Admission Part II : Awakening

by Aries

 

Fandom: XF

 

See Disclaimer in Part I

 

Summary: NC-17 M/K

An unexpected visit forces Mulder to deal with his feelings.

 

********************

 

As my life goes on I believe

Somehow something's changed

Something deep inside

A part of me

 

There's a strange new light in my eyes

Things I've never known

Changin' my life

Changin' me

 

I've been searchin'

So long

To find an answer

Now I know my life has meaning

 

Now I see myself as I am

Feeling very free

Love means everything

It's meant to be

 

I've Been Searching For So Long ~ Chicago

 

********************

 

 

Thursday, 1:57 p.m.

 

"I don't understand this, Mulder. How can there not be an exit wound?"Scully massaged her temples and paced the cluttered length of their sharedoffice. "The M.E. went up one side of that body and down the other."She threw the coroner's report down onto Mulder's desk. "He can't evenfind the damn bullet!" She paused, hands on hips, waiting for a response.Mulder rolled a pen back and forth between his fingers. His eyes focusedon nothing. "Mulder..."

 

"Hmm?"

 

"Have you heard a word I said?"

 

"Sure."

 

"And?"

 

"And, what?"

 

"You've got no thoughts?"

 

"About what?"

 

"The dead guy! Entrance wound! No bullet, *no* exit wound!"

 

Mulder raised and lowered his eyebrows. "Interesting."

 

"That's all you can say? Mulder, what the hell is wrong with you?"

 

"Nothing."

 

"Nothing," she repeated. "In the last five weeks, we'vehad at least *two* cases that I was sure you'd be salivating over! And yet,it seems like *I'm* doing all the work!" She moved to the side of thedesk and sat down. "Mulder, what's wrong? Do you not feel well?"

 

"I'm fine."

 

"And I'm tired of these one or two word answers. *Talk* to me, dammit!"Before he could answer, she pointed a finger and threatened him. "Tellme nothing again, and I swear, I'll shoot you."

 

Mulder tapped the pen to his forehead. "Sorry, Scully. There arejust ...I've had some things on my mind, that's all."

 

"What things?"

 

"I'd rather not talk about it."

 

"You *have* to talk about it. Whatever it is, it's interfering withyour job. And in our line of work, I don't have to tell you that distractioncan be a dangerous thing."

 

"I know."

 

"So let's have it." She tried a little levity. "Is itwoman trouble?" It was an inside joke between them. Neither could rememberthe last relationship they'd had, and the mention of it had usually reducedthem both to giggles. Not today.

 

"I wish it was that simple."

 

His reply puzzled her. She patted his hand. "Okay then, what gives?"

 

"I can't."

 

"Can't what? Can't talk to me? Why not?"

 

"It's...I just can't."

 

"Mulder, I'm sorry. I can see that this is upsetting you. But you*need* to get it off your chest...for both our sakes."

 

He lowered his eyes to the desktop. "I need to be able to trustyou, Scully."

 

"I've gone to *jail* in the interest of preserving the trust betweenus."

 

She was right. He could trust her with this. She was his best friend.Shit, she was his *only* friend. She'd understand. He *hoped* she'd understand.

 

"Not here, okay?"

 

"Your place?"

 

"No. Yours. After work."

 

"Fine. I'll order a pizza."

 

He gave her a smile that didn't reach his eyes. "What, no threecourse meal?"

 

"Only if you want to go to a restaurant instead."

 

"No. We need to be alone."

 

Scully emitted a long sigh. "You're really worrying me, Mulder."

 

"Don't. I'll be okay." He picked the folder up and opened it.He perused the contents for a few moments, then looked up at Scully, whowas still staring curiously at him. "Okay, how about this? The bodydissolved the bullets..."

 

 

 

4:00 p.m.

 

Alex Krycek stretched out on the decrepit twin bed that sat in the middleof the tiny, run down motel room and checked his watch. Nine hours. He droppedhis hand and stared up at the yellow-tiled ceiling.

 

 

 

6:45 p.m.

 

Scully flipped the top on the pizza box, allowing the steam to escape.

 

"Smells good."

 

"Well," she encouraged Mulder. "eat up."

 

He lifted a slice a stared at it.

 

"You going to study it, or eat it?"

 

Mulder took a bite and set the pizza down on the plate in front of him.Scully was almost done with her first slice, before she decided to needlehim. "Mulder, don't tell me you're not hungry. You didn't have anylunch and God only knows what you had or *didn't* have for breakfast."

 

Mulder gave no answer. He picked the pizza up and took another bite."Okay?" he asked around a mouthful of sausage and mushrooms. Scullyshook her head.

 

"Let's talk about what you came here to talk about." Scullytucked one leg up under herself and slung an arm over the back of the sofa."What's going on?"

 

"Sheesh. Couldn't you at least let me enjoy my supper?"

 

"Mulder..."

 

Mulder tossed the half eaten slice back onto the plate. He looked upat her. If she didn't know him better, she'd say that the look in his eyeswas one of fear. She brought a clenched hand to her mouth and waited.

 

"That umm...that comment you made earlier...it wasn't entirely offbase. Well....it was, and it wasn't."

 

"What comment was that?" Scully paused a few seconds, thenasked, "That comment I made about you having woman problems?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"Mulder...*are* you involved with a woman?"

 

"No."

 

"So then...what?"

 

"Sc...Scully, listen to me. What I'm going to tell you is very difficultto say. It'll probably change the way you see me, forever. *And*, it couldvery well mean the end of my career if anyone found out."

 

"If anyone finds out whatever this is, I can promise you, they won'thear it from me." She leaned forward and took his hand. "Mulder,I'm your *friend*. Friends are friends no matter what....tell me."

 

Mulder swallowed the dryness that had suddenly claimed his throat. "Fiveweeks ago, I had a...a...I spent a night with someone."

 

"Hasn't that been what I've been asking you?"

 

"Yes, but....you were wrong on one count."

 

"What count was that?"

 

Mulder closed is eyes and bowed his head.

 

"Mulder, come on. Just say it."

 

"It wasn't a woman."

 

Scully blinked slowly, trying to absorb what it was that her partnerwas trying to tell her. "Mulder, are you telling me..." she shookher head. "Are you telling me that you spent the night with a..."

 

Mulder's eyes remained focused on the sofa cushion between them. "Aman."

 

Scully felt her head begin to pound. "How? Uh...wha...are you sayingthat you're..."

 

"I don't know what I'm saying. It was a one time thing, Scully.I don't know why. I could give so many reasons, I guess...I'd had a coupleof drinks. I was tired...lonely....confused. But I don't know that any ofthem are entirely correct. I was...*sick*...after. Physically sick."

 

Scully moved closer and put a hand on his shoulder. "Mulder..."

 

He looked up at her, tears shimmering in his eyes. "You know whatthe worst part is? The worst part is that I can't stop thinking about it."

 

"Have you seen him again?"

 

"No. He left while I was throwing up in the bathroom and I haven'tseen him since."

 

"This happened in your apartment?"

 

Mulder nodded.

 

Scully winced. "Is this someone you know?"

 

Trust or no trust, he couldn't tell her that it was Alex Krycek.

 

"I can't tell you that, Scully. Please understand. I'll just saythat it wasn't anyone at the Bureau, in case you were wondering."

 

"Okay, Mulder. That's good enough. So...umm, you said that you can'tstop thinking about it. In what way? Is it like, a recurring nightmare?"

 

"Only after I get past the point where I come in his mouth."His sudden candor shocked Scully, but she tried to mask her surprise.

 

"I see."

 

"Do you? Do you *really* see what I'm telling you, Scully? I laynaked in my bed with a *man* and let him give me the most amazing blow jobof my *life*, and I *loved* it. Then, a matter of minutes after it was over,I wished I was dead."

 

"Because of what you'd done, or because of how you felt while youwere doing it?"

 

"I don't know."

 

"What about this man? I know you don't want to tell me who he is,but tell me this. How do you feel about him?"

 

No answer.

 

"Is there a chance that you might ever see him again?"

 

"I guess there's always a chance, but I get the feeling that afterthat night, he'll do his best to keep his distance."

 

"You said that he left while you were in the bathroom. So you didn'ttalk to him at all afterward?"

 

"No....he left a note."

 

"What did it say?"

 

"It just said, 'Forgive me.'"

 

"'Forgive me.' Sounds like he instigated this?"

 

Mulder though a minute. "My first response would be to say yes,but you know, the more I think about it, the more unsure I am. Shit. I'mnot sure about anything."

 

"Mulder, why don't you take a long weekend? Get out of that apartmentand clear your head?"

 

"Scully, I don't think..."

 

"Do it, Mulder. You've spent every night for the last five weeksin your apartment, where it happened, rehashing it. You need to be somewhereelse for a while, to get your head together."

 

"Maybe you're right."

 

"Of course, I am. Why don't you go up to Rhode Island? Stay at yourmother's summer house? Notify Skinner, then leave tomorrow."

 

Mulder nodded. "I think I will. I need to sort this out."

 

"And for tonight, you can stay right here."

 

"Scully, I..."

 

"Mulder, I can't stand the thought of you spending another nightalone in that apartment with your guilt. Stay here. You can go home to changein the morning. Okay?"

 

"How can you be so kind, after what I've just told you?"

 

"Mulder, you've committed no crime. You've hurt no one...exceptmaybe yourself, and there's no way in the world that I'm going to desertyou, no matter how unworthy of my friendship you think you are. I'm withyou all the way on this. The fact that you spent the night with anotherman doesn't change who you are. You're still the same stubborn, brilliant,dry-witted, half-baked idea spewing, sincere man, that I love and respect."

 

"Thank you, Scully. You have no idea how much weight you've takenoff me, already."

 

"I'm glad I could make it a little better. Anything more that Ican do, you know I will."

 

Scully held out her arms and Mulder leaned into them, gratefully. "Idon't know what I'd do without you," he murmured into her shoulder.

 

"You must be tired," she joked. "You're starting to getmushy on me."

 

They spent the rest of the evening, making light conversation and watchingtelevision, until Mulder fell asleep at around ten-thirty. Scully tuckeda blanket around him and switched off all the lights. She stood, studyinghim in the pale light that streamed in from the hall. "How much moredoes he have to suffer?" she asked no one in particular. "Howmuch more?"

------------------------------------------------------------------------Subscribe, unsubscribe, opt for a daily digest, or start a new e-group athttp://www.eGroups.com -- Free Web-based e-mail groups.See disclaimer inPart I

 

 

Friday, 1:28 a.m.

 

"Krycek!"

 

"What?"

 

"Wake up, man! You gonna help me move this shit, or what?"

 

Krycek heaved himself out of the passenger's seat of the truck and walkedaround to the back.

 

"I thought someone was supposed to be here to pick this stuff up?"he asked, looking around the almost empty warehouse.

 

"Don't know," his companion shrugged. "Let's get it allout of the truck, then I'll see if I can find out what's goin' on."

 

They unloaded the roughly, twelve boxes from the back of the truck. Krycekplanted his hands on his hips and glanced around. "Well?"

 

The other man pulled a cell phone from his pocket and pressed a few buttons."Ah shit," he cursed. "Fuckin' thing won't work in here.Keep an eye on those boxes. I'll be right back."

 

The driver wasn't gone for more than twenty-seconds when Krycek beganto smell a rat. Something was definitely wrong, here. If the contents ofthose boxes were as valuable as he was led to believe, there was no wayin hell that he'd be standing in a warehouse, waiting for someone to *showup* to claim them.

 

He broke for the door and almost made it out before the truck exploded.

 

 

 

10:15 a.m.

 

Scully watched Mulder throw the leather bag into the trunk of his car."You'll call as soon as you get in, right?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"Are you listening to me?"

 

"I'm listening, Scully."

 

"I'm serious. Do *not* forget to call me."

 

"I won't forget."

 

She scowled at him for a moment, before nodding. "I don't want tosee you back here before Wednesday."

 

"Yeah, yeah."

 

"I'm serious, Mulder. You've got a lot of thinking to do. There'sa lot to sort out."

 

"I know."

 

"If you feel like you need to talk, you can call me. But don't youcome back here. There's nothing going on at work that I can't handle alone."

 

Mulder stood silently watching the occasional car pass them by. "Youwon't forget to feed my fish, will you? And water my plant?"

 

"Mulder, that plant has been dead for three months. Give up. It's*not* coming back."

 

"It's just in a resting phase."

 

"Uh...yeah. Okay Mulder, I'll water it. And I'll feed the fish,don't worry. Now, get going. As it is, you'll probably hit some traffic."

 

Mulder opened the car door, then turned back to her. "Thanks again,Scully...for not making me feel any dirtier than I already do."

 

"Make that one of the things you work on, okay? You're not *dirty*.You're human. With human feelings and human needs."

 

"Then why do I feel so much less then human?"

 

"That's the guilt talking. You have to let it go."

 

"But Scully, what if I'm...." he shuddered. "What if I'm....Ican't even say it."

 

"Mulder, one encounter with a man doesn't make you gay. And so whatif you were? What does it change, except for sex...which neither of us getsa whole lot of, anyway?"

 

Mulder smiled.

 

"Ha! I saw that!"

 

"You know, I hope you don't mind me saying this Scully, but I'mglad I didn't go my whole adult life not knowing what it would be like tohave a sister."

 

It was Scully's turn to smile. "Why should I mind that? Don't evertell my mother this, but I feel closer to you than I do to either of mybrothers. I tell you things I'd *never* tell them."

 

"Wow. Really?"

 

"Yeah. Now would you leave, already?"

 

"Okay, I'm going."

 

They embraced, then Scully pushed him toward the open door. "*Call*me!"

 

"I *know*!"

 

She closed the door after his long legs were safely tucked into the carand back away. She watched until the Ford was out of sight, then startedtoward her own car.

 

 

 

8:45 p.m.

