the others wouldn't have a thing to do with me, unless it was to beat me up or something worse. That's part of the reason I fell in love with you so fast. Don't get me wrong, I would have fallen for you anyway."

 

"And I would have fallen for you too. But I don't know about taking her on the run with us."

 

"We'll be able to protect her better. We know what we're getting into. Michael and Annie, as much as they want to take care of her, don't. And maybe we should stop running and make a stand."

 

"Alex, what are you saying?"

 

Krycek swallowed hard. "Let's settle down and stop running. I want to marry you, help raise Lindy, and just live. The Consortium can do what they damn well please."

 

Jess snuggled against his chest. The idea of having a home again strongly appealed to her. There were risks, but there were risks living on the run also. No matter what they did, there would always be risks. "It might just confuse the hell out of them. Let's do it, my love. And what does happen, well, it happens." She raised her head to his and kissed him.

 

Krycek kissed her lips, her nose, and her forehead. "But first, let's make one last trip. I've heard Las Vegas is beautiful this time of year." He nuzzled her hair sleepily. "I just wish I still had my mother's ring to give back to you."

 

"We can get it from Mulder later, or get another one. Maybe we should wait a little longer before we get married," Jess murmured sleepily. "Let's just get some rest and we'll let tomorrow take care of itself."

 

* * * * * * *

 

A week passed after Jess's and Krycek's unexpected appearance. After a quick briefing with Mulder and Scully, they had taken Lindy and disappeared somewhere into the night, without telling anyone where they were heading.

 

So it was a bit of a surprise when they received a letter in Jess's scrawl postmarked from Nevada. Jess and Krycek *never* communicated with them by mail. They had always called using a public pay phone or secured land line.

 

Mulder opened the envelope, and a picture fell to the floor. He stooped to pick it up. "Looks like they finally went through with it," he muttered, passing the photo to Scully. "It's a regular family portrait."

 

She took it. It was a snapshot outside of a wedding chapel somewhere in Las Vegas. In it was Krycek, one arm around Jess, with Lindy standing in front of them.

 

Scully shook her head and flipped the picture over. On the back was scribbled a short note in Jess's hand. "Don't panic," it said. "We got this far and then chickened out. We're waiting for a more suitable time. Visiting Michael and Annie. Will contact when we settle. Jess, Lindy, Alex."

 

* * * * * * *

 

Jess looked around the condo in one of the sprawling suburbs near Washington DC. Getting Michael to send some of her stuff and their pets was just what she and Krycek needed to unwind and relax. With Boomer the husky almost tripping her and Chloe the Persian cat shedding on her clean laundry, it was finally starting to feel like home. There had been no overt reaction from the Consortium, although Jess and Krycek weren't so naive to think that they weren't being observed. So, for the moment, they had no immediate serious problems.

 

Except for one that Krycek wasn't aware of yet. Jess felt guilty about keeping her suspicion a secret from him, but she needed to be certain before she said anything. As promised, she called Mulder and Scully and let them that they were back in town. In fact, she had just gotten off the phone with Scully a second time, explaining her problem, who agreed to help her.

 

Someone knocked on the door. Jess opened it to Scully. "Thanks for coming, Dana."

 

"Not a problem, Jess." Scully walked in. "I got one of the most accurate ones on the market."

 

"Shhhhhh! Not so loud. Alex is still here." Jess looked upstairs, afraid that Krycek may have heard them. "Let's go into the bathroom to talk about this."

 

They went into the downstairs bathroom. Jess shut the door firmly. "Anything I need to know?"

 

The sound of the knob being turned kept Scully from answering. She and Jess looked up at the door opening like two girls caught going through mommy's forbidden makeup. "Jess, is Scully here? I thought I heard...oh shit!" Krycek suddenly exclaimed when he saw the pregnancy test sitting on the sink. He swallowed hard and sat down on the edge of the tub. "I think I know what this means. It's serious, isn't it?"

 

Jess and Scully nodded.

 

"I see." A devilish smile crossed his face. "So Scully, what happened? You and Mulder get so drunk you forgot that there's about a hundred forms of birth control out there?" Krycek joked. He smiled. "Congratulations. Listen, speaking as a man, don't put off telling him. Let him know right away. And be direct."

 

Jess sat down on the bathtub beside him. "Yeah, Dana. Maybe something like 'I think I'm pregnant, Alex.'"

 

"Mulder," Krycek corrected.

 

"Alex," Jess replied.

 

"Mulder!" His voice was a little more forceful this time.

 

"Alex," Jess said in the same calm tone of voice.

 

"*Mulder!*" Krycek got up and walked to the sink, gripping the porcelain sides tightly.

 

Scully looked from Jess to Krycek and back to Jess. "I'll see myself out." She backed out the door.

 

Krycek didn't look back at Jess. "How late are you?" he asked softly.

 

Jess swallowed. "A week."

 

"Are you sure?" he asked in an unreadable voice.

 

"Pretty. I just need to take the test to be certain" She shifted back and forth. "I wanted to be positive before I said anything to you. I mean, with what Cassandra did to you, faking that pregnancy... ." She was worried and Krycek still hadn't looked at her. "Alex, are you okay?"

 

"Okay?" Krycek repeated. "The woman I love is pregnant with my child and you ask if I'm 'okay'?" He turned to face her and swept her off the ledge, crushing her to his chest in a fierce hug. "Does this convince you that I'm okay?" he whispered as he lowered his lips to hers.

 

Jess cried in his arms as he kissed her. He nestled her head under his chin and let her sob, stroking her reassuringly. "I'm so scared. I want this child, but I'm afraid of what it will be, human, werewolf, ...or something else."

 

"Oh God, Jess," he said with a shuddering breath. "I hadn't even thought about it. If the Consortium finds out... ." His arms tightened around her.

 

Jess and Krycek held each other for several minutes. Jess sighed eventually. "Let me take the test. We may be worrying for nothing." <But I don't think I am,> was the unspoken end to the thought.

 

* * * * * * *

 

When Lindy came home from school, she knew something was up. Jess and Krycek weren't downstairs to greet her like usual. She could hear them talking and laughing upstairs. She could also hear a steady thumping noise, caused by the headboard of their bed hitting the wall. There was only one way that particular sound could be made.

 

Lindy shook her head a little and rolled her eyes. Although she and Jess had had 'the talk,' she still didn't quite understand why Jess liked sex with Krycek so much. When the werewolf who Changed her molested her, it had varied from uncomfortable at best to extreme pain at worst. Jess always treated her like an adult when it came to a serious question, especially about sex. She could usually respond to Lindy with a straightforwardness that caught most people who didn't know Lindy's history off guard. But whenever she asked why Jess enjoyed Krycek touching her like that, she replied like any other uncool adult, "You'll understand when you're older."

 

She went into the kitchen and got herself a glass of soda. The sounds had stopped, so she guessed they would be down soon. So Lindy went back into the living room, plopped down on the center of the floor, and turned on the TV. Chloe came in from another room and dropped herself on Lindy's lap, demanding her share of attention. Lindy scratched behind the cat's ears idly, waiting.

 

It wasn't a long wait. Jess came bouncing downstairs, wrapped in a robe. Krycek followed closely on her heels, wearing only sweatpants. He crashed into Jess when she stopped short at the sight of the blond girl. "You're home already!" he blurted out.

 

Lindy nodded. "It's a half day because of the parent-teacher conferences."

 

"Uh, yeah, I forgot," Jess said. She sat down on the couch and patted the spot beside her. Lindy got up from the floor and sat beside her. "Lindy," Jess said, taking the girl's hand. "We've got some exciting news. I'm pregnant."

 

Lindy didn't look surprised. "I knew that. I've known for about a month."

 

Krycek's eyebrows almost shot over his hairline. "You've known for a month? How?" Jess was only a month along at the most.

 

Lindy shrugged her shoulders. "I can just tell sometimes." She tilted her head and looked at Jess. "Can't you?"

 

Jess shook her head. "Lindy, I had no idea I was pregnant until a few days ago. Can you tell if it's a boy or a girl?"

 

Lindy squinted at Jess's belly. "A girl," she said after some hesitation, "a girl with dark hair."

 

Krycek smiled. "Like that's a surprise," he laughed. Jess's hair was almost as dark as his. "Are you okay with this Lindy? You know this doesn't mean we'll love you any less, right?"

 

Lindy smiled a little shyly. "I always wanted a little sister," she admitted.

 

Jess tousled Lindy's blond hair affectionately. "Well, we'll work on giving you a brother too, someday."

 

* * * * * * *

 

A month passed. Jess, Lindy and Krycek adapted to a more settled life. Aside from Lindy, they told no one about Jess's pregnancy. They wanted to wait until it could no longer be hidden, for all their safety. There was no telling exactly how the Consortium would react.

 

Krycek kept glancing at Jess as he drove to Mulder's apartment. Scully had left a cryptic message on their answering machine, requesting them to come over. Jess had insisted on going over even though she wasn't quite feeling okay. She was looking tired and pale. "You taking your vitamins?"

