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Waiting In Tangier *PG* 1/1
Deslea R. Judd
Copyright 2001

DISCLAIMER: Situations not mine. Interpretation mine...mostly. See end notes.
ARCHIVE: Yes, just keep my name and headers.
SPOILERS/TIMEFRAME: After Existence.
CATEGORY: Romance, angst, Krycek/Marita.
SUMMARY: "He says that he loves her, but maybe it's just the breeze".
NOTE: This one is, well, weird. Hope you like it, though.
MORE FIC: http://fiction.deslea.com/
FEEDBACK: Love the stuff. deslea@deslea.com.
AWARDS/ELIGIBILITY: Winner, 2001 Spooky Awards (Outstanding Krycek/Marita Romance, Outstanding Marita Characterisation). Finalist, 2001 Spooky Awards (Outstanding Short Story Or Vignette, Outstanding Story Set Outside Washington D.C.).


She thinks that Tangier in summer is the most beautiful place on earth.

She used to like the cold. St Petersburg at Christmas, Christchurch in July. But when the oil entered her, it ran so cold in her veins that she thought she would never be warm again. Fort Marlene was cold, too; and when Jeffrey had delivered her to Alex, he had bundled her off to Morocco, and she's been running from the cold ever since.

This is her first summer here without him, and as the wind teases her hair, telltale sign of the coming fall, she wonders whether she will run again, or whether she will stay and face her first winter in three years. There is no question of notifying him if she leaves - his email bounces now, with the message "mailbox full" - and anyway, she promised.

(Wait for me in Tangier. As long as it takes, Marita. Promise me)

If she leaves, then she perpetuates the lie - that it doesn't really matter, that he'll show up in her life at the most inopportune moment down the track - and sooner or later she has to face the decision of whether to return. If she stays, then she is admitting her desperation, her private fear that he's really gone and she's scared to death he won't come back this time unless she stays here like he told her to.

(But if he were dead, they would have told me)

They had safeguards for that. A Maronite cross with her full name, tattooed along his hip - not a sentimental statement, but a pragmatic one. Religion and next of kin. She has one, too, only her cross is more conventionally Christian. People have not been decent to them in life, any more than they have been decent to others; but she hopes that they would be decent in death.

(But what if they burnt him what if they threw him in a pit or a lake what if)

The group always notified - she gave them that much. But if it was a rogue - a replicant, a renegade, or just a thief in an alleyway - if it was a rogue, she might never know.

In her heart, she knows. No matter how deep the cover, he would have come back for her by now. He always has, no matter how

(bloodied hurt betrayed)

compromised they were. He did what he had to do, and she did what she had to do, and sometimes that led to

(death pain blood oil blood)

terrible omissions on both sides, but he always came back. There was never a commitment between them - there had never been a need. He just came back, because she was his, and he was hers.

But if he's

(gone)

not here, then that means he's

(dead)

not coming back. All that's left to do now is sit among the jasmine and

(scream cry ache need scratch bite push pull weep)

sit among the jasmine and wait.

And wait.

And wait.


They have a dozen safe houses, but this is the one he built for her. The garden is full of jasmine, and she doesn't know if jasmine grows naturally in Morocco, but he knew she loved it and he made sure it was there for her. It trails over the walls and pours from the garden beds and its scent is heavy and cloying in the heat. As summer melts away, the smell is almost unpleasant, but still she sits out here, watching the Mediterranean meld with the Atlantic, remembering that he planted them for her.

She isn't the suicidal type, but she could easily stay here and

(die)

wither if not for the child. That isn't quite the blessing the romantics say it should be - there's something

(wrong wrong wrong)

bittersweet about having to go on when she wants to fade away - but she will face it with the dignity and the strength he would have expected of her. The life within her is warm, but deep in the marrow of her bones, she still feels cold.

In the end, she stays, and she faces the winter, and by Moroccan standards it is a cold one. It occurs to her that Alex taught her to face the cold and survive, and she does, but sitting out here amid the jasmine with their daughter, she wishes he had stayed to keep her warm.

He says that he loves her, but maybe it was just the breeze.


He only wrote her one love letter when he was

(alive)

when he was with her. He never gave it to her; he ripped it to shreds after a fight. She can't even remember what they'd argued about, but he stormed out, leaving her weeping, and when he came home in the early hours of the morning, he found her trying to piece the letter back together. They made love there among the bits of paper, and she never did find out everything it said. She still has the pieces, and sometimes she thinks of putting them together once more, but somehow the idea of fixing it seems all wrong. He's broken, she's broken, and the idea of putting any of it back together is absurd.


He makes love to her in her dreams.

It is a gentler love than they shared in life. In life, there was an urgency, a desperation born of the knowledge that any touch could be their last. In her dreams, there is only reverence and peace. He's still

(broken)

missing an arm, but when he holds her, there is no gap in the warmth he brings her. When they're done and she wakes, in the twilight between darkness and dawn, sometimes she feels his body curled around hers. Sometimes she hates him for reminding her, for not letting her go; but most times she tells the empty room that she loves him.

He says that he loves her, but maybe it was just the breeze.


Their child carries a child of her own when, finally, she knows.

