Years or Mileage

By Vanzetti

Marita couldn't help but feel that seven years in Slytherin ought to have left her better prepared to deal with Alex Krycek. Even though he'd been on the run for almost a month and had just woken from a sound sleep he managed to look intimidating. That might have been due to the gun pointed unwaveringly at her.

"You don't need the gun, Alex," she said. "I'm not here to hurt you." On reflection, Apparating into his motel room was not the best idea she'd ever had.

"I don't believe that," he said. "How did you find me?"

"I know you,' she said in a soothing voice.

"You used magic on me, didn't you? What did you do to me?"

"Nothing!" she said. "I mean, I did use a charm to find you..." His eyes narrowed and his finger shifted slightly on the trigger, so she hurried the rest of the sentence out. "But it didn't do anything to you. And it wouldn't have worked if I didn't... if we weren't..." She blinked back tears. "Alex, please put down the gun."

He stared at her as if he didn't recognize her for a second. She watched his eyes cloud until he blinked too and dropped his hands to the bed, still holding the gun in his right. Marita tried not to sag too obviously with relief. "Why did you come looking for me?" he asked. Now he sounded tired and a little sad. "Why didn't you let me disappear?"

"Someone would have found you someday." His face hardened as he thought about it. "I'm sorry," she offered, as if the truth of their situation was somehow in her control.

"It's not your fault," he responded automatically. Then, perhaps in response to his own words he ducked his head and placed the gun on the bedside table. "I'm sorry, too. You took me by surprise."

Still moving carefully, she selled beside him. "That's all right. You only frightened ten years off my lifespan."

"Which still leaves you twice as long as me, even without the Smoker trying to have me killed."

"We're not that different," she protested. But his face was creased with sleep and she could suddenly imagine him, fifty years from now.

"Sure," he said. "Except for the part where you can teleport anywhere you want, and turn people into frogs and make them do anything you want and God only knows what else!"

"I didn't know it bothered you."

"It's not--" He tried again. "It doesn't-- I don't know. I wanted to leave all this behind."

"Even me?" she asked. She was not going to cry in front of him.

He sighed and stared at the sheets. "I don't know. But Marita, I nearly died back in Washington. If I'd been a few seconds slower... I'm not even thirty years old!"

She wanted to reach out to him, but the distance over the few inches of bedspread seemed infinite. "I didn't know!" she said instead. "If I had known, don't you think I would have done something?"

He met her eyes. "Parkinson knew. He had to have known."

"And if you come back with me..."

"...Then I go back to him, too."

"I won't let him hurt you again," she said. "He'll understand." She closed her eyes and summoned the image she'd had of Alex, fifty years older. She would see that face in reality, she told herself. "I'll make him understand."

"He'll never take me seriously," Alex said. "It's always been easy for you. You've always been... It doesn't matter."

She could feel herself turning pink. "It does matter! I--" she stumbled over the words. "I care about you."

"It doesn't matter because I have to go back with you anyway," he said.

She could feel actual tears on her cheeks. "I'll pretend I never found you," she said. "I promise."

She had closed her eyes against the tears, so the touch of his fingers as he brushed them away surprised you. "No," he said. "You were right. Someone will find me someday." He pulled her against him and held her. "At least this way I'll be with you," he whispered.

Marita Covarrubias had never sniffled in her life, not even when she'd gone back to Hogwarts the year after her father had disappeared and Theseus Pilchard had tormented her every day. She was not going to start now. She was not going to ask for reassurance. She pulled away from Alex and sat up straight.

He let her go, but kept hold of one hand. "I mean it," he said. "It makes it better, knowing that you..." he hesitated. "Being able to see you."

"Does what I am really bother you so much?"

"No," he said, his voice so firm that she decided to believe him. Then he sighed. "It's weird. But this whole situation is weird. A little more weirdness doesn't make much difference."

"I care about you, Alex," she said. "It doesn't matter where you come from or what you are."

His smile made her heart feel strangely heavy. "I love you too, Marita." As if it was the most natural thing in the world. As if he had no idea that her entire world was shifting, here in this dingy Muggle motel room.

"I..." she stopped, tongue-tied, and smiled at him again, hoping he would understand her. Seven years in Slytherin was really no use at all when it came to Alex Krycek.


Written for Deslea, on her birthday. The X-Files Universe belongs to 1013 Productions, Fox Television, and Chris Carter. The Harry Potter Universe belongs to J. K. Rowling and her publishers etc. including Bloomsbury, Scholastic, and whoever was responsible for those movies. I make no claim to ownership of previously copyrighted materials, nor do I make a profit from my use of them.