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Not My Lover: Gibson's Gift
Deslea R. Judd
Copyright 2001

DISCLAIMER: Characters not mine. Interpretation mine.
ARCHIVE: No. This one is a private one for friends. I haven't decided whether it will be incorporated into any "official" version of Not My Lover.
RATING: R for adult concepts and some possibly disturbing sexual imagery.
SPOILERS: To Season 7. Spoilers for Not My Lover universe.
TIMEFRAME: This missing scene from Not My Lover takes place during Marita's confinement at Fort Marlene.
CATEGORY/KEYWORDS: Angst, Krycek/Marita, CSM, Gibson
MORE FIC: http://fiction.deslea.com/
FEEDBACK: Love the stuff. deslea@deslea.com


My son.

When Alex first brought him to me, when I was recovering from the pathogen in our labs, I had known perfectly well what he was doing. We had lost one child; and so when he found another, he had brought him to me. I loved him for wanting to heal me; I hated him for thinking he could. But I hadn't had the heart to send the boy away; and somewhere along the line, he had become my son after all. That was no lie. Probably the only thing I'd said to Spender that day that wasn't.

Funny how things turn out. If Alex hadn't tried so damn hard to put our family back together, at least Gibson, if not I, would still have been alive. Because make no mistake, we weren't. Not to anyone beyond the secure walls of Purity Control. But then again, if Gibson hadn't been taken with me, I couldn't have achieved what I needed to achieve in order to survive. Think about that one too long and you'll go mad, I chastised myself. And by the way, Marita - think about it in front of him, and you'll drive him mad with you; so how about turning off your brain?

I wondered how much he knew. Gibson, with his strange gift, could seek me out, could find the truth, if he so desired. I had blocked much of it from him, building mental barriers to keep him from the worst of my suffering, with little idea of whether they worked. It could also be that he had quite deliberately not sought me out at all, so that he wouldn't have to know whether or not they'd killed me. But I didn't think he had enough control to do that. For Gibson, exercising his telepathy was as natural as breathing. And like breathing, it wasn't something he could hold in for very long. Watching him now through the glass, huddled on his bunk in that white, airless little room, I wondered with a pang what else he would do, deprived of any kind of humanity for five long months. Wouldn't he seek comfort in whatever he could? Bowing my head, I grieved silently for the little boy lost. For everything lost.

I opened my eyes. They were wet, and I blinked them, breathing out shakily. God, my thighs were wet, too - please let that be sweat; please don't let that be him - and I pressed my legs together tightly, compulsively reclaiming that space within me as mine. Control, Marita, control. He can't see you like this. He might be a telepath, but he is also a frightened little boy, and you're the only mother he has left.

I went to the doorway before me, then turned back to the door behind me. Still no guard; he was waiting outside, as he'd been instructed. Will wonders never cease, I marvelled; Spender had kept his word. I rounded the corner into Gibson's room.

"Gibson?"

He turned to face me, his eyes wide. They'd been afraid to test him, I knew that from Spender - God forbid they toy with his unknown biochemical balance - but Alex had given him the vaccine after the discovery of the pathogen in Dallas, just before our capture. He'd be in Recovery Stage 1-D, I'd calculated; and I'd prepared myself for how he must look; but even so, I couldn't quite conceal what seeing him did to me. Didn't bargain on this when you adopted us, did you, sweetheart? Still want to be our son? Because this is our world - pathogen and vaccines that are almost as bad; death and evil and if you're really lucky you might score a few minutes or a few hours of love in between. By what right had we let him in for this?

I watched him, looking for recrimination in his expression; but there was none. His white, drawn features were etched with a blend of disbelief, grief, and something less tangible - something adult, maybe even something aged. If he looked bad, I looked far worse - I knew that. He sat up in his bunk, staring at me intently, searching my thoughts for knowledge - probably unaware that he was doing it. So I sent him images - fragments; the least distressing ones I could summon. Those that would explain without bringing him harm.

Well, everything's relative, I suppose.

I made my way over to him; oh, so carefully. Walking was a challenge of late, but I put on a good show for him. Each step pounded in my brain, and I was grateful for that; because that put one more barrier between Gibson's gift and what I had done. And when I reached him and sat down heavily at his side, he fell against me, fitting himself into the crook of my arm. I stroked his hair, reflecting with something like self-hatred how skeletal my fingers had become.

"He thinks we're dead," he said in a voice that was so low, so raw, that it sounded like steel wool on glass.

That didn't surprise me, but I felt my heart plummet -and, side-by-side with that, a guilty kind of relief. If Alex wasn't searching, then maybe what I had done was justified. Maybe there really was no other way. "They told you that?"

"I saw it in his mind. That man who smokes."

I shuddered against my will at that, the barriers in my mind spreading open for an instant, one quick flash of him labouring over me. Then I clamped them shut again, but Gibson had drawn back from me. "Marita?" he said, his eyes wide and brown, and, for an instant, so like Alexi's that I could have sworn he was really our child.