 

Mulder pulled up to the dark house and stopped the engine. He chewedhis bottom lip as he sat, contemplating spending four days alone with nothingbut his thoughts. Did he really *want* to spend all that time thinking aboutwhat he and Alex Krycek had done? What if the conclusions he came to abouthis feelings made him just as sick as he'd been that night? He was afraid.So terribly afraid that he'd make the decision to find Krycek and hash thisout. Afraid that if they did, they'd end up right back where they started.He leaned back against the headrest and closed his eyes. Unbidden imagesof he and his male lover entered his thoughts. Strong hands, gently touchingand caressing. That mouth, so warm and insistent, all over him, sendingdelicious ripples of pleasure, through his body...

 

Mulder's eyes snapped open. He groaned, feeling the ache in his jeans.

 

//Son of a bitch.//

 

He flung himself out of the car and popped the trunk. He grabbed hisbag and slammed the trunk lid. Muttering to himself, he stomped up the threesteps to the front door and inserted the key. It stuck, and he had all hecould do, to get the door unlocked. "Shit!" He cursed, not caringif the neighbors were asleep. Finally, the door swung open. He threw hisbag inside and proceeded to wrestle the key out of the lock. He barreledinto the kitchen and threw open the door to the cabinet where his fatherhad always kept tools and other household repair necessities. After throwingmuch of the contents onto the floor, he found a half full can of WD-40.He returned to the door and jammed the tiny red straw into the lock.

 

"Take that, motherfucker," he whispered, spraying until theliquid dripped out of the lock and down the door. He reinserted the key,pushing it in and out a few times, then turned it roughly, back and forth.Satisfied, he snatched the key back out of the lock, and kicked the doorshut. He walked to the kitchen, turning lights on as he went and pluggedthe refrigerator in. He put away the few groceries he'd purchased at thesmall store down the road and packed the milk and other cold items in ice,until the fridge got cold. That done, he retrieved his bag from the livingroom and took it into the bedroom that had been his, so many years ago.He walked over to the window and threw it open, then pulled the coveringsoff of the furniture. He eyed the twin-sized boy's bed doubtfully.

 

"Oh yeah, that'd be real comfy."

 

He went to the hall closet and pulled out a blanket and pillow and heldthem to his nose. "Not as bad I thought." He carried them to theliving room and placed them on a plastic covered chair while he uncoveredthe sofa. He worked quickly, ignoring the screaming erection that stilltormented him.

 

Once he'd made up the sofa, he kicked off his shoes and fell onto hismakeshift bed. "Shit," he mumbled, reaching behind him, to pullhis cell phone out of the back pocket of his jeans.

 

The soft voice on the other end, calmed him a bit. "Mulder?"

 

"What if it was your mother?"

 

"Are you kidding? My mother isn't usually up any later than nine-thirty.Did you just get there?"

 

"A few minutes ago."

 

"How was the drive?"

 

"Not too bad. Hit a little traffic in New Jersey, but that's aboutit."

 

"Hmm. Okay then, I'm glad you made it there, all right. You mustbe beat. Get some sleep."

 

"Yeah, I am. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, don't worry, okay?I'll definitely call on Sunday."

 

"Sure. I understand. You get some rest now."

 

"Goodnight, Scully."

 

"Night, Mulder."

 

He disconnected and tossed the phone on the nearby chair. It hit theplastic, and slid to the floor. He grimaced and flipped onto his side. Thelights were all still on, but he had no intention of getting up to shutthem off. He squeezed his eyes shut and prayed for sleep to take him, sohe couldn't feel the urgent demands of his body. Ten minutes later, he threwthe cover off and sat at the edge of the sofa.

 

"No. Not this time. Not again."

 

He clenched his hands together and rested his forehead against them.

 

//Tell Alex what you want.//

 

He shook his head from side to side.

 

//Let me give you what you need.//

 

"Shut up."

 

//Admit it to yourself.//

 

"No!" Mulder jumped up and began to pace wildly. "I admit*nothing*! I don't want you, so just leave me the fuck alone! My life was*fine* before that night..." He rattled on. "..well maybe not*fine*, but at least I never doubted my *manhood*, for Christ sake!"

 

//Tell me, Fox. Tell Alex what you want.//

 

"No...no!"

 

The front door crashed against the wall as Mulder flung it open and ranout into the chilly night air. His flat out sprint soon turned into a jog,as his angry energy spent itself. The jog turned into a walk and his headbegan to clear a bit. He walked a little further, then turned around andheaded back to the house.

 

 

 

Saturday, 7:20 a.m.

 

Mulder awoke from the first dreamless sleep he'd had in weeks. His eyesopened slowly and focused on the wood paneling above the back of the harvestgold sofa. He tried, but could barely recall what time he finally made itback to the house. He'd fallen, exhausted onto the sofa and drifted intosleep, almost immediately. And even thought he'd only had a few hours, hefelt better than he had in some time. He swung his legs off of the sofa,then got up and headed for the bathroom and a nice, warm shower.

 

 

 

3:35 p.m.

 

"Hello?"

 

"Hey."

 

"Hey! I didn't expect to hear from you."

 

"I know. I just thought I'd check in."

 

"How's it going?"

 

"Well," Mulder hesitated. "I sort of hit a little roughpatch last night, but I'm doing much better, today."

 

"That's good," she replied in her most encouraging voice, butin her mind, she wondered how much difference a day could make, especiallyafter a bad night. "So, what happened to make you feel so much better?"

 

"A decent night's sleep. It does wonders."

 

She couldn't let him delude himself. "Mulder...as messed up as you'vebeen, I really don't think that a little sleep is going to help all thatmuch."

 

His tone became a bit indignant. "How do you *know*? Sleep deprivationcan do a lot of bad stuff to a person."

 

"Mulder, don't you even *think* about coming home, do you hear me?You stay your ass right there and do what you went to do!"

 

Silence.

 

"Mulder? Do you hear me?"

 

"Yeah, I hear you."

 

"You'd *better*. Give me call tomorrow, okay?"

 

"Yeah."

 

Mulder pressed 'end' and dropped heavily onto the sofa. He wanted tobe angry with Scully, but he knew that she was just concerned about him.So okay, he'd stay until Tuesday. What the hell, he could use some morerest. If a little sleep was good, a lot of sleep had to be better, and bythe time Tuesday rolled around, he'd forget all about this shit. Havingcompletely convinced himself, he headed out to the kitchen for a sandwich.

 

 

 

Sunday, 2:15 a.m.

 

The ringing doorbell roused Scully from a deep sleep. She glanced atthe alarm clock and cursed. //Mulder. Just for once, can't you do what Iask you to do?//

 

"Who is it?" She asked, just because she thought she should.

 

There was no answer.

 

"Who's there?" she called, a little more insistent.

 

Still, no answer, though she thought she *did* hear a sound.

 

She went quickly to her bedroom, then returned with her gun firmly inhand. She unlocked the door and opened it, weapon poised for use.

 

The man at the door practically fell into her arms. She caught him andimmediately pushed him against the door frame.

 

"Krycek! What the..." She stopped in mid sentence when shesaw the blood-stained shirt. "What happened to you?"

 

"Scully....please..." he labored to speak in full sentences."Mulder..."

 

Scully's eyes widened. "What about Mulder?" She shook him nonetoo gently. "Answer me! What about Mulder?"

 

He couldn't answer her. All his strength had been spent in the attemptto get to her apartment and on the few words he'd managed to get out. Heslumped against the wall.

 

"Shit! Krycek!"

 

It was useless. She managed to get him over to the sofa and dropped himonto it. He grimaced with the pain and emitted a harsh, unintelligible sound.

 

Scully pressed a hand to his perspiration-soaked forehead. He was burningup. "It's times like this that I'm sorry I became a doctor," shemuttered as she opened the front of his shirt to see where the blood hadcome from. Just over his hip, she found a diagonal wound, approximatelythree to four inches long. It had been stitched. Not a terribly professionaljob, but it certainly seemed to have been done by someone with some amountof training. The fever, she guessed, was a direct result of the wound. Ifhe'd stitched it up himself, chances were great that he'd not taken anyantibiotics.

 

"Krycek, can you hear me? I need you to tell me what happened."His head rolled back and forth against the cushions. He mouthed something- just one brief word it seemed, but she was unable to make it out. Whileshe examined him, her mind was on Mulder. She'd only spoken to him the previousafternoon. Surely nothing could have happened to him in such a short time.But, if Alex Krycek was involved, she couldn't count out any possibility.

 

//Sonofabitch.//

 

She reached for the phone and dialed Mulder's cell phone. Four ringslater, he answered.

 

"Mulder?"

 

His shook the fog from his head. "Scully? What time is it?"he asked, even as he took a glance at the alarm clock. "What's wrong?"

 

"Are you all right?"

 

"Yeah. Why?"

 

She breathed a sigh of relief.

 

"Scully, what the hell is wrong?"

 

"I...I'm not sure," she spoke as she opened her medical bagand found what she was looking for. "I've got a guest."

 

"Who?"

 

She looked down at the unconscious man on her sofa. "Alex Krycek."The information was greeted with silence. "Mulder? You there?"

 

Mulder fought to keep hyperventilating. "Yeah...uh...what is hedoing there?"

 

"Nothing much at the moment. He's unconscious."

 

"What?"

 

"He came to my door about ten, fifteen minutes ago, wounded andfeverish, mentioned your name, then promptly passed out on me."

 

His head began to ache. "Wounded? Wounded, how?"

 

"Looks like maybe a stab wound of sorts. The fever is from infection,I gather. I'm administering antibiotics, now...Mulder, I still don't knowwhy it was so important for him to come here in his condition, other thanthe fact that he mentioned your name."

 

"W-was that all he said?"

 

"Well...first he said, 'Scully, please.' Then, he said 'Mulder',then he said something that I didn't catch. Mulder, I can't believe I'mhere, at two-thirty in the morning, caring for a man that I would much rathershoot than treat....Mulder?"

 

He cleared his throat. "I'm here."

 

"I know that I warned you against coming back home before Tuesday,but this, I'd say, was an extenuating circumstance."

 

"Yeah...uh...I'll call the airport and see when the soonest is thatI can get a flight out. I'll call you back."

 

"Okay. I'll wait to hear from you."

 

Mulder disconnected and raised a trembling hand to his forehead. So muchfor thinking that he had his head together. He took a couple of steadyingbreaths and dialed Warwick.

 

 

 

4:24 a.m.

 

Scully sat in the chair opposite the sofa, observing Krycek's disturbedslumber. He may have been wounded and he may have a high fever, but therewas no way in hell, she was closing even one eye, with him in her apartment.She cocked her head and listened carefully, trying to make some sense ofthe words he was now mumbling.

 

"Sorry.............wouldn't.....................didn't mean to......"He moaned softly. "So good........so..." The agitation returned."Sorry....please....."

 

His voice trailed off, leaving Scully confused and eaten up with curiosity.Whatever it was he was babbling about, it certainly seemed to be an emotionalissue. There was definite remorse in his tone, but for just a second, itseemed as though there was something very close to pleasure mingled in allthat angst.

 

"What the hell is going on?" she whispered to herself.

 

 

 

6:45 a.m.

 

Mulder entered Scully's building, psyching himself up for God only knewwhat. He reached her door and willed himself to ring the bell. The dooropened and his bloodshot eyes met hers. She stepped aside and motioned himin. He took three steps into the living room and turned toward her.

 

"So...what's up?"

 

"Mulder, are you okay?"

 

"Yeah. I'm just uh, I'm just really beat." He inclined hishead, then raised it and looked at her. "Is he still out?"

 

Scully nodded and moved toward the sofa.

 

"He was restless earlier. Saying things..."

 

"Things?"

 

Yeah, I couldn't make heads or tails of it, though. It was just a jumbleof words. I uh.." She turned to see where he was. He still stood inthe spot she'd left him in. "Mulder?"

 

"Huh?"

 

She leveled a perplexed gaze on him. "You know, I was very uneasy,being alone here with this guy, incapacitated though he is, but I was almostjust as uneasy at the thought of you being in the same room with him."

 

"Why?"

 

"Mulder, I had to *shoot* you once, to keep you from killing him.And now, you're acting so...I don't know *how* to describe it."

 

Mulder ignored her attempted observation and forced himself to move towardthe sofa. He tried to display no emotion as he, for the first time in overa month, laid eyes on the man who had taken his mind and body to a placehe never knew existed.

 

Alex Krycek lay before him, a light sheet pulled halfway up his barechest, which was coated with a light sheen of perspiration. There were someminor cuts and bruises scattered over his face.

 

"Will he be all right?"

 

"I think so. As soon as the antibiotics take hold. That shouldn'tbe too much longer." She studied Krycek for a moment, then turned herattention to Mulder. "This man killed your father and my sister. Iwanted so much to just let him die."

 

"Scully..."

 

"I mean, why *should* I help him?"

 

"Scully..."

 

"If he hadn't mentioned your name..."

 

"Scully..." he finally got her attention. "He didn't killmy father *or* Melissa."

 

She shot him a look. "Where did *that* come from?"

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------Subscribe, unsubscribe, opt for a daily digest, or start a new e-group athttp://www.eGroups.com -- Free Web-based e-mail groups.See disclaimer inPart I

 

 

 

"He didn't do it."

 

"Mulder, the man is a liar and a killer. You of all people *know*that."

 

"I'm not saying that he isn't. But he didn't kill my father or yoursister."

 

"How do you know this?"

 

He hesitated. //This ought to go over real big...// "He told me."

 

"You're....you're kidding."

 

Mulder avoided her intense gaze.

 

"Since when do you believe *anything* that comes out of this man'smouth?"

 

"Scully, would you say that I'm a good judge of people?"

 

"You weren't the darling of the Violent Crimes Unit for nothing.Yes, I'd say that you were an excellent judge of people."

 

"Krycek didn't do it. He's caught up in this crap, just like weare."

 

"No, not *just* like we are."

 

Okay, but he *is* trapped...and he's just trying to survive it."

 

"Well. Okay, Mulder. But, what wrought this change? Last time thename Alex Krycek was mentioned in your presence, you just about popped avein."