 

Jess smiled. "Yes, I'm taking those prenatal vitamins. I just had a hard time getting to sleep last night and am feeling a little draggy. And the morning sickness doesn't help either. I'll be fine."

 

When they arrived, Krycek insisted on helping her out of the car and into the elevator, fussing over her. "Alex, I'm pregnant, not porcelain. I can still walk unassisted, you know."

 

Krycek smiled at her. "So when are we going to let Mulder and Scully know?"

 

"Why not today, if this isn't too serious." Jess knocked on the door to apartment 42. Scully opened it. "We came as soon as we got your message," Jess said as they stepped inside. What's wrong?"

 

"It's serious Jess, Krycek. I've been reassigned."

 

"You reassigned? No way! Skinner wouldn't dare..." Krycek began.

 

"The order didn't come from Skinner, but from his superiors. Budget cuts was the reason given."

 

"I see," Jess said. <Yeah, right. We can find the money to make a stealth bomber, but can't find the cash to fund two person department in the FBI's basement, so cut it down to one.> "How are you handling it?"

 

"I'm still in shock. But Mulder has me worried. He thinks that this means he can't continue to search for Samantha. He's devastated. He won't talk to me."

 

"I'll give it a shot." Jess went into the bedroom. She saw Mulder sitting on the bed, his head hanging down. "Mulder? I heard. I'm sorry."

 

Mulder turned to look at her. It was obvious that he had been crying, but his eyes were dry at this moment. "Why did it have to be today?" he asked, looking like a lost little boy. "I could have handled it any other day than today."

 

<Today? What's so special about today? I...oh. Those cruel bastards,> Jess thought with a sigh. It was a calculated psychological blow. Today was November 27th, the day that Samantha had been taken away. Only someone else was being was being 'taken away' and this time it was Scully.

 

She sat down on the bed beside him. "Just because Dana isn't assigned to the X-files doesn't mean you have to give up your search for the truth or for Samantha. And there's a woman out there who's worried sick about you. She should be talking to you right now, not me. And maybe there's an upside to this situation."

 

"Upside?" Mulder shook his head. "What upside?"

 

"You and Dana can finally go public with your relationship." Jess put an arm around him. "Listen, she's hurting about this also. Go talk to her."

 

Mulder pushed up off the bed. Jess patted him on the back. They both went back into the living room. "He has returned to the land of the living," Jess pronounced, taking a seat on the desk chair. She slumped, her light complexion washing out even further.

 

Mulder looked at Jess with a little concern. "Jess, you don't look so hot. Are you feeling okay?"

 

Jess put her hand to her forehead to wipe away a thin film of sweat. "I don't feel so good. I'm cold, but I'm sweating and feel lightheaded. I think I need some fresh air." She stood up shakily and took a few steps.

 

Krycek stared dumbly at the dark wet stain that appeared where Jess had been sitting. "Jess..."

 

At the sound of her name, Jess tried to turn to face him. But her legs gave out and she collapsed.

 

"Jess!" Krycek screamed. He bolted across the room to kneel beside her.

 

Scully had beaten him to her and was already examining her. "Call an ambulance! She's bleeding!"

 

* * * * * * *

 

Mulder watched Krycek pace the waiting room. The man was a nervous bundle of energy, pacing back and forth between the double doors of the emergency room where she had been whisked out of sight and the waiting area. The pattern was augmented every five minutes by a trip to the nursing station to inquire about Jess's condition.

 

Mulder finally got tired of the incessant circling. "Krycek sit down. You wearing a track in the carpet isn't going to do her any good."

 

Krycek did sit for about five minutes. And then again he was up and pacing.

 

Mulder was losing his patience. "Krycek, sit down. She's going to be fine."

 

Krycek glared at him out of the corner of his eyes. "You don't know that."

 

"She will be fine," Mulder repeated. She's tough. She's..."

 

"...two months pregnant," Krycek muttered.

 

"What?" Mulder's jaw dropped. "Are you two crazy? With the Consortium after you? And the fact that she's a..."

 

"Do you think we *planned* it?" Krycek screamed through gritted teeth. "We were as surprised as you are." He dropped into a seat, cradling his head in his hands. "And we're both elated and terrified."

 

Scully stepped through the swinging doors, followed by a nurse. "Krycek, she's awake and asking for you."

 

Krycek stood, his apprehension apparent. "Is she..."

 

"They're both fine."

 

Krycek sighed in relief and followed the nurse back into the emergency room.

 

That left Mulder and Scully alone. "Did you know about Jess being pregnant?"

 

Scully shook her head. 'Yes and no. She asked me a few questions about the accuracy of pregnancy tests and had me buy one for her. She never said she was, so I assumed the answer was no."

 

Mulder seemed to be processing the fact that his ex-lover/friend was now pregnant by his ex-partner/ex-enemy/uneasy ally. He followed Scully back into the restricted area. "How is she *really*, Scully?"

 

"She'll be fine, if she stays in bed," Scully answered. "We're not exactly sure why she started bleeding. But for some reason, it stopped as mysteriously as she started."

 

Mulder kicked over to investigative mode. "Could it be related to her lycanthropy? With her odd blood chemistry, her body may not be able to carry a pregnancy to term."

 

Scully gave him a patented you-have-got-to-be-kidding look, the one she reserved for his more outrageous paranormal theories. "Jess mentioned during admissions that there is a family history of troubled pregnancies."

 

Krycek's head poked through the swinging doors where Jess was. "She wants to talk to you for a minute, Mulder."

 

Mulder nodded and walked through the doors, changing places with Krycek. He looked at Jess laying in the bed. She was still pale and hooked into IV's to help replace some of the lost fluids. "Hey there," he said quietly.

 

Jess looked at Mulder through half closed eyes. "Surprise," she said weakly with a smile.

 

"To say the least." Mulder pulled a chair up close to the head of the hospital bed. "Jess, I don't know what to say. Except, are you sure? You aren't considering terminating the pregnancy? Why weren't you on the Pill? And why weren't you taking precautions?"

 

"For a man who doesn't know what to say, Mulder, you sure have a problem keeping your mouth shut." She put a hand protectively over her stomach. "I, we both, want this child. And as to your other questions, the Pill doesn't work with my biochemistry and neither of us were exactly thinking with our brains at the time."

 

"Jess, you know that lycanthropy is said to run in families. There is a strong possibility that the baby you're going to be raising will also be a werewolf."

 

"Just like I'm raising Lindy," Jess responded. "The only difference is that Lindy isn't related to me by blood, and the fact she was about five when I met her." She paused, considering her next words carefully. "What's got you upset is that Alex is the father, isn't it?"

 

Mulder sighed and looked away from her. "Jess, I know he hasn't hurt you. He's been above board with everything and hasn't tried to double cross me or Scully. But I can't trust Krycek completely. I'll never be able to, because of what he did."

 

Jess laid a hand on his arm. "I understand, Mulder. But I'm not asking you to trust him. I'm asking you to trust me." She sighed and shut her eyes, plainly exhausted.

 

"I'd better let you rest. We'll talk later," Mulder said. "And I'll try to be happy for you and your spawn, hell beast."

 

"Bite me, Spooky," Jess murmured sleepily.

 

* * * * * * *

 

The young informant delivered his weekly surveillance report. "Sir, she has been hospitalized."

 

"Hospitalized?" the consulting doctor for this part of the Project repeated. "Why?"

 

"According to the medical records, she is two months pregnant and has unexplained bleeding."

 

"Just like the others," the doctor said. He turned to Cancerman. "She should be brought in for an examination and treatment."

 

The Smoking Man removed his cigarette from his mouth. "Is it absolutely necessary?"

 

"Yes," the doctor replied. "If treatment is begun early enough, it may be possible to bring her to term. If not, the fetus, and possibly the mother, will not survive."

 

Cancerman paused, considering his options. Jess and Krycek had not followed through with their threat to go to Mulder yet. It would be a risk separating the two, but Jess was too valuable a subject to allow to die without intervention. "If the situation is not critical, wait until she has been released from the hospital. Then bring her in for observation."

 

* * * * * * *

 

<I hate laying on my back all day,> Jess thought with a groan, <I feel too vulnerable.> Basic animal instincts said that an exposed belly was an invitation to having it bit open. But all the doctors had been emphatic. She could go home, but only if she did one thing - stay in bed. She needed to be still for the rest of her pregnancy to insure both her and her baby's health. However after six weeks of just laying around, Jess was starting to feel stir crazy, even with the change of scenery.

 

Lindy poked her head in the room. "Need anything Jess?"

 

"Nah, Lindy, I'm just gonna watch TV and maybe take a nap."

 

"Okay, if you want anything, yell." Lindy went off to her room.

 

<I want to be able to get out of bed,> she groused. Jess leaned her head back against the pillows and thumbed the remote. The inane chatter from an afternoon talk show filled the air. She clicked it off, bored.

