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Fleeing the Great Bear
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Title:  Fleeing the Great Bear
                           Author:  Waddles52
                           Rating:  PG 13
                           Classification:  MT
                           Spoilers:  Fill in the blank for Terma.  Brief 
                           mention of The Host and End Game.
                           Summary:  We didn't get to see how Mulder managed to 
                           escape and make his way back to civilization.  This 
                           fic is my take on that.
                           Disclaimer:  Not for profit.  Just for fun.  Since 
                           this episode had such a gaping hole in it, I felt it 
                           was my duty to fill it in.  I did borrow some of the 
                           dialogue from Terma, written by Frank Spotnitz and 
                           Chris Carter.
                           Archives:  Please ask, but I usually say yes.
                           Thanks:  To Lisa for the beta and the title and to my 
                           husband for putting up with me while I watched and 
                           rewound my video a kazillion times to get the opening 
                           scene just right.
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           The big, bearded man kicked the door open and threw 
                           the defenseless man into the simple hut where he 
                           landed in an undignified heap on the floor.  "This 
                           son of a bitch ruined my truck!"  The man shouted 
                           vehemently in Russian, disgust and anger evident in 
                           his voice.
                           
                           A woman quickly moved from the table where she had 
                           been reading by the light of a kerosene lamp and 
                           helped the unexpected visitor stand and make his way 
                           to the table where he slumped into a chair.  "Be 
                           careful with him.  He's hurt."  The woman admonished 
                           the man, her gentle hands checking him for injuries.
                           
                           Fox Mulder caught his breath and was thankful that he 
                           had at least been thrown into a building, allowing 
                           the slightest bit of warmth to seep into his body in 
                           many hours.  He was surprised to be there at all.  He 
                           had been sure that the irate truck driver would take 
                           him directly back to the gulag as soon as he had been 
                           pulled from his hiding place under the dead leaves on 
                           the forest floor.
                           
                           The bearded man continued to speak as the woman 
                           fetched their visitor something to drink.  "We can't 
                           keep him here.  They're looking for him."
                           
                           "You shouldn't bring him here if you don't want me to 
                           take care of him."  The woman looked at the shivering 
                           man sympathetically as he drank greedily from the tin 
                           cup.
                           
                           "He's not staying!"  The man walked outside and 
                           angrily slammed the door.
                           
                           "Kak va za voot?"  The woman kindly asked what his 
                           name was as she began to examine the wound on his 
                           head.
                           
                           "No Russian."  Mulder shivered.
                           
                           "American?"
                           
                           "Tell your husband I'm sorry about his truck."  Pain 
                           and exhaustion were evident in his voice.
                           
                           She examined Mulder's arm, lifting his sleeve to 
                           reveal the needle puncture site.  It was red and 
                           inflamed and had been a source of agony since he had 
                           awakened in his cell with the memory of the black oil 
                           pouring onto his face.  "The test?"
                           
                           "Yeah."  Mulder was relieved that she could speak 
                           English.  He shivered again.  Even though they were 
                           inside there was very little heat.  He could see 
                           their breath in white swirls as they spoke.
                           
                           She sighed and shook her head.  "They kill everybody 
                           for the test."
                           
                           "Why don't they kill you?"
                           
                           "My husband makes deliveries.  They spare our lives, 
                           but now . . .no truck . . .he is afraid."  The woman 
                           seemed almost apologetic as she answered.
                           
                           "I have to go now."  Mulder knew he must leave and 
                           soon.
                           
                           "No."
                           
                           "They'll come looking for me.  They'll come looking 
                           for you."  The FBI agent knew he was a danger to 
                           them.  He didn't know how far he would get in his 
                           present condition, still reeling from the effects of 
                           the test and the truck crash.  Throw in a little 
                           exposure and he was feeling decidedly ill, but the 
                           safety of this kind woman was more important.
                           
                           "No, there are other ways."
                           
                           Mulder's tired mind couldn't grasp what she was 
                           saying.  "I don't know what you are talking about.  
                           What other ways?"
                           
                           "Grisha!" the woman called.  A haggard looking young 
                           boy of about 13 entered from the back room, his shirt 
                           tied in a knot below the remains of his left arm.  
                           "No arm.  No test."
                           