 

She was going to figure this out. Soon. He had to tell her. But he neededa little time to figure out *how*.

 

"Can we talk about this later? We're both exhausted. Go get somesleep."

 

"What about you?"

 

"I'll catch a nap on the chair, here. That way, I can keep an eyeon him."

 

"Mulder, if he comes out of it and we're both asleep...he couldstill be dangerous."

 

"It'll be fine, Scully. Trust me. Krycek isn't going to do anythingto anybody."

 

Scully looked from one man to the other, then back again. She nodded,then exited the room. Mulder heard her door close, then turned his attentionto Krycek. He sat at the edge of the sofa and watched the steady rise andfall of his chest. His eyes traveled up to his face. He noted how the longdark lashes gently brushed the surface of his high cheekbones. He staredat the relaxed set of his mouth...the mouth that had driven him so insane...Before he could stop himself, his fingers were lightly feathering the bottomlip.

 

Krycek sighed softly and shifted his position, ever so slightly. Mulderjerked his hand away and waited, frozen. To his relief, the green eyes didnot open. He rose from the sofa and took a seat in the chair on the otherside of the coffee table. He eyed Krycek's motionless form.

 

//Alex. How the hell am I going to tell her about you? What can I possiblysay to make her understand a situation that I don't understand, myself?//

 

He tore his eyes away and tilted his head back against the cushion.

 

 

 

9:12 a.m.

 

Scully opened her eyes and listened. The apartment was quiet. She gotout of bed and slipped on her robe. Taking a deep breath, she opened thedoor and padded into the living room. Her eyes immediately fell to the sofa,where Krycek still slept. He seemed to be resting comfortably. She thensought out Mulder, who wasn't in her direct line of sight. A soft clinkingsound came from the kitchen.

 

"Did you sleep?" he asked without turning around.

 

She leaned in the doorway as he poured a cup of coffee and handed itto her.

 

"Thanks." She took the cup and sipped twice, then answeredhis question. "Yeah, actually. I can't believe it...you?"

 

"I dozed off for a little while."

 

"How about our friend?"

 

"He hardly moved. Scully, are you sure he's going to be okay?"

 

"I'm going to go out and examine him, right now." She turnedtoward the door and stopped to look at Mulder, who stood lingering by thecounter. "Coming?"

 

"Yeah. I'm just going to pour a little more coffee." He reachedfor the pot. "I'll be there in a second."

 

She nodded and left the room.

 

Mulder put the pot back down and leaned against the counter. He closedhis eyes and lowered his head. He'd spent most of the three hours that Scullywas asleep, trying to come up with the best way to tell her. No luck. Maybethe best thing to do would be to just say it straight out and let the headsroll where they may.

 

Alex Krycek opened his eyes while Scully was examining his wound.

 

"Am I going to live?"

 

His gravely voice startled her. She looked up at him, wide eyed. He staredback, his eyes a bit glassy, but otherwise alert.

 

"It would appear so," she said curtly and re-bandaged his wound."How do you feel?"

 

"Better. What did you do?"

 

She answered his question with a question.

 

"Why did you come here, last night?"

 

"To ask you to warn Mulder."

 

"About?"

 

"There are people...I don't know who, but there are people who apparentlyhave a different agenda than those you've been after. Those people haven'tkilled me because I..." he swallowed dryly. "Because I hold afew cards. But the game has changed. There's obviously somebody out therewho couldn't give a rat's ass about what I can prove...and they tried toget rid of me."

 

"And how does this involve Mulder?"

 

"Scully, if they're out to get me, then these are people with nothingto lose. They might go after him too...and you. I just...I just wanted towarn you."

 

Mulder slipped into the room and stood quietly as Krycek spoke.

 

"Tell him, Scully. Please."

 

He tried to get up but Scully pushed him back down. "Where do youthink you're going?"

 

"I have to go. It's dangerous for me to be here. Sooner or laterthey're going to find out that I'm not dead. I'd rather not be responsiblefor them taking you out with me." He tried to get up again. Again,Scully stopped him.

 

"Knock it off, Krycek. You're not going anywhere. Not just yet,anyway. If they're going to kill you, you're going to be healthy when theydo it."

 

Krycek stared up at her in obvious confusion. "You hate my guts.Why are you doing this?"

 

"You're right about that. But I'm a doctor and it's my responsibilityto heal, regardless of personal feelings." She paused, then went on."Plus, I've got it on good authority, that I've got less reason todespise you than I originally thought."

 

"What are you talking about?"

 

Scully motioned with her head to the one who stood at a distance. Krycekfollowed her direction and met the hazel eyes of the man who'd possessedhis every waking thought since that night, more than five weeks ago. Hislips parted, but no sound left them. Mulder's gaze dropped to the floor.Krycek turned his head away.

 

"Okay." Scully pushed back and sat on the coffee table. "What'sthe deal, here?" Her question was greeted by silence. "Mulder?I want to know what's going on and I want to know, right now."

 

In that instant, Mulder made a decision. He inhaled deeply and walkedover to the sofa. He lowered himself to the edge and spoke softly to Krycek.

 

"How do you feel?"

 

Krycek shrugged but did not meet his eye. "A lot better. Thanksto Scully."

 

Scully watched the proceedings in complete and utter confusion.

 

Mulder laid his hand on Krycek's forearm. "Alex..."

 

Scully recoiled in shock. Her mind began to spin in a million differentdirections at once. "Alex?"

 

Krycek turned his eyes to Mulder and shook his head. "Mulder..."

 

Scully repeated herself, unable to accept what was becoming more andmore obvious. "*Alex*?"

 

Mulder turned to her. "Scully, I..."

 

Krycek cut him off. "Mulder, don't."

 

He turned back to him. "It's all right. I told her most of it, theother day. All that was missing was a name."

 

Krycek stared up at him, remorse glittering in his eyes. "Let itlay," he whispered.

 

"I can't." He faced Scully once more. "Scully...Alex isthe man I..."

 

Scully leapt off the table. "Don't! Don't say it!"

 

"Why not Scully, you already know. I need to say it."

 

Scully clenched her hands in her hair and stalked half the length ofthe living room.

 

Mulder continued. "Scully, I spent that night with Krycek."

 

"I can't believe you just did that," Krycek rasped.

 

"Why?" Scully fairly screamed, whirling to face them. "Withall the men in Washington..."

 

A look of pain crossed Mulder's face. "It's not like I was out *looking*.I'd never had thoughts like this about *any* other man."

 

"But my *God*, Mulder..." she cast a disgusted glance at Krycek."*Him*?"

 

"Scully," Krycek intervened, "it was my fault. He didn'twant..."

 

"Oh, really? So you're saying that you, what? Seduced him? Rapedhim? Oh, *Christ*, I can't even believe I'm having this conversation."

 

"Can he be moved?" Mulder asked, breaking in on Scully's tirade.

 

"What? Why?"

 

"I'll take him to my apartment."

 

"No," Krycek objected. "If I'm able to leave here, I'lldo so, *alone*."

 

Mulder ignored him. "Scully?"

 

Scully brought her hands up to her eyes and rubbed at them. "I supposeit would be all right to move him a short distance, but he still needs torest for a couple more days, at least. And he needs to be on those antibioticsfor a while longer."

 

"Fine. Show me how to administer them, and we'll go."

 

Scully swallowed her anger. "Mulder, I'm sorry. I didn't mean tohurt you, but surely you can understand..."

 

"I know." He turned to Krycek for a moment. "Don't move.I'll be right back."

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------Subscribe, unsubscribe, opt for a daily digest, or start a new e-group athttp://www.eGroups.com -- Free Web-based e-mail groups.He rose and led Scullyaway.

 

"How could you let this happen, Mulder," she asked as soonas they were in her bedroom. "*Alex Krycek*?"

 

"I don't know. I told you, I hated myself afterward. I hated myselfwhen I left for Rhode Island. I hated myself all the way back here...I mayhate myself again tomorrow. But for today, I can't deny how I feel. It allcame back as soon as I looked at him. I was so terrified of how I felt,that I would have done anything to deny it, but when you asked me to tellyou what was going on, something clicked. It was like, okay. Here it is.I can either lie, or I can tell you the truth. But in order to tell youthe truth, I had to first recognize what that truth was. I've done that,now."

 

"What's the truth?" Scully asked.

 

"I've got feelings for him. I have for a long time. I just keptthem buried under a ton of anger and hostility. I can't do that anymoreScully, it's eating me up. I wish you could understand."

 

Scully sighed and took his hand. "I'll get the meds for you."

 

Mulder nodded and released her hand. He left the room and returned tostand over Krycek who had since struggled into a sitting position.

 

"You should be lying down until we leave."

 

"I'm okay. It doesn't hurt that much."

 

"That's not the point."

 

"I'm not going with you."

 

"Yes, you are."

 

"I can't. I won't put you in danger."

 

Scully, now dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, had entered the room andwas listening quietly, from the doorway.

 

"You heard Scully, you need to rest."

 

Krycek lowered his eyes. "Fox, *please*."

 

"It'll be all right. Nobody's going to kill any of us. Besides,we need to talk."

 

"No, we don't. Forget it. It'll be better for you if you just forgetit."

 

"What about you? Can you forget it?"

 

Krycek avoided his stare.

 

Scully took advantage of the lull and stepped forward with a small bag."Here's everything you need. I've written specific instructions foryou. Her eyes fell on Krycek, then cut away and back to Mulder. "Seethat he gets plenty of rest."

 

"I will."

 

"I'll help you get him to the car."

 

"Thanks."

 

Once Krycek was settled into the passenger's seat of Mulder's rental,Mulder faced Scully. "I'm sorry. I know how upset you are. You rememberI told you that you'd probably never see me the same way again..."

 

"Mulder. I'm the one who should apologize. I won't pretend thatI like this new turn of events, but I promise you that I'll try to understandit and accept it the best way I can. I'd do as much for either of my brothers."

 

"I doubt that either of your brothers would ever come to you andsay that they'd gotten sexually involved with someone like Alex Krycek."

 

Scully folded her arms across her chest and kicked at a small piece ofloose concrete. "Probably not. You going to settle this with him?"

 

"I hope to. One way or the other."

 

She didn't ask what he meant by that. She was pretty sure that she knew.

 

"I'll be in touch."

 

Scully stepped away as Mulder got into his car and started the engine.She motioned for him to lower the window.

 

"Yeah?"

 

"Be careful, Mulder...okay?"

 

He glanced over at Krycek, who was sitting quietly, eyes closed and headtilted back against the seat. "I will."

 

The window went back up and the rental car pulled away. Scully watcheduntil it was out of sight, before turning and slowly walking back towardthe elevators.

 

"What's with the rental?" Krycek asked, once they were on theirway.

 

"My car is in Rhode Island."

 

"What's it doing there?"

 

"That's where I was until Scully called."

 

"On a case?"

 

"No. A vacation, of sorts."

 

"I'm sorry. She shouldn't have called you. I went to her in thefirst place, because I didn't want you to have to see me."

 

"I gotta say, I wasn't real thrilled about seeing you, myself."

 

Krycek turned his head toward the window and didn't speak again for therest of the journey.

 

 

 

 

 

10:35 a.m.

 

Mulder entered his apartment and tossed his bag onto a nearby chair,as he helped Krycek in.

 

"I shouldn't be here," he said softly as Mulder steered himtoward the bedroom.

 

"We've established that," Mulder answered flatly, walking himto the bed. "Lie down."

 

"Why are you doing this?

 

"We'll discuss it later. Now..." he turned the sheet down andmotioned with one hand. "if you don't mind?"

 

Krycek abandoned his efforts at protest and got into the bed.

 

"Let's get that shirt off."

 

"What?"

 

"It's full of dried blood. Take it off." Mulder went to thecloset and pulled a pale blue t-shirt off the shelf. "You can put thison."

 

Krycek began to remove his shirt with a bit of effort.

 

"Need help?"

 

"No, I got it." He struggled a moment longer, then laid itin front of him and reached for the clean shirt that Mulder held out tohim.

 

"Do you want anything?"

 

"I'm kind of thirsty."

 

"I'll get you some water. Anything else?"

 

"No."

 

Mulder picked up the soiled shirt, exectuted a brief nod, and slippedout of the room. While he was gone, Krycek took in the familiar surroundings.He hadn't thought he'd ever see this apartment again, let alone lay in thisbed.

 

//Life is damn cruel.//

 

Mulder returned with a tall glass of cold water and handed it to him.

 

"Thanks."

 

He took a seat at the edge of the bed and stared intently as Krycek sippedthe water.

 

"What happened to you?"

 

"Work related injury."

 

"Who stitched you up?"

 

"I did it myself. The scar won't be pretty, but the emergency medicinecourses they taught at the academy were designed to be strictly utilitarian."

 

Mulder smiled. "Was Dr. Hughes still teaching when you were there?"

 

"Yeah. He ever show you some of *his* scars? The word 'delicate'was *not* in that guy's vocabulary."

 

"I know. How'd you get hurt?"

 

Krycek sighed. "There was an explosion. I got hit with some flyingdebris. Mulder, it was a setup. Just for me. I figured it out and took off,but before I could get out, the truck that I had been in, exploded."

 

"Was there anyone else?"

 

"Just the driver. He was in on it. When they find out that I wasn'tkilled, they'll try again. And I don't want to be *here* when they do."

 

"What difference does it make? If they want me, they're going totry to get me, whether you're here or not."

 

"But if I'm wrong, and it's just *me* they want, it'd be best ifI wasn't anywhere near you. They *may* kill you, simply because you're inthe way."

 

"You look tired."

 

"Dammit, would you stop changing the subject and *listen* to me?I *can't* stay here!"

 

He tried to get out of bed, but Mulder gasped him by his shoulders andpinned him against the pillows. Krycek winced in pain.

 

"Stop trying to be so fucking noble, would you? It's starting toirritate me."

 

"As long as it doesn't make you sick," Krycek replied, theheaviness evident in his voice. "I wouldn't want to be responsiblefor you throwing up in the bathroom, again."

