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five moments of truth and trust

by winter baby

title:           five moments of truth and trust
author:          winter baby
rating:          r
category:        sra
archive:         anywhere, but e-mail me.
spoilers:        patient x, one son, requiem, existence, the
keywords:        k/ma, au
summary:         one suitcase full of money, two star-crossed
                 assassins, three sex scenes, four mentions of
                 mulder, and five ways it never was.

disclaimer:      none of them are even close to being mine.
timeline:        patient x, one son, requiem, existence, the
                 truth. and in that order too.
author's note:   the five things challenge. because alex and
                 marita were made for this.

+ five moments of truth and trust +

[ one: you hurt him like no one else ]

"Give you the means to save Covarrubias, after what she did?" -Alex Krycek, The Red and the Black

Anywhere she goes, he'll follow her.

That's how betrayal works. There has to be some kind of backlash. Nobody explained this to her until it was too late.

She thought she had slipped out of Cairo unnoticed, but she should have known better than that. Alex surprisingly has eyes everywhere, for a man who's supposed to have no connections left. She made sure of that, but he's always had resources, no matter what the circumstances.

There are moments of regret, when she thinks back to the first time he sought her out. He told her, "You can be so much more than this."

She was a trained informant then, a dealer of knowledge and misinformation, depending on the time of day. He promised that he could take her away from all that. She only partly believed him.

In Istanbul, he finds her.

She thinks, that has to be a song.

He's in her room, even before she checks in, and what's amazing is that she randomly walked into this hotel, without even knowing herself where she was headed. She doesn't know how he finds her, and she's a little afraid to ask.

"Why are you here?" she says suspiciously and drops her bag onto the floor.

"You took the boy," he answers simply, standing up from the chair in the corner. She nods, silently cursing herself for not buying a weapon as soon as she stepped off the plane. He growls, "I'd like him back."

"You're slipping, Alex. Your intel isn't what it should be, because I don't have him anymore. I handed him over to Mulder." Her voice is cold and hard. She doesn't believe that he didn't know this. He's using it as a flimsy excuse to chase her across the world.

"Of course," he replies with a wry smile and takes a step closer to her. "How silly of me to forget."

These are the games they play, even though both can see through each other's words. Intentions, though, are far more difficult to discern.

She doesn't know what he wants from her.

He pulls out his gun and she's not at all taken aback. She is surprised however, when he throws it onto the dresser and instead kisses her, hard and terrifying and better than she remembers it.

They land on the bed in a tangle of clothes and he whispers into her ear, "This isn't forgiveness." She shuts him up by pulling off his pants and he grabs her roughly with a hand that will leave bruises. The sound of her own moaning is muted out by the pounding of her heart and she thinks, Maybe I don't want to be forgiven.

Afterwards Alex gets dressed quickly but leaves the gun on the dresser. He's halfway to the door when he turns around and says in a low voice, "It shouldn't have been like this."

Marita looks away because his eyes are too honest and too wounded. He says nothing more and shuts the door behind him.

And this is how it is. She runs from country to country with Alex following her always. Each time there is a moment of doubt when he pulls out his gun, but it ends with a kiss and them lying naked in bed. Despite all this, she knows the day will come when her doubt will be truth, when his kiss will be a bullet because maybe it's what she deserves.

He's right. This isn't forgiveness and it shouldn't have been this way at all. She wasn't supposed to betray him like she had, but people don't change and sometimes she can't be anything more than what she was trained to be.

[ two: you love her like no one else ]

"Tests. Terrible, terrible tests."
-Marita Covarrubias, One Son

These are the things she is certain of: her name is Marita Covarrubias, her hair is not naturally that blonde, and she once loved a man named Alex Krycek.

Sometimes she dreams, and the images that float in and out of her mind might be hallucinations. The suits she wore to work, the smell of her perfume, all the other hazy details from her life before - they could be something she made up, something she clings to because this existence is torture. She can't be sure any of that was real. There's no proof.

But the three things she knows as truth, those she writes down on pieces of scrap paper with pens she nicks from the nurses' pockets. She writes them over and over, and hides the paper in random places around her cell - under her mattress or behind her mirror - in case she should ever forget.

