Title: If You Need
Author: CGB (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Category: K/M (mostly)
Spoilers: It's post-Existence so anything up to there is fair game.
Rating: PG - 13
Disclaimer: 1013 me baby!
Summary: "She is surprised at the sound of her own voice, at the wretchedness of her words."
For Deslea, without whom, my dalliance with the lovely Marita would probably have been a one night stand.
"Gone?" She has a detached tone to her voice, an evenness that reveals little of the speaker.
He gives her an address. No need to write it down. She turns the car around.
Firefighter, Veterinarian, Doctor, Astronaut, Ballerina... She remembers children saying these words in a classroom as each child was asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. Then there was a game of jump rope: Tinker, tailor, beggarman thief... When you hit the rope, your profession is revealed. Tinker, tailor, beggarman thief, traitor, informant, double agent, whore...
This is not what she expected, but it never is.
"This is not what I expected."
She pours over spy satellite photographs, extracting one or two from the pile and placing them to the side. "They're everywhere."
"What are we going to do?"
He is smoking by the window. He looks pale in the sunlight. She knows he isn't sleeping.
"I have to talk to Skinner."
He grins in that way he does. Like he's enjoying himself, and she's not sure that he is.
"Skinner can be reasoned with."
"He'd die first."
"He'd kill me first."
She turns back to the photographs. It's too much, there's too many. And there's no way to bargain this time. No one left to bargain with.
Us against them, she thinks. Wasn't it always this way?
He throws a jacket over his shoulders and pockets his cigarettes.
"Where are you going."
He grunts. "To save the world."
She wants to say good luck, but it sounds trite in her head.
"Let me know if you need me."
The parking lot is empty now. It doesn't matter. She doesn't need to see the players to know who participated.
She pulls the car up close to the body and turns off the ignition. She runs her hands across her face briefly and stares at the windscreen for a while.
She thinks, there has to be an emotion for when you don't know what to feel.
Two days and Alex doesn't return. She switches into automatic and moves their belongings to another hotel. She's been doing this for so long she forgets what normal people do. Call the police? She laughs at the thought. Maybe she could put up posters too. Alex on the back of buses and milk cartons.
Instead she moves into a new hotel and calls her informants. She finds it amusing that when she has nothing left, she still has informants. The web of deceit is so large and complex, she has informants who are unaware that she no longer wields any power.
"Mulder's alive," one of them tells her.
She isn't surprised. Mulder's most intriguing skill is his ability to stay alive. There are times when she thinks she will ask him how he does it. One day...
But it throws light on their situation. If Mulder lived, Alex would want to know how.
It's certainly not the first dead body she's seen, but she covers he mouth with her hand when she sees him. There's a bullet hole in is head and his prosthetic arm is in pieces.
"Oh Alex... " She is surprised at the sound of her own voice, at the wretchedness of her words.
She kneels down by the body and brushes the tips of her fingers across his hair. His eyes are open, staring straight ahead. She looks into them trying to read his final expression. Was he grateful for the end? Was this what he wanted?
He never told her anything. He spoke about death all the time and she understood that. He expected her to kill him and she understood because she expected the same from him. Spender once told her that the only thing to trust was the knowledge that some one wanted you dead. And they killed Spender. Serendipity, in a meaningless world.
Alex's body is an echo of Spenders. That's the worst part. He didn't deserve the connection, but they're both stuck with this legacy, and she knows, if she can, she has to fix it.
She stands and wraps her arms around herself. Her jacket is thin around the elbows. Once upon a time she used to spend her money on designer clothes. Once upon a time appearances were all. But now her hair is limp and loosely held in a pony tail. Her eyes are dull, she knows, and she is thinner that she ever was.
And there is Alex, nothing more than flesh and bones sprawled on oil soaked cement.
He doesn't even look peaceful, she thinks.
She bends over and closes his eyes. Alex couldn't sleep. He never let himself sleep. She leaves him behind her. Alex is gone. Long gone before she got there. Gone before the bullet pierced his skull.
When she was in college she read Satre and Camus and wore black. It was just a phase, one that lasted no longer than the others, but she remembered the more intense types amongst her crowd fixating on the question, "Are you living or existing?"
Years later she knew that the answer was unimportant but the luxury of contemplating the question was everything.
The figure by the side of the road is smoking. Little white clouds trail up towards the sky and dissipate. To Marita the sight is unsettling.