 

"Krycek..."

 

He avoided Mulder's eyes.

 

"Alex...."

 

Even the soft utterance of his first name, did not draw his attention.

 

Mulder sighed. "Try to get some rest."

 

Krycek felt the mattress rise as he got up and left the room. His eyesfollowed Mulder to the door, then rose to the ceiling. "Rest,"he repeated. "That's a good one."

 

Fifteen minutes later, he was asleep.

 

 

 

3:14 p.m.

 

"Where are you going?"

 

Krycek stopped in his tracks and cursed softly to himself. He turnedaround. Mulder watched him from a reclining position on the sofa. He weighedhis chances of making it to the door before the other man could get up.

 

"Try it, and I'll shoot you in the leg." Mulder raised hisright hand and waved his gun from side to side. "Come in here and sitdown. You and I are going to talk."

 

Krycek heaved a defeated sigh and walked slowly into the living room.Mulder swung into a sitting position and waited as he lowered himself ontothe black leather cushion at the far end of the sofa. Mulder placed theSig down on the coffee table. "Time for your meds." He rose andwent to the bag that Scully had packed for him. He pulled the contents outand shook the proper dosage into his hand. "Here." He handed thepills to Krycek. "I'll get you some water."

 

Krycek stared quietly down at the white tablets in his hand, until Mulderreturned with a glass. He took it, washed the antibiotics down, and placedthe glass on the table. He leaned back and his eyes automatically went tothe floor. Mulder squatted in front of him and placed a hand on his thigh.The muscle tightened in his jaw, but he remained still and silent. Mulder'sthumb swept back and forth, slowly.

 

"I've spent the last five weeks in hell. Hating myself. Disgustedat the thought of what we did. Ashamed."

 

Krycek covered Mulder's hand with his own, stopping his thumb's movement.Their eyes met.

 

"And now?"

 

"I lost count of how many times I thought about the things you didto me. Cold showers have become part of my routine." His eyes burnedinto Krycek's. "I hate cold showers." He kneeled between the youngerman's parted thighs. "I'm tired of trying to convince myself that itwas nothing more than a moment's weakness. I can't do it anymore."

 

"What are you saying?"

 

Mulder studied his face. It was a mask of intensity. "I'm sayingthat..." he stopped and began again. "I'm saying that I'd liketo talk about this with you, if you're willing."

 

He drew a shaky breath as Krycek gently skimmed his lips with his fingers.

 

"Can I tell you something?"

 

Mulder nodded.

 

"You *really* need to get off your knees."

 

"Worried about my poor aching joints?"

 

"I'm worried about a poor aching *something*, but it isn't yourjoints."

 

Mulder smiled and levered himself up to the sofa. He settled beside Krycekand turned toward him, just enough so that one of his knees was touchingthe side of Krycek's thigh.

 

"Are you comfortable?"

 

"I'm okay. The stitches are starting to bother me a little, butnot much."

 

Mulder checked his watch. "It's not quite time for the pain pill.Can you wait another forty-five minutes?"

 

"Yeah, I'm fine."

 

"Maybe you should lie down, though. Take some weight off of it."

 

"You know how tired I am of being on my back?"

 

"Mmm hmm." Mulder slid back to the other side of the sofa andleaned against the arm. He lifted one leg and stretched it straight out,while planting his right foot on the floor. "Come here. Lay back againstme."

 

Krycek regarded him doubtfully.

 

"That wasn't a request."

 

He duplicated Mulder's movements, sliding backward, until his back camein contact with a hard, warm chest. That warmth spread through his bodylike a flood. Long arms draped loosely around him and he felt Mulder's cheekrest itself on the top of his head. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply.A soft monotone came from above him.

 

"Is that better?"

 

"Yeah." He stopped and cleared his throat. "It actuallyis better. Some of the pressure is off the stitches."

 

"Good."

 

They both fell silent for a while, enjoying the closeness. Krycek closedhis eyes and turned his head to the side. The smell that was Mulder's alone,invaded his nostrils and filled his head with impossible thoughts. Mulderbroke into those thoughts.

 

"I missed you." His admission was met with silence. He continued."You don't believe me, do you?"

 

"It's kind of hard, after the way we left things. If Scully hadn'tcalled you, we wouldn't be here now and maybe you would have had a realchance to forget about what happened."

 

"First of all, I don't know how that would have been possible, sinceI've been reliving that night every day, five times a day. Second, you *knew*that there was no way in hell that Scully *wouldn't* have called me. Youwanted to see me. You needed to get this settled as much as I did."

 

"Maybe."

 

Mulder shook his head. "No maybe....tell me why you left."

 

"I was wrong to do what I did to you. I took everything you knewabout yourself and turned it inside out. I'm sorry, Fox. It was selfish.I wanted you so much, I didn't think about what it might do to you, afterward."

 

"It did a number on me. I don't know how long you stayed after Iwent into the bathroom but...after I threw up, I took a hot shower. Brushedmy teeth till my gums hurt. Anything I could think of to get the smell andthe taste of you off of me. When I first found your note, I didn't knowhow to feel. Then a little while later, I told myself that I was glad youwere gone. And everyday I tried to go about my normal routine, but it waswearing on me. Nights were impossible. It was a constant battle to stopmyself from remembering how it felt to be with you. I always lost. I hatedmyself for my weakness. I woke up every morning for two weeks, wishing Ihadn't..."

 

"Jesus."

 

He tightened his arms around Krycek's chest. "I didn't say any ofthat to make you feel bad. I just want it all out. You understand?"

 

"I guess."

 

"I don't want to leave it hanging over our heads."

 

"You think you've come to terms with it, now?"

 

"I'd be lying if I said that I was completely comfortable with this.I mean, how can I be? I've lived thirty-seven years as one person and nowall of a sudden, it would seem that I'm somebody completely different. ButI'm ready to deal with it."

 

"Are you?"

 

"If I'm going to maintain my grip on sanity, which Scully thinksis tenuous at best...I have to. Besides..." he smirked into the silkydark hair, "that was the best blow job I've ever had."

 

Krycek shook with laughter. "Fuck you."

 

Mulder slipped a hand under his chin and lifted until he could see hiseyes. "Please do."

 

Krycek stared up into his warm, amber-flecked eyes mutely, not knowinghow to respond.

 

"Later," Mulder told him, "when you're better."

 

"Are you sure about that?"

 

"As sure as I've ever been about anything."

 

The hand under Krycek's chin held him still, while Mulder's lips descendedon his. Soft. Gentle. Completely overwhelming. He let himself melt intoit just for a moment, then reluctantly pulled away.

 

"What?"

 

"Please let me leave."

 

"Are we back on that, again?"

 

"Yes, we are." Krycek wrenched himself from Mulder's lightgrasp and sat at the edge of the sofa. "The longer I stay here, thelonger I *want* to stay, and I *can't*."

 

Mulder tilted his head back and stared at the ceiling. "You can'tor you don't want to?"

 

Krycek's head snapped around. "What do *you* think?"

 

Mulder shrugged.

 

He rose stiffly, grimacing at the discomfort, and took a few steps intothe middle of the room. His soft voice, oozing with regret, brought Mulder'sattention to his face.

 

"I would give my soul, if I still had one, to be able to changethe way things are." He blinked rapidly, fighting back the burninghe felt behind his eyes. "But I can't. I've made some choices in mylife that can only be described as *bad* and now, I'm paying for them...ina way I never thought I would."

 

Mulder stood and moved toward him. "You can turn it around."He stopped only when their bodies were practically touching. "Let mehelp you."

 

"You can't..."

 

"I can if you really want me to."

 

Krycek shook his head and tried to turn away, but Mulder moved with him,maintaining that close, nerve-racking contact.

 

"Look at me."

 

Krycek spun around and headed toward the bedroom with Mulder close onhis heels. When they were both inside the room, he slammed the door behindthem. He leaned against it and watched as Krycek snatched up his jacket,then turned to him.

 

"Move."

 

"Make me."

 

"You are the most *stubborn* son of a bitch I've ever known."

 

Mulder remained against the door, his eyes issuing a silent challenge.

 

"You *fucking* asshole!"

 

"Sticks and stones..."

 

"Get the fuck out of the way!"

 

He moaned softly and his hand came up to cover the stitched area abovehis hip.

 

"You're aggravating it, doing all this yelling and moving around.You need to get off your feet and..." he checked his watch. "takethat painkiller."

 

Krycek stared at Mulder, amazed, as he moved toward him and took thejacket from his hands. He tossed it back onto the chair.

 

"Now. Are you going to get into bed or do I have to put you there,myself?"

 

"You know what?" Krycek sliced one hand upward, through theair. "Fine. You want to fuck up your life, go ahead. Why should I givea shit? You want to play nurse maid, shove pills down my throat, make myboo boo all better, so I can live to double-cross you sometime in the future...great."

 

Mulder said nothing. He simply stood with arms folded across his chest,waiting. Krycek blew a short, hard breath out through his nose, and loweredhimself to the bed.

 

"Okay, okay," he said impatiently snapping his fingers oncehe got settled, "where's my pill?"

 

Without a word, Mulder exited the room and returned minutes later, withanother glass of water and a small plate, on top of which, sat a ham sandwich.He placed both on the nightstand by the bed.

 

"What the fuck's this?" Krycek asked, trying his best to beobnoxious.

 

"You shouldn't be taking this stuff without having something inyour stomach, first." He held out his hand and dropped a small whitepill into Krycek's open palm. "If you want anything else, I'll be inthe other room." With that, he turned and left, closing the bedroomdoor softly behind him.

 

Krycek glanced at the sandwich. He shouted at the closed door. "MaybeI'll just take this pill *without* eating first. What'll happen, huh Mulder?Will it make me sick? Maybe I'll just throw up all over your bed! It'd serveyou right, you foolish bastard!"

 

His tirade was met with silence. "Shit." He looked back atthe sandwich. Hunger got the better of him. He snatched it off the plateand took a bite. And another. Seconds later, the sandwich was gone. He poppedthe pill in his mouth and took a swig of water. He placed the glass downbeside the empty plate and lay back against the pillow, clasping his handsbehind his head. He lay that way for a long time, contemplating the situationhe was now in. He'd been in some tight spots before but, this was by far,the worst. He'd been up against some dangerous adversaries before, includingone Fox Mulder, but this was a completely different battleground, with somany more twists and pitfalls to consider. The biggest of these problems...hisfeelings for this man. His own emotions would prove to be his downfall,and there was no way that he could see...no way at all, around them.

 

 

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8:12 p.m.

 

Krycek awoke. The room was dark. Quiet. He fumbled around for the lamp.He found it and pale light washed the room as he flicked the switch. Helooked around the room. His jacket was in the same place, thrown acrossthe back of the chair near the foot of the bed. He glanced at the nighttable. The plate and glass were gone. He'd been there. Krycek wondered ifhe'd stayed in the room a while, watching him sleep, or if he just gatheredup those things and left. He turned his eyes to the door. Should he or shouldn'the?

 

 

 

8:49 p.m.

 

Mulder ignored the band of light that streamed into the hall, then disappeared.He remained focused on the television as the dark figure entered the roomand hesitated in the doorway. Silently, it moved into the room and stoppedbeside the sofa. His eyes drifted up to Krycek's face. He shifted slightlyfarther against the back as his reluctant guest took a seat, just aboutparallel to his waist. Mulder watched him with quiet interest, as he triedto find the words for what he wanted to say.

 

"I was a real prick," he began and risked a glance at Mulder,who was still staring intently at him. "I know you care. You just wantedto help and I was such a...a...shithead. I was rotten and nasty and...uh...feelfree to stop me at any time."

 

"Why?" Mulder rasped. "You're doing great."

 

Krycek lowered his head. "Can't you just please understand thatI don't want you hurt? If something happened to you because of me, I'd..."

 

"So it's okay if I get killed as long as it's not your fault?"

 

"You know that's not what I meant. This is a lose, lose situationfor you. If we become involved..."

 

Mulder broke in. "*Become* involved?"

 

"...you'll have nothing but trouble with Scully. She's your partner.You need there to be unwavering trust between you. As long as you have anythingto do with me, that trust is going to be compromised."

 

"I know Scully was upset, but she's my best friend. She wants meto be happy."

 

"I'm sure that's true. But she can't get around her dislike or herdistrust for me. Chances are very great, she never will."

 

Mulder gave no response.

 

Krycek continued. "I can get out of the business I'm in, now. Aslong as I have what I have against them, they'll leave me alone. But thisnew threat...whoever this is who tried to kill me...I don't know that they'llstop. And I told you what that could mean for you."

 

"And I told *you*..."

 

"I know what you told me..."

 

"You ever hear of strength in numbers? You're more vulnerable ifyou're alone. And so am I."

 

Curiosity etched Krycek's features. "You'd trust me to that extent?"

 

"Stupid, huh?"

 

"Your partner would think so."

 

"I know."

 

"You'd be flushing your career down the toilet."

 

"My private life is my own. No one need know about it."

 

"I hate to keep bringing Scully into this but..."

 

"Scully is no problem."

 

Krycek shook his head. "Were you and I in the same apartment, thismorning? She was *wild*."

 

"Yeah, I know. But she'd never do anything to hurt me. She may *never*like you, but that would stay between the three of us."

 

"What about what I know? It could be a big help to you. But if Igave a single bit of that information to you or anyone, I'd be as good asdead. Are you willing to forget about that for the sake of a relationshipbetween us?"

 

Mulder pulled himself into a sitting position. "I wouldn't riskyour life. Does that answer your question?"

 

Krycek slid a hand up Mulder's arm and rested it on his relaxed bicep."You know that you're watched. It's only a matter of time before theycatch on to this. They'll use it to try and get what they want. Then you'llbe trapped, too."

 

Mulder shook his head in disagreement. "The way I see it, it wouldbe a standoff. Neither side could afford to use the ammunition they hadagainst the other." He paused for a few seconds. When Krycek issuedno comeback, he raised a hand, then slapped it against his knee. "So,now what?"