The packet comes from a lawyer in Washington - executor of Walter Skinner's estate. A full confession. She can leave Tangier now - she's learned to face the cold - but she can't remember why it matters anymore. All she knows is that he was gunned down, that he died

(alone)

died hard just like he lived, and there is nowhere she can go that can bring her justice, nowhere that can comfort her more than the garden he gave her. All that's left to do now is to sit among the jasmine and

(wither)

sit among the jasmine and wait. He said he'd come for her in Tangier, and she said that she would wait, and she takes him at his word.

Because he always comes back.


He calls her by name.

She has been aware of it for some time now, uttered on the wind as she stands out by the sea. More recently, she has heard it even in the still of the night. Her still-youthful body is failing her, but stretched out on her bed, feeling the night breeze embracing her naked skin and whispering her name, she's never felt so alive. Their daughter frets and worries that her serenity is a front, but it isn't. Not at all.

She waits.

He comes to her one day as summer melts into fall. In the garden, of course. She stands there, smelling the jasmine, and she hears the familiar sound of her name on the wind. There is a clarity she hasn't heard before, a lull behind the sound that obscures everything else, and her heart is tight in her chest. When she turns, he is there, close enough to touch.

He is young and vibrant, and she isn't really young anymore, but seeing him, she feels the years melt away. His eyes are brighter and deeper than she remembers, and he has both his hands. He stretches them out to her, and she takes them, twining her fingers with his.

(Not broken. Not broken at all)

He shakes his head, smiling, and she feels the dampness of tears beneath her eyelids and the warmth rise up in her face. Twenty-three years of loss and brokenness wash over her, and she feels giddy, and she rocks on her feet. He leans forward and kisses her forehead, and he's so real, so soft that the full weight of her pain overcomes her.

And then it ends.

She feels it fall away in a rush, and the tight hand around her heart lets go. Her whole being feels light, and warmth radiates through her. She is suddenly aware of the separation, of her body collapsed on the ground behind her, but it doesn't matter. None of it matters now.

(You waited)

he says, but maybe it was just the breeze.

(You promised to come)

He looks on her; draws her close and cradles her, profoundly tender. She clings to him, and she asks him what he wrote so long ago. He whispers in her ear, and she realises she knew all along. He tugs on her hand, wanting her to walk, and she follows. She would follow him anywhere. She would follow him into heaven, or hell.

(Are we forgiven?)

she wonders as she leaves her body behind.

(I don't know. I only know that we may face it together, if we love. Do you love?)

(Yes, I love)

He stops short and faces her, and he takes her hand in his and puts it on his heart. And then she can see it, all of it in a rush, so warm and bright that she gasps. Every vestige of light in him gleams for her in a blinding instant, and it washes over her, warm as sun and sweet as jasmine. In a single moment she knows who he was and who he has become, and knowing that makes it all worthwhile. They stand there nakedly, and she understands. She understands it all.

He says that he loves her, and it *was* the breeze, because the breeze is he and he is the breeze. He's in her, in her mind and her heart, and it's like making love and flying and laughing and crying all at once. He seeps through her, melding with her as the wind takes them off together.

She never knows if they're forgiven, but they're together, and for her that's enough.


When they find her, her body is warm, and she smells of jasmine. She is smiling.

(do you love?)

(yes, I love)

she says, but maybe it was just the breeze.

END


AUTHOR'S NOTE: You know, I had a simple facing-life-and-finding-hope story planned, and I wound up with this weird eschatological reunion thing. I guess I'm just a sucker for a happy ending. :-) This story owes a little to Numb by Maidenjedi, a little to Inside The Lightning by darkstar, a little to Nona by Stephen King, and a lot to the song Waiting In Tangier by Fem2Fem.

Now, I normally don't quote entire songs in afternotes (in fact I rarely quote them at all), but this song was so much a part of what led to the creation of this fic that it doesn't feel complete without them. I'm also making the audio available on RealMedia (for a short time only) at http://www.ratcave.addr.com/temp/tangier.zip (700kb) - requires Winzip 8 and RealPlayer.

     Waiting In Tangier
     Fem2Fem
     
     (Spoken)
     I was fast asleep and I felt your lips brush against my temple
     I heard the door close and your footsteps get fainter
     Was that the last time in this life that we would make love?
     
     (Sung)
     Over the hills and far away
     We roamed the golden sands my love
     We would shine through every day
     Into the sea over the waves
     We found our promised land my love
     We learned strength in every way
     Why did you have to go and break my heart
     Two souls that mourn
     Will never ever stay apart
     
     All my life I'll be waiting for you
     Waiting for you
     For a love that lasts forever
     I find myself calling your name
     Calling your name
     When you appear I'll be waiting in Tangier
     
     Summer and smoke and many tears
     We climbed the mountain tops all day
     And you saved me from my fears
     Slept through the day into the night
     We made a mortal vow our way
     In your arms by candlelight
     Why did you have to go and break my heart
     Two souls that mourn
     Will never ever stay apart
     
     All my life I'll be waiting for you
     Waiting for you
     For a love that lasts forever
     I find myself calling your name
     Calling your name
     When you appear I'll be waiting in Tangier
     
     I read your fated poem under the shattering sky
     I'll miss your love until I die
     Hear me cry
     
     All my life I'll be waiting for you
     Waiting for you
     For a love that lasts forever
     I find myself calling your name
     Calling your name
     When you appear I'll be waiting in Tangier
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