 

She had finally managed to convince Krycek to go out and do something for himself. He had been hovering over her day in and day out since her enforced bed rest. Jess tolerated it at first, but she decided to shoo him away.

 

"Alex, please don't take this the wrong way, but go chase some aliens with Mulder or something."

 

Krycek smiled at her snarly attitude. She would give selflessly, but try to take care of her and you got your head bitten off. "Don't tell me you're tired of being waited on hand and foot?"

 

"I just feel like you're staying here because I'm stuck in bed for six more months. I'm sick of you hovering over me. Lindy can watch me just fine for a few hours."

 

"Okay," he said. "Now you don't give Mommy any trouble," he spoke to her belly. Jess was just barely beginning to show, and you had to be extremely familiar with her body to notice. He kissed the slight bulge of her stomach and then Jess's cheek lightly. "I'll be back later. Want anything?"

 

She asked for a crossword book and sent him on his way. Now she lay half dosing, eyes shut.

 

A soft rumble and a gentle vibration made her crack open an eye slightly. Growing up near the San Andreas fault, she was used to earthquakes. <Not even a 3.0 on the Richter Scale,> she thought settling back down and almost fell sleep again.

 

Then a thought crossed her mind. <I'm in DC, not San Jose.> Earthquakes in this part of the country were not as common as the West Coast. Jess sat up. ~Lindy?~ she mindspoke.

 

There was no reply. Jess switched to her physical voice. "Lindy?" Still no response.

 

Although the shades to her room were drawn and the lights off, it was growing brighter and the vibrations were increasing. Jess threw up an arm to shade her eyes, but it did little good.

 

A wave of sleepiness washed over her. This didn't feel like going to sleep naturally. It was more like having a dimmer switch turned to the off position, but it was her mind that was being dimmed. The light was growing brighter with each second. The last thing she did see before losing consciousness was a spindly figure backlit in her doorway.

 

* * * * * * *

 

Krycek walked back up the driveway to the condo. Jess had been right. He did need a little time to himself, even if it was just a quick drive to the mall to get a few magazines and a book for Lindy. He couldn't resist looking at the baby care aisle at the drugstore. He also couldn't resist making one small purchase for their future child, a small, pastel purple, terry cloth puppy.

 

The front door was unlocked, which set off a dim warning bell in his head. <I thought I locked it.> He dismissed the thought. <Lindy probably checked the mail and forgot to relock it.> Having a healthy amount of paranoia was one thing, jumping at shadows was another.

 

It was quiet. <Jess's napping and Lindy's listening to her walkman.> He climbed the stairs silently, not wanting to disturb either of them. He rounded the corner to peek in on Jess sleeping.

 

Their bed was empty. So was the adjoining bathroom.

 

"Jess?" He checked the small den across the hall, the room they planned to turn into a nursery. "Jess?" he called again. He knocked on Lindy's closed door. "Lindy, have you seen Jess?"

 

Lindy opened the door, yawning. "She's in your room."

 

"No she's not. What happened?"

 

"Dunno. I was listening to some music and fell asleep."

 

"Oh dear God," Krycek whispered, slipping into shock. He knew the Consortium would eventually find out about Jess's pregnancy, but he didn't think this was the move they would make. "They've taken her."

 

* * * * * * *

 

Krycek walked into his and Jess's room. He half expected to see her there, already asleep, or complaining that he had stayed up too late and woke her up.

 

Only their bed was empty.

 

He had called Mulder and Scully first thing. He knew that he couldn't go to the police. The moment they ran a background check on him, within an hour he would be on his way to to jail, and then probably a morgue soon after that.

 

Mulder then called a group of friends. Krycek had heard him make references to 'The Lone Gunmen' before, but didn't have too much faith in their hacking abilities. He was wanted by too many people for too many different things from his past to be erased with just a few keystrokes.

 

Either he seriously underestimated Mulder's friends capabilities, or someone else was looking out for him. The police came, did a routine search, and left, all without a sideways glance at Krycek.

 

Krycek took a shuddering breath and threw himself down on the bed. He buried his face in her pillow, clutching at it and crying, smelling Jess on it. He prayed to a God he no longer believed existed that, please, let her be found alive and well.

 

He looked up when he heard the soft sobbing coming from the next room over. He got up and went towards the sound. "Lindy?"

 

The young girl was sitting curled on her bed, crying. She was holding a picture of her and Jess. She looked up at Krycek. "My... fault," she stuttered between sobs. "All... my... fault."

 

"No, sweetheart." Krycek sat down on the bed beside her. "Lindy, it's not your fault."

 

"Yes it is!" Lindy insisted. "I shoulda been awake! I shoulda been with her! I shoulda fought them!"

 

"Lindy, you're a child. A girl with special, extraordinary powers, but still just a child." He put an arm around her. Lindy leaned against him, sniffling. "Jess wouldn't blame you, and I don't either."

 

Lindy put her arms around him, crying even harder now. Krycek gently stroked her head, allowing his own tears to fall. "I should have been here too. It was stupid of me to leave."

 

"Alex, it wasn't your fault. You couldn't have known!" Lindy cried.

 

Krycek hung his head. "I should have. At least, I should have guessed that this would happen."

 

Neither of them said anything for a long time. They just sat there on Lindy's bed, lost in their thoughts. Lindy eventually broke the silence. "We're gonna find her, right?"

 

Krycek thought hard before answering. He didn't dare lie to the young girl. "I hope so, Lindy. I pray so."

 

* * * * * * *

 

Skinner looked up from the paperwork on his desk. "Agent Mulder, I'm afraid I'm going to have to deny your request to investigate Ms. Leah's abduction as an X-File."

 

"Sir, it's not a new file. It's a continuation of one of the first ones personally compiled by myself," Mulder hedged.

 

Skinner leaned forward in his chair, staring hard at the younger man. "I'm afraid that's irrelevant. Certain interests have made it clear that pursuing this matter as an X-File would be detrimental to both your and Ms. Leahs's health." Skinner tried to soften the blow. "I know she's a close friend, Agent Mulder, Agent Scully."

 

Scully tried playing their last card. "She's also three months pregnant."

 

"Krycek's?" At Mulder's nod, he shook his head. "That explains why Cancerman was so emphatic. We can investigate it as a standard missing person's case, but not an X-File and not with either of you involved. I'm sorry."

 

* * * * * * *

 

The first month came and went. The authorities did their investigation and found nothing. Strangely enough, there wasn't much publicity about Jess's disappearance. Or perhaps it wasn't so strange. Perhaps Someone was seeing that it was kept quiet so certain events could proceed without any interference. It was simply as if she had dropped off the face of the earth.

 

Krycek swung between self-recrimination and wild hatred. He felt that it was his fault. If he hadn't gone out, if he had stayed with her, if he hadn't gotten her pregnant, if he had never met her, if he hadn't gotten involved with Cancerman in the first place... . Even if he found Jess and their child alive and well, he vowed vengeance for taking them away and putting all of them through this living hell. And he became more ashamed of the role he had played in Scully's abduction. <How did Mulder survive that and stay sane?> was an almost constant thought.

 

Michael and Annie offered to take Lindy. He gave the girl her choice. She could go back to California with Jess's family, or she could stay with him. Lindy chose to stay with Krycek, wanting to help look for Jess. He tried hard to make sure that the young girl didn't blame herself for what had happened, but didn't extend that to himself.

 

Lindy felt miserable, like she had let Jess down. So to ease her conscience, she searched intently when she had finished her homework and could sneak away from Krycek. Lindy had no fears that Krycek would molest her like the werewolf who Changed her, but she wanted to find Jess on her own terms. She would slip out into the night as a wolf, searching for any trace, physical or mental, of Jess, and returned frustrated at having found nothing.

 

Mulder also helped them, remembering how his family had been torn apart by the loss of his sister. He accepted Scully's reassignment without protest. He also kept an ear to the ground concerning information about either Jess or Samantha. He may have conceded this particular battle to Cancerman, but he hadn't lost the war.

 

Scully was concerned about Mulder. She had always noticed the similarity in appearance between Jess and what Samantha might look like as an adult. She secretly believed that was why Mulder was so protective of Jess. Now she had disappeared, just like Samantha, just like herself. And once again Krycek was involved.

 

Month two passed. Scully started her teaching position at Quantico. Mulder continued his search for both Samantha and Jess through both official and unofficial channels. Krycek and Lindy also searched. They kept in contact with Jess's brother. He had heard nothing. Lindy's nightly searches turned up nothing.

 

Month three passed. Mulder and Lindy still met weekly to talk about their feelings of guilt over the disappearance of their loved ones. Helping her deal with the hurt and pain of missing Jess also helped Mulder start healing the wounds from Samantha's disappearance that had never really closed.

 

Month four passed. Mulder and Scully started openly dating, no longer able to hide their emotions for each other from their FBI associates. Krycek and Lindy started to consider the possibility that they might never see Jess again and would be forced to learn to live without her.

 

And halfway through month five, Jess was dropped back onto the face of the earth.