 

Krycek chewed his lip. "You've got an answer for everything, don'tyou?"

 

A self-assured silence was his only reply.

 

"Well, answer me *this*. How are you going to live with yourself,knowing that you're sleeping with a man who's done things so completelydespicable, that two lifetimes in prison wouldn't be enough? You're an honestman, Fox. That quality is one of the things that attracts me to you. I don'twant you to change who you are for me. I'm not worth it."

 

Mulder leaned forward, until his face was only inches from Krycek's.He spoke in a tone so low, that Krycek could feel the vibration ticklinghis lips. "Why don't you let *me* decide what you're worth."

 

Krycek's eyes dropped shut and he shook his head slowly. His respirationgrew shallow as he felt the soft touch of Mulder's mouth against his.

 

"Mulder..."

 

"Shut up, Krycek."

 

He resumed the gentle, teasing kisses coaxing their recipient to surrenderto him. And he did. Before either of them knew it, they were lying togetheron the sofa, Mulder's body half-covering that of the man beneath him. Herested most of his weight on his arms, to avoid putting any pressure onKrycek's wound. Their lips met again, this time with frightening urgency.Krycek threaded his fingers through Mulder's hair, curling them around thethick brown strands and effectively preventing him from pulling his mouthaway. Not that Mulder had any such intention. He compelled Krycek to openhis mouth and allow his tongue to slip inside. Slowly, he searched the warmrecesses, stroking and caressing. Tormenting. The anguished moan that vibratedinto his mouth, sent a jolt of electricity straight to his groin.

 

Krycek broke the kiss and pressed his leg up against the crotch of Mulder'sjeans. "Why don't you let me take care of this for you," he murmuredagainst the stubbled jaw.

 

Mulder shook his head.

 

"Why not?"

 

"Your turn."

 

"My...uh...are you sure about that?"

 

"Well," Mulder's hand traveled down and stroked the bulge inKrycek's jeans. "I sort of left you hanging the last time. I'd sayI owed you one." Their eyes met. "Wouldn't you?"

 

"You don't owe me anything."

 

Mulder's hand traveled the short distance to the top button of Krycek'sjeans and undid it. Next he took hold of the zipper and slid it down asfar as it would go. "I think I do." His lips again found his lover's,even as his hand slid inside the white briefs to gently fondle him.

 

A tingle of excitement rushed through Mulder as he stroked this cockthat was not his own. The faint gasps and sighs that reached his ears didnot come from his own throat and that excited him as well. He released Krycek'slips and nipped at the small indentation just beneath them.

 

"I thought we were going to wait till I was better?" he teased.

 

"For the *good* stuff," Mulder smirked down at him. "Allyou have to do right now, is lay there."

 

"Just...lay here."

 

"That's all."

 

"And what do you mean, the *good* stuff? Does that mean that whateverI'm in for tonight is going to *suck*?" He drew in a sharp breath asMulder squeezed him none too gently.

 

"I'm sorry, what was that?"

 

"Nothing," Krycek whispered. "I didn't say a word."

 

"I didn't think so." Mulder loosened his grip and let his fingersslide tenderly along the length of his cock, then back again. Krycek closedhis eyes and moaned aloud.

 

Mulder grinned. "And uh...speaking of *suck*..."

 

He slipped Krycek's jeans and underwear past his hips. Just far enoughfor easier access. As he began to slide downward, Krycek wound his fingersin his hair and pulled him back up.

 

"What?"

 

"When I get close...which should be about five seconds after youtouch me, I'll tell you. When I do, stop, okay? You can finish me with yourhand."

 

"Why would I want to do that?"

 

Krycek stroked the underside of Mulder's chin with his knuckles. "You'vegot nothing to prove to me."

 

"Who said I did?"

 

"Just...don't, okay? Please?"

 

Mulder grasped his wrist and brushed his lips against the curled fingers,then moved to the floor, beside the sofa.

 

Krycek's jaw tensed and he inhaled deeply as he felt Mulder's lips closeover him. For so long, he'd wondered...fantasized, about what those fulllips would feel like on his cock. Tonight he knew. There was no feelingin the world like it. This was to him, heaven in it's purest sense. He reacheddown and petted the golden brown hair. "Ohhhh, *baby*...

 

Mulder's heart thundered in his chest. If anyone had ever told him thathe'd be on his knees, in his own apartment, giving *Alex Krycek* a blowjob *and* loving every minute of it, he'd have pulled out his gun and shotthem. Yet here he was, in exactly that position. He swirled his tongue aroundthe hard, velvety shaft as again and again, he slid down and back, gloryingin every sigh, every sweet whisper.

 

Krycek's hips lurched beneath him. The sensation of his cock rubbingagainst the smooth interior of *Fox Mulder's* mouth, was just too much.He had no idea how much longer he could hold on, though he desperately wantedto. When for the last agonizing time, Mulder reached the tip, he pausedand opened his mouth slightly, bestowing a series of tiny, flicking lashesupon it with his tongue.

 

Krycek gritted his teeth and groaned harshly. "Fox..."

 

Mulder closed his mouth around Krycek once more and sucked him in, completely.Almost immediately, he withdrew, then descended again. Krycek grabbed ahand full of hair and attempted to pull him away.

 

"Fox...stop....s-stop..."

 

Mulder reached up and forced Krycek's hand away from his head. He shackledboth of the younger man's wrists with his hands and held them down by hissides. His head rose and fell on his cock with long, sure strokes. Krycekstrained against the determined strength that held him captive.

 

"Come *on*! You shouldn't...no...oh....oh...*Christ*!"

 

A chain of violent spasms rocked Krycek's body. For as long as it tookfor his orgasm to complete itself, he cared not one bit that he was doingexactly what he hadn't wanted to do. His hips jerked upward, time and again,as he came in Mulder's mouth.

 

Mulder held Krycek's wrists tightly to his sides as what seemed likean endless river of warm fluid gushed down his throat. His first instinctwas to pull back, but Fox Mulder was not a man who did anything halfway.He forced himself to relax and accept what, in essence, he had asked for.When it was over and he had successfully quelled the revolt that his stomachhad threatened to stage, he moved up and laid his head on Krycek's chest.A hand rose and rested weakly on the silky cushion of his hair. After longminutes of struggling to drag air back into his lungs, Krycek whisperedto him.

 

"You stubborn bastard."

 

Mulder smiled into his shirt. "I'll just take that as a compliment."

 

"Are you all right?"

 

He lifted his head and met Krycek's eye. "I'm not going to makea break for the bathroom, if that's what you want to know."

 

A tiny smile played at Krycek's lips. "It takes a lot of nerve toactually swallow, the first time."

 

"Did *you*?"

 

He hesitated, then answered. "Yeah." He pulled his jeans up,then made room on the sofa for Mulder, who settled on his side, head proppedup on his hand.

 

"And you didn't think that I'd have as much nerve as *you* do?"

 

Krycek turned his face to Mulder's. "I had no choice."

 

Mulder's smile faded. "What do you mean?"

 

"Just what I said."

 

"What happened to you?"

 

Krycek looked away, all at once sorry that he'd said what he did. Mulderasked again, the insistence evident in his tone.

 

"Alex, what happened?"

 

He knew there was no way out of it, now. Mulder was like a pit bull.Once he got hold of something, there was no letting go.

 

"My initiation wasn't exactly voluntary."

 

Mulder's shock registered in his eyes and his voice. "You were raped?"

 

Krycek looked straight ahead, unable to meet his eye. "Yeah."

 

"When?"

 

"Years ago," he answered flatly. "I was nineteen. It hadn'tbeen all that long since I'd come to terms with the truth about myself.I fooled around a little, but nothing too heavy. Just some experimentation.One night, a couple of friends and I were at this party and there were theseguys there. Four of them. For some reason, they decided that it might befun to harass one of my buddies. He was sort of a meek, quiet guy and theywere starting to piss me off, so I stood up for him." He shrugged."They backed down and I figured that was that. Until we left."

 

"They were waiting for you?"

 

"The party wasn't that far from Pete's house, so we walked. Scottgot a ride home, so it was just the two of us. They jumped us from behindand threw us into two separate cars. They drove for about twenty minutes,into a wooded area. They dragged me out of the car and one of them punchedme so hard that I almost blacked out." He paused, then continued withoutemotion. "I could hear Pete screaming. The one who had hit me, smiledand said to the other one that he bet he could make me scream louder. Oneheld me while the other pulled my pants down, then they made me lay facedown over a rock..."

 

Mulder lowered his head and whispered more to himself than to Krycek."*Christ*."

 

"I'd never been in that much pain...but I didn't make a sound. Iwouldn't give them the satisfaction. When he was through, he asked his friendif he wanted a turn. He said yes, but he was in the mood for a blow job.So they pulled me to my knees and while one held me up, the other one triedto get into my mouth. I wouldn't open it, so he held my nose, until I startedto gasp for air, then he forced himself in. It was over in a matter of seconds,but it seemed like hours. I was so sick. I threw up until I thought my insideswould come out. They just...left me there. I lay on the ground, until Iheard both cars drive away. I managed to get myself together and go lookingfor Pete. He was in worse shape than I was. I helped him get dressed andwe walked home. It took us a couple of hours, but we made it to his house.His parents were away, thankfully. We got cleaned up and never spoke ofit, again."

 

"Never?"

 

Krycek shook his head.

 

"Are you still in contact with him?"

 

He turned his eyes to Mulder. "He committed suicide less than ayear later."

 

"I don't...I don't know..."

 

"It's okay," he broke in. "There's nothing *to* say."He paused, then went on. "The next day, my parents asked me what hadhappened, you know, because of the bruises on my face. I told them thatI was in a fight. They never had any reason to doubt me, so I got a lectureand that was it."

 

"Did you ever see those guys again?"

 

"Oh, yeah. They pretty much acted like nothing had ever happened...likethey didn't even know who I was, which was fine with me. All I wanted todo was forget it."

 

Mulder pulled him against the warmth of his chest. "I'm so sorrythat happened to you."

 

Krycek closed his eyes, lulled by the steady rhythm of Mulder's heart."I never got involved with anyone after that. The thought of any mantouching me, made my blood run cold. That changed only after I met you."

 

Mulder dropped a light kiss on the top of his head. "What was sodamn special about me?"

 

"I don't know if I can pinpoint any one thing. I loved the way youlooked directly at me when we talked. That's the mark of an honest, self-assuredperson. It's sexy. At least it is to me." He took in a long breathand let it out slowly. "Your eyes. So intense. A person could drownin them. When you opened your mouth to speak, my knees just about buckled..."He smiled against Mulder's shirt. "I won't even *mention* what thatSpeedo did to me."

 

"Okay, that's all initial attraction. What *kept* you interested?"

 

"The more time I spent with you, the more attractive you became.I was fascinated with your single-mindedness. Your devotion to your partner.I was so completely taken in by your strength. I found myself thinking aboutyou constantly."

 

"Then why did you do the things you did?"

 

"I made a bad career move, I know that. But I was in it up to myneck and there was no way out. You don't just walk away from these men withoutsome damn good insurance. I never in a million years, thought that there'dbe a chance for anything between us. I was sure those little changes inyour expression when you looked at me sometimes, were just my imagination.I *wanted* to believe that they meant something...but you were *Fox Mulder*,for Christ sake. What the hell was on my mind? I spent all my spare timethinking about you. Imagining what it would be like to be with you. Youbrought to life, feelings in me that I thought were long dead, and since..."he stopped.

 

"Since, what?"

 

"Since I knew you were unattainable, I tried to satisfy my desireselsewhere...with men *and* women. Didn't work. You were always there. Inthe back of my mind. And I'd be furious with you sometimes, because I wantedyou so much and you seemed so fucking oblivious. Well fine, screw you. That'swhat I told myself any time I caused some kind of trouble for you. ThenI'd be sick afterward. That time you caught me outside after your fatherdied, something in me...some part of me wanted you to kill me. I wantedit over." He stopped and pulled away so he could see Mulder's face."You would have, wouldn't you, if Scully hadn't shot you?"

 

Mulder answered without hesitation. "Yes." Then he changedthe subject. "I never really came to grips with how I felt about you.Any time I was near you, I'd feel so...my body *did* things. I did everythingI could to suppress my feelings, but sometimes everything wasn't enough.That's when I'd get angry. I didn't even have to see you. Just the mentionof your name would send me into a tail spin. And when you *did* show up..."He spoke through gritted teeth. "I can't explain to you the rage Ifelt. All I wanted to do was kill you. I guess just like you, *I* wantedit over. The first time that I actually realized that I was fantasizingabout you while I was jerking off, I wanted to die. I mean, it couldn'tbe. How the hell could it be that I wanted to do the things that I was imaginingwith a man, much less, the man who killed my father?"

 

"Fox?"

 

"Hmm?"

 

"Do you really believe me when I say that I didn't do it? I knowyou told Scully that I didn't, but do you believe, in your heart, that I'mtelling you the truth?"

 

"Yes, I do."

 

"Because we've become lovers, or because you *really* believe it?"

 

"I really believe it."

 

"And can you believe me when I tell you that I won't ever betrayyou again? I'd sooner let them kill me."

 

Mulder studied him for a moment, then lowered his head and touched hislips to those of his lover. Krycek's tongue inched out to gently skim hislower lip.

 

"Mmmm." Mulder moaned deep in his throat. "I believe you."

 

Krycek's hand wandered over his chest. He spoke to Mulder, his tone seductivelylow. "I won't ever hurt you again. I promise." His hand slid lowerand came in contact with the hardness at the front of Mulder's jeans. Krycekstroked and teased until his breaths were coming in ragged gasps.

 

"You want to feel my hand around you?"

 

"Yes...please......shit!" He glared at his cell phone on thecoffee table, which had begun to ring.

 

"Gotta be Scully, right?" Krycek asked as he continued to rubMulder's still covered erection.

 

"Yeah. Wonder why she's using my cell number when she knows I'mhome."

