by Marcia Elena

Title: Faithfulness
Author: Marcia Elena
Keywords: M/K, Slash, Post-Colonization Summary: Krycek looks and finds
Written for the 13th Lyric Wheel, the 'Wheel of Fortune', August 18, 2003. Rating: R
Warning: If you don't like dark places, don't come in. I mean it; I think I hate this story. Spoilers: Not really.
Disclaimer: Krycek and Mulder do not belong to me. Luckily for them, I'm only borrowing them for a while. Author's Notes: And again I offer you a post-col piece. Call me obsessed, sick, repetitive; if it's in my head, I have to let it out. Thanks to Rhi for the lyrics. She sent me six different ones, all of them wonderful. Amusingly enough, I ended up using the very first song, the one I told her I wouldn't. Although once more my interpretation of the lyrics is a little skewed. Thank you also to Pollyanna for allowing late posting.

by Marcia Elena

Lying on his back on the rooftop of the highest edifice in the city, he silently watches the stars.

They shine down upon him in all their cold beauty, sharp, indifferent points of light. His gaze, though, is just as sharp, and equally indifferent; he simply watches, listening to his own heartbeat and the sound of the wind as it sweeps through the empty streets and buildings below. And when at length he tires, his eyes fall shut, and he sleeps. He doesn't know that he weeps in his dreams, nor does he hear the keening sounds he makes. Only the night stands witness to the lonesome refrain sung as his voice calls the same name again and again, the sound twining with the moaning of the wind.

In the morning, he makes his way back down into the streets. It takes him a long time to navigate the stairs; there are many floors to descend, and the stairwell is utterly dark. But he has his flashlight with him, and it gives him enough light by which to see the next step, and the next. Somehow, he thinks that that's how he's always lived his life.

He breathes a sigh of relief when he finally emerges onto the street. The light is a welcome thing, but more than that, there's air. It's not the darkness that bothers him so much, but the enclosed spaces. It's one of the reasons he's taken to sleeping on rooftops.

He doesn't know his name, or why he only has one arm. He doesn't remember what happened to all the other people; he's been roaming the country for a long time now, and he's never encountered anyone else. The cities are empty, and so, most likely, is the whole planet. Wherever everyone has gone, not even their echoes were left behind.

He's not sure how long ago the Vanishing took place; he's never counted the days. For him there are simply light hours and dark hours, warm seasons followed by cold ones.

Sometimes he wonders why he's the exception, and whether he was the lucky one.

Sometimes, he wonders why he still bothers to keep himself alive.

His stomach rumbles, pulling him away from his brief introspection. His backpack is empty of food, and so he goes foraging. Lately it's been harder to find food that hasn't gone bad yet, and he knows that soon he's going to have to start venturing outside the cities more often, for gathering and hunting. There are many animals beyond these derelict concrete towers, and he's caught a few small ones on occasion. Rabbits, squirrels, wild cats and dogs. But although he knows how to shoot and his aim is precise, the weight of a firearm is uncomfortable in his hand, and he dislikes using it.

He catches glimpses of his own reflection on windows as he walks, but he doesn't pause to look. His features are almost that of a stranger, two eyes, nose, mouth, the dark hair falling in long tangled strands over his shoulders, the lines in his face revealing nothing to him. But as he looks at the shops and houses and buildings, an uneasy feeling settles inside him. His memories don't reach back very far, and so nothing has ever looked familiar to him. Yet some of the places he passes now seem almost known to him.

He comes upon a Chinese restaurant, and decides to try his luck there; the beautifully painted dragons on its facade appeal to him. Once inside, he heads for the kitchen. A mass of black skitters away when he shines his flashlight into the darkened room, breaking into multiple smaller shapes and slithering into every crack or hidden recess available. A shudder runs through him at the sight, the primitive part of his brain recoiling in fear. He knows they're only cockroaches, yet in the dark their swarming, amorphous dance is like a vision out of nightmares, repulsive and unspeakable.

He finds a cache of canned goods in the kitchen's pantry, and he fills his backpack with them. There's a sealed box on one of the lower shelves, and he opens it; inside there are fortune cookies, each one carefully wrapped in red cellophane. He takes one with him before going back outside.