 

* * * * * * *

 

Mulder was running.

 

He was following a set of bloody dog tracks down a twisty corridor. Every now and then he would see the tip of a black bushy tail disappearing around a corner. The tracks went from being far apart and evenly spaced to a close together and in an irregular pattern. It indicated the animal went from a smooth, running pace to a severe limp.

 

As he turned the corner to a long straight away, he finally got a good look at what he was tracking. It looked like Jess in her full wolf form. She was bleeding from several wounds striping her back. She stumbled and collapsed to the ground, crawling forward a few inches, clawing at her neck. Rolling so her back was to him, she gave a groan and a rattly breath. And then she stopped breathing entirely.

 

Mulder ran forward. As he reached her, she started to Change. When the shaggy fur disappeared, only then did he notice the bloody silver chain wrapped around her neck, biting into the flesh, almost decapitating her.

 

"Oh Jess," he whispered. Then he noticed the hair spilling from her head was too long and the wrong color. The werewolf wasn't Jess.

 

Mulder gently turned the body to look at the face. And as he saw Scully's vacant eyes staring sightlessly, he started screaming.

 

He bolted upright in his bed. He put his head in his hands, rocking. "It was just a dream. It was just a dream. It was just a dream," was his mantra.

 

He felt a warm hand reach out from the darkness to rest on his arm. "Fox, what's wrong?" came Scully's voice from next to him.

 

"A nightmare, Dana. Nothing more than a nightmare."

 

"About Samantha or Jess?" Jess's disappearance had triggered Mulder's memories of being unable to stop Samantha's abduction. Or at least, that's what he had told her. She knew he still harbored a great deal of guilt over her own disappearance.

 

"It was about Jess... and you," he hesitantly admitted as he lay back down.

 

Scully rolled over and wrapped her arms around him. "I'm not planning on going anywhere, Fox."

 

"Good, Dana." He returned the hug gratefully. "I don't envy Krycek having to sleep alone."

 

"Me neither," Scully murmured. "I'm not that strong."

 

* * * * * * *

 

Lindy jumped over the back yard fence. She was returning as a blonde wolf from her nightly search and full moon hunt. Again it had been a quick kill of a couple of rats to satisfy her blood lust and a night of fruitlessly searching for Jess.

 

She instinctively stiffened when she saw the figure in the leather jacket sitting on the back porch. As she caught his scent, she relaxed. Lindy trotted over to Krycek.

 

He was sitting on the steps, an open bottle of vodka beside him. Lindy could have smelled the scent of alcohol on his breath ten yards away even with a human nose. Krycek was looking down at something he held in his hands. She butted his chest with her head. She had remembered what *he* had done to her when he got drunk, but she trusted Krycek. He had never tried to touch her the way *he* did.

 

His teary green eyes shifted to stare into Lindy's blue ones. Krycek put the purple puppy toy down on the steps beside him. "Nine months, Lindy." He tousled the golden ears. "Jess would've given birth to your sister tonight."

 

Lindy snuggled closer to him. A low whimper escaped from her throat.

 

Krycek took her furry head between his hands. "I know you've done your best to find her, honey." He kissed between her eyes. "Go upstairs and get ready for bed. I'll be up there in a minute."

 

Lindy's pink tongue swiped across his face. She got up and slipped into the condo.

 

Krycek stood up and took one last look at the full moon. He had a momentary vision of a black female wolf nursing a newborn pup. He smiled slightly at the though. <Jess, where the hell are you?> he thought desperately.

 

A beeping noise filled the air. Krycek frowned and went inside, trying to locate the source of the sound.

 

Sitting on the desk was Jess's pager, chiming. Krycek and Lindy had faithfully kept fresh batteries in it, praying that somehow they would be contacted using it. He picked it up and noted it was Jess's voice mail number. <Probably a wrong number, someone got the wrong voice mail box,> he thought glumly. But he dialed the number, punched in the password, and listened to the playback anyway.

 

His eyes went wide. "Oh my God," he whispered. It was the voice he both hated and feared and wanted to hear.

 

* * * * * * *

 

Krycek stood outside the house, the same one he and Jess had retrieved the bogus digital tape from. <I know I promised Jess I'd never make a deal with this devil again. Well, some promises were meant to be broken.> He had followed the instructions to the letter. He hadn't told anyone and he had come alone. But he didn't come unarmed.

 

He walked up to the door and turned the knob slightly. It was unlocked. <He's waiting for me.> But he went in anyway with his senses alert and his gun drawn.

 

He walked into the unlit living room. "You're late, Mr. Krycek," a familiar voice chided. "I expected you to contact me earlier this month."

 

Krycek looked around, unable to spot him in the darkness. "Where are they? I know you have them, you smoking son of a bitch!"

 

"The correct question is 'where is she?' Mr. Krycek." Krycek saw a lighter flare and the glowing end of a cigarette. A lamp turned on to the low setting, revealing Cancerman sitting in the corner. "After all, your lover was having a difficult pregnancy."

 

Krycek's jaw clenched. "If you've hurt either of them, so help me God, I'll go to Mulder and tell him about you and his..."

 

"Spare me your idle threats, Mr. Krycek. We both know that without Ms. Leahs confirmation, Agent Mulder will not believe you."

 

Krycek raised the gun, sighting between Cancerman's eyes. "And what's to keep me from killing you where you sit?"

 

"Nothing," was the Smoking Man's calm reply. "Except for the fact that if you kill me, you'll never find her. Someone else will merely assume my position. And he may not be as benevolent as I have been."

 

Krycek lowered the gun, easing the hammer down. "So what do you want from me?"

 

Cancerman took a drag off the cigarette. "I'm willing to exchange her for a certain item. In X-File 117126, there is a piece of evidence, a ring. Procure it for me, and she will be returned."

 

* * * * * * *

 

"Mulder, please, you've got to help me." Krycek knew he had no right to ask the man standing before him for anything. He had hurt Mulder in so many ways. But Krycek prayed that if Mulder didn't have pity on him, he would at least do this for Jess.

 

Mulder's eyes narrowed. "With what?"

 

"I've been contacted by the Smoking Man. He's willing to make a trade, but I don't understand why."

 

"What does he want?"

 

"A ring that is part of an X-File. He said it was number 117126."

 

Mulder frowned, thinking. "That would be Jess's ring. I wonder what he wants with it."

 

"I really don't care. All I want is to find Jess."

 

Mulder looked sharply at Krycek. Was there more to this deal than Krycek was telling him? "Are you willing to sell your soul to get her back?"

 

"According to you, I don't have a soul," Krycek snapped. "I've accepted the fact that you won't ever trust me. And to tell you the truth, I don't blame you. But if you won't do it for me, do it for Lindy because she's just as miserable as I am."

 

* * * * * * *

 

Krycek sat on the park bench, waiting for the Smoking Man. The ring was a heavy lump in his leather jacket's pocket. He shivered a little and pulled his jacket tighter against him to keep the cold out. But the shiver had little to do with the cold, and a lot to do with fear.

 

Cancerman had never said Jess's name. It could have been her that he meant, or it could have been the child if Jess had given birth to a girl. If Jess were dead, he would destroy that bastard if it were the last thing he did. And if their child hadn't survived, he would cheer Jess on as she strangled Cancerman with his own intestines, if she were merciful enough to kill him outright.

 

It was cold comfort to know that somewhere in the darkness, Mulder was watching. Krycek knew he was there out of concern for Jess, but also to make sure that Krycek wasn't double crossing him.

 

After Krycek went to Mulder for help obtaining the ring, Mulder had gone to Skinner. And Skinner had authorized Mulder checking out the file's evidence bag for 'research' and had made no comment when it returned empty.

 

He thought about the ring. Although he had never seen it until Mulder passed it on to him, he knew what it looked like. Jess had described it vividly. It was silver and shaped like a snarling wolf head with faceted garnet eyes. And inside the band were inscribed two French words - 'loup garou.' Loosely translated, they meant werewolf. Putting on the ring apparently caused Jess to become one, to be able to Change from human to beast at will.

 

He didn't look up as he heard someone walk out of the darkness towards him. He also made no acknowledgment when the Smoking Man sat down on the bench beside him.

 

Cancerman finally broke the silence. "Did you obtain it?"

 

Krycek reached into his pocket and pulled out the ring. He stared straight at his former boss and toyed with it as if he were thinking about slipping it on.

 

The Smoking Man lit a cigarette. "If you do that, you will never find her."

 

He turned away and stared straight ahead as he handed it over.

 

Cancerman lifted the ring into the light. He looked at the inside band. He then pocketed it. "You've done well."

 

Krycek bristled. "I kept my end of the bargain. Now you keep yours. Where is she?"

 

"Patience, Mr. Krycek." Cancerman stood and walked off into the night.

 

Krycek made no move to follow him. He sat there, still staring straight ahead. He didn't move until Mulder came up to him. "What did he tell you, Krycek?"

