All the X-File regulars belong to TenThirteen Productions and are being used without permission. No copyright infringement intended. Everyone else belongs and is copyrighted to me. I promise to put my toys back where I found them when I'm finished playing with them.
The quote below from 'White Fang' is used without permission, and no disrespect is intended.
Rating of NC17 for graphic M/F and M/M/F sex.
Synopsis - Despite the Consortium's interference and their uncertainty over Amanda, Krycek and Jess try to live their lives.
All previous Loup Garou stories are available at Gossamer, at my website http://www.parkers-place.net/ratlover/wolfcatxf/loupgarou, or directly from me at WolfcatXF@imadethis.org.
Any and all feedback is appreciated.
* * * * * * *
Loup Garou - Children
by Shael (WolfcatXF@imadethis.org)
Uploaded August 4th, 1997
"But the Wild is the Wild, and motherhood is motherhood, at all time fiercely protective whether in the Wild or out of it..."
- Jack London 'White Fang'
* * * * * * *
Mulder walked down the street amongst the run down buildings. He had been doing a lot of thinking about a lot of things. His life had radically changed in a week. He had found out about a truth about Cancerman, a truth that almost destroyed a friendship.
<This will make up for what I said to Jess,> Mulder thought. On finding out the truth about who his father was, and Jess's knowledge of it, he took out all his anger and pain on her. And then he found out that it was part of a set up designed to terrorize Jess. He had been manipulated to add to her pain, just as she had been manipulated to add to his.
He paused in front of his destination, a decrepit office building that had seen better days. Mulder pushed open a door walked into the offices of the Lone Gunmen.
Langley looked up at Mulder's entrance. "So what do you have for us this time?"
Mulder grinned. "A challenge." He handed over the file he was carrying to Beyers. It was a copy of the information that Krychekov had given him to pass on to Jess and Krycek. "I need you boys to identify the doctor or location that are in these photos."
Frohike looked up from the camera he was fiddling with. "Why us, Mulder? You've got people at the FBI who can do that."
Mulder shook his head. He had told Jess yet that he had forgiven her. This was to be a surprise for her, to prove that he really had. And although Krycek had been protected from the repercussions of his betrayal of his oath to the FBI by Cancerman and his associates, there was no sense in taking foolish chances. "Not if they knew who's involved."
* * * * * * *
Krychekov watched the video of the assassination by werewolf with a grim satisfaction. He noticed with a trace of disappointment that neither Jess nor his son turned on the Well Manicured Man after they had finished with Covarrubias. <They must be intending to try to manipulate him into revealing where Amanda is,> he thought approvingly. It was a plan that spoke of maturity and cunning and patience, one that he would have implemented himself.
The violent pounding on his study door started him. "Sir?" called the excited voice of his aide.
"Come in." The young man almost tore the door off its hinges in his eagerness to get inside. "What is it?"
Triumph shone in the aide's eyes, revealing his apparent greenness to this world of intrigue and power. "I have located your granddaughter!"
Krychekov was shocked. His new aide had shown promise and raw talent, but he had not expected him to find Amanda so quickly. "How did you do it?"
His aide shrugged his shoulders. "I had started by asking for information about obtaining a werewolf as a bodyguard, as you suggested. And this woman contacted me, saying she helped care for Jessica Leahs during her abduction and believed she was now taking care her child. She thought we would be interested in this information."
Krychekov leaned back in his chair. "And what do you propose we do now?"
The aide stated the obvious conclusion. "We go get her."
A half smile curled one corner of Krychekov's lips. "And what do we do if our associates decide that they do not want to give her to us?"
"We, um.... We...," the aide stammered.
Krychekov nodded. "Exactly. They will not grant me custody of her. We cannot take her by force. For the moment, the fact we know where she is is enough."
* * * * * * *
Well Manicured Man walked along the fence of the corral, admiring the Arabian stallion he had acquired. The coal black stud was still adapting to his new surrounding, rendering him skittish and slightly wild. <Just like my niece,> he thought.
His niece was a concern at this moment. After assassinating Covarrubias, Jess had quietly gone back to her life. None of the expected demands to see her daughter were made. Instead of the grateful, dutiful niece he thought he would see, there was a wary distant woman. <It's almost as if she knew I ordered her brother killed.>
Ordering Michael's death had been one of the harder things for him to do. But he had to follow the path that would be the most profitable to the Consortium. Michael wasn't a werewolf, but Jess was. Sacrifices sometime had to be made. Jess needed to be completely demoralized before she would listen to him.
And then there was another problem. Jess and Krycek had known that Covarrubias done the dirty work. However he was not certain if they knew the whole truth, that he had intercepted Covarrubias's instructions and changed them from a strong arm threat to death orders. He had intended to reveal to Jess that the UN worker had a hand in her brother's death, but not nearly as soon as Jess found out.
The stallion trotted up to him and snorted. Well Manicured Man reached out and stroked the elegant beast's nose, noting that the horse was learning to trust him. He had to gain Jess's trust. If he could convince Jess that serving the Consortium by serving him, things would be so much easier for her. Krycek would follow her blindly out of love. Otherwise he would be forced to see her destroyed. He would regret it, but the Consortium's needs came first.
* * * * * * *
Jess sat in front of her laptop computer, eying the CD ROM jewel box beside it thoughtfully. <Staring at it won't tell me what's on it,> she thought.
The CD had been found inside the box that had held the information about who had ordered Jess's brother's death. It had literally been found *inside* the box, discovered when she had broken it down to be recycled.
She heard the sound of someone walking down the stairs. "I finally managed to corner Patches and put her in with Lindy. She says she's going to sleep," Krycek said, coming into the living room. He walked up behind her and kissed the top of his head. "Decide what to do yet?"
"No," Jess said. "It could be programmed to dump my data somewhere and then erase my hard drive, or worse. I'm not sure I'm willing to reload everything again."
"It came from whoever gave us that information about your uncle and Covarrubias." The name still rolled off his tongue with a trace of bitter anger, even though they had exacted deadly revenge on the UN plant. "I say we trust whoever it is and load the CD."
Jess glanced at Krycek in surprise. "You're saying to trust this unknown person? Why?"
"I honestly can't say," Krycek sighed, nuzzling his lover's hair. "I just have this feeling..." he trailed off.
"Okay, here goes nothing," Jess said, sliding the CD into the drive. It was formatted for her system and opened automatically. Inside the active window was a self extracting archive. Jess looked back at Krycek. He nodded. Jess traced her finger along the trackpad to double click the icon and start the extraction process.
"Hmmph," Krycek said after the program loaded itself onto Jess's desktop. "Looks like an internet chat program."
"But look at it's size," Jess said, keying up the about-this-program box. "It is at least ten times larger than it should be. Let's check the readme.txt file." She opened her word processor and selected the file. The program refused to open the file. "Non-recognizable format?" she said questioningly.
"Try clicking it like it's an application," Krycek suggested.
Jess shrugged and did so. Both she and Krycek jumped when a heavily synthesized voice, obviously digitally altered, issued from the computer's speaker. "Greetings," it said in a metallic monotone. "You made a wise decision in installing these programs. I am a member of the Consortium, but disagree with it's actions concerning you. If you need information concerning certain events, use the integrated chat/e-mail software to contact me. It is heavily encrypted and will not be detected by most forms of bugging software. I understand any hesitation that you would have about using it, but I am here to help. Be safe and well."
Jess leaned back against Krycek's stomach as he massaged her shoulders. "It looks like there's a new player on the block." He bent down to kiss her ear. "Come on, let's go to bed."
Jess stood up and put an arm around his waist. Together, they walked upstairs. The first room on the left they passed was a nursery for a little girl, complete with a crib. While Jess had been missing, Krycek and Lindy had gone ahead and furnished the bedroom. And although Mulder, Scully, and Skinner kept telling them it was not healthy, neither Jess nor Krycek could find it in their hearts convert the room back to the den it was before. In their minds, to do so would to be denying Amanda existed, and giving up any hope of ever finding her.
The next bedroom was on the right. Jess paused by the slightly opened door and looked inside. The stuffed animals and toys were slowly being replaced by books, CD's and a stereo. <She's almost an adult.> She smiled sadly. ~My little girl is growing up,~ she mindspoke.
Krycek kissed her temple. ~You've done a wonderful job raising her,~ he mindspoke back.
Jess squeezed her arm around his waist and resumed the walk to their bedroom. Once there, they both undressed and got ready to go to sleep. After they got under the cotton sheets, they spooned together on their sides, just wanting to be close to each other. ~Feels weird that Walter isn't here,~ Krycek mindspoke, referring to the fact that Skinner was out of town at a conference.
~Yeah, it does seem strange.~ Jess gave a deep sigh. ~Do you think we'll ever get a chance to raise Amanda?~
Krycek gently stroked Jess's hair. ~I hope with all my heart that we will.~
* * * * * * *
The first thing he noticed was the sound of a baby's coo. Krycek looked around the unfamiliar room he found himself in. The only piece of furniture in it was a wooden cradle, painted white. He walked over to it and looked at the young baby lying in the cradle, resting his arms on the edge. The little girl with fine, dark hair cooed again. He reached down to stroke her cheek but she was just beyond his reach. Resting his chest against the side of the crib, he stretched his arm down as far as he could. And no matter how he tried, he couldn't touch her. Maybe if he leaned over a little further....
Krycek woke with a start. He managed to catch himself before falling out of bed. He shoved himself back on the mattress and sighed. <Amanda, where are you?> he thought. It had been a dream he had several times before, and always ends the same way, him unable to touch her.
Krycek heard the front door open and close. He rolled over in bed and sat up, noting it was 10:30 AM. <Here I am always accusing Jess of being a late sleeper, and I've already spent half the morning in bed,> he thought. They had flipped a coin early the night before, betting on who would take Lindy to school and make a grocery run. Jess lost and had been up since 6:30 AM. He half expected her to come up stairs and razz him for being in bed still, but was surprised when she didn't show after ten minutes. Grabbing jeans and a shirt, he pulled them on and went downstairs.
He found her sitting in the darkened living room, her head in her hands. "Hey beautiful," Krycek said, dropping a kiss on her hair. He sat beside her and put an arm around her shoulder. "What's wrong?"
"Alex," she said with barely a sound. "I may have just ruined our chances of ever getting Amanda back."
"What?" Krycek blurted, feeling a chill stab through his heart. <Is that why I dreamed I couldn't reach her?>
Jess nodded. "When I came out of the grocery store, Cancerman was waiting for me with another proposition."
Krycek pulled her a little closer. Even before Jess had gotten pregnant, Cancerman had offered them protection if they did his dirty work. "What kind of proposition was it this time?"
Jess swallowed. Her eyes narrowed in anger and gleamed in grief. "I guess he figured that if I was willing to sleep with both you and Skinner, I wasn't choosy. He said that if I had sex with him on a regular basis, he would see to it that we would regain Amanda and she wouldn't be taken from us."
"That black lunged bastard!" Krycek roared. All the other offers had involved spying or thieving, nothing so intimate or degrading. The thought of Jess and Cancerman turned his stomach. "He's fucked with us one too many times. Consortium or no, I am going to *kill* that son of a bitch!"
"Alex, wait!" Jess had followed him and grabbed on to his arm. "For Amanda's sake we can't make him any madder. And believe me, I did make him mad."
Krycek took a deep breath as he realized that Jess had probably also lost her temper when confronted with such a choice. "What did you do?"
"I got angry," Jess said simply. "I once told Mulder that I would be capable of it, but I was just so... repulsed. I called him every swear word I could think of, plus invented a few new ones. I told him there was no way in hell that I would sleep with him."
He reached out and stroked her cheek. "And what happened?"
"He just stood there damned impassive, the way he always is and said something about just showing how little I loved my daughter by not accepting his generous offer." Her head bowed. "And then I really lost my temper."
<Lost her temper?> Krycek didn't like the sound of that. Jess had, once she had found out what she was, kept an iron tight leash on her more feral bloodthirsty reactions. "You didn't bite him, did you?"
Jess sighed and looked at the ceiling. She then stood and paced the room like a panther in a cage. "The parking lot was deserted, just me and him. I was so angry, I had partially Changed and didn't know it. I reached out and slapped him, not realizing until too late what shape I was in and that my claws weren't fully retracted. I didn't scratch him deeply, but enough to leave my mark. I don't think he believed that I actually did that and neither did I, at least not until he reached up and touched the blood oozing from his cuts." Stopping in front of the large picture window, she stared outside for a moment and then shut her eyes. "Then he told me I had just lost any chance of regaining Amanda."