 

"Because she thinks I've bugged your phone here in the apartment,that's why," Krycek answered evenly.

 

Mulder winced at the slightly increased pressure of his caresses. "You'rekilling me."

 

"You'd better answer that phone before your partner thinks thatI *have* killed you and comes over here."

 

Mulder snatched up the phone and answered it.

 

"Mulder? I was getting worried. Why'd it take you so long to answeryour phone?"

 

"I was in the middle of something."

 

Krycek smiled and unzipped his pants. Mulder looked to him with widenedeyes.

 

A short stretch of silence was followed by another question.

 

"How's your houseguest?"

 

"F-fine..."

 

"Mulder? Is everything okay? You sound a little odd."

 

"Odd?" He closed his eyes and clenched his teeth, as Krycek'shand slipped inside his underwear and closed around his stiff cock.

 

"Where's Krycek?"

 

"He's uh, lying down..."

 

"Those meds are helping?"

 

"Oh yeah," he glanced at Krycek who was thoroughly enjoyingmaking him squirm. "he feels real good."

 

"Have you talked?"

 

"Yes...yes, we have." The soft, involuntary groan that followedthat last sentence, didn't go unnoticed.

 

"Mulder," Scully whispered, "do you need help? ShouldI come over there?"

 

"No! Uh, no. W-why would you ask that?"

 

"Because something isn't right. I can hear it in your voice."

 

"I'm just tired, Scully. I haven't slept much in the past twenty-fourhours, remember?" He shot a warning look to Krycek, who simply ignoredhim and went on with his business.

 

"So..is it settled? If I'm overstepping my bounds with that question,just say so."

 

"Scully, we're friends. I tell you.......I tell you everything.I would hope that this wouldn't be any different. Yes, I think it's settled."His tone softened considerably as Krycek snuggled closer and tucked hisdark head under his chin.

 

Scully went silent. She'd deduced from the way he'd given his answer,that things hadn't gone exactly the way she was hoping they'd go.

 

"Can you find some way to understand?"

 

"I don't see that I've got much choice in the matter, do I? As yourfriend, I've got to respect your decisions. No matter *how* insane I thinkthey are."

 

She could hear the smile in his voice. "Just *had* to get that in,didn't you?"

 

"Goodnight, Mulder. I'll check in tomorrow. You're *not* thinkingabout coming in, right? I mean, technically, you *have* still got two daysvacation left."

 

"And I'm taking them. Don't worry. I'll be rested and refreshedand ready for work on Wednesday."

 

"All right. Call you tomorrow."

 

"Goodnight, Scully."

 

"Night." She hung up and rested her head in her hands. Shealmost wished that he *had* decided to come in to work. At least she'd knowthat he was safe and away from Krycek, even if it was for only part of theday.

 

Mulder dropped the phone onto the floor and turned his attention backto his lover, who was still working his magic on his aching cock. "Areyou purposely trying to antagonize her?"

 

"Of course not. I'm just trying to make things a little more stimulatingfor you..."

 

"A few more minutes of *stimulating*, and she would have known *exactly*what was going on."

 

"Exciting, wasn't it?"

 

Mulder's eyes rolled back into his head.

 

"Keep them closed," Krycek whispered. "Concentrate onwhat you're feeling and the sound of my voice." The tips of his fingersbrushed the silky length of Mulder's cock. "You feel so good. Warm...smooth...incrediblyhard..."

 

Mulder expelled a hard breath. "Alex..."

 

"Take it easy. Easy..." He continued to stroke Mulder, buthis fingers just barely touched him. When his respiration returned to semi-normal,Krycek applied a bit more pressure. "Is that good?"

 

Mulder sighed softly.

 

"I'll take that as a yes." His hand moved up and down, justa bit faster. "You're ready, aren't you?"

 

"Yes."

 

"You want it so bad you can taste it."

 

Mulder's hips arched upward. "Yes...please!"

 

Krycek took his hand away.

 

"Wh-what are you doing? Don't stop!"

 

"You're getting too worked up."

 

"Who's fault is *that*?"

 

Krycek smiled an evil smile. Gorgeous, green-eyed satan. "Mine.But *I'm* not ready for this to be over, yet. I'm enjoying watching you.You're so pretty when you're turned on."

 

"*Jesus* Alex, *please*..."

 

"And you're even prettier when you're begging for it."

 

"How about when I'm threatening to rip your stitches out, one byone?"

 

"You don't scare me. I know what some of your weaknesses are, now."

 

Mulder tried a different approach. He gave Krycek his best smolderinglook. "*You're* my weakness. No one's ever done me the way you do."He threaded his fingers through his hair and pulled him down for a deep,nerve-rattling kiss. "Please," he murmured against Krycek's openmouth.

 

"Well...since you asked so nicely..."

 

His hand once again enclosed Mulder's cock.

 

"Thank you," he sighed. Krycek worked him gently, steadily."Oh *God*, thank you..."

 

Krycek watched as his neck, that long, graceful neck curved, pressinghis head into the cushions. Hungrily watched the maddeningly full, lusciouslips part ever so slightly on a soft whimper. Frantically strove to remainsilent as thoughts such as he'd never had before, tempted him to give themvoice.

 

"Mmph....oh.....Alex....oh God..."

 

Krycek quickened his strokes and rested his cheek against Mulder's. "Letit go," he whispered against the light stubble. "Come on..."Mulder's body tensed and he let out a low, harsh groan. Warm, slick fluidshot up and ran over Krycek's fist and down his arm. He pumped Mulder'scock for as long as his body continued to writhe and shudder. "That'sit baby," he encouraged. "Feel it."

 

Mind-shattering convulsions gave weigh to intermittent shivers as Mulderfinally started to come down. Krycek kissed his temple, then his cheek.

 

"I could make you come twenty times a day, just to see that lookon your face."

 

Mulder smiled weakly. "If anyone *could* do that, it'd be you."He opened his eyes and turned them to Krycek, who was making no attemptto conceal his pleasure at hearing the admission. He raised his arm andglanced at his watch. "Why don't we call it a night?"

 

Krycek nodded. "You sleep in your bed. I'll be fine here..."

 

Mulder shot him a puzzled look. "I don't want you to sleep on thecouch. I want you next to me."

 

Krycek opened his mouth to speak, but fell silent, not knowing exactlywhat to say.

 

"Why would you think that I wouldn't want to sleep with you?"

 

"I...I don't know," Krycek stammered. "It's just *so*intimate. I didn't know if you were ready for that."

 

Mulder's brow wrinkled. "Alex...after what we just did....how muchmore *intimate* can we get?"

 

"It's hard for me to explain. It just seems like a...a *commitment*,for lack of a better word."

 

Mulder's gaze fell away from his face. "Oh. I guess I see what youmean. Uh...if you don't want to, it's fine. I didn't mean to..."

 

"No! No." He anchored his fingers in the hair at the back ofMulder's head. "I'd really love to wake up next to you in the morning.I didn't want to push *you*."

 

Mulder rose to his feet and pulled his jeans up over his hips, but didnot bother to zipper them. Krycek watched him from the sofa.

 

"Meds, first."

 

When he disappeared into the kitchen, Krycek went into the bathroom toget cleaned up. He arrived back in the living room before Mulder, who reappearedsome ten minutes later, with the pills and some food. When Krycek had finished,he took the plate and glass away, then returned and stood before him.

 

"Come on." He held out his hand. "Let's go to bed."

 

Krycek studied him for a few seconds, before reaching out to grasp hiswrist.

 

Mulder's hand closed firmly around Krycek's wrist, and pulled him tohis feet. He turned wordlessly, and proceeded toward the bedroom. Krycekfollowed, keeping several paces behind. By the time he reached the bedroomdoor, Mulder was already inside. He stood in front of the bed, thumbs hookedin his back pockets. He was doing that infuriatingly sexy thing that hedid with his bottom lip.

 

"Thought maybe you took a wrong turn somewhere."

 

Krycek lowered his eyes and laughed softly.

 

"What's so funny?"

 

"You are."

 

"Me? Should I be insulted?"

 

Krycek looked across the six foot distance, into his eyes. "You'resuch a contradiction. I don't understand how it is you can do such a turnaround.Up until early this morning, you were mortified at the thought of what we'ddone. And," he snapped his fingers. "this fast, you've completelychanged. You've faced this head on and have even gone so far as to suckme off...beautifully, I might add, right in there, on your couch. I honestlycan't figure you out."

 

"I'm just tired of fooling myself. Takes a lot of energy that couldbe better spent on other things."

 

"Such as?"

 

"Enjoying my life. Some small part of it, anyway."

 

Krycek moved toward him. He stopped when they were practically touching."Am I somewhere in there?"

 

"You're *everywhere* in there."

 

He pulled off his tee-shirt, then did the same for Krycek. Each man finishedundressing himself, then slipped into bed. Mulder displayed a sheepish grin.

 

"How do you sleep?'

 

"With one eye open, usually."

 

"I mean, in what position?"

 

Krycek suppressed a laugh. "Oh. Uh, on my back, I guess. You?"

 

"Don't you know?"

 

"I didn't watch you *that* often."

 

"I start out on my left side, but I wake up in all kinds of differentpositions." He jumped over Krycek and settled himself to his right.

 

"What the hell are you doing?"

 

Mulder gave no answer. He simply drew close to Krycek's side and restedhis head against his lover's temple.

 

Krycek turned his head slightly to the right, so that it was now hischeek against the top of Mulder's head. He brought his left hand up to reston the arm that had draped itself loosely across his waist.

 

Without any more discussion, both men closed their eyes and drifted intosleep.

 

 

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Monday, 7:10 a.m.

 

Krycek opened his eyes and immediately glanced to his right. He was alonein the bed. His arm swept the area where Mulder had been. Cold. He'd apparentlybeen up for a while, but how long? Visions of Mulder slipping out of bedin the middle of the night, to sleep on the couch, flitted through his head.Maybe he wasn't as comfortable with this as he thought he'd be. Krycek sighedinwardly.

 

"About damn time."

 

The amused masculine voice coming from the doorway, startled him. Hejerked his head in that direction and found Mulder leaning against the wall,arms folded across his chest. The faint odor of bacon wafted in throughthe open door. Mulder pushed away from the wall and made his way over tothe bed. Krycek watched mutely, as he lowered himself to the edge. Theysearched each other's eyes for a number of seconds, then Krycek spoke.

 

"How long have you been up?"

 

"About two hours."

 

Relief. He nodded. "Are you *cooking*?"

 

Mulder smirked. "To the best of my ability. I don't do it very often,so I don't want to hear any complaints."

 

"You won't get any out of me. I can't remember the last time somebodymade me breakfast."

 

"Well, get up, get showered and changed. It should be ready in aboutten minutes." He motioned to the chair, where he'd already laid outclothes and underwear. "Got some fresh clothes for you over there."He patted Krycek's thigh twice, then rose and moved to the door. "Getmoving," he ordered as he passed into the hall.

 

7:25 a.m.

 

Krycek stood in the doorway, watching as Mulder heaped scrambled eggsinto a plate. As obviously ill at ease as he was in the kitchen, there wasstill an exquisite grace to his fumblings. Krycek smiled to himself.

 

"Coffee?"

 

"How'd you know I was here?"

 

Mulder turned to place the dish on the table. He straightened his backand shrugged. "I knew." He motioned to the chair in front of which,he'd just put the bacon and eggs. He stepped out of the way as Krycek movedforward and seated himself. As he turned back to the stove to get his ownplate, he repeated his offer. "So, do you want any coffee?"

 

Krycek shook his head. "Never got in the habit."

 

Mulder poured himself a cup. "I don't drink much, myself...especiallyfor an FBI agent. Most of the people at the Bureau have a cup permanentlyfused to their hands. I usually just have some in the morning and that'sit."

 

Krycek looked down and noticed the pills alongside his glass of orangejuice. Mulder took in the disturbed expression that suddenly crossed hisface.

 

"Something wrong?"

 

"Would you tell me the truth if I asked you how much you mindedthat I've completely upset your life?"

 

"I wouldn't exactly use the word, 'upset'."

 

"What, then?"

 

"Changed."

 

"Okay, how much does it bother you that I've changed your life?"

 

"At first? It bothered the hell out of me, but you know that. Now?It doesn't. I welcome the change."

 

"You can actually sit there and tell me that it doesn't bother youin the least that all of sudden, you're sharing your bed with someone else,cooking for *two*, keeping track of medication, in a *real* bad place withyour partner and best friend..."

 

"Eggs get cold, fast."

 

Krycek stared at him. "Is that your way of avoiding my question?"

 

"No, it's my way of telling you that your breakfast is getting cold."

 

Krycek gave up and dug into his food. When he was through, he pickedup the plate and started to push away from the table. Mulder rose immediatelyand took it from him. He dropped back into the chair and watched as Mulderrinsed the plate and put it into the dishwasher. That done, he turned andleaned on the table, facing Krycek.

 

"I like that you're here." Mulder held him immobile, usingnothing but his eyes. What seemed like two hours later, he backed away andwent about clearing the rest of the table, leaving Krycek to agonize inthe residual heat of his stare.

 

After he'd finished stacking the dishwasher, he picked up the phone anddialed.

 

"Scully? Wasn't sure I was going to catch you at home. Oh. Uh-huh.Pretty well, I think. Yeah. Come on, Scully...I'm *talking* to you, aren'tI? Fine. When? Right." He hung up and clasped his hand to the backof his neck, twisting it as far as it would go, to one side, then back.

 

"Didn't sound especially pleasant."

 

"It's going to take her a little while."

 

"I think you're deluding yourself."

 

"I don't."

 

"Okay, whatever."

 

"She's coming by to check you out."

 

Krycek was about to reply with a wise crack, but thought better of theidea. He cleared his throat and asked, "When?"

 

"Later this afternoon. When she's through at the office."

 

"Can't wait."

 

"Why don't you go relax? Watch t.v. or something? I'll finish upin here."

 

"What are you going to do, after?"

 

Mulder shrugged. "I got some work I can do."