My name is Marita Covarrubias.

This is not my natural hair color.

I loved Alex Krycek.

Proof of the first is on the hospital bracelet they make her wear. It's indestructible. She can't pull it off or stretch it and she's sure, if she ever got her hands on a pair, scissors wouldn't work either. Not that she wants to, because it's the only proof she has of her identity. It's not much, but it's enough.

The second fact was harder to establish. It happened so gradually that she didn't notice it until there was at least a good inch of light brown. Her roots are growing out, slowly but surely, and she wishes she could dye her hair again. Maybe if she asks very nicely, one of the younger nurses will take pity on her and sneak in a bottle of L'Oreal. It's too much to hope for, but she has very little left anymore.

The third and last is the most elusive. There's no physical evidence of this at all, just a nagging feeling and the name Alex Krycek that runs through her mind at random moments of the day, more often during the night. She loved Alex Krycek.

But lately, she's becoming less and less certain about that last one. There are memories of him but she doesn't trust those. They're flimsy things, so easily shaped and reshaped. There are also holes in her memory, and it's like living in a fog. The moments she does recollect she can't be certain of, because it's quite possible that she's mad and the feverish images she thinks are truth are anything but.

It's a terrible thing, not being able to trust one's own thoughts.

With shaking hands, she begins to write her mantra on a slip of paper she grabbed from the nurses' station while they were moving her to the testing center. She's halfway through writing her name when an alarm starts to blare, red lights flashing and the shrill screaming of a bell.

The automatic lock on her cell door clicks open and she gapes at it with wide eyes. Outside in the hallway, people are running and yelling, but she's frozen on her bed.

It's her means of escape, yet she can't move.

She thinks, this has to be another trap.

Over the shouting of the doctors and security guards, she hears a clear voice calling out her name. She opens her mouth to answer, but then shuts it.

She recognizes that voice.

Alex opens the door of her cell and for a moment he just stares at her. He's shocked by her wraith-like appearance, she can tell, but not as shocked as she is.

It's him. He's real.

Which means that everything she remembers about him is real, including what he did to the boy and then what the boy did to her. That memory comes back to her like a slap in the face, and she recoils.

He grabs her arm and pulls her off the bed, a look of concern mixed with determination on his face. She struggles against him and hisses desperately, "You did this to me. I'm like this because of you."

She falls to the ground in sobs, her skeleton-thin fingers covering her face. Alex's arm wraps around her and helps her stand.

"You did this to yourself, Marita. You should have never left me."

His voice is soft and soothing, and this isn't the Alex that she barely remembers. But this is an Alex that she can see herself falling in love with all over again.

"Why are you here?" she whimpers and looks up at his face, which is smooth and hard and tangible.

"I came here for you," he explains. "It's all going to hell. The rebels are going to win. They took it."

He doesn't need to say anything more. She understands what he means, and she also understands the urgency. Alex uses his one arm to carry her out of the facility, staring down security guards as they leave and daring them with his eyes to question his authority.

The world outside is bright and shining. She breathes deeply and for the first time in a long time, the air tastes clean. Alex helps her into his car and she leans up against window, taking in the coolness of the glass.

Miles away from Fort Marlene, after she's assured herself for the hundredth time that the trees passing them by and the mountains in the distance are real, she turns to Alex and asks, "Where are we going?"

The hope in her voice surprises even herself.

He glances at her and smiles.

"Who knows?" Alex answers with a shrug. "It's a brand new world."

And she can live with that.

[ three: you love him like no one else ]

"Do you trust Alex, Marita?"
-Cigarette Smoking Man, Requiem

She hates Tunisia. It's too hot and her skin crawls with sweat.

She doesn't know why she was the one sent to retrieve Alex. Irony or poetic justice, she can't decide.

Negotiating in Arabic is a lot harder than she thought it would be. It's been years since she had any reason to speak Arabic and she's a bit rusty. But after numerous attempts, she finally reaches an agreement with the warden of the prison.

She tries not to mentally convert the suitcase full of dinar into American dollars as she slides it across the table towards him, and is instead grateful for the fact that it isn't her own money.