He stood up and crossed the room to her and put his hands around her waist. "No wonder, Jess. In the labs, I never saw a werewolf raise a talon against a human master, especially him. He was trying to reassert his dominance over you, scare you back into submission." Krycek guided her back to the couch and sat her down.
"Whatever," Jess said. "At that point, I couldn't take any more. I jumped in the car and drove home. The groceries are still out in the car. I bet the melted ice cream and the upholstery look lovely together."
"We'll get it cleaned," he said. He wrapped his arms around her and nuzzled her neck.
Jess leaned against him and closed her eyes, trying to be brave. "It wasn't so much what he offered that made me angry. I half expected something like that." She bit her lip, trying to hold back her emotions. "What made me angry is that for five seconds I seriously considered doing it." She covered her eyes with her hands. "Oh God, Alex," she moaned. "I considered it! What have I become?"
Krycek rocked her gently. "You've become an incredible woman coping with an intolerable situation. I'm not mad at you for considering it. I'd only be upset if you agreed to it. Go ahead and let it out," he said, his eyes tearing as well. Jess began to sob inconsolably, afraid that she had lost her last chance to regain their daughter.
They both sat their and cried, trying to ease their grief. Eventually their tears did stop. Krycek stroked her hair. "Why don't you go upstairs and start a bubble bath. It'll help you feel better. And I promise to scrub your back."
"That does sound tempting." Jess wiped the tears from her eyes. "I'll go get it started." She stood up and kissed him. "Everything's going to be fine, right?"
Krycek tenderly kissed her in reply. "I promise," he whispered. "Now go upstairs. I'll be there in a few moments."
Jess nodded and gave him one last kiss. She turned and went upstairs. Krycek leaned back against the couch and rubbed his eyes tiredly. <He's gone too far this time,> Krycek thought. He stood up and looked at her laptop. He turned it on as he heard the water start running upstairs.
Focusing on the screen he moved the pointer to the mysterious piece of software. He double clicked it. A dialogue box appeared, offering two choices - 'send email' or 'chat.' Krycek chose the email option and typed a one line message.
"Please, we need your help."
Pausing for a moment, he folded his hands as if in prayer. <This could still be a trap,> he thought. <But I can't let this go on any longer. He's hurt her too much this time. It's time we took the offensive and took back our own.>
He could hear Jess moving around the upstairs. "Alex?" she called. "Are you coming?"
"I'll be there in a minute." With a sigh, he clicked the 'send message' button. <I hope this is the right thing to do.>
* * * * * * *
Krychekov sat in front of his computer, wondering if he had miscalculated. He had been certain that his son would have contacted him by now. <Perhaps he knows that I gave him that information,> he thought. <Perhaps his pride and anger a too great to overcome.>
As he prepared to log off his terminal, the 'new mail' icon started flashing. Krychekov guided his mouse to the blinking icon and clicked it. The mail screen came up and the new piece of mail was automatically opened.
He read the message and sighed in relief. <It appears that Mulder did not tell Alexi who gave him the box, unless Leahs is going behind his back and contacting me without Alexi knowing it,> Krychekov thought. <I will have to be careful that my identity does not become known, or else he will shy away, thinking that I am manipulating them.> And that was the last thing she wanted.
But his son's plea, even though made to a stranger, made him feel hopeful that their burnt bridges could be rebuilt. But right now he didn't have time to sit and contemplate. He had an appointment that could possibly help him help his son regain Amanda. <It is a dangerous request, but it may work,> he thought as he logged off and closed up his office.
Krychekov went outside and got into the waiting car. "Where to, sir?" the driver asked.
"The J. Edgar Hoover Building," was the terse answer. As he was driven there, he went over his plan in his mind. <If I can gain his trust, he would be a great source of information,> Krychekov thought.
The driver deposited him outside the gray building. Krychekov went inside and wove his way through the maze of floors, elevators, and offices to find the office he was looking for, the door open since he was expected. It would surprise most people to learn that it was not a dark place but brightly lit with several lamps and a large window, perhaps a vain attempt to counteract the shadowy life the occupant lead. It wasn't sparsely furnished, but there were no personal items, as if the owner had never really lead a life outside of his duty.
"Dmitri," Cancerman said in a falsely friendly tone, rising from his chair to offer the Russian his hand. "It has been a while. Have a seat. What can I do for you?"
Krychekov shook Cancerman's hand and sat down in the chair in front of the large mahogany desk. He idly wondered who or what gave the Cigarette Smoking Man the four parallel scratches on his cheek that were held closed with butterfly tape. "After helping you with the Tunguska incident, you told me if I needed a favor, just to ask. I am here about that promise."
Cancerman nodded, not certain he liked this turn of events. Krychekov had been instrumental in helping smuggle Fox Mulder, and the family he befriended, out of Russia without incident. Krychekov had bribed and coerced so skillfully that Mulder still probably didn't have a clue that the 'dangerous' post-gulag parts of his escape had been staged to keep it from looking too easy. It would pay to keep the Russian an ally, but he would make sure that any favor he would be asked to perform would put him ahead in the long run. "What do you need?"
Now for the delicate part. "I have been following with some interest the Loup Garou section of the Project, especially the breeding program. Amazing work has been done in that area."
"Yes," Cancerman said cautiously. "Although the survival rate is lower than we would like it to be, nine out of ten breedings produce a pregnancy. Among chosen adults, the Change's physical side is one hundred percent effective, although the psychic side is harder to replicate. What does that have to do with the favor?"
"I am looking into having a new bodyguard assigned to me. Why not one of the adults, to show off to other associates how successful the Training program has been."
Cancerman frowned. He had expected Krychekov to ask about seeing or obtaining Jess and Krycek's whelp. His own spies reported that Krycek had no contact with his father, but the bond between a father and a son was strong, even when all but ignored. He trusted Krychekov no more than he trusted Krychekov's son. <This could be worked to my advantage.> "That is arrangeable. I'll arrange to send to you some evaluation packets so you can choose an adult that will be compatible with your needs."
Krychekov nodded. "Then I will be on my way. Doing business with you has been the same as always."
It was a compliment only on the surface. "The feeling is mutual, Dmitri."
* * * * * * *
Jess eased down into the warm water, sliding in until her nose was just above the raspberry scented bubbles. <Alex was right,> she thought as her muscles relaxed. <I do feel better now, and I haven't even been in here thirty seconds.>
Even over the running water, she clearly heard Krycek moving downstairs. She had heard the chime of her computer as it powered up. Jess sighed and shut her eyes. She knew what he was doing. <I just hope it's not Cancerman or Uncle toying with us,> she thought sleepily.
When Krycek came upstairs, Jess was snoozing in the tub. He smiled as he knelt and looked at his lover, who was about to slip under the surface of the water at any moment. Ever so gently, he tilted her head back so her nose stayed clear of the foam.
Jess smiled and sat back up a little. "I thought you had forgotten me."
"Never." He leaned forward and chastely kissed her on the lips. As he pulled back, Jess put a suds covered hand behind his neck, pulling him in closer. "I'm a bit overdressed for the occasion," he murmured as she nuzzled his cheek.
"So take care of the problem," she whispered, withdrawing her hand.
"I will," he whispered huskily. He stood up and left the room. Jess wasn't sure why he left. She had expected him to strip off and dive into the tub. But she wasn't disappointed when he returned. Krycek stepped into the bathroom, wearing nothing but a skimpy, low slung towel around his hips and a large grin.
Jess ogled him appreciatively but with a raised eyebrow. "You're still overdressed."
Krycek's smile grew wider. "Not for long," he said. "But first I want to scrub your back like I promised. Sit up."
Jess rolled forward and scooted towards the faucet. Krycek shucked the towel and climbed into the tub behind her, framing his legs around hers. Grabbing a thick washcloth and a cake of soap, he worked up a rich lather. Krycek began tracing her spine with a firm circular motion. Jess trembled and gave a low moan. He slowly began washing her back, his hands straying closer and closer to her sides. When he found a tense muscle, he massaged it until he felt it ease under his hands. As Jess relaxed further, he began kissing her neck.
Jess gave another soft moan and leaned back against him. Krycek's lips found the tender spot between neck and shoulder and began to nibble, rubbing the washcloth across her stomach. Jess squirmed against him. He gave up any pretense of 'clean' thoughts and brought his hands to her chest, cupping her breasts, thumbing her nipples. Jess groaned and reached behind her, searching by feel for his erection. Finding it, she squeezed lightly his steel wrapped in velvet. They spent several long minutes teasing each other with feather light touches followed by firm strokes.
Finally, Jess's desire got the better of her patience. She rolled over and pressed her body against Krycek's. One arm went around his waist, another around his shoulders, and she pressed her mouth to his. Licking and nibbling his lips, their tongues darted and dueled. Krycek's hands slid from her mid back to her ass scratching her lightly with his nails, relishing the whimpering noises she made.
Given the confining space in the tub, it should have been impossible for Krycek and Jess to switch positions. But somehow they managed it, sloshing half the water and foam out of the tub. Reaching for a towel, he folded it and put it behind her head to cushion it from the hard ceramic edge. She pulled his head back down for another breath stealing kiss. Caught up in the moment where foreplay ended and the actual lovemaking began, Krycek paused looked into her glowing eyes.
Jess reached up and stroked his cheek. He was staring at her as if he had something to say, but couldn't phrase it. "Is something wrong, Alex?" she asked, concerned.
Krycek pressed his lips to Jess's forehead. "When I first made love to you," he whispered against her skin. "I thought I couldn't love you any more than I did then." Reaching down, he positioned his cock at her entrance. "I was wrong," he whispered as he pushed forward.
Jess made a strangled noise and tilted her hips, encouraging him to go as deep as he could as he filled her. Krycek returned her sob with one of his own and held still, savoring the feeling of her surrounding him. Jess also was motionless, wanting this moment to stretch through eternity. But eventually, she clenched her muscles sheathing him, encouraging him to start moving.
Krycek really didn't need to be encouraged. Starting slowly, he began to thrust, but quickly lost control as Jess ran her nails up and down his back.
He groaned and Jess answered with one of her own. Sensing he was close to coming, Krycek reached down and stroked her clitoris repeatedly, amazed he could differentiate between her wetness and the water.
That was all it took. "Alex!" Jess shouted and convulsed, splashing violently. Krycek's thrusts became more frantic as Jess writhed beneath him, sloshing even more water over the sides of the tub. And then with a final grunt, he felt his seed shooting deep inside of her.
They held each other close, exhausted and sated. Eventually, they were shivering as what was left of the water chilled to room temperature. Krycek lifted his head. "That settles it," he said, sitting up. "We need more room to do this right. We're getting a large whirlpool tub."
Jess laughed. "I think we did well considering the cramped quarters." She sat up and surveyed the puddles of water and foam that had pooled on the floor. "Who's going to clean this up?" she asked with a sigh.
Krycek grinned at the despondence in her voice. But her rapid mood swings were worrying him. "Let's just throw some towels down," he said, nuzzling her neck. "But first let's get out and dry off."
As Jess slowly gathered her legs under herself and gingerly stepped out of the bathtub, Krycek admired her tight backside and trim legs. He stood up and also stepped out of the tub, but not as cautiously as Jess. Krycek slipped and fell on his ass. "Ouch!"
Hearing the thud, Jess turned. She smiled slightly and offered him a hand. Krycek took it and braced himself against her weight and pulled upright. Krycek didn't let go of her hand. Instead, he pulled her against his body and wrapped an arm around her waist. Jess leaned her head against his chest. Krycek rocked her back and forth. "I used the CD ROM," he whispered into her hair. "We can't handle this alone anymore."
Jess nodded. "You're right. We need help. I just hope..."
He lifted his fingers to her lips. "So do I, Jess." He still rocked back and forth. "I think we should keep the sex part of the offer from Lindy. She has a hard enough time understanding us and Walter as it is. Us sleeping with Walter, but refusing to sleep with Cancerman would probably confuse the hell out of her."
Jess regarded him with a half smile. "Alex, *I* have a hard enough time understanding us and Walter."
Krycek grinned back. "Do I hear some guilt creeping into your voice?" he asked, grabbing a towel.