                           Mulder gasped, his eyes growing wide with horror.  
                           "Dear God, no!  That poor boy," he thought as he 
                           tried to come up with the words to make her see.  
                           "You don't understand . . .these tests.  The smallpox 
                           scar on your arm is some kind of identification.  You 
                           have to help me escape.  I'll help you escape.  You 
                           have to help me get to St. Petersburg."
                           
                           The door crashed open and Mulder spun around to see 
                           the truck driver standing in the doorway, a large 
                           knife in his hand.  A look of fear passed over the 
                           American's face as the man fingered the weapon.
                           
                           He made his way over to Mulder and threw the knife on 
                           the table.  "Since you have stolen my livelihood, my 
                           protection," he spat,  "It is only right that you 
                           should also be the one to take my arm."
                           
                           Mulder's face registered shock.  He shook his head no 
                           despite the pain that lanced through it. 
                           
                           "Yuri, no!"  The woman scrambled from her chair and 
                           embraced him.  "He can help us.  Please give him a 
                           chance."  She led him to the table where he sank into 
                           a chair, defeat etched in his features.
                           
                           "What is your name, American, and what can you do to 
                           get us out of this hell hole?"
                           
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                           Mulder rested on the rickety bed in the back room, 
                           wrapped in a thin blanket thinking that he would 
                           never feel warm again.  They had dined on a watery 
                           vegetable stew and the black bread that was common to 
                           the area.  Though much better than the roach-infested 
                           gruel at the gulag, it had still fallen short of 
                           filling him up.  These people led a hard life made 
                           even more difficult by the fear forced upon them by 
                           the conspirators and their experiments.
                           
                           He shivered again as he heard Anna and Grisha 
                           gathering the meager supplies they would be taking on 
                           their hastily planned journey. Yuri had talked a 
                           friend into transporting them as far as he felt he 
                           safely could in his battered, old, pick-up truck.  
                           From there they would have to walk a fair distance 
                           until they could catch a train into St. Petersburg.
                           
                           Yuri came in, urging them to hurry.  Mulder took that 
                           as a signal to haul his weary body from the bed.  His 
                           head was pounding, whether from plain exhaustion or 
                           the tests he had no idea.  He was only aware of the 
                           relentless pain behind his eyes and an ache in every 
                           joint in his body.  He stumbled and was surprised to 
                           find Yuri quickly at his side, steadying him as he 
                           tried to catch his breath.
                           
                           "American, come.  We must hurry.  The sun is going 
                           down and it is best to drive at night.  Bring the 
                           blanket.  We will be riding in the back of the 
                           truck."
                           
                           Mulder wearily followed him out to the truck where 
                           Anna and Grisha were already squeezed into the cab.  
                           Yuri climbed up into the bed of the truck and 
                           extended his hand to Mulder.  He gladly took it and 
                           sank onto the pallet that had been arranged in the 
                           bed of the truck.  He closed his eyes and Yuri 
                           pounded on the grimy back window.  "Pavel, let's go.  
                           The Quadavitch family is leaving this hell hole!"
                           
                           Mulder heard the roar of the engine and felt the 
                           truck bounce over the rough terrain, rattling his 
                           battered and abused body.  Despite the discomfort, he 
                           was sleeping before they had gone a mile, hoping not 
                           to dream of the black oil on his face crawling into 
                           his nose and eyes, a deep shiver going through him at 
                           the thought.
                           
                           He awoke with a start when he realized the truck was 
                           no longer moving.  It was daylight, probably late 
                           afternoon he judged, noting the position of the sun.  
                           He had been asleep for almost twenty-four hours!  How 
                           was it that he still felt so weak and tired?
                           
                           Yuri climbed into the bed of the truck.  "American, 
                           come.  Pavel must go home now and we must walk to the 
                           train station.  Get your blanket and follow me."
                           
                           Mulder did as he was told, dizziness nearly knocking 
                           him to his knees when he jumped off the truck.  Once 
                           again, Yuri was there to steady him.  "We must walk 
                           until the sun goes down.  Are you able?"
                           