She is shown to his cell. It stinks of human excrement and it takes all that she has to keep from turning away. Alex comes forward and she doesn't flinch when she sees him.

He's wrecked. He stands oddly vulnerable without his prosthetic arm and when he says her name, there's a hint of hatred in his voice. There's some in hers also.

They say nothing as the cab brings them back to the hotel. She silently passes him one of his old prosthetics, and he puts it on without a word. He won't even look at her. She wishes he would.

At the hotel, Alex takes longer in the shower than she remembers he used to, but she thinks it's probably been months since he had a decent one and lets him have the small pleasure.

He calls out to her, and for a second she thinks he's going to say something spiteful or cryptic like he usually does, but his voice is more pleading than that.

She walks into the bathroom and he's standing in the shower stall, glistening under the water and staring at her with greedy eyes.

It's also been months since he's seen a woman.

His eyes are roving over her body, and without even thinking she's taking off her outfit, piece by piece. How easily she falls back into habit. How easily she gives in to him.

He's whispering her name as his hand runs across her thigh and she shivers despite the hot water. His mouth on hers is hungry and wanting, unfamiliar in its desperation but not at all unpleasant.

When Alex slides into her, he stares at her as if he's realizing for the first time the full implications of this all.

"Why are you here?" he asks, his eyes wide and confused. She opens her mouth to reply but instead a moan comes out. Her answer is lost somewhere between the second and third orgasm, and she forgets the question altogether.

His body pressed up against hers feels so good. It's been too long since she's had him like this and the way his tongue runs over her breasts is enough to make her forgive him of anything. She thinks the amount of times they've betrayed each other is pretty much even, so it's a clean slate starting from now.

Of course, she's rationalizing her need to have him again. Pride won't let herself admit the real reason she wants him so badly, and when he looks at her with those green eyes, she has to turn away. Otherwise she might say something she'll regret later, something Alex can hang over her head and use as ammunition. Something he can hurt her with.

After, when he's collapsed onto the bed in exhaustion and she's left to pack their belongings, he looks up at her and says softly, "I'm glad you're here."

She ignores him and continues to pull clothing out of the dresser. Her back is to him and she's grateful for the fact that he can't see her face. She's so close to breaking down, falling into his arms and begging him not to betray her, or kill her, or leave her again.

Instead she hardens her face and turns to him. In an even tone, she explains, "The Smoking Man. He is dying."

Alex is shocked. She knows what he's thinking because she thought the same thing when she heard the news. It isn't possible to kill that man, yet he's dying nonetheless.

"You got me out of jail just to tell me that?" Alex asks disbelievingly and sits up on the bed. She shuts the suitcase and slips the plane tickets into her purse.

"No, I was sent to retrieve you. He wants us back, for one last assignment."

Alex rises to his feet and grabs her arm, pulling her close to him. His voice is angry, bitter, but not at her.

"I'm not so easily manipulated anymore, Marita. That man has led me to my death more than once. He had me thrown in that hellhole," Alex hisses. With a scoff, he says, "And now the old man needs me. I won't do it."

She yanks her arm away from him and retorts, "And what do you suggest we do instead? Run? Hide? Whatever's happening out there, he must think we can stop it. We have to at least try."

"Bullshit," he says, his voice growing louder. "We don't know what's happening. He tells us that we're saving the world but for all we know, he could be playing us for fools. Let him toy with Mulder. Let him pump Mulder full of idealistic crap about sacrificing the few for the greater good. I'm finished."

She leans up against the dresser and shakes her head. She feels tired. She feels defeated. "This is a lifetime's work, Alex. I don't know anything else."

He moves towards her and takes her hand into his. Alex is gentle and charming, and she remembers this is why she followed him in the first place, years ago.

"It doesn't matter," he tells her softly and he might be sincere. "Just come away with me. We can leave all of this behind. And if the end does come... at least we'll be together."

She looks up at him with uncertain eyes, hope mixed with doubt. "Can you promise me that?" she says incredulously. "You've left me before."

"And you've left me," he replies matter-of-factly. Alex takes a deep breath and after a pause, asks, "Do you trust me, Marita?"

She thinks, this has to be a joke.