"Just the 'nice girl' in me horrified at what I've become." Jess also grabbed a towel and wiped herself dry. She dropped the towel onto one of the larger puddles. "This isn't exactly how I figured my sex life would be."
"Jess, with all I've done, I didn't think I would have *a* life, let alone a sex life with two wonderful lovers." He also wiped himself off and dropped the towel onto another puddle. "I just wish I could offer you a normal life. You know, marriage, kids, a home without bugging devices."
"Alex, we've talked about this." Jess put her hands on his shoulders. "With what we are, I think a 'normal' life is out of the question," Jess laughed. "I've never expected it from you. I don't care if we never get married, as long as we're together."
Krycek took both her hands in his. "Jess, I promise you that someday, somehow, we will have a normal life without the Consortium hanging over us." He looked into her brown eyes and saw the love shining in his green ones reflected there. "I will marry you."
An impish looked appeared in Jess's eyes. "And what about Walter?"
Krycek shrugged his shoulder. "We'll figure out something when we jump off that bridge."
Jess smiled. She leaned forward and kissed him with an open mouth. Krycek moaned and pulled her tight against his body. Jess began a sensual exploration of his mouth with her tongue. Krycek whimpered and started to tremble.
Jess broke the kiss and pulled back to look at him. "Alex, I know we're not going to get married anytime soon, but would you like to start practicing for the honeymoon?"
Krycek nodded and pulled her to their bed, grinning. "Practice makes perfect, don't you think?"
* * * * * * *
Cancerman was ready to deliver his report. "There have been several unauthorized accesses to the computer files on the Loup Garou section of the Project."
Well Manicured Man's eyes narrowed. "Have you been able to determine who has been doing this?"
Cancerman shook his head. "The exact identity of the hacker is unknown, but the records indicate that access began shortly before Leahs and Krycek killed Covarrubias."
"But you have your suspicions?" Well Manicured Man prodded.
Cancerman couldn't keep some satisfaction out of his voice. "Yes."
Well Manicured Man didn't like the sound of that. He still wanted to woo his niece into working for the Consortium. If she were causing problems, she may have to be dealt with. "Do you think that my niece has something to do with it?"
Again Cancerman shook his head. "Although they have considerable computer knowledge, neither Leahs nor Krycek have the level of expertise it requires to have breached the security measures in place. One of the records compromised was the location where their whelp is being reared. Neither of them have shown any signs of this knowledge, let alone mounted a reclamation attempt. If they are directing a third party, the information has not been given to them." Now was time to air his suspicions. "Also, I feel that we are dealing with an internal matter."
Well Manicured Man sounded relieved. "So you believe the intruder is working on from inside?"
"Krychekov has started to take an interest in that section of the Project." He paused to light up a cigarette. "He has specifically asked for a werewolf bodyguard."
Well Manicured Man nodded pensively. If Krychekov was involved, there would be a good chance that soon Krychekov's son and his niece would be. "I see no reason we can't comply with his request," he finally said.
* * * * * * *
Krycek sat on the living room couch, trying to watch the TV. Nothing he saw was holding his interest. And the house was quiet since Lindy was in school and Jess out shopping with Scully. He clicked off the television, having decided to just sit and enjoy the silence.
A knock on the door made him jump. Krycek got up and looked through the spyhole. "Hello, Mulder," Krycek said after cracking it open. <He should know that Jess is out with Scully,> he thought, since Mulder usually came to see Jess and him together. "Jess isn't here."
"I didn't come here to talk to Jess," Mulder said. "I came here to talk to you."
Krycek nodded and opened the door wider. Mulder walked in. "Like what you've done to the place," Mulder said, looking at the upholstered couch, the free standing lamps, and the oak bookcase.
Krycek grunted an acknowledgement. "Can I get you anything? Beer?"
Mulder nodded. Krycek went into the kitchen and returned with two longnecks. He handed one to Mulder who was now sitting on the couch.
Before he twisted off the cap, Mulder looked at the label. "Red Wolf Beer?"
"What did you expect us to drink? Coors Lite?" Both men smiled at the joke. Krycek uncapped his bottle and took a long swig. Mulder did the same. They sat in an uncomfortable silence that Krycek finally broke. "What do you want to talk about, Mulder?"
Mulder leaned forward. "You know I've forgiven Jess and you for withholding the truth about Cancerman being my father. In fact, I've almost forgiven you for everything. But there is something you and I have to discuss."
Krycek had a good idea what would come next. "What do you want to talk about, Mulder?"
Mulder's words were without emotion. "I want to talk about the night my father died."
Krycek sighed and looked at the bottle he held in his lap. "I had fucked up big time by blowing my cover with you," he slowly began. "Cancerman told me I could regain my good standing by another assignment, an assassination. He didn't tell me who it was though. I figured it was one of your informants. And at that point, I was desperate to get back into the Consortium's good graces, so I accepted."
"Cardinal drove me to the house. I had no idea who lived there, until that son of a bitch smoker told me afterwards. I broke into the bathroom and waited. And waited. And waited. I was in there a good two hours before your father came in. The rest you know. Except for the part that Cancerman decided that I was no longer useful, and almost killed me by car bomb. I decided to buy my life with the digital tape. I also decided that the further away I could get, the better." He stared straight ahead, not willing to look at Mulder. "And I've been punished in some way every day since."
Both remained silent, Krycek waiting for Mulder to say something, Mulder trying to sort out his feeling. Only when the phone rang did either of them make a move. Krycek reached over and punched the speaker phone. "Hello?"
Both started when they heard the Cigarette Smoking Man's voice on the other end of the line. "Mr. Krycek, I'm glad I reached you."
Mulder leaned forward to say something. Krycek made a motion for Mulder to be silent. He reached for the tape recorder next to the phone and hit the record button. "What the hell do you want?" he growled.
Cancerman's voice didn't waver one bit. "I spoke with your lover a little while ago. She rejected a rather generous offer of mine."
"Sorry," Krycek snarled. "But Jess and I don't find her having to fuck you generous, you tar lunged son of a bitch."
Mulder's jaw dropped. He knew that Jess and Krycek were being taunted, but had no idea that the Cigarette Smoking Man had made such a low blow. He knew that Jess was still trying to reconcile in her mind the fact that she was sleeping with two men, and this had to be a painful reminder of what others would think her if it became common knowledge - a whore willing to accommodate anyone who could make it worth her while.
Mulder was so wrapped up in that revelation that he almost missed Cancerman's response. "Mr. Krycek, I would watch your language, or I might withdraw my offer to you before I make it."
Krycek paled, but kept a hold of his anger. "You aren't asking me to take her place?"
"To let me fuck you? You are cute, but I don't go that way," Cancerman chuckled. "I was going to offer you a job. In return, I can give you visitation rights to your daughter."
Krycek stiffened. He looked at Mulder from under raised eyebrows. "And what would that job be?" he asked, although both men had a good idea of what the Smoker's next words would be.
Mulder and Krycek were staring each other in the eyes when Cancerman spilled the details. "You have somewhat regained Agent Mulder's trust. All I want you to do is report to me anything he tells you about his cases, for now. In return, depending on the quality and quantity of the information, you get to spend an hour to half a day with Amanda."
Krycek didn't think about it for a moment. "No deal, bastard," he snarled.
There was a moment's pause. Mulder could almost see Cancerman lighting up another cigarette. "The offer still stands, Mr. Krycek. But it is not indefinite." There was the abrupt sound of the dial tone.
Krycek sighed and hit the stop button on the recorder. He also shut off the speaker phone. "Another one to add to the collection," he muttered as he ejected the tape and wrote the time and date on it.
Mulder raised his eyebrows. "Collection?"
Krycek nodded. "He calls about once a week with some offer. Most of the times it involves Amanda, sometimes not. We decided to tape them to see if we could discover a pattern. There's a shoe box full of these under our bed."
"How long has this been going on?" Mulder asked, leaning forward.
Krycek sighed and looked at the ceiling, calculating. "On and off, since Farnsworth tried to kill me, and Cancerman brought that alien in to heal me. But it's been a lot more frequent after Jess was returned."
"Alex," Mulder asked. "Why didn't you tell me and Dana about this a long time ago?"
Krycek shook his head, a self-depreciating smile on his face. "If I told you about these calls, would you have believed that they weren't a set up, that I wasn't trying to trick you into trusting me?"
Mulder nodded. Anytime before Jess's disappearance, he would have believed it was a set up. But he had seen how desperate Krycek had been to find her and was reminded of himself when Scully had been taken. And as driven as he was to find his sister Samantha, Krycek must be even more driven to find his daughter. Somewhere along the line, the impossible, or at least what he once thought was impossible, happened. He began to trust Krycek once again. "But I don't think you're trying to trick me now, Alex."
Krycek nodded. He had noticed that Mulder was starting to call him Alex again. Maybe Mulder did actually believe him. "You don't know what a comfort that is." He looked thoughtfully into the distance. "Jess and I," he said with a sigh, "we can't continue like this much longer, Mulder."
Mulder looked at Krycek, concerned. He noticed for the first time the dark circles under his eyes. The young man, who wasn't that heavyset to begin with, had lost more than sleep. There was a haunted look in his eyes, one that he had seen many times before in the mirror. <He's right. They can't go on like this much longer.>
* * * * * * *
Jess and Scully had gone out to do some female bonding. They had gone shopping and spent time talking about trivial things. Now that they were sitting in the restaurant, there were serious things to discuss.
"Jess," Scully began hesitantly. "Fox told me about you, Krycek, and Skinner."
Jess stared at Scully, her brown eyes wide. "How much did he tell you?"
Jess sighed and toyed with her salad. "Believe me, when I first agreed to it, I had no idea it would turn out like this."
"But Jess, why did you agree to it?" Scully asked.
Jess put her fork down. "The original terms were that I couldn't know about it ahead of time. But I stumbled across Alex and Walter accidentally. At that point, we were desperate for information about Amanda. It's a desperation I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy," she finished quietly.
Scully shook her head. "Jess, I still don't understand..."
"I don't mean to sound catty, but until you have a child of your own, you really *can't* understand." Jess paused for a moment, as if coming to a decision. "Dana, there is another reason I had to become involved. I'll tell you, but you can't tell Mulder. At least, not yet."
Scully stiffened. "Jess, I won't keep secrets, especially one that...."
"It's not one that will hurt Mulder, or betray him or you. It's something that Alex wants me to keep quiet until he feels more comfortable about talking about what happened to him." Jess sighed and looked down. "Lindy and I aren't the only ones who have experienced rape."
Scully's jaw dropped. "Alex was raped?"
Jess nodded soberly. "By Alpha Wolf, the bastard." She sighed deeply. "Cancerman knew about it, of course, and decided to use it. If he wanted the info on Amanda, he had to sleep with Walter. When I found out, I couldn't let him face it alone. And then things just kinda developed from there."
"I think I see," Scully said.
Jess stared at the tablecloth. "Listen, I know that you think I'm a slut for doing it. And I don't blame you. But I hope it won't affect our friendship beyond repair."
Scully shook her head. "No I don't think that at all." In her cases in the FBI, she had seen many twisted acts committed in the name of love. And if she didn't know Jess so well, she would have lumped Jess right into that group. But the more she thought about it, the less Jess seemed to fit that assumption. With her history of sexual abuse and how devoted she was to Krycek, her actions, while not seeming logical, seemed fitting for her and the situation. "I think that you did what you thought was right. I don't think it will affect our friendship."
Jess smiled, clearly relieved. "Thanks, Dana. I need all the friends I can get."
* * * * * * *
Cancerman hung up the phone with a grimly satisfied smile. He hadn't really expected Krycek to take him up on his offer of a job, no more than he had thought Jess would agree to sleep with him. If they had agreed it would have been a pleasant, but unexpected, bonus. If they did not, the constant offers and uncertainty about their daughter would wear down their resistance and make them easier to manipulate.
Picking up a pen, he prepared to start scratching notes on the legal pad in front of him. He reached over and flipped a switch to the on position. Krycek's voice filled the air, relayed in real time via one of the many bugs planted in the Krycek home. "Jess and I," he said with a sigh, "we can't continue like this much longer, Mulder."
Cancerman raised an eyebrow. <Agent Mulder was in the room?> Even better. Now his former henchman was being reminded of his disloyalty in front of the man he betrayed. The lower Krycek felt, the more easily he could be persuaded to work for Cancerman once again.
