TITLE: Morning Glory (1/1)
AUTHOR: Isahunter
RATING: PG (language)
CATEGORY: V, WIP, Krycek/Other (No slash)
SPOILERS: Up to "One Son," S6
TIMELINE: Set in the winter of '99, but in this story the events of the episode "Biogenesis" never occurred.
ARCHIVE: Of course! But please let me know, so I can visit!
FEEDBACK: Isahunter@aol.com
DISCLAIMER: Although the other characters are of my own creation, all characters from "The X-Files" belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen, Fox. No infringement intended.
SUMMARY: The search for the truth takes on new meaning.

NOTES: This story begins the second half of my series, "Midnight Angel." It is necessary to have read that story first. It is available at eXpositions--
http://www.aliens.mcmail.com/isadiadem/MA.htm (Another note--sorry I took so long between series! I took a little break, but I will be posting this one as I write.)

For Nanda...who deserves it, for putting up with my slacker self. Sorry I didn't write you back my friend! I really think I lost my mind. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill where two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.
---Jelaluddin Rumi (13th century)

Her own scream echoing back at her was only punctuated by the sound of screeching tires. Sabryn opened her eyes, her face immediately flaming, to see Mr. Skinner struggling to get the truck back on the road. Sweating and shaking, she sat up straighter in the passenger seat and swallowed heavily. Thanks to the nightmare, she'd nearly gotten them into a wreck. Still, it was a welcome distraction from the image of her father calling out her name as he died.


A ghostly chill crept up her spine. His voice was so clear in the back of her mind. Shoving the remnants of the dream away, she glanced back at the camper her brother was driving behind them, before turning her attention to her companion.

"I'm sorry. I should have warned you about that." The scowl that seemed permanently carved in his face didn't waver as he raised a shaky hand to wipe the sweat from his brow. "I damned near drove us off the road."

"I know. I--I didn't expect to fall asleep. I'm sorry." "You don't have to keep apologizing. It's over." She couldn't help being repentant. He reminded her a lot of her father. A stern authority figure, handsome but withdrawn, a commanding presence. She had to turn away from his penetrating stare. The road flew by below them, dirty with sand and frost. Cold and bleak. So far from home.
Just over twenty-four hours earlier, they'd left Virginia for what she assumed was the last time. They'd delivered her paintings to Maxine, giving the woman quite a bargain for only five thousand dollars. A short trip to the supermarket got them enough food and supplies for the drive north. Once they reached their destination, Mr. Skinner had assured her they would buy much more.
Finally noticing the lack of foothills, she asked, "Where are we?" "Just outside Cedar Rapids."

"Iowa? Already?"

"Switching drivers so often was a good idea. But I think we'll have to stop entirely, soon. I don't know about you, but quick naps aren't cutting it anymore."

"There's an exit coming up...why don't we get something to eat?" He nodded curtly, changing lanes in preparation. As he watched for Johnny to follow, Sabryn took a moment to study his profile. She'd spent the entire day with him, but he was still every bit as much a stranger to her as he'd always been. He didn't speak much, and when he did the topic of discussion was entirely impersonal. Current events, the weather, politics. Nothing about her, or himself...and certainly nothing about Alex Krycek. Despite the fact that they were driving his truck, apparently by his own stipulation, the man's name hadn't come up once. Maybe it was time to change that.

"What are your agents going to do with Alex?" "That's confidential."

She knew a dodge when she heard one. "I have ways of making you talk, Mr. Skinner." When he barely gave her a glance, she continued. "It's an awfully long way to North Dakota, and I know a lot of show tunes. Granted, I don't have the greatest singing voice..."

He cleared his throat, hiding what looked like the beginnings of a smile. "What my agents do with Alex Krycek really isn't my concern anymore. If you hadn't noticed, I'm not exactly following Bureau procedure myself."

"I noticed. It's not easy to follow the rules when saving your own ass." For the first time, she felt that he was really looking at her. "No, it isn't."

"You believe him, that much is obvious. So either you knew about this all along, you're working for the same people, or you're sleeping with him too."

This time, he didn't smile. "It's a long story, Miss Jaegar." "Sabryn."

