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Krycek sat in the outer lounge of the Syndicate offices, drinking something clear from a highball glass.  He stood as she walked out of the boardroom, “Covarrubias.”

She hesitated, “Krycek.”

“Got a job for you.”

She stared at him, “What’s that?”

“I’ve gotta get something to Russia. I heard that you’re headed over there, soon.”

“What is it?”

“A small vial. Sealed glass cushioned inside a metal case, about the size of a pack of cigarettes.”

She glanced around, “I can do that, but...”

He flashed an unnerving smile, “So suspicious. Everything’s on the up and up - this is sanctioned by the Elders.”

She looked relieved, “I never doubted you.”

“When are you leaving?”

“Tomorrow, in the afternoon.”

“I’ll meet you with the vial late tonight. Your place?”

“Someone might see you. Sally’s Cafe.”

“11?”

“Sure.”

With a nod, she turned on her heel and walked out the door. Alex watched her ass sway as she walked. If only he could get a piece of that. But she was very clearly with X, and he didn't feel like creating any tension between the three of them. Not now when they still had much to do.

Marita walked around the corner of the hallway, and saw X heading into the elevator. She quickened her pace, "Hold the door!" she called out as the doors to the lift started to close. He grinned at the sound of her voice, and pushed the "Doors Open" button just long enough for her to join him. She smiled, "Thanks."

She craved the feel of his skin under her fingertips, but they didn't dare touch one another in this lift. There were cameras covering every square inch of the Syndicate offices -- the hallway, the boardroom, probably even the bathrooms. No, it would have to wait.

Xavier pushed the P1 button, and the machine dinged to life. "So, any thrilling jobs coming up that you can talk about, Covarrubias?"

"Just a vial drop off in Russia. Elder sanctioned, so Krycek tells me. You?"

“The usual. Keeping up with my F.B.I. job, and trying to keep up with all my contacts. Information gathering is almost a full-time job.”

“I’ll agree with that.”

The elevator arrived at the ground floor, and they went their separate ways.

She took a cab to work, and when she went to pay, found a note in her purse. “Forget whatever we agreed to. Meet me at Percival’s at midnight - bring the Candyman, if possible. Tell the doorman you’re with Sandy Stevens.”

Marita frowned. Then she remembered where she was, paid the cab driver, and got out.

She and X arrived at Percival’s, a high-class nightclub, just before midnight. She wasn’t surprised that dropping the name Sandy Stevens got them past the bouncer instantly. They found Alex at the bar, surrounded by a throng of women. He smirked when he saw X and Marita - “Hit the road, ladies. Sandy has business to attend to.” He spoke in a thick Irish accent.

“Secret spy stuff?” one of the girls asked.

He nodded, “Yep. Secret spy stuff. And we need privacy. The I.R.A. never rests, and neither can we.”

The women left, and he flagged down the bartender, “Another vodka for me, and what for my guests?”

X was chuckling softly, and motioned to Marita, "Ladies first."

"Well, obviously, I'll have an Irish Coffee in honour of Sandy, here."

"Excellent!" Krycek looked to X, "Candyman?"

"Sidecar, please, Mr. Stevens."

Alex waved away the bartender, then turned to X and Marita," C'mon, I have a private booth reserved in back. We have things we need to discuss."

The three of them found their way through the crowd to a small booth towards the far side of the club. It was private -- secluded, despite the fact that there were people moving about the area. In a way, that made it even more private. The three of them weren't so far removed that they seemed shady or secretive. Just three friends enjoying a drink together after a long day at work. Krycek had once said that blending in was the best way to wrestle privacy from society. He was right.

"So," Marita began as the waitress set their drinks down on the table. Krycek winked, and slipped her a $50. "Why did you bring us here at midnight? What's going on?"

“We all work long hours. Midnight was my best chance to see both of you.” He sipped his vodka, and munched on some of the nut mix on the table, “You both probably know that the Syndicate hasn’t been kind to me lately. After the Smoking Man tried to have me killed a few months ago, especially. It’s been a little rough - and in a few days, I’m going to go rogue. Again. The Smoking Man is going to be seriously pissed off, in particular. But I want you to know that I’m still with you.”

Marita frowned but nodded, "Sounds like a good reason to go rogue, and your secret is safe with us. Is there anything you need?"

Alex shook his head, "Nothing that I know of yet. I'm thinking of heading to...somewhere in Asia for a while. Maybe Hong Kong, Singapore...I'll be in touch when I can."

"Thanks for keeping us apprised of the situation," X's smooth voice cut in, "You know we can help with whatever you need. Maybe someday you'll be returning the favour if I am ever lucky enough to be on the run."

Alex nodded, “I appreciate the offer. I’ve got someone who can get a message to me, if needed. Call this number, and leave a callback for Professor Rook. I won’t involve either of you in my plans - the Syndicate doesn’t play nice, and I wouldn’t want this to reflect on you.”

X nodded, sipping his drink, “So...what are you hoping to accomplish?”

Alex shrugged, “I’m looking to increase my bankroll, and my reputation as a man bold enough to do anything. If the Syndicate knows I can be that man, I think it’ll place me in a position to rise in the ranks much faster. Even if they do respect me less for it.”

Alex glanced over his shoulder, surveying the room. When he turned back to face the two of them his green eyes had a sharp look behind them, "You know how those Syndicate pricks are. It may be the twentieth century, but in a lot of their eyes I'm still," his voice took on a thick Russian accent, "I am, how you say, the dirty commie."

With a wry grin he tossed back the rest of his drink, "I can't stay," he got up with a nod, "I'll be in touch." And with that he disappeared into the small crowd, leaving only a faint smell of leather behind.

Marita and X glanced at each other. The sense of tension still hung thick in the air, and X took another sip of his drink, wondering when he and Mare would have a chance to be finished with this tangled web.

CSM: Nothing vanishes without a trace...burn it!

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