He heard Mulder answer Krycek. "I know it's difficult, Alex." Cancerman blinked at Mulder's use of Krycek's first name. He knew that Mulder's attitude towards Krycek had changed, but wasn't aware that the FBI agent was that trusting. "But hang in there. I'm not saying it gets easier, but you learn to live with the ache, eventually." There was a pause. "How much does Lindy know about this?"
Krycek sighed again. "She knows that Cancerman approached us about working for him. She doesn't know about the request for sexual favors."
Cancerman smiled to himself as he made a note of that comment. <So Leahs and Krycek are hiding things from the girl. That presents many interesting possibilities.> Although he would never touch the thirteen year old in a sexual way, here was a golden opportunity to test how devoted Lindy was to Jess.
There was a firm but quiet knock on the door. He checked the clock on the wall and turned the switch to the off position. The whole conversation was being recorded, so he wouldn't miss any information because of his appointment. Cancerman opened his office door to a young, long haired brunette. "You wished to see me, master?"
"Come in and sit down," he told the human looking female. "I have an assignment for you..."
* * * * * * *
After talking to Krycek, Mulder decided to call on the Lone Gunmen and check their progress. "So what have you been able to find out?"
"Surprisingly enough, a lot," Beyers said. "One of the printouts included in that file had the address for an computer network. We were able to break into the system."
"You're not the only one interested in this kid," Frohike said. "Our hacker discovered another hacker's entry point, so he put a transparent patch on it. It made his job much easier. Whenever our mystery hacker logged on, we got duplicates of his keystrokes and whatever data he discovered. Plus our guy could sign on, but it only looked like only one person was breaching security."
Langley raised his eyebrows. "We're puzzled why you're taking such an interest in her, Mulder. The tests show she's not your's or Scully's."
Mulder paled. Was Jess's secret out? "You guys ran genetic tests?"
"No. But neither Scully or you are the right blood type for this child to be yours," Beyers said calmly. "We're curious."
Mulder got up to leave. "She's a friend's. Do you remember Jessica Leahs?"
"Oh yeah, I do remember the lovely Miss Leahs," Frohike sighed. He turned back to Langley and Beyers. "Sexy short haired brunette who said she'd never sleep with me because she'd be afraid of contracting mange.."
The pair nodded. It was hard to forget Jess after hearing some of her more outrageous, humor laced insults, especially the ones she made to people she really liked. Several years ago when Jess had been visiting Mulder, seeking help getting legal papers for Lindy, she had been introduced to Lone Gunmen. Jess and Frohike had hit it off nicely, him 'hitting' on her all night, she humorously 'repulsing' him. "Didn't we help her get a birth certificate and adoption papers for her girl?" Langley said. As Mulder nodded, he remembered something more. "And isn't she sleeping with Krycek?"
Mulder nodded again. "Ummm hmmm."
Langley gestured at the picture, stating the obvious conclusion. "Then this is their kid?"
"Yup. Jess was abducted while pregnant, and found after she delivered. They have no idea where their girl is."
Beyers gave a low whistle. "Then that explains it."
Mulder tilted his head. "Explains what?"
"Our hacker had to pull out after a day. He detected a second patch into the system, one placed there by the file's owners," Frohike said. "The files are still accessible, but now anyone who hacks in will be tripping alarms left and right. Our guy managed to get out without being detected, but it was close."
"So whoever is maintaining the files knows that his security has been breached."
"Yes," Langley responded. "But the gateway is wide open. It's after you log on and connect that your ass is grass. The file owner wants the original hacker's identity trapped neatly as quickly as possible."
* * * * * * *
"I can't wait until we get into high school," Mary announced.
Lindy looked at her friend as she fiddled with her locker. "But we're top dogs here in junior high. When we get into high school, well be the bottom rung of the ladder again.
"But we'll high schoolers, not kids anymore," Mary explained. She picked up her backpack. "I can't wait until I get my driver's license."
"You can't wait for a lot of things," Lindy laughed. She opened her locker and paused, surprised by at the sight of an audio tape laying on top of her books, next to the walkman she listened to as she walked home.
Mary's voice jolted her out of her thoughts. "Are you coming Lindy?"
"No, I forgot something in Miss Heinrichsen's class," Lindy lied. "Go on. I'll see you Monday."
Mary rolled her eyes. Lindy was her good friend, but she could get into these moods sometimes. "Okay. Give me a call sometime this weekend. Bye, Lindy." Mary turned and walked away.
"See ya, Mary." After she was sure that Mary was out of sight, Lindy picked up the tape, examining it carefully. There was nothing written on the label to indicate it had been recorded on, but the notch that allowed you to erase it was gone. Curious, she popped it in her walkman and pressed play. She was surprised to hear Jess's voice. "We got another offer?"
"Yeah," Krycek said. "The usual - 'spy on Mulder and you can see Amanda'. And Mulder knows about them now. He was here when I got the call."
Jess's voice sounded tired. "Alex, maybe I should take him up on his latest offer to me. Mulder would still trust you and it would only be my body..."
"No!" was the shouted response. Krycek continued after a moment's pause and a deep sigh. "The only reason he offered it was to torment you. If you said you'd sleep with him, he'd probably change the terms to something worse. And then renege on his end of the deal once you had gone through with it."
"But there is a chance..." Jess sounded truly desperate.
There was the sound of someone walking across a wooden floor. "But I don't want you to take that chance..."
The tape snapped off at that point. Lindy was stunned. She knew that overtures had been made, offers of safety, money, and parenthood if Jess, she and Krycek worked for the Cancerman. But this reminded her of the twisted games *he* would play with her. Her molester didn't only screw her body, he screwed with her mind. <Maybe,> Lindy thought, <since Jess and Alex don't want to play, Cancerman will accept a substitute...>.
* * * * * * *
Krychekov sat in his office in the Russian Embassy, looking over the latest paperwork. It was unrelated to his search for his granddaughter, but that was what his thoughts kept returning to. He was still debating exactly what to do with the information he had acquired.
His aide opened the door a crack. "Sir, your new bodyguard has arrived."
Krychekov put his paperwork into a file. "Show him in," he said as he put the file into a drawer and locked it.
The aide nervously pushed the door open wider and gestured. Krychekov blinked in surprise. A tall, *female* stepped into the room behind the aide. She looked as human as Krychekov, from her light brown shoulder length hair and eyes to her well proportioned body. She was attractive to humans, and probably to werewolves as well. "Mr. Krychekov," she said, offering her hand.
Krychekov shook it, but kept eye contact until the werewolf dropped her gaze, as he had been instructed. He had to establish dominance from minute one. "What am I to call you?"
The werewolf bobbed her head differentially. "I no longer have a human name, sir. At the labs, everyone called me Warg."
<An ugly name for a beautiful woman,> Krychekov idly thought. The word was vaguely familiar. Krychekov couldn't help but feel a shudder, which he did not show in the least. "Very well, Warg. My aide will show you your quarters. You will assume your duties tomorrow. Is there anything you require?"
Warg stopped to think a moment. "No, nothing at this time, sir." She followed Krychekov's aide, clearly ill at ease besides the lycanthrope, out of the office.
His new bodyguard's name teased at the corner of Krychekov's mind. He looked in two English dictionaries and an encyclopedia to no avail. Finally he found the reference in a guide to literary characters.
"Warg - the evil race of wolves under the command of Sauron in J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy."
* * * * * * *
<Almost there,> Skinner thought to himself as his sedan turned the last corner. He had gotten back from an out of town conference earlier in the morning. He came home to his apartment in Crystal City and unpacked. And he proceeded to drive himself crazy pacing the apartment.
It eventually dawned on Skinner what his problem was when he tried to go to sleep. He was lonely and the bed seemed empty. It had been two weeks since he had seen Jess or Krycek. They had talked on the phone while on the trip, and when he returned home, but it wasn't the same. Unlike Sharon, Jess and Krycek both accepted him where he was. Neither pushed to know what he was feeling or reveal anything more than he was willing to say, to be something he wasn't. That trust and acceptance was a comfort he wasn't used to feeling. Tonight he wasn't particularly seeking sex from them, just companionship.
Skinner pulled up to the house just in time to see Lindy sneaking out of her upper story window and start to climb down the trellis. <Where the hell is she going at ten at night?> He jumped out of the car and walked to a few feet from where she would touch down.
Lindy didn't look down but concentrated on finding her next handhold and foothold by feel. She worked her way down cautiously, but swiftly. After two minutes, she stepped to the ground. Lindy looked up and smiled, certain that no one inside the house had discovered her escape. Then she turned around and her face fell. "Bust-ted," she said, looking up at Skinner standing there with his arms crossed.
"Correct." He looked at Lindy, shocked. The young teen was dressed in black bicycle shorts and a tight black tank top, revealing a body that was developing a woman's curves. She was allowed to wear some makeup - foundation, lip gloss, and occasionally a neutral eyeshadow, but nothing like what she had plastered on. She had used Jess's blush and mascara freely. Also, she had gotten a hold of ice blue eyeshadow and liner and fire engine red lipstick. Her hair was ratted out skillfully, giving it an artfully careless tousled look. Skinner was reminded of a cheap street corner hooker. "What are you doing out here?"
"I... um.... Well, you see...," Lindy stalled, trying to come up with an excuse. She obviously hadn't considered the possibility that she would be caught.
Skinner folded his arms across his chest. "Actually, let's wait until we're inside so you only have to explain once."
Lindy hung her head. She had heard Skinner's tone of voice enough times from Jess to know what it meant. She turned around and marched up the stairs, Skinner close behind her, pulling out his keys. When he opened the door to the empty living room, he yelled out. "Hello?"
Skinner heard Krycek call out a greeting. "Hey, Walter! We're in the kitchen."
Lindy looked up at Skinner hopefully. Jess and Krycek obviously hadn't missed her yet. Maybe she could convince Skinner to let her sneak back up stairs if she promised not to leave the house tonight?
No such luck. "Come on," Skinner said to Lindy, gesturing towards the kitchen door. They both walked into the room to see Krycek and Jess sitting at a table stacked with bills, a checkbook, and a calculator.
"Walter? Who are you talking to?" Jess said, punching numbers into the calculator. She glanced up and did a double take. "*Lindy*?!?!?!?"
Krycek looked up when he heard the surprise and shock in Jess's voice. "What the hell?!?" he exclaimed.
"I caught her sneaking outside," Skinner said gruffly. "And I think she was just about to explain where she was going."
"I was going out," Lindy said with a stubborn set of her jaw. She didn't want to say what she was up to.
"Not like *that* you are, Alinda Ann Leahs," Jess snarled, invoking Lindy's full name as only a mother when truly pissed off can. She broke eye contact to check the clock. "And not at 10:13 at night."
"Now, where were you going?" Krycek asked. "And who were you going to meet?"
Lindy sighed and looked down at her lap. "I found a tape in my backpack today," she began. "It was a recording of you two talking about Cancerman's offers to both of you."
Jess's and Krycek's eyes widened and their jaws dropped. "You were going to give Cancerman a choice?" Krycek whispered, stunned.
Skinner looked confused when Lindy nodded. "Cancerman's offers? Going to give him a choice? What are you talking about?"
Jess had stood up and went to Lindy. "We'll explain later, Walter." She put her arms around the girl. "Lindy," she said, looking into the girl's blue eyes. "I won't let one of my daughters, no matter how willing, sacrifice herself for the other." She leaned her cheek against Lindy's head. "Let's go upstairs and wash this stuff off your face and get you back in bed." She looked back at Krycek. "You'll explain?"
Krycek nodded. Jess and Lindy stood. "I'll be back down in a while," Jess said. Skinner sat down in the chair she vacated. He could vaguely hear Jess talking to Lindy, her voice trailing off as they walked into the living room. "First of all, you're coloring is so different from mine that my blush doesn't look good..."
Skinner turned to Krycek. He was surprised to see how tired his lover looked. <Dog tired,> Skinner thought, repressing a slight snicker. It worried him that it was the same tired look that Jess had. "What was that about?" And looking at a very weary Krycek, he suddenly realized what probably happened, and cursed himself for not catching on sooner. "What did he offer and when did he do it?"
Krycek sighed. "The most recent one was yesterday when Jess was at the grocery store."
"'Most recent?'" Skinner repeated, stunned. "I think you'd better tell me the whole story."
* * * * * * *
The young man sat in front of the terminal, clicking away at the keyboard. Late night was when he preferred to do his hacking, less chance of being interrupted by other computers or people.