                           Mulder nodded yes wearily and followed Yuri into the 
                           forest where Grisha and Anna waited.  They rose when 
                           the two men entered the small clearing.  Without 
                           another word they began to travel west.
                           
                           When it was almost dark Yuri finally called a halt to 
                           their trek for the day and Mulder was grateful.  He 
                           slid to the ground beside a huge tree and propped 
                           himself up with the trunk as a backrest, feeling the 
                           last ounce of strength leaving his body.  The FBI 
                           agent could only remember one other time when he was 
                           this exhausted.
                           
                           Waking up in the hospital in Alaska had been 
                           catalogued with his good memories.  Scully had been 
                           by his side and he recalled the huge smile plastered 
                           on her face when he finally came out of the coma.  
                           They shared a few words before he was overcome with 
                           unbearable fatigue.  Now, he was experiencing that 
                           same feeling without Scully and her smile.  Oh, how 
                           he missed her!
                           
                           "American!"  Mulder's thoughts were interrupted when 
                           Yuri pushed a hunk of bread into his hands.  Next 
                           came a jug of water.  He drank greedily and once 
                           again rested against the tree, picking off small 
                           pieces of the bread to eat.  He was almost too tired 
                           to swallow.  He put the bread in his lap and a small 
                           groan escaped before he could even think about 
                           stopping it.  Anna was immediately at his side, her 
                           soft, warm hand taking his in concern.  With his eyes 
                           shut for a second he could almost believe.
                           
                           "Mulder?"
                           
                           "Mmm."  He couldn't get his mouth to work.  All his 
                           body knew now was the relentless pain from his head, 
                           his aching joints and the fire of the injection site.  
                           He wrapped the blanket tightly around his body as he 
                           shivered, more from his fever than the cold.
                           
                           "Drink this," Anna ordered, putting a small jar of 
                           clear fluid in his trembling hand.  He tilted it up 
                           and swallowed a small sip, surprised at the liquid 
                           fire traveling down into his stomach.
                           
                           Vodka!  Very strong vodka!  He began to choke and 
                           sputter, then relaxed as a warm feeling took over his 
                           entire body.
                           
                           "Thanks," he managed as Anna felt his forehead.
                           
                           "You have fever."
                           
                           Mulder shook his head in agreement.  That effort cost 
                           him as shards of pain sliced through his head.
                           
                           "Another swallow."  Anna pointed at the jar of vodka.
                           
                           He complied, this time managing to get it down 
                           without choking.  With shaking hands he returned the 
                           jar to her, amazed that he hadn't spilled it.  He 
                           watched as the kind woman spread a blanket on the 
                           ground and beckoned him to lie down.
                           
                           Mulder accepted her invitation and moved over to the 
                           pallet.  Surprise registered on his face when she sat 
                           beside him and began to massage his temples.  Yuri 
                           and Grisha looked on knowingly as he began to relax 
                           under her ministrations.  Soon the pain was more 
                           manageable and his eyes began to close, the vodka 
                           still warming him from the inside helping to wash 
                           away some of the discomfort.
                           
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                           If he thought he was tired the night before, he 
                           quickly realized how wrong he had been.  After 
                           walking since dawn with only a few brief stops, he 
                           found a whole new meaning to the sensation.  Yuri 
                           called a halt when the train station came into view.
                           
                           "American, we'll catch the first train out, but we 
                           will probably have to wait until morning.  Do not 
                           talk out loud.  You'll draw attention to us.  Just 
                           pretend to be ill and let Anna take care of you."
                           
                           Mulder nodded carefully.  He wouldn't have to act.  
                           He was ill.
                           
                           The station was small, furnished with six long 
                           benches.  Anna motioned for him to lie down and put 
                           his head on her lap.  She whispered to him soothingly 
                           in her native tongue as Yuri and Grisha went to 
                           purchase the tickets.  "We had a few coins saved and 
                           Yuri begged our friends for the rest.  We have good 
                           friends," she smiled as she switched back to English.
                           
                           "I'll repay you when we reach St. Petersburg," the 
                           exhausted man whispered back.
                           