 

"You can go out if you need to, you know. I promise I won't takeoff or anything."

 

"There's no place I need to be."

 

"But if there was...you don't need to stay here and hold my hand."

 

Mulder approached once more and leaned over him. "It isn't yourhand I enjoy holding."

 

"I think I've created a monster."

 

"You sorry?"

 

"No...no, I can't say that I am."

 

"Then shut up and get yourself into the living room."

 

He moved away and proceeded to clean up. Krycek watched him for a while,then quietly rose from his chair and exited the room.

 

 

 

4:49 p.m.

 

The soft knock brought Mulder's head up. He glanced from the computerscreen, to the door, to Krycek, who was dozing on the sofa. Still asleep.He quickly rose from his chair and went to the door. Scully stood rigidlyin the hall, her medical bag in-hand.

 

"Hey."

 

"Hey."

 

He stepped aside and allowed her to enter.

 

"Working?" she asked, noting that he was wearing his glasses.

 

"Yeah. There was some stuff I needed to catch up on."

 

"Where's Krycek?"

 

"He's asleep," Mulder announced, almost inaudibly.

 

Scully looked past Mulder, at the man dozing comfortably on the sofa.A twinge of anger flushed her cheeks.

 

"He's been taking his meds when he's supposed to?"

 

"I make sure he takes them on time."

 

Scully closed her eyes briefly, then re-opened them. The thought of Muldercatering to this man just went up one side of her and down the other. Sheswallowed down her ire and checked her watch."

 

"Are you in a hurry?"

 

"Well, I have a few things to do."

 

"I'll wake him."

 

Mulder walked over to the sofa and bent slightly at the waist. He laida gentle hand on Krycek's arm and softly spoke his name. The corner of Krycek'smouth slanted upward, then back into place. Other than that, he did notstir. Mulder firmed his grip on the sleeping man's arm.

 

"Wake up."

 

"Hmmm...."

 

He shook Krycek's arm and called to him, again.

 

"Alex. Hey."

 

"What?" The reply of a man, still half-asleep.

 

"Wake up, okay?"

 

Krycek moaned and opened his eyes reluctantly. He smiled sleepily andcovered Mulder's hand with his own. Mulder didn't pull away, but he couldfeel the tension in him.

 

"Scully's here."

 

Ah. Well, that explained that.

 

Krycek took his hand away and struggled into a sitting position. He lookedpast Mulder into the blatantly irritated face of Dana Scully.

 

"How do you feel?" she asked from where she stood.

 

"Pretty good," he said as he became more alert. "Justa little sore."

 

"Uh huh."

 

Mulder moved out of the way, as she walked over to the sofa and quicklyperformed her examination. Once she'd changed the dressing on his wound,she immediately backed away and closed up her bag.

 

"Everything is fine. I'll remove the stitches in about a week orso."

 

"Thank you."

 

Instead of acknowledging his expression of gratitude, Scully turned toher partner. "Mulder, call me if any problems arise. Other than that,I'll see you on Wednesday."

 

"Scully, can I have a few seconds?"

 

She hesitated, then nodded curtly.

 

"Excuse us," Mulder said to Krycek and placed a hand underScully's elbow. He steered her into the kitchen and closed the door behindthem.

 

"What's up?" she asked, trying her level best to sound casual.

 

"Take a good look," he said, raising his arms out to his sidesand turning in a circle. "No cuts, no bruises...I'm still walking andtalking, so I *must* be alive..."

 

"What's your point?"

 

"He's no danger to me."

 

Scully turned around, then almost immediately spun back to face him.

 

"*Yes*, he is! If not physically, then most *certainly*, emotionallyand mentally! Let me ask you a question. Where do you see this going?"

 

"I don't know."

 

"You don't know. How far do you *think* it can go?" BeforeMulder could answer, she continued with her diatribe. "You've got tokeep this thing *in* the shadows. You're not a private citizen, Mulder.You belong to the government. An intolerant, homophobic government. Krycek,isn't exactly a regular guy, either. He's got more dirt swept under hisrug than anyone you and I know, put together."

 

"He's through with all that."

 

"Did he tell you that?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"Come on, Mulder! Get real! Think for a minute, would you? Evenif he's absolutely sincere about that, which I'm sorry, but I just can'tbelieve...this isn't some street gang that if he wants to quit, he can get*jumped out* of! He's stuck!"

 

"It's in their best interests not to push him, and they know it."

 

"Okay, what about these other people who tried to kill him? Theyjust may succeed, someday. What I'm saying Mulder, is that it can't last.Sooner or later, one way or another, it's going to end, and you'll be hurt.You don't know how I hate the thought of what this could do to you."

 

Mulder approached her slowly and placed his hands on her shoulders. Heinclined his head and planted a kiss on her forehead.

 

"Thank you. But please, try to understand. I know the dangers. Iknow the problems that come with this. I'm willing to deal with them. Youmight not want to hear this Scully, but...he makes me feel so good. I lookat him and he just *does* things to me."

 

"It used to be, not all *that* long ago, that you'd look at himand want to kill him."

 

"I wanted him *then*, Scully. I just wouldn't allow myself to cometo that realization. The big thing between us was the fact that I thoughthe'd killed my father and Melissa." He shook his head. "He didn't."

 

"Even if he didn't Mulder, he betrayed you. How can you forget that?"

 

"We discussed that and came to an understanding about it."He cupped her face in his hands. "Please, Scully. Can you try to acceptthis? For me?"

 

Scully looked up at him with somber eyes. She grasped both of his handsand held them together in hers as she raised them to her lips. The briefkiss was followed by a tight squeeze. She released his hands and turnedtoward the door. He remained where he stood, staring after her.

 

Scully passed through the living room, and ignoring Krycek, headed tothe door.

 

"Scully?"

 

She stopped in her tracks, but did not turn.

 

"I won't do anything to hurt him."

 

Scully stood motionless for a moment, then proceeded to the door. A softclick of the latch, and she was gone.

 

Krycek tore his eyes from the closed door and went quietly to the kitchen.He found Mulder slouched in a chair, one long leg stretched out before him,both hands laid flat on top of the table. He approached slowly and slidhis palms along Mulder's shoulders.

 

"You okay?"

 

Mulder nodded.

 

Krycek kneaded the knotted muscles. "You're tight."

 

No response.

 

"She got you thinking, didn't she?

 

"About what?"

 

"About what the hell it is you're doing."

 

Again, no answer.

 

Krycek leaned in close to Mulder's cheek and spoke softly. "Youneed time to figure out whether or not you can live with a rift betweenthe two of you. He turned Mulder's face to his. "And you can't do thatwith me around."

 

"I don't want you to go..." The thought hit him like a hammer."But *you* do."

 

"No..."

 

"Jesus." Mulder got up and moved over to the far end of thekitchen. "I was so wrapped up in *my* feelings, I never stopped tothink that maybe what you wanted from me was only physical..." Hadhe been looking at Krycek, he would have seen him shaking his head. "Look...uh...assoon as you feel up to it, you can go. I won't stop you."

 

Krycek advanced toward him, slowly. "I will. But not because I wantto. I'll leave because it's what's best."

 

"For who?"

 

"For you." Krycek stopped when their bodies were slightly touching."Try to work it out with Scully. I think, she thinks that my presenceis having a lot of influence on you. She's itching to get you away fromme, so she can try to talk some sense into you. Maybe if I'm not aroundand she sees that you still feel the same, she'll finally get it."He didn't believe a word he was saying to Mulder. "Maybe she'll cometo understand."

 

Mulder's voice came out in a hoarse whisper. "Where will you go?"

 

"I've got someplace I can stay."

 

Mulder titled his head and frowned. Krycek wished like hell that he wouldn'tlook at him like that.

 

"I'll be okay. I'll come back in a week, so she can remove the stitches."

 

"And then, what?"

 

"I don't know. I hardly think a week is enough time for you to dowhat you need to do. I get the feeling that Scully is a tough woman to convinceof *anything* that she might be skeptical about, much less something likethis."

 

"What if I can't make her understand? What if there'll always bea degree of discomfort between us, if you and I continue?"

 

"I told you, that's what I need to know. You have to ask yourselfif that's something that you can live with. You love Scully. She's yourbest friend as well as your partner. Can you forgive yourself if somethinglike this comes between you? I don't think you can. And if that's true,then things will go real bad, real fast, for us. I don't want that to happen.I'd rather end it right now...hell, I'd even rather go back to the way wewere, than see that happen."

 

"Will..." Mulder stopped to clear his throat, then startedagain. "Will you stay until I go back to work on Wednesday?"

 

Krycek cupped the back of his head with one hand, and brought their lipstogether. "Yeah," he said, after they parted.

 

One more day. Krycek's heart thumped painfully in his chest. Two morenights. It was more than he'd ever dreamed they'd have.

 

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<<

 

Tuesday, 5:46 p.m.

 

Mulder stabbed at the fried rice, again and again, with his fork. Krycekput his carton of chicken chow mein down on the desk and watched him.

 

"I think it's dead."

 

The rhythmic action stopped. Mulder attempted a weak smile. "Can'tbe too sure."

 

"You haven't eaten much."

 

"I could say the same to you."

 

Krycek left his seat by Mulder's desk and came to sit beside him on thesofa. He gently removed the fork and carton from Mulder's hands and placethem on the coffee table.

 

"I don't want you to think that this is easy for me." He reachedout and cupped Mulder's face. His thumb swept back and forth across thecheekbone. "It's not."

 

Mulder nodded his acknowledgment.

 

"You want to turn in early?" His words sounded innocent enough,but his eyes were full of hidden meaning.

 

The smile this time, was genuine. "It's a little early to thinkabout going to sleep, isn't it?"

 

"I don't recall saying anything about sleep."

 

"I didn't...I didn't think..."

 

"Why? Because I didn't touch you, last night? It was a heavy day.I just wanted to put my arms around you and let you feel warmth and comfort.And remind you that you were safe with me."

 

"I stopped expecting a gunshot to the head, some time ago."

 

"I don't mean that." He let his hand slide downward, then stoppedit over Mulder's heart. Understanding flashed in the depths of those incrediblehazel eyes. And something else.

 

"Let's go to bed."

 

He pulled Krycek up by the front of his shirt and led him to the bedroom.

 

"That's all *I* was saying..."

 

Once in the room, Mulder pushed Krycek against the wall and pinned himthere by his wrists. His mouth went to the hollow between Krycek's neckand shoulder, alternately nipping and licking. An unintelligible sound issuedfrom the trapped man's throat. Mulder wandered to his ear.

 

"Remember that first time that we were together and you asked meto tell you my deepest darkest fantasies?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"Do you still want to know?"

 

"*Oh*, yeah."

 

"The times that we fought...even after...these images of me fuckingyou would always be stuck in my mind. Loud. Violent. Like animals. I'd getso hard thinking about it, it'd actually hurt."

 

"Is that what you want?"

 

"Maybe...but without the black eyes and bloody noses."

 

Krycek's grin turned into a grimace as he felt the sting of Mulder'steeth at his earlobe.

 

"Not now, though," Mulder rasped in his ear. After your woundheals."

 

"And after you've had some experience."

 

"Which you'll give me, tonight?"

 

Krycek's eyes darkened. "If you like."

 

"I like."

 

He freed himself from the grip Mulder still held on his wrists and inan instant, turned things around. This time, it was Mulder up against thewall, but Krycek had him turned, facing it. He pressed against Mulder frombehind, holding his wrists in a tight grasp, slightly out from his body,against the plaster. He rubbed his cheek against the back of Mulder's head,enjoying the sensuous feel of his hair, cool and silky on his heated skin.

 

Mulder turned his face to the side and flattened his cheek against thewall. His eyes closed and his lips parted as Krycek crushed him betweenhis body and the unyielding surface in front of him. Krycek released oneof his wrists, but Mulder kept his arm where it was. The hand that had freedhim, made it's way down to the top button of his jeans and efficiently undidit. The zipper gave next, and then his hand was there, insinuating itselfbetween his jeans and underwear and the wall, stroking, squeezing.

 

Krycek listened attentively. As soon as he heard Mulder's breaths turnshallow, he ceased his actions. He removed his hand from Mulder's otherwrist, with a soft warning. "Keep them there." He slipped bothhands inside his lover's jeans and pulled them and his underwear down andoff in one swift movement. He straightened his posture and quickly disposedof his lower garments in the same manner.

 

Mulder grunted softly as he felt Krycek's fingers trailing up and downhis spine, in feathery lines. They reached the enticing curve that startedjust below the small of his back and Krycek could see that small jerk ofMulder's hips. He smiled, curving his hands to the tightly muscled fleshand gave a gentle squeeze. Mulder jumped again.

 

"A little sensitive, are we?" he teased.

 

Mulder gave no answer. He was already too far gone for rational thought.

 

Krycek brushed his fingers down the length of the cleft of Mulder's ass,feeling his whole body tighten in natural response.

 

"It's okay," he cooed. "We're going to do this nice andslow." His fingers continued to tease. "If at any time you wantto stop, just tell me. I *will* not hurt you. Do you have any lube?"

 

Again he received no answer.

 

"Hey." He patted Mulder's hip.

 

"Hmm."

 

"Lubrication. Do you have any KY or anything like that? It'll makethings a hell of a lot easier."

 

Mulder attempted to get his breathing under control, long enough to answer."I don't know. Bathroom, maybe."

 

"Okay. Come on." He led Mulder to the bed and pulled his shirtoff, before letting him sink to the mattress. He stole quickly into thebathroom and began rummaging through the drawers, mumbling as he searched."Everybody in the world keeps their lube in the nightstand. Not thisguy. Oddball right to the very last detail." Finally, he hit paydirt.He lifted the tube out of the third drawer and tested it's weight. Verylight. He hoped to hell that there was enough.

 

Mulder lay trembling on the bed as thoughts of what was to come, tumbledthrough his mind. His already rigid erection swelled painfully as he imaginedKrycek driving his cock deeper and deeper into his ass. He groaned and rolledover onto his stomach. What the hell was taking him so long? If making himwait was Krycek's sick idea of a joke...