He was inside the host computer and working towards the root path that contained the information he was seeking. He checked it often, hoping that more information would appear. Unfortunately, nothing new had been added recently.
He did hear something, the sound of people approaching. He shook his head in disgust. He preferred to do his hacking without people standing over his shoulder. The door to his room opened. "And this is our computer room," Krychekov's aide's voice said.
<What is he doing? Giving a goddamn tour?> Hacker though. He turned around and fell in lust with the brunette woman standing behind the aide. This five foot beauty with light brown, long hair, dark eyes and a lush figure was something out of one his fantasies. Hacker was so intent on mentally undressing the new woman that he missed entirely the aide's introduction. And then the aide prepared to move on, but the woman seemed to be staring at him intently. Hacker stared dumbly back. Then the woman broke into a smile, turned and left the room. But before she did, she glanced back at him suggestively.
Hacker leaned back in the chair, putting his hands behind his head. <Some days you just can't put a foot wrong,> he thought with a grin.
* * * * * * *
Jess sat down on the bed next to her daughter. "Lindy, you know how much I love you."
Lindy had finished cleaning off the makeup and was now in a flannel gown. The girl now looked like the thirteen old she was. "I love you a lot too. That's why I was going to do it."
"I know." Jess bowed her head. "But I would never ask you to sacrifice your integrity or sexuality like that."
Lindy's eyes widened in confusion. "But Alex...?"
"Alex is an adult. He can make his own decisions. But you are a teenager, a very mature one, but not an adult." Jess sighed and shook her head. "As much as I want to find Amanda, I don't want to see you hurt."
Lindy leaned forward to rest against Jess's side. "I could have spied on Mulder easily. And if he chose sex, it probably wouldn't have been any worse than I've had done to me before. I don't think Cancerman could have been any more perverted than *he* was."
Jess put an arm around her. "Lindy, that's not the point. I don't want you to get hurt physically or mentally. And there is an emotional side to sex that you really won't understand until you're older. And you've been hurt so much that way. I don't want to see you hurt anymore."
"I'm sorry, Jess. I promise I won't do either thing," Lindy said, hugging her. "I love you."
"It's okay, Lindy." Jess rested her cheek against the blond head. "I love you too. Now get to sleep, okay."
"Okay." Lindy slid under the covers and rolled onto her side. Patches the cat, who had slipped into the room unnoticed, jumped up on the bed and curled up beside Lindy.
Jess pulled the covers up to her shoulders and placed a kiss on her cheek. She crossed the room to the door and turned off the lights. "Good night, Lindy."
Jess heard a quiet "good night," as she pulled the door shut. She leaned against it and put her head in her hands. <What are we becoming?> Jess thought, tears coming to her eyes.
She heard the sound of someone walking up the stairs. Jess felt strong yet gentle hands encircle her wrists, pulling her hands away from her face. She looked up to see Skinner's brown eyes regarding her seriously. "Why didn't you come to me about this?" he whispered.
"You're in such a precarious position, we didn't want to endanger you any further," Jess said quietly. "Can we finish this conversation elsewhere?" she asked, gesturing with her head behind her.
Skinner nodded. His grip shifted from her wrists to one of her hands and he guided her to the bedroom. "How long has he been making offers?" he asked, rubbing his thumb against her palm.
"Since he had Alex healed after fighting with Jake," Jess said. "The workings of the deals change, except for two basic things. We do him a favor, we get to see Amanda."
Krycek stepped into the room. "Everything's locked up downstairs. I'm assuming you want to spend the night, Walter."
"I really hadn't planned to, but since your offering..." Skinner trailed off.
Jess pulled her hand from Skinner's and dropped down to sit on the bed. "I don't mean to be a downer, but I'm not up to sex tonight. I'm just overloaded."
"That's fine with me," Krycek said. He also sat on the bed and stroked her back.
Skinner nodded. "I'm tired myself. I'm sure we'll make up for it some other time."
Without any further discussion, they got ready for bed. Only when they were under the covers, Jess in the middle, did a thought occur to her. "Should I move to the outside? I mean, in case you two want to..."
Skinner shushed her with a kiss. "Just go to sleep," he whispered, putting an arm across her body to rest on Krycek's hip. Krycek copied the movement, so his hand rested on Skinner's waist. Jess, locked into place between the two men, gave a soft sigh and relaxed. A few seconds after closing her eyes, she was asleep.
* * * * * * *
Even in sleep, Skinner could feel the hair on the back of his neck rising. Waking up, he recognized the sensation. It was the same thing he felt whenever he saw the old woman.
He rolled onto his back and opened his eyes. Skinner was surprised to see Jess standing at the foot of the bed. <But she's right beside me!> he thought, stunned. He could feel Jess's body pressed against his side. He peered closer at the stranger in the white dress. The woman did look amazingly like Jess - same oval face, same nose, and same coloring. Except this stranger had deep sapphire blue eyes and lighter brown hair that fell to her waist. She was staring at Jess intently, sorrow, pity, and love all mixed in her glance.
Her gaze shifted to Skinner. Her eyes widened, making her thought clear - <Oh *shit*! He wasn't supposed to see me.> The woman turned and fled through the door faster than Skinner thought was humanly possible.
Skinner leapt from the bed, startling Jess and Krycek awake. "Wha' goin' on?" Jess sleepily asked, raising up on one arm.
His response made her wake up instantly. "There's an intruder in the house."
But a thorough search revealed nothing. "I don't understand it," Skinner muttered, now downstairs in the kitchen. "I *know* I saw someone standing at the foot of our bed."
"We've searched this house basement to attic," Krycek said. "If anyone had been here, we would have scented them a long time ago."
Jess was at the stove, heating water for hot chocolate for her and Lindy. "Why don't you describe this person?"
Skinner nodded his head. "The odd thing was that she looked like you, Jess."
"But with long hair and blue eyes," Jess, Krycek, and Lindy finished together.
Lindy rolled her eyes. "Told ya that we should have told Walter about Rachel," she said with a trace of smugness.
"Told me about who?" The only Rachel that Skinner knew of connected to Jess was her dead sister. He looked from Jess to Krycek "Jess? Alex? What's going on?"
Jess brought the kettle to the table and sat it on a metal trivet. She sat down and sighed. "How to put this," she murmured, tapping her forefinger against the table.
Skinner raised an eyebrow. "Don't tell me the house is haunted?"
Krycek bit his lower lip. "Not exactly. I guess you could call her a guardian spirit."
"Rachel tends to appear in my life at times of severe stress," Jess said with a shrug of her shoulders. "She's never harmed anyone. She just... I don't think I can explain," she said shaking her head.
Skinner nodded his head. Jess's inability to explain Rachel's presence in her life was like him trying to explain bond between him and the old woman. You consciously couldn't ever express what it was, but you knew and understood it on some level. "Would you believe that I understand what you mean perfectly?"
* * * * * * *
Jess woke up at six am, awake and edgy almost instantly. Wedged back to back with Krycek and belly to belly with Skinner, she shifted restlessly trying to find a comfortable position. She rolled over cautiously, uncertain why she was uneasy. There was something other than Lindy's revelation and Skinner's sighting of Rachel last night troubling her. She raised her head and her eyes rested on the calendar hanging on the wall. And then the reason became clear to her. <I'm two days late,> she thought. Then she remembered the last time she missed a period. <No!> she thought, shaking her head. <I *can't* be pregnant. Dana said it was impossible.>
She cautiously started to inch her way around one of the sleeping bodies next to her, not wanting either one to wake up. The springs squeaked under her. Krycek sighed and flopped onto his stomach. ~What's wrong Jess? Cramps?~
Jess bit her lower lip. ~No. I'm not cramping. And that's got me worried. Let me out.~
Still half asleep, Krycek rolled over and sat up. Jess swung her legs behind him and got out of bed. <Worried about *not* cramping?> he puzzled. He didn't comprehend what she was talking about until she was half way to the bathroom. ~Jess, you don't think you're...~
~I'm not sure.~ Jess turned back to look at him. ~And if I am, we've got some serious decisions ahead of us. I've got a test on hand and I'm going to take it.~
Krycek sighed and flopped back down. <If she is pregnant, who is the father, me or Walter? And what will the Consortium do?> He didn't think he would survive if Jess went missing again. Five minutes passed, while Krycek squirmed, not certain if he should go to Jess, or wait until she came back.
Skinner felt the bed shifting under him and heard the spring let out another serenade. "For stealthy predators, you two sure make a lot of noise," he grumbled.
Krycek sat back up. "Walter, wake up. We've got a problem. Jess thinks she might be pregnant."
Skinner sat up as if he relieved an electrical shock. "She's what?!? I thought you said..."
Jess walked out of the bathroom, her emotions flickering between relief and disappointment. She was carrying a decidedly white pregnancy test stick. "False alarm. My cycle's probably off because of the stress." Tossing the test into the waste bin, she sat on the edge of the bed beside Krycek. "Sorry."
Skinner reached and tugged her shoulder until Jess lay down across their legs, her head in Skinner's lap. Skinner started stroking her hair and shoulders. "You're forgiven." He sighed in relief. "We haven't talked about the possibility..."
"We didn't think it *was* a possibility," Krycek interrupted. "We were told that Jess would not be able to have anymore children."
"If I did get pregnant, and it was yours, Walter," Jess said slowly, "I wouldn't force you to be any more involved than you want to be. Or you either, Alex."
Krycek rested one hand on her hip and leaned against Skinner. "If that situation did come up, I would be willing to raise the kid as my own if you wanted nothing to do with us, Walter."
Skinner continued stroking Jess. "I honestly can't say what I'd do. Sharon never wanted children, and I never really thought about it."
Jess nodded. "I don't think it's something we're going to have to worry about." She levered herself up on one arm to look at Krycek and Skinner. "And I don't know whether to feel happy or sad about that."
Skinner leaned forward and kissed Jess on the lips. Krycek also leaned forward and first kissed Jess's ear, and then Skinner's. The two men urged Jess flat on her back on the bed. Jess grinned. "Isn't this what led us to thinking I was pregnant?"
All three of them laughed. Skinner had an idea earlier and had discussed it with Krycek. Now would be the perfect time to implement it. He raised and eyebrow at the young man, who nodded. "Jess, you trust us, don't you?"
"Of course," was Jess's response. She was not sure why Skinner was asking.
"Walter and I have been talking," Krycek said as he started to unbutton her sleep shirt. "We think you have been too stressed lately." He pulled the cloth away from her body.
Skinner, meanwhile, had reached over to pull open the drawer of the bed side table. He pulled something out of the drawer and hid it behind his back. "We got to thinking that you need some time to be pampered. And we want to make sure you don't try to reciprocate, this time."
Jess grinned as Krycek took hold of her hands. "And how do you intend to do that?" she asked as Krycek bent to kiss her neck.
Krycek sucked at her skin. "Ve haff our vays," he growled in a horrible German accent and lifted her hands over her head.
Jess closed her eyes and sighed as Krycek began to nibble on her earlobe. But her eyes flew wide open when she heard a metallic click. Tilting her head back, she squinted until she saw that both wrists were securely cuffed to the spindled headboard.
"Jess?" She turned back to Skinner at the sound of his voice. His worried face hovered near hers. "Are you okay with this? All you have to do is say no."
Jess closed her eyes again and swallowed. Jake had never tied her up when they had sex, preferring to beat her into submission when he was in one of his more violent moods. When they were dating, she and Mulder hadn't quite gotten to the stage where they felt comfortable to explore their fantasies. She and Alex had experimented some, but with her in charge. And as she searched her soul, Jess realized that she had trusted both these men with her most highly guarded secret, her lycanthropy. So why shouldn't she trust these men with her body?
Taking her silence as consent, Skinner slid a large warm hand from her cheek down her neck and to her right breast. ""Yes," she whispered as he slowly moved his hand in a circle. His hand withdrew to be replaced by his lips. "Oh god, yes."
Krycek kissed his way down to Jess's left breast. Sucking her nipple into his mouth, Krycek slid a hand along the inside of her thighs, encouraging her to spread her legs. Jess drew a sharp breath, arching, offering. Leaving her breast, he crawled his way down her body, kissing every inch of flesh he could reach as he went. Krycek now rested with his head between Jess's legs, his ass in the air. He kissed her inside thigh, smiling when she quivered at the feel of his warm lips and tongue. He repeated the kiss, and was rewarded with a quiet whimper.