                           "Rest.  We still have a long journey on the train."  
                           When she looked down the man's eyes were closed.  She 
                           felt sorry for him, but he'd been lucky to escape.  
                           He would be weak and ill for a while from the 
                           testing, but it could have been much worse.  Many 
                           died the first time.
                           
                           Anna couldn't help but wonder what would become of 
                           them when they reached St. Petersburg.  She hoped she 
                           hadn't been wrong in trusting the American.  
                           
                           After Yuri and Grisha returned with the tickets, Anna 
                           left Mulder to find a place of her own to sleep on 
                           the hard bench, first making sure he was as 
                           comfortable as possible, careful not to disturb him 
                           as she moved.  She needn't have worried.  The 
                           American slept the sleep of the dead.
                           
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                           Where had the nighttime hours gone?  Once again 
                           Mulder found that he had slept straight through and 
                           still felt like hell when he woke up.  He looked 
                           around, hoping to locate the facilities, and found 
                           Yuri pointing outside, a huge grin on his face.  The 
                           truck driver motioned for him to follow and Mulder 
                           soon found himself outside facing the foulest 
                           smelling outhouse in the world.  The flukeman and the 
                           sewers of New Jersey paled in comparison.  Yuri 
                           motioned for him to go first and the FBI agent soon 
                           found himself inside, vomiting everything that he had 
                           put into his stomach since the gulag.
                           
                           The nausea had been threatening off and on since the 
                           gulag, and the heaving of his stomach brought the 
                           headache back full-force.  Explosions of pain burst 
                           behind his eyes.  Weakness finally overtook him and 
                           he sank to his knees, still vomiting.  Mulder felt a 
                           large pair of hands on his shoulders, holding him 
                           steady.  Yuri!  Who would have thought that the 
                           angry, tough truck driver image was really a cover-up 
                           for a kind, compassionate man?
                           
                           When the stomach spasms eventually stopped, the 
                           Russian helped the federal agent to his feet and 
                           practically carried him to the train where Anna was 
                           pressed back into service as a nurse.
                           
                           "You must seek a doctor when we arrive in the city," 
                           she ordered, reaching to feel his forehead.
                           
                           "No," Mulder answered softly, trying to make himself 
                           comfortable in their private car.  Thank goodness 
                           Yuri and his friends had enough money to splurge on 
                           the last leg of the trip.
                           
                           Anna rummaged around in her bag and came up with some 
                           water.  Mulder turned down her offer and pulled the 
                           blanket around his shoulders as tightly as he could.  
                           His stomach began to roll again and he swallowed, 
                           barely managing to keep it under control.
                           
                           The shivering began in earnest again as the train 
                           blew its whistle and began to slowly build up speed.  
                           A doctor in St. Petersburg was beginning to look 
                           better and better.  "How long . . .Petersburg?"  A 
                           particularly violent chill shook him, taking some of 
                           his words.
                           
                           "About 30 hours with many stops," Anna supplied.  
                           "Sorry, but it's the only train available."
                           
                           "Don't apologize.  It's fine, better than I expected.  
                           Would've died . . .without . . .help."  Little black 
                           dots began to swim in his vision, followed by a 
                           roaring sound in his ears.  Mulder knew that feeling.  
                           He managed to choke out a strangled plea for help 
                           before he slumped over, landing limply in Anna's 
                           arms.
                           
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                           The train was still moving but the motion wasn't 
                           bothering him as much as it had at first.  His mouth 
                           felt like it was full of cotton and the injection 
                           site on his arm was sending out sharp pain signals.  
                           The ever-present headache seemed to have improved a 
                           bit.  He decided to try and sit up but only managed a 
                           pitiful groan when the pain assaulted his joints.
                           
                           "Mulder, you mustn't try to move."
                           
                           The agent managed to pry his eyes open and found that 
                           his head was once again in Anna's lap.  "What 
                           happened?"
                           
                           "You passed out.  Your fever has been very high.  How 
                           are you feeling now?"
                           
                           "A little better."
                           
                           "Yuri searched the train for a doctor and found one 
                           in the next car.  He said you have to drink.  You 
                           have an infection in your arm and something with your 
                           head, a cushion, I think."  Anna looked exasperated.  
                           "My English . . .sorry, I don't know all the words."
                           
