Silent cover art by Deslea

Silent *R* 1/1

Deslea R. Judd
Copyright 2001

DISCLAIMER: Situations not mine. Interpretation mine. Legal mumbo-jumbo in five words or less.
ARCHIVE: Yes, just keep my name and headers.
SPOILERS/TIMEFRAME: Requiem missing scene.
CATEGORY: Romance, angst, vignette, Krycek/Marita.
RATING: R for fairly low-key sex.
SUMMARY: Alex POV on Forj Sidi Toui, Fort Marlene, and Marita. Mood piece.
THANKS: To Kristen, who played sounding board.
FEEDBACK: Love the stuff.
AWARDS/ELIGIBILITY: Spooky 2001 Eligible.

She watches me in silence.

I know she wants...something. Some acknowledgement, some acceptance. The silence is not uncomfortable, but she wants more. Her wanting seeps through the delicate ice-aqua gleam touching her eyes as she lies there in the dark. It reflects off her skin in the cool glow of moonlight shining through the open window, falling over her face in a haze. She wants more, but equally, she does not ask; silenced partly by the weight of the years of bloodshed between us; and, more fundamentally, by my need for silence after a year of constant, droning noise.

God, the noise. For more than three hundred days, my head pounded with it; my senses swam with it. The rabble of the damned, drowning in their own noise and bringing it forth like an unholy fire. And when she came to me there, it seemed a hundred times worse. With fire in my head and blood in my ears, I willed her to leave me, though I knew she was my salvation. I even baited her, testing her, daring her to turn on her heels and walk away. Looking back on it now, now that the throb in my head has dulled to a slow ache, I recognise the insanity of it. The pragmatics of freedom aside, she could soothe me - and she was perhaps the only one who ever could. And I had nearly driven her away. Madness.

Still, she is here, and more importantly, she is silent. She was silent in Tunisia once the initial explanations were done. She was silent on the plane. And now, in our hotel, she is silent again. There are terrible things between us, terrible deeds and terrible omissions; but even in betrayal and mistrust, I can love her for her silence.

I wonder what she's thinking. She knows I'm watching her; the vortex of her gaze intersects with mine as we behold each other in the dark. She is a beautiful woman, but I am long past caring about beauty. What holds my gaze is the way her arm drapes over the front of her body; the way her chaste little shirt hangs at an angle, tugging from her neck on one side, almost to her shoulder on the other. What makes her exquisite is not her looks, but the languid way she carries herself. It's good to see her like this, beautiful and serene; and if that brings me a short, sharp stab of guilt, I can let it go now in a way I couldn't before; because now she is well. We hurt each other, but if I can forgive myself, then I can forgive her, too. And these things can remain unsaid, because she is silent, and her silence is permission for me to be silent, too.

As she looks at me unblinkingly, watching me watching her, it occurs to me that breaking the silence could be what she needs. Once, I would have let the thought go; but now, I hold onto it and examine it in the dark. It's such a little thing, really; and it is something I can now afford to give. Maybe, just maybe I have finally found it in me to make room for what she needs. Because now, basking in the calm of her silence after so long in a hell of sound, I can finally see her for what she has always been - my refuge. I'm not so sure that's a good thing, even now; but a lot of my stubbornness got burned out of me in that place, so I'm willing to try it out.

I go to her.

I rise from the bed, throwing back the covers, bridging the distance between the twin beds in a couple of paces. I drop down on my knees beside her, and still she watches, eyelids flickering as she follows my course. She props herself up a little on her arm. I wonder what to say. Reaching out, I take a lock of her hair between my fingers, and I remember her in that place, hair shorter and coarser, eyes raw and dry. She remembers, too - I can see it in her eyes - but still she does not speak. I fumble for words, groping blindly for something to say, and only one thing comes.

"I'm glad you're here."

"Don't," she whispers. I begin to draw away, driving down the hurt that makes itself felt deep in my belly; but then she reaches out and touches her fingers to my lips, and amends, "Don't talk."

I draw closer once more, and it comes to me then that her silence is not only for me. Did she learn it in that place? Did she learn to fade into the background, silent and still and colourless, vanishing like mist whenever she could? My only answer is her mouth on me, her lips closing silently around mine with more gentleness than I remember. The moist sounds of mouths melding and the whispers of flesh meeting seem muted. Sometime during her ordeal, Marita learned tenderness.

Maybe I did, too.

I find her hair, cool strands of silver beneath my fingers. I feel the faint rush of her breath on my cheek, rippling like a breeze as she breathes my name. The lines of her neck and shoulder are radiant in the moonlight, and, God! it makes me want to kiss her there...but I want to kiss her lips much, much more. Dimly, I am aware of her working my buttons, and of me unfastening hers; but they are automatic gestures. The truth, the purpose of what we do is in her eyes holding mine; in my mouth upon hers.

I ease her back, and when I climb onto the bed, she is waiting, her arms drawing my body against hers. Once, she would have cried out my name; tonight, she cradles my head to her shoulder, her breathing deep and noiseless in the dark. The only hint of her need is in the rise and fall of her breast beneath my palm; in the way her body slides fluidly along mine. Did you learn this in that place, too, Marita? Did you learn to bring yourself release without betraying a sound, keeping that one last shred of dignity for yourself? And when we join, will you still stay silent even then?

She does.

When she draws me into her, there is no sound, only her deepened breaths and her face pressed to my neck; and suddenly, fervently I wish I had both hands so I could cradle her head there against me while I fill her. It is an old grief, but it washes over me with stunning force, until she kisses me there and makes it all fade away. Moving within her, so slowly, I feel the dull ache of loss disperse, drawn out and whittled away with every stroke. Melding with her softness is like a cool hand on a fevered brow, soothing and kind. I wonder whether this is what they mean when they talk about making love. I wonder whether this is new, or whether it was always like this for us, but there was too much noise for us to see it.

She slides her hands over my face, as though memorising the lines of it in the dark. Then she draws my face to hers, and she kisses me there, first one eyelid, then the other. Grief crashes over me - grief for what, I couldn't have said - and then is chased away just as quickly. And when I fill her, still there is no sound; but she holds me tight, and her warm breath is erratic on my flesh as she breathes my name in a noiseless invocation.

She doesn't speak when we part, nor when I lay my head over her heart. She doesn't speak when I kiss the skin in the cleft between her breasts, but she crosses her arms over me, possessive and fierce, and her palm cradles my jaw with the tenderness of a parent.

She doesn't speak when I ease her onto her side and curl my body over hers. She doesn't speak when I entwine my fingers protectively over her hand, or when she squeezes me with hers. But I know that she loves me.

I know because she is silent.


See also my companion piece, Mark Of Cain.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Of all my Krycek/Marita work, I think this is probably the least likely portrayal I've done. I don't really think either of them could have let go of their betrayals quite as smoothly as this (and even in this universe, I think they're more temporarily set aside than strictly resolved). What I do think, though, is that both came to Requiem as radically changed people after their respective ordeals. There was a marked difference between Alex and Marita in Tunisia and in Washington DC - in Washington, they seemed very in tune with one another. They talked in turn, feeding off one another's thoughts. They were also both softly spoken - in Alex's case, unusually so, even when arguing with CSM. Clearly, something happened in between - something that calmed both of them, eased their hostilities, and enabled them to move forward. This vignette was an attempt to pull all those threads together.