Skinner lifted his head from her breast to grin at Krycek. "Maybe we should gag her too."
Krycek grinned back. "I like the noises she makes."
Jess shivered, listening to her two lovers debate their plans for her. She pulled against the cuffs, a reminder to herself of how much she trusted Skinner and Krycek to allow them complete control of the situation.
Hearing the rattle, Skinner traveled back up to her ear. "Is this too much for you to handle?" he asked, looking into her eyes.
Jess took a deep breath. "No, I'm okay. I'm just impatient."
She felt Krycek's breath tickle her thigh, making her squirm. "Patience is a virtue, Jess. One you seem to lack when in bed."
Skinner moved to pay some attention to Krycek now. "You aren't that patient yourself, boy," he said and then ran his tongue down Krycek's spine. Reaching into the drawer again, Skinner retrieved the bottle of Astroglide and prepared Krycek with two well slicked fingers. He reared up behind Krycek, holding his hips firmly. When Skinner felt the young man push backwards against him and heard his whimper of longing, he buried himself in Krycek's hot flesh with a series of maddeningly slow strokes. And with every slight push Skinner made, Jess felt Krycek's lips brush her clitoris.
Skinner bent low over Krycek's back and reached for the younger man's straining penis. Each gentle stroke was accompanied by a thrust of Skinner's hips, and a lick on Jess's clitoris. Then Krycek began to suck Jess in time to Skinner's thrusts making the young woman writhe.
Jess came quickly, peaking earlier than usual because of the stress and uncertainty and relief she was experiencing, not to mention the mind bending stimulation. When she felt Krycek's wet warmth retreat, she opened her eyes. Skinner had lifted Krycek to his knees and was turning the young man's head so he could kiss and taste his lover. <Taste both his lovers,> Jess thought, realizing that Skinner was licking her juices off of Krycek's face. A low purr escaped her throat
At the sound, Skinner looked down at Jess. She was still panting and watching him with dilated eyes and parted lips. Looking at her red, ripe mouth gave him an idea. His lips moved to Krycek's ear. "Wanna come in her mouth?"
Krycek groaned and nodded. Jess also nodded. "Get rid of the cuffs," she whispered. Krycek fumbled for the key on the bedside table and clumsily released Jess, hampered by the thrusts Skinner was still making.
Tossing the cuffs to one side, Jess sat up and gathered her legs under her. She watched Skinner and Krycek writhe together, enchanted by the sight. Skinner had pulled Krycek's back against his chest and his hands were roaming over his lover's torso. Deftly avoiding Skinner's roving hands , she ran a finger up Krycek's chest and neck to his mouth. ~Suck,~ she mindspoke quietly.
Krycek did, taking a guess at what Jess had planned next, although uncertain how she would be able to fit her finger in his ass with Skinner's cock already filling him. He played his tongue over her finger, imitating the way she had pleasured him so many times before. The feeling of being impaled by Skinner while being probed by Jess was quickly becoming overwhelming.
Once her finger was dripping wet, Jess slid her finger out of Krycek's mouth slowly. Krycek's tongue followed, trying to prolong the connection. Jess smiled and captured his tongue briefly in her mouth before kissing down his torso. His nipples were lightly caressed by her tongue before it started to stroke down to his navel. Crouching in front of Krycek, she placed her lips on the tip of Krycek's cock, allowing Skinner to push him inside.
Skinner moaned. Krycek was unconsciously clenching his ass, not the full throbbing of an orgasm, but extremely pleasurable none the less. And then he felt Jess's hand reaching around to fondle his asscheek, and a slick finger begin to probe for his asshole.
Skinner threw his head back and gasped in surprise. Jess was gently and skillfully working her finger into his ass in time with his thrusts. And she must have been doing something with her mouth, because the exact moment she stroked Skinner's prostate, Krycek gave a yelp and began to come, his ass spasming around Skinner's cock.
That was too much for Skinner. He gave a cry and flopped against a none too steady Krycek, feeling himself spill into the young man in front of him. He could feel Krycek's shoulder tremble under his cheek. He also felt Jess withdraw her finger.
Jess lazily let Krycek's cock slide from between her lips. She slid her hand up Skinner's back as she sat up. After putting both arms around the two men, she lay back down, pulling Krycek and Skinner on top of her. "Neither of you had a stroke, did you?" she asked, a bit breathless.
"Noooo," answered Krycek, more of a moan than a response.
"Came the closest I ever have," Skinner whispered. "And I thought you weren't supposed to reciprocate." He reached for Jess's forehead to brush back a lock of her short hair.
Jess started lazily stroking Skinner's back. "Was that a complaint?"
Skinner nuzzled Krycek's hair. "No, just an observation." Regretfully, he levered up onto his arms and sat up. "I'd better get going before Lindy wakes up."
"Why should you?" Jess said lazily, reaching for him. "She knows about all of us, it's Saturday and you don't have to go to work. As long as you don't imply that you want her involved with us in bed, she'll be fine."
Krycek turned so he could look at Skinner out of one eye. "Spend the day with us, Walter. Sex with you is wonderful, but you can spend time with us without doing it. We won't complain, much," he added impishly.
The idea of loafing around all day with Jess and Krycek did have appeal. The ever dreaded paperwork was the only thing waiting for him at home. "Okay, you've twisted my arm. I'm staying."
* * * * * * *
When they came downstairs, they found Lindy already dressed and watching TV. "Morning Lindy. What are you doing out of bed before noon on a Saturday?"
Lindy shrugged her shoulders. "You were a bit noisy." Skinner, Krycek, and Jess blushed a bit. Lindy made no other comment about their sexual activities. What they did in the bedroom was none of her business as long as they did not want her in their bed also. "What's for breakfast?"
Jess shrugged. "Um, we've got some pancake mix. I whip up some pancakes in no time."
"Sounds good to me," Krycek said. "I'd better check our email."
Jess and Skinner and Lindy headed to the kitchen to fix breakfast. Krycek smiled to himself as he booted Jess's computer to check their email. Aside from the comment about them being loud, Lindy had shown no unease about the two of them sleeping with Skinner. She had adjusted to Skinner being around almost as quickly as she had adjusted to him.
There was only one message on the system, from a email@example.com. When he opened it, it quoted the email plea he had sent out earlier. The only response was a time - "9:30 AM EST". Krycek looked at the message in surprise. He had not expected someone to actually respond to his plea for help. It had been a shot in the dark as far as he was concerned.
He checked the clock. It was 9:30 AM. Now curious, ran the mystery program and chose the 'chat' button.
There was a delay of a few seconds. Then words scrolled across the screen. "Mr. Krycek or Ms. Leahs?"
"Krycek," he typed back. "Who are you?" <The answer better not be 'I was David Bowman',> he thought.
Again he waited a few seconds. "That is not important. What is important is that I can help you regain your daughter."
<Here comes the stinger,> he thought. <What does he want me to do? Spy on Mulder or Skinner?> "How? What do you want from us in return?"
"Nothing," was the answer that eventually appeared on the screen. "Just show up at the address in the following email at 6:00 PM. If you feel the need to reciprocate, we can discuss terms at a later date."
Krycek frowned thoughtfully. <What game is he playing?> he wondered. There had to be an ulterior motive, something wanted in return. That was how the Consortium worked. The only logical reason Krycek could come up with was that this was all an elaborate snare to entrap him and Jess. But this looked like too good of a chance to pass up. "We'll be there."
* * * * * * *
Hacker sat tabbing at keys in the computer room. Facilitating the chat between his boss Krychekov and whoever he was so interested in earlier today had been routine. None of his watchdog programs had sounded any intruder alarms. He was still logged on, looking for any extra information he could use to ingratiate himself to his superiors. So intent was on the screen, he jumped when he felt a pair of hands touch his shoulder. He spun the chair around and found himself staring into Warg's face. "I didn't mean to scare you," she whispered softly, licking her perfect red lips. Hacker leered, looking her up and down, noting the skin tight jeans and low cut blouse she was wearing. Her voice was rough with desire. "Since I first saw you, I haven't been able to get you out of my mind." She sensuously ran a hand up and down his chest. "I don't know anyone here very well and I'm so lonely..."
This was his fantasy come to life. Hacker leaned back in the chair as Warg straddled his groin. She settled her delicious weight onto his legs. Hacker pulled her down to his lips to kiss her hungrily. Then his hands slid to her breasts, delighted that she wasn't wearing a bra. He felt Warg's hands go to either side of his head as she kissed him with a feral passion. <I am about to get laid,> he thought as she pulled back to take a breath.
Warg smiled and snapped Hacker's neck like a twig, twisting his chin behind his shoulders. Suddenly businesslike, she shook her head. <All too easy,> she thought. She had scanned his mind the moment she saw him at the computer, correctly guessing he was the one who broke into the system. And that teenage fantasy had not been that much of a challenge to set up and execute. Climbing off the body, she tilted the chair, letting the corpse slide to the floor. <Now down to business.> She turned to the logged on terminal and began retracing the recent keystrokes.
In a few minutes, Warg had the information she required. She knew now for certain that Krychekov was the one who was passing information onto Krycek and Leahs. She also now knew the source inside the labs for Krychekov's information. And most important, she knew what Krychekov was planning and had time to inform her real boss.
Her head spun around. She could hear the sound of someone coming down the hallway. She crouched on the to one side of the door, hidden from view. She changed slightly, allowing her razor sharp claws and fanged muzzle to extend.
The footsteps stopped outside the door. Warg tensed, flexing her claws, reading herself. The door opened. The young aide stepped through the door and froze at the sight of Hacker's corpse splayed on the floor, belly down but staring at the ceiling.
Warg acted quickly, taking advantage of the young man's shock. Two swipes of her paws and a quick bite to the neck was all it took. With a casual disregard for the two bodies, she left the room to keep her appointment with her superior.
* * * * * * *
"I don't get it," Lindy said. "They were just here."
Skinner and Lindy had only been upstairs for a moment - Lindy to find her book, Skinner to find his celphone in his coat upstairs. And during the few minutes they were gone, Jess and Krycek had disappeared.
Skinner frowned and looked outside. "Their car is gone. Where could they be going? They didn't say they had any plans tonight."
Lindy was also frowning thoughtfully. She eyed Jess's laptop. Sitting down in front of it, she powered it up and started tapping keys. "The last program accessed was an internet communications program." She loaded the program.
Skinner came up behind her, looking at the screen. "Should you be doing that?"
Lindy didn't look at him. "Do you want to find out where they went or not?" she growled, a bit irritated.
"I mean, why haven't you tried mindspeaking to them?" Skinner knew the werewolves had a form of ESP, and thought that it could come in useful right now.
"They're out of my range," Lindy said matter of factly, still typing instructions. She found a transcript of Krycek's conversation and the attached email containing the address. "But I know where I can find them." Lindy stood up. "I'm going after them."
Skinner shook his head. Werewolf or not, Lindy would need help. "Not alone you aren't."
* * * * * * *
Krychekov stood outside one of the dormitories of the compound. His identification had gotten him inside no questions asked. He was now waiting for his contact, whom he was meeting in the flesh for the first time.
The main doors to the building swung open. A young woman looked around, scanning the outside. Her eyes rested on the old man. "Mr. Krychekov?"
"Yes," he said in a guarded fashion. The woman, with her long brown hair and blue eyes looked vaguely familiar, but he could not place her.
The young woman nodded. "I am the caretaker for the young ones here. Come with me." She held open the door.
Krychekov stepped over the threshold. "Before we do this, I need to know why?"
Caretaker looked into the distance. "This little one deserves better than she will get here. She deserves all the love her mother and father will give her."
Krychekov nodded. He wanted his granddaughter to grow up being loved, not seen as a pawn or an expendable piece of equipment. "I understand."
"This way, sir," Caretaker said. She guided Krychekov towards the nursery.
"How did you determine that this young one is the child I am looking for?" he asked as they came up to a set of double hospital doors.
"By this stage in the Training, the sire and dam are allowed to visit the children, if they so wish. Usually the dam will regularly, but sometime the sire will or even both. She's the only one who hasn't had at least one visit." She pushed the doors open.
Although he knew the intended scope of this part of the Project, he was still amazed by the number of cradles he saw, well over one hundred. "Are they ever all filled?"