This is how Alex got her to betray the Syndicate once before, with sweet words and a soft face. But there is no Syndicate now, only a dying man half a world away.

There is however, another man, standing in front of her, offering her what she couldn't ask for, and asking from her what she can't offer.

Trust, he said, as if it were ever that simple. Trust him not to leave her again. Trust him not to betray her again.

There are leaps of faith and then there are nosedives off of cliffs. She can't decide which one this is, but she's no stranger to falling.

She needs Alex, in ways she doesn't understand and that doesn't change the fact that she wants everything he's willing to give her, and maybe even more than that.

Sometimes it's as simple as want and need.

"Yes," she says slowly, wrapping her hand tighter around his. "I trust you, Alex."

She might be lying, but when has that every mattered before between them.

[ four: you hurt her like no one else ]

"You think I'm bad, that I'm a killer." -Alex Krycek, Existence

He comes home at odd hours of the night. She doesn't know where he's been, but she's too afraid to ask. He's rougher, more threatening than she remembers. He speaks to her in curt sentences and slams doors in her face. It bothers her that she can't pinpoint the exact moment when Alex began to change, and then she realizes it's because she wasn't with him when he became this hostile. He's been like this ever since she's returned.

Leave a man for a year, and he's a completely different person.

They haven't touched at all either, which she finds the strangest of all. She sleeps in a separate room of his D.C. apartment, cold and alone and a little frightened.

She should go, leave Alex to his bizarre comings and goings, but she doesn't. Something keeps her here, maybe her own morbid curiosity to find out what's changed in him.

She follows him one night, carefully, stealthily, using all her training because Alex has developed this kind of hyperawareness that she doesn't understand. He can hear her open a water bottle from across the apartment or know that she's been with another man just by looking at her.

Alex gets into his car and after a few blocks, she knows where he's headed. The FBI building stands prominent in the distance and she speeds past.

He's going to see Scully, with her bulging stomach flaunting its ability to create life and she looks down at her own flat one, empty and most likely barren.

Fort Marlene ravaged her body, and whatever miracle brought Scully's child to life most likely wouldn't work in her case.

She returns to the apartment and searches through Alex's room for secret documents or anything that will give her a clue as to what's happening. It feels like old times, when she was told only what she needed to know, except this time Alex has deemed that she needs to know nothing.

Something's coming. Something big and drastic, and she's scared witless that she won't be prepared for it.

After discovering nothing, she shuts off his laptop and resignedly climbs into his bed, burying her head into his pillow and breathing in his scent.

Except, it's not his scent.

She sits up abruptly and stares at the room with new eyes, as if she's never seen it before. Everything is orderly and neat, with none of Alex's messiness about them. There isn't the stench of cigarettes in the air anymore or random packs lying around the room. And smaller things that only she's noticed about him, like the way he used to keep his prosthetic in its case on the nightstand to the left of his bed, yet now it's sitting on the right one. Or how his cologne bottle is almost full to the top, barely used, when before he would douse himself in it to cover up the smell of smoke.

She can't find his presence in any of the things here. It's as if all the small, everyday inconveniences that Alex lived with were corrected by someone assuming his life. Like how his razor is kept in the toothbrush cup, instead of behind the mirror like she remembers.

Tiny matters like that, which really have no consequences but stand out to her because these are habitual things that aren't so easily broken.

She doesn't know why it surprises her so much that his change in personality has also extended out into the smallest details of himself.

The phone rings. She almost jumps out of her skin and after steadying herself, picks it up, sitting on his bed and still scanning the familiar yet slightly askew surroundings.

"Marita Covarrubias," a deep voice states simply.

She recognizes it, although barely.

"Mr. Skinner," she answers in the same tone and waits, holding her breath. He can't be delivering good news. He wouldn't have called otherwise.

"Alex Krycek is dead," he tells her coldly and hangs up. The abruptness of his words snaps in her ears.

She doesn't believe him, because she's been lied to before and has learned never to accept anything at face value. There is such a thing as seeing it with her own eyes, and she grabs her car keys.

The elevator takes her down to the bottom floor of the FBI parking garage, and she knows with certainty where she's headed. She's been out of the game for a while, but she still has the resources to trace a simple thing as a cell phone call.