He sits on one of the weathered chairs in front of the restaurant, placing the cookie on the table beside his backpack. While he eats, he keeps looking at it, a strange curiosity gradually forming inside him, until finally he gives in. Unwrapping the cookie, he sees that it has hardened with age. He puts the cookie on the sidewalk by his foot and steps hard on it, the crunching noise it makes as it breaks open loud in the silent street.

He bends and pulls the small sliver of paper out of the shattered cookie. His fortune, supposedly.

Long absent friends are coming back into your life, it reads.

He smirks. But the words stay sharp in his mind, tugging at him.

He rests for a while by the restaurant, where there's shade, a pleasant breeze ruffling his hair and upending the rubble that litters the street; old newspapers, dried leaves, the discarded detritus of a bygone world. His thoughts wander as he absently watches the debris spin and drift, with no purpose or direction. Weariness grips him all of a sudden, a well-known sense of melancholy that descends upon him from time to time. Loneliness.

He asks himself what his purpose is, his reason, if he ever had one. He closes his eyes, looking within, seeking direction. He prays for his own instincts to hear him, to guide him, to help him look for something left in this world. Something meant for him, and him alone.


But there's no one, nothing. The world is empty, his mind is empty. And his heart... his heart is devoted to a ghost. The last ghost on the planet, nameless, like himself.

A man.

He sees his face every night in his dreams. Touches him, kisses him.

Loves him.

With a sigh, he opens his eyes and gets to his feet. He shrugs into his backpack and starts walking again.

As he proceeds, he lets his legs take over, allowing them to take him where they wish to go. After a while he feels unusually detached from himself, entranced. He doesn't dwell on it; he just walks.

Abruptly, he stops and looks up at the building in front of him. The sense of familiarity that has been plaguing him all day grows; he can almost remember. And he knows, as surely as he's ever known anything, that he's been led here. Maybe by himself. Maybe by some other, unseen force.

He doesn't care which.

He goes in. There are stairs, and he climbs them until something urges him to stop. He emerges onto a hallway, and he crosses it, the same urge bringing him to face a particular door. The beam of his flashlight reveals the number: 42.

The answer to all of his questions, perhaps.

His heart pounding, he tries the doorknob; not locked. He opens the door, lowering his backpack and flashlight to the floor as he steps inside. He blinks in the sudden glare, confused for a moment by the abundance of light, until he sees that all the blinds in the living room are open to admit the sunlight. There's a man sitting on the couch, his features indistinct in the wash of brightness pouring in, and the sight is so unexpected that at first it seems as if he's only one more object in the room, dusty and inanimate.

The man turns to him and stands up, revealing to him the face that has haunted him for as long as he can remember, and possibly longer. His ghost, made gloriously flesh and blood in a single instant.

"Alex," the man says, and the voice cuts through him like a fiery blade. It's the sound of longing, of desire, of destiny sought and found. It makes him light headed and weak in the knees.

"I've been waiting for you," the man goes on, reaching out his hand to him. "I've missed you."

Siren's call, irresistible. Everything in him responding to it. He takes a step closer, and another, and another. He clasps the man's hand with his own, and the man wraps his other arm around him, tightly, holding him close. Their lips meet, and he moans into the man's mouth as he strokes his tongue with his own. Finally, oh, finally.

It's the feeling of home.

When the oil slides down his throat, he doesn't even have time to scream.


"White Wedding" (Billy Idol)

Hey little sister what have you done
Hey little sister who's the only one
Hey little sister who's your superman
Hey little sister who's the one you want Hey little sister shot gun!

It's a nice day to start again
It's a nice day for a white wedding
It's a nice day to start again.

Hey little sister what have you done
Hey little sister who's the only one
I've been away for so long (so long)
I've been away for so long (so long)
I let you go for so long

It's a nice day to start again (come on) It's a nice day for a white wedding
It's a nice day to start again.

(Pick it up)

Take me back home
There is nothin' fair in this world
There is nothin' safe in this world
And there's nothin' sure in this world
And there's nothin' pure in this world
Look for something left in this world
Start again
Come on

It's a nice day for a white wedding
It's a nice day to start again.
It's a nice day for a white wedding
It's a nice day to start again

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