 

"Nothing." He slumped forward and put his head in his hands. "He told me nothing. I did everything he asked, played the part he wanted, just like I used to." He looked up into the sky. "What the hell am I supposed to do now?" he shouted. "Hire the Stupendous Yappi and have him try to call up Jess's dead sister Rachel? Ask her where Jess is?"

 

Mulder shook his head. It was times like this that he almost pitied Krycek. He put a hand on his shoulder. "Come on. Maybe we'll hear something tomorrow."

 

* * * * * * *

 

When Mulder took Krycek back to his and Jess's place, they found Jess in the very bed she had been taken from. She was very weak and very ill.

 

And no longer pregnant.

 

Now she lay in a hospital bed, breathing shallowly. All they would tell Krycek was that her condition was stable. Aside from that, nothing more would be said.

 

"Jess, love, c'mon, wakeup. You're pretty enough. You don't need any more beauty sleep." He stroked her bangs back from her forehead.

 

Jess's head turned slowly under his light touch. Her eyes opened slowly. "Alex?" she whispered, barely moving her lips. She blinked, unsure of where she was for a few seconds. Tears spilled down her cheek. "I couldn't stop them. They took her from us."

 

"It's not your fault, Jess." One of his hands found hers. She grasp it tightly, afraid he would also be ripped away from her. "I don't blame you. It's not your fault," he whispered as she cried. "I love you. I've missed you. It's not your fault."

 

Jess continued crying softly. Krycek caressed her hair and wiped her tears away, whispering tender endearments. She eventually subsided, exhausted by the emotional display, despite how mild it had been. She leaned into his touch, sighing and closing her eyes. Her head leaned forward slightly as she fell into a natural sleep.

 

Krycek sat there, stroking her hair and holding her hand. He couldn't tear his eyes away from her. Her hair was clean but longer, as though her captors hadn't bothered with cutting it. Although not grotesquely underweight, Jess was thinner, most of her muscles having lost their tone. But it was her face that he kept returning to. Dark circles smudged her eyes, almost making her look like a raccoon. Her skin was paler than usual, from lack of exposure to sunlight.

 

The door opened. Krycek looked up to see Jess's brother Michael step into the room. "We just got here," he said. His hand took Jess's other. With his free hand, he wiped away a few tears that sprang to his eyes.

 

The bond between Michael and Jess had always been strong, especially since their sister Rachel died. "Do you want some time alone with her?"

 

"Yeah, please. I'll let you know if she wakes up."

 

Krycek nodded and reluctantly left the room. He walked out of the room to see Annie, Michael's wife, talking to Lindy and Scully. He winced when he saw Annie, four months pregnant. Knowing that Jess's sister-in-law was pregnant was one thing, but actually looking at her was a constant reminder of what he and Jess may have lost forever.

 

Scully caught sight of him. She walked towards him. "Alex, we've got the results back from the first of the tests."

 

Krycek knew there was a serious problem. Scully had called him by his first name. And there was a lot of pity in her voice.

 

And when he heard what the results of the tests were, he understood why.

 

* * * * * * *

 

Scully watched Jess and Krycek sleep through the observation window of the door. Jess was resting in the bed, Krycek in a chair pulled up by the head of it. One of his hands was locked possessively around hers.

 

She jumped when she felt a pair of hands on her shoulders, until she realized who's hands they were. "Look at the two of them," she whispered.

 

Mulder lowered his chin to rest on her shoulder. She could feel the scratch of his unshaven cheek against hers. "How are they taking it?"

 

"Jess doesn't know yet. She didn't wake up again. It's best for her just to sleep as long as she can." Scully sighed. "And Krycek's devastated. He really wanted that child with her."

 

"And she really wanted children. She's going to be deeply hurt," Mulder sighed. "Where's Lindy?"

 

"Michael and Annie took her to their hotel. They'll bring her back in the morning when Jess wakes up. Let's go home, Mulder."

 

Mulder nodded. With their arms around each other, they walked out of the hospital.

 

They were quiet for the most part on the ride to Scully's apartment. Scully was lost deep in thought. She had never considered about having children beyond the thought that she did want them someday. She and Mulder hadn't talked about it, but she had a feeling that if she did get pregnant, he would throw himself wholeheartedly into being a father.

 

Mulder, for his part, kept looking sidelong at her, as if he had a question but wasn't sure how to ask. They walked side by side, shoulders barely brushing.

 

At the door, Scully turned to Mulder. "Are you planning to spend the night?" she asked, passing through it.

 

"Yes," was his soft reply. Mulder entered the apartment. "I was also planning some other things for tonight."

 

"Not to put you off, but I'm tired, Fox."

 

Mulder chuckled. "Although that would be nice, Dana, that's not exactly what I had in mind."

 

"So what did you have in mind?"

 

"A lifetime commitment."

 

Scully smiled. "I must be tired. For a moment I thought you were proposing."

 

"I am. I love you, Dana." Mulder took both her hands in his. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you." He sighed, lips brushing her forehead. "I've wanted us to be together forever from the first moment I first saw you." His lips traveled to her ear. "Make my fondest dream come true. Marry me, Dana Katherine Scully."

 

Scully looked up and was lost in his hazel eyes. "Yes, Fox William Mulder. I will marry you."

 

Mulder crushed Scully to his chest in a fierce hug. "We can't do it right away, Dana. We both know that there are too many risks. If you went missing again...."

 

"I'm willing to wait, Fox," Scully answered. "As long as we're together, I will be content."

 

* * * * * * *

 

"Jessie." Jess startled awake at the sound of someone calling her name. For a split second, she was terrified, uncertain of where she was. Then she felt Krycek's hand on hers and she sighed in relief.

 

She turned her head slightly so she could look at him. He was sitting awkwardly on the chair next to her bed, asleep. It was clear that he hadn't been taking good care of himself. His leather jacket, which was almost was a part of him, was hanging loosely from his frame.

 

"Jessie," came the voice again. It was obvious that it wasn't Krycek who was talking. And he never called her 'Jessie,' her childhood nickname. Jess slowly started scanning the room.

 

She saw a young woman standing at the foot of the bed. She was wearing a white dress, but it didn't look like a nurse's uniform. It looked like a oversized t-shirt belted at the waist by a blue sash. She had long brown hair and startling blue eyes. The face looked familiar. And with a bolt of shock, she recognized the face in front of her. It was almost the same face that stared back at her from the mirror every morning. "Rachel?"

 

Rachel smiled. "It's been a long time, Jessie," she said. She moved to the head of the bed. "I've missed you, little sister."

 

Jess smiled. "Oh, God! Rachel," she said as Rachel bent over and carefully hugged her, avoiding the IV lines. Jess returned the hug with one arm, unwilling to let go of Krycek. She felt warm and solid and real. "I'm not hallucinating, am I?" she asked, tears trailing from her eyes.

 

"No Jessie, I'm still dead." Rachel grew serious quickly. "I don't have much time. You must be strong, for you, your love, and both your daughters. Everything will work out for the best."

 

"How do you know that?" Jess asked. "Can you see into the future?"

 

"Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future," Rachel said, sounding suspiciously like Yoda the Jedi Master. "Oh come on, Jessie," she laughed. "Just because I'm dead doesn't mean I'm not up on my pop culture references."

 

Jess chuckled. Despite wanting to talk to her sister, she was falling asleep. She fought her body's gradual decline towards unconsciousness. "Will I see you again, Rachel?"

 

"I don't know. But remember I'll be watching and helping you when I can. I love you, Jessie," were the last things she heard before she fell asleep.

 

* * * * * * *

 

"No, please don't," were the first words he heard when he woke. Krycek woke to a stiff back and neck from sleeping in a chair. He blinked as he turned his head to see Jess weakly struggling against her nightmare.

 

"Jess," he said softly, trying to wake her. "It's a nightmare. You're safe."

 

"Alex?" Jess breathed. She reached for him with the arm that didn't have the IV in it. "Where am I? Did they bring you to me?"

 

"No, shhhh. You're in the hospital." One hand went to the side of her head, thumb lightly tracing her cheekbone. He leaned down to brush his lips against hers.

 

Jess tried weakly to return the kiss. Krycek pulled back. "Don't. Rest. I couldn't resist. I've missed you so much."

 

"I've missed you too, Alex. I'm half surprised we're back together." She closed her eyes tiredly. "I can't remember much. I do remember a baby girl. I even think I hallucinated seeing Rachel."

 

Krycek nodded. "Just go back to sleep, love. We'll talk in the morning."

 

* * * * * * *

 

Late the next morning, Scully walked into Jess's room. She was awake and sitting up, reading from a magazine. But oddly, she was alone. "Where's Krycek?"

 

Jess looked up and grinned weakly. It was obvious she was still extremely tired and weak. "He's under strict orders to eat his breakfast and smuggle in some strawberry covered Belgian waffles for me." The smile faded quickly. She looked out the window. "So how bad is it?"

 

Scully took a deep breath. "There is no sign that you miscarried, no sign of you giving birth, no sign of an abortion, and also no sign of a C-section. It's as if the fetus was just removed from the uterus. But there's something else."