"I have known about this for some time, and yes I once did work for the same people...before I wised up and got the hell out of the noose. But you can bet that if I ever got my bare hands on Krycek, I sure as hell wouldn't be sleeping with him. I'd kill the bastard."

She wasn't sure she wanted to ask. But as he pulled off the off-ramp onto the busy side street, and headed towards the nearest gas station, she couldn't staunch her curiosity.

"Why do you hate him so much?"

"If you want to hear the story from the beginning, we're going to need a lot more time." He gave her one last look as he turned into the parking lot.

"I think you'd better eat something. Bad news is always worse on an empty stomach."

"You're not going to get a word out of her if she knows you're with me. You'd be lucky to get her to admit anything, even if you fucked her brains out, Mulder."

Alex sat in the back seat of the dark blue sedan, hands cuffed in front of him, staring out the window at the cars driving past them in the parking garage. Sitting in the front passenger's seat, Agent Scully ignored him as she flipped through her pocketbook looking for a phone number. It was a shame really. He knew that last jab must have riled her.

Glaring at him in the rear-view mirror, Mulder tightened his hands on the steering wheel. Although they'd only been sitting here a few minutes, the boredom and anxiety was obviously getting the best of him. Every time he met Alex's gaze, he quickly looked away. More than likely fighting the urge to sock him in the face.

"What are you hoping to get out of her anyway?" "Why don't you shut up and mind your own business?" Alex smirked. "Wouldn't it be a lot easier if you just walked up to her room, Mulder? Hell, I'll do it if you're too damned scared. I've already had my hands in Diana's panties. One more time won't kill me...I don't think."

He failed to mention that the woman hadn't been wearing the panties at the time. Still, Mulder swiveled around in his seat and was starting to reach for his fugitive when Scully stopped him.
"She's coming, Mulder."

There was no mistaking the irritation in her voice this time. Staring out the front window, Alex could see Diana Fowley stepping out of the elevator and heading for her own car. She carried a purse and a bag that was far too large to be a briefcase.

"Going somewhere?" he murmured.

"I'll be back," Mulder told his partner in a tight voice, as he opened the door and stepped out.
Scully set down her purse and unbuttoned her jacket, watching every move of the man she'd worked with for nearly seven years...and the ex he'd never mentioned. Sweeping the edge of her blazer out of the way, her hand in ready position to grab the pistol at her side. Leaning forward as far as his seat belt would allow, Alex spoke right next to her ear.

"I don't think anyone would blame you if you shot now and asked questions later."

She didn't bother to turn around. "Sit back and shut up, Krycek, before I decide to use this bullet on you."

With a slight laugh, he did as he was told. And even though he couldn't hear what was being said, the shock on Diana's face as Fox Mulder stopped in front of her was more than apparent. They spoke for a moment, her face friendly and open, Mulder's taut and accusing. She shook her head, immediately looking down to the suitcase she was carrying. Mulder leaned forward, intimidating her with his size, but she didn't back down for a moment. If anything she leaned even closer.
"Is it just me, or do they look like more than ex-partners to you?" "Mulder's past is none of my business," Scully answered. "Considering who that woman works for, I'd say it's every bit your business."

Finally turning in her seat, Scully shot him a lethal glare. "You work for the very same people, Krycek. And I don't give a damn about you. Why should I care about her?"

He braced his forearms on his knees, his face just inches from her. "Because I didn't sleep with your partner. And I sure as hell didn't marry him."

Merely a brief flicker of moisture in her eyes betrayed her calm exterior. Facing forward, she licked her lips. "It wouldn't have mattered to me if you had. He's my partner. Nothing more."

He watched her profile for a moment, waiting for the slightest crack in her composure. But ever as before, she was unbreakable. In all the years he'd known her, he'd never once managed to rile her. Luis Cardinal had, by killing her sister. And even though he'd been present at the time, Alex hadn't pulled the trigger himself so he couldn't take the credit for making that beautiful face shimmer with emotion. Somehow, he both admired her and despised her for that. She was a challenge, an unbreakable code. And still, only a heartless bastard could pierce the protective veil she wore. She was a true adversary. He loved watching her tick.