                           "It's fine.  The word is concussion.  Must've got it 
                           when I crashed the truck."
                           
                           "Mmph."  That was evidently still a sore point with 
                           Yuri.
                           
                           "The doctor put an injection in your hip and left 
                           these tablets to take."  Anna shook a white tablet 
                           into her hand from a small envelope.  "He says it is 
                           most important to take them.  Without . . .you could 
                           lose your arm or worse."
                           
                           Since he didn't like either alternative, Mulder took 
                           the pill and drank a good portion of the water that 
                           was offered by the Russian woman.
                           
                           "Now, rest.  We still have many hours before we reach 
                           the city."
                           
                           "Yuri, thank you."
                           
                           "Don't worry about it, American.  Just be sure to 
                           carry out your end of the bargain."
                           
                           "I will."  Mulder's eyelids began to droop and no 
                           amount of effort on his part could keep them open.
                           
                           Later Anna once again expressed her worry about 
                           Mulder to her husband.  Yuri admitted that he was 
                           worried too, not only for the man's health but also 
                           for their own well-being.  If the American was unable 
                           to help them, the little Russian family was stranded.  
                           There was no turning back.
                           
                           His wife chided him for thinking that way.  "He is a 
                           good man.  I can feel it."
                           
                           Mulder shifted in his sleep and moaned, but didn't 
                           wake up.  Anna felt his forehead once again.  "His 
                           fever is still high.  Look in my bag, Grisha.  I need 
                           a handkerchief.  Yuri, would you soak it with water, 
                           please?"
                           
                           She took the wet cloth from her husband and began to 
                           bathe Mulder's pale, sweat soaked face.
                           
                           "Sc . . .Scully?"  He appeared disoriented as he 
                           looked around.  "Where?  Scully?"
                           
                           "Shh, you're safe, Mulder.  We're on our way to St. 
                           Petersburg."
                           
                           "Anna?"
                           
                           "Yes, it's Anna.  How are you feeling?"
                           
                           "Feel bad . . .cold, thirsty."
                           
                           "Yuri will get you some more water."  She continued 
                           to bathe his face until her husband handed her a 
                           water bottle.  "Here, take a few sips."
                           
                           Mulder tried to raise his head and found that he was 
                           too weak to manage it.  Yuri reached over and held 
                           him up while Anna tilted the bottle so he could 
                           drink.
                           
                           "Thanks."
                           
                           "More?"
                           
                           "Not now."
                           
                           "How is your pain?"
                           
                           Mulder took a quick inventory and found that there 
                           wasn't much improvement.  "Same . . .hurts."
                           
                           "You should rest some more.  We are about half-way 
                           there and you will need your strength when we reach 
                           the city."
                           
                           "Our money is almost gone.  We will have to walk to 
                           your embassy," Yuri supplied, watching his wife 
                           minister to the stranger.
                           
                           "'Kay, I'll make it."
                           
                           "Yes, you are a strong man to escape the gulag, but a 
                           little more rest wouldn't hurt," Anna decided.
                           
                           Mulder agreed.  He was going to need a lot of rest 
                           just to make it off the train.
                           
                           Several hours later Anna shook Mulder awake.  "It is 
                           time to take more medicine."
                           
                           He made a face but dutifully took the tablet and 
                           swallowed almost half a bottle of water.  "Thanks.  
                           How much longer?"
                           
                           "Maybe ten hours.  You still have time to rest."
                           
                           Mulder shook his head no and pushed himself up.  "I 
                           need to sit up for a while."  He looked around and 
                           saw that Yuri and Grisha were gone.
                           
                           "My men were restless.  They went for a walk."  She 
                           reached up to feel the agent's forehead.  "Your fever 
                           is better."
                           
                           "I feel a little stronger," he volunteered, flexing 
                           his left arm with a wince.  "Still sore, but 
                           improving."
                           
                           "That is good.  Have you thought . . .what your plans 
                           are when we reach the city?"
                           
                           "If you have enough money for a pay phone I can make 
                           a call, get us some transportation."
                           
                           "We have enough," she assured him, rubbing his 
                           shoulder in a comforting, yet familiar way.
                           