"No," Caretaker said with a sad shake of her head. "Thirty at most are ever filled with newborns. And from there the number drops to ten surviving their first three months. The sire and dam aren't allowed to see their get until then, or even name them. To insure loyalty, most of the werewolves created are Changed as young children or brainwashed as adults, but infants are highly valued."
Krychekov did some quick thinking. <Amanda would be six months at the oldest. Then that must have been why it was so hard to trace her. Her records must have only recently been made available.> "Where is she?"
"Here," Caretaker said, gesturing towards the closest crib as she walked to it. She turned to say something to Krychekov, but instead her mouth dropped open in horror.
Krychekov was almost deafened by the sound of a gun discharging close to his ear. He felt the scorch of heat as the bullet whizzed past him to find its target in Caretaker's forehead. Her corpse dropped to the ground.
He turned to see the expected sight of the Cigarette Smoking Man standing in the background. But he did not expect to see Warg holding the smoking gun in the foreground.
They stood there silently for a few moments, Krychekov waiting for Cancerman to give the order that would end his life. Instead the Smoking Man issued a different one to Krychekov's former bodyguard. "Leave us and wait for me outside."
Warg backed out of the door, her gun still aimed on his former boss. "You have a beautiful granddaughter, Dmitri," Cancerman said once Warg had moved out of sight. "Go on, take a look at her."
Krychekov walked to the cradle. He took a sharp breath as he got his first in person look at his son's daughter. Amanda had been wakened by the gunfire, but was not crying. Green eyes fringed by long dark lashes calmly stared back at him. Fine brown hair, closer to Jess's slightly lighter shade, crowned her head. So much of both her parents could be seen in her face that Krychekov had no doubts. This child was his lost granddaughter.
After he tenderly wrapped Amanda in a blanket, Krychekov scooped the child out of the cradle. The infant squirmed slightly, and then nestled down.
Cancerman stood in his path, but did not bar the door. "If you leave with her, consider yourself a dead man."
"I already am a dead man for finding her." Krychekov cuddled Amanda closer. She gave a soft sigh and snuggled down on his shoulder. "I need to make amends with my son. You, of all people, should understand that." He made his way to the door, passing by the Cigarette Smoking Man without looking at him.
"I can't be responsible for what happens next, Krychekov," Cancerman called after the retreating figure.
Krychekov turned back to look at the man in black. He fleetingly noted that Cancerman was already distancing himself by using his last name instead of his given one. "That is what caused you to end up where you are. You want the glory, but always refuse to take responsibility that goes with it." He walked through the door and past his former bodyguard without hesitation.
Warg raised the gun, sighting on Krychekov's head as he moved past. She awaited the order to fire.
Cancerman came out of the nursery. "Do not shoot. He will lead us to where Leahs and Krycek are."
* * * * * * *
Jess and Krycek stood outside the abandoned house, debating their next move. ~It's probably a trap,~ Jess mindspoke as they walked up the stairs.
~That's a given,~ Krycek mindspoke back. ~But maybe we should take the chance.~ He tried the front door. It swung open at his touch. ~Unlocked.~
They both slid through the doorway. The hallway was empty. But the in the living room was one piece of furniture - a cradle.
Krycek gave a quiet gasp. "Just like my dream..." he whispered.
They both walked towards the cradle and looked down. A brown haired baby, no older than six months lay nestled under a blanket. The baby cooed and smiled at the sight of two faces looking down at her and reached upwards, waving pudgy arms. Krycek swallowed hard and reached down to lift the infant. And, unlike his dream, he was able to scoop her into his arms. He lifted the child and pressed his nose to her forehead, inhaling deeply. Underneath the baby powder smell that all infants seemed to share, he could smell her personal scent. It was a blend of his and Jess's. He smiled. Krycek needed no genetic tests to tell him that the infant he was holding was his daughter. ~It's Amanda. I'm sure of it.~
Jess made a quiet, strangled noise and reached for Amanda. Krycek gently passed her the baby and placed an arm around her waist. Jess studied her daughter's face intently. ~She looks like you,~ she mindspoke.
Caught up in the moment, neither of them were paying attention to their surroundings. They jumped at the sound of a familiar and hated voice. "What a lovely family reunion." They turned to see a man in black and a what smelled like a female werewolf holding a gun on them.
Jess and Krycek both mindspoke at the same time. ~Cancerman.~ Jess's breathing sped up and she cringed backwards, a fear reaction. <He's going to take Amanda away,> was the only thought she was capable of thinking.
Krycek was also scared, but a surge of paternal anger flooded his system. "What the hell do you want?"
"The child," Cancerman said. "Believe me, Ms. Leahs, Mr. Krycek. This is nothing personal. If you two would cooperate, all this would not be necessary." He turned to the figure standing behind him. "Incapacitate the adults, but do not harm the infant," he said as he walked into the hallway. They all heard the sound of the front door open and shut.
Warg sighted between Jess's eyes. "I'm almost sorry I have to do this. You two are something of a legend around the labs. I really admire you for bringing down Alpha Wolf."
"You don't have to do this," Krycek said. "You can let us walk away with our child and come with us."
"And disappoint my master?" Warg said with a lifted eyebrow. "I think not. My rank in the pack will be greatly enhanced if I bring back your daughter."
Jess cradled the bundle tighter against her chest, lips drawing into a snarl as her muzzle extended. Krycek moved protectively in front of her, shielding his loves. "Then you'll get herrrr overrrrr ourrrrr dead bodiessss," he growled, half Changing.
Warg's aim shifted from between Jess's eyes to between Krycek's. "Not what the master wants, but if that's the way it has to be," she said, her finger tightening around the trigger. Jess and Krycek made an abortive attempt to scramble out of range. Startled by the sudden jerky movement, Amanda began to cry.
A gunshot split the distance between the werewolves, missing Warg by scant millimeters. The bodyguard turned and fired in the direction of the sound. They heard a groan and the clatter of something metallic dropping to the kitchen floor.
It was the last thing Warg heard, just before a third gunman fired a silver slug through her temple.
Jess faded into the background, trying to hush Amanda, as Krycek dove forward to snatch the gun falling from Warg's dead hand. As he hit the ground, he rolled and righted himself, aiming in the direction of the fatal shot. With his fur covered hands and long claws, it would be difficult but not impossible to squeeze off a round. "Ssssshow yourrrrrsself," he demanded, ears pinned back against his skull, green eyes blazing.
"It's me," a familiar voice called out. Skinner and Lindy stepped out of the shadows of the hallway.
Jess Changed back to full human and moved forward, still clutching Amanda tightly. "Walter? What are you doing here?"
"We read your email and followed you," Skinner said matter of factly. He leveled his gun at the shadows. "Who fired the other shot?"
Krycek spun around and aimed his gun into the shadow. "Who'ssssssss therrrrrrrrrre?" he snarled.
A weak voice called out in Russian. "Alexi, please, help me."
Krycek's ears flipped forward. He recognized the voice instantly, although he had never expected to hear it again. "Fatherrrrrr?"
* * * * * * *
Jess sat on the couch in the private waiting room. Amanda was laying against her shoulder, asleep after a bottle feeding. Lindy, in a show of independence, was curled up under a blanket on the chair next to her, but was as close to Jess as she could get without actually touching her. <Look's like we're going to have problems with jealousy,> Jess thought with a rueful smile.
Cautiously, she stood up, keeping Amanda supported. She carried her over to the crib that had been placed in the room and laid Amanda down on her back. Amanda didn't stir once, except to stretch like a cat in her sleep. Watching her daughter caused tears came to her eyes, but they were tears of joy. <So much has changed,> she thought. <And it's good changes. Not the usual shit that gets flung at us.>
They had gone to the hospital in two ambulances - Krycek's father in one, Jess, Krycek, and Amanda in the other. Skinner and Lindy followed in his car. But soon after they had arrived, they were forced to part company. Krycek had tried stay with Jess and Amanda, not wanting to face his father quite yet. But he had to consult with the doctors about his family's medical history. Skinner had disappeared, gone to notify Mulder and Scully.
Later, Jess and Lindy brought Amanda, who had been given a clean bill of health, to Krychekov's bedside where Krycek was waiting. "Here's Daddy," Jess cooed to Amanda, bouncing the infant in her arms.
Krychekov smiled weakly and shifted his right arm, reaching towards Jess. "May... I... hold... my... grand... daughter... one... last... time?" he wheezed.
Krycek looked at Jess for a long time. She had a neutral, yet watchful, expression on her face. "Yes," Krycek eventually said. He took Amanda from Jess, pausing for a moment to hold his daughter close. Gently, he laid the third generation Krychekov in his father's arms, avoiding crimping the various tubes attached to his body.
Krychekov smiled. "She... looks... like... her... grandmother," he whispered weakly. "I... wish... Katerina... were... here... to... see... her."
Krycek's eyes filled with tears. "I wish Mother were here, too."
Amanda scrunched up her face, preparing to give voice to a loud cry. As the baby started waving her arms, she picked her back up. "I think she needs to be changed," Jess said. "I've got to go hunt for a diaper."
"No, Jess," Krycek said, taking the opportunity to avoid his father. "Let me." He took Amanda from her and cuddled her under his chin. He gave Jess a quick peck on her cheek and left the room.
Jess turned to Lindy. "Go help him, okay?" Lindy nodded and left the room.
"Alexi is a lucky man," Krychekov said in a much stronger sounding voice.
That confirmed one of Jess's suspicions. Krychekov had been trying to manipulate the situation, even with a bullet to the chest. "No thanks to you," she spat out. "And I wouldn't call him that. He goes by Alex now."
"Americanized," he snorted in derision.
Jess shrugged her shoulders. "His choice." Jess sat down on the chair
beside the bed. "You knew the whole time what was happening to him, what was done to him." A statement, not a question.
Krychekov hesitated a second before answering. "Yes."
"And you didn't help him at all," Jess commented. Her face was expressionless and as still as a mask
"I couldn't," came the weak defense.
"Liar!" Jess snorted. "The Consortium knows he's your son, right?"
Krychekov nodded. "Yes."
One of her eyebrows arched. "And you knew he thought that he was left to die in that silo?"
"Yes." The answer was very quiet.
"And he was in there alone for three days? And then experimented on?"
"Yes. I was ordered to leave well enough alone."
"Well, the way I see it, you were manipulating him also." Her voice hardened. "If I knew my daughter was trapped, I would do every damn thing I could to rescue her, orders be damned."
"My granddaughter..." he said quietly.
Jess's eyes narrowed. "What about Amanda?"
Krycek's voice was little more than a whisper. "Werewolves are not the only shapechangers the Consortium controls."
Jess leaned over the bed, her face inches away from Krychekov's. She understood the implications of other shapechangers. A look alike could easily disappear with Amanda when left with well meaning humans. "Is that a threat?" she growled.
"No, it is a warning. You were never meant to regain her. Don't think that They won't try to get her back." His eyes softened. "I do not want to see my granddaughter grow up the way They intend her to do. And I honestly do not want my son hurt any more." He paused. "There is a way you could know I am speaking the truth."
Jess's brow furrowed. "You're granting permission for me to perform a mind probe?" Jess wasn't sure that she was fully comfortable with the idea. Mind probes were tricky at best and could cause irreparable harm not only to her subject but herself.
Krychekov looked resigned to his fate. "Yes."
Jess nodded and stared into his eyes. Krychekov steeled himself for what he thought would be a terrible assault. He had seen what had happened to some of the humans the werewolves were allowed to play with to develop their mind powers. Some had come through okay, but most had deep psychological scars. One had even died from a heart attack, induced by the fear and trauma of having another mind peering directly into his. He felt a feather light touch brush against his head. He almost reached up to bat at the tickling sensation when he realized that it wasn't physical but purely mental. Then he felt a warmth seep into his brain. The only sensation he could equate it to was a heated skin cream slowly being absorbed.
Jess proceeded cautiously. She did not want to induce a stroke in him, or in herself for that matter. She started slowly sifting through Krychekov's thoughts, trying to get to the truth of the matter. She read his thought and his intentions as quickly as possible, wanting to get back to the safety of her own body. But unbidden, she saw fragments of memories through Krychekov's eyes. He/she was proudly holding his/her son Alexi for the first time. He/she was sitting at his desk stone faced, but crying on the inside, when his aide brought word that the love of his/her life had died. He/she telling his/her son, a reflection of the ambitious innocent that he/she once had been, that if he worked for Cancerman, he/she would never speak to him as a father again, bitterly regretting the words the moment they were spoken but unwilling to back down now that the die had been cast.