Yet even she couldn't hold his attention for long. Not even the spectacle of Mulder and Diana throwing accusations at each other in a darkened parking garage could do that. Because he could smell her. Not Scully, with her freshly washed hair and light cologne. Not Diana, with her heavy perfume and lingering stench of cigarettes. He smelled Sabryn. On his clothes, his jacket, his skin. Her touch on his flesh, her heat against him, the taste of her in his mouth. And even though he'd spent an entire night alone, in the confines a Federal detention center, he could still hear her voice in his head. See her blue eyes sparkling with laughter, and with tears. Cruel torture, inflicted by his own brain. The lightly musk-tinged, almond scent of her skin was all over his hands, as indelibly laced on his flesh as her presence in his memory. He wanted to spit the taste of her out of his mouth, to scrub away the smells with yet another shower, but he knew it wouldn't help. Guilty of deception or not, she wasn't about to go away.

Swearing under his breath, Alex forced himself to concentrate on the scene before him. Mulder made a grab for Diana's suitcase, only to have her slap his hand away. She was just reaching under her coat as he grabbed her wrist in a brutal grip and started towing her towards the car. Alex could see Scully reaching for her gun as she stepped out of the car and went to assist her partner. Diana struggled in vain, trying to release herself as Mulder pushed her against the hood of the car, but she didn't dare flinch against the woman who held a gun on her. Not showing the least bit of triumph, Scully held the other woman in her sights as Mulder patted her down and removed her weapons. And when Mulder spoke again, nodding towards the car, Diana looked up and met Alex's gaze through the window with murderous eyes. As Mulder held on to her, Scully holstered her gun and headed back to open the door.

"Get out."

"That would be a lot easier if I weren't wearing a seat belt," Alex murmured.

With a sigh of irritation, Scully leaned over and unbuckled his seat belt. She glared at him when he deliberately moved closer to smell her perfume, pushing herself away from him and grabbing for her gun once more.

"I said, get out."

"Yes ma'am." Scooting across the back seat, he unfolded himself from the tiny car and smirked at Diana. "If looks could kill...you would have put me out of business a long time ago, Fowley."

"Go to hell, you bastard."

"Been there, thanks."

"Is what Krycek told us true, Diana?" Scully asked. Without breaking her stare on him, the other woman answered, "Depends on which version of the 'truth' this con-artist told you. His whole life is one big lie. I really can't tell you how surprised I am that you believe a word he says."

Just as he'd suspected, Diana was playing it cool. Alex almost had to smile. She was an even better liar than he was.

"You're saying you know nothing about the pending invasion?" She had the nerve to look shocked. "Invasion? But how? Cassandra Spender disappeared, and the Consortium leaders were all killed."
"Not everyone, if we're to believe what he says." Mulder still had his fist in a firm lock around Diana's arm, unwilling to let go. "Krycek told us you're not only involved in Consortium activities, but that you're also the Smoking Man's mistress."

Her laughter echoed off the cavernous walls of the parking garage. "Did he tell you I was also Cleopatra in a former life? Really, Fox...he would tell you anything to get his ass out of trouble. You should know that far better than I do."

"Which brings up an interesting point, Diana. Just how do you know Alex Krycek?"

Just when he thought she was going to stammer and betray her own web of lies, Diana surprised Alex again. "Who in the FBI doesn't know Krycek? You've been after him for years."

"What about the suitcase?" Scully asked. "Planning a trip?" "As a matter of fact, I'm visiting a friend for the holidays. What--did you think I was going to rendezvous with my lover at a safe base, and then honeymoon on an alien space ship?"

Her last few words were punctuated with laughter, causing Scully to grit her teeth. She turned her gaze on Krycek, and he could see her thoughts written all over her face. Maybe it was just a glimmer of doubt, but part of her wanted to tear him to shreds for making her look like a fool. Still, somewhere deep down, she sensed the truth about Diana...felt it every bit as much as he knew.
"I told you it was pointless asking her. Smokey has her every bit as well trained as a chimp."
Diana didn't even glare at him. The slight smile creeping across her face made him want to choke her. Turning her gaze to Mulder, she looked at him with pleading eyes. "Fox, you remember what happened the last time. Do you really think I'd leave you behind if I thought your life were in danger?"

"I don't know what to think anymore."