                           He found her world-weary eyes and held them with his 
                           own.  "Anna, I know you're worried, but I wouldn't 
                           lie to you.  I can get someone to help you start over 
                           in a different place."
                           
                           "America?"
                           
                           "I can't promise that, but somewhere nice where you 
                           won't have to worry about the tests."  He hoped there 
                           was such a place.
                           
                           "How will we support ourselves?"
                           
                           Mulder was forced to smile at her persistence.  She 
                           reminded him so much of Scully.
                           
                           "You'll take on new names and identities.  A job or 
                           training will be provided, but until you're ready to 
                           make it on your own you'll receive assistance in the 
                           form of food, money and transportation."
                           
                           Anna looked relieved and her eyes held a flicker of 
                           hope, but she was still curious.  "Do you think I 
                           could become a nurse?"
                           
                           He gave her a tired smile.  "I don't see why not.  
                           You're a natural."  The agent's voice was getting 
                           weaker, the conversation sapping his strength.
                           
                           Anna quickly recognized his distress.  She took him 
                           by the shoulders and helped him ease down until he 
                           was flat on his back once again.  "Sorry," he gasped.
                           
                           "You say sorry too much."  She tucked the blanket 
                           around him and smiled.
                           
                           "Sor . . .right, I do."
                           
                           "Rest now."
                           
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                           Mulder woke to the sounds of anguished screams.  He 
                           attempted to look around, to figure out where he was, 
                           but found that he was unable to move.  Something was 
                           pressing down on him, holding him in place.  The 
                           wails grew louder as a black substance began to drip 
                           from a pipe above.  Shit!  He was back at the gulag!  
                           What had happened to Anna and Yuri?  He found himself 
                           praying that they would leave Grisha alone.
                           
                           A drop of the black, oily substance landed on his 
                           nose.  He tried to avoid the liquid, struggling 
                           against the chicken wire holding him in place to no 
                           avail.  Soon his screams joined with the others.
                           
                           Something heavy clamped onto his shoulders, forcing 
                           him to open his eyes and see what new torture was 
                           being inflicted on him. His vision was blurry due to 
                           the black oil that had fallen into his eyes, but he 
                           thought he could make out several figures.  They were 
                           talking but sounded far away.  His heart racing, 
                           breath ragged in his ears, he forced himself to 
                           listen to what was being said.  Someone was shaking 
                           him and he tried desperately to avoid his grasp.
                           
                           "Nononono!"
                           
                           "Wake up! Mulder! You are worse?" Yuri questioned, 
                           quickly withdrawing his hand upon seeing the sick 
                           man's distress.  His eyes were wild, his breath 
                           labored, obviously somewhere else entirely.  It 
                           wasn't too difficult to guess what dreams held the 
                           pale American in their grip.
                           
                           Mulder took a few seconds to orient himself before he 
                           answered.  "Bad dream."  He pushed up from his 
                           reclining position, tearing away the blanket that was 
                           cocooning his body.  He wiped the perspiration from 
                           his face with a corner of the cover.  "Hot."
                           
                           Yuri handed him a bottle of water.  "Don't drink too 
                           much.  That is the only bottle left."
                           
                           Mulder took a couple of gulps and screwed the top 
                           back on.  "Where's Anna?"
                           
                           "With the boy trying to buy some food."
                           
                           Mulder nodded his understanding and suddenly felt 
                           uncomfortable when he found Yuri staring at him.
                           
                           "Yuri, what's wrong?"
                           
                           "You told Anna she could be a nurse.  That has been 
                           her dream since she was a girl.  You do not tell her 
                           lies about that?"
                           
                           "No, Yuri.  I didn't lie.  If that's what she wants 
                           to do I'll make sure she has a chance to go back to 
                           school."
                           
                           "I'll hold you to that.  She has made many 
                           sacrifices.  Too many.  It is time for her to have a 
                           good life."
                           
                           "I couldn't agree more," Mulder assured him, lying 
                           back against the seat with a sigh.
                           
                           The door began to open and both men tensed, expecting 
                           the gulag goons to have found them.  Both sighed in 
                           relief as Anna and Grisha walked in.  He held several 
                           sandwiches in his remaining hand while Anna brought 
                           up the rear bearing oranges.  The men smiled and made 
                           room for the scavengers.
                           