Krychekov felt the alien warmth receding slowly. His green eyes, so similar to Krycek's and yet so different, regarded Jess's brown ones. "Do you believe me?"
Jess frowned thoughtfully, sifting through all she had learned. "I know your intentions are honest. But don't expect me to convince him, especially if you keep sabotaging your attempts by playing these manipulative games." Jess got up and walked to the door. Three quarters of the way into the hall, she turned back to the figure in the bed. "He probably won't ever trust you. And I cant say that I blame him." Without another word, she turned and left the room.
The sound of the door opening snapped Jess back to the present. Skinner poked his head inside the waiting room. "Is it okay to come in?"
Jess nodded. "They're both asleep, so keep quiet please," she whispered, torn between the desire to show off her children and the maternal impulse to keep from disturbing their rest.
Skinner stepped quietly inside followed by Mulder and Scully. Jess moved slightly to one side, giving them a clear view of the cradle. Mulder, Scully, and Skinner looked down on the sleeping infant. "She's beautiful, Jess," Skinner whispered. "Just like her parents."
Jess smiled modestly. "I don't see much of myself in her."
"I'm just glad that she didn't end up with your pointy ears," Mulder said quietly with a grin.
"Mulder, bite me." Jess walked back to Lindy to pull the blanket more snugly around the young girl.
Scully looked around. "Where's Krycek? I figured he would be glued to Amanda's side."
Jess's smile fell off her face. "That's a long story."
* * * * * * *
Krychekov was aware of another presence in his room even before he was fully awake. Although Jess had been cautious and gentle, he had still been exhausted by the mindprobe and had fell asleep. He opened his eyes and saw Krycek sitting stiffly in the chair across the room. Wearing his leather jacket, white tee shirt and black jeans, his son looked lean and predatory. "Alexi?"
"Call me Alex," was Krycek's cold reply. He looked at his father with narrowed eyes. "You told me you'd never have anything to do with me, so why the hell are you involved in this?"
Krychekov gave a deep sigh. "Because it involves my granddaughter and my son."
Krycek raised his eyebrow. "I thought you said that you had no son." The words were laced with bitterness. "And if you don't have a son, you can't have a granddaughter," he added sarcastically.
Again a deep sigh. Krychekov wearily closed his eyes. "I was wrong to turn my back on you. I'm sorry."
"*Sorry?*" Krycek stood up and stalked towards the old man laying in the bed. "If you're so *sorry,* then why the hell didn't you get me out of that damn silo? Or help me find Jess? Or my daughter before now?" His indignation and outrage grew with every word.
"Alexi, I had to move cautiously" Krychekov explained. "I was ordered to leave you alone. But despite those orders, I have been trying to help in as many ways as I could."
"Sure." Krycek forced out the bitter word through clenched teeth. "And why haven't Jess or I seen any evidence of your 'help'?"
"Who do you think sent you that information? Or who you sent that email plea to? Or who you electronically spoke with?"
Krycek bit his lip, unsure of how to respond. "Okay, perhaps you did help us a little" he conceded. "But don't expect me to be bending over backwards in gratitude." He turned to leave. "Or expect me to come running to you for help."
"Alex." Krycek turned back at the sound of his chosen name, the name he used when he thought of himself. "They will try to get her back. Take care of my granddaughter." Krychekov looked older and weaker, as if the last day had aged him more than the last twenty years. "Be careful, my son."
Krycek stood there, staring straight at Krychekov. Jess had told him everything she had learned from her mindprobe. But his father had always been a master of manipulation. He could have been thinking those thoughts specifically to deceive her. But could it be possible that Krychekov was truly sorry about the rift that had come between his son and himself? "I always am, father," he said, walking away.
* * * * * * *
The next move they made was to go home. Krycek sat down on the couch, completely happy for the first time in months. He knew he should be worried about the Consortium's next move. He knew he should be worried about his father meddling in his life. But for some reason he couldn't. All he could think about was Jess upstairs putting Amanda down for the evening.
Skinner sat beside him. He couldn't help but grin at the expression on Krycek's face. <I don't think I've ever seen him so happy.> "What are you so smug about, boy?"
"I'm not smug, I'm content," Krycek corrected. "I have my daughter back, and for once, I fought against the Consortium and didn't get beaten up."
Both men laughed, and were still chuckling when Jess came downstairs, carrying the receiver half of a baby monitor. "I think she'll sleep for a few hours now."
"Enjoy it while you can," Lindy said from the chair near the couch. She was curled up with a book. "Mary said her little sister didn't sleep through the night until she was a year old."
A ringing noise filled the air. Jess picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"Jess, it's Dana," came Scully's voice. She sounded urgent. "Is Alex there with you?"
The odd catch in Scully's voice made Jess blink. "Yeah, and so is Walter. Hold on a sec and let me put you on speaker phone." Jess tabbed at a button before hanging up the receiver. "What's up?"
Scully's voice was worried. "Has the hospital contacted you about Krychekov, Alex?"
"No," Krycek said. He leaned towards the speaker. "What about my father?"
Scully took a deep breath. "He's gone."
Krycek bowed his head. "I was with him a few hours ago. I had no idea that he was that bad off," he said.
Jess and Skinner both reached out and placed reassuring hands on Krycek. Both guessed that he was feeling guilty over what he had said to his father, despite the fact that he had needed to vent.
They heard the receiver rattle as Scully shook her head. "No, he's not dead. He's disappeared."
"Disappeared?" Skinner asked. "He checked himself out?"
"No. He just left."
* * * * * * *
Well Manicured Man looked displeased as he sat behind his mahogany desk. He glared up at his subordinate as the report was delivered. "And why were Leahs and Krycek allowed to regain their whelp?"
Cancerman held his ground. He had driven from Washington D.C. to Florida without stopping for food or rest. He was not about to play the ubiquitous servant. "Your niece has been harder and harder to anticipate and control. With the infant, it will be much easier to coerce them by threatening them with harm to either the adolescent or the infant. And also it will give us a chance to observe them raising not only the adolescent, but an infant 'in the wild' as it were."
Cancerman's superior frowned. "But it almost cost another associate his life."
"True," Cancerman mused. "But there was a bright side to that incident."
Well Manicured Man raised an eyebrow. "And that would be?"
"He revealed a rogue werewolf." Cancerman paused to take a drag off his cigarette. "If Warg could be easily swayed by me to spy on Krychekov, she could have as easily been swayed to spy on Us for another party."
"And speaking of my 'house guest,' he should be awake now." Well Manicured Man rose from the desk. "Shall we ask him for his side of the story?" he asked with a grim smile.
Cancerman nodded and stood also. The two men left the office and went to the living quarters of the house. Outside one of the guest rooms, a man with amber eyes stood guard. Well Manicured Man nodded to the guard, who let them pass.
Inside the guest room lay Krychekov on the double bed. The older man looked weak, but awake and alert. He looked at Cancerman and Well Manicured Man with caution and wariness. "Why am I here?"
Cancerman raised his eyebrows. "No hello or other polite niceties? Dmitri, I am shocked by your lack of manners."
Well Manicured Man smiled coldly. "We know that you have been in contact with your son. We know that you also helped him and my niece regain their whelp."
Krychekov knew better than to try to lie to these men. "Yes I was involved. I know what the penalties are for going against the Consortium's wishes, and am willing to face them."
"Mr. Krychekov, I'm sure we can reach a compromise that will be beneficial to both of us," Well Manicured Man said smoothly. "Your indiscretion can be overlooked if you prove your good faith by telling us how you managed to plant one of your agents so deep inside one of our labs. I can understand why you wanted your granddaughter and your son reunited, and others in our association may also. But spying on your allies is unforgivable."
"What are you talking about?" Krychekov asked. He looked truly confused.
Cancerman removed the cigarette from his mouth. "The young woman who led you inside was not one of our people. Her corpse disappeared from the nursery where we had our 'discussion.' We want to know how she managed to gain access, and why you hid the body."
"She was not one of my agents. She contacted me and offered to get me inside. I don't know why she was so interested in my son's child." Then he realized who the caretaker had resembled. "But she did look like Leahs."
Well Manicured Man looked at Cancerman who nodded. The Cigarette Smoking Man had noted and commented on the resemblance also. He knew that Leahs believed her dead sister Rachel watched over her, but this had to be a clever hoax. "We will have to verify this," the Smoking Man said.
Krychekov nodded. "You can contact my aide. He can vouch for the fact that I did not plant a spy."
Cancerman went to the door and signaled. Well Manicured Man shook his head. "That is not what we had in mind," he said as the guard stepped into the room.
Krychekov realized exactly what the guard was the moment he saw him. And the last thought he had before he fell into the werewolf's amber eyes was that this one wouldn't be as cautious or careful about probing his mind as Jess had been.
* * * * * * *
One Week Later
"She gets that from your side of the family," Krycek snorted. He patted Amanda on the back, trying to ease the child's discomfort.
"Ex-cuuuussssse me?" Jess said. "No one in the most obscure branches of my family tree has a burp like that!"
"Um, Jess," Lindy piped up. "I wouldn't say that," she said, placidly stroking Patches.
Jess appealed to Mulder, Scully, Skinner. "I don't burp like that, do I?"
An assortment of hems and haws met her question. And at that point, Amanda, perched over Krycek's shoulder, let out another belch of large proportions.
Mulder looked at Jess with humor in his eyes. "Jess, there are a few rare truths that are meant never to be discovered."
Everyone started laughing. They heard a car pull up in front of the house. "The pizza must be here." Jess looked out the window and stiffened. Krycek also looked out and stiffened. Mulder got up and added his face to those staring out the window. He saw Well Manicured Man getting out of a nondescript sedan.
Jess whirled to face those in the room. "No one say a word about Michael." She started to the door.
"Jess, that man ordered the death of your brother. You're not going to go out there and talk to him?" Scully asked incredulous.
"I have to," was Jess's reply. She walked through the door, face grim. Krycek passed Amanda to Skinner and followed her, also grim. Lindy moved to the window, peering around the curtain.
Scully turned to Skinner. She spoke the question on her and Mulder's mind. "Why?"
Skinner sighed. "That man is her uncle." They all moved to watch from the open front window.
Krycek and Jess stood on the porch, watching Well Manicured Man's approach. Half way up the walk, he stopped. Jess started forward to meet him. At her signal, Krycek stayed where he was.
Jess and Well Manicured Man stood staring at each other for a few moments. Jess's uncle finally broke the silence. "Congratulations on your beautiful daughter."
Jess nodded coolly. "Why are you here?"
Well Manicured Man didn't like it that Jess went straight to business instead of trading pleasant nothings. "Jessica, you know you will not be allowed to keep her. It will go so much easier if you just cede custody back to me. I can arrange it so you can see your daughter whenever you want. After all, we are family."
"Michael was family also," Jess said in a dead tone. "And look what happened to him."
"Jessica, I'm not certain what you are talking about," Well Manicured Man protested.
"How dare you," Jess hissed. "You lied to me. I know that you knew when I became a werewolf. I know that you had been watching us for many years. And I know that you ordered Michael's death, that Covarrubias was just a red herring."
Well Manicured Man smiled coldly. "And why haven't you taken your vengeance against me."
"Unlike you, I will not raise a hand against my family, no matter how much they deserve it." Jess turned her back on her uncle and walked back to Krycek.
"You know it is only a matter of time before we get her back," Well Manicured Man called after her.
Krycek put an arm around her waist, pulling her in close. "I think you had better leave now," he growled. Without waiting to see if Well Manicured Man followed his suggestion, he turned and guided Jess back inside.
The moment they were inside, they heard a car pulling away. Lindy went up to Jess and hugged her. Jess hugged her back and then looked at Skinner and Amanda. Soundlessly, she reached out her arms.
Skinner passed Amanda back to Jess. Jess cuddled the baby to her, tears starting to trail from her eyes.
"We heard everything." Scully said. She could only guess at the anguish that Jess must be experiencing.
Jess reached up with her free hand to wipe away her tears. "I was hoping They would leave us alone for a little while. I guess I was wrong."
Mulder shook his head. "The Consortium won't just leave you alone, especially now that you have Amanda."
"We know that," Krycek snapped. "We know that it's only a matter of time before something else happens." He then sighed and pulled Jess a little closer. "But until then, we're just going to live one day at a time."