"Don't tell me you actually believe him." Mulder stared at Alex, a shadow falling over his eyes. "What reason does he have to lie? Either way, he knows I'm not letting him go. Not this time."
"He's trying to turn you against me. To make a fool of you. Both of you," she added, glancing at Scully. "And if you ask me, he already has."

Before Sabryn could follow Mr. Skinner into the convenience store, Johnny walked up behind her and laid a hand on her shoulder. She wanted to shrug him off, to act like a petty and selfish child--but the truth was that he'd thought he was helping her, and she could no longer hold that against him. Besides, the newly developing bruise on his jaw, along with the continuing ache in her fingers, made her feel guilty enough.

"What happened back there, on the road?" "Nightmare."

He gave her a knowing and sympathetic smile. "How are you holding up, Bryn?"

Crossing her arms, she hugged her jacket tighter to keep out the chill. "As well as I can, I guess. I just keep thinking about Mom and Daddy."

"Yeah, I know." He glanced at the store, before abruptly grabbing her arm and pulling her after him. "I think we might be able to do something about that."

They stopped walking in front of the pay phone, and Johnny dug in his pocket to find some change. Depositing four quarters in the phone, he dialed the number. Sabryn listened silently for a moment, cringing slightly as her brother proceeded to argue with their father, trying once more to talk them into leaving their home. These were people who stored bottled water and canned foods in their cellar, in case of the Millennium Bug. Why were they fighting so hard? Was it just to spite her?

Turning her head, Sabryn watched her niece and nephew playing with their Star Wars Light Sabers in the empty parking lot. The grins on their faces nearly broke her heart. While Jolie and Chris were excited about the trip and being able to miss school even earlier than the scheduled winter vacation, they had no idea what was really happening. They didn't know they might never see their grandparents or friends again. They had no notion of a fate even worse. To them, this was nothing more than a long camping trip.

Grabbing the phone out of her brother's hand, she pressed herself into the small booth next to him.
"Dad, I know you don't believe me, but I'm asking you for a favor." There was silence on the other end of the line, and she could almost see her father's scowl. "What's that?"

"Just...just pretend this has nothing to do with me. If nothing else, come to North Dakota for your grandchildren. Do you really want them to move away, so you can't see them again?"

"They'd still be here if not for your story--" "I know that. They believed me, and you don't...but that doesn't matter." Closing her eyes against Johnny's stare, she whispered, "I still love you anyway, Daddy."

The shallow gasp on the other end of the line wasn't her imagination. She could hear the phone being set down, and then silence. Just when she thought he'd hung up on her, her mother's voice filled her ear.

"What did you say to him?"

"I told him the truth."

Bernadette sighed. "Where are you, Amanda?" She didn't bother to correct her mother. It was pointless anyway. "We're in Iowa. Look, we can't talk for much longer."

"I want to talk to my grandbabies."

"They're playing, Mom. We haven't told them what's going on." "Well thank goodness for that much."

Casting a glance at John, she shook her head. By his frown, he got the message. "I just wanted you to know that--that I was thinking about you."

Her mother cleared her throat. "Did Carly remember to bring Jolie's bear? I remember how happy she was when you gave that to her. She looked just like you, carrying that ratty old thing around."
"Yeah, I think she remembered." She could barely get the words out of her mouth. "Please, Mom...convince Daddy to come up here. The kids need you."

I need you, she added silently. She couldn't say it out loud. Not now. But she still felt it. Despite everything.

"I really should go. I have a pie in the oven." "Mom..."

The sound of the other end of the line going dead made her start. Hastily hanging up the phone, she squeezed out of the cramped phone booth and headed for the truck. Johnny wasn't even fast enough to catch her as she opened the driver's side door, climbed in, and locked it behind her. Her expression must have warned him, for he backed away before trying anything further. Resting her head against the steering wheel, she willed the tears out of her eyes.

Damn them. Damn them all to hell.

And yet, as she sat in the cab of the truck, breathing in the scent of leather, she slowly felt herself begin to relax. There was just something about that musky scent, so familiar, so *Alex*, that she couldn't help but smile. Part of her wanted to grab the gun in the nearby console, use it to hijack the keys to the truck from Mr. Skinner, and drive all the way back to Arlington. To search the hills until she was exhausted. Never resting until she found him. Her friend. Her lover. Her...something. But the rational part of her head knew that was idiotic. Take a lesson from the man himself, it told her. He never cared about anyone else. It was only when he chanced that very thing that he got himself into trouble.