                           The sandwiches were simple fare, some kind of fruit 
                           preserves on buttered bread.  The oranges were a true 
                           delight.  Plump and juicy, they were just sweet 
                           enough to leave them wanting more.
                           
                           "Sorry, but I had to keep back money for the phone.  
                           I couldn't afford more."
                           
                           "That's okay, Anna," Mulder smiled.  "We'll have a 
                           good meal in St. Petersburg.  This will tide us over 
                           nicely."
                           
                           "How are you feeling?  The fever is better?"
                           
                           "Yes, I think so.  My arm feels better and I don't 
                           ache as much."  He made an effort to stand up but 
                           sank back weakly.
                           
                           "Guess I feel worse than I thought," The FBI agent 
                           sighed and tried to regain his footing once again.  
                           This time Yuri was there to steady him.
                           
                           "You need the restroom?"  The big Russian had noticed 
                           Mulder's fidgeting while they ate.
                           
                           "Yes, I do."
                           
                           "Then I will go with you in case someone tries to 
                           speak to you.  Your Russian is not good."
                           
                           "My Russian is non-existent," Mulder grinned.
                           
                           "I was trying to be polite," Yuri grinned back.
                           
                           The walk through the train helped to clear some of 
                           the cobwebs from his head.  Though still somewhat 
                           weak, Mulder realized that he was feeling much 
                           better.  The fever was gone and the joint pain was 
                           just a dull ache.  He winced as he moved his left 
                           arm.  It was still pretty painful, but bearable.  
                           Right now he'd almost kill for a shower, but that 
                           would have to wait.
                           
                           When they returned to their compartment, Grisha began 
                           to ask Mulder questions in halting English.  Shy at 
                           first, after a few minutes the Russian youth was 
                           bombarding him with inquiries about food, sports, 
                           clothing and any other thing he could think of 
                           concerning his new life.
                           
                           "Grisha, I hope you get to live in the Washington, 
                           D.C. area because I'd really like to take you to some 
                           college and professional ball games."  The FBI agent 
                           smiled kindly.
                           
                           Grisha nodded his approval then a wistful look took 
                           over his features as he looked at what remained of 
                           his arm.  Mulder noticed the change of expression and 
                           could tell that the boy was thinking of all the 
                           activities that he could never experience.
                           
                           Before saying anything else, Mulder took a few 
                           moments to choose his words carefully then decided 
                           that he didn't need to be so cautious.  His father 
                           had left the major portion of his estate to him and 
                           he would make it happen,period!  A warm feeling 
                           spread through his chilled bones at the thought.  
                           Something good would come of this whole, evil mess if 
                           nothing else. 
                           
                           "Grisha, as soon as you get settled, no matter where 
                           you live, you will be the owner of a new, state-of- 
                           the-art prosthesis."  There, his promise was out in 
                           the open.
                           
                           The little Russian family looked confused.  Although 
                           their conversational English was quite good, their 
                           vocabulary was rather limited.  "What that means is 
                           that Grisha will have the finest artificial arm 
                           available."
                           
                           The looks of confusion turned to cries of joy as Anna 
                           hugged Mulder tightly.  Yuri clapped him soundly on 
                           the back while tears of happiness flowed from 
                           Grisha's eyes.
                           
                           Mulder noted sadly that it was the first time he had 
                           seen them truly happy since he had met them.  He 
                           hoped that he could be responsible for keeping that 
                           grin on their faces.  That money was just sitting 
                           around drawing interest.  It was only right that his 
                           inheritance should be used to help right some of the 
                           wrongs his father had caused, even if the older 
                           Mulder hadn't been directly involved.
                           
                           "Mulder, you're sure?" Yuri asked cautiously.
                           
                           "You have my word," Mulder promised solemnly.
                           
                           The next few hours were spent resting.  Mulder first 
                           listened to their excited chattering in Russian then 
                           nodded off.  He felt someone gently shake his 
                           shoulder, rousing him.  "Wake up, Mulder."
                           
                           The tired traveler yawned and stretched as Anna's 
                           face came into focus.  "What?  Is it time?"
                           