 

Jess blinked at the odd catch in Scully's voice. "What?"

 

"Jess, how much do you know about how the female produces ova?"

 

Jess shrugged. "I know that a woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have, that she doesn't manufacture them constantly like a man does sperm. They just ripen one or two at a time and when it's ready to be fertilized, it is released from the ovary."

 

"Exactly right. That is how it is with most females. But Jess, if these tests are accurate, you don't have any ova left."

 

"That's ridiculous!" Jess snorted. "I haven't started menopause at thirty two, have I?"

 

"No. At some point in your disappearance, you apparently super-ovulated. And for some reason your body is still producing hormone levels as if the ovaries were intact."

 

"That's impossible."

 

"I know it is, but it's what's happening."

 

Jess bowed her head and closed her eyes, allowing the facts to sink in. "I can't regenerate ova since they were removed, not damaged. So I probably won't be able to have children. Right, Dana?"

 

"I'm sorry, Jess. But you're right. Children, at least your biological children, aren't going to be in your future."

 

"Except for my little lost girl," Jess whispered to herself. She looked up at Scully. "For some reason, I'm positive I gave birth to a girl. I can't remember anything, except some snatches." She switched gears abruptly. "Does Alex know?"

 

"I told him last night." Scully decided it was time to let Jess have some good news. "There's someone here who wants to see you." She opened the door wide and Lindy flew across the room.

 

"Lindy!" Jess hugged the girl to her tightly. "Oh God! You've grown so much..."

 

Lindy was sobbing tears of joy and guilt against Jess's chest. "I'm sorry I let them take you," she blurted out.

 

"Shhh," Jess whispered. "It wasn't your fault." She lifted Lindy's head, making the girl look her in the eye. "The important thing is we're together again."

 

Lindy hugged Jess tighter. Jess stroked Lindy's hair. "Don't blame yourself, sweetheart. Blame those who separated us."

 

* * * * * * *

 

Jess wandered aimlessly around her upstairs bedroom. It was almost bedtime and she was tired, both physically and emotionally. It was her first night back, after being escorted home by an extremely solicitous crowd - Mulder, Scully, Michael, Annie, Krycek and Lindy. Chloe and Boomer had been happy to see her home also, Chloe marking her and purring with feline intensity and Boomer not wagging his tail, but his whole hindquarters.

 

She glanced around, comforted by the presence of so many familiar things, their books, pictures, and furniture. On top of the dresser, however, was something she didn't remember. She crossed the room to get a better look at it. It was a small, terry cloth, purple puppy, a baby's toy.

 

Jess closed her eyes, remembering what had happened earlier in the day. Before came home, she went to the first of a series of hypnotic regression/counseling sessions. The doctor had been open minded about her experiences and seemed to accept her belief about her lycanthropy without questioning Jess's sanity.

 

"Okay Jess," Dr. Brossette began. "For the recording, tell me about the impressions that you have of your missing time."

 

Jess nodded. "I feel that I wasn't awake most of the time, except for very brief periods, and those are hazy. I also think I gave birth to a daughter, but I can't remember when or how and why I'm so certain it was a girl."

 

Jess let the psychiatrist guide her into the hypnotic trance. "What are you feeling?"

 

"I'm afraid," Jess said with a shiver.

 

"Can you tell me why?"

 

"I'm afraid that I'll die before my baby is born."

 

"That didn't happen. You're safe and you did give birth. Can you remember anything about the delivery?"

 

"I'm restrained and half asleep, sedated. There's an IV in my arm. There are doctors fussing over me, examining me. I hear phrases like 'placental anchor ruptured,' 'fetal heartbeat irregular,' things like that. I'm being moved into what looks like a delivery room."

 

Jess's breathing quickened. "That smoking son of a bitch is there, watching. He's observing me like a student about to dissect a frog." Her head bowed and her features tightened. "I'm being prepped for surgery. They're going to perform a C-section using... lasers?"

 

"Lasers?" Dr. Brossette asked. She scribbled a note on the legal pad.

 

Jess frowned. "It's some sort of light beam, but it doesn't hurt. They're opening me now, cutting through the skin and muscles. No blood. Oh God," Jess whispered. "They're removing the baby." She smiled radiantly. "A little girl, with dark hair. She's so beautiful," she whispered. She gasped and then stiffened.

 

"Jess, what's happening?"

 

"Something's wrong. The baby is breathing, but she hasn't cried the way most newborns do. The doctors look concerned." Jess was taking short, gasping breaths. "Cancerman is displeased. The doctors mutter something about 'genetic viability' and shake their heads. Cancerman says something about them being incompetent, that the 'setting was too intense for the fetus.' One of the doctors argues back, saying that I'm 'too genetically unstable for further experimentation.'

 

"No! They're taking her away from me! Jess was shouting at the top of her lungs. "Bastards! Bring back my daughter!" She slumped down into the chair. "Cowards," she hissed through clenched teeth. Jess bowed her head, tears starting to seep from under her eyelids. "She belongs with me," she pleaded. "Please."

 

Dr. Brossette felt that Jess had gone through enough for one session. She was going to bring her out of it gently. But she needed to be sure that nothing else went on at that time. "Did anything else happen, Jess?"

 

She nodded. "The Smoking Man takes a long hard look at me, as if deciding something. He nods to the doctors and says, 'do it.' One of the doctors puts a gas mask over my face. Everything fades after that."

 

Now Jess stood in front of the toy forlornly. She stared at it, wondering where her daughter was. She could hear Krycek wandering around downstairs, trying to find her. "I'm up here," she called.

 

She heard him climb the stairs and nudge the door open. "Are you okay?" he asked as he walked to her and wrapped his arms around her waist.

 

"No," she whispered. "I failed us, Alex. I failed her."

 

He tightened his grip around her. "You failed no one, Jess."

 

She wasn't listening to his quiet protest. "I should have fought more. I shouldn't have submitted to them so easily."

 

One of his hands lifted from her waist to press against her lips, silencing her. "Don't blame yourself. They probably had you pumped full of drugs. You weren't in control, and there was no way you could be in control. They did the same to me when they took me from the silo." He turned her around and kissed her forehead. "C'mon. Let's go to bed."

 

"Okay." They prepared for bed quietly, each lost in their thoughts. At one point, Krycek noticed Jess cupping her belly and sadly tracing where a Cesarean scar would have been, if she still scarred. They slid into bed, still without saying a word. Jess lay on her side, back to him.

 

Krycek finally decided to take action. "Come here," he said, spooning into her back. He nuzzled the nape of her neck. "I've missed you, Jess."

 

Jess snuggled down into his embrace. "You just missed having a life sized teddy bear to sleep with," she grumbled as he slid a leg between hers.

 

She could feel the muscles of his jaw tighten as he smiled. "Yeah, I missed cuddling up beside you in the middle of the night. I missed drifting off to sleep after a mind blowing orgasm. I missed waking up to you cursing how early dawn comes. But I missed most hearing you say and saying to you three little words."

 

"Please suck me?"

 

"Jess!" he chuckled. "Yes, I missed that phrase, but I was thinking of 'I love you'."

 

Jess rolled over. "I love you too, Alex. Sometimes I wonder why you're staying with me when I can't... won't be able to... ." She started to cry quietly.

 

"Shhhhh, my love," Krycek soothed. His hands stroked her back with long, sweeping motions. "Nothing can change how I feel about you. And if we can't have kids, we've got each other and Lindy." He kissed away her tears. "And eventually we'll find her."

 

Jess quieted under his touch. "Alex, she deserves a name. I know we didn't get a chance to talk about it before, but I,... we need to do it."

 

"Lindy and I talked about it while you were missing. We came up with a name that we think is appropriate. If you like it," he added. "Amanda."

 

"Amanda," Jess repeated, testing it. "It's beautiful. What does it mean?"

 

Krycek looked into her eyes. She could see the tears welling in his. "It means 'beloved one'."

 

Jess pulled his head to hers so they were cheek to cheek, letting her tears mingle with his. They cried themselves to sleep, trying to comfort each other over their loss.

 

* * * * * * *

 

Krycek woke up at dawn with his arms firmly wrapped around Jess's waist, hers tightly around his neck. Her cheek was pressed against his neck, lips barely brushing his skin. The feeling of her hot breath stirring his chest hair made his toes curl. He desperately wanted to roll her over onto her back, to plunge into her body with tongue and cock, to relish her heat and moisture. <But it may be too painful for her,> he thought. They weren't sure exactly how long ago she gave birth. It could have been as recently as three days and as long ago as three months.

 

Despite his good intentions of abstinence, his hands started to gently trace over her body, lingering on the curves of her breasts and waist and bottom. Jess sighed and stretched against him. She nuzzled his neck as her own hands began to roam. "Good morning, Alex."