The smart thing was to keep going. On to North Dakota and never look back. Save your own ass. It's the only one that matters.

Watching Mulder and Scully argue was about as erotic as soft-core porn. Alex leaned against the hood of the car, shifting uncomfortably in too-tight jeans, trying desperately to ignore the woman whose brown eyes pinned him with a lethal glare. Stuck between the same two cars as him, not daring to move lest Scully decide to make good use of that bullet, Diana seemed determined to stare a hole through his head.

"You're going to regret this, Krycek."

He turned his head to glance at her, gifting the bitch with a rare smirk. "It'll be a pleasure." Tugging at his handcuffs, feeling oddly as if his left arm had gone numb, he swore under his breath. "You know, I've got an itch right by my left nut. Would you mind scratching that for me?"

"I'll tell you exactly what I'd do if I got my hand down your pants--" "Honey, don't flatter yourself. The day that happens, my only hard-on will be caused by rigor mortis."

Just as it looked like she was ready to lunge at him, Mulder and Scully returned. And once again, Diana wore an expressionless mask. Eyes as cold and unflinching as a doll's.

"You're free to go, Diana. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you," Mulder said.

"I should say so."

Alex couldn't believe his ears. "You're what? You're letting her walk?" "She's done nothing wrong."
With a haughty tilt of her head, Diana picked up her suitcase and walked away.

"Son of a--"

Alex started after her, not about to let her go even if it meant dragging her back with one hand...but he didn't get very far before he was slammed back against the car with the full brunt of Mulder's body. His gun was pressed against Alex's neck, pinching flesh, before he could even open his mouth.

"I suggest you let it go before I decide to take offense to this little charade you've pulled, Krycek."

Scully's voice, barely audible, was the only other thing Alex heard as Diana started her car and drove away. Watching her go, he shoved back against Mulder. "Fuck. You just let her walk away."
Pushing aside Mulder's gun and stepping between them, Scully stared up at him with determined eyes. "This isn't over yet. Not by a long shot."

Unlocking the doors, Sabryn grabbed the soft drinks from Mr. Skinner so he could sit down. As he settled into the passenger's seat and fastened his seat belt, she could hear her stomach growling at the heavenly scent of the food he was carrying. Sure, it was all junk, but she was starving.
"I wasn't sure what you wanted, so I got a burrito and a cherry pie." "That's perfect."

He seemed pleased, and cracked a smile that was altogether breath-taking. She wasn't sure if he was capable of such an expression. "Shall we eat here, or get back on the road and eat as we drive?"
"I was hoping to reach Des Moines sometime tonight, if you don't mind?" "That's fine." The truck made an awful as crunching sound as she put it into reverse, and she winced. It had been a long time since she'd driven any car, let alone a standard, and obviously her few hours behind the wheel last night hadn't helped any. "I hope Alex doesn't mind that I'm killing his truck."

Skinner didn't say a word. Eventually she got them back on the road and took a few bites of her lukewarm burrito. Finally, the silence became too much to bear.

"So...tell me about him. Why do you hate Alex Krycek so much?" "Well, besides trying to kill me and using me as his errand boy under threat, he's a liar, a murderer, a traitor, a thief...you name it."
Sabryn licked her lips, fighting the urge to argue vehemently. The man he'd just described wasn't the Alex she knew. "He tried to kill you?"

"Yes. But I'm not talking about shooting me or beating me, although he's tried. I'm talking about something more sophisticated. You've heard of nano-technology?"

"I--isn't that what doctors are planning on using to open clogged arteries?"

"Exactly. Only, your 'boyfriend' decided to use it for just the opposite effect. I damned near died of cardiac arrest."

She swallowed heavily, not wanting to hear anymore. Not believing a word. And still...why would someone lie about such a thing?

Against all better judgment, she couldn't let the issue rest. "Tell me all of it."

I scream, you scream, we all scream for feedback. Isahunter@aol.com eXpositions: http://www.aliens.mcmail.com/isadiadem/