                           "We will be there in about an hour," Anna informed 
                           him.  "How are you feeling?"
                           
                           Once again he took stock of his physical state.  The 
                           omni-present headache had faded to a dull throb 
                           behind his eyes.  Once so stiff and sore that every 
                           bounce of the train had caused intense pain, his 
                           joints were almost back to normal.  No fever, chills 
                           or nausea could be detected leaving only one more 
                           area to analyze, his left arm.  After cautiously 
                           flexing it, the American smiled.  "Everything is much 
                           better.  Thank you for taking care of me.  I think I 
                           would have died if you hadn't taken me in and nursed 
                           me back to health."
                           
                           "Perhaps it wouldn't have been that terrible on your 
                           own, but we were happy to assist."
                           
                           The last hour of travel was spent planning what he 
                           would say to his United Nations contact, Marita 
                           Covarrubias.  Normally able to make his wishes known 
                           to others quite easily, Mulder realized that the 
                           wellbeing of his rescuers depended on his ability to 
                           convince his contact that they deserved asylum.
                           
                           XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                           
                           Mulder leaned back and relaxed for the first time in 
                           days.  Of course, the luxurious limousine made that a 
                           lot easier.  He opened the bar and looked over the 
                           offerings.  Settling on bottled orange juice, his 
                           thoughts went to the Quadavitch family.  They were 
                           traveling in another fancy car heading for a 
                           different embassy.
                           
                           Even though his U.N. contact had promised eventual 
                           relocation in the United States, she felt it would be 
                           much safer to split up at the train station.  He 
                           sighed and twisted the cap off the orange juice and 
                           drained it in a few swallows.  He really needed the 
                           Vitamin C after his adventures.  Disposing of that 
                           bottle, he quickly searched the bar for another.  His 
                           illness had left him slightly dehydrated and his body 
                           was demanding that its fluids be replenished.  The 
                           cold liquid went down easily.
                           
                           Hopefully it wouldn't take him too long to reclaim 
                           his ID and passport from the American embassy.  
                           Mulder's body was reminding him of the lack of proper 
                           food, water and sanitary conditions that he had 
                           suffered through over the past few days.
                           
                           Krycek entered his thoughts, unbidden and unwelcome.  
                           He vowed to find that son of a bitch and punish him 
                           for all the indignities he'd suffered since his 
                           arrival on Russian soil and after that he'd punish 
                           him some more for killing his father and the part he 
                           played in Melissa's death and Scully's abduction.
                           
                           Scully.  How he missed her.  He couldn't wait to get 
                           back to D.C. and give her a hug, grateful that he was 
                           still alive and had two arms to do it.  There was so 
                           much to tell her.
                           
                           XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                           
                           Three months later Mulder entered the basement office 
                           after raiding the snack cart upstairs.  Scully hung 
                           up the phone as he laid a bagel in front of her.
                           
                           "That was security, Mulder.  It seems that you have 
                           some visitors," Scully stated.
                           
                           "Oh?  That's odd.  No one ever visits me.  Did the 
                           officer give a name?"
                           
                           "He said it was the Smirnoff family and they spoke 
                           with heavy Russian accents."
                           
                           Mulder's eyes lit up.  "Scully, come with me.  You've 
                           got to meet these people.  They're the ones who 
                           literally saved my life in Russia.  My contact came 
                           through and managed to get them to the states and get 
                           them new identities."
                           
                           "I'd love to meet them, Mulder."  Scully rose from 
                           her seat and pulled on her jacket.  "I'd like to 
                           thank them for bringing you back to me."  She smiled 
                           broadly and cupped his left cheek with her hand, 
                           savoring his beautiful eyes and smile, realizing how 
                           close she had come to loosing him yet again but for 
                           the kind people they were about to meet.  Several 
                           emotions sifted through his gaze and then she smiled 
                           again
                           
                           Mulder paused then opened the door for her.  Their 
                           hands met unconsciously, the light pressure of her 
                           squeezing his hand suddenly made his face break out 
                           in a smile too.  "I'm so glad they did."
                           
                           The agents made their way to the elevator, Mulder 
                           gently guiding Scully with his hand at her back.
                           
                           
                           
                           End