 

Krycek kissed the top of her head. "It's definitely a good morning waking up with you in my arms." He tilted her head up so he could reach her lips while slipping a hand under the silky material of her sleep shirt to rest on her breast. His fingers involuntarily clutched at it as he felt her nipple harden against his palm.

 

Jess pulled him a little closer, trembling. She returned the kiss eagerly. Her tongue swept into his mouth, reacquainting herself with his humidity. Her hands began pushing his cotton tee-shirt upward. She found one of his nipples and teased it erect. Then they wandered southwards, teasing taut muscles.

 

As she tried to pull down his boxers, she felt his hands on her wrists. "Jess, don't. Please stop."

 

She heard the longing that was completely contrary to the words. "Why should I, love?"

 

"The docs said that we should wait." His fingers brushed against her stomach and then he reached up to cup her cheek. "I don't want to hurt you."

 

"Alex," she purred. "There are ways I can pleasure you without being hurt." Before he could protest, her lips reclaimed his. "I want to do this," she whispered against his lips. "I *need* to make love to you." She caught his upper lip between her teeth, nibbling. "I need to feel back in control." She drew his tongue into her mouth and applied strong suction. Krycek whimpered and reflexively thrust his hips upward. "I need to know that I can still arouse you."

 

As Jess pulled back, he smiled and caught her head between his hands. "Oh yeah, you definitely can arouse me." He lowered her head the base of his neck. "That's not going to do much for you."

 

He felt her laughter vibrate against his skin. "Don't worry. I'll make sure you make it up to me at a later date."

 

"Is that a threat or a promise?"

 

Jess smiled. "What do you think?" She began to lick at his neck and collarbones, running her tongue across his body in lazy trails.

 

"I think I might be in deep trouble," Krycek said, guiding her mouth to a nipple. "Oh, God how I've missed you," he whispered hoarsely as she started licking. The sensation of her tongue on his nipple tightened it to a sharp peak. She pulled away for a moment to wet her finger, and then lowered herself back to the bud. Her wet finger matched the motions of her tongue on his other nipple.

 

He couldn't wait any longer. Krycek entangled his fingers in her hair and guided her southward. She playfully resisted, licking and kissing as he guided her where he wanted to feel her lips the most. Jess worked his boxers down to his knees. She put her hands on his waist and stole a glance upwards. She smiled as she saw the tension and longing playing across his face. Jess then dipped her head, focusing her attention on the task at hand.

 

He moaned as Jess drew the tip of his cock into her mouth. She ran her thumbs over his hipbones. Her tongue played with the slit while her hands slid below her chin to roll his balls back and forth. She raised the heavy erection and licked the sensitive underside from base to tip and back. Then she lunged, engulfing him.

 

"Oh God," he groaned. His hands were still at her head, urging her to take more. Krycek sat up, sliding his feet back so they almost touched his thighs. He squeezed her cheeks between them.

 

He felt Jess squirm, rolling to her side. She pulled him with her, so now Krycek was now kneeling above her, cock still firmly held in her mouth. Her teeth lightly scraped the underside of his length. Her eyes were shut, concentrating only on pleasing the man she loved.

 

"Ooohhhh," he moaned. He couldn't hold back any longer and started to slowly thrust. Her hands found his asscheeks and held him tightly. Krycek could feel his balls slap her chin as she urged him to move faster. He almost lost it completely when she started humming deep in her throat.

 

He started gasping, his body straining. The few times he had tried masturbating to his memories of her had left him feeling lonelier, emptier, so he had abstained completely. Having gone so long without sex, it took little to push him over the edge. "I'm... coming," he managed to blurt out, trying to withdraw. He didn't expect Jess to moan and clutch his bottom tighter, digging in with her nails.

 

Krycek screamed as he erupted into her welcoming mouth. Jess's eyes cracked open to watch him. Krycek's head was thrown back, his chest heaving. He shot again and again, coming so hard he was sure he was bleeding. She swallowed again and again, stimulating him further.

 

His head drooped as Krycek felt his spasms subsiding. But he stayed in her, unwilling to break the connection, until he felt his cock softening. At that point, he pulled out, reluctantly. Krycek laid back down on her and kissed Jess, basking in the afterglow and enjoying the taste and smell of himself on his lover. "I owe you big time," he croaked in a hoarse whisper. "Is there anything I can do for you right now?"

 

Jess nodded. "Just hold me," she said quietly.

 

Krycek nodded and settled a little more firmly on her body. He stroked her hair as she laid her cheek against his shoulder, lost in her thoughts. "We'll find her, Jess," he whispered, guessing the reason for her rapid mood swing. "We'll find her."

 

* * * * * * *

 

Three months passed. Jess continued her counseling, working to reconstruct as many memories as she could, which weren't many. Either she had been drugged into submissiveness, or the command to repress was still too strong to be overridden. Jess, Lindy and Krycek worked on trying to live as normally as possible. Or at least as normal as they could when Mulder would call them unexpectedly in the middle of the night.

 

"Mulder, why the hell are we here?" Jess asked from the back seat of the sedan, clearly irritated. Lindy was asleep, her head cradled in Jess's lap. The young girl now was almost inseparable from Jess.

 

"Why are you in such a crabby mood?" Mulder snorted. He turned his attention back to driving down the dark street.

 

"Well, let me see," she yawned. "I've had trouble sleeping for the last few months. The first night I finally get to sleep before three a.m., I find you knocking on the door at midnight, telling us to get to dressed, totally disrupting my sleep pattern. And you want to know why I'm in such a crabby mood?"

 

Mulder looked at Krycek in the passenger seat. "You put up with this every day?" he asked as he pulled up to an apartment building.

 

"No, she's nothing but sweetness and light to me. You just bring out the worst in her." Krycek looked up at the apartments. "This is where you brought me that night before we went to Tunguska."

 

Mulder nodded. "Just don't spit at me this time," he said with a grin.

 

"Only if I don't end up handcuffed to a balcony."

 

Jess's head popped between the front seats. "You never told me you were into bondage, Alex."

 

Mulder and Jess laughed as Krycek blushed. He grew serious quickly. "My new informant is a little skittish, so let me do most of the talking."

 

Jess frowned. "That brings me back to the original question. Why the hell are we here?"

 

"I'm hoping that she'll be able to help, and may need some DNA samples."

 

Jess's frown deepened. "Does she know what I am?"

 

"No."

 

"Mulder, you *know* how I feel about giving blood samples to people who are aware of my lycanthropy, let alone people who don't have a clue. It's too risky."

 

Mulder looked exasperatedly at her. "Jess, she may be able to help. Do you want it or not?"

 

Jess nodded and woke up Lindy. Mulder led them into the apartment building and to one of the upper floors. "Wait here," he said. He walked down a few doors and knocked on it.

 

A blond woman in a robe loosely knotted at her waist opened the door. Marita Cuervarubia's surprise was evident and rehearsed. "Agent Mulder, what are you doing here?"

 

"I need your help." Mulder was oblivious to how the woman looked him over, eyes lingering on certain features of his body.

 

She opened the door invitingly. She almost purred her reply. "What can I do?"

 

"A friend of mine's daughter is missing, under unusual circumstances. We need help finding her."

 

Cuervarubia smiled seductively. "Bring your friend by. But why don't you come in now so we can discuss strategy in locating the child."

 

Mulder was still oblivious to Cuervarubia's flirting. "They're here now."

 

Krycek almost chuckled at how fast and far the blond's face fell. "Where are they?"

 

Mulder signaled the trio forward. They walked towards him in even measured paces, saying nothing. Cuervarubia looked at Krycek and slightly tensed. However when she looked at Jess, her poker face slipped. Although Krycek concerned her, she was clearly afraid of Jess.

 

As Mulder introduced them, Jess regarded Cuervarubia with a calm exterior. However, her mental dialog was rapid fire. <This is wrong,> she thought. <She is afraid of me, almost as if she knows what I am. How? Mulder said he hasn't told her.> Jess didn't like this at all.

 

"I can't take a blood sample here," the UN worker was saying. "I don't have the proper equipment to store it."

 

"How about a hair sample?" Krycek suggested.

 

Cuervarubia nodded and left the doorway to get a pair of scissors. Jess, Mulder, and Krycek waited in silence. When the blond returned, she was holding the scissors in an almost defensive stance, sharp end pointed towards Jess. She clipped a few strands from Krycek without hesitation. She was not so cool when it came to getting a sample from Jess. That done, she turned back to Mulder. "I'll notify you if anything turns up, Agent Mulder."

 

Mulder nodded and turned to leave. Krycek and Lindy followed, leaving Jess and Cuervarubia standing there. Jess stared at the blond, not in a hostile way, just questioning. The blond flinched and quickly retreated into her apartment. Jess nodded to herself grimly and followed the two men back to the elevator.

 

Jess decided to do a little delicate probing during the ride back to Virginia. "Mulder, how well do you know her?"

 

"She's given me reliable information in the past Jess. I trust her. She said she 'believes in my work'."

 

"We've heard that one before," Krycek muttered.

 

Mulder was irritated by that comment. "Well, she hasn't tried to abduct my partner."