When the doors slide open, there's a body crumpled on the cement ground and she gasps loudly, a sob caught in her throat. She begins running towards it, tears forming despite herself. The closer she gets, the more details she recognizes and his brown hair is drenched in red blood.

There's a bullet hole in each of his limbs and one right between his eyes. She brings a hand to her mouth, forces herself from retching, and cries silently at the sight of Alex's unmoving body.

All of a sudden, his eyes fling open and she jumps back in surprise as he blinks and turns to look at her. The flesh around his wounds, torn and bloody as they are, seem to be growing smaller and smaller and a cold smile spreads across Alex's face.

She backs up into a cement column, horrified eyes staring as he stands up without the slightest sign of pain.

"Alex..." her voice trails off and she can feel fear grip her heart.

She thinks, this cannot be happening.

With his right arm, he grabs his prosthetic and flings it across the garage; it lands with a clatter but she doesn't take her eyes off him.

"Well, now that you know, I can finally grow this stupid arm back," he says as if she's relieved him of some great burden.

She can feel her knees weakening.

"I don't understand," she cries pathetically, her voice trembling.

"You must know by now. I'm not your lover. I'm not him," he explains matter-of-factly and she can see it in him, the lack of humanity.

Her breaths are shaky, on the verge of becoming sobs. "Where is he then?" she whispers, knowing that no matter how inaudible her voice is, he'll still be able to hear her.

"Dead, I assume. This is only his body," he continues in his mechanical explanation. "Whatever made him human, whatever made him exist, is gone now. I have replaced it."

His eyes are cold and dead, and she knows he's telling the truth. This thing is not Alex, and she can feel silent tears falling. Some silly voice in her head admonishes her for crying in front of Alex, which is something she's never allowed herself to do, and she almost screams out loud, It's not him.

"What's happened?" she whimpers and he gives her a quizzical look, as if he doesn't understand why she's acting so desperate.

"Walter Skinner shot me, trying to kill me. I think he felt he owed you something, which is why he called you to tell you that your lover is dead. Except he's been dead for a long while now," he tells her and some of the cruelty she detects in his voice may be intentional.

"No, that's not what I meant." She shakes her head and asks in a small voice, "Why are you here?"

He smiles callously again, understanding her question. "This isn't your world anymore. I was created to prepare the way," he answers cryptically and for a moment she thinks, this could be Alex, if she just ignored the fact that he could never have hurt her this way.

In an instant, he's looming over her threateningly, muscles tense, yet his eyes still remain vacant and dispassionate. She looks up at him searchingly and probably for the millionth time in the last three minutes, her heart breaks when she recognizes nothing in his face.

"I should kill you," he growls and grabs her wrist roughly, almost to the point of breaking bones. She swallows her pain and straightens herself, pushing her nose into his.

"Then why don't you," she hisses tersely, and for a moment she swears that a look of doubt crosses his face. It's a flicker that resembles Alex too much and she can't stop herself from hoping that there's something left of him in that cold body.

But it's merely a fraction of a second and his face becomes hard again. He flings Marita across the cement floor and races out of the garage at inhuman speeds.

A sob rips out of her before she can stop herself and she cradles her wounded body, forcing herself to stand up. Whatever conspiracy that she's been left out of this time, a cleanup crew will undoubtedly come to cover it up and she doesn't want to be caught in that.

Some bones may be broken, and Alex is gone, and there's this horrible feeling in the pit of her stomach, as if she's realizing that this may mean, for the first time ever, she's truly alone.

Abandoned and tattered, she finds her way back home through the dark.

[ five: they love like no one else ]

"They'll kill her."
-Alex Krycek, The Truth

She stares at the summons, black ink on white paper, and wonders how such a simple thing could seal her fate so completely.

They want her to testify at Mulder's hearing, a joke of a trial that won't save his life, no matter how much evidence they bring to light. Yet they're calling her to the stand anyway, because of some foolhardy gullibility or maybe more artfully, to expose her.

"Don't go. Don't leave me, please," a familiar voice says somberly to her, and she turns around to face it.