I smoothed back his hair. "What is it?" Except I knew what it was, and I should never have come here. I should never have inflicted this on him. Thought after self-reproaching thought flew through my mind, each one incriminating me more than the last, and all of them on display for him. All but the thought under the thought that must at all costs be concealed.

He was watching me, inquisitive eyes suddenly alive with urgency. "I saw something. Something real fast. Something you're trying to stop me from seeing."

"No, Gibson, honestly," I said with breathless haste, "there's nothing." He looked at me in frank disbelief, and I conceded, "Nothing you want to know, anyway."

"Why did they let you come to me?" he demanded.

"Because - because I'm co-operating with the tests," I said quickly, then cursed myself. He couldn't quite see the truth; but he could see a lie.

"Why did they let you come to me?" he insisted. He was staring at me, eyes piercing and disturbingly adult, flashing with barely restrained power. He was so damn strong and I was so damn weak, and I shrank back from him, just a little. He felt it, felt my weakness betrayed, and he used that one moment, that one little window to see. And what he saw made him draw his breath in, gasping in a child's voice as his mind was thrust rudely over the cusp of adulthood. Watching him, I saw in my mind's eye what he saw; and seeing it through his eyes, I mourned in a way I couldn't mourn through my own.

From that strange, twin perspective, within myself and without, I saw Spender push me against the tiled wall of my room. I saw him drag the paper gown off my shoulders, sliding it down my body, rubbing his body against mine, stinking of cigarettes and something more basic, something filthy and rotten that seemed to come from deep within him. Arching my neck to look at the ceiling, so goddamn white, and thinking of snow. Snow in Ateni. Alex taking me on our wedding night. God, we'd been so in love. Like teenagers. He'd made love to me a thousand times, and this could be one time more, if only I imagined hard enough. Those unfamiliar hands, larger and coarser and less sure of their ground -they could be his, if only I could believe it, if only I didn't look.

Except Alex had never had to part my thighs, because drawing him into me was something I'd done as instinctively as breathing. And if I thought about why I didn't now, about why he had to push them until I clenched my teeth and parted them through sheer strength of will, I might remember it was the man who had killed my mother and my child. And if I remembered that, I might have to scream.

Gibson was weeping.

He was staring at me in horror, his breath coming in fast, hitching sobs. I was filled with remorse. Why on earth had I come to him? Why had I made him my excuse?

"You did that...to see me?" he managed, at last. "For ME? How COULD you! How COULD YOU!" he screamed. He got off the bed, and backed away, shouting, "I don't want you to do that for me!" He took a few, lurching steps, and slumped down on the floor in the corner, his shoulders hunched.

I went to him. I was weeping too, on the point of hysteria. "Gibson, no, this isn't your fault," I said urgently, kneeling before him. "I wanted to see you, and I told him I'd do...that...if I could see you; but that's not why. It was something else." He stared up at me, gaze darting back and forth over my face, searching for signs of falsehood. He was shaking. "It isn't your fault. It isn't your fault."

Hesitantly, he put a hand up to my neck, touching my jaw where *he'd* touched it, a childlike hand, an adult gesture. I recognised it for what it was, a confused attempt to replace one memory with another, and I loved him for it even as a little part of me wanted to shrink away. "What, then?" he whispered finally.

I stroked back his hair a little. "They're going to kill me, Gibson." His face crumpled a little, and the blood rushed to his cheeks. "I'm not useful anymore. The decision's already been made." Tears began to slip down his cheeks at the same moment as I felt mine, and for a surreal moment it was as though we occupied the same space, juxtaposed over one another like two parts of the same whole. I said urgently, "The only way they won't kill me is if I get pregnant. They'll want to know, Gibson. They'll want to know what the vaccine does to the baby."

"You want to make a baby? With HIM?"

I bowed my head. "There's no-one else. Look at me," I said softly. I didn't have to show him the hollows of my hips or the wasting at my breasts, though I had a horrible feeling he knew they were there. These days, my ordeal was in every line of my face, every contour of my body. "No-one else would." And then I realised with bitter irony that had Gibson been two or three years older, there might have been another choice after all. Good work, Marita, I chastised myself; you just managed to think of something even more destructive than this after all. But it was a shadow of a thought, thankfully transitory, and it was gone, blown away (chased away?) before he could perceive it.

"What about the baby?" he was saying.

"I'll have the baby," I said. "I'll love the baby." I cradled the boy's face with my palms, then drew one of his hands to my belly where, God willing, our salvation was forming even as we spoke. "This baby is going to bring us home."

"But what if Alex doesn't want us anymore?"

I drew him close; said with more conviction than I felt, "He will."

But deep down, I wasn't so sure.


Author's note: If you read this without knowledge of the Not My Lover universe, you're probably pretty confused right about now. Fortunately, there's a cure: Not My Lover is complete, and available at http://fiction.deslea.com.

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