 

"Mulder, something is just plain wrong with the situation," Jess said, trying to keep the men from fighting. "She was frightened."

 

Mulder shrugged. "She recognized Krycek as a wanted felon."

 

"No, she went on guard when she saw Alex," Jess corrected with a shake of her head. "She was afraid when she saw me." Her eyes shifted uneasily. "She knows more than she lets on. And what the hell was with that sex kitten act?"

 

"What are you talking about?" Mulder snorted.

 

Krycek laughed. "C'mon, Mulder. She wanted you. She was ready to jump you the moment she answered the door. Jess is right, though. She does know more than she's saying."

 

"Be careful around her, Mulder," Jess warned. "She could be working for the Consortium and her orders are to divide you from Dana by any means possible."

 

"Jess, now you sound paranoid. She helped me."

 

"Asking nothing in return," Krycek whispered. "Nobody does anything for nothing, unless they're being paid by someone else. Believe me, I know."

 

* * * * * * *

 

Mulder watched through the glass window of the hospital door. Lindy, Jess and Krycek were oblivious to the outside world, engrossed in getting to know the infant. They were counting fingers and toes, debating who's nose Amanda had, and doing everything a family does when the newborn arrives.

 

But their joy was tinged with sadness. Their "newborn" was four months old, and might not live to see five. Little Amanda Krycek, who had barely begun to live, was dying.

 

And it didn't look like a damn thing could be done to prevent it.

 

Mulder had barely driven back to the outskirts of DC before his cel-phone started ringing. Jess's pager also started beeping, the 'urgent message' chime startling her. "Dana's number," she said as Mulder answered his phone.

 

"Fox, where are you?" came Scully's voice over the phone. She sounded excited and agitated.

 

"With Jess and Krycek. We were..."

 

"Fox, something has happened. An abandoned baby has been found. There's a good chance it's Jess's. And hurry, her health doesn't look so good."

 

He had sped to the hospital where the baby had been taken. What would happen next wasn't the mystery, but when it would happen was.

 

Scully came back from consulting with the doctor. She stepped up beside Mulder. He took one of her hands in his. "How long does she have?"

 

"A few days, no more than a week," Scully said with a sigh. "According to Dr. Miwa Hirai, the specialist in charge, it's a miracle that she's lasted this long. Her blood chemistry is even more bizarre than Jess's. A transfusion of O negative didn't help."

 

"That odd enzyme is what's needed?" At Scully's nod, he asked another question. "Why don't they try a transfusion from Jess or Lindy?"

 

"They're the wrong blood types. Jess is A negative, Lindy's AB positive. Amanda's O positive like Krycek, but he doesn't have that enzyme like Jess does. They still want to try a transfusion from Krycek, hoping the fact that he's a close relation to her may have a beneficial effect. But that's a long shot."

 

* * * * * * *

 

"Okay, Mr. Krycek," said Dr. Hirai. "I'll be back in a few minutes to check on how you are doing." She made one final check of the line running from the needle in his arm to the blood collection bag and then left the room.

 

"Dr. Hirai?" The woman turned back at the sound of Krycek calling her name. "How long before Amanda gets this blood?"

 

"It will be a half hour at the most," the Japanese doctor said. "But the sooner she gets it, the better." Dr. Hirai then left the room.

 

Krycek let his head thump back against the examination table on which he was laying and thought about what had brought him to this point in time. Not three hours before, he had stood in front of the crib Amanda had been placed in, Jess at his side. He couldn't take his eyes off the baby. <She's so beautiful,> he thought. Amanda had dark hair, but pale coloring, and she somehow ended up with hazel eyes.

 

Dr. Hirai had just finished explaining that a transfusion was needed, that it may even be a futile effort, and had left them to talk. Krycek stood there, and was surprised to find he had made his decision before he had really thought about it. "Jess, I think we both know what needs to be done."

 

Jess lifted her head from his shoulder. "Alex, are you saying what I think you're saying?"

 

"I am," was his quiet reply. "To use your favorite phrase, 'bite me.' Make me a werewolf again."

 

She looked up into his clear green eyes. "Are you sure? You always told me how miserable you were..."

 

"Before I met you," he interrupted. "And before, I was Changed without a choice. It was out of my hands, a punishment. Now, I choose to undergo the Change, to save her life. It's the only way."

 

Jess nodded. Krycek lifted his left wrist to her mouth in offering. She gently took hold of it with her right hand, pressing it to her lips in a soft kiss. She closed her eyes, inhaling deeply the unique smell of sweat and musk that was Krycek. Jess parted her lips and pressed her teeth against the tender skin. Time stopped as she opened her eyes and sought his, needing one last confirmation.

 

Krycek nodded. "Do it," he mouthed, unable to speak. He watched Jess take a deep breath and snap her jaws shut. He gasped at the sensation of her sharp teeth breaking the skin. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. The heat and moisture inside Jess's mouth was intense. There was an awareness of both his body and hers, erotic and primal. It was nothing like when he was first Changed.

 

Jess trembled at the salty taste of his blood. She held for a few minutes and then let go. She wiped the traces of the red fluid from her mouth. "I hope you start producing enzymes instantaneously, or even sooner," she said. She had tried to play it off as a joke, but he could hear the seriousness in her words.

 

He hoped the same thing too.

 

And apparently Lindy felt the same. She had watched the whole exchange silently. And after it was done, the little girl had come up to him and hugged one of his legs, just like she did with Jess. Now she was out there with Jess, trying to comfort the woman who had raised her.

 

A ripple of unease passed over him. It was familiar and yet somehow alien. He frowned, trying to discover the source of the feelings. <Almost seems like it's coming from the outside,> he thought. Krycek grinned and relaxed. <It's already working. I can feel Jess trying to mindspeak.> The Change had taken hold. <I must be producing enzymes if I can sense her. Everything's going to be fine.> ~Jess?~

 

~Alex?~ came Jess's mindvoice uncertainly. ~Can you hear me?~

 

~Yes, love,~ he spoke back. ~Are you okay?~

 

Her next words sent a chill through his heart. ~No. Something's wrong.~ He could almost see Jess pacing outside the ICU Nursery, Lindy trying to peer through the high windows. ~I saw several nurses and doctors rush in, but I can't tell if they went to Amanda or not.~ Jess paused, waiting for a response. ~Alex?~

 

Krycek was no longer paying attention to her. He was staring at the doorway, transfixed by what he saw there. It was a woman in a simple white dress, holding an infant. "Rachel?" She sadly nodded her head, blue eyes filling with tears, long brown hair cascading over her shoulders. The image then started to fade.

 

"Noooooo!" he yelled. He bolted upright, ripping the needle from his arm. He could dimly 'hear Jess's mindscreams of denial and Lindy's mindhowls of lament.

 

He must have fainted from the adrenaline surge, sudden movement, and loss of blood because the next thing he was aware of was Jess calling his name. He realized his eyes were shut, so he opened them and turned his head to look at her. Jess had pulled a chair up beside the donor table and was holding his hand. He squeezed it as he saw that her other arm was holding Lindy tightly on her lap. Tears were welling up from both blue and brown eyes.

 

Then he knew what happened even before Dr. Hirai began to speak. "Mr. Krycek, Ms. Leahs, I'm so sorry..."

 

* * * * * * *

 

One week later -

 

Mulder and Scully weren't sure why they were called to Skinner's apartment to deliver the results of the parentage test on Amanda.

Skinner's attitude towards the pair had shifted from suspicion to protectiveness, although exactly why was a mystery. He let them in without a word.

 

Krycek, Jess and Lindy were out on the balcony. All three were looking at the stars. Lindy's elbows rested on the railing of the balcony, Jess's hands on Lindy's shoulders, Krycek's right hand tracing Jess's spine. "They're here," Skinner called out to them.

 

The three of them turned and came in without a word. Jess and Krycek sat down on the couch, Lindy easing onto Jess's lap.

 

It was time to get the news out into the open. "According to the results of the test there is..." Scully began.

 

"No possible way the child we called Amanda could be our missing daughter," Krycek finished.

 

Scully, Mulder, and Skinner stared dumbfounded that they were already aware of that fact. "How did you know?" Mulder finally asked.

 

"We knew from the moment we saw her," Jess sighed. "She had hazel eyes. Neither Alex nor I have any relatives we know of that have that eye color. That gene just isn't in our families."

 

Krycek also sighed. "When I was at the labs, there were always at least three females in their third trimester. The survival rate past the six months for infants was about thirty percent. There would have been no problem in obtaining a dying baby werewolf to try to fool us. If she had blue, green or brown eyes, we would have fallen for it."

 

"Let me get this straight, Alex," Mulder said slowly, a grudging respect in his voice. "You knew that that child wasn't yours, and you still asked Jess bite you, to make you a werewolf again?" At Krycek's nod, Mulder asked the question they were all wondering about. "Then, why?"

 

Krycek rested a hand on Lindy gently. "She was somebody's daughter."