 

Before he could complete his thought, he felt the hard warmth of a body,pressing his into the mattress.

 

"Miss me?" Krycek breathed against his shoulder.

 

"What the hell took you so long?"

 

"Have you opened those drawers lately? I'm lucky nothing in there*bit* me."

 

"Did you find what you were looking for?"

 

"Yeah, but I don't know. It feels kind of empty."

 

"Cut it open. There should be something in the nightstand that youcan use."

 

Krycek slid off Mulder and reached to his right, pulling open the drawer.He pulled a long, slim object out. There was a click then a swishing soundas the five inch blade appeared from within the handle. He blinked in surprise.

 

"But he's got a *switchblade* in the nightstand..."

 

He cut the tube open and found too little lubrication inside for comfort.

 

"Alex..."

 

"I don't think there's enough in here."

 

"But there *is* some?"

 

"Yeah..."

 

"It's enough."

 

"I don't think so."

 

"You're not getting out of this." Mulder turned onto his backand focused his eyes on Krycek's face.

 

Krycek stretched out alongside Mulder and ran his hand down the lengthof his upper body and up again. He stopped at one tight nipple and pluckedgently. He watched, satisfied, as Mulder's jaw clenched and a clipped soundcaught in his throat.

 

"I never said I wanted out." He moved closer. "But thisis your first time." He held the open tube up. "This would makeit easier on you."

 

Mulder took the tube from his hand and looked at it's contents. "It'lldo."

 

"Fox..."

 

He tossed the tube back onto the nightstand and curved his hand aroundKrycek's neck. "I want this and I *won't* wait for it." He pulledKrycek down for a hard, mind-numbing kiss, then released him abruptly. "Tonight.Do you hear me?"

 

Krycek stared down at him, captivated by this man's tenacity.

 

Mulder's tone softened. "Do me, Alex." He brushed his mouthagainst Krycek's. "I want you so much."

 

Krycek's heart felt as though it was going to pound a hole through thewall of his chest. He released a short, hard breath. "You're a damnpersuasive man, you know that?"

 

"I just know what I want," he said as his hand gently grippedKrycek's erection. "Are you going to give it to me?"

 

Krycek sighed as Mulder caressed him. "If you keep doing *that*,I'm not going to be able to." He took Mulder's hand away. "Turnonto your right side."

 

Mulder did as he asked, without question. Krycek moved against him, moldinghimself to his body. One arm snaked around his chest and pulled him evencloser. His lips found the rapid pulse in Mulder's neck and he touched histongue to it.

 

"Mmmmmmm."

 

Krycek's hand moved from his chest, downward. As it closed around hisstraining cock, he could hear a tiny gasp escape Mulder's throat. He fondledhim tenderly as his mouth worked the length of his neck.

 

Instinctively, Mulder pressed back against Krycek's hips. The hardnessthat nudged him, brought an urgent desire. He needed that hardness. Neededto feel it inside him. Now. He began to rock against Krycek.

 

"*God*. Fox, what are you doing?

 

Mulder tilted his head back so that his lips could touch Krycek's face."I can't wait anymore, Alex. Please."

 

Krycek hesitated.

 

"*Please*."

 

//Shit.//

 

Krycek snatched the tube off the nightstand and coated two fingers withit, careful not to use more than he needed. He leaned over Mulder and whisperedsoothingly into his ear. "Relax, okay? Take a few deep breaths andjust try to relax your whole body." He rubbed his cheek against Mulder's."Tell me if I'm hurting you." He slowly worked one finger to thetight opening. He'd barely got the tip in, when he felt the muscles contract."It's okay. Nice and easy." He slipped in another fraction. Muldermoaned and in his concern, Krycek took it as an expression of pain. "Damn.I'm sorry..."

 

"No. Don't. It's all right. Don't stop..."

 

"Are you sure?"

 

"Yes." He was panting. "Please."

 

Krycek continued, moving at a painfully slow pace. When at last he hadone finger half-way in, he withdrew just far enough to add the second.

 

Mulder threw his head back and gasped aloud.

 

"Relax. Breathe slowly. You're doing great. Breathe, lisa. I needyou to relax...that's it..."

 

A few minutes later, Krycek's two fingers were completely embedded inhis lover. Carefully, he began to move them in and out. With his free hand,he reached over Mulder's hip and began to stroke his cock. A loud, harshgroan ripped from Mulder's throat.

 

"Is that good, baby?" Krycek taunted.

 

"*Christ*, yes!"

 

"You ready for the real thing?"

 

Mulder nodded.

 

Just as carefully as he'd inserted them, Krycek removed his fingers andagain reached for the lube. Praying that it'd be enough, he skimmed everylast bit from the split tube and applied it. His erection throbbed. Whetherit was from the brief contact with his fingers or from the anticipationof burying himself deep within this man, he wasn't sure. He suspected itmay have been both.

 

"Just like before, now," he said. "Deep breaths. Justrelax and it'll be okay."

 

Gripping his cock at it's base, he guided it between the constrictingmuscles and paused at the opening. He took a long breath and proceeded.

 

Mulder gritted his teeth and a low, rough, hum pushed past his throatas he felt himself being stretched beyond all reasonable expectation.

 

"Do you want me to stop?"

 

A hoarse whisper. "No."

 

He pressed forward, another centimeter. And another.

 

Mulder's breaths came in ragged gasps. He curled his fingers into thepillow, and buried his face in it.

 

"Fox." Krycek's voice came to him, as if in a dream. "Listento me. I'm going to take you all the way through this." He kissed thecurve of Mulder's shoulder. "I promise you, it's going to feel so good,if you can just hold on a few minutes more..." He pushed deeper, asgently as he could. The sound of Mulder's muffled whimper, sent a freshsurge of desire thundering through him.

 

//Keep it in check, Alex. //

 

"Are you all right?"

 

"No." Mulder's answer came out in a rush of breath.

 

"What's wrong? Tell me."

 

"Give it to me, Alex. Stop teasing me."

 

Krycek couldn't mask his surprise. "I thought I was hurting you."

 

"You are....but you're not *killing* me. Finish. I want to feelyou deep inside me."

 

Krycek stroked his chest. "We're almost there." He inched deeper,bit by bit, until he was completely embedded in Mulder's heat.

 

"Ohhh, *Jesus*!" Mulder's chest heaved. "Fuck me, Alex..."

 

Krycek clenched his teeth and attempted to still the rocking of Mulder'ships. "Wait. Give me a second, okay? Just don't move. I feel like I'mgoing to explode..."

 

As hard as it was, Mulder lay still. He didn't want Krycek to come, yet.He refused to be deprived of the sensation of his lover's hard cock, pumpingsteadily, in and out of his ass. It's what he'd been fantasizing about foryears and he'd be damned if anything was going to stop him from experiencingit.

 

An eternity later, Krycek began to move. Mulder emitted a low moan.

 

"Is there any more pain?" Krycek murmured against the backof his neck.

 

He shook his head from side to side. "Noooo. Oh God, Alex. No pain."

 

Krycek wrapped his hand around Mulder's cock and slowly, began to strokeup and down. Mulder sucked in his breath.

 

"Good." He established a smooth, even, double rhythm. "Nomore pain. I won't ever hurt you again. All I want to do is give you pleasure."He quickened his pace just a bit. "Does this feel good?"

 

Mulder nodded. "*So* good." He pushed back as Krycek rockedforward. "Harder..."

 

No, baby. Let's just take it easy, tonight."

 

"*No*..."

 

"Yes. If I do you the way you want me to, this'll be over in nothingflat. I'm enjoying you too much to end it, now. Please, can we wait a while?"

 

Mulder sighed.

 

"Please?"

 

He reached behind his shoulder and threaded his fingers through Krycek'shair. "Do it your way."

 

"Thank you."

 

For the next ten minutes, Krycek teased Mulder, mercilessly. He'd bringthem both to the brink of orgasm, then stop, drawing many a protest andeven a few threats from the object of his torment. Finally, Mulder had hadenough. It was coming this time, and there was no stopping it. Krycek sensedas much. He increased the speed and strength of his thrusts. His hand keptpace with his hips and he whispered into Mulder's ear.

 

"Okay. This is what you wanted. Come for me.....come...for me..."His voice trailed off as the first wave of his orgasm hit.

 

Krycek's hoarse cry was joined almost immediately by Mulder's. Theirrespective climaxes hit with a force previously unknown to either man andwhen it was done, they lay together, weakened and exhausted and drenchedin sweat. Krycek shifted with the intention to disengage himself. Mulderstopped him.

 

"No. Don't. It feels so good. Don't pull out, yet."

 

Krycek scattered small kisses in Mulder's dampened hair. "You'reamazing." He tucked his arm around Mulder's waist and snuggled close.In no time at all, they were both asleep.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 5:15 a.m.

 

Mulder brought his palm down on the alarm clock button, bringing to anend, it's annoying buzz. He smiled, feeling the warm presence behind him.The smile faded when he realized that it was Wednesday morning. He turnedover, grimacing at the vague soreness he felt, and met the deep green eyesof the man who had last night, taken him to a place he'd never in his life,imagined going.

 

"Good morning."

 

Mulder chewed the inside of his bottom lip. "It is, and it isn't."

 

"I know."

 

Mulder wanted so much to ask him to stay, but they'd settled this issuealready, and he would not push it, again.

 

"Shower and some breakfast before you go?"

 

Krycek smiled sadly. "Well, I think that a shower is a good idea...I'msurprised we aren't stuck together...but after that, I think I'll just go..We shouldn't drag this out any longer than we have to."

 

Mulder nodded.

 

"Besides, I should leave while it's still relatively early. Youdon't want any of your neighbors seeing me coming out of your apartment,do you?"

 

"Unless there's gunfire, they pretty much just ignore the thingsthey see around here, now. I think they've learned to expect just aboutanything. I'll bet a few of them could tell you the first names of mostof the officers in the Alexandria Police Department."

 

"Well, just the same..."

 

"Yeah."

 

Krycek sat up and looked around the room.

 

"What are you doing?"

 

"Nothing, just...when I left that morning, I thought I'd never comeback here again. I never expected that I'd be back in this bed. And I sureas hell never expected that I'd spend the night, making love with you, init. I'll never forget it."

 

"Stop."

 

Krycek looked down at Mulder. His eyes reflected a myriad of emotions,not the least of which, was anger.

 

"What did I say?"

 

"You have no intention of ever coming back here, do you?"

 

"Why would you say that?"

 

"I can see it all over your face."

 

Krycek lowered himself to Mulder's level and threaded a hand throughhis hair. "You're reading me wrong there, crack profiler. I fully intendto come back, next Wednesday. If I don't show, don't think that it's becauseI didn't want to."

 

Mulder understood the vague inference.

 

"Do you believe me?"

 

Mulder studied him for a moment and answered. "Watch your ass. ComeWednesday, it's mine."

 

Krycek smiled. "I'll do my best." He brought his mouth downon Mulder's for a long, tender kiss. Pulling away reluctantly, he rose fromthe bed and walked toward the bathroom.

 

Mulder fought the urge to follow him to the shower. He knew what wouldresult and he knew that there was no way that he would be able to stop himselffrom begging Krycek to stay, if he allowed himself to be placed in a weakenedstate. Instead, he got up and retrieved his jeans from the floor. He pulledthem on, then proceeded to strip the bed. That done, he went to the closetand pulled out a navy blue suit, white shirt, and a tie, and laid them overthe chair. Then he sat on the edge of the bed and waited.

 

Krycek shut the shower off and grabbed the towel that he'd thrown overthe curtain rod. He dried himself slowly, letting his mind wander to lastnight. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply, trying to discourage thestirring he felt in his groin. The soft knock startled him. He wrapped thetowel around his waist and answered.

 

"Yeah."

 

The door opened and Mulder walked in. "There are a few sets of clotheson the bed. I don't know if you'll be able to get back to where you werestaying, so..."

 

Krycek nodded. "Thanks. I don't know, either. I'll see....well...letme get out of your way, so you can get ready for work."

 

"Don't leave until I get out of the shower."

 

Krycek hesitated. "Okay." He turned away, unable to watch Mulderstrip and step into the shower. He left the bathroom and got dressed, doinghis best to ignore his growing erection. He gathered up the remaining clothesand placed them inside of the duffel bag that Mulder had left next to them.

 

By the time the sound of running water stopped, Krycek had managed toregain his composure. Ten minutes later, Mulder emerged from the bathroomand began to get dressed. Krycek watched silently from the other end ofthe room. Mulder finished buttoning his shirt, then reached for the tie.

 

"You've *got* to be kidding me." Krycek approached him frombehind. "Where do you get these ties?

 

Mulder looked down. "What's wrong with it?"

 

Krycek laughed softly. He placed a hand on Mulder's shoulder and turnedhim around. "Nothing," he answered, as he pushed Mulder's handsaway and finished knotting the tie. Mulder stood quietly, as he worked,eyes never leaving his face. When he was through, he pulled on the tie,bringing Mulder in closer. "I really should be going."

 

Mulder cast his eyes downward. "I know."

 

"I'll see you next week."

 

"All right."

 

"Be careful, okay? Just in case?"

 

"I will. You too."

 

Both men turned and walked toward the living room and the front door.

 

"Damn. Wait a minute."

 

Mulder disappeared into the kitchen and came back with Krycek's meds.He handed them over and watched as Krycek stuffed them into the bag.

 

"Thanks."

 

"Don't forget to take them."

 

"I won't."

 

Brief nod.

 

"Okay. Well..."

 

Mulder closed the distance between them and brushed Krycek's jaw withhis knuckles. "*Please* be careful."

 

"You already said that."

 

"It bears repeating."

 

Krycek leaned forward and laid a quick, hard kiss on Mulder's lips. Heopened the door and slipped out, without another word between them.

 

Mulder stood in the open doorway for a bit, staring at nothing in particular,then closed the door and walked back into his empty apartment.

 

End Part II