Alex is leaning against the wall in his leather jacket, both arms crossed over his chest and a pleading look on his face. She ignores him; by now she's used to these intrusions.

"It won't do any good. He's as good as dead, and you will be too if you go," he continues softly, earnestly, and it's so unlike him to be this honest with her.

"Leave me alone, Alex," she mutters as she refolds the summons and slips it back into its envelope. He doesn't listen and she really didn't expect him to. Alex crosses the living room and crouches in front of her to meet eyes, hands placed gingerly on either side of her face.

When she first saw him like this, she almost cried at the sight of his left arm, functioning and whole. He told her that there are only two times in a man's existence when he feels completely whole. One is in death, he said. The other is in the arms of the woman he loves.

She asked sarcastically, "So which one is this?"

He didn't return for a week after that. She wouldn't let herself miss him.

She rises from the couch and sidesteps him, moving towards the kitchen. When she walks in, he's standing by the sink and she doesn't give him any notice, immune to his ghostly appearances.

"Why do you want to expose yourself like this?" he asks, genuinely confused, and she abandons the coffee filter to face him.

"I used to be a good person, Alex. But I've done so many things in the past," she whispers. "I'm trying to make up for so much."

It's a confession she thought she wasn't prepared to make, but he has a way of drawing things out of her that she thought was locked safely away. It's an affect that's carried over into death and she finds that it's all too fitting.

She's kept secrets from him before, about conspiracies and colonization and loyalties, but never about the important things, like how she felt about him or how much she needed him.

She regrets that now; she thinks Alex only haunts her because of the things she said to him before he left, that night he got himself killed.

"Don't go. Don't leave me, please," she begged because she didn't think he'd be coming back.

He did, though. And he never left.

"That's not who we are, Marita. We're not good people," he says dejectedly, reaching out to her but not being able to actually make contact. She longs for his hands on her body but no matter how many limbs he regains, he can't ever truly touch her. She thinks that's the worst part of this all.

"I'm not like you," she snaps, taking out her anger at his corporeal inadequacies by throwing him annoyed glares.

"But you are," Alex murmurs almost absently, looking down at his boots. "We're the same, you and I."

He tells her these things as if they're as obvious as two plus two equaling four, and maybe what he says is fact but her admitting that wouldn't do any good. It's just something else he'd use to keep her here.

"They'll kill you if you testify," his voice becomes dangerously low and it sends shivers down her spine. It reminds her of the way he used to whisper into her ear while he was inside her, hard words and a harder prick, and she would moan and gasp and claw at his back as she came.

It can never be like that again, and she wonders what's the point of him hanging around if he can't kiss her like he used to.

"Why are you here?" she says evenly and it's not a question, more of an accusation.

"I have nowhere else to go," he answers with a shrug.

She thinks, that has to be a lie.

Alex follows her into the bedroom and she begins to change into a suit. He keeps protesting, telling her that going to this trial won't absolve her of her sins, that it'll only get her killed.

"You think I don't know that!" she exclaims out of frustration and throws her jacket onto the bed. He grows silent and she won't look up to face him.

"We're not good people," Alex repeats softly, so gently. She falls onto the bed, face buried in her hands and she's sobbing silently.

"You said you'd come back," she whispers and can taste tears.

His voice comes from all sides, but still she won't look up.

"I did, didn't I?" he defends himself, and she shakes her head.

"Not like this. I wanted you back. Really back," she's whimpering and it hurts to speak. She finally raises her face to meet his green eyes, sincere and so bright she almost believes that he's alive again.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have left," he tells her and rests his hands again on her cheeks again, but no matter how hard she tries, she can't feel them. "Don't make the same mistakes I did, Marita. Don't leave me."

Tears don't stain his palms, and she'll never feel his touch again, but somehow his presence is becoming enough for her.

"I won't. I'll stay," she promises and nods weakly. He smiles as he watches her crumple the summons and throw it into the garbage can.

"That's my girl," he says fondly and he's right, she is his girl.

She knows now that the things he said are true - they are the same. And maybe that's why she can't let go of him, because only in his arms, whether she senses them or not, does she ever feel whole.

And because without him, she's nothing.

[ end ]

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