She pulls the car alongside the figure and winds down the window.
A woman leans a Sig Sauer through the opening. "Nothing personal, you understand."
She nods. Nothing personal is little consolation to the dead.
"Just get in."
Reyes opens the door and lifts a large file from the passenger seat, before settling her own weight in its place. "Is this for me?"
They drive off as smoke trails out the open window.
The car comes to a halt by the Potomac. Marita watches Reyes take a packet of cigarettes out of her coat pocket and then return them as an after thought.
"I'm unarmed," she says still looking at the gun.
"I really don't like taking chances with you people," Reyes holds up the file. "So what will I find in here?"
Reyes gives a wry smile. "Alpha to Omega, huh?"
"Agent Reyes, the information in that file has far reaching consequences for the entire human population. You have to be careful with it." She has said those lines so many times before. She wants it to be different this time. "You can't just hand it over to your superiors. There are names of key figures in a governmental conspiracy to conceal what might be the greatest discovery that history has to offer. My name is in there. Mulder, Scully, Doggett, yourself..."
Reyes looks up sharply. "Me?"
"I collated your file personally."
Because there was no one else. Because the information was needed whether there was someone around to order its collation or not. Because this is what she does and the habit refuses to die. Because she has to know.
"It's what I do."
"I" Singular. Alone. Just one person now. No consortium. No resistance. Nothing in between.
"And Alex Krycek?"
She swallows. No Alex. No Spender. No black oil. No Fort Marlene.
"Who are you?" Reyes's brow creases. Marita remembers rumours about Reyes that suggested extraordinary powers of insight.
"No one now." She taps the file. "Everything we were is in there."
Reyes lowers the gun. Marita stares at the dark Potomac, stretched out like a ribbon of black oil before them. If Reyes can make sense of her thoughts then surely here is a person worthy of the legacy she is about to leave behind.
Reyes reaches once more for the cigarettes in her pocket and this time goes as far as to light one.
"Where are you going?"
Marita thinks about Europe, about Russia, Tunisia, South America. She could go to any of these places but when she contemplates travel plans it doesn't seem real. She doesn't know where she'll go. And she wouldn't tell Reyes if she did.
Reyes nods, an answer she expected.
Marita pulls the keys out of the ignition and holds them out for Reyes to take.
"You'll need them to get home."
Reyes frowns. "You want me to take the car?"
"I don't need it." Marita opens the door and begins to step out.
"Wait! What am I supposed to do with it. All of it?"
A light breeze lifts the hair off the back of Marita's neck. Soon it will be Winter in the capital. Winter without Alex, Winter without Spender and perhaps Winter without her. She smiles wryly.
"Save the world," she says, and she closes the door.
Fireworks explode in the night sky of Sao Paolo and the crowds cheer, "Happy New Year!"
On the balcony of a room at the Mofarrej a woman in a long blue dress, and blonde hair neatly knotted on the top of her head, raises a glass of champagne and then returns it to the table beside her.
Humanity survives another year. But it hasn't been that long - two years now. Too early to tell but the signs are good. Maybe Reyes knew what she was doing after all.
The room behind her is large. Too large for a small and slight woman traveling alone, but she has an allowance from the Consortium that she needs to spend and expensive hotels are like a final irony. No more hiding in dark apartments or underground bunkers. She is out on the balcony of the Mofarrej for all to see.
She leans over the balcony railing and looks down on the street below.
You would never know them to look at, she thinks. You wouldn't know if it was your neighbour, or your best friend, or your lover.
She wonders how they ever trusted each other, any of them, and she remembers they didn't. Which somehow makes it difficult, after all these years, to remember Alex like this, to remember who he was and what he meant to her.
Relationships in hindsight are often more transparent, less complex, but this one defies explanation, even now. It seems inappropriate to speak about love and yet it's precisely this concept that occupies her thoughts at these times.
As an undercover field agent in the CIA she was told she could love anyone if she needed to, but she thinks they misunderstood the process because surely a need to love someone insured the success of the bond. And was that any less legitimate than a bond formed romantically or by familial ties?
She picks up her glass and takes it inside. She pours the remaining champagne down the sink because she's never really been a drinker, and she flops onto the King size bed. She's amazed at how she finds being alone so comfortable, and so familiar. She wants for nothing